Category Archives: Free speech

Ellen and Mike and Empire (225/303/310/485)

Imperialism is hegemonic in the sense that the citizens of Empire are often shocked or angered by the assertion that they do, in fact, live in one– usually before they bother to define that term.

In honor of Fleet Week– which is clearly a symbol of American Empire– here are two speeches that have been supplemented with images.

First, a by-now viral video of Ellen.

I’d never heard of this next one until yesterday. I don’t know who originally made it.

Consider our discussions about hegemony and interpretation. What codes and values are invoked by these clips? How does form shape or undermine content? Do you live in an Empire? What evidence and arguments support your claim?

Legalize Their Robbery (415/425)

“Give me a hundred capitalists just as you find them here in Ohio and let me ask them a dozen simple questions about the history of their own country and I will prove to you that they are as ignorant and unlettered as any you may find in the so-called lower class. They know little of history; they are strangers to science; they are ignorant of sociology and blind to art but they know how to exploit, how to gouge, how to rob, and do it with legal sanction. They always proceed legally for the resaon that the class which has the power to rob upon a large scale has also the power to control the government and legalize their robbery.”

— Eugene V. Debs, The Canton, Ohio Anti-War Speech (this is the one that got him charged under the Federal Espionage Act, the same law that Bush II, Obama, and Trump have used against whistleblowers).

Commiefornia (415)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Being a communist would no longer be a fireable offense for California government employees under a bill passed Monday by the state Assembly.

Lawmakers narrowly approved the bill to repeal part of a law enacted during the Red Scare of the 1940s and ’50s when fear that communists were trying to infiltrate and overthrow the U.S. government was rampant. The bill now goes to the Senate.

It would eliminate part of the law that allows public employees to be fired for being a member of the Communist Party.

Employees could still be fired for being members of organizations they know advocate for overthrowing the government by force or violence.

The bill updates an outdated provision in state law, said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the San Francisco Bay Area Democrat who authored the measure.

Some Assembly Republicans said the Cold War-era law should not be changed.

Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a Southern California Republican who fought in the Vietnam War, said communists in North Korea and China are “still a threat.”

“This bill is blatantly offensive to all Californians,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican who represents a coastal district in Southern California. “Communism stands for everything that the United States stands against.”