THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE FREE was required reading in my undergrad Modern European History class, ca. 1973, I've read it several times since, and I frequently recommend it to others.

I finally subscribed, after considering it for several weeks. I've got too bloody much great stuff to read every day, but it dawned on me that the Hartmann Report is always one of the first emails I open, right up there with Lucian Truscott, Joyce Vance, and Heather Cox Richardson, so -- I'm in.

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Thank you! :)

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Spot on. The 2nd Amendment was written to arm people against slave revolts. Nothing much has changed. In the 1920’s, the KKK went to Germany and taught the ‘Brown Shirts’ how to roll. Fear. Fear of ‘mud people, Jews; it was in the White Power literature 50 years ago and remains today.

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Thank you. I wish more people realized this -- and sensed the connection between the slave owners' support for the 2nd Amendment and the number of white gun enthusiasts who see unlimited fire power as a way for keeping people of color in line. I recommend Carol Anderson's excellent history of the 2nd Amendment, THE SECOND: RACE AND GUNS IN A FATALLY UNEQUAL AMERICA, to anyone who wants to know more.

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The 2nd Amendment had a dual purpose. The United States had no standing army of any significance at the time., And militia's proved to be nothing more than musket ball catchers, they would fire, then run from the British bayonets Gen Morgan used this propensity, to good effect at the battle of the Cow Pens, where he had the militia stand on the top of hillock and fire, then retreat behind the hill, the British then followed them only to be met with regulars, laying down and hiding then standing up and shooting the British.

Wellington copied Morgan and used the technique at Waterloo.

Anyway the militia was suppose to act like a delay, it proved useless.

The other, and probably primary motive was to ensure the slave patrols were well armed.

Planters had a constant problem, harsh planters who mistreated their slaves, served as motivation for slaves to run off to a neighboring plantation where they were better treated.

That was the purpose of slave patrols. It wasn't until latter in the 19th century that some slaves, close enough to non slave states, took to running away to freedom. There was zero chance otherwise that a slave, walking alone along a road or trail, needing food and shelter could actually escape. The underground railroad was a northern institution, the north's answer to the Fugitive slave act. An act which was enacted by the Federal Government to appease the slave owners, which made it a crime for anyone to harbor a run a way slave, even as far north as Vermont and New Hampshire.

Of course there was a constant fear of a slave revolt, and most certainly an individual slave, here and there, turned on his owner. The first real revolt, which scared the stuff out of the south, was the Nat Turn revolt of 1832.

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You make important points, but you may be underestimating the impact of the battles waged by former slaves in the French colony we now know as Haiti. Slaveowners in the South were quite aware of it, and it culminated with a victory for the former "self-liberated" slaves almost three decades before Nat Turner's rebellion. Slave revolts

I think it's also safe to say that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 didn't come out of nowhere. If "fugitive slaves" weren't a pressing issue in some quarters, would there have been a need for such legislation? (It was passed about a year and a half after the unrest began in Saint-Domingue, but I don't know if there was a connection between one and the other.) The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was much more stringent, of course, and reached more heavily into the northern states -- at a time when the abolition movement was far stronger than it had been in the early national period (to put it mildly!). It provoked widespread resistance and occasional violence, when law enforcement attempted to take escaped slaves into custody.

Contrary to your belief that there was "zero chance" that a slave could escape -- well, quite a few did, and not only from the border states, although it's true that escaping overland from the Deep South was extremely difficult. Escaping by sea was somewhat easier, though still very, very risky. And was the underground railroad really "a northern institution"? I'm not sure it was an institution at all, at least not the way we think of institutions. Some parts of it were better organized, i.e., more formal, than others. This National Park Service web page includes a neat map showing some of the routes the enslaved used to escape: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/undergroundrailroad/what-is-the-underground-railroad.htm

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Thanks for the reminder. Yep the revolution in Santo Domingo did influence attitudes in plantation states.

There was a book I read years ago with that title (Revolution in Santo Domingo). First the slaves revolted against the white planters, once they were gone, they vented their spleen and rage on mulattos, the octaroons.. it turned into a racial ethnic cleansing.

The French planters fled to the south, and a lot of them settled in Alabama, naming their county Marengo County, after the first victory of Napoleon in the Battle of Marengo), they tried to grow grapes and create a wine industry, but lacked the knowledge, the effort failed and Marengo County which is in the black belt, so named because of the black gumgo which is ideal for cotton growing (a combination of clay and bottom soil from the overflow of the Cahaba river, so they sold out to the incoming white settlers from Georgia and South Carolina.

Thanks for correcting me as regards my ill advised comment about zero attempts to escape from the deep south.

There of course has to be successes, but surely miniscule considering the difficulties or a lone black person alone and at large in the paranoid and schizoid deep south in the 18th and 19th century.

What I know of the Underground rail road is that they were safe houses in the north, I wouldn't call it a northern institution, and I would not call it an institution as it was not organized,, per se.

Groups of like thinking people like Quakers and other abolitionists, would get together, but it wasn't long before the authorities knew who the "conductors" were, a hazardous undertaking.

From what I have read, most of the "railroad" was in the north east, especially the border states, where the goal was to escape into Canada.

I know about the poem or story which had instructions,like following the north star, or the "devils smile" a bridge over the Ohio river. And surely there were abolitionist sympathizers in Kentucky, but further south you went, the more chances of getting caught, and the greater the risk, regardless of one's sympathies.

Yes, slaves did escape from the deep south, such as the guy who was freed from the Epps of Virginia in 12 years a slave, but that was with the help of a friendly white who managed to deliver his letter to a friend and associate in the north.

Even in cultures where slaves are the same race as the master, like the Vikings, escaping slavery was almost impossible.

Yet there are exceptions, always and lots of success stories. Too bad we don't have records of them.

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Thom, this piece is seminal and profound. I spend a lot of time and effort trying to help decent Americans understand the “long game” that Fascist loving billionaires, theists, misogynist and Racists have employed to take over the nation by stealth.

People may want a single concept to wrap the whole Fascist movement in, but it is an amalgamation of deeply rooted concepts of demonization by elite Whites to rule the world.

Surviving the era of Neo Fascism will be a nightmare, one exacerbated by powerful new AI technologies that will enable Orwellian surveillance far beyond anything he imagined and incite fanatical violence by a populace unable to discern what reality is.

The Neo-Fascist era is only a transition to the ultimate goal, the return of high-tech Feudalism.

I really wish to hell that I am wrong.

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I wish you were wrong, too, but you're not...

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Well, that’s two of us. Thanks Thom

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I sincerely thank you for continuing to raise the alarm. It seems like violence and mayhem us all we see anymore. It scares me and I don't understand why it doesn't scare the Crap out of everyone. How did we get from Where Have All The Flowers Gone to this? How do people become so complacent that they just ignore what's going on right in front of them everyday?

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This is absolutely terrifying!!! The MAGA fascist movement must stop before too late.

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This is a very important post, Thomas. You nailed with these words This is a full-blown fascist movement within the United States, and it’s now taken over most of the Republican Party.

They openly deny that America is a democratic republic where people select their representatives through the vote, as Lauren Boebert said just this week, demanding that our school children be taught we’re not a democracy. Standing behind and encouraging this movement through their think-tanks, massive media operations, and political campaign contributions is a small army of rightwing billionaires .’ But, here is what I know is the big SECRET! When you say: ”they’ve spent decades getting us to this point, spending billions to stack our court system, infiltrate the political systems of every state and the federal government, and training up a new generation of fascist children through a widespread homeschool and whites-only private school movement."

Yes, People need two know the name Leonard Leo, as he and the Koch Bros,, and The American Enterprise Institute , are behind this plan, and they count on the fact that people lose sight of history-- of the Nazis.. and what fascism looked like.

So, these billionaires who are looking to be the power in this nation, decided to end public education and create an ignorant citizenry. Diane Ravitch https://dianeravitch.net and the NPE expose this plan.(go the their blogs.)

But, things changed dramatically, with the advent of a new transformational ERA of INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY -- which began with televisions , and then came that dark place, in cyberspace, the internet-- where millions of humans read fabrications and lies… repeated by algorithms in social media that these men own, and use to spread disinformation and chaos. https://www.opednews.com/Series/Transformational-era-of-in-by-Susan-Lee-Schwartz-171120-4.html

And then they burned /ban the books! https://dianeravitch.net/2023/03/31/texas-uh-oh-the-book-banners-have-gone-too-far/

Here is my own series at OpEd news.


Many links to articles are about the and the War on teachers, and the Privatization of public education


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I remember you talking about Milton Mayer many years ago and thank you for the up date. These are scary times and most of our society does not have a clue. We are called too far to the left by some of our friends.

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Your description of where we stand is very cogent.

I've been writing about it since last October (https://medium.com/@The_Last_Age/neo-fascism-db29ef692008). I cited a book there, How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, written by Jason Stanley whose father personally experienced Germany in the 30's and who felt our current times here in the U.S. strongly resemble those of Germany then.

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Those tours Repubs are offering to tourists -- many of them are probably casing the place so they'll know their way around. It won't surprise me if I hear that George Santos has been brought in by the Maga's as an inside man; heck, he's probably designing false security cards right now, just as he masterminded an operation that made false credit cards. What does he do behind the closed door of his office? -- he sure isn't doing work for his constituents, who all know his far-fetched stories.

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Thank you Thom for the education you've given me since 2004.

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Indeed, I was able to recommend Mayer's book to a fellow reader the other day, along with


Essential reading.

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Oh my God , it is here. I fear we’re handling it in an inefficient and very frightening manner , that feels like we cant propel ourselves forward or backward or wherever it is we are supposed to be with whatever we are supposed to do.

What can we do ?

To see it happening is to witness evil . Truly dark, dank and frightening .

The hateful outbursts from Trump and Marg. T. Greene, Fox news , accusations fly . They insist ‘they are the victims’ . Trying to ‘make America great .’

They are making America toxic.

I worry so much for my children and grandchildren . God help us all .

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It's a simple but tried and true formula: Insecurity begets fear; fear begets hate; hate begets violence. Lies, ignorance, gullibility, and lack of self-awareness begets Republicanism, infusing insecurity, fear, hate, and violence into the lost souls and weak minds of fascist followers to amass ungodly power for their fascist leaders.

2023 America is just the latest incarnation of evil plaguing humankind from the inception of consciousness. To remain silent is to hasten the end of democracy and the failure of evolution.

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Logic and judgement has been tossed aside by the Republicans---they listen to their gut and all that emotion about their precious 2nd Amendment. If only they valued our children and their children as much.

Meanwhile those of us USING our prefrontal cortex are definitely seeing where Thom's through-lines lead.

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Reminds me of Rod Serling's Twilght Zone...

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Van Gogh? Seriously?

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