Is this really necessary?

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

This Alexander Cockburn essay got me thinking.

All the Populism Money Can Buy

Across the country last weekend, there were antiwar demonstrations, modest in turnout, but hopefully a warning to Obama that war without end or reason in Afghanistan, plus 40,000 more troops to Kabul, is not why people voted for him.

 I spoke at our own little rally in my local town of Eureka, Calif. My neighbor Ellen Taylor decided to spice up the proceedings by having a guillotine on the platform, right beside the Eureka Courthouse House steps. Her father was Telford Taylor, chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg,

 When she told me about the plan for the guillotine, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. But Ellen said she wanted to reach out to new constituencies beyond the committed left, and what better siren call than the swoosh of the Avenging Blade? A hundred years ago, people liked to stress the similarities of the American and French revolutions. Mark Twain composed the most eloquent defense of the Terror ever written, in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” But then, after 1917, the French Revolution was seen as the harbinger of Bolshevik excess and it grew less popular.

 Up on the platform I took the guillotine issue head on. Only 666 aristocrats in Paris had been topped versus 1,543 throughout France. The reward: decisive smack on the snout of the land-holding aristocracy; durable popular power for peasants, workers and the petit bourgeois: M. le patron and M. le proprietaire stepped into history.

 Here in America, the corporate class is now entirely out of control, lawless and beyond the sanction of prosecutor, juror or ballot box. If every corporate lawbreaker felt that somewhere along the line the retribution of the guillotine might await them, it would concentrate their minds marvelously and cow them into lawfulness.

He’s right. They are out of control. So, I’m wondering. Is it guillotine time? Is that what it’s going to take?

What do you think?


Skip to comment form

    • sharon on October 26, 2009 at 02:53

    but we’d still need the cooperation of the people to round up and prosecute the plutocrats before beheading them.  i don’t know that enough would take the time away from their televisions.  i don’t think “we the people” are hungry enough yet to storm the bastille.

    • rossl on October 26, 2009 at 03:53

    Nonviolence is the way to go.  I’m pretty sure Ghandi had more success at a democratic revolution than the French did in 1789.

  1. My husband has been wondering for the last several years when discussions were going to start going in this direction. Now he’s going to probably break out that frigging Scarlet Pimpernel soundtrack CD of his again…

  2. Somehow I dont think I want to see Code Pink get a hold of this concept.


  3. …guillotines are, after all, so, je n’ais cest quoi, French, don’t you think?  A bit like Freedom Fries?

    • jamess on October 26, 2009 at 05:35

    executing people without a trial and a conviction.

    And if you have those things (a trial and a conviction)

    just throw the White Collar criminals in jail

    like Bernie Madoff — for 150 years.

    (or put them to drift in a canoe, in the Hudson bay,

    their choice.)

    Returning to “Mob Rule”, is a bad idea, imo.

    Mobs against tanks and tear gas and bullets,

    is a disaster waiting to happen!

    A totally different approach,

    and almost as final,

    is to Revoke their Corporate Charters,

    effectively a “death sentence”

    for those Corporate Persons, without a conscious,

    or any restraints.

    Now if we could only find the Senators and Lawyers,

    willing to challenge the Corporate miscreants.

    Mass Divestiture too (selling stocks) of these Corporate Entities,

    is liable to get their attention too.

    In a way that really hurts.

    The people would need something else though

    to invest their mad-money in,

    and ideas along those lines, lol?

    • Inky99 on October 26, 2009 at 06:52

    This isn’t from The Onion, this is real.

  4. for the festivities:

  5. that which you despise.

    Eliminating the plutocrats will not get rid of them–they will only return and they will be us.

    Change society. Change our culture. Change ourselves. Agitate for peace. Refuse to participate in violence. Opt out of the corporate/warfare system whenever we can. Stop buying their shit.

    There are other ways to change the world than killing off a few greedy bastards. That’s what the rule of law is about. Without law, we are just a bunch of bloodthirsty goons.

    Or are you simply offering another “modest proposal?”

  6. ….is it sort of like a Veg*O*Matic for Humans ?

    Shouldn’t there be a basket or large tupperware container to catch the head and keep it from rolling of the deck?

    • Inky99 on October 26, 2009 at 18:00

    Found it!

    That is the fundamental question here.

    Have “they” gotten to the point already where they have made violent revolution inevitable?  

    That is the point I’ve been rather clumsily trying to make throughout my comments here.

  7. from here tho it no longer matters …….

    whether we do or whether we do not rise up……

    from here the emerging question is simple “how long can we tread water”………

    • dkmich on October 26, 2009 at 18:41

    I think we confiscate everything they own and dump their butts in debtors’ prison for 30 years.  What will they do without their Gucci loafers?  

  8. But Ellen said she wanted to reach out to new constituencies beyond the committed left,

    But somehow I don’t think blood in the streets is going to win the hearts and minds of those who have already been programmed to see the Left as crazed radical lunatics by the RW media and pols.

    That perception and the (relatively) itsy bit of violence the Left engaged in in the sixties and seventies was what led to the Regan Backlash and the last 40 years of an ascendant RW.

    We need, imo, to present a positive message form the Left, of what the Left would do if given a chance to govern and set paradigms.

    If the message from the Left is…”when we gain power, we start cutting off heads” …something tells me that that is NOT going to “reach out to new constituencies beyond the committed left” in an effective way.

    Revenge is an emotionally satisfying short term motivator, but what The People really want is justice and equality…not blood.

  9. He has alzheimers.  Ma is sick and tired of caring for him even though she is getting help.  Last year when I tried to help I was called to answer charges of elder abuse.  This year at the same time and for the same reason Dad is once again in the hospital.  During my visit the nurse gave him a shot of heparin, a name which stuck a bell with my abnormal extensive CT research habit/addiction.

    I am only the son, not the primary care giver mind you, so the newly indoctrinated post HIPPA medical establishment does not ask for nor take into account my input on family affairs.  Last year when Ma dumped Dad into a nursing home I visited and told Dad I bought a horse.  His face lit up, him being the first generation off the farm and all.  Ma and Dad were the most frugal and most prosperous of the American generations even before getting forced to sell off the family farm.  All of that shit however has to stay in a financial account subject to instant raids by Bernie Madoff type characters reserved specifically for their future medical care needs.  Even if you love your Dad, you don’t get to decide, an army of “professionals” and policies decide for you.

    This year, just as last year in accordance with the astrological charts or God only knows what else Ma, who flipped out after I was born because I fucked up her social life has decided Dad was “combative” when he didn’t feel like taking a shower to get ready for adult day care.  Yes, they could have fallen down and not been able to get up together.

    I am writing the book.  Dad loved his wife.  He was convinced there was no God, no afterlife, no heaven nor hell when an “accident” took his bright and vibrant daughter from this world.  

    When I meet Dad in my afterlife?

    The bitch is toast!

    Now that is “combative”.

  10. As I read the threads on this topic, I seem to hear that most want to live our principles non-violently, creating pour own economies, barters, exchanges, participating as little as possible in the established structures and grids.

    Work for what we can at change.  Be ready to move when the evolutionry impulse manifests.

Comments have been disabled.