Why so hell-bent?

May 5, 2017

by Lawrence Samuels

George Riley and his crew of anti-water advocates say they want to save money for ratepayers by seizing control of Cal Am and turning it into a government agency.Well, the opposite will happen if such a measure passes. Since Cal Am has no intention of selling, ratepayers will have to pay attorney’s fees to prevent the takeover. On the other side, taxpayers will pay attorney fees to a government agency to pursue the eminent domain procedures against Cal Am.

Most citizens will pay for both attorneys, on both sides. The court battle could last for a decade, costing tens of millions of dollars or more.

Why spend so much money to exchange one monopoly with another? If Cal Am had been a government entity, ratepayers would still have to pay higher water rates due to the State of California’s order to sell less water. Moreover, there would still be a huge cost of building the desal plant.

Why is Riley so hell-bent on taking over companies by force, like the leaders of Italy and Germany in the 1930s and 1940s? Why would anyone want to emulate such horrendous ideologies? Whatever the motive, Riley’s actions will be extremely expensive.

(Letter to editor published in the Carmel Pine Cone concerning a 2018 ballot measure to eminent domain the local water company.)

Lawrence Samuels: Sailing into uncharted fascist waters?

POSTED: 04/29/2017 Monterey Herald

By Lawrence Samuels, Guest commentary

In response to the Herald’s reflections on the denial of free speech at UC Berkeley (“The battle over free speech on campus”), the question that begs to be asked is whether the political left has sailed into uncharted “fascist” waters. Are they intolerant, closed minded and violent? After all, the use of violence to silence opposition was a trait of the squadristi thugs in fascist Italy and the brownshirts in National Socialist Germany. But many prominent historians would take a different opinion, arguing that the extreme, modern left has always exhibited these reprehensible traits, essentially since they were the ardent midwife at fascism’s birth.

Historically, the “ideology of fascism,” which first surfaced in France, was according to one of the world’s leading experts on fascism, Israeli historian Zeev Sternhell, “a revision of Marxism” that was assisted by the pro-violence teachings of Georges Sorels’ “revolutionary syndicalism.” A. James Gregor from UC Berkeley concurs, professing that “Fascism’s most direct ideological inspiration came from”… “Italy’s most radical ‘subversives’ — the Marxists of revolutionary syndicalism.”

Even Hitler was heavily influenced by such collective ideology, who was elected Deputy Battalion Representative of the Bavarian Soviet Republic in 1918. Here, he followed the Jewish Marxist reformer Kurt Eisner, who was eventually assassinated. In solidarity, Hitler attended Eisner’s funeral, where photographs showed him wearing a black armband on one arm and the red communist brassard on the other.

So, what is the actual meaning behind the left and right? Historically, the political spectrum first appeared during the French Revolution. The original leaders of the French Revolution were the bourgeoisie, capitalists, merchants and artisans who first attacked tax collectors before assailing the Bastille in 1789. According to their seating arrangement, the left wing was the classical liberals, which included Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson under the “Girondins” faction of the Jacobin Club. They lowered taxes, limited government, supported private property rights and emancipated the Jews. The right side represented the authoritarians and monarchy.

But by 1793, the revolution was hijacked by Robespierre’s social revolutionaries (Montagnards faction) who sought greater power for government to impose social changes. On Oct. 31, 1793, 22 free-market French Deputies were charged with treason and guillotined, ushering in the Reign of Terror, where even Thomas Paine was arrested, jailed and almost guillotined.

So, what to make of all of this? It appears that the left is sometimes the right and the right is sometimes the left. It behooves political writers to first define ideologies before quickly slapping them with inaccurate left or right labels. Maybe this is why American is so divided today. Maybe nobody understands the nuances of the political spectrum and the ideologies that inhabit them.

Lawrence Samuels is a local author with a forthcoming book on the political spectrum.

CAFE Website Online

Press Release

August 2017!

CAFE website online and open to new content, check back soon!

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

Copyright CAFE – Committee Against Fascist Economics 2019
Shale theme by Siteturner