[Ads-l] communist

Paul A Johnston, Jr paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Fri Sep 9 15:20:14 EDT 2016


I've also heard Americans equate "communism" with any type of dictatorship, no matter who owns the means of production.

Paul

----- Original Message -----
> From: "Robin Hamilton" <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Sent: Thursday, September 8, 2016 4:29:31 PM
> Subject: Re: communist
> 
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
> Subject:      Re: communist
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Jon said:
> 
> <<
> 
> Forty years ago I more than once heard freshmen explain that "Hitler
> was a
> communist." (Well, maybe twice.)
> 
> >>
> 
> This is still alive and well and happily propounded by the alt-right
> commun=
> ity.
> 
> The argument runs:
> 
>        Hitler founded the National Socialist Party
> 
>        Socialists are Communists
> 
>        (Therefore) Hitler was a Communist
> 
>        Liberals (i.e. Democrats) are Socialists
> 
>       (Therefore) Democrats are Communists.
> 
> Makes perfect sense to me ...
> 
> Robin Hamilton
> 
>             (once a premature anti-fascist, always a premature
>             anti-fascist=
> )
> 
> Actually, off-topic but slightly associated, does anyone here still
> draw a
> distinction between Sein Fein, Provisional Sein Fein, the IRA, the
> Provisio=
> nal
> IRA, and Real/Continuity IRA?  I partly ask because, while working
> the phon=
> es in
> London in the seventies, I was cheerfully informed by someone who
> might jus=
> t
> possibly have been connected to the Provos that my occupation made me
> what =
> was
> termed "a legitimate target".  Legitimate targets were liable to be
> bombed
> without warning.  Civilian bombings were supposed to be flagged
> beforehand.=
> =20
> 
> Then it gets  complicated ...
> 
> Say what you like about the Provos, those chickens were anything but
> dumb.
>  There was a (strictly unofficial) agreement between the Provos and
>  the Pow=
> ers
> That Be that any bomb attack on a "civilian" target was flagged by a
> coded
> warning given between twelve and twenty four hours ahead.  The
> details of t=
> he
> actual code (which was shared by the Provisional IRA, and maybe five
> nation=
> al
> newspapers and BT) was well above my pay grade, but everyone working
> the ph=
> ones
> at the time knew about this in general terms.  The reason for The
> Code was =
> to
> allow the authorities to distinguish between the 99% of false
> warnings and =
> the
> "real" bomb warnings.
> 
> Except that some clever-clogs in the Provo management structure
> worked out =
> the
> exact ratio between authentic bomb warnings and false bomb warnings
> that yo=
> u
> could get away with before the system fell to bits.   The ratio was
> 1:10.
> 
> This meant that if your average drunk phoned in a bomb warning, it
> was simp=
> ly
> ignored, but *every* coded warning had to be checked out.  From the
> point o=
> f
> view of the Provos, this meant minimum effort, maximum return.
>  Morality as=
> ide,
> it was a brilliant strategy.
> 
> Sometime during this period, I looked up over my shoulder in the
> course of
> fielding a call from an irate punter who'd been cut off by someone
> else in
> mid-call, to find a policeman looking over my shoulder. My first
> reaction, =
> I kid
> you not, was to think how young he looked.
> 
> "That looks difficult," he said cheerfully.
> 
> "Nah," I responded, "it's easy once you get used to it."
> 
> Then I looked around and saw that the floor was absolutely crawling
> with co=
> ps.
> 
> "Um," I said, "If you don't mind my asking, just why are you here?"
> 
> "Oh," he replied, still cheerfully, "someone phoned in an official
> bomb
> warning."
> 
> At that point, I (and I think at identically the same moment, nine of
> my
> colleagues) screamed, "Where's the fucking union rep?"
> 
> The union rep, it turned out, was somewhere off to the side, chatting
> to th=
> e
> police sergeant in charge of the detail, no doubt swapping tips on
> how to f=
> iddle
> the overtime rota.  Take it from me, the overtime rota was a big deal
> among=
>  the
> working stiffs in both the phones and the force at that time.
> 
> The point was that while only one in ten bomb warnings were
> legitimate, the=
> y
> were supposed to, at the least, *tell* us when one had been phoned
> in.
> 
> After our token protest, we all simply got back to work, me and the
> others =
> on
> the floor fielding calls and the fuzz off to finger collars
> elsewhere.  Eve=
> n
> official bomb warnings, given the one-in-ten ratio, were viewed with
> scepti=
> cism,
> though they all had to be checked out.
> 
> Silver Street Telephone Exchange in Edmonton in North London in the
> 1970s w=
> as
> beyond weird ***, I have to say.  There was a virtually 50/50 split
> between=
>  Real
> People, usually in their late forties and older, who'd worked their
> way up
> through the system, and the rest of us, mostly card-carrying
> intellectuals =
> who
> were too stupid to have realised that the *only* qualification you
> needed t=
> o
> work for the BT International Exchange was O-level French.
> 
> That was one of several points of agreement between the two sides of
> the fl=
> oor
> -- that International were overpaid pricks who tore up =C2=A350 cards
> to sa=
> ve on the
> paper work, while we only got to tear up 50p ones, while Directory
> Enquirie=
> s was
> where you sent anyone too stupid to work a phone but not dumb enough
> to be
> actually fired.
> 
> This would usually come up when one or the other of us would field a
> call
> supposedly going through International and find ourselves running a
> transla=
> tion
> between a Frenchman on one end of the line and an International
> operator on=
>  the
> other.
> 
> The usual reaction to this was for someone to snigger, "See, if you
> hadn't =
> been
> dumb enough to sign the wrong contact, they'd be *paying* you to do
> that." =
>  True
> enough.  Lots of us might have had educational qualifications of
> various ki=
> nds,
> but we tended to lack street smarts.
> 
> My 50/50 ratio is an educated guess, as not everyone on the floor was
> out. =
>  I
> was sitting next to a younger West Indian colleague on the tube after
> work =
> one
> day, and he turned to me and said quietly, "Robin, can I tell you
> something=
>  in
> absolute confidence?"
> 
> "Sure," I said, slightly curious, "go ahead."
> 
> "Well, don't tell anyone this, *please*, but I'm studying for a law
> degree =
> at
> London University."
> 
> "Ah, c'mon," I replied, "that's nothing to be particularly ashamed
> about.  =
> I'm
> signed up for a PhD, and everyone knows it."
> 
> Oddly enough, while a few of us were prepared to admit to our
> unsavoury aca=
> demic
> qualifications, I don't think anyone ever out-and-out admitted to
> having a
> drinking buddy who was connected to the Provos but (again, an
> educated gues=
> s) I
> suspect this would include half of us working the floor.
> 
> This was about when I developed the concept of the Dear Green Place
> -- a pl=
> ace
> where you can be for a time, feel totally at home, but know that you
> won't =
> be
> able to stay.  Talking though the concept of the Dear Green Place
> with some=
> one
> who'd better still be nameless but who, though he never said this,
> was conn=
> ected
> with the South Timor Liberation Front before this was vaguely
> respectable, =
> he
> described a time when he'd been briefly manager of a New York
> restaurant th=
> at
> was [his words] a front for a crips gang running drugs for the CIA,
> compari=
> ng
> this to the time when I'd worked on a Glasgow building site in the
> sixties.
> 
>                                   "Basically, Robin, we were pets."
> 
> X as a kneeblank in the midst of a black New York gang, me as the
> only midd=
> le
> class university-educated Protestant in a group of basically
> left-[high]school-at-sixteen working class Glasgow Catholic gang
> members --=
>  we
> weren't token, we were pets -- fascinating, exotic, and [this is
> important]
> totally harmless.
> 
>                     *sigh*
> 
> Those were the days.
> 
> Robin
> 
> *** Just to explain why Silver Street was crawling with moonlighting
> studen=
> ts,
> more than any other of the various London BT exchanges then ...
> 
> Silver Street (Edmonton) was, at that point in time, the very first
> auto-ma=
> nual
> telephone exchange to be opened by BT -- still, then, officially part
> of th=
> e
> Royal Mail.  The result was that those of us who worked the floor
> there wer=
> e a
> mix of operators who'd worked the older manual system, and retrained,
> and a
> flock of new entries, lots of whom were, like me, students in search
> of som=
> e
> sort of work to pay their way.  It was good for students as it was
> night wo=
> rk, 9
> pm to 8 am, so you could study at the British Library during the day.
>  If y=
> ou
> could manage to stay awake.
> 
> This was a right bugger when it came to overtime.  No one who'd
> trained at
> Silver Street could work overtime at any other BT (as it now is
> called) exc=
> hange
> -- I couldn't and still can't work a manual board to save my life --
> and no=
>  one
> who'd been trained in the old system could work overtime at Silver
> Street.
>  *But* someone who'd trained at Silver Street could moonlight in a
>  London h=
> otel
> which was using the new system.  Whereas those of us who were
> *already*
> moonlighting ...  Go figure.
> 
> The end result was that for all those in my position, the only name
> in the =
> game
> when it came to supplementing standard hours were overtime hours at
> Silver
> Street itself.  Not a big problem when I was there, as there were
> usually m=
> ore
> than enough hours to go round, but it could have been.
> 
> It was also not just closed shop -- par for the course -- but
> everyone who =
> I
> worked under had started on the floor, and worked their way up to at
> least
> Supervisor status, when most of them glass-ceilinged due lack of
> formal
> educational qualifications.  I'm sure there must have been someone
> high up =
> in
> ranks who didn't start on the floor, but if so, I never met one.
> 
> That only became a problem for me when the time came that I decided
> to leav=
> e ...
> 
> R.
> 
> _____________
> 
> >=20
> >     On 08 September 2016 at 15:26 Jonathan Lighter
> >     <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.CO=
> M>
> > wrote:
> >=20
> >=20
> >     High-paid CNN anchor:
> >=20
> >     "But Vladimir Putin is a communist!"
> >=20
> >     I.e., dictator; totalitarian.
> >=20
> >     Forty years ago I more than once heard freshmen explain that
> >     "Hitler =
> was a
> >     communist." (Well, maybe twice.)
> >=20
> >     Cf. '60s "fascist" : 'a conservative politician.'
> >=20
> >     JL
> >=20
> >     --
> >     "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle
> >     the
> > truth."
> >=20
> >     ------------------------------------------------------------
> >     The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 

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