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The Socialist Origins of the Pledge of Allegience

Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist, wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 as a critique of the rampant greed, misguided materialism, and hyper-individualism of the Gilded Age. You'd never know that by reading CNN Bob Greene's column earlier this week called "The Peculiar History of the Pledge of Allegiance." He sort of air-brushed Bellamy's politics out of that history.
The Socialist Origins of the Pledge of Allegiance by Peter Dreier, 12/24/2013


America now confronts a new version of the Gilded Age, brought upon by Wall Street greed and corporate malfeasance. The gap between rich and poor is still widening. Americans are feeling more economically insecure than at any time since the Depression. They are upset by the unbridled selfishness and political influence-peddling demonstrated by banks, oil companies, drug companies, insurance companies, and other large corporations. They are angry at the growing power of American-based global firms who show no loyalty to their country, outsource jobs to low-wage countries, avoid paying taxes, and pollute the environment...

When we recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we should remind ourselves that it was written by a socialist who believed that "liberty and justice for all" meant more equality and a stronger democracy.

Peter Dreier teaches politics at Occidental College and is author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, published by Nation Books.

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...for One Nation (_____)____) Indivisable 26.Dec.2013 23:07

Tracy Mapes

I really can't argue against the Pledge of Allegiance and/or a sense of Pride in Nationalism.

They both Provide a Focal Point of Social Inclusion, Strength, and a Bonding of People in there Own Self Protection as a Society. If I had a Bitch Today? It would be Against unabashed Capitalism. Not railing against the Principle of a Highly Efficient Form of Trade, but the Abuses of It.

Saying the Pledge of Allegiance is One of the Primary Reasons I will never Shut the Fuck Up about the Corruption and Criminal Enterprise that has Disenfranchised us All, in the Participation of Government or True Freedom of the Press.

When People Talk of One World Government? I Scoff at the Idea of Homogenizing the Beautiful Differentials of Culture Individuality and the Pride One should be able to exercise in the Respect and Honor of Our Own People. Somewhere We have Lost that aspect. Mostly due to the Indoctrination that Tattling of the Criminals is worse than the Crime They now perpetrate Against Our Nation.

Take Care,

-Tracy Mapes

If he wanted democracy 28.Dec.2013 07:12

danny boy

Then why did he celebrate the "Republic for which it stands"? It was nothing about a democracy, moron. Mob rule sucks don't you know, I mean democracy would have seen prop 8 stand in CA, is that the democracy you want? I don't think so.

Informed Democracy Works. Republics Always Become Fascist 30.Dec.2013 02:17


It's better to have a constitution than to be without one. But a constitution must always be enforced by an informed and civilized public; not some corrupt court. Rule by consent of an informed and civilized public is democracy, and it bestows general prosperity and freedom. Rule by court is republicanism, which always evolves into fascism. The corrupt judges will always throw a few paltry bones to mistreated minorities. But, for example, black people are slaves on plantations all over again, except that the plantations are now called "prisons." Of course, the ruling judges eventually give nearly everything away to their super-rich ruling elite partners, the only minority that really matters to them.

We have had a republic, which quite predictably has transformed into a fascist police state, and everybody knows it.

Certain people have known since at least the French Revolution that what we have been taught are elections are completely unworkable because of the spoiler effect, which enforces a futile two-party system. Our present useless single-selection system could easily be repaired by adopting the simplest form of score voting, which can be completely described in one short simple sentence: Give no vote at all, or from one to ten votes to any number of candidates you wish (up to some reasonable limit, say 20 candidates), and then simply add all the votes up. That's it.

One could say that simple score eliminates 90% of the spoiler effect. To illustrate: if a voter gives 10 votes to Nader and 9 votes to Gore, and no vote at all to Bush, it is simply obvious that, if Nader does not win, the voter has only sacrificed exactly 10% of their voting power. Not 100% as they would have had they been forced to use the usual single-selection voting method. Also, the voters must be informed that they should always vote artfully (aka strategically), not artlessly or heroically (aka "honestly" or "sincerely").

Just this simple reform could return freedom, prosperity, and justice again to our ruined nation.

Semantics 30.Dec.2013 11:09


People are stupid and your not informed yourself @Blues. The courts are just how the American republic fell. Any system becomes fascist after a while even Anti-fascist systems and groups because people are stupid. Anyways you would need the frame work of a republic to enact your voting system.

Our Great Pledge Of Allegiance! 04.Jan.2014 22:36


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