Dr. Aphra Behn Profile picture
Oct 6, 2018 13 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The founders were not merely a small collection of elite white men in wigs who wrote the laws. They were the women who led boycotts of British products. They were Crispus Attucks and Salem Poor. They were shoemakers, farmers, and poor immigrants. Their dreams matter too.
The Revolution would have been nothing without the mobilization of a broad swathe of society fighting for their goals--but some of those goals were in conflict with one another. (Even the elite white men writing documents weren't a monolith.) But it needed all of those people.
Historian Alfred Young talked about "multiple radicalisms" in the American Revolution--the many different end goals that different groups of people had, that they thought could follow colonial independence. We're still trying to make some of those come true.
Many of us learn about Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration in 1776 in Philadelphia. We know less about the community rallies voting to overthrow the PA legislature. (Philadelphia's first town meetings, John Adams called them;I suppose Ted Cruz would say mob rule.)
The Declaration reads differently when you know about the energy and activity on the streets, the takeover of the legislature by a coalition of middling and non-elite men, the street actions supporting them. Jefferson was seeing "the course of human events" unfolding around him.
My point, here it is: political ideas do not always (if ever) simply originate from the elites, adoring plebes to absorb and treasure. There has always been a give-and-take in the American tradition between those who hold power and those trying to get a seat at the table.
That tension is inherent in Jefferson's Declaration, which explicitly lays out that when a government is no long a guarantor of rights, then "the people" can alter or abolish it. Who counts as "the people"? Whose rights should be guaranteed? That's the struggle we're still in.
The women telling their #MeToo stories, sitting in Senate offices, marching in the streets--the so-called "mob" that dares challenge the way a small group of rich white men defined a fair "due process" to investigate assault claims --they're part of a long tradition.
Anyone waxing sentimental over what "The Founders" believed or wanted, but sniffing at #MeToo as mob rule, decrying #TakeAKnee as impolite, casting #BlackLivesMatter as Soros-funded villains, has actually forgotten something the elite white men they worship knew quite well.
The Founders knew they needed non-elite support, and they knew the costs if they didn't get it. They nearly lost the South because the British offered enslaved people freedom--and the Revolution became a massive slave rebellion, with "Liberty" on the British side.
The current GOP rely on a shrinking base of angry white men who are desperately clinging to power, fueled by rage and conspiracy-laden propaganda. They wrap themselves in the flag and pretend they don't need the rest of us, that they can trample on our rights with impunity.
The GOP claim to love the Founders, but have convenient amnesia regarding what the Declaration says about the legitimacy of government resting upon the guarantee of rights. In November, we'll remind them. Donate, organize, GOTV, resist--and REMIND. /fin
BTW if this picture of the American Revolution is one you'd like to know more about, a great place to start is Gary Nash's The Unknown American Revolution, which looks at history from the bottom up, from people marginalized by race, class, and/or gender. amazon.com/dp/B001N89KYK/…

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More from @Shaker_aphra

Sep 12, 2018
OMG. Could Klein and Yglesias stop it with their knee jerk respect for Bernie Sanders, PLEASE? No, he got plenty of reasonable criticism in 2016 that wasn't "neoliberal." It matters *deeply* that he always lashes out when fairly criticized. It always has. vox.com/policy-and-pol…
Bernie Sanders lashes out reflexively to tear down his critics, or even just those who don't give him full support, as "corrupt" and compromised and establishment. He does not give a fuck that he's eroding trust in actual experts, in groups that do good, progressive work.
He fundamentally did not care that it might hurt Planned Parenthood when he attacked it.... and attacked it in the midst of a right wing campaign to discredit it. They didn't even criticize Sanders. They just didn't endorse him.
Read 10 tweets
Sep 9, 2018
Nothing like Newspapers.com to remind you that Bernard Sanders really, really, really hasn't changed much. I can't believe I ever thought otherwise. Here he is in 19freaking72 complaining that the women in Vermont's legislature were "beyond the childearing age."
And here he is speaking at the "Women's Day Equality Fair" organized by NOW in Burlington in 1972. Most speakers had something to say about women and/or equality! What did Bernard have to say? Did you pick "nothing about women"? You picked right!
Did you think that Bernie's arrogant refusal to answer questions is a new thing? here is in August 1976!
Read 18 tweets
Aug 10, 2018
Oh, hey, it looks like Matt Bai has finally gotten around to reading stuff that @Shakestweetz and I, among others, have been pointing out about Bernie Sanders over the last three years. yahoo.com/news/running-b…
Among his discoveries are that Bernie is more the Man than the insurgent (although he seems to think that's mainly image). I discussed that in Looking for Bernie Part 4: he's an enormously successful politician with a less-than-pure record on the left. shakesville.com/2015/07/lookin…
Bai has also discovered that Tad Devine is shady AF and worked with Paul Manafort. Something Melissa raised well over a year ago. shakesville.com/2017/03/the-mo…
Read 8 tweets
Aug 1, 2018
So now that more folks are aware of who Tad Devine really is, I'd like to revisit the way the media was willing to put a halo on anyone in the circle of Bernard the Blest. Anyone remember this? theatlantic.com/politics/archi…
"Tad Devine, Julian Mulvey, and Mark Longabaugh...
All regulars on the Democratic campaign circuit, the three consultants insist they’re not trying to ruffle any feathers with their party. Rather, they’re trying to save it." Got that? Noble Tad Devine, trying to save the Dems.
"“Listen, I’m a Democrat. I want the Democrats to control the House and the Senate,” Devine said in an interview with National Journal.."If you let the insiders make decisions about candidates before anyone has even cast a vote, I think you run a great risk..." Tad Devine, No '15
Read 12 tweets
Jul 20, 2018
This is some dishonest bullshit. These outlets didn't just report on the emails. They repeated the exact spin Wikileaks wanted them to in the case of the earliest release: that the DNC emails proved some nefarious plot against Bernie Sanders. That lie is STILL in circulation.
The only way you could believe that if you actually read the emails is if you paid no attention to the actual dates and content. Short version: the snarky emails came after Sanders couldn't have possibly won. @kurteichenwald broke that down in this story: newsweek.com/myths-cost-dem…
Second: Absolutely none of these outlets picked up on the real story from that time: Donald Trump's terrifying connections to Russia. @Shakestweetz saw it from those emails. But big media was all caught up in the narrative Wikileaks pushed. Here she is: shakesville.com/2016/07/the-re…
Read 8 tweets
Jun 22, 2018
Ok, this? This bullshit propaganda right here? I am a veteran and NO YOU DO NOT get to use us to cover for Donald Trump's racist, evil, concentration camps for children.
First of all, right wing dipshits, when we deploy, the government doesn't put our children in tent camps, in cages, or on airplanes where they deplane with bags over their heads to an undisclosed location. Veterans are *not* your cover.
Second of all, right wing dipshits, the military requires a *care plan* for our kids when we deploy. If there isn't another parent, then SOMEBODY we know is legally responsible for our children. They're not hauled off to orphanages or tents in 100+F heat. Vets aren't your shield.
Read 7 tweets

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