About the illiberal liberalism that is the liberal version of neoliberalism. This is an extremely potent expose that should be understood for what it says about the kind of liberalism that is embodied in the democratic party. Some may say it is unfair to attack Chelsea in this way but it is also unfair, isn’t it, that some by birth inherit stature and wealth while others struggle all their lives to get enough and have the shit beaten out of them for trying to do so? It is not her fault, of course and it is not Chelsea who is the problem. It is the system that is at fault, one that allows some to live in 10 million dollar apartments while others have not enough to afford having any kind of roof over their heads. That Chelsea leaves out the part about Lemlich being a communist is interesting, too, because, as their story is told in America, communists never represented anything but evil, evil against the inherent goodness of capitalism, this while the latter system was working to gobble up workers, spitting them out when they protested such things as low wages, dangerous and unsanitary working conditions and such, the government that capitalists already owned using its might to pass and enforce laws that codified the right mistreat many in order to benefit a relative few. While communism played out badly in instances, its advocates and adherents in the early part of the 20th century, if one bothers to read the real history of the time, were actually rather humane people trying to find alternatives to systems of economy that treated workers as their employers’ chattel. In a powerful way, Chelsea offers up for children a brand of false news that was prominent at the democratic convention, the kind of news that makes it look as though this country is so great as to have overcome its past so well as to make that past meaningless and, too, the present great even when looking around any sensible person will see that things are not so great and haven’t been even very good for way too many for most of the time the United States of America has been a nation.
The Facebook post to which I am responding:
Word. Thanks, Haley Kossek
Dear CHELSEA CLINTON,
I write to inform you that Clara Lemlich–leader of the Uprising of 20,000 garment workers in 1909, queen of my heart, featured in your new children’s book–was a Communist and a Jew.
She did not flee generic “poverty and the threat of violence in Ukraine,” as you write; she fled an anti-Semitic pogrom in which 47 Jews were killed, 592 were injured, and 700 Jewish families’ homes were destroyed. Later Clara would become a union leader of thousands of immigrant Jewish factory girls in New York City whose lives and work experiences were intimately defined by the same anti-Semitic violence that she had survived. Her famous speech rousing those young women to strike, quoted in your book, was delivered in Yiddish, not English. Little girls reading your book deserve to know this history, which you neglect to mention: Clara Lemlich was a Jew.
Clara Lemlich also was very, very communist. She started sneaking copies of illicit anti-capitalist literature as a child in Ukraine and was already a dedicated Marxist revolutionary by the time she came to the US at age 17. As she led her factory co-workers in forming their own local union of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, despite the objections of its conservative male leadership, she was arrested by the cops 17 TIMES. After the famous strike, she was blacklisted from both the garment industry and the ILGWU for being too radical. Later she went to work for a women’s suffrage organization to organize working-class women to win the vote… where she also got kicked out for being a communist.
The only political organization that Clara Lemlich was NEVER banished was the Communist Party and its front groups, where she made her political home for the next several decades organizing working-class housewives. She protested the executions of the Rosenbergs in 1953 and the U.S. military intervention in Guatemala in 1954 against a popularly elected leftist leader who supported redistribution of land to poor peasants. (Some members of your family, Chelsea, might know something about this history of U.S.-backed coups in Central America.) During McCarthyism, she was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee and her family was investigated and put under government surveillance for the rest of her life.
In contrast to Clara Lemlich, you, Chelsea Clinton, have spent your life being paid incredible sums of money to glide from one patronage job to the next. You have floated on a nepotistic cloud from consulting gigs to board positions at McKinsey, IAC, the Clinton Foundation, and Expedia. In 2011 you snagged a “special correspondent” position on NBC and were paid $600,000 for producing 23 minutes of aired content, a sweet $26,724 per minute. You live in an apartment that costs $10.5 million and your millionaire parents have tax-sheltered your inheritance. I don’t know if you knew that Clara Lemlich was a communist whose life was dedicated to the abolition of the class society you represent when you chose her for the book, but it seems relevant that you should know.
Some day Clara Lemlich’s ghost, along with all of the little girls who have been inspired by her legacy, and I will break into your bank and expropriate your wealth. When we do, I can only imagine that we will be warned. We will be given an explanation. And nevertheless, we will persist.
May our foremothers’ memory be a blessing that inspires us to rise and redistribute your wealth.
The article to which Hornstein is responding:
If you are skeptical of celebrity-authored children’s books, most of which reflect little talent but lots of self-promotion, here is one to change your mind. Last…