The Ideological Origins of American Studies at Yale

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The Ideological Origins of American Studies at Yale

Post by chlamor » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:52 pm

The Ideological Origins of American Studies at Yale

Michael Holzman

"It is well in all cases to go on the old CE axiom:
'Once an agent, always an agent—for someone."'
Norman Holmes PearsonC?)1

The following pages review the efforts at Yale in the middle decades of the
twentieth century to establish American studies as a subject of academic research
and teaching; the efforts of the various deans, provosts, and presidents of Yale to
raise funds for the American Studies Program as a component of Yale's budget
(and to increase Yale's endowment by the same means); and the efforts of all of
these, and others, such as William Robertson Coe, William F. Buckley, Jr., and,
perhaps, Norman Holmes Pearson, to construct American studies as something
beyond the study of American literature and history, as an enterprise that would
be, among other things, an instrument for ideological struggle in what some
among them termed the American crusade in the cold war, and what others among
them saw as virtually a second Civil War. Much is now public that was concealed
during the Cold War, enough, perhaps, that we might at least draft new accounts
of various aspects of our times, some of which are likely to look quite different
once information from the secret world characteristic of the period is factored into
other, more well-known, narratives. One such would be the history of American
studies from just before the second world war to the 1960s. That is in itself a
complex subject. Here, we will choose just one or two aspects of the matter and
the highly specific point of view of the Yale University Archives and the papers
of Norman Holmes Pearson in the Beinecke Library.2 This is a narrow pair of NewHaven apertures.3
Together they give a binocular perspective that may be
unfamiliar. That perspective displays American studies at Yale as part of a
university bureaucracy; as, at least in part, contiguous with the U.S. intelligence
community. It also shows the early years of American studies as embedded in
complex ideological struggles typical of the late-1940s and early-1950s.4
Over the last twenty years American studies has become self-conscious
about its own history. We might trace this to the sense among the generation of
scholars influenced by their opposition to the Vietnam War and the growth of
cultural studies that the earlier triumphalism was not the sole perspective from
which to view their subject.5
Very recently the particular view of the matter taken
in this essay has been addressed by scholars from many disciplines in The Cold
War and the University and studies of particular university departments, notably
Creating the Cold War by Rebecca Lowen, concerning political science at
There is still much work to be done along these lines. One would like
to see monographs on the highly peculiar situation of international studies at
M.I.T., for example, about Columbia and Russian studies, about Harvard's
history department and its relationship with the executive branch of the federal
government. However, this essay is concerned with American studies at one
university, and even at that, only with one academic generation: Yale, and the
period from the late-1930s to about 1960. The leadership of American studies at
Yale in those years was handed down from Ralph Gabriel, to A. Whitney
Griswold, who was the first doctoral product of Yale's History, Arts, and
Literature program, which Gabriel headed, to David C. Potter, the first William
Roberston Coe Professor of American Studies. Potter, in particular, is identifiable
as part of a national academic narrative of American studies, contributing one of
those synthetic works Freedom and its Limitations in American Life that seem to
particularly mark it, and eventually leaving Yale for Stanford, as if to illustrate in
his own career the westward impulse of his discipline. In this scholarly genealogy,
there is not much of a place for Norman Holmes Pearson. He would appear in such
a narrative in comparatively marginal roles, as a student of Gabriel, as a teacher,
immensely popular for his survey classes, and as a good academic citizen, serving
on many departmental committees. Pearson became, not the institutional authority
in the field, the Coe Professor, but that useful functionary, the head of
American Studies. Griswold, similarly became better known as an academic
bureaucrat than a scholar; finally, as President of Yale. And yet, both Pearson and
Griswold played material roles in the establishment and shape of American
studies, and Pearson, specifically, may have played a much greater role than
Norman Holmes Pearson's biographer, Robin Winks, of the Yale history
department, who has made good use of Pearson's papers and personal effects in
the Beinecke Library, has established the basic facts of his life and career.7
Pearson was born in 1909 into a family that owned a chain of department stores
in New England, attended Phillips Academy, graduated from Yale in 1932,
The Ideological Origins of American Studies at Yale 73
received an Oxford B.A. in 1934, studied briefly in Berlin and taught at the
University of Colorado. He edited The Novels of Hawthorne (1937); and The
Oxford Anthology of American Literature (with William Rose Benet, 1938). He
received his Ph.D. in 1941 from Yale, with a dissertation on Hawthorne, was
made an instructor in 1941, an assistant professor in 1946, in due course tenured
and made a full professor. He received two Guggenheim fellowships, both for an
edition of Hawthorne's letters, which was still incomplete at his death. His
publications, in addition to those listed above, included an anthology edited with
W. H. Auden, and various papers and prefaces. Pearson had virtually an
alternative, if not primary, academic specialty: that of the professor well-knownin-literary-circles,
someone making himself useful to poets, in particular, to the
point that, for example, he eventually came to hold the copyrights on the later
books of Hilda Doolittle (H.D.). Pearson began these activities during the 1930s,
while still a student, and continued them to the end of his life, working on
anthologies, socializing with everyone from the Sitwells to Gertrude Stein,
writing introductions and letters of introduction, finding publishers, arranging
lectures and readings. It is a recognizable quasi-academic role, facilitated,
perhaps, by the prestige of Yale, by Pearson's personal and family connections,
by the intensity of his interest in the poetry of his generation and that immediately
By the early 1940s Pearson, although still an instructor, was well on his way
to a respectable career, delivering papers to the Modern Language Association
and the English Institute, publishing here and there, conducting a wide correspondence
with colleagues at other universities, which is notable for the trouble he
took for others, writing to Colorado and Iowa, for example, recommending
Auden for a teaching position.9
He was a frequent recommendor (and
recommendee). He was sufficiently involved with the academic life of Yale to
help in an effort in the period of the run-up to the Second World War to maintain
funding for the teaching of the liberal arts there. It was also at this time that he
married a woman with a background similar to his own, who had two young
daughters from an earlier marriage. Then, in 1942, Pearson returned to England.
In The Days of Mars, A Memoir 10
by H.D.'s companion, Bryher, we catch a
glimpse of Pearson in wartime London:
What I called the "Lowndes Group" [after her residence at
49 Lowndes Square, SW1] had begun to form round H.D.,
before I arrived from Switzerland. Besides Hilda, her daughter
Perdita and myself, there was Norman Pearson directly he
arrived from America in April 1943, the Sitwells, the
Hendersons, the Dobsons, Robert Herring, George Plank, Mr.
Baylis, Philip Frere and Mrs. Ash.. .. What we should have
done without Norman Pearson I do not know. Hilda had met
him in New York but my friendship with him began only after
74 Michael Holzman
he landed in England in 1943. He rescued Perdita from a dreary
job in the country to do far more interesting work in London
and, after its liberation, in Paris, and kept up our spirits during
that final difficult year when we were too exhausted to care
whether or not we survived until the peace, (ix-x)
The "dreary job in the country" involved working with the Ultra codebreakers
at Bletchley Park. As another example of Pearson's helpfulness, Bryher lists an
occasion when in 1944 "Norman Pearson returned towards the end of January,
after an absence in Spain and Portugal, bearing two bananas, two oranges and a
pineapple" (117). We might recall the great banana orgy scene near the beginning
of Gravity's Rainbow, the shortages, and the comparative wealth of the Americans
in London, in order to properly appreciate those bananas and that pineapple,
which Bryher describes as ceremoniously divided among the elect of the
Lowndes Group, and consumed with religious gratitude. The atmosphere of
wartime London is also recalled by such ephemera as this O.S.S. notice from the
Pearson Papers:
London Information:
Every traveler as soon as he reaches London should go to No.
3 Grosvenor Square and apply for a membership card to the No.
3 Grosvenor Square Club. There are no fees to belong to this
club. The atmosphere is very congenial, the bar good, and the
food—considering the local situation—pretty fair and the
prices reasonable.11
The "local situation" was one of severe rationing and nightly bombing. There is
nothing in The Days of Mars to indicate the nature of the more interesting work
that Perdita, H.D.'s daughter, became engaged in through Pearson, nor why he
was touring Spain and Portugal in 1944. We must turn to Robin Winks to learn
that Perdita was Pearson's own secretary, and then that of his assistant, James
Angleton, in the London Counter-Espionage Office, X-2, of the Office of
Strategic Services (O.S.S.), an office of which Pearson was eventually chief.
The organization for which Pearson worked, O.S.S., is well-known to those
who are interested in such matters. It was what might be called a start-up spy
agency, supplementing the military intelligence branches, on the one hand, and
the FBI, on the other. Its founder, William J. Donovan, was a Wall Street lawyer.
The head of its Zurich office was another lawyer, Allen Dulles. The last of its
veterans active in the business was yet another Wall Street lawyer, William
Casey. It was a lawyerly, Wall Streetish, WASPish and Irish outfit, on the
operations side, something of a branch of the Harvard and Yale humanities
The Ideological Origins of American Studies at Yale 75
divisions, on the analytical side. Morale was good in the O.S.S. They were
fighting in a just war, against a clearly defined enemy. They had comic theme
(To be sung to the tune of "Solomon Levy")
We are the boys and girls who work for O.S.S., alas!
You wonder what we do? Well you can—Oh, well, let it pass.
Our right hands even never know just what our left hands do,
But we know what always happens—all but who in hell pays
The present simply bores us stiff; the future is our goal!
and 'though we never play an ace we've several in the hole!
We soften up the hardest facts (roll flat, then whitewash some),
And with our cocky cutters stamp the shape of things to come.
There are three copies of this among Pearson's papers. This may be an indication
of authorship. On the other hand, he may simply have liked it.
In the early days of the second world war counterespionage was considered
a British specialty. Pearson and his fellow O.S.S. officers were their students, at
first, and if eventually acknowledged as equal partners, the dowry the O.S.S.
brought to the partnership was the typical World War II American gift of superior
The great cross-indexed catalogues of names central to their joint
intelligence work was designed by the British, as an instrument of Empire, then
perfected by O.S.S., which, like the Getty Museum, purchased unusual collections
wherever they could be found, thus accumulating files, it seemed, on nearly
everyone who had ever come to the notice of any intelligence service. "The
Branch Chief [Pearson himself] was able to announce in September 1945 that X-
2 had received a total of more than 80,000 documents and reports and 10,000
cables, yielding a card file of some 400,000 entries Nothing like it in scope
had ever before been available."14
One sees here the scholar and the intelligence
agent arriving at an equally satisfactory accounting of documents, reports, card
files. Pearson sat as the U.S. representative on the Twenty Committee, the name
of which was usually indicated in roman numerals, so as to be seen as a "doublecross."
This committee was concerned with what was perhaps the second most
significant of the British intelligence triumphs of the war, the first being the Ultra
secret itself. It involved the "turning," imprisonment, or killing, of every German
spy introduced into Britain—an astonishing achievement. The result was British
control over all the intelligence information flowing to Germany from espionage
in Britain, with the eventual pay-off of a deception operation that diverted crucial
German forces at Normandy. Pearson wrote the introduction to its chief's book
76 Michael Holzman
on the subject, after, characteristically, helping to find Sir John C. Masterman an
American publisher.15
We can consult his expense account reports for the tour of Spain and Portugal
mentioned by Bryher, which Pearson undertook to inspect his branch counterespionage
offices in Lisbon and Madrid and to attend a counterespionage
conference, and not simply to buy fruit for poets. The reports take a standard form:
"Account is rendered for inspection of Lisbon X-2 station as of 7 March and 16-
17 March 1945. All three nights were spent at the Imperio Hotel. Gifts: Angostura
bitters; 2 alarm clocks; 12 pairs stockings; 2 lbs chocolate for members of British
I. S. in London " 16
These reports list hotel bills, flowers for his hostesses, a
new uniform for Prince Umberto of Italy, "for services rendered," and, back in
London, a few pounds here and there, about once a month, for drinks with Mr.
"Philbee," and dinners and drinks with other British colleagues and friends.
Philby was Pearson's opposite number in the British intelligence service, head,
that is, of counterintelligence (that British specialty). These matters only later
became embarrassing, because it was Philby, of course, and his four Cambridge
friends, who nearly matched the feat of the Double Cross Committee, keeping
Stalin, Beria, and Molotov up to date on the secrets of their western allies, or
enemies, from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.
Towards the end of the war O.S.S. became more independent of the British,
so that in Italy, say, it operated with its own dependencies, such as the Vatican
intelligence service, and what would become the Mossad. By 1945, Pearson was
the patrone of O.S.S. counter-espionage in Europe, an immensely powerful
figure. His pocket diaries and letters show that he nevertheless kept up his literary
contacts. Perdita, in a letter to H. D. and Bryher, gives a lively account of a visit
to newly liberated Paris, showing Pearson in his friend-of-the-poets role:
30th April [Paris, 1945]
. . . N. will no doubt tell you all about the Stein interlude.
Everything was so exactly the same; it was like being reincarnated;
reincarnated backwards, coming to life in one's former
life, you know what I mean. There it all was—the Picassos on
the wall, the poodle on the floor, the basket-chair that squeaked,
the same eager youths hanging onto each word she uttered.
Norman was wonderful. He sat on the sofa & carried on a
duologue that didn't sound a bit real; it had so obviously been
written up, and carefully rehearsed, & presented as a heart-toheart
fireside chat between the finest minds of the age. Lighting
just right too. We, the children, sat around not daring to
breathe. Then Miss Toklas appeared & the dog barked &
The Ideological Origins of American Studies at Yale 77
Norman got off the sofa & we all smoked cigarettes & everything
became more generally chatty... .
And one retired intelligence official remembers being taken by Pearson to tea
with the Sitwells, a terrifying experience for a young soldier/poet.18
All in all Pearson had a good war. He had joined the Office of Strategic
Services early, serving in London throughout the war, rising eventually to the
rank of colonel, decorated by his own government with the Medal of Freedom on
6 September 1945, "for exceptionally meritorious achievement, which aided the
United States in the prosecution of the war against the enemy in continental
Europe during the period 15 September 1944 to 8 May 1945,"19
and by Norway
and France. The last few months of 1945 and most of the next year were times of
turmoil for the U.S. intelligence services, and Pearson seems to have bobbed
about in that turbulence, apparently undecided as to the direction of his career.
There are papers in the Pearson files, some written in London in 1945, some in
Washington that year and the next, that discuss changes in the arrangements for
the U.S. intelligence services and may point to the initial area of Pearson's
ambitions. Our chronological markers here are Truman's decision to terminate
O.S.S. effective 1 October 1945 and the establishment of a National Intelligence
Authority, with a Director of Central Intelligence, on January 22,1946. For a few
months it seemed that the O.S.S. might be resolved into its components, and each
of these placed in a separate agency: the card catalogues and their analysts in the
State Department's Research and Intelligence division, the remainder parceled
out among the military services and the F.B.I. An April 1946 memorandum
among Pearson's papers describes the position of "Special Assistant for Research
and Intelligence," to be "Chairman of an Advisory Committee on Intelligence,"
reporting to the secretary of state.20
It is not inconceivable that Pearson would
have liked such a position. There are, as a matter of fact, indications that he was
offered that position, or a similar senior job in the State Department. But just when
the Central Intelligence Group was gathering the severed limbs of O.S.S.,21
Pearson "retir[ed] from Government service" towards the end of May 1946,22
having accepted a position at Yale (after flirting with Minnesota, shortly before
flirting with Rochester).
In March 1946 Pearson's name had appeared in personnel correspondence
between the chair of the English department and the provost: "the State Department
has offered [NHP] $8,000 to continue with them." Pearson, Professor
Robert French noted, had suggested that $4,300 would "make it quite certain" that
he would return to Yale.23
Eight thousand dollars was quite a good salary in 1946,
two-thirds that of an officer of flag rank in the military. The position that Pearson
had found in the State Department was, no doubt, if not the advisor to the
secretary, quite an elevated one. It seemed reasonable to Professor French that he
should give up this position for an untenured job in New Haven at half the salary—
this after spending the preceding years alternating between deciding on the fate
78 Michael Holzman
of nations and having tea with the Sitwells. Donovan, his ultimate chief, and
Dulles, his colleague, were both virtually forced out of secret government work,
for a time, and both went off to make money on Wall Street. But Pearson, who did
not seem to have been forced out, evidently preferred to return to Yale, either
because the future of civilian intelligence work in Washington appeared uncertain,
or because he had tired of the bureaucratic wrangling in Washington, or
because of family interests, or because of many of these reasons, and others,
possibly concealed. There are parallels, of course. An outrageous one, inverted,
as it were, is that of Anthony Blunt, who also left the counterespionage trade for
academe at this time. Or so it seemed.
That, then, is Pearson when he returns to Yale: a married man with a family,
a friend of the inner circle of English modernist poets, a war hero with a fairly high
rank and the experience of controlling spies all over Western Europe, a student
of American literature, an editor of anthologies. Almost immediately on arrival
back at New Haven he was promoted to the rank of assistant professor of English
at a salary of $4,600 and given administrative responsibilities for a new program,
which was described in a university press release on April 23, 1946: "The
purposes of the new [American studies] program are not narrowly nationalistic,
but are adapted for American students who desire to study the civilization of our
country as a whole with the aim of more effective service in national life," quoting
President Charles Seymour.24
Pearson seems to have been as popular with his
colleagues at Yale as he had been with the poets and spies of London.25
His salary,
including a stipend for area studies work,26
although not reaching that perhaps
offered him by the Department of State, was the top salary for an assistant
professor of English; the next highest paid, Louis Martz, received $4,100. It
appears to have been part of a pattern for Pearson's remuneration over the next
few years that he would be the best paid member of the English Department of his
Pearson was not responsible for the introduction of the new American studies
program, and, of course, it had not been conceived in terms of the Cold War then
beginning. It was an initiative of the History, Art, and Literature committee, with
roots in the scholarly pursuits of the pre-war period. Among the presidential
papers of Presidents Seymour and Griswold we can find a document sent by
Pearson's old teacher, Professor Ralph Gabriel, the committee's chairman, to
President Seymour, in January 1946 proposing: "an interdepartmental organization
be created to be known as The American Studies Group' the purpose of
which will be to train at the undergraduate and graduate level selected students
whose primary purpose is to achieve a broad understanding of American
civilization—its origins, evolution and present world relationships."28
The proposal
was approved by President Seymour a week later.29
Later that spring, the Yale School of American studies for Foreign Students
was established. This was a summer school program supported by the traditional
Yale community in New Haven: alumni, ministers, and others in a configuration
The Ideological Origins of American Studies at Yale 79
familiar in New Haven from the nineteenth century. The American Studies Group
endorsed this program in a memorandum to President Seymour, stating that:
1) It would make a major contribution to the mutual understanding
among the peoples of the world so necessary for the
securing of the peace.
2) It would provide for foreign students to study, in close
contact with American life, the institutions and principles of
American democracy, a subject of worldwide interest.30
The phrasing here is significant. The first point was not a matter of scholarship,
but of foreign policy; the second open to various interpretations. It is difficult,
looking back at these papers, to divide them neatly into those pertaining to the
value-free scholarly aims of the American Studies Group for its graduate and
undergraduate students, those pertaining to the value-laden aims of a program for
foreign students. Professor Gabriel may have begun his program for what we have
called "intrinsic" reasons, but times had changed. Scholarship had become a
possible instrument of state. The "Prospectus" of the summer school program, as
endorsed by the American Studies Group, read as follows:
1. Purpose: The development of the leadership of the United
States in the cooperation of the world's peoples for peace is
necessarily accompanied by an extension of American cultural
influence. Among the world's peoples there is an increasing
desire for a deeper understanding of American democracy,
especially its ideals and methods, and of the many "knowhows"
which contribute to the American standard of living.
The fact that the United States Government pursues an international
policy which finds not in the domination of other peoples
but in the common advancement of all peoples the best service
to the American national interest brings other peoples to
welcome rather then fear American cultural influence. Indeed
this influence is regarded by many peoples as the one foreign
factor they can admit which will support their own attempts to
modernize their ways of life without threatening to disrupt
In view of these circumstances Yale University believes
that it has a special duty to perform not only for the American
people but also for common humanity in providing access to an
understanding of American life and culture that will serve the
interests of both. It proposes, therefore, to establish a School of
American studies for foreign scholars, professional persons,
leaders, and students that will offer instruction in specially
80 Michael Holzman
planned courses in the development and current aspects of
American life.31
"The development of the leadership of the United States in the cooperation of the
world's peoples for peace is necessarily accompanied by an extension of
American cultural influence." Such thoughts would soon lead to the Congress of
Cultural Freedom's multifarious, CIA-funded, activities. The summer program
in American studies can now be seen in a context which Pearson's former
colleagues were helping to form. For example, late in 1947, when there was a
crisis in Italy: ". . . the National Security Council on November 14, 1947, . . .
decided to open a counter-attack upon Soviet propaganda — "32
Under National
Security Council order NSC 4-a the O.S.S.'s successor organization, the CIA,
was assigned "responsibility for covert political warfare."33
That responsibility
was shared between the government and those circles that had been crucial in the
formation of the O.S.S.
When Jim Angleton got word out that Communists in Italy
were buying up all the newsprint in the country toward the end
of 1947, and Forestall panicked because there seemed no loose
cash anywhere around the government with which to blanket
radio time or bribe the traditional middlemen, Allen [Dulles]
pitched in without a qualm. A collection plate circulated
among the Morris chairs of the Links and Brook clubs, and
within days one of Angleton's Special Procedures people in
Rome was turning over millions of lire in a satchel to a welldressed
intermediary inside the Hotel Hassler.34
The rationale for activities of this type came the following spring in "a paper
whose author was not named. Its erudition and style were Kennan's. It called for
the inauguration of organized political warfare upon the 'logical application of
Clausewitz's doctrine in time of peace.' 'We have been handicapped,' it said, 'by
a popular attachment to the concept of a basic difference between peace and
This "popular attachment" would be severely eroded over the next generation.
The secret war against Germany, fought by Pearson in London, Angleton in
Rome, Dulles in Zurich, had become the secret war against Communism, or
Soviet imperialism, fought just as much by Dulles, now a lawyer, "among the
Morris chairs of the Links and Brooks clubs," as by Pearson's protégé Angleton,
still in uniform. It was to be fought also in New Haven, where, at that moment,
it seemed a natural outgrowth of Gabriel's life's work, joining the study of
American literature with that of American history (although perhaps not to
Gabriel). The alliance of scholarly interest in American studies with political
warfare had a compelling intrinsic logic; it seemed natural enough. Once studied,
the virtues of America as a civilization were to be seen as a powerful influence
The Ideological Origins of American Studies at Yale 81
on the thought and action of the student. Pearson was active in the summer school
program, and strongly identified with it. He may have found it a natural
accompaniment to his other work, a good place to meet young men from foreign
countries who might later, after, perhaps, becoming influential in their home
countries, remember Yale fondly, and look with favor on favors that might be
asked of them, if not by Yale, by an agency of the U.S. government.36
We will return to a consideration of the School of American Studies toward
the end of this paper, in the context of the role of the Central Intelligence Agency
in these matters. For the moment, however, we will follow another path. Still
pursuing the original agenda of the Gabriel committee, Yale had undertaken a
survey of programs of American studies for American students at U.S. universitiesin
the fall of 1946.37
This was the first step in a fundraising campaign. At the
end of April 1947 on the basis of this survey, Dean William C. DeVane sent a letter
to the Ford Foundation, requesting $25,000 per year.38
DeVane reported that:
During the past year a committee of Yale University has made
a systematic inspection of all of the larger, and most of the
smaller, institutions in the United States offering programs in
American studies. The results were generally most disappointing
... . No institution had worked out in its regular program
satisfactory arrangements at the undergraduate and graduate
levels for knitting together and synthesizing the elements of
American studies into a comprehensive view of the nation as
it has become through its history and as it is to-day.39
DeVane suggested that Yale could fulfill this need. The $25,000 per year
requested from Ford would have been for a small program, with partial funding
for an administrator, whom it was assumed would be Pearson, and some funds for
lectures and clerical staff. The project was to be delayed a year for Pearson's
expected absence on the first of his Guggenheim fellowships to edit Hawthorne.40
This delay was seen as an advantage, as it gave Gabriel and his group more time
for fundraising. The Ford Foundation, however, joined the other major foundations
in declining to provide the requested funds for this scholarly enterprise. The
foundations' officers also dined at literally exclusive clubs like Brooks and Links.
Gabriel's appeal was, at the moment, not quite, or not quite yet, germane.
Nonetheless, the new Yale American studies program was launched and
immediately proved popular among undergraduates. Early in the fall term, 1948,
Gabriel reported to the provost that: "In the election of intensive majors last spring
American studies was second only to English in the number selecting it."41
Fundraising goals were raised beyond the previous $25,000 per year. To some
extent this appears to have been because the university discovered that American
studies could be made to pay.


Much more at link.

Ain't it something, it's all there if ya know where to look. The bosses depend upon control of the means of mass dissemination of information, not absolute, that would indicate 'tyranny', but relative. In the face of the overwhelming unanimity of ruling class ideas the truth can be safely dismissed as propaganda or 'fake news', or just boring. Our job is to make this information relevant to the present.

- BP

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