SWC Agenda – HIS 141 / MAS 141

Spring 2017

History/MAS 141 Spring 2017

Our Phantasmagoric Agenda #8

Why are things as they are? We make our own history but not in circumstances we chose.

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

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And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
Howard Zinn

February 27

1847 – The Battle of the Sacramento River during the Mexican–American War is a decisive victory for the United States leading to the capture of Chihuahua.

1922 – The United Kingdom ends its protectorate over Egypt through a Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

1933Gleichschaltung: The Reichstag Fire Decree is passed in Germany a day after the Reichstag fire.

1972Sino-American relations: The United States and People’s Republic of China sign the Shanghai Communiqué.



1991 – The first Gulf War ends. (But really, not).

March 1

1845 – United States President John Tyler signs a bill authorizing the United States to annex the Republic of Texas.

1950Cold War: Klaus Fuchs is convicted of spying for the Soviet Union by disclosing top secret atomic bomb data.

1953 – Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke and collapses; he dies four days later.

1974Watergate scandal: Seven are indicted for their role in the Watergate break-in and charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Our Agenda

1. What is up?

2. One more time on racism: Indelible (cannot change) difference (different species–ultimately genes) connected to power and control (divide and rule) that serves some (it is profitable), hurts most, leading finally to death.

a. Note the racist “Aztecs” mascot https://www.facebook.com/failmontezuma/

Dr O. Monge on the history of the SDSU Aztec http://gradworks.umi.com/10/02/10024231.html

b. Note the modern, Harvard professors, and racists:

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The Clintons referred to the Bell Curve when they demolished the welfare system.

Today, regarding Trump crony Steve Bannon:  “Ms. Jones, the film colleague, said that in their years working together, Mr. Bannon occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.

“I said, ‘That would exclude a lot of African-Americans,’” Ms. Jones recalled. “He said, ‘Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.’ I said, ‘But what about Wendy?’” referring to Mr. Bannon’s executive assistant. “He said, ‘She’s different. She’s family.’”  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/27/us/politics/steve-bannon-white-house.html?_r=2

c. Racism means death

Emmett Till at 14 in 1955 with his mom, Ms Bradley


Mrs Bradley at Emmett’s funeral (same year)

Original Caption: Sinking to knees, Mrs Mamie Bradley weeps as body of slain son, Emmett Louis Till, 14, arrives at Chicago Rail Station. The youth was found dead in a Mississippi creek with a bullet hole behind the ear. Being sought in connection with the slaying is Mrs. Roy Bryant, at whom the youth is supposed to have whistled a "wolf call". Held also are store keeper Roy Bryant and his half brother, J.W. Milam. With the bereaved woman are left to right, Bishop Louis J. Ford; Gene Mabley; and Bishop Isiak Roberts, of St. Paul's Church of Christ and God.

Emmett after he was beaten and shot in Mississippi for “whistling at a white woman” in 1955.


The woman who Emmett purportedly whistled at admittedshe lied, that he did nothing, but fifty years later. Mrs Bradley insisted on an open casket funeral in Chicago where the movement press covered the modern lynching extensively, inspiring many young people coming of age then to push the civil rights movement forward.




Our Phantasmagoric Agenda #7 (half-way!)

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People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them. ~James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

February 22nd

1847Mexican–American War: The Battle of Buena Vista: Five thousand American troops defeat 15,000 Mexicans troops.

1848 – The French Revolution of 1848, which would lead to the establishment of the French Second Republic, begins.

1855 – The Pennsylvania State University is founded in State College, Pennsylvania (as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania).

1943 – World War II: Members of the White Rose resistance, Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, and Christoph Probst are executed in Nazi Germany.


1986 – Start of the People Power “Revolution” in the Philippines.

Chalmers Johnson on Revolutionary Change http://richgibson.com/johnsonquotes.htm

1994Aldrich Ames and his wife are charged by the United States Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union.

Aldrich Ames mugshot.jpg


1. What IS Up? The United Auto Workers returns to the racist/nationalist “Buy American Slogan” (and wants to Hug Trump)


Racism = indelible (cannot change) difference AND INNATE INFERIORITY linked to power and control (divide and rule). Racism leads to death:



What’s up part 2: Trump orders mass deportations and plans to hire 10,000 more border agents (war means work).

(“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half”: Jay Gould–strikebreaker)

What is a citizen? When did ALL people in the US become citizens? How? Why?

What’s up part 3: Empires do end.


4 Horsemen of the apocalypse: war, famine, conquest, death: Behold a pale horse!

2. Reminders from last class:


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Crazy Horse Memorial in opposition to Mt Rushmore

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“The ultimate result will be to annihilate the Indians & open up the Big Horn & Black Hills to development & settlement & in this way greatly benefit us.” Jay Gould, imperialist and strikebreaker. 


Discussion regarding Prof Meyer, Part II

What do you know?

What do you want to know?

What are the primary things that you learned?

Discussion of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.”

Advice about colleges and universities

*Get scholarships! Grades suck, but grades matter. What would Kim Philby do?

*Select the best possible school–with the best reputation–schools are Not equal (UC vs CSU vs CC)

*Determine to finish from the outset. Don’t just stick your toe in.
*Find a mentor–fast–get help with right classes and schedule. Visit profs during office hours.
*Stay away from frats/sororities and 7 day a week parties.

*Make an effort to connect with and learn from people from different backgrounds. Make friends!
*Pick classes with care–ask your mentor–other students–don’t count on RateMyProf.
*Read the syllabus! Follow it. Keep up.

*Sit in front if you can stand it. Attend class! Five minutes early–at least!
*Use writing centers. If they suck and always only use formulas, get Ken Macrorie’s I Search Paper online.

*Proofread. Don’t just spell check. Get someone else to proof too.
*Create a disciplined schedule that includes exercise at least 30 minutes a day 4 days a week.

Don’t be discouraged by crappy classes, bad profs. If someone is stealing your education–steal it back. You are responsible for your own education.

Don’t be suckered by bad, for-profit colleges (Corinthean, etc.) as you will get a worthless degree and lots of debt.

A fine prof who is a friend adds: “eat right and sleep. And become a serious person. That is, some of the best things in life aren’t fun or entertaining. Finally, I would say that even though all colleges aren’t alike, what you get out of them is to a large extent, much larger than an 18 year old would usually expect, up to you. There are many incredibly intelligent people even in crappy schools. Be serious about finding them.”

At the end of this class; we are half-way done. Your research paper is due March 6th.


Our Phantasmagoric Agenda #6

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Why are things as they are? We make our own history but not in circumstances we chose.

“History doesn’t repeat itself but sometimes it does rhyme” Mark Twain

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Mark Twain and the Onset of the Imperialist Period

By R. Tittalon  Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens, 1835-1910) came to anti-imperialism by way of a prior understanding of race. The author of Huckleberry Finn (1885) and Pudd’n’head Wilson (1894) had from an early age begun to understand racism in the United States in a way that few of his Anglo-American contemporaries did. As a young newspaper reporter in San Francisco during the Civil War, Mark Twain wrote often about the brutalities visited upon the Chinese population of that city by the police. In 1865 he startled fashionable San Franciscans, including those of more pronounced Northern and abolitionist sympathies, by strolling arm-in-arm along Montgomery Street with the editor of the Elevator, the city’s newly established African-American newspaper. His early acts of egalitarianism and solidarity with the victims of race hate were unusual enough. In his mature writing life, however, Mark Twain began to lay bare truths about racial oppression with a particular vigor, using a new and democratic literary language that would forever change American prose.

Mark Twain faced the onset of European and American imperialism at the end of the 19th century with an acute understanding that white racism denied the very humanity of people of darker skin. He was aware that vile theories were then either being generated or revived by the educated hirelings of the European and American ruling classes, to justify their piratical conquests in Africa and Asia. http://www.internationalist.org/marktwain3.html

Statement of Solidarity Against Trump’s Entry Ban

On January 30, the AAUP urged faculty and supporters to sign a statement of solidarity against the ban imposed by Donald Trump’s executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Thousands signed in the first hours, and support continues to grow. Just as spontaneous protests at airports and elsewhere mobilized opposition to the ban, your expression of support for those targeted by the ban—including many faculty and students—sends a powerful message that this abuse of executive power for discriminatory purposes is unacceptable.

Sign the statement below and encourage others to sign by sharing links by e-mail and on social media.   https://www.aaup.org/statement-solidarity-against-trumps-entry-ban


Neither the National Education Association (all teachers in CA and 3.5 million members) nor my local union at SWC, has said a thing about the rise in deportations. It is shameful that it is left to a boss at SDUSD to outline a position opposing deportations, supporting students and their families.



February 15th

1493: Columbus writes an open letter describing his exploits in the New World

Stop lying to children about the Missions http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-zinn-education-project/lying-to-children-about-t_b_6924346.html

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1898 – The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana harbor in Cuba, killing 274. This event leads the United States to declare war on Spain.

1945 – World War II: Third day of bombing in Dresden.

1989Soviet war in Afghanistan: The Soviet Union officially announces that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.

2003Protests against the Iraq war take place in over 600 cities worldwide. It is estimated that between eight million to 30 million people participate, making this the largest peace demonstration in history. AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW?????

Our Agenda #6

1. What is UP?

a. Who replaces General Flynn? And What comes of him? Below, General Dav id Petraeus and Jill Kelly



Below, David Petraeus (fired as head of CIA) and Paula Broadwell


Below SEAL Vice Admiral Robert Howard coming from his big successes in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Jill Kelly)  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/politics/robert-harward-national-security-adviser.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Gen. Tony Thomas, head of the military’s Special Operations Command, expressed concern about upheaval inside the White House. “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war,” he said at a military conference on Tuesday.

b. Vietnam Officer’s obit: We Were Soldiers once…

c. Shrinks vs Trump!

2. Back to the Aztecs for a moment. CONTRADICT –IONS! Most of Their Great Strengths were weaknesses. Study class contradictions in Aztecs. And Contradictions of empire!

And a short reminder on religion


3. What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it persist?

The Detroit rebellion, 1967 http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/movies/2017/02/13/detroit-riot-documentary-12th-clairmount-freep-film-festival/97743702/



4. Gonzalez: “Guest workers or colonized labor?”


Our Phantasmagoric Agenda #5

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Why are things as they are? We make our own history but not in circumstances we chose.

February 13th

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. Winston Churchill

Build a Wall? Build a Tunnel (heroes)


February 13th +14th

1502Spanish Inquisition: The Catholic Monarchs issue a decree forcing Muslims in Granada to convert to Catholicism or leave Spain.

1633Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.

1920 – The Negro National League is formed.

1956 – The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union begins in Moscow. On the last night of the meeting, Premier Nikita Khrushchev condemns Joseph Stalin‘s crimes in a secret speech.

1960 – Black college students stage the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.

1991Gulf War: Two laser-guided “smart bombs” destroy the Amiriyah shelter in Baghdad. Allied forces said the bunker was being used as a military communications outpost, but over 400 Iraqi civilians inside were killed.

Valentines’ Tomorrow!




1. What is up???

a. Gibson writes: http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=6667&section=Article

b. ICE Raids, remittances, demonstrations in the US, Mexico, Central America…..Immigration: why do people move?

PBS– “Exodus” Refugees moving from Africa and the Middle East to Europe and beyond: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/exodus/

C. Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble: Dow Jones over 20,000….



(from Shakespeare: Macbeth)
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
2. How shall we deal with religion? Racism?
3. Early MesoAmerica and the Arrival of  the Aztecs (how shall we analyze that society?)


Our Phantasmagoric Agenda #4

Sign in! Sign in! Sign in! Name Cards Please!

Why are things as the are? We make our own histories but not in circumstances we chose.

“Teach peace to the Conquered.” Virgil in the Aeneid

and, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

February 8th

1250Seventh Crusade: Crusaders engage Ayyubid forces in the Battle of Al Mansurah.


1865Delaware refuses to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was outlawed in the United States, including Delaware, when the Amendment was ratified by the requisite number of states on December 6, 1865. Delaware ratified the Thirteenth Amendment on February 12, 1901, which was the ninety-second anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

1887 – The Dawes Act authorizes the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments.

1915D. W. Griffith‘s controversial film The Birth of a Nation premieres in Los Angeles.

1950 – The Stasi, the secret police of East Germany, is established.


1968American civil rights movement: The Orangeburg massacre: An attack on black students from South Carolina State University who are protesting racial segregation at the town’s only bowling alley, leaves three or four dead in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Our Agenda

1. What is UP????

a.  (NYT) A couple of months ago, then Senator-elect Kamala Harris appointed Julie Chavez Rodriguez to be her state director, overseeing operations in California.

Ms. Rodriguez, 38, would “give voice to our vulnerable communities,” Ms. Harris said at the time.

Ms. Rodriguez had experience. Her most recent job was in the White House serving as senior deputy director of public engagement and special assistant to President Barack Obama.

But she also brought a personal connection to politics — she is the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, the great labor leader for farmworkers.

b. (Foreign Policy)  The principle of civilian control of the military has been deeply internalized by the U.S. military, which prides itself on its nonpartisan professionalism.… But Trump … [is] thin-skinned, erratic, and unconstrained — and his unexpected, self-indulgent pronouncements are reportedly sending shivers through even his closest aides.

What would top U.S. military leaders do if given an order that struck them as not merely ill-advised, but dangerously unhinged? An order that wasn’t along the lines of “Prepare a plan to invade Iraq if Congress authorizes it based on questionable intelligence,” but “Prepare to invade Mexico tomorrow!” or “Start rounding up Muslim Americans and sending them to Guantanamo!” or “I’m going to teach China a lesson — with nukes!”

It’s impossible to say, of course. The prospect of American military leaders responding to a presidential order with open defiance is frightening — but so, too, is the prospect of military obedience to an insane order

C. Power,  Money, and Wall Street  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/money-power-wall-street/#video-2

US Financial and World Crises   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis

2. Discussion: What’s up with Mexico today? (Class, race, nation, sex/gender, culture, leadership, resistance, and key problems?)

See Cockroft from the syllabus for Agenda 3

3. Early Meso-America and the arrival of the Aztecs.Why do people move?


Our Phantasmagoric Agenda #3

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“History lays grievances around like land mines.” Marx

February 6th

1820 – The first 86 African American immigrants sponsored by the American Colonization Society depart New York to start a settlement in present-day Liberia.

1899Spanish–American War: The Treaty of Paris, a peace treaty between the United States and Spain, is ratified by the United States Senate.

1952Elizabeth II becomes queen regnant of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms upon the death of her father, George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a tree house at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.

Woody Guthrie’s answer to “god bless America”

Our Agenda

1. What IS up? Did you get an email from me??? Questions about the syllabus?

a. State of Farm Labor Organizing

b. Oxfam on Inequality:   Eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to a new report published by Oxfam today to mark the annual meeting of political and business leaders in Davos.

Oxfam’s report, ‘An economy for the 99 percent’, shows that the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had been feared. It details how big business and the super-rich are fuelling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics. It calls for a fundamental change in the way we manage our economies so that they work for all people, and not just a fortunate few. 

2. One more time on the Education Agenda.

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Below, former head of Homeland Security, now head of UC system, Janet Napolotano

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Below, General William McCraven, former head of JSOC’s assassination squadrons, now head of the University of Texas System

ADM William H. McRaven 2012.jpg

Again, what, in the broadest sense, is the education agenda?

3. What is history?

4. The Master/slave contradiction

5. What is the state of Mexico Today?


Our Phantasmagic Agenda #2 Feb 1

Why are things as they are? We make our own history but not in circumstances we chose.

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
George Orwell


Uneasy About the Future, Readers Turn to Dystopian Classics (NYT)


1. SWC-SYHEC Orientation

2. Some noteworthy events on February 1.

1793French Revolutionary Wars: France declares war on the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

1865 – President Abraham Lincoln signs the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1960 – Four black students stage the first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.


1968Vietnam War: The execution of Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém by South Vietnamese National Police Chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan is videotaped and photographed by Eddie Adams.

2002Daniel Pearl, American journalist and South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, kidnapped January 23, 2002, is beheaded and mutilated by his captors.

The start of Black History Month (United States and Canada)


Skip the “Super” bowl. Watch Citizen Four, or

3. What is UP?

4. Review of the Syllabus

5. Picking up on where we left off: Why have school?

Those who have a WHY to learn can bear most any HOW.” Gibson

a. what school?

b. What cannot be taught?

c. Social context?

6. What is History???


Labor Films   https://laborfilms.com/category/a-highly-recommended-labor-films/


Our Phantasmagoric Agenda #1 Jan. 30th

Why are things as they are? We make our own history but not in circumstances we chose.

“Shams and delusions are esteemed for the soundest truth, but reality is fabulous.” Henry David Thoreau

January 30th


1862 – The first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor is launched.

1933Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

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1968Vietnam War: Tet Offensive launch by forces of the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army against South Vietnam, the United States, and their allies.

MEETING 1 – 1/30

In most classes, we will address: “What’s up?” That is a brief discussion of our social context which is, or will be, history. Today, I ask, “How do you feel about the new President of the USA?”

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1.     Introductions.

a.     Questions:  Who are you? From? Past schooling? Why are we here? What is history? Why take this class? What were you taught about history? How was it taught? Why? What do you remember most clearly? Why?  

b.     Who is this professor anyway? 

2.     What are the motive forces of history?

3.     How our class will work–the syllabus: read it for next class and bring questions. (Just google “Rich Gibson,” click the link and see the syllabus and agenda at the top of the page).

4.    Why have school? (an exercise in critical, to the root, thinking)

5.    What are you curious about?

Published by rgibson, on January 25th, 2017 at 7:52 pm. Filled under: UncategorizedNo Comments