Republican Runs Street People on Green Ticket (NYT)

Beware the coming right-wing coup.

There’s a historical name and precedent for what this Republican is doing in Arizona, and his fellow partisans elsewhere, are doing when they stir up “tea parties” and get homeless an unemployed people to run for office. It’s called the Society of December 10, an entirely fake movement invented in 1851 as a political smokescreen of “support” for Napoleon’s nephew Louis Napoleon, whose rule is today seen as a precursor, in form and content, of 20th century fascism.

According to one acute observer, the Society was organized to show popular support for Louis Napoleon by recruiting

ruined roues of questionable means of support and questionable antecedents, along with the foul and adventures-seeking dregs of the bourgeoisie, there were vagabonds, dismissed soldiers, discharged convicts, runaway galley slaves, sharpers, jugglers, lazzaroni, pickpockets, sleight-of-hand performers, gamblers, procurers, keepers of disorderly houses, porters, literati, organ grinders, rag pickers, scissors grinders, tinkers, beggars in short, that whole undefined, dissolute, kicked-about mass that the Frenchmen style “la Bohème”

to march through Paris cheering the coup. This ushered in a government favorable to business that, although republican, seemed preferable to the ruling classes to the “communards” then haunting Europe. Better a plebeian dictatorship — reasoned titled wealthy aristocrats — than what historians now agree was the proto-communist revolution that had begun to bubble up with the open, popular revolt of 1848 that shook Europe.

The same observer, introducing his narrative, penned a much-quoted phrase concerning how events repeat themselves, or at least pattern themselves after the past: “Hegel says somewhere that all great historic facts and personages recur twice. He forgot to add: Once as tragedy, and again as farce.”

Read the story here.


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