“Humanizing the noise of overhead planes by listening to their broadcasts and plotting them in realtime on the ceiling with lasers”
The Wool Brigades of World War I, When Knitting Was a Patriotic Duty
In August 1918, the Comforts Committee of the Navy League of the United States opened a three-day knitting bee in Central Park. It was a massive event, with a sole purpose: to produce warm garments for those fighting in World War I. At the event, there were knitting competitions for speed and agility, and attendees ranged from children to octogenarians. The numbers were so great that one of the chairwomen said, “the click of the needles could be heard all the way to Berlin.” By the end of the “knit-in,” the Comforts Committee had raised $4,000 (roughly $70,000 today) and created 50 sweaters, nearly as many mufflers, 224 pairs of socks, and 40 head-and-neck coverings called “wool helmets.”
During the war, there was an overwhelming effort to assist those fighting abroad. Before America even joined the war, organizations such as the American Red Cross and the American Fund for the French Wounded had issued pleas for warm clothing for soldiers—or, as a Navy League poster put it, to “Knit a Bit.” After April 1917, the Red Cross and the Comforts Committee worked together to mobilize ever larger numbers of knitters, with a request for 1.5 million knitted garments.
Knitting was promoted as a patriotic duty. A Red Cross poster showed a woman knitting diligently, with the words, “You Can Help.” Tape measures were sold in red, white, and blue, and the Betsy Ross Yarn Mills advertised their water-repellent, khaki and grey wool with “Uncle Sam Wants You To Knit To Protect His Boys—‘Over There.’” The Allies Special Aid knitting bag exhorted the efforts of the homefront knitters in military terms:
Do you belong to the wool brigade?
If not, then come along.
Mothers, wives and maidens
Make this Army strong.
Gray Wool is our ammunition;
Some make it into balls
Pass them to the knitting squad;
They will soon use them all.
For this is no time to be idle
And sit with folded hands
Pick up your knitting whenever you’re sitting.
A sock soon grows under your hand.
Hark! I hear the bugle call.
Somebody wants another ball.
- Full employment
- The end of poverty
- World peace
- Full equality of all social classes
- A lastingly stable economy
- Abolition/effective reformation of prisons/schools
- Ethical consumption
- Permacultural and fair global food system
- Retirement of all senior citizens
- Functional anarchy (looking at you, an-caps)
- Free association
- Direct democracy
Here are some of my “baseless” claims explained!
1. Full employment
Capitalism prohibits full employment by marketizing labor. When workers are employed they agree to exchange their labor for a service which has a value based on supply and demand.
Low unemployment means a low supply of available labor means labor costs rise which means a cut in profits.
Instead unemployment will always sit at a point where a consumer class can be maintained but labor costs aren’t too high and the unemployed are punished for being unemployed even though their position is beyond their control.
2. The end of poverty
Part of the punishment for being unemployed (without access to preexisting wealth) is poverty. Workers are coerced to work uncomfortable and long hours in jobs they hate because if they don’t they may be punished with unemployment and therefore poverty.
Furthermore it cannot end because it would necessitate the transfer of wealth from the wealthy to the dispossessed on a level that the wealthy would never agree to.
There will always be the softening of poverty, especially by liberals, but never its end. It is not a glitch, it’s a feature.
3. World peace
Capitalist competition is a subset of Statist competition. States have used several means to compete; including through open warfare (Medieval), ideological competition (Reformation), colonization (Enlightenment), industrialization (laissez faire capitalism), social development (Keynesian capitalism), and finally now global market share (neo-liberalism).
In every stage the precursors are all important and still exist. The foundations of statism and therefore capitalism are on warfare as an acceptable option. Wherever more refined modes of control fail the dominant powers always have brute force lined up as an option.
Based on my last point colonization is an important thread in capitalism’s past and present.
5. Full equality of all social classes
As I’ve explained, there will always be poverty under capitalism. There will always be an employing class and and employed class (which has various forms of labor, desirable or not, that further divides it). These classes by definition are unequal.
6. A lastingly stable economy
Capitalist competition means that the producers of goods are constantly trying to capture a larger market. As such they plan and manufacture goods in a way that far exceeds market demand, smothering the price of the good and therefore rendering its production worthless and its producers at a loss.
This often leads to wasteful, backward, and convoluted policies to continue competition far past its usefulness such as subsidies to lower supply, the destruction of excess, controlled release of inventory, purposeful slowing of services/ damage & neglect of infrastructure to excuse consumer cost increases.
7. Abolition/effective reformation of prisons/schools
Capitalism has created a market of cheap state-subsidized labor force from the prison population and benefits greatly from high incarceration rates. The prison system both public and private force the tax-payer to provide the cost of food and shelter for incarcerated citizens, allowing the system to absorb all but pennies on the dollar in their profit from labor while not having to pay for transportation of their finished good outside of the border.
This also has the effect of cheapening the labor of free citizens by lowering demand through a cheaper alternative, much like outsourcing but far more potently.
Schools won’t change because they are the method of indoctrination into capitalism and statism. They are purposefully organized, structured, and long to acclimate children to long and boring work hours doing things they don’t want to do for an unfair boss. They also have the added purpose of providing a common narrative of society and history for all youth and therefore adult population.
8. Ethical consumption
Ethical consumption is not always profitable consumption. Where two companies are producing something with a toxic by-product and all else is equal the company that pays to properly dispose of the toxin will have a disadvantage against that which illegally dumps it.
This echos throughout the system and states have pressures on them to reduce their regulations as much as they do to increase them.
9. Permacultural and fair global food system
Permaculture takes far more time and understanding to accomplish than industrial farming techniques, rendering current agricultural conditions cheaper (at least in the short run, and a corporation is only interested in the next two or three quarters at most).
Capitalism also benefits greatly by forcing foreign nations to produce at lower labor costs to maintain competitiveness with the capitalist core which can produce goods much more efficiently due to it’s more advanced state and capitalist infrastructure.
10. Retirement of all senior citizens
Economies have been shown to expand and decline with the age of their citizens. As far as capitalism is concerned, the elderly are a huge burden and it much better for the system and for statist competition if they bear their own weight. This means if they have not yet earned enough money to take care of themselves for the rest of their lives then they must continue to sell their labor, which depreciates in value with their declining health and advancing age.
11. Functional anarchy (looking at you, an-caps)
By which I mean a horizontal system with no extreme hierarchy and all members are relatively equal.
Capitalism implies an owning class and a non-owning (working) class. Which are inherently uneven.
There have been various examples, btw, of functional anarcho-communism throughout native communities around the world and also in western history in groups such as the Cathars of Medieval france or later the Spanish Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). Usually they stop working when capitalists and fascists come in to wreck their shit.
12. Free association
The divisions of class both economic and social which are inherent to capitalism will never allow people to associate free of consequence. Furthermore, barriers are set up to keep the poor and dispossessed in areas that are away from the wealthy and celebrated.
Separate school systems, separate college systems, separate work environments, separate restaurants and clubs, separate neighborhoods and towns. The list goes on.
Furthermore, people must work, so they are forced to associate with their coworkers and sometimes customers and clients.
13. Direct democracy
Direct democracy cannot work in an unequal system. The inertia of their economic power will always allow capitalists a special role in policy dictation which undermines the very roots of direct democracy, equal representation.
👏👏👏👏 so much beautiful truth
A pioneer of “Afrofuturism,” bandleader Sun Ra emerged from a traditional swing scene in Alabama, touring the country in his teens as a member of his high school biology teacher’s big band.