FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Common Sense for Common Soldiers

by CLANCY SIGAL

It’s 4th of July! We Minute Men who stand and fight at Lexington and Concord are the Taliban of our day.  Scum-class terrorists, we are, in the eyes of “mad” King George 3rd and his generals who treat us with contempt as an unwashed mob of amateurs.  Dirty unscrupulous amoral cowardly vicious American backwoodsmen. We New England and South Carolina guerrillas don’t fight by the formal rules of European warfare, spit-and-polish ranks advancing toward each other across open ground in perfect order bayonets gleaming with drums and fifes playing. Blinded by aristocratic stupidity, an inherited genetic disorder, the King and his advisors never come cloaw to understanding our Patriot culture or psychology.

We’re 3000 miles away from London’s bowing and curtseying, and it takes weeks for a letter to cross the Atlantic.  By the time a murderous royal command is given it’s way too late for the Redcoats to act on it.  Oh, blessed distance!  Thank heaven for the storm-tossed sea.

What drives the British invader-occupiers really crazy is that we American militia, mainly small farmers and artisans, won’t stand erect and fight, “like men”, but snipe and ambush from behind stone walls and trees.  Shoot and vanish.  Like ghosts.  The Redcoats and their German mercenaries complain that we “uncouth militia” let the forest do our fighting as practiced by the Green Mountain Boys and Morgan’s Rangers.  George III chooses to believe only what his imperial fantasies tell him and not real reports from the field.

Civil wars, which wars of liberation tend to be, are savage and bloody. (See Syria, see Gettysburg.) Set-piece colonial battles like Bunker Hill and Saratoga give way to barbaric, terrifyingly personal hand to OR Book Going Rougehand combat in murky woods with axes, pikes, bayonet, fists…no mercy given or asked. We slaughter our prisoners and so do the Redcoats.

Ours is a fraternal civil war because Americans loyal to the king fight us Americans inflamed by Tom Paine’s best-selling, anti-monarch “Common Sense”, “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”. Neighbor betrays neighbor, Mohawk Indians fight Oneida Indians, and British and American officers (like the brave traitor Benedict Arnold) change sides for the money.  More black slaves fight for the Crown than for slave-holding George Washington because the British promise freedom to bondage men and women who come over to their side.

A secret to our success is that we home-grown American militia don’t go “bowling alone”. We know and trust each other from years of living and working together in small, tight-knit communities. Some of us have fought shoulder to shoulder in the 7 Years (French & Indian) war. Officers are elected by their men, at least at the beginning of our revolution.   Democracy runs amok, which greatly worries Gen. Washington who likes things kept in the hands of the propertied elite. That Tom Paine has a lot to answer for!

Unspoken is an underlying class tension between our Continental army officers and we shoeless, shivering, starving rankers at, for example, Valley Forge. While we suffer in freezing makeshift tents, Gen. Washington and his top officers eat well and sleep comfortably in warm houses.  We resent privilege but fight on because we aim to be free and independent Americans, and anyway we’re paid a bounty to re-enlist.  Fighting as a unit with our own close neighbors makes all the difference.  We hope it never comes to pass that only a tiny fraction of the American citizenry will do all the fighting.
Another civil war, between us American back country poor and eastern seaboard merchant class, the same class that signed our Declaration of Independence, won’t surface until after the British surrender and we get our independence. Look up “Shay’s Rebellion”, the Occupy movement of its time.

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.

 

 

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives

May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
Nicolas J S Davies
Escalating U.S. Air Strikes Kill Hundreds of Civilians in Mosul, Iraq
Binoy Kampmark
Class, Football, and Blame: the Hillsborough Disaster Inquest
George Wuerthner
The Economic Value of Yellowstone National Park
Rivera Sun
Celebrating Mother Jones
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir and Postcolonialism
Mairead Maguire
Drop the Just War Theory
Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail