Lessons of the Civil War – Then and Now

By David Sole

While April 15, 1861 is given as the official start of the United States’ Civil War, most historians recognize that the outbreak of military hostilities was preceded by decades of controversy and conflict. Even at the time, the contention between the powerful slave owning ruling-class and the growing capitalist interests (summed up as South and North) was known as the “irrepressible conflict.”

Today another irrepressible conflict is manifesting itself in this country. The January 6, 2021 insurrectionary attack on the U.S. Congress should not be seen as an isolated event. It is becoming clear that this reactionary movement is becoming more and more aggressive. It has the seeds of a nascent civil war.

The struggles leading to the Civil War of 1861 were played out in the halls of Congress over national legislation. Political parties could not avoid the issues. They also were fought out in the courts. And there was much turmoil in the streets of many towns and cities. Things reached their climax in the brutal military conflict of 1861 to 1865….

It should always be remembered that the irrepressible conflict was not settled in the halls of Congress, not won in the courts of the land nor was it resolved even by the election of the new party to the presidency. The resolution only came through a bitter civil war. Such a fight may be in our future. We need a mass political organization to lead us in that struggle.

Black soldiers- civil war
The “irrepressible conflict” could only be settled by a revolutionary Civil War to break the back of the slaveholders’ power. That included over 186,000 African American soldiers. | Photo: ozy.com

United States Withdraws from Afghanistan After Humiliating Defeat

Fighting Words Editorial

We welcome the defeat of U.S. imperialism in the Central Asian state of Afghanistan in the aftermath of a two decades-long occupation.

This completely unnecessary war since 2001 was initiated under the false pretense of fighting “terrorism” as represented by the al-Qaeda grouping.

The hijacked passenger jet crashes into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon right outside of Washington, D.C. provided a rationale for former U.S. President George. W. Bush to launch a worldwide war against those deemed in opposition to the foreign policy of Washington. There was no evidence that the previous Taliban government was involved in the planning, financing or execution of the September 11, 2001 attacks where over 3,000 people were killed.

The following month, in October of 2001, Bush announced the massive bombing and ground invasion of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden, the former leader of al-Qaeda was not found until nearly ten years later, not in Afghanistan, but in neighboring Pakistan.

The U.S. public and the world were told that the purpose of the war was to downgrade the capability or to destroy al-Qaeda. Another reason cited by both the Bush and Obama administrations was that the Pentagon wanted to either capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

Nonetheless, after Bin Laden was killed in a commando raid in May 2011, the Pentagon and allied NATO forces remained in Afghanistan for another ten years. Over the last twenty years, the focus of the war has shifted from al-Qaeda to the Taliban and the Haqanni Network. Yet the war continued, draining the national treasury of the U.S. and other NATO members.

Estimates suggest that at least $2 trillion was spent on the failed war by the working people of the U.S. The human costs of killed, wounded and traumatized soldiers and their families are incalculable. Tax monies used to maintain the occupation could have been easily utilized to rebuild the cities, suburbs, small towns and rural areas which have been devastated due to the recurrent economic recessions.

The infrastructural deterioration within the U.S. is a direct result of the Pentagon budget along with the unequal distribution of wealth. Weapons manufacturers, defense services corporations, financial institutions, mercenary entities such as Blackwater and its various iterations, all profited immensely from the Afghanistan occupation and other wars that have been carried out simultaneously by the White House and Wall Street.

Those who opposed the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan have long been vindicated for their principled political position. Today, once again, Washington has been exposed as the imperialist warmongers who have brought death and destruction to Central Asia coupled with the impoverishment and immiseration of the working and oppressed people in the U.S….

Oct7-antiwar demo1_taken by Kim DeFranco

#SHUTEMDOWN2021 – Milwaukee – Prison Abolition NOW!

#SHUTEMDOWN2021 Milwaukee Actions from PSL, ABOLISHmke, FFUP, and Black and Pink: Milwaukee continue! Facebook events with more details below

8/31/21 6pm: Prison Rebels and Anticolonial Alternatives https://tinyurl.com/PrisonRebels

Saturday 9/4, 7pm: Liberation Flicks! Death of a Revolutionary + Attica Black August Screening & Discussion https://tinyurl.com/JacksonAttica

Sunday 9/5, 1pm: #ShutEmDown Online Letter Writing Action https://tinyurl.com/BPLetterWriting

Tuesday 9/7, 7pm: Are Prisons Obsolete? Moving Beyond the Carceral System Online Discussion https://tinyurl.com/PrisonsObsolete1

Thursday 9/9, 2-10pm: #ShutEmDown2021 – MKE Day of Visibility https://tinyurl.com/ShutEmDownMKE

May be an image of text that says 'THE PEOPLE DEMAND SATURDAY SHUT EM DOWN! 2021 SUNDAY MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY #SHUTEMDOWN2021 Canvas and Flyering AUSN PRISON ABOLITION NOW! FRIDAY March GBCI Noise Demo 12PM- PM SHUTEMDOWN DISCUSSION 11:15 PM 2833 Riverside Drive Green Bay, 54307 28 2319 Kenwood Blvd. Milwaukee, 53211 Rebels Alternatives: Abolition Workshop andP Jackson: Center Milwaukee, 53212 Writing 1PM 1:45PM (1971) &Attica(1974) eening PM 5500 Silver Spring Milwaukee S”ldarit Concert 8 2777 .BoothS Solidarity Concert PM 5036 SPackard Ave, Cudahy, WI Online Discussion: Are Prisons lete? by Angela Davis 7PM-8PM #ShutEmDown2021MKE 2PM-10PM 2PM- 1000W 1000WStateSt, Milwaukee, 53233,'
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September 1, 2021: Vel Phillips Forum: Episode 1: History, Censorship and the Culture Wars

Register: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gdzD46I7RSOkoqrfIygAqw

Sep 1, 2021 12:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

History, Censorship and the Culture Wars. Why are politicians suddenly attempting to create legislation governing school curricula? What is Critical Race Theory? How is this affecting our children and schools? Join panelists Dr. Nat Godley, Angela Harris, Dr. Robert Smith, and Tomika Vukovic as we explore this topic. The host is Emilio De Torre of the Milwaukee Turners.

Dr. Nat Godley teaches classes on world history, the Middle East, migration, and colonialism at Alverno College. He is also active in local civil liberties and antiracism circles.

Angela Harris – Angela Harris is a 4th year, first-grade teacher at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. African American Immersion School and chairwoman of the Black Educators Caucus in Milwaukee, WI.

Dr. Robert S. Smith is Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Urban Research, Teaching & Outreach at Marquette University. His research and teaching interests explore the intersections of race and law.

Tomika Vukovic is the Finance and Administration Manager for the Milwaukee Turners. She is an Alderwoman for the City of Glendale and is also on their Police Commission and School Board.

Host: Emilio De Torre, Executive Director, Milwaukee TurnersTime

Sep 1, 2021 12:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

Webinar logo

Manitowoc, September 5, 2021: MLK Freedom School Organizing Meeting

Event: https://fb.me/e/4WzneVOi9

502 N 8th Street, Manitowoc (Front Doors) – 3 P.M.

We’ll be discussing the organizing for the MLK Freedom School. There’ll be reports and discussion for each Freedom School event and announcements of upcoming social justice events.

[Photo: Gary Klein. From August 10, 2021 Stop the Hate rally in Manitowoc.]

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No Better Friend Corp.’s Scheduled Hate Rally in Green Bay September 16, 2021 to Feature Speakers Backed by Alleged War Criminals, Union Busters and Racists

The right-wing organization No Better Friend Corp. is planning to sponsor a September 16, 2021 event at 1951 Bond Street in Green Bay (The Rock Garden / Comfort Suites – 920-499-7449) beginning at 6 P.M. Registration online at: https://nobetterfriendcorp.com/event/no-better-friend-forum-on-critical-race-theory-green-bay/

The name No Better Friend Corp. is meant to sound folksy but the organization’s members and backers are some of the most extreme right-wing forces internationally attacking poor and working people relentlessly. The billed speakers for the September 16 event are supported by an array of alleged war criminals, union busters, bigots and racists. [https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/SourceWatch]

No Better Friend Corp. are using the fight over the teaching of historical truth in public schools and anti-masking as two issues to also push the right-wing agenda of attacking public education generally, unions (particularly in the public sector) and social safety nets.

These right-wing organizations such as No Better Friend Corp. are also using issues and events such as September 16 to attempt to recruit and to build and consolidate their bases nationally and in historically union strongholds such as Green Bay, Sheboygan and Wausau (For example, Americans For Prosperity (AFP) has been setting up offices in similar areas over the past decade). They are also emboldened by the decrease of public sector union membership and strength (especially in rural and semi-rural areas) since the union-busting Act 10 was implemented in 2011. The right-wing forces hope to use any bases they might build to escalate their attacks on school boards, libraries and other public services whether legally or extra legally (vigilantes if necessary etc.).

Over the summer of 2021 in Wisconsin, there have been an alarming number of threatening actions in numerous cities against school board and city/county board members collectively and individually as well as library personnel and employees of other public institutions. Much of this activity has increased after right-wing organizations such as Educate Not Indoctrinate have circulated inaccurate, inflammatory information via social media and other methods or had their members speak in a city.

Just a few:

Cedarburg: https://bit.ly/3kGVqpR

Manitowoc: https://bit.ly/3sXvtGl

Mequon: https://bit.ly/3t0OaZN

Prairie du Chien: https://bit.ly/3DvFGOR

Oshkosh: https://bit.ly/3zuGfpH

Whitefish Bay: https://bit.ly/3mL79WR

But there has been some people’s resistance including the “Stop The Hate” rally in Manitowoc, WI August 10, 2021: https://bit.ly/3zuIHfX


The right-wing’s activities over historical truth being taught in public schools is in part a backlash against the unprecedented Black Lives Matter protests in the summer and fall of 2021 in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd.

In Wisconsin, as in many states, the Black Lives Matter protests were diverse in character joined by a rainbow of poor and working people. This is the exact type of unity the right-wing wants to crush and splinter before it can build and become more effective ideologically and organizationally.

In tandem with this, the right-wing is using provocatively racist language in regard to historical truth being taught in public schools in attempts to confuse white workers who their friends and enemies are. For example, the very same right-wing forces such as AFP and the Bradley Foundation that spent millions for their political servants to pass and implement Jim Crow, anti-worker laws such as Act 10 and Right-To-Work (for less) and eliminating prevailing wage, restricting voting rights etc., are the very same right-wing forces now attacking historical truth being taught in public schools and opposing the scientific methods of COVID-19 safety protocols. [AFP is just one example: https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Americans_for_Prosperity]

Another reason the right-wing hates real truth being taught (using books such as Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”) is that it exposes the horrific history of the United States such as the massive thefts of Indigenous land and genocide, slavery, lynching, the Pinkertons and the horrors of war where the poor get killed and maimed and the rich get richer. But People’s History also shows the leading roles of people of color, women and LGBTQ people – and a way forward where poor and working people can join together to build a better world without poverty, racism and war. [https://www.zinnedproject.org/]

People’s History also clarifies this class struggle asking critical thinking questions such as: Why do the rich need bigotry and racism? Why do the rich that don’t work live in mansions when my Grandmother has worked for decades at hard labor and she has nothing? What’s the role of working women and LGBTQ people in history? How and why did Black workers build unions in alliance with white workers? How did poor and working people build unity throughout history nationally and in Wisconsin with union building, voting rights etc.? What is socialism? Etc. People’s history also brings forth poor and working people’s deep cultural contributions (art, music etc.) many of which have been fundamental to social justice movements.

The UAW Local 833 in Kohler for example was built in the 1950’s by workers of many nationalities and ages in Wisconsin and internationally through an 8 year strike. Since then, a diverse UAW national union with many community and faith based supporters over the decades has ensured UAW Local 833’s vitality. When workers were on strike at various periods at the Kohler Company, many Black and other workers of color from Detroit and many other cities assisted their fellow workers and vice versa by contributing to strike and food funds and plant gate collections. The same is true of paper workers in Green Bay/the Fox Valley, timber workers in northern Wisconsin and aluminum, crane and shipbuilding workers in Manitowoc. There’s also a rich history of progressive farmers and union members joining together in Northeastern Wisconsin and across the state.[https://familyfarmers.org/] [https://www.wisconsinlaborhistory.org/]

This is the type of history the right-wing doesn’t want the students of poor and working people to know for it might spark courage, hope and the audacity to fight back today. And knowing their forebears courageous history could prevent poor and working people from being hoodwinked by the rich and their political servants again and again.

Or from getting ideas such as:

If the rich don’t abide by laws, why do we have to when our very lives are threatened?

The rich seem to always have the police on their side. Why don’t we form our own worker self-defense organizations in alliance with the community?

Why can’t white, Somali and Mexican meat packing plant workers in Green Bay team up with the Honduran and Mexican farm workers in Manitowoc County, Black workers in various sectors and the student retail workers in Door County to form workers (and other) assemblies to build fight back programs and mobile organizational vehicles?

Or perhaps we can educate our fellow workers that happen to be white who are confused to join in the real people’s struggles and stop being pitted against their fellow workers who might happen to be LGBTQ, Black or Latina/o? All of whom united together could build a mighty People’s Movement to push back the right-wing onslaught of austerity, horrific greed, lies and daily capitalist violence against poor and working people.


Kevin Nicholson who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2018, is using No Better Friend Corp. for his personal political ambitions. He’s also being used by the rich to push an extreme Jim Crow austerity program which includes moves to attempt to eviscerate the pensions of poor and working people.

In recent years, Nicholson has become a lap dog for the rich bringing forth an extreme-right wing program in Wisconsin and elsewhere. He is endorsed by the likes of alleged war criminal John Bolton and his PAC, the Club For Growth, and Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein. Nicholson’s No Better Friend Corp. is funded by and allied with an assortment of right-wing entities ranging from the Americans For Prosperity to the Bradley Foundation. [https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/SourceWatch]

On the No Better Friends Corp. website, on the staff page, there are many boasts about how the organization has staff that have mercilessly and purposely attacked poor and working people which has and will cause untold suffering.

One staff bio excerpt:

“…. While at AFP (Americans For Prosperity), he worked on some of the most successful issue campaigns in Wisconsin, including Right to Work, repeal of the prevailing wage, the REINS Act, and other pro-taxpayer reforms.” [Note: When right-wing forces use terms such as individual liberty, reforms, flexibility, common sense etc. they really mean racist, anti-worker austerity such as the elimination of public sector labor laws, de-regulation, destroying pensions, destroying safety laws and regulations and shredding social safety nets all embedded within racist “capitalism with the gloves off” approach etc.

The Uihlein’s, well known for their anti-union philosophies and activities, put $3.5 million in a super PAC for Nicholson during his 2018 U.S. Senate campaign. Nicholson also works closely with Jeff Harris, a major GOP donor, and Brett Healy, another operative. [https://politi.co/38pUmRt]

Nicholson is also endorsed by John Bolton, who has a decades long war criminal resume and hates poor and working people according to many progressive organizations. [https://www.codepink.org/boltonindictment] [https://afgj.org/]


Lindsay, a member and frequent speaker through the right-wing network in the United States. He has been a featured guest on Fox News and Glenn Beck. He is a leader with Turning Point USA and most recently New Discourses.

From Source Watch: [https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Turning_Point_USA]

“Turning Point USA is a right-wing youth and student group, with a mission to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.”[1] The group funnels money to right-wing candidates for student government at universities across the country and has faced numerous allegations of racial discrimination. Turning Point USA is funded by a variety of right-wing mega-donors with a history of flooding the political process with money, including the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Ed Uihlein Family FoundationFoster Friess, Michael Leven and various Koch brothers-affiliated groups, such as the Foundation for Economic EducationDonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund.”



A speaker for Color Us United. Website: http://christianjwatson.com/


Bradley Foundation Grants 2013-2020:


Stop the Hate! rally, August 10, 2021 Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

MLK Freedom School, Manitowoc October 14, 2021: Strike A Woman, Strike A Rock, The Role of Women in the Civil and Human Rights Movement

May be an image of 3 people, people standing and text that says 'MLK FREEDOM SCHOOL Strike A Woman A 1の) Ο FOR JOBS ALL R FOR NOW! oct 14, 2021 6-8PM WE MARCH WOMEN IN THE CIUIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT Manitowoc Public Library 707 Quay St, Manitowoc WL54220 mlkdaymanitowocagmail.com f MLK DAY Manitowoc (414) 395-0665 Labor Donated'
MLK Day Manitowoc

OCTOBER 14, 2021

Women have always been central to any activity focused on civil and human rights. The title of this event is inspired by a South African women’s slogan that was especially taken up during the fight against apartheid which was defeated by a united worldwide people’s movement largely led by women and girls. Mrs. Coretta Scott King and a diverse array of other women’s contributions will be highlighted. Women on the front lines of the civil and human rights movements of today will be leading this event.