Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

BARNEY'S POLITICAL CAREER

I have now completed editing the 50,000 word section of the book about my grandparents that deals with my grandfather's political career in the Socialist Party of New York City.  For those who are interested, I think it gives a vivid snapshot of life on the left a hundred years ago.  In the next few minutes, I will post the entire section on box.net, accessible through the link at the top of this blog.

1 comment:

Superfluous Man said...

Thanks so much for the biography of your grandfather. I have been enjoying reading it although I haven't gotten but to about page 10. My great-grandfather immigrated to the United States from Germany around the turn of the century. In a businessman's directory that was published in Charleston SC my mother had kept a clipping of my great grandfather's entry in that publication. Business directories of successful members of a community were regularly published around the turn of the century and I suppose they were helpful for traveling salesman when they entered a new town but they were also good at putting good copy out about the successful business people in a community and I suppose they were purchased because they seemed to inflate the glory of the often small struggling entrepreneurs in early America. Perhaps they were also bought by professional flim-flam men in those days, which I will get to in a minute.

According to the article, my great grandfather had been trained in Germany to be a master gardener. He was an orphan and the article says that he had known much hardship, often being homeless but having achieved the rank of master gardener. He immigrated to New York along with his wife and saw that there was going to be a great Exhibition in Charleston SC and went there because flowers were going to be needed for the many floats and other florally decorated objects for the international visitor. In the process he bought some land and established a floral business which apparently was a regional success. Charleston SC has a unique history and attracted immigrants for generations before the civil war. In fact, Charleston was known up until the 1840s or 1850s as having a larger Jewish population than in any city in America including New York. The article ended by noting that my great grandfather had sold his business and was going to Europe in 1914 to "study social conditions". I suppose that was not a very good time to go to Europe to do such things, whatever it meant. I'm sure he went back along with his wife to see some of his wife's relatives that were in Germany that are now lost to the ages. The article said "Mr. Newman is a socialist first, last and all the time. His heart goes out to the poor working farmers in America who are burdened by overproduction..." On and on it went about his socialism. I forget the exact language and I have given the article to my sister for safekeeping so I don't have it in front of me. According to my mother, my grandfather would often talk about trips to Europe which he made when he was a child and he said they had made a number of them where they sought out things like unusual tulip varieties in Holland to bring back to America. Unfortunately my great grandfather was sold some "land" in Florida after that article and had signed a non-compete agreement in Charleston. So when he went to Florida to check on his land, it was underwater and his dreams were shattered. My grandfather would never talk of his father because at some point his father had committed suicide over his business failure. Some Charles Ponzi type had scammed him during the Florida land boom and he apparently never recovered from that. So the story of the socialist in our family ends sadly. Apparently the story was too painful for my grandfather to bear as my mother says he wouldn't talk about his father as an adult. Before I was old enough to be interested in such things and ask, my grandfather died from a stroke. Unfortunately business failure was and is all too common in America and my great-grandfather was not able to deal with having risen to much success from great poverty and then having to go back down the social ladder. I suppose he was also disheartened by things like the Palmer raids as well. Unfortunately a not uncommon story in America.