Helen Keller, feminist, radical socialist, anti-racist activist and civil libertarian

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2015/04/20/helen-keller-feminist-radica.html


What do you want, the language has been twisted that socialist means Stalinist/Pol Pot and anarchist is someone who is violent at demonstrations, both are associated with murder and suffering.
How can you even believe these words about famously good people when the content of their political movement has been erased from memory?
Effective propaganda is effective.
Down the memory hole they went.


There have been several nations within the last hundred-odd years that have abolished capitalism. It would be useful to test Keller’s theory for validity by examining how well those nations have treated their disabled and their impoverished.

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Isn’t it fun, typing wehatever you want on the internet without any consequences? Because you just attacked Helen Keller.


I feel like there’s a movie trailer in here…

RELATABLE NEOPHYTE: “All my life, I’ve been told that the only way to justice is wealth, they only way to peace is prosperity, the only way to independence is to know my place, and that wanting to share freely what I have with others is the root of all evil.”

GRIZZLED VETERAN: “You have been lied to. We have all been lied to. I am here to tell you that you are the heir to a great tradition. There is a way that the strong and the compassionate used in a bygone age. A way that has been tainted over the years. Another way, capable of so much more than what you see here.”

sweeping vista
evil grinning old white wealthy guys
hopeful moppets
shot of a crowd holding signs
shot of a police force behind riot shields
RELATABLE NEOPHYTE falls from the sky in between them, holding up two open palms

GRIZZLED VETERAN: “The only question now is…can you convince them of that?”

title screen


How about testing it on the Cuban Health Care System or for that matter comparing pretty much any “socialist” or “communist” health care system to the capitalist heaven that is the US of A.

The US has a remarkable way of caring for the sick and disabled by making them bankrupt and sell lemonade on the street http://boingboing.net/2012/04/18/when-life-hands-you-cancer-ma.html.

You are right socialism is evil and capitalism men’s salvation.


I think @lolipop_jones is not so much attacking Helen Keller as making a swipe at socialism by pointing at the (now defunct) Soviet Union and Mao’s China.

What lolipop has done is to fall exactly into the trap that has been mentioned at BoingBoing before, namely that, in the United States, socialism = evil.

It doesn’t help that when you go by countries that self-identify as “socialist” you get what amounts to a roll call of communist countries that all seem to have been inspired by the Russian revolution of the early 20th century.

But when you look at, you know, actual economic data, a little different picture emerges.

Both of the above snippets came from the Open Left website


It would seem that still, after all these years, perception is essentially thought to be a passive process.


Came to hear people confl;ate socialism with totalitarianism because the word “socialist” is used by those governments while conveniently ignoring places like the DPRK who claim to be democratic.


Her personal achievements are, as are yours and mine, not relevant to the validity of her political opinions.

All those countries have a vigorous, capitalist private sector which generates the tax revenue making their socialist programs possible.

Please point to a non-capitalist nation which has done as well.

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@nojaboja has already engaged you on that challenge.


They get tax revenues of currencies which they implemented themselves anyway? If they have enough wealth to represent in their currency, doesn’t this imply they can already afford it? Besides, since money is a human technology, it seems more likely that having humans to use it is a prerequisite - whereas if people put capital first, it can’t do anything on its own.

Seems like a topic derailment to me, since it ceases to have anything to do with Helen Keller. FWIW I think countries are a goofy idea.


Please point to a purely capitalist nation that has done well.

Or is nuance hard for your manichean little worldview to accommodate?


Admittedly, I don’t know the specifics of Helen Keller’s politics, but that article doesn’t make her out to be particularly radical. I guess, those were different times.

This strikes me as pretty disingenuous. I wouldn’t say that capitalist nations (read: the United States) have treated “their disabled and their impoverished” particularly well either. In fact, Helen Keller’s activism (see article) was in reaction to numerous examples of such mistreatment.


& there is this also: Cuba led the fight against ebola, sending more medics to West Africa than the US. This by the way is the internationalist side of socialism.

I am fed up with simplistic neo-liberal politics viciously destroying the hard fought progress achieved by 19th & 20th century socialists.

Free Education, clean water, safe roads, cleanish air the bits that make the First World the First Word as opposed to places where you pay for education, there is no public infrastructure all of these things were fought for and argued for by socialists…get your history right.


First, state capitalism is still capitalism.

Second, Helen Keller’s support for the Socialist Party and the Industrial Workers of the World, not to mention the American Civil Liberties Union, are hardly compatible with totalitarianism.


Don’t forget she was a Swedenborgian too!

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That’s not what they said on Fox News.


Like Johnny Appleseed!

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