Communist Party US & civil rights

The Communist Party USA was founded in 1919, three years after the Russian Revolution. It started as a dual organization composed of foreign-language and native-born American groups, but the factions were ordered to merge by the Soviet Union, which helped fund the Communist Party USA. The Communists were active in promoting civil rights and racial equality for blacks. Many black writers and artists were invited to Moscow as guests of the state. When the Great Depression occurred, many Communists believed that Marx’s prediction of the inevitable collapse of capitalism was coming true. Four black communists The Communists became extremely active on the civil-rights front, and they found a great opportunity to act on the national stage in 1931. Nine black youths traveling on a freight train in Alabama were arrested, falsely charged with raping two white women who were also on the train. The youths were quickly tried, and all but one were sentenced to death. The Communists intervened with a two-fold strategy: They hired first-rate legal talent to appeal the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and they also staged mass demonstrations in the United States to rally public support for their campaign to free the youths. The strategy worked. The Supreme Court overturned the first trial and ordered a new one. Continue reading

The Poor Man’s Air Force

Buda’s Wagon (1920)

“You have shown no pity to us! We will do likewise. We will dynamite you!Anarchist warning (1919)

On a warm September day in 1920, a few months after the arrest of his comrades Sacco and Vanzetti, a vengeful Italian anarchist named Mario Buda parked his horse-drawn wagon near the corner of Wall and Broad Streets, directly across from J. P. Morgan Company. He nonchalantly climbed down and disappeared, unnoticed, into the lunchtime crowd. A few blocks away, a startled postal worker found strange leaflets warning: “Free the Political Prisoners or it will be Sure Death for All of You!” They were signed: “American Anarchist Fighters.” The bells of nearby Trinity Church began to toll at noon. When they stopped, the wagon — packed with dynamite and iron slugs — exploded in a fireball of shrapnel. Continue reading

Obscure Video Games: Michigan: Report from Hell

Hell is other people

On its surface, Michigan doesn’t appear to stand out from the crowd of survival horror games that infested the PlayStation 2. A mysterious virus is turning everybody into monsters and you have to fight to stay alive. However, this is a Grasshopper Manufacture title, a studio that likes to do things a bit differently.

Let’s start with the name. Michigan doesn’t take place in Michigan; all the action here is in Chicago. The title comes from Lake Michigan, where a plane crashed and appeared to start the outbreak. The game was never available for sale in Michigan, Chicago or any other place in the USA either. It only saw release in Japan in 2004 and Europe the following year. Continue reading

History of QWERTY Keyboard

We have been using QWERTY keyboards for ages. Most of us have been believing that the unusual arrangement of the keys, rather than ABCD, is because the people who used mechanical typewriters in the past moved their fingers too fast–fast enough that it would jam the typewriters.

It might have been one of the probable causes which compelled active minds to think about arranging the keys in a random fashion, QWERTY. But, the story can be a total myth, or somewhat, less accurate. And it becomes more convincing after we read a piece of text tagged as a ‘research paper’. Continue reading