Antenna Guru

RF is not 'black magic' – It's Synthesis, Optimization, Analysis and Realization.

Strike!

Stanisław Lentz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“What if I went on strike? What if all the creative minds of the world went on strike?”

–Ayn Rand

I grew up near Delaware County, New York, learning about the Anti-rent War of 1839 to 1852. The anti-rent war was definitely about makers vs. takers. Here is Howard Zinn‘s description:

When a deputy arrived in the farming area [of the Catskills] with writs demanding the rent, farmers suddenly appeared, assembled by the blowing of tin horns. They seized his writs and burned them. That December, a sheriff and a mounted posse of five hundred rode into the farm country, but found themselves in the midst of shrieking tin horns, eighteen hundred farmers blocking their path, six hundred more blocking their rear, all mounted, armed with pitchforks and clubs. The sheriff and his posse turned back, the rear guard parting to let them through. This was the start of the Anti-Renter movement in the Hudson Valley, described by Henry Christman in Tin Horns and Calico. It was a protest against the patroonship system, which went back to the 1600s when the Dutch ruled New York, a system where (as Christman describes it) “a few families, intricately intermarried, controlled the destinies of three hundred thousand people and ruled in almost kingly splendor near two million acres of land.” … Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs trying to serve writs on farmers were surrounded by calico-clad riders who had been summoned by tin horns sounding in the countryside-then tarred and feathered. The New York Herald, once sympathetic, now deplored “the insurrectionary spirit of the mountaineers.”

English: A poster supporting the Anti-Rent Mov...

English: A poster supporting the Anti-Rent Movement, aimed to end the patroon system in Rensselaer County, New York, United States, set to take place in the town of Nassau (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a deputy sheriff tried to sell the livestock of a farmer named Moses Earle, who owed $60 rent on 160 stony acres, there was a fight, and the deputy was killed. Similar attempts to sell livestock for rent payments were thwarted, again and again. The governor sent three hundred troops in, declaring a state of rebellion existed, and soon almost a hundred Anti-Renters were in jail. Smith Boughton, a country doctor on horseback,  was brought to trial. He was charged with taking papers from a sheriff but declared by the judge to have in fact committed “high treason, rebellion against your government, and armed insurrection” and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The power of the law thus crushed the Anti-Rent movement. It was intended to make clear that farmers could not win by fighting-that they must confine their efforts to voting, to acceptable methods of reform. In 1845, the Anti-Renters elected fourteen members to the state legislature. Governor Silas Wright now commuted to life imprisonment the two death sentences and asked the legislature to give relief to the tenants, to end the feudal system in the Hudson Valley. Proposals to break up the huge estates on the death of the owners were defeated, but the legislature voted to make illegal the selling of tenant property for nonpayment of rent. A constitutional convention that year outlawed new feudal leases.

The farmers had fought, been crushed by the law, their struggle diverted into voting, and the system stabilized by enlarging the class of small landowners, leaving the basic structure of rich and poor intact. It was a common sequence in American history.

I, as a “creative mind”, have gone “on strike” against corporate wrongdoing. Without going into details, I can assure you that the injustice I fought against ultimately subsided, but at a huge personal and professional cost. When you “go on strike” in the real world, you don’t get to just disappear; you get more visible, become easily targeted, your bills continue and the stresses on your family escalate. So, I somewhat agree with Ms. Rand’s “Sanction of the Victim” argument. But I would instead re-cast the argument to read, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

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