Ita€™s worth taking a moment to examine what Edgar said in that paper, to the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences in Philadelphia that April, because it encompassed not only his professional position but his personal philosophy.
His talk discussed free tradea€™s benefits for the American standard of living, and the pernicious effect that economic nationalism after the World War had on America and other nations. This was economics and business, but more than those were on Edgara€™s mind as he addressed the domestic welfare.
Edgar believed that a€?the right to buy and sell freely is a right that all nations would welcome, and [that] there is not one among them that would not choose this peaceful method of raising their living standards rather than the suicidal method of attempted conquest.a€? In light of the next ten years, this could be regarded as excessive economic determinism. When later World War II was underway, this philosophy would inform a critical study done by Edgar and his office for GMa€™s Chairman of the Board, Alfred Sloan, as GM began to look beyond the war to the new and different world being created. Perhaps Edgara€™s humble origins made him more sympathetic than many corporation men to the plight of people being thrown out of work or seeing their salaries drastically cut.
Roosevelta€™s inauguration in 1933 spelled no quick end to the Depression, though, and conditions at home made Export Company business more important to GM than ever.
But Edgara€™s work in town was demanding, and overseas conditions were growing ever bleaker. That he was actually not so sure of that privately, however, is suggested by a second action of his at this time.
In short, the increasingly disturbing world scene was on Edgara€™s mind at work and at home. Yet he had never heard of the Baker Street Irregulars, and whata€™s more, he was some time learning about them now. Edgara€™s ardor for the Holmesiana he had discovered in Starretta€™s Private Life had not cooled in the meantime.
There is one more point of biographical interest about these early letters between Edgar and Vincent Starrett, though we must not make too much of it without further data. Several years would pass before the BSI met again, and before Smith and the Baker Street Irregulars got to know each other. 1937 had been a big year for General Motors Export Company, not least because the Opel works it owned had grown from producing 26,000 units a year to 128,000, holding over forty percent of the German market now, and exporting automobiles as well. Osborna€™s grip on the helm was being increasingly challenged by a German executive at Opel, Rudolf Fleischer.
As Edgara€™s office watched the crisis reach its peak in the spring of 1938, Graeme Howard, the GM manager for Europe, was directed to abort a trip to India and hurry to Opela€™s executive offices in Germany instead. In the late 1990s, these and other issues led to accusations of GM sympathy for, and collaboration with, the Nazi regime. But Blacka€™s charges against GM and others were taken up by an uncritical press, and class-action lawyers scenting profit whether the charges were true or not. The Opel crisis upset GM not least because Herr Doktor of Laws Fleischer was no unknown quantity to Jim Mooney or Edgar. Difficult as conditions are in this country, however, my work abroad brings me in contact with such utterly distasteful and discouraging things that I still think our hope for the preservation of democracy here, and for the restoration at least in part of the world we used to know, lies in the compromises and reforms that Mr. Seriously, I believe a freer exchange of goods and services among nations, including our own, would go far toward eliminating some of the strangeness in the things around us.
What some of the a€?utterly distasteful and discouraging things abroada€? Edgara€™s work brought him into contact with are made clear by Professor Turnera€™s book.
To fend off the creeping Nazi assault on its management and ownership (and to keep one of Opela€™s models in the running for the Volkswagen Hitler wanted for the masses), GM sought allies in what seemed the non-Nazi institution of Germanya€™s armed forces.
Edgara€™s reaction to this thought is not on record, but he would hardly have seen things that way. 4 The following month, Edgar, this time on behalf of the Automobile Manufacturers Association, conveyed the same message to a joint committee of five New York City Republican Party organizations, urging a free-trade plank in the GOPa€™s 1936 election platform.
8 General Motors Documents Relating to World War II Corporate Activities in Europe, Box 10, Folder 10069-10099, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University.
9 For a comprehensive account of Edgara€™s Pamphlet House, see Glen Miranker BSIa€™s a€?Prolegomena to a History of The Pamphlet Housea€? in my Irregular Records of the Early a€™Forties.
10 Published in October 1933, and reviewed in the Saturday Review of Literature by Elmer Davis, though Edgar was not at that time a reader of it. 11 His first Irregular secretary at GM, Rosalie Mouillerat, once called Edgar a€?about the busiest person on earth at the moment,a€? in a reply by her dated December 6, 1940 to a letter from Vincent Starrett to her boss; see my Irregular Records of the Early a€™Forties, p. 15 See Michael Dobbs, a€?Ford and GM Scrutinized for Alleged Nazi Collaboration,a€? Washington Post, November 30, 1998. 16 The blogosphere nonetheless remains rife with allegations that GM was a witting collaborator in everything from creating German military power to use of slave-labor. Parents Across America has sent a new letter to President Obama and Congress as a follow up to our letter of May 5th, in which we expressed our concern about the strategies of the President and Ed Secretary Duncan's Blueprint for Education Reform and the Race to the Top program.After we sent our first letter, Duncan announced that he would mandate parent involvement in planning for schools identified for intervention. I received a copy of a letter from an LSC parent representative at Curtis Elementary School, a "turnaround" school under the management of the Academy for Urban School Leadership.
I just received this e-mail from PURE friend Rick Meza, the current head of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).
The New York Times is reporting that, among other novices, Bob Tschannen-Moran, former pastor of Good News Community Church in Rogers Park here in Chicago, has put in his bid for federal school turn-around contracts.He is now a "life coach" based in Williamsburg, Va. To their credit, some House reps don't think taking food stamp money is such a  good idea. Amazingly, now-Chicago City Colleges Chancellor and Board Chairman Gery Chico thinks the community college system should not have to be a "re-do" of K-12 schooling. I guess it just slipped Chico's mind that he is in large part responsible for the math and reading skills of these very students. PURE's second "how-to" book takes a closer look at one of PURE's most effective advocacy campaigns - our fight against the misuse of the Iowa test in Chicago.You can download the book here. We (well, we with a lot of help) have finally mastered technology enough to offer two books about PURE's work in an electronic format. Local School Council members have fought for access to basic budget and program documents since the first day LSCs existed.
Principals in Chicago, often backed by their administrative supervisors, have been known to refuse to give LSC members even the most basic accountability information. Watch PURE friend Leonie Haimson guest with the brilliant, ubiquitous Diane Ravitch on Democracy Now. Folks, Tuesday's my birthday so I will not be blogging but enjoying my wonderful family (husband, Mom who is visiting from Phoenix, two sons - my daughter-in-law is away working on a movie -- she's so cool!) and trying not to let school issues raise my blood pressure.
This call is for the sake of our children, and I hope that the President responds responsibly. I grew up in the suburbs of Rochester, New York and never knew that Frederick Douglass worked in the city most of his life.
Two months ago, a number of public school parents wrote a letter to Congress and President Obama expressing our concerns about the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Blueprint for Education proposed by U.
Today I faxed the Parents Across America letter to every member of Congress as they return from their Independence Day break. What we DON'T want: Charters, turnarounds, and school closures, standardized tests, mayoral control, and privatization.


What we DO want: More parent involvement, real multiple assessments, smaller class size, and equal resources for all schools. Today is Dick Durbin Day on Public Schools Action Tuesday (PSAT)!Let's work on getting Illinois Senator Richard Durbin to rethink his support for Race to the Top.
Today's Sun-Times print edition reports on what must now be called the Miracle in Englewood.
With this new figure in the Sun-Times, the overall graduation rate at Urban Prep goes down to 57%. In addition to an excerpt from PURE's letter to President Obama, there are some good responses here in Eliza Krigman's National Journal blog on the Obey amendment issue. Some of you know that I also blog on a nationwide site called the Examiner (subscribe to my blog! We need styles that are quick and easy to maintain without having to wake up at the break of dawn every morning to get it right. At the end of 1928 he purchased a second house nearby for his parents, at 42 Southern Slope Drive.
In addressing barriers to free trade, he focused primarily on the domestic welfare of his talka€™s title. He examined the problem of agricultural surpluses, and the positive role they could play in a free-trade system. But he was not blind to political nationalism, and the violence of revolutionary ideology; he had seen both in Europe. Edgar championed free trade with not only idealistic principles but hard economic analysis, for example in a a€?Results of Depreciationa€? letter to the New York Times that was lengthier and more insightful than the newspapera€™s editorial prompting it.
In Asia, a militaristic Japan occupying Manchuria withdrew from the League of Nations in 1933, harbinger of more aggression to come. He created Pamphlet House, a private press for items he felt important to circulate further; and its first act was to reprint an essay by the historian Hendrik van Loon, A World Divided Is a World Lost. For relaxation we know that he played tennis avidly, and James Morris said he also liked to build small elegant stone walls with his hands. Starrett was in China when Edgara€™s letter arrived in Chicago, and it was nearly a year before Starrett came home to find it a€” and over a year before Starrett finally managed to answer it at length.
Their enthusiastic correspondence that followed is in Irregular Memories of the a€™Thirties. In Edgara€™s letter to him dated December 7, 1937, there is a suggestion that even before he learned of the BSI, he had been holding forth locally since reading The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. But in no time at all after that, Smith was increasingly their leader, eventually eclipsing Christopher Morley the BSIa€™s Gasogene but without harming the close friendship established between the two men.
1938 was a big year too, and not only because GM Export became the grander-sounding GM Overseas Operations: 1938 opened with a bitter struggle over control of Opel, for which GM had paid $33,300,000 in 1929. While not necessarily a Nazi himself, Fleischer was using ties to the Nazi Party in the region and in Berlin to marginalize American authority inside and outside the plant.
Howard was forty-two years old, a Los Angeles native who bore a certain resemblance to Dashiell Hammett, and a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School. GM was not alone in being so charged: Ford, IBM, and other major companies were accused as well. Fleischer had worked several years in GM Exporta€™s New York offices starting in 1925, the year that Edgar returned from his overseas stint.
It saw no way in any event to reject doing defense business with the new regime, and tried instead to obtain some advantage from what seemed inevitable. Two years later Rudolf Fleischera€™s grab for power gave Howard cause to rethink things, but by then GMa€™s freedom of maneuver in the German police state was growing smaller and smaller. According to research, most charter schools are not "high-performing." Even more disturbing, research shows that African-American and Latino students do worse in Illinois charter schools.
Rick has been a staunch advocate for public school children and families, and for Local School Councils. That's not much time, and the appeal is supposed to go to the Chief Education Officer, a position that has had no person in it since Barbara Eason-Watkins left for Michigan City. If you don't know who your CAO is, call the CPS switchboard at 773-553-1000 or the Office of P-12 Management at 773-553-2150.Here are some tip sheets for parents on filing the appeal. A student who started preschool in 1995, when Chico was appointed president of the Chicago School Board by Mayor Daley, would have been in fourth grade -- when most of the fundamentals of reading and math should have been laid down -- when Chico left that position in 2001. These books were written in 2004 and 2005 in response to many requests to help start PURE chapters around the country, and from folks who just wanted to know how to create a powerful parent organization. One notorious example was when Mayor Daley's favorite "superstar" principal, Curie High School's former head Jerrylyn Jones, handed out folders with copies of petitions demanding that the LSC renew her contract, instead of the budget and school improvement plan information the LSC had requested as part of her annual evaluation.Other principals refuse to give documents to individual LSC members, and insist on a vote of the full LSC before they provide information, another ridiculous excuse.I recommend that LSC members download and file this article - you may need it!
Your Public Schools Action Tuesday assignment for today, if you choose to accept it, is to give a gift to PURE. I remember back when CEO Duncan was "assigned" to me to make sure I talked to him before going public with any complaints.
While many are saying that a revised (reauthorized) ESEA is unlikely to be voted on before the fall elections, revised language is being hammered out in committee right now, and it may be too make meaningful changes later on in the process. Urban Prep Charter School still has a 100% college-going rate with ALL 95 graduating seniors going to college!Problem is, for the past few weeks, the orgy of happy-weepy media reports about the Urban Prep Miracle was that all 107 graduating seniors were going to college (see, for example, People Magazine, Good Morning America, "Urban Prep Named Person of the Week on ABC World News).  So, since their first self-promotional blitz, they've lost 12 students (the Sun-Times suggests they "transferred") ? I'll let you know if they respond.By the way, the film will be previewed in Chicago on July 21. His father, now sixty-nine, had gone from hatter to clerk, from clerk to book-keeper at Underwood Typewriter, and from that to the National Foreign Trade Council in New York, until far past the usual retirement age Edgar S. He did not lose his job like so many others in the early 1930s, but Peter Spivak pictured him a€?walking through the streets of New York seeing the apple sellers, some of whom he had known in another time and another way.a€? Many men in Big Business supported Herbert Hoovera€™s belt-tightening response to the crisis, and high protective tariffs like the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930. He debunked, logically and statistically, with an excellent grasp of economic fundamentals, the belief that employment is harmed by free trade.
He warned that denial of free trade would lead to regimentation of industry and agriculture at home. Roosevelt started his run for the Presidency in 1932, he called for a a€?new deala€? for the American people.
In 1933 Edgar was appointed a vice president of the GM Export Company, and also a director of the American Manufacturing Export Association alongside World War flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, a household name now president of North American Aviation.
Edgar also had the habit of reading into the early hours of the morning, constantly expanding his horizons, and enjoying literature. It prompted Edgar to start collecting, under Starretta€™s guidance, the other canonical scholarship existing at the time a€” that of T.
Ostensibly intimidated more than he probably was by learning of the Baker Street Irregulars, he told Starrett that it had a€?confirmed me in my desire to win a place among the Irregulars. Fleischera€™s continued assaults on Osborna€™s role persisted until it became a firing matter, something that GMa€™s hierarchy and Osborn himself feared could precipitate an outright takeover of Opel by Berlin. He had studied in Germany as a young man, then commanded a machine-gun company in the war against Germany before going to work for General Motors in 1920. In GMa€™s case, leading the charge was a techno-thriller writer named Edwin Black, whoa€™d already published a book accusing IBM of assisting Nazi Germany to carry out the Holocaust.


Those companies and others had done business with Germany in the 1930s, and no doubt had done things they came to regret while attempting to hold onto their interests against usurpation by the Nazi Party or opportunists like Rudolf Fleischer. They had been colleagues before Fleischer returned to Germany, and were once more after Fleischer joined Opel in 1929.
As early as 1933, the year Hitler became Chancellor and FA?hrer of the Third Reich, Nazi representatives took control of the factory council representing Opel workers, and the RA?sselsheim plant became the scene of Nazi rallies and mandatory political exhortations of the workforce, with loudspeakers throughout the plant carrying Hitlera€™s speeches during the workday. This included manufacture at its Brandenburg plant of the German Armya€™s a€?Blitz truck,a€? while producing components for the Junkers aircraft company as a sub-contractor. The session was chaired by Republican lawyer Allen Dulles, brother of his partya€™s leading foreign policy expert and a future Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles a€” and himself a future wartime OSS chieftain and a postwar CIA official, eventually the CIAa€™s Director.
Parents must also be involved before intervention decisions are made, not only after those decisions are made.
He will be a great advocate for the people of Illinois, and PURE will definitely stay in touch with him in his critical new role!!! We decided it was time to capture some of our best strategies and ideas in one place so that we could share them with others who see the same problems and have the same concerns PURE has.
And keep the phone and address of the Attorney General's Public Access Counselor handy - they have become a great resource for LSCs.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan for changing this federal education law.The signers and hundreds of other parents sent this letter to their congressional representatives.
Here are a couple of things that many in Congress still seem unaware of:Parents, students and community members join teachers across the nation in opposing the major elements of Race to the TopCharter schools are not working as hyped, and in fact the majority are not performing as well as regular public schools.
Durbin is one of thirteen senators who recently wrote a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee chair Sen.
Sixteen years later, when Edgar and Elmer Davis called upon President Harry Truman at the White House to present him with a copy of the BSI, Inc. That alone was of tremendous concern to Edgar and his colleagues, for the largest GM holding outside the United States happened to be the Opel works in Germany. But he included a somber note: a€?There are just two things that can stop this trend that is underway. And one day in 1936, perhaps for his birthday, his wife gave him a book she apparently had reason to believe that he would enjoy: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, by a Chicago newspaperman named Vincent Starrett. To summarize here: on October 15th Edgar wrote to Starrett (on GM Export Company stationery) a lengthy letter that not only lavishly praised the book, but presented a theory of Edgara€™s own about the date that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. The Opel family remained involved in it with members of the family on its now bi-national board of directors, and to the outside world Opel still appeared a German company despite GM ownership and a GM man, Cyrus Osborn, at its helm there in RA?sselsheim.
An able and accomplished negotiator, his career was devoted to GMa€™s overseas interests, and he had the confidence of Edgara€™s superior Jim Mooney in New York. Chiming in from another angle a€” that GM had also set out deliberately to destroy Americaa€™s urban public transit after the war a€” was a House of Representatives staffer named Bradford Snell. In the end, to defend their records, some companies threw open their archives to eminent historians, with free rein to investigate and report. While Graeme Howard on the scene carried the burden for GMa€™s hanging onto Opel, Edgar, as Jim Mooneya€™s right-hand man in New York, found himself involved in a personal way. Opela€™s management was pressed to stop employing Jews or doing business with Jewish firms. Not Dullesa€™s and Edgara€™s first meeting, though: Dulles had also been a presenter at the previous montha€™s American Academy of Political and Social Sciences in Philadelphia. In fact, parents must be involved at the highest levels of decision making, so that "reform" is positive and effective for our children, not ideological and destructive. If you are a Chase customer, today would be a good day to show your support for public schools by e-mailing Chase with your concerns or comments about their support for charter schools. The web site also offers free online training in the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act, which would be a good choice for your LSC lessons 7-8- or 9. Daniel Inouye opposing this bill, which was formulated by the chair of the House Education committee, Rep. Edgar believed in free trade, and helped found the World Trade League in 1932 in order to campaign for monetary and tariff standards promoting it. Once on the spot, he took over the struggle with Fleischer and his Nazi allies, and after a few months of nerve-wracking machinations managed to preserve GM control of Opela€™s management and board a€” for the time being.
In GMa€™s case it was Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., professor emeritus of history at Yale and author of German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler. No doubt Edgar wanted GM to prevail as much as Howard and Mooney did, but how he felt personally is suggested in a April 16, 1938 letter to Vincent Starrett in the middle of the Opel struggle. In 1937, the Nazi Party succeeded in installing an SS reserve officer as the planta€™s security chief, and an informer system throughout the workforce quickly followed. It was a huge affair and Smith wrote the Declarations for the convention while Beverly and I typed our fingers to the bone.
You can also write to CEO Jamie Dimon, at JP Morgan Chase, 270 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10017.Here's what I wrote to them.
Jesse Jackson of Rainbow Push along with the NAACP and the National Urban League, will motivate the Obama administration tor do more than call out the spin doctors. Anthony House yesterday, opining that a field trip would have gone a long way toward improving my sense of local history. And he also argued for it publicly in his essay a€?Foreign Trade and the Domestic Welfarea€? in the July 1936 Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. But if Elmer Davis exaggerated a trifle, he was not wrong about Edgara€™s sympathies and political alignment. The other is an exaggerated monetary disturbance, manifesting itself either in wild inflation or equally wild deflation. And Turnera€™s resulting General Motors and the Nazis: The Struggle for Control of Opel, Europea€™s Biggest Carmaker, published by Yale University Press in 2005, made Edwin Blacka€™s charges look flimsy. The internet gives us so many new opportunities for reaching people with our message and our perspective. Hilton, and Snell was humiliated when Professor Hilton testified before Congress that Snell had egregiously distorted his work in a deeply dishonest way.
In the late 1940s, George Hilton had been an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, and a co-founder of the BSI scion society The Coptic Patriarchs.
Not so surprising is that the Frederick Douglass museum, just down the block, is still very much a work in progress.Anyway, I loved the tour and especially loved the sculpture, in a little park midway between the Anthony house and the struggling Douglas Center, depicting Susan B. It launched, during his busiest years at GM, a long period of scholarly research and writing unimaginable in terms of modern-day BSI leadership.



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