For women, Marxism had two results. It prevented them from being aware that they are a class and therefore from constituting themselves as a class for a very long time, by leaving the relation « women/men » outside of the social order, by turning it into a natural relation, doubtless for Marxists the only one, along with the relation of mothers to children, to be seen this way, and by hiding the class conflict between men and women behind a natural division of labor (The German Ideology). This concerns the theoretical (ideological) level. On the practical level, Lenin, the party, all the communist parties up to now, including all the most radical political groups, have always reacted to any attempt on the part of women to reflect and form groups based on their own class problem with an accusation of divisiveness. By uniting, we women are dividing the strength of the people. This means that for the Marxists women belong either to the bourgeois class or to the proletariat class, in other words, to the men of these classes.
—  Monique Wittig, from One is Not Born A Woman (1981)


“Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.” - “I cannot make a promise that I cannot keep. Stupid is in my nature.”


All of Henry VIII’s six wives were related to each other–and to Henry–by a common ancestor, King Edward I (“Longshanks”). Henry was Edward’s seven- and nine-times great-grandson on his mother’s side and his six-times great-grandson on his father’s, while all of his wives–including the Spanish-born Katherine of Aragon and the German-born Anne of Cleves–were Edward’s seven-, eight-, or nine-times great-granddaughters.*

To the best of my ability, here are the wives’ ancestry dating back to Edward I.

Edward I → Edward II → Edward III → John of Gaunt → Philippa of Lancaster → Infante John of Portugal → Isabel of Portugal → Isabel of Castile → Katherine of Aragon

Edward I → Thomas of Brotherton → Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk → Elizabeth de Segrave → Thomas Mowbray → Margaret Mowbray → John Howard → Thomas Howard → Elizabeth Howard → Anne Boleyn

Edward I → Edward II → Edward III → Lionel, Duke of Clarence → Phillippa of Clarence →  Elizabeth Mortimer → Elizabeth Percy → Mary Clifford → Henry Wentworth → Margaret Wentwoth → Jane Seymour

Edward I → Margaret, Duchess of Brabant → John III of Brabant → Margaret of Brabant → Margaret III of Flanders → John I of Burgundy → Marie of Burgundy → John I, Duke of Cleves → John II, Duke of Cleves → John III, Duke of Cleves → Anne of Cleves

Edward I → Thomas of Brotherton → Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk → Elizabeth de Segrave → Thomas Mowbray → Margaret Mowbray → John Howard → Thomas Howard → Edmund Howard → Kathryn Howard

Edward I → Edward II → Edward III → John of Gaunt → Joan Beaufort → Richard Neville → Alice Neville → Elizabeth FitzHugh → Thomas Parr → Katherine Parr

While Anne Boleyn and Kathryn Howard were famously the most closely related of Henry’s wives as first cousins, (Anne’s mother was a sister of Kathryn’s father), Katherine of Aragon, Jane Seymour, and Katherine Parr all share a closer common ancestor in Edward III, and the first and last of Henry’s Katherines were both descended from John of Gaunt, who was Aragon’s three- and Parr’s four-times great-grandfather, respectively.

It’s also possible that some or all of these women were descended from other members of the English royal family in yet more ways, but these are the lines that I was able to follow. Until very recently I had no idea that all of Henry’s wives, even Anne of Cleves, were related to him; I thought it was kind of wild!

* This may not be the precisely correct terminology, as I’m no genealogist.

Just as class lets out for the summer across the country, a new one has just been announced.

NASA has chosen 12 people from a pool of more than 18,300 applicants for two years of training before giving them the title of “astronaut.”

The space agency received a record number of applicants after announcing an open application in December 2015.

Jasmin Moghbeli, one of the dozen candidates, spoke with NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro from Houston’s Johnson Space Center, where she’ll undertake the training program starting in August.

Moghbeli, who says she’s wanted to be an astronaut since the sixth grade, talked about what kind of candidate it takes to earn the coveted spot.

“Start looking into science, technology, engineering, math, those kinds of fields,” the German-born, New York native says. But whatever you do, she says, love it.

Meet Your Lucky Stars: NASA Announces A New Class Of Astronaut Candidates

Photo: NASA


I’m still slacking off on all my responsibilities and am not feeling well, so I decided to start a small project that I’ve been meaning to do for a while; namely, illustrating the relations between Prussia and Russia, starting with the 18th century!
…obviously my style is not going to be very consistent. Anyway, on to explain this piece! My knowledge may not be 100% accurate and corrections are appreciated.

Keep reading

The Army of Immigrants

Records of men who camped at Valley Forge, expose the myth of farmers throwing down their plows to fight for land they’d owned for generations.

Enlisted ranks were largely landless men in their teens or early twenties, unmarried and poor.  The army offered steady wage, food, whiskey, and clothes, so patriotism was not often the driving factor of their enlistment.  A study of 710 New Jersey Continentals showed almost all came from lower economic classes and only a small number had a profession at all.

In addition to being landless, most were not American-born. Before the revolution, over 300,000 Irish had immigrated to North America, and their bitterness of British oppression helped lead the drive for independence. In most New England Continental regiments, 10-20% of the men had Irish surnames, and in middle states that percentage was consistently higher. Units from Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware were usually around 45% Irish. In The First Pennsylvania, 315 of 660 men were Irish-born and another 215 listed “America” as their place of birth, likely second-generation immigrants.  

After the Irish, German-born men held the second-largest percentage, making up somewhere from 10-20% of the rank-and-file soldiers at Valley Forge.  They were the largest ethnic group in the United States at the time, mostly settled in New York and Pennsylvania.  

Additionally, almost 10% of Washington’s army, camped at Valley Forge, was made up of African or African American soldiers.  Many enlisted voluntarily, but it’s true that some were given as bounty for their masters to avoid enlistment.  And, many served through to the end of the war, finding better treatment among enlisted ranks as ‘brother soldiers’.

info from: “No Meat, No Soldier: Race, Class and Ethnicity in the Continental Army” Charles P. Neimeyer

When the Nazis arrived in the small villages of the Ukraine with their accursed Einsatzgruppen units, they followed a specific recipe: the Jews were ordered to assemble, any thought of resistance was crushed, and the entire Jewish community was led out of town away from prying eyes, usually into the forests on the edge of town. The people were made to dig ditches, undress and pile their belongings in ordered piles, and then to stand in rows one group after another in front of the ditches….

In one small village, as the Jews were assembled in a clearing in the forest outside of town, it was abundantly clear what was about to happen. The remains of the previous day’s action for a different nearby village were obvious; the ditches were already dug, the piles of clothing still present, and the machine guns set up on tripods opposite the ditches left no room for doubt.

In the midst of it all, one of the Rabbis of the town stepped forward and addressed the SS officer clearly in charge:

“Sir! Is it not customary for a prisoner to be granted a last request? I should like the opportunity to lead my congregation in one final blessing.”

Amused, the SS officer decided to grant the Jew this last request, whereupon the Rabbi turned towards the community and recited out loud the morning blessing:

 “Blessed are you oh Lord our G-d, master of the Universe, who did not make me of the Nations of the world (“… shelo’ asani Goy.”); Then the rabbi led the community in the final Vidui (confessional) prayers.

The SS officer, now curious asked the rabbi what the prayer meant and the rabbi explained he was thanking G-d for having created them as Jews and not as Germans, whereupon the SS Officer roared with laughter:

“Fool!” he said, “If you had been born a German you would not be standing in front of ditches about to leave this world! Why would you be thankful for being Jewish …?”

And the Rabbi explained: “For whatever the reason G-d has decreed some will be murdered and some will be murderers; we are blessed not to be murderers…”  - Rav Ephraim Oshry