December 21, 2013
Mankind has always engaged in a series of forced removal of its political undesirables, which usually culminated with deadly consequences. This fact is not lost upon the inhabitants of this country. The United States has a checkered past when it comes to the treatment of political undesirables. In this country, Plymouth Colony banished individuals who had the “wrong beliefs” and the “wrong attitudes” to a near certain death in the New England winter. This was followed by the Indian Removal Act, initiated by President Andrew Jackson, which led to the infamous Trail of Tears. The latter incident led to the widespread practice of placing Native American tribes on reservations under very unhealthy, and often deadly consequences. In 1942, America citizens of Japanese descent were sentenced to relocation camps for the crime of being the wrong race in a time of war. The Germans also had their concentration camps and the Russians had their Gulags, and on and on it goes.
Despite the fact that history is replete with examples of forced incarcerations of political undesirables and in many cases, extermination of innocents, most Americans refuse to believe it could ever happen here. “We are too civilized or we have the Bill of Rights, are the two most common justifications used to reinforce the mass denial systems of the sheep of this country. Yet, another voice emerges on this topic from the world of scientific research. The psychological research is stunning in that it shows that a holocaust could occur in the United States and the circumstances would not have to be extraordinary for this to occur.
Stanley Milgram and the Solomon Asch Experiments On Obedience
In 1963, after listening to Americans proclaim their superiority to the Nazis by indicating that our fair and virtuous society would never engage in what the Germans did in the pre-WWII years, Yale University professor, Dr. Stanley Milgram, set out to test that unproven hypothesis. What the Milgram research indicated was that 67% of the population are nothing but a bunch of sheep as the experiment proved that most subjects would follow the orders of a perceived authority figure to put an innocent to death even where there was a distinct absence of real coercion. Milgram proved that most people need very little provocation to carry out a “Lord of the Flies” agenda.
Prior to the Milgram experiment, Solomon Asch conducted his own experiment on mindless conformity. Asch demonstrated that just under 60% of the people could be coerced into giving what they knew was the wrong answer by the ever so subtle application of peer pressure. By having six confederates in the experiment, give the wrong answer, most of the test subjects would also give what was obviously the wrong answer in an effort to go along to get along. Americans, like any other people, are largely conformist sheep.
People in this country who mistakenly believe as most Americans did in 1963 that we could never have a genocidal internment in this country, believe so at their own peril. Some Americans who believe that this event is inevitable, are obviously not aware of the follow up research in response to the Milgram and Solomon Asch experiments, for it there was a silver lining the research, it is that when people become aware of our tendencies to conform are known, the rates of compliance go down. Therefore, simply knowing about the phenomenon makes it less likely to occur.
What is most frightening to me is that when we compare the psychological experiments of the 1960′s to today’s population, it is noteworthy that the people of the 1960′s did not live under the NDAA, Executive Order 13603 and REX 84. This means that genocidal internment is much more likely today.
A Ray of Hope for Spreading the Word
Later research confirmed that when people are educated about the subtleties of peer pressure, group think and our need to obey, the Milgram and Solomon Asch rates of compliance dropped by about 50%.
The totality of this research has clear implications for our time in history. If we educate as many people about what is really going on in this country with regard to the loss of civil liberties and current events, we can lessen the likelihood that Americans will engage in genocidal internment of its own citizens. The disinfectant of the light of day is our best ally. Everyone, and I mean everyone needs to become a citizen journalist and report on the abuses of this administration and the banksters who control the politicians. For if we do next to nothing, we are very likely sealing our fate. Consider the words of warning of Solzhenitsyn.
“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
The people of Russia acquiesced because they were not educated. We have the internet, which is the ultimate in the modern day example of the Committees of Correspondence. We can educate the country and diminish the threat. And every exposure of the truth needs to be accompanied by the message, “Do Not Comply”!
What happens when the “authorities” come for the people that they intend to abuse. Can one enter into a detention center and expect to come out alive and in intact?
The Two Biggest Threats to Your Survival
Imagine how a man who is deprived of everyone he has ever cared about, and at the same time this man has lost his house and all of his possessions and is separated from his family, sent to a detention center, how will he survive? There are two primary dangers facing detainees and the biggest danger consists of bad luck and that your showers will actually emit cyanide instead of water resulting in your demise. And the second danger detainees will face is the loss of hope as we succumb and let psychologically let go of the virtues of life. For how will you find meaning in your life, when you’re separated from everything that you’ve ever known and loved?
If you are sent to the camps in the upcoming clamp down, there are things you can do to exercise control over the things of which you have influence.
One of the founding fathers of the modern psychology movement, Victor Frankl, wrote about these challenges in a book entitled, Man’s Search For Meaning, which was based upon his imprisonment during WWII.
Frankl believed that the greatest loss of life in the concentration camps was the loss of individual hope. In the book, Frankl described how person after person in the death camps lost hope, pulled the covers up over their head and died. Many of the concentration camp survivors were very resilient people and were able to manufacture their own subculture while in the death camps. This helped to provide a connectivity to other human beings which provided a glimmer of hope for the detainees in the midst of abject despair.
Frankl spent four years in Auschwitz and everyone in his family, which were imprisoned along with him, died in the camp. Frankl began to seek ways to carve out a life worth living. He used his talents, as a psychiatrist, to give aid and comfort to people who were losing hope. In doing so, he connected with people at a very deep level. As a result, he found his meaning in life. He also used his imagination to hope for a better day. He used to look at the birds flying overhead and he imagined that he was one of them and for a brief moment, he was not bound by the armed guards and the fences around the camp. He was free to go anywhere and do anything. He was, for a brief time, totally free. This reminder kept his inner spirit alive and made him yearn for the day that his life would improve. Frankl maintain hope.
There Were Resisters to the Forced Incarcerations
When they come for you, what does history say about resisting incarceration? There were those in the camps that did resist as they ran from the relocation trains, and/or attacked their captors. In almost every instance, resisting authorities at the time of arrest was almost 100% fatal most often ending with a bullet in the back of their head.
What enhanced survivability was forming a set of meaningful communities in the camps. Within the death camps, a legitimate subculture appeared as the people played cards and actors, musicians, comics, singers, and dancers all entertained small groups who came together for a few hours to forget their horrific levels of dehumanization. Inmates formed close relationships with one another and this was their grass roots form of resistance.
The voices of history are clear, if you’re ever forced into a re-education camp, pray for good luck and develop meaningful relationships among your fellow detainees as well as find pleasure in the small things over which you will have some measure of control.
Some Inmates Resisted
If you allowed yourself to be taken to a camp, could you organize a resistance and somehow win your freedom? There were some that tried just that. However, the results were not promising.
In Treblinka, seven hundred Jews were successful in blowing up the camp on August 2, 1943. All but 150 of the inmates perished in retaliation for their efforts. Only 12 Treblinka inmates survived the war. In Sobibor, Jewish and Russian inmates mounted an escape on October 14, 1943. One in ten successfully escaped, about 60 out of 600. The prisoners involved in the escape survived to join the Soviet underground. In Auschwitz, on October 7, 1944, one of the four crematoria was blown up by Jewish workers, whose job it was to clear away the bodies of gas chamber victims. The workers were all caught and 100% of them were executed.
The lesson seems clear, if you allow yourself to be taken, you’re probably not coming out of the experience alive.
What is the lesson that one should draw? First, do not get caught by the so-called authorities, and I know that is easier said than done. Secondly, some will survive, not many, by choosing to go along to get along. Third, you can try to escape but the odds for survival are long. To survive by going along to get along, requires a fair amount of luck to survive. If you are not one who wants to risk their life to chance, I believe history teaches that mounting an organized escape effort may be the best chance for survival that an inmate possess Some will survive, but not most.
What About Community Resistance?
Can a community mount a successful resistance against forced genocidal internment? Despite the stereotype which betrays all death camp detainees (i.e. Gypsies, Jews, homosexuals, political dissidents and the handicapped) as meekly going to their death, there were plenty of communities which mounted a resistance. For example, on September 3, 1942, seven hundred Jewish families escaped from the Tuchin Ghetto, located in the Ukraine. However, the Nazis hunted them down, and only 15 survived.
By 1943, the residents in the famous Warsaw Ghetto, had organized an army of about 1,000 men, mostly unarmed and without military equipment. In January 1943, German soldiers entered the ghetto to round up more Jews for shipment to the death camps. They were met by a volley of bombs, Molotov cocktails, and a few bullets from the sparse number of firearms which had been smuggled into the ghettos. Twenty German soldiers were killed. The action encouraged a few members of the Polish resistance to support the uprising, and a few machine guns, some hand grenades, and about a hundred rifles and revolvers were smuggled in.
The Germans returned with almost 3,000 veteran SS troops and overcame the resistance. It is true that nearly 300 Germans were killed. However, the rebel losses were estimated at 15,000. Some survived and some actually did escape, but not many.
What is the takeaway from these experiences? Unfortunately, it is an almost certain death sentence if one allows themselves to be incarcerated by a ruthless totalitarian regime. We have seen that resistance at the point of arrest is futile. Armed and organized resistance which includes community involvement, produces long odds for survival, but some do survive. Resisting captors inside of the concentration camp, by any means necessary, is nearly fatal in every case. Acquiescing to authority, while one carves out a life under very dire circumstances, provides the best chance for survival while in the camp. However, under these conditions, one’s survival is highly dependent on being lucky.
I used to have survivors of the Holocaust come and speak to my sociology students. Subsequently, I asked all of these former death camp prisoners, what was the number one factor in their survival? Almost to a person, they stated the number one factor in their survival was luck. I was told that the Nazis would herd people to the showers which they knew was a death trap, and they were the next in line, but were turned away, because the quota had been met. It just wasn’t their day to die.
The moral of the story is clear, we need to resist with everything we have and we can best do that by shining the light of day on what is happening to us.Research shows this will dramatically lessen the rates of compliance. Everyone needs to be that reporter on the front line. Get to work and expose the NDAA, EO 13603 and REX 84.