The arendt files, p.26
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       The Arendt Files, p.26

           Ivan Rosemblatt
 
“I must tell you, I never thought it would be possible.”

  “What?”

  “Well first to take over all of the surrounding area so that every single person and family was an active part of the operation.”

  “It is one of the benefits of the destruction of all identification records. That made it much easier to replace families. I would say the risk has been far greater to your people. You are putting up your best and your brightest? How many people have you sent up?”

  “In the last six months 500. Total 2,600. I still don't understand where you are putting everyone. It seems impossible.”

  “It's amazing to me that they are willing to return to slave territory. I admire their bravery.”

  “Well Hannahh, this needs to work and there is no way it can work without complete discipline and loyalty. They understand that. And the rewards will be great.”

  “I should tell you Paul that Mabel is running this operation with an iron fist.”

  “How so?”

  “She has executed twenty two soldiers.”

  “Twenty two! That seems outrageous. How can we afford to lose that many of our best people? What possible reasons could she have?”

  “Failure to follow orders, insubordination, drunkenness, rape. From what I understand a soldier expressed displeasure at following an order from a black woman within earshot of her and she executed him on the spot. She did it herself. If people question her orders or do anything that might jeopardize the operation she has only one punishment.”

  “Can we permit this? Should she be relieved of command?”

  “Absolutely not. We will need to stay aware of how things develop. She will become an extremely powerful figure if she leads this mission successfully. Her methods are barbaric but she has been invaluable. No we won't be removing her, if anything it is more likely that she will be promoted.”

  “Twenty two executions strikes me as the possible makings of a despot.”

  “In other conditions I would agree.”

  “Lately I feel as though we have gone back in time to the wars of antiquity. Wars without laws.”

  “Yes, well. I suppose the veneer of civilization has been ripped away. It is a terrible price we pay.”

  “Well Hannahh, I believe your army is out there, ready to form. We just have to give them a chance to come together. To gather”

  “Paul, on a different note. How is the work in Africa going?”

  “It is going well. Better than we could have expected but there is still a great deal to do.”

  How often are you getting information back?”

  “Once every three to six months.”

  Hannahh stopped to turn and look at him, “That long? That is too long. It is like living in the 17th century.”

  “It certainly is. One of the reasons I said that it is going well is that our sailor have become expert, top notch. Still it is tremendously risky. I hate tell you how many ships we have lost, how many men, especially at the start. There are the Nazi patrols but of course the ocean is so large, then again when we loose ships we have no idea what happened, if it was storm or capture. Capture is unlikely. All of the ships are rigged with explosives and the men are committed to death before capture.”

  “Can we really trust any man to choose death?”

  “No of course not. I think it's very simple. They know how they would be treated at the hands of of the Nazi's.”

  “What I can say is that it seems that we are under the radar. We have received no intelligence that they know anything”

  “Do the Nazi's simply have no idea what we are doing or if they just don't consider it a threat.”

  “From what we can gather they have been leaving Africa alone. At first they went on slaving raids along the coast. People moved inland and they stopped. I think that they have plenty of slave labor in Europe and don't need to bring any black people over, fear of contaminating race purity.”

  “I believe they find us unaesthetic.”

  “Paul, that is our great strategic advantage.”

  “What their racism?”

  “Yes, their stupidity. Their inability to see value in things that aren't like them. We must continue to build strength in all the areas they neglect. That is what I am saying. They miss almost all of life which leaves us so much room. Such a large territory.”

  “Once we were able to learn where to land on the West African Coast and find out what areas were amenable to at least talking to us we started to make progress.”

  “What a tremendously difficult task. First to make contact with these tribes.”

  “Nations.”

  “Are they functioning as nations?”

  “The groups we are focusing on, yes.”

  “Who would have thought that colonialism as we knew it would end this way? Just abandoned.”

  “Hannahh I never imagined any of this. I had hoped for a workers revolution.”

  “Yes solidarity amongst the working people. I think we have something new. Empire slavery and capitalism all rolled into one. My hope is that with the intellectual work that was done we can avoid a thousand year Reich. We have a basis from which to devise a strategy. We understand the forces at play and we can attack at the weakest link.”

  “Are you quoting Lenin?”

  “Pfah. Lenin plagiarized it.”

  “It as amazing task you have given your young men. Can they recognize the import. I feel that when we triumph they will be remembered in the future similarly to the greatest people in history. Alexanders army, Marco Polo.”

  “Hannahh it is such a unique task, so intellectually confusing. They are like pirates, they resemble European explorers discovering uncharted people's, missionaries seeking converts, revolutionaries organizing unions, educator's, soldiers, and of course orphans returning home.”

  “They must be remarkable men.”

  “They are becoming remarkable through their work. That is one of the things that gives me the most hope, they surpass us. They are men and women of action and intellect. They go out there into jungles and dessert and have to convince people who sadly have often come to see white people as the source of wisdom. Then they do whatever they have to improvise, cajole, educate and sometimes kill. Most of them request to return. It is heart warming because returning from Afica they return more whole from the motherland. They understand themselves better.”

  “Do you think we can raise an army.”

  “We will need to bring more to the table but yes, I believe so.”

  “Where do you build the ships? Wait, never mind. I don't need to know. But I am curious about them.”

  “Yes, we have some Nantucket men and Maine craftsmen as well.”

  “I still am sadly a bit weak I my regional culture of the American.”

  “Think Moby Dick, although I believe that starts in Boston. In any case true, artisan's.

  “How did you find them?”

  “Your people found them for us. It's funny Hannahh., skilled labor always lack discipline because they can't be replaced. They were so difficult to begin with. They didn't want to show us anything and we were completely dependent on them. Usually they only give up their tricks to apprentices after year of treating them like hell, if ever.”

  “How did you deal with it.”

  “Well first of all, of course they understood that this was a different situation but they were very set in their ways.”

  “They like their breaks.”

  “Very much so.”

  “So what did it?”

  “Whiskey. We just started getting them drunk, brought some of of our musicians over.”

  “Who's idea was that?”

  “Their own, “Don't you have any fucking music around here.” Robeson shouted out in thick Nantucket brogue. One thing led to another and one of them fell in love with one of our ladies, got married, had a baby. They aren't really men to take orders or rush, but we put some of our brightest to work with them and they have now taken up the bul
k of the work and are at it non stop, working twelve or fourteen hour shifts. The old timers are still there to tell them everything that they are doing wrong. What the old timers don't realize is that all of those men are engineers. It's a joy to see them scolding the young men for their incompetence. When they see something being done poorly they go off rails shouting and swearing, they shove the boy aside to show them how it's done. And when they put their hands on their tools, too watch them work is just amazing.”

  “I have often thought that craftsmanship was one of the main reason's why there were so few popular revolts during the so called dark ages. The peasants had to deal with the constant dangers of injury, disease and death, but otherwise they were left alone to grow and make things.”

  “Yes, I think industrial productions takes that away from people at least as much as it gives..The sailors took me on that cruise . The craftsmanship of the deck was fantastic.”

  “Men have a way of getting much more worked up over things like a wood floor.” Robeson broke out into a deep laugh. “Yes we do. And women have a real ability to let us know how silly they find it.”

  “Not silly. Perhaps a little exaggerated.” He wiped tears of laughter from his eyes.

  “Of course as our engineers have been developing our light industrial capacities we plan to start building metal ships. It will be a great improvement in safety but it will also be a sad day. It is very difficult to get the kind of wood we need for the ribs and main masts. At least at was during the first phase. What we did was moved a large part of our production to Africa where it is easier for us to get our hands on the wood we need. Sadly we will want to shut production. Hannahh, I honestly had no idea what a rich life it was, the sailor's life. Maybe I missed my calling”

  “Yes it reminds one of, what? A simpler time?”

  “Perhaps. Perhaps the lack of time. When you are out there propelled by the wind it is easier to see the world as fresh as on the first day of creation. It braces one with hope.”

  “You keep speaking of hope.”

  “Perhaps it is an insecurity, since I mention it too often. I often feel that we are all going through the motions. Working without it.”

  “Well you know what Kafka said about hope.”

  “I don't recall.”

  “He said there is infinite hope, but not for us.”

  “That about sums it up.”

  “When do you expect to have metal ships running?”

  “We are stalled out. We need some expertise we don't have. A metallurgist and especially an naval shipbuilding engineer. We want to be sure about the kind of reinforcement we need for the guns. We have tried to figure it out ourselves but the numbers we are coming up with make no sense, each gun would need its own ship.”

  “When do they arrive?” Robeson shrugged.

  “How long have you been waiting?”

  “A year.”

  “A year? That is unacceptable! What the hell is going on? Why didn't you let me know sooner?”

  “I try not to burden you with details. I want to make sure that when there is something truly crucial I have your ear.”

  “Nonsense. I need to know the details as well. From now on you will get word to me right away.”

  “Hannahh, each communication is a risk.”

  “Our encryption is working quite well. Is that really why you hesitated?”

  “I assumed they didn't have any military engineers willing to live amongst Negro's.”

  “This racism. It is like a ghost that haunts us constantly.”

  “Well Hannahh. I put two requests in and it has been over a year.”

  “I understand. You must communicate directly with me. I will make it clear to my people that I deal deal with your requests. I will sort it all out. Soldiers have to follow orders. Don't worry yourself about that anymore. I assure you I will handle your requests. Damn it Paul. I hope you are wrong about the why, if not I will have to take drastic measures.”

  “You know Hannahh, you can't force people to open their minds.”

  “No, but you can punish incompetence.”

  “I always preferred the anarchist military.”

  “In Spain?”

  “Yes, I met many of them and they told me stories.”

  “They elected their officers.”

  “Yes.”

  “They were destroyed Paul.”

  “They were betrayed by the communists. They had no reason to expect that.”

  “Betrayed and destroyed. Sadly at this point we can't allow even the slightest idealism. In any case the last thing we can afford is to have racism get in the way of our work. If they had any idea how much our plan depends on your people.”

  “They don't know?”

  “Almost no one. Most have some bits and pieces of the story. I keep it all split up. If this leaks to the enemy, it would set us back, who knows. Permanently.”

  “Since it's such a delicate time. We can put the ships on the back burner right now. Who knows. Our people may came up with a better solution without their help.”

  “Well in any case and our lines of communications are improving constantly so inform me from here on out.”

  “It used to take three months minimum for a response, minimum.”

  “Yes, I used to think of the Incan highway and the runners going back and forth.”

  “We are making headway then?”

  “Yes Paul, there is progress. It is hard to feel or notice, well with the country transformed as it, is but we are most definitely making progress and we will be discussing how this excellent work you have been doing has been contributing. The people you have sent up the plantation are extraordinary.”

  “Have you been getting word from Mabel? I knew her parents. I feel extraordinarily responsible for her.”

  “She would not like to hear that. She is a Colonel now. I will definitely make her a general soon. She is in charge of the entire operation. She is not a child.”

  “I know.”

  “Don't be sentimental now Paul. We can't afford sentimentality. I love how much education work you are doing.”

  “I thought I would take advantage of this crisis to push it through.”

  “Yes it is only in times of great disquiet that radical changes can be made.”

  “Everybody is worked to the bone, what with all the studying and training and farming and weaving that has to be done. It's the right kind of exhaustion though. Hardship has a way of drawing people together. Slavery was constant hardship but the slave master learned how to set brother against brother, sister against sister. We are trying to break through all of that. Consciousness raising”

  “I can see it Paul. Your men look wide awake.”

  “That is why we must survive. Why we have to win. So that all of this can have it's place.”

  “I would love to speak with some of the students.”

  “We will arrange that. Most of them are very familiar with your writings. We use them.”

  “They are interested in theology?”

  “They are interested in you. I'll be honest, sometimes I struggle understanding your concepts. I'm speaking of your preoccupation writing of course. Your more recent work is crystal clear.”

  “That is because it is propaganda Paul.”

  “The smartest propaganda I have ever read. In any case our students appreciate your work a great deal and will be thrilled to meet with you. Of course they question your discussion of the Greeks. They are looking to African sources and non slave based culture.”

  “This is good. Hopefully it will make for a lively discussion.”

  “I think most of them miss the University environment. Having the luxury to focus on reading and thinking without so many outside pressures.”

  “I know the feeling. We should set up a seminar. Three days. After we finish our business. Gather a group of students and we will dive into something really dense.”

  “Can you spare the time Hannahh?”

  “Damn
it we will make the time! I need it. There is nothing better than a class full of committed students”

  “ If you say so. We will do it.”

  Chapter 27

 

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