Mudcat Café message #3907582 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #150708   Message #3907582
Posted By: robomatic
24-Feb-18 - 07:07 AM
Thread Name: rebellion and protest in John Henry
Subject: RE: rebellion and protest in John Henry
John Henry was a steel driving Luddite.

Man is a tool making and using animal. When the ability to use mechanical means came along the cotton gin made slavery a going concern, as it paid the owners to have lots of cotton to feed the machine that could get the seeds out of the bolls. But there was no machine for picking that cotton, ergo cheap labor.
When steam came along you didn't need the mule Sal to tote that barge on the Erie Canal. Likewise when the steam drill came along it worked harder for longer no matter the color of the workers.
(I always liked the song "John Henry". As a young kid I had no idea of the issue of race in the song. The version I heard most was Harry Belafonte's who sang "...ain't nothin' but my hammer suckin' wind")

When the computer came along, there was a somewhat legendary but true story of a Japanese man who worked an abacus and beat the computer on a large arithmetic procedure. But the postscript to the story was that the man who used the abacus went to sleep for a day afterwords, while the soldier who operated ENIAC went out to play baseball.

Now the rebellion is real, man against tool-using man. The French workers wrecked the