Sunday, March 27, 2005

Some Reading

  • A news article about the shootings in the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota on an online Native publication. It includes the information that "Contribution to provide assistance to victim's families can be sent to Red Lake Nation Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 574, Red Lake, MN 56671."

  • I don't go over to Dissident Voice all that often, but when I do I always hope that I'll come across an article by Joe Bageant. He's a socialist from a white working-class background in the heart of the South of the United States, and he writes with a gritty and distinctive voice. I don't always agree with his politics 100%, but his latest is bang on. Here are some excerpts:

    [My friend] Dickie's class, the business and owning class, is congenitally incapable of getting the fact that the masses are part of political history too. These owning class people are not mean, or at least not intentionally so, nor are they stupid. They merely live their lives based upon the way they have experienced their lives -- as a class that owns the country and rents it back to the rest of us. And they see us as exactly that, a faceless swarm to be exploited and managed profitably. His class’ town bankers owned my daddy’s ass, and I don’t even want to think of the ways Dicko probably owns mine indirectly through local financial institutions.

    OK. So the truly rich may not get it. But the most dangerous weasels of all, the ones at the next level down from Dicko -- those little ankle biters trying to get a bigger piece of the action -- they get it all too well. Or at least to the extent they understand that the masses need to be roughed up from time to time. Kept in their place. Now I’m not talking about the barber or three-chair beauty shop or the deli owner up the street. I am talking about the realtors, lawyers and middlemen willing to cooperate in whatever it takes to destroy land use and zoning codes, bust unions and keep wages low, rents high, the liberals down and the “cullids” out. This group of second tier conservative professionals and semi-pros are dead set on being real players someday. On their way up the ladder they will screw you blind and make you beg for your change.

    Beyond all this, it never ceases to amaze me how flat out damned ignorant these successful, well-heeled neocons at the local level can be. One business leader in my town, I’ll call him Jim Dawkins, returned from a trip to Europe and, knowing that I am a double-bottomed cast iron leftie, brought me a copy of a socialist newspaper. He gave it to me as a joke, and said “Man! Can you believe they actually allow this stuff to be published over there? We got laws against such crap in this country.” I reminded him that we have no such laws and that the socialist party is probably the largest political party on the planet. “Aw bullshit!” he said. “Then what the hell do you think is the largest party?” He answers, “The Republican Party. We’re the only country with real parties.” Now this is a guy who has an MBA, holds local office and has influence in public affairs around here. What in friggin heaven passes for education in this country? What kind of bubble are these American business people living in? Whatever the case, characters like Dicko and Jimmy Dawkins stand on the necks of millions of working poor.

    One recent winter day, after the long dark commute back from the D.C. metro area, I stepped into my living room, where for a split-second I saw my daddy sitting on the couch by the flicker of the television eating ice cream straight from the carton, just like he did when I was a kid. Even a spilt second with an apparition is a long time, an eternity which defies our very notion of time. After the electric waves of shock quit going through my body, I sat down on the couch and reminded myself why I am a socialist: If I can do my bit, however small that may be, to prevent good men like my dad from working their guts out to line a lesser man’s pocket, or restore dignity to labor in even the smallest way, then I will do it. And if I can use the only damned gift I ever had -- the one he never understood -- in testimony, then I will do that too.

  • The focus of this article is on the questionable goal of rebuilding the Democrats, but the lesson that it preaches is that "we" need to get out there and knock on doors and talk to people -- sub in a somewhat different understanding of "we" and some different goals, and it has an important point to make.

  • Found here: Oliver Cromwell, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and an afterthought on George W. Bush.

1 comment:

Shiggy G said...

The democrats are divorced from mainstream american values -- they need help

check out my blog