Category Archives: Questions

Ce moys de mai

ma verte cotte je vestirai.

I have been trying to decide whether or not to leave the Democratic Party formally. I am going to vote Green for President in November but I am still attached to the mid-century idea of the Democratic Party as the party of the working class.

I regret I cannot be a loyal Democrat — the allegedly realistic option in the United States after the suppression of the Left — but that Political Compass Test says even the most liberal Democrats are quite far away from me on many points. They are “tolerant” like me but they are a capitalist party and apparently I do not have the capitalist attitude at all — I am socialist and anarchist, even more than I realize or acknowledge.

I see ever more clearly how I take after my grandmother and great-aunt, the Socialists (who knew and argued with Emma Goldman), and my great-uncle, the Wobbly. Reading about the IWW once again I note that its internal arguments are the ones I have with myself. Perhaps I am it or it is me.

Perhaps I was explicitly given it to inherit. When I got my first car Addison and my grandmother were already dead but the car allowed me to go visit my great-aunt on my own for the first time. I did not think of it then, I just went because I wanted to, but it was probably very important to her that I did this. She was at least 94 and may also have supposed it could be the last time she saw me. Perhaps she made sure to offer me the legacy that day.

With her and Addison the usual place to have lunch would have been the Blue Rock, which had been a speakeasy and had bawdy-rooms upstairs in the early twentieth century but was respectable now. We could not go, she said, because she had been the day before, so we went elsewhere.

What she had to say started out: “Don’t tell anyone, but I am still a Socialist.”

Axé.

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Political compass

I took this test again and ended up in the far lower left corner again. This makes me much more radical than Mahatma Ghandi or Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and virtually every U.S. presidential candidate is in the upper right quadrant, which they share with Adolf. Uncle Joe is in the upper left quadrant.

I am -9 communist (+10 is the least communist you can be) and -9 anarchist (+10 is the least anarchist you can be). Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich are in my quadrant, but much closer to the center. Sanders is slightly left of center economically but very, very close to it otherwise. (The United States is a conservative country.)

I re-took this test because I was arguing with some Marxists and was amazed at their authoritarianism. That is the difference between them and me, it would seem. It is also a key difference between me and most members of the Democratic Party.

Axé.

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On service

This post, and the comments on it, are very important. My problem, however, is how to get all the service done for 9 people when only 2 people have the necessary skills and these 2 people are the ones who most suffer if service is not done (we then have to clean up the resulting mess) … in a situation where a reason there is so much service in need of doing is the malign neglect we have from above.

Axé.

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Open thread on the baby boom

I am not one of those who believes generations have common characteristics and personalities — they just have certain common experiences and memories. But leaving that aside for a moment: where are the people coming from who say that it is the “baby boomers” who are responsible for the current situation of the United States?

I am convinced this story was planted by the right wing but I notice more and more people take it as fact now.

Please discuss.

Axé.

 

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On the Rolling Stones in Cuba

I saw Larry Hill of the Guardian say:

The Rolling Stones formed between the Bay of Pigs Invasion and Cuban Missile Crisis. Around the time baby boom kids’ fear of the Cold War was getting in the way of spending their baby boom allowance. I too was conceived and born in this gap between being scared to death of utter nuclear annihilation and not giving a fuck. After this generational shift in consciousness, posture and pose were indistinguishable and interchangeable. The Stone’s entire catalog backs this up, from their empty fascination with American blues to their bland late offerings. Aside from their bad boy portrayals in the media they never really pandered to hippies’ false hopes or stepped on anyone’s toes and never really took a side. Because of this there couldn’t have been a better neutral representation of Western music to open Cuba: once dominant now ineffectual, once muscular now atrophied, once read dangerous and disruptive now read quaintly harmless, once in the moment now unknowingly out of date–living out the fate of any revolution.

There are of course left and also right wing critiques of the fact that the Stones played Cuba. But what about this critique of them? I mean, I think I know these things already and did not expect more, and am not as upset therefore. But what do you think?

Axé.

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The likeability factor

This explains a great deal but I would add from my experience that if you are a kind person, yet competent, you are actually LESS LIKEABLE than if you are incompetent and/or ditzy, yet authoritarian and/or a jerk.

Part of the explanation is that one gets a pass on those negative characteristics or behaviors if one is also serving the patriarchy, broadly understood.

But there is something else, more ineffable about it. I do not understand it. Perhaps it is that this type of person is always manipulative, always calculating, and fawns in the right directions.

I am not sure. I would like comments on this post, however.

Axé.

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Mais dis donc

Had I realized the CSA was meeting in Haiti, I would have arranged to be part of that adventure. I am tempted to write the director and ask if I can join late. Even though I am not funded for it, and even though part of it overlaps with something else I am committed to, I want to go. I have a Haiti-related paper I am working on, and I could use the word transcolonial instead of transnational.

The sensible thing is to wait until there is another conference in Haiti and plan on doing that, but when will this be? It is not like waiting for there to be another conference in the United States, or in France. But then again, how good will this conference really be, for my purposes? What about the $200 registration fee?

In sum, it appears that to go to Haiti, I want to go to an event, and it is clear that one of the things I should do and do not is have Fulbrights. (I do not take them because I have bills at home that I need to cover, and because I do not live in a place where it is easy to rent out the house. I wonder whether this assessment of the situation could bear revision.)

Axé.

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