Sunday, April 15, 2012

A word to the revolutionaries to come

Dear predominantly liberal and a few conservative friends,

As most of you know, I was an All-American and world-ranked sprinter in my checkered youth, and now in my mid-seventies more than half-a-century later, I am about to finish my metaphorical leg of a relay race in which I now pass the baton to you progressive, mostly younger, mostly liberal  "runners" who will run what may well be the societal anchor leg--the last leg for the remnants of us true liberal all-American activists.  I invite you to forward this post to sympathetic liberals and indeed even to conservatives of your acquaintance who care about the future of American-style democracy.

 Much of the American liberal class has essentially sold out to the corporations.  Now we must pray that President Barack Obama will grow some huge cojones and stand up to the cowardly Philistines in his own party that has an ass as its symbol, as well as to those in the pachydermous party of the Republicans who have briskly set about dismantling our democracy with their unwillingness to tax those among us who are the most fortunate--with the accent on "fortune."  You relatively few individuals whom I address in this post (plus some additional individuals whom I shall perhaps address in subsequent forwarded emails, as well as in additional communications) are progressive activists or potential activists who have the interest, brain power, and drive to reactivate and redirect the "liberal class."  As most of you know, it is as a member of this class that I have been a revolutionary anti-establishment, anti-institutional, counter-corporate member for all of my life.  (So were my freedom-loving Scotland-born father and grandfather before me--at considerable economic and indeed sometimes physical cost, I might add, to all three of us.)  

Many conservatives, numerous affiliates of the Tea Party, and others who are politically right-of-center either worship the power-elite uncritically (and thus self-sacrificially) or else are themselves clinging--albeit precariously--to the lower fringes of the power-elite.  What is less known but is becoming starkly and increasingly recognized (and regarding which I therefore feel I must emphasize now and sound a relevant clarion warning bell) is that the American LIBERAL class as we have known it is indeed selling out now as well to the mega-corporations that control the world's wealth and that loot, exploit, and oppress the common man, the downtrodden, children, women, and the aged, infirm, and impoverished in Detroit, in Michigan, across America, and indeed throughout our planet.  This makes me worry about the futures of my son Steve and my daughter Katherine, and the futures of my grandson RJ and my granddaughter Tori--as it should also make you worry about the futures of your children and grandchildren and indeed the future of our embattled country.  

Let me exemplify for you a (seemingly) relatively insignificant symptom/result of this (I will doubtless cite other symptoms in later emails), to wit:  

Frighteningly, the Republican Governor of Michigan has appointed an emergency manager for the imploding Detroit Public Schools and afforded him dictatorial powers to void legally-agreed-upon contracts and dissolve the union--thus simultaneously disenfranchising Detroit voters, including me.  This process could presently be duplicated in other school districts and municipalities--and ultimately perhaps even in some state governments throughout the nation.  I submit that this violates the United States Constitution and sets a perilous precedent that enables the encroachment of totalitarianism in the United States of America.    

Relatedly, the toadying corporatization of numerous members of the once intellectually independent and vigorously activist liberal class, among whom have historically numbered  academic, municipal, faith-based, trade-union, arts-based, financial, political and indeed Democratic leaders, has gone hand-in-hand with the shift from a print-based culture to an image-based culture, as Dr. Chris Hedges, a fellow of the Nation Institute, and I have both been asserting in recent years.  Hedges correctly observes that the decline of newspapers--along with that of book-publishing, coupled with the degradation of our educational system for all but the elite few--has created a culture in which verifiable fact, which is rooted in the complexity and discipline of print, no longer forms the basis of public discourse.  It has been supplanted by the blogosphere, the various arms of the Internet, cable TV, and corporation-dominated and domesticated "newspapers" which now have become virtual trade journals.  Print-based culture--in which fact and assertion can be traced and distinguished--has ceded to a culture of "emotionally-driven narratives" where facts and opinions are interchangeable.   

As Hedges observes, once reality is disconnected from print, it is no longer placed in context.  This has left dissidents like me (and some of you) speaking in a language that will often be unintelligible to the wider society and prevent us from being able to guard against threats to the well-being of ordinary Americans.  

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