Friday, February 24, 2017

Charles Blow: The death of compassion, and commentary

Apologies again for the link without text -- NYTimes prevents even subscribers from copying text.

I imagine Blow's argument will resonate with many. It sounds militant. The working class Trump voters are looking more like horses asses every day that passes. And no one feels all that  proud as the Building Trades leaders appear servile begging Trump for pipeline and "make america great again" construction jobs. 

Yet, imagine reading Blow to an American union audience of carpenters of  mixed races, genders, nationalities, faiths, ages and skills, and political persuasions. "Hey -- you  guys that voted for Trump -- fuck you!" would be the short version of the article -- and the main thing message people would hear. A union officer set on that message might as well skip the meeting and just liquidate the local union.

I suppose this is OK with much, probably most, of the so-called Left, that doesn't understand unionism anyway, and these days has less and less opportunity to gain that understanding. Apparently, many progressives can't imagine themselves reduced to begging for a job. Many have the ability to "choose" to avoid immoral work for a pipeline, and cannot comprehend DAPL workers not falling on their swords and abandoning their jobs rather than tread on sacred water. 

Blow is wrong even when he is right. Same with those who assert fundamental class and economic inequality trends are not the essence of the  Trump catastrophe, and also are the foundation of putting together a decisive majority to drive a stake in Trumpism's rotten Fascist, heart. Liberalism's failure in the past 40 years to reverse unending austerity regimes for the working class, and the Left's sectarian fantasies and dogmas appear to disarm both. There are many "special" grievances that the sectarian spirit inflames. 

Historically, the best argument the Left seemed to be able to mount was a "unity against common enemies" tactical themes. It works in big waves in social movements. But its nearly worthless as a governing philosophy. No philosophy is worth shit if it does not credibly point to  path out  of austerity. And any such path MUST have an ECONOMICS to make policy or planning even possible. That economics is more, not less, socialism; more, not less, public goods in health, education, retirement and services; smarter, more representative, less corrupt governance in both corporate and public spheres; more, not less, empowerment of working people, to ensure more, not less, equitable distributions of economic wealth both domestically and through trade

Stick to the basics: jobs, rising standards of living, internationalism in culture, sustainable growth, health care, retirement, and equity -- equal pay for equal work -- and Paying the Losers in economic and social change enough to become winners --- on these grounds all those who do the work of the world can be united....

John Case
Harpers Ferry, WV

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