NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Friday November 17th 2017

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Mixed Bag

by Peter Molenaar

Unlike the esteemed guru who, it is said, once transcended all earthly attachments, the rest of us are bound to the spiritual ups and downs which reflect the satisfactions and irritations of our existence.

St. Paul’s Church, 11-11-11…

It was in conjunction with the 200th birthday of Wendell Phillips, renowned opponent of all forms of oppression, that this paper celebrated its 36 years.  The evening unfolded as a high pinnacle event for the activist community of this neighborhood.

There was as well a high-point moment for this writer.  Despite his many years of socialist rantings in the space of this column, there was a warm ovation from an audience which included small business people.  So, let it be said:  The Welnas and Ingebretsens will have their place well into the future.

Meanwhile, on the other hand…

The downtown occupation is evolving as an united bundle of idealogical contradictions.

I am sorry to say that most of the assembled entities are more or less hostile to persons such as myself who 1.) in the past, advocated for friendly relations with socialist lands (imperfect “works in progress” though they might have been) and 2.) presently vote for Democrats as a hedge against right-wing extremism.

One such grouping of mainly rosy-cheeked college graduates is attempting to bear the mantle of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The working class is held in check because we are organized in a “bizarre” way, they tell us.  Only by joining One Big Union (evidently under their leadership) can workers advance.

Sadly, the IWW call is an expression of what Marxists refer to as “formalism”.  In essence they declare that only their form of organization is valid (form is primary).  Lenin, on the other hand, urged activists to work within the existing structures of organized labor… “As conditions mature, new content will emerge from all and sundry old forms” (i.e. content is primary).

Moreover, are Lenin’s words not infinitely more modest?

To date the call for a “general strike” and for the occupation of our workplaces falls on deaf ears.  For now we will feed our families and pay our bills.  The revolution must wait.

Be patient, young ones.  Life is a mixed bag.

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