NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Sunday July 23rd 2017

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Pondering the “Potato Bugs”

By Peter Molenaar

Neighborhood gardeners have begun again to taste the harvest of their labor. The season has imposed unusual difficulties, but certainly the best is yet to come.

As for my potatoes, two, fifteen-foot-long mounds are joined at one end via a semi-circle. In the semi-circle, the remnants of last year’s red fingerlings were planted. Big potatoes occupy the main rows and will supply calories for a year.

But what?

Potato bugs remain among us. These “enemies of the people” are quite happy to exploit our labor while contributing nothing in return. But the savvy gardener will plant reds, knowing the eggs will preferentially be deposited there. It is then squish, squish, squish with maximum efficiency. Trust me, the karma is good.

On the other hand, by way of comparison, Marxists have always condemned individual acts of terror. The recent assassination attempt, perpetrated by a lost brother, is a case in point. Whatever goodness was in the man’s heart has been lost in the commotion, along with media attention to recent hate crime murders.

Moreover, Lenin took pains to define what constitutes a “revolutionary situation.” The three aspects are 1.) The old ruling class has run out of solutions 2.) The people will no longer submit to the old order 3.) A viable socialist vanguard exists. Theoretically, such a situation is inevitable, but evidently, it won’t be tomorrow or the next day.

It follows that the slogan “only socialism defeats Trump” is more than a little dubious. Let’s not forget that real socialism involves the displacement of private capitalist ownership in favor of public ownership of industry. No doubt this displacement will involve the placement of flowers in the barrels of their guns.

Clearly, the path ahead is a long one involving many forms of struggle and compromises which fall short of the goal. For now, I’m headed back to the garden to squish more potato bugs.

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