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Avant la lettre

By Owen Paine on Thursday September 16, 2010 09:57 PM

Here's the Old Man himself, with a prescient take on the liberal-schmiberal blogosphere:

Flat, bombastic, bragging, thrasonical, putting on a great show of rude vigour in attack, yet hysterically sensitive to the same quality in others; brandishing the sword with enormous waste of energy, lifting it high in the air only to let it fall down flat; constantly preaching morality and constantly offending against it; sentiment and turpitude most absurdly conjoined; concerned only with the point at issue, yet always missing the point; using with equal arrogance petty-bourgeois scholarly semi-erudition against popular wisdom, and so-called “sound common sense” against science; discharging itself in ungovernable breadth with a certain complacent levity; clothing a philistine message in a plebeian form; wrestling with the literary language to, give it, so to speak, a purely corporeal character; willingly pointing at the writer’s body in the background, which is itching in every fibre to give a few exhibitions of its strength, to display its broad shoulders and publicly to stretch its limbs; proclaiming a healthy mind in a healthy body; unconsciously infected by the sixteenth century’s most abstruse controversies and by its fever of the body; in thrall to dogmatic, narrow thinking and at the same time appealing to petty practice in the face of all real thought; raging against reaction, reacting against progress; incapable of making the opponent seem ridiculous, but ridiculously abusing him through the whole gamut of tones; Solomon and Marcolph, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, a visionary and a philistine in one person; a loutish form of indignation, a form of indignant loutishness; and suspended like an enveloping cloud over it all, the self-satisfied philistine’s consciousness of his own virtue.

Comments (12)

Tim Wise writes:
...when Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead were entertaining white hippies in the Fillmore, black folks were fighting for their lives across the way in Oakland...

...and the Grateful Dead were playing benefit gigs for the Black Panthers' legal defense fund.

Al Schumann:

Good old Tim. He's taken on the burden of uplifting all the savages he can find, even if he has to find them through the exact same kind of imputation he professionally deplores.


"Perhaps the most common way in which folks on the left sometimes perpetuate racism is by a vulgar form of class reductionism, in which they advance the notion that racism is a secondary issue to the class system, and that what leftists and radicals should be doing is spending more time focusing on the fight for dramatic and transformative economic change (whether reformist or revolutionary), rather than engaging in what they derisively term “identity politics.” The problem, say these voices, are corporations, the rich, the elite, etc., and to get sidetracked into a discussion of white supremacy is to ignore this fact and weaken the movement for radical change.

But in fact, racism affects the lives of people of color quite apart from the class system. Black and brown folks who are not poor or working class — indeed those who are upper middle class and affluent — are still subjected to discrimination regularly, whether in the housing market, on the part of police, in schools, in the health care delivery system and on the job. True enough, these better-off folks of color may be more economically stable that their poor white counterparts, but in the class system they compete for stuff against whites in the same economic strata: a competition in which they operate at a decided and unfair disadvantage. So too, poor and working class whites, though they suffer the indignities of the class system, still have decided advantages over poor and working class people of color: their spells of unemployment are typically far shorter, their ability to find affordable and decent housing is far greater, and they are less likely to find themselves in resource-poor schools than even blacks and Latinos in middle class families. In fact, lower income whites are more likely to own their own home than middle class blacks, and most poor whites in the U.S. do not live in poor neighborhoods — rather they are mostly to be found in middle class communities where opportunities are far greater — whereas most poor people of color are surrounded by concentrated poverty. And black folks with college degrees, professional occupational status and health insurance coverage actually have worse health outcomes than white dropouts, with low income and low-level if any medical care, thanks to racism in health care delivery and black experiences with racism, which have uniquely debilitating health affects at all income levels."

who is this written for ???

Al Schumann:

It's forest for the trees anti-racism. His emphasis is narrow; his facts are correct.

Black investment bankers will die preventable deaths at a much greater rate than white investment bankers. They'll die preventable deaths at a greater rate than less wealthy, less secure, less credentialed whites. This is true and the outcomes hold true throughout the exploitation food chain. The lower down the food chain you go, the worse it gets until, at the very bottom, you get slow motion genocide. It's attributable to institutionally entrenched racism.

But wealthier, more privileged whites here will die preventable deaths at greater rate than their direct counterparts in countries where the exploitation food chain is more buffered.

So, doesn't this at least suggest that the existence of the exploitation food chain is a very serious problem?


If one makes one's living denouncing racism, it's hardly surprising that one will find it everywhere.

The Shirky Principle seems fairly universal.


This should start an interesting flow of ordure.


I think we can guess who will 'win' this debate.

Al Schumann:

Jack, that has kept me in what I hope is a healthy state of increasingly deep-seated doubt.

Al Schumann:

Boink, the spite of "moderates" is endlessly entertaining. No doubt the circles of Hell hold some poor soul who could have achieved Hitler's miracles with far fewer million of corpses. But that nasty man deliberately undermined him! For no reason other than pique and the pettiest personal ambition! Oh, the humanity of it all.


this principle in the below application however shows a sterling example
of the scarlet pimples
mis-application produces

"Unions were a brilliant solution to the problem of capital management which tended to exploit uncapitalized workers. But over time as capital increased in complexity, unions complexified as well, until unions needed management. The two became one system -- union/management. So now the problem with unions is that they are locked into the old framework, the old system. They inadvertently perpetuate the continuation of the problem (management) they are the solution to because as long as unions exists, companies feel they need management to offset them, and so the two became co-dependent. In effect

problems and solutions tend to become
a single system."

our war on syndrome
makes for less twisted application:

fried foods
and yes certain
institutionalized strains
the war on racism

the national question need not be thrown against the class struggle
as a defacto push for either /or
even if superficially disguised
as a both /and type "intervention"

oppression hardly trumps exploitation

conceptually we can break amerika into its "national" constituents and find internal
exploitative structures in the oppressed nations themselves okay if not fully deployed and even if one excises the comprador crowd
they are there at least
in homunculus form


"No doubt the circles of Hell hold some poor soul who could have achieved Hitler's miracles with far fewer million of corpses. But that nasty man deliberately undermined him"


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