Kautsky parle

J Cullen reporter at eden.com
Thu Sep 3 10:24:47 PDT 1998

>Re W. Kiernan's: "I never found it hard at all to explain leftish ideas
>to the relatively
>low-paid construction workers I worked with, even when they started out
>with all kinds of really dumb, massmedia-built political
>Maybe things have changed over the last three decades, but the image
>that always sticks in my mind is construction workers beating up antiwar
>protesters during the Vietnam War, affirming their solidarity with Nixon
>& Co.
>Carl Remick

Older construction workers nowadays probably are Vietnam veterans, many of whom believe the protesters were right and resent the way they were used. I agree with pms and W. Kiernan that if you put your economic criticism in terms that working people can understand they will agree with much, if not all of it. If they don't understand what you're talking about, you have to start asking yourself if that is your fault and not theirs.

If you keep your criticism in academic terms, or talk to waitresses about how there is bloodshed at the bottom of your coffee cup, or tell your auto mechanic he is a victim of the auto oligarchy, chances are that she or he will write you off as some pretentious ass -- particularly if your waitress is just trying to keep your cup filled or your mechanic has a half-dozen other cars lined up to work on. But working people -- the kind of people who used to vote Democratic and now either don't vote, wonder why they bother to vote, or support Perot or flirt with the militias -- have a pretty good idea that they are being screwed. If you had a chance to engage them you might find a lot more receptive audience than you expect.

-- Jim Cullen

Austin, Texas

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