[lbo-talk] labor bitchiness

Dwayne Monroe idoru345 at yahoo.com
Fri May 25 06:11:07 PDT 2007

Doug (replying to Jim Straub):

So the labor geeks and intellectuals don't get it, the working class doesn't get it, the labor misleaders sometimes get it - and only professional organizers really get it? What is the "it" to be gotten?


Well, there you go.

Jim, every time you've criticized "the left" for not getting it (sometimes with tongue in cheek, I know) - for supposedly being too concentrated on the coasts, too focused on 'identity politics' too fond of street theater, too enthralled by pomo theory...just too wrong about too many things on too many levels - I think about the 'average people' I know.

I think about some of my friends: plain speaking guys and frenetically busy moms living in Philly and S. Jersey. They're hard workers who, even after all the horror we've seen (600,000 Iraqis dead according to the Lancet study...millions fleeing...I shudder to even type it!) and all the lies Washington's told, believe Iran to be an imminent threat, the US to be an exceptionally kind actor on the world stage and other unreal things.

Sure, maybe an academic who's deeply immersed in Zizekia doesn't know what you know about labor. And yeah, from your POV, the academic seems privileged and disconnected from ground truth.


But when a buddy of mine - a former truck driver who has done very well for himself by moving into the real estate game - phones me to discuss Iran and N. Korea, governments, he insists, which must be "taken out" to secure our safety, it seems to me there's plenty of illusion and disconnect to go around, whether your tastes tend towards the "Left Behind" series or "The Sublime Object of Ideology".

And so, echoing Doug, I wonder who really is grounded in the way I think you mean. A subset of the working class? A subset of the activist and academic left?

If so (and I'm not making a confident claim one way or the other), this dovetails with something Carroll has been saying for a while (probably for decades before I electronically met him): change always comes from an alert and dedicated minority.

A minority which probably shouldn't be bashed for pursuing multiple tracks.


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