I don’t want to spend the rest of my days/keeping out of trouble like the soldiers say

19 02 2011

So in the short time I’m a ghost. . . .

Tunisians drive dictator Ben Ali out of office.

Egyptians drive  dictator Mubarak out of office.

Jordan’s king fires cabinet, promises reform.

Yemenis gather to protest their government.

Bahrainis gather to protest their government, and are killed in their sleep.

Libyans gather to protest the leadership of the insane Qaddafi, are mowed down by snipers, and prevented from receiving medical care.

Iran’s pro-Ahmadi legislators get all shouty in their demands for death of opposition figures.

LiveAction doctors video shot at Planned Parenthood, slanders PP as enabling child sex-work.

US House of Representatives votes to defund Planned Parenthood.

US House of Representatives votes to continue Army sponsorship of NASCAR.

Senator Ron Paul wins CPAC presidential straw poll.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker proposes bill to strip government unions of most of their reason for being, as well as to effectively privatize UW-Madison; the Republican-controlled Senate attempts to slam this though in less than a week.

Wisconsin Senate Democrats abscond from the State, preventing action on the bill.

Tens of thousands of public union members and their supporters gather at the Capitol [nb: an absolutely gorgeous building] in support of their rights and dignity, and in opposition to Governor Walker.

My 50-year old sister and public high school teacher attends her first protest ever. Has a ball, and calls to tell me about it.

Packers win the Super Bowl.


And because I have been a ghost, I have had no time to say what I wanted to say:

Go Tunisians! Go Egyptians! Go Bahrainis and Yemenis and Libyans and Iranians and Syrians and everyone everywhere who wants to be free and is wiling to sacrifice themselves for that freedom.

You are strong and brave and beautiful and fragile and all the more strong and brave and beautiful for your fragility.

Women of these United States, it is well past time that we took our own lives in our own hands.

I salute Nancy Pelosi and Gwen Moore and Jackie Speier and everyone else, male and female, who stood up for us on the House and Senate floors. But it is not enough.

It is long past time for us, for more of us, for me, to stand up for one another, to stand up for ourselves.

And for my sister, my nieces, my friends, Badgers, countrymen:

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Stand up, Badgers, sing!
“Forward” is our driving spirit,
Loyal voices ring.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Raise her glowing flame
Stand, Fellows, let us now
Salute her name!


And the SuperBowl? That’ll do, Pack, that’ll do.




8 responses

20 02 2011

you got that holy-ghost spirit, I still feel like a hungry-ghost here in the cyberneverland, but I like the idea of using these places as a way of binding reflection to action, avoiding the old tyranny of the means and the mean. How do we move from being commenters/daily-dishers to being organizers? I was deeply struck by Roger Cohen’s reporting of his meeting with an Egyptian who told him that he finally feels like a human-being b/c he now feels like his actions can have a meaningful impact on his society, I’d like to feel that way too but in a sustainable, even institutional (tho not institutionalized) kind of way.

20 02 2011

And that, my friend (she said in a real-not-McCain way) is Arendt.

Now how to do all this, that is the question. And do I have the will—that, too, is the question.

Willing myself into will, I guess.

20 02 2011

when it comes to working with the public I prefer Jane Addams (see Seigfried:http://american-philosophy.org/events/saap_2011_program.htm) , I don’t think it’s so much a matter of summoning, or being summoned by, will-power/con-science but in our ability to find new, more effective, ways of organizing, so that our fearless speech results in more than us being fired or otherwise marginalized. Unions got reduced to negotiating conditions/compensation with management instead of negotiating means and ends/purposes with (or better yet as) management, may be ok in the private sector but in govt. services like law enforcement ,education, and social services this stinks like a bloated corpse.

20 02 2011

Not sure if you’re saying public unions stink like bloated corpses or treatment of/restrictions on public unions stink. My belief is that workers get to unionize, regardless of their employers.

Perhaps in another kind of political-economic culture this wouldn’t be necessary, but, in this country, it is. And as much as I would prefer radical to the relatively conservative unions we’ve got, I’ll take an honest conservative union over no union at all.

Then again, I’m a union member—NY State Teacher’s Union. I’m an adjunct, but I have health insurance and can participate in a pension plan. Without that union, I doubt very much that I’d have insurance.

And my teacher-sister is in a union, her husband is in an industrial union, and my dad was in a union when he sold insurance. It’s not as if I grew up in a highly-politicized household—the opposite, in fact—and union/no union was never much of an issue. But we all knew when there were contract talks at the local factories and what strikes meant and the general sense was that the conditions the unions agreed to helped set a standard even for the non-union workplaces.

So I’ll criticize corrupt and ineffective unions and argue for more radical unions, but as the old song goes, I know in the end which side I’m on.

20 02 2011

sorry for my usual confusion inducing prose, I’m for organized labor, like you grew up in a union family, have worked and organized in unions, but think that they became all about the workers and lost sight of the need to have a say in reforming the work/institutions. We should be leading the fights for say healthcare, education, and law-enforcement reform, be making them over in light of our values, making them progressive forces for the common good and not just to better life for the membership, we lost our mojo risin’

21 02 2011
21 02 2011
22 02 2011

Hey! Missed ya!

I think the only thing I didn’t know about on that list was the Nascar funding. Wow. (Well, I didn’t know about your sister going to the protest, either, but that seemed kind of obvious.).

You really want to get your dander up? Look up the salon.com article about what some tea partiers are doing in certain state legislatures….

I almost hate to jump into the union discussion here, but I will say this: my Mom was a teacher, and both she and I agree that something has to change in regards to the current inflexibility of some of the teachers unions…

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