Saturday, November 20, 2004

What Do YOU Mean When You Say Radical?

I Know What I Mean.

"Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine."
Henry David Thoreau

(Note: image from here).

Thoreau also said: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." Radical solutions --radical -- root -- root of the problem, which is of course not ever the goal in a stasis-seeking and self-replicating system such as is exemplified in the US government and other such systems on the Happy Planet. Really I've not run across more than two people in the last twenty years of my life that understand what the word radical means as I use it. And I keep seeing "smart people" flail about wildly to fix branches of a rotting tree, ignoring the root rot. I wish I could find the quote but I just remembered hearing a speech by Cornell West, where he said something I've said over and over. We are not going to be able to build something better upon the roots of what we have here in the US. The song "Bad to the Bone" comes to mind. The Bible also mentions something similar... about not building upon a bad foundation.... shifting sand.

That said, I happened upon an interview with William Blum at Counterpunch. Blum has a new book out: Freeing the World to Death, which I haven't read, but intend to after reading this interview. It feels all the time to me as if there are few "real" radicals left these days. And of course, since the ShrubCo Junta, it's once again become life-threatening to be so. Imagine how Thoreau or Emerson and others might see today. I've felt pretty lonely... Reading Blum's interview was a good tonic for me. I know I'm not the only old radical... I know there are many of us.

Here at Counterpunch. The Granma Moses of Radical Writing, by Mickey Z.
Quote from the interview: "It's not easy to undo a lifetime of conditioning with a few sentences. How can I match 10000 hours of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and The National Enquirer? In the current edition of my newsletter, The Anti-Empire Report, coming out soon, I write about such people, whom I call the Valueites. There is now thought amongst progressives about reaching such people, trying to win large numbers of them over. This is certainly an understandable goal, but I suggest that we not waste our time, energy, and resources."