ORGANIZER 10

UTOPIA AND MOVEMENT AND ORGANIZING: OVER THE MOUNTAINS YONDER [HUNTER GRAY  MAY 4, 2002]

VISIONS:  QUESTIONS APROPOS OF THE INTERNATIONALE  [A BRIEF DSA COLLOQUY]  HUNTER GRAY   MAY 3, 2002

 

UTOPIA AND MOVEMENT AND ORGANIZING: OVER THE MOUNTAINS YONDER [HUNTER GRAY  MAY 4, 2002]

Note by Hunterbear:

Early morning thoughts stimulated at ASDnet and Idaho:

The search for Utopia -- no matter how fanciful it may seem to the tired and
the cynical and those of "smart" clever tongue -- is, along with an activist
and effective recognition of the on-going class struggle, an integral
dimension of any viable and vital social justice Movement.  To correlate
"utopianism" with inevitable war and repression -- as a few have on
ASDnet -- strikes me as not only grievously wrong but a key component of the
rationale/retreat from a bona fide democratic socialist perspective, and,
indeed, often from any militancy at all, into the pallid and frequently
militaristic and hardly civil libertarian box-canyon/dead end world of the
Tony Blairs and Bill Clintons and Al Gores, their predecessors and their
successors.

Socialism is the public ownership and operation of the means of production
and distribution -- and it also carries the very strong promise of the old,
time-honoured tribal communalism in an essentially industrial context.  And
all of that is something that's far, far above simply pork-chops and
pie-cards.

A Movement -- a great transcendent, surging wave for which people will
fight, and, if necessary die -- is a Flow that draws from -- and
stimulates -- meaningful local efforts.  A Humanistic Movement scatters its
sparks and seeds to the very Four Directions and those, fueled by the winds
of a religiosity grounded on the thrust for an infinitely and profoundly
radical "better world,"  in turn spark and fuel a myriad of new grassroots
rivulets that make up the stubbornly ever-persistent River of Change in the
Save the World Business.


It has always struck me that, in addition to the necessary and enduring
attributes of integrity and courage and commitment, any really effective
social justice organizer seeks to get grassroots people  together -- and
does;  develops on-going and democratic local leadership; deals solidly with
grievances and individual/family concerns; works with the people to achieve
basic organizational goals and  develop new ones.

And very, very fundamentally --  that genuinely flint-sharp and
fire-building social justice organizer builds a sense of the New World To
Come Over The Mountains Yonder and how all of that relates to the shorter
term steps and how those relate to it.

What we still refer to as "The Labor Movement" was neither initiated nor
fueled, say, in the virulently hostile 1910s and 1930s,  by people who were
searching solely for short-term relief.  People did not risk their very
lives in the Southern Civil Rights Movement for a cup of coffee or a job at
a cash register.


The promise of The Internationale, and the assurance in   "We can bring to
birth the new world from the ashes of the old" of Solidarity Forever, and
the dream of the "Beloved Community" were -- and very much still are -- the
Utopian Vision that continues to shine with enduring and compelling
brightness in the hearts and minds of always struggling Humanity no matter
how many mountain ranges and canyons and swamps loom between us and It.

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]
www.hunterbear.org  ( social justice )
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´



VISIONS:  QUESTIONS APROPOS OF THE INTERNATIONALE  [A BRIEF DSA COLLOQUY]  HUNTER GRAY   MAY 3, 2002

Hunterbear to Leo Casey:

My answer to your several [Internationale] questions, Leo, is a vigorous
Yes -- my only slight qualifier being that the humanistic dimensions of any
tradition are well worth keeping.

I wouldn't have become and remained a Left and essentially libertarian
socialist if I didn't believe in Dreaming Big and Shooting High and all of
this in the context of the basic Goodness and Feathering-Out of Humanity.

Yours in the Circle of the Sun -

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]
www.hunterbear.org  ( social justice )
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´


===================================================================

RE: A better world in birth    Leo Casey
  May 03, 2002 08:35 PDT
Good rousing poetry, but the basis of serious politics?

Do we really believe that "we have been naught," and now "we shall be
all?"

Do we really believe that one can shed "tradition" like one unshackles
chains?

Do we really believe that this is the "final conflict," and we will all
live in harmony hereafter?

Leo

Duane Campbell wrote:

--
Hundreds of thousands marched in Mexico City on May Day.

Arise ye prisoners of starvation
Arise ye wretched of the earth
For justice thunders condemnation
A better world's in birth
No more tradition's chains shall bind us
Arise ye slaves no more in thrall
The earth shall rise on new foundations
We have been naught we shall be all

Tis the final conflict, Let each stand in their place
The international (working class) shall be the human race

Duane 

 

FURTHER COLLOQUY COMMENT BY HUNTER GRAY [HUNTERBEAR]:

Plenty of people sing -- and many more should -- Solidarity Forever.  I
wonder, however, how many are really aware  of the meaning in Ralph
Chaplin's  excellent and obviously very radical thrust at the concluding
lines, "We can bring to birth the new world from the ashes of the old . . ."
That great song is, after all, very much the work and anthem of the old
Industrial Workers of the World.

The Wobblies were hardly AFL and AFL-CIO labor skates.   Anyone whose social activist perspective is restricted by the presently very narrow and limited perspective/ parameters of main-line United States labor leadership is
hardly radical.  Clinton/Gore Democrat, maybe, and perhaps even a bit
more -- but that doesn't add up to anything that even comes remotely close
to the deep-reaching and visionary Industrial Democracy of the IWW or the
genuinely radical democratic socialism of Debs or even that of Norman
Thomas.  [It's been decades, obviously, since there's been any really
militant and visionary broad-based organizing movement on the part of
American labor.  "Practical politics" and business unionism have made it
about as generally exciting as North Dakota chili.]

You'll find The Internationale in all of the I.W.W.  Little Red Song Books
[I have a great collection of the old ones] and I know plenty of
contemporary American socialists -- including many in DSA -- who not only
sing Solidarity Forever but also Eugene Pottier's profoundly stirring and
eternally appropriate Thunder on the Left.

To me -- and I'm sure to many, many others -- socialism is something that
has to add up to a full measure of bread and butter and a full measure of
liberty -- and that means a very radical remake of The World.  And anyone
who enlists in that -- really signs on and fights for that kind of Vision --
will never be viewed as either "practical" or "respectable."   Those who opt
for those dubious ribbons ought to stay  with Tammany's children.

Anyway, I [and I am sure many, many others] think very well indeed of The
Internationale and Solidarity Forever -- and Joe Hill -- and all of the
other great War Songs that point Over the Mountains Yonder to something not
only worth fighting for -- but worth living in.

And there will be many, many more of us.

Solidarity -

Hunter [Hunterbear]




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