Grace Lee Boggs

“We have a long road ahead because the rising grassroots movements provide an opportunity to create a new system of democracy, work, education, and environmental stewardship, based on completely different values…We are at one of those turning points in history where we need a revolution, meaning a re-invention of culture.”

She fought for labor rights in the Great Depression. She marched with Martin Luther King in the summer of 1963. In later life, she worked with inner city school children in Detroit.

A Chinese activist for labor and the rights of African-Americans, Grace Lee Boggs was born this day in 1915.

Grace Lee Boggs.

 

Kan, the Deluge

Arising torrent sweeps away the past.
The cleansing of some ways is overdue,
But must inspired beauty perish, too?
You’ve known that nothing physical can last
Forever, yet you mourn the senseless loss,
The indiscrim’nate dissolution of
Your culture, nature, people that you love
Along with the corruption, lies, the dross
Of institutions that outlived their use.

There’s no resisting any tide so strong.
But is your substance pure enough to be
The water that diffuses and renews?
If not, then you, too, must be swept along
Recycled into new reality…
It may not be your place to choose.

— JJM = #29 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

29. K'an – Abysmal (Water) | I-Ching Ponderings from a Modern ManSonnet + One

Hex29_Denise-Weaver-Ross

Art by Denise Weaver Ross
https://fineartamerica.com/featured/hexagram-29-kan-denise-weaver-ross.html

We can win this thing

This from Caitlin Johnstone:

If we are unpatterning, and if our unpatterning is occurring at an accelerating rate, then it is reasonable to believe that at a certain point it can occur so rapidly and to such an extent that the old power structures simply won’t be able to keep up with it. These would be the same power structures which have been psychologically brutalizing our species with a constant barrage of propaganda to keep us consenting to a system which robs ordinary people of their basic needs while waging endless wars and giving more and more wealth and power to nationless oligarchs. We may be headed toward a point where they simply cannot do that anymore.

Caitlin Johnstone

I sure hope she’s right. The tent will have to expand to embrace issues that touch all of us, so that when the inevitable crackdown comes, there will be overwhelming  resistance.

Marinaleda, an Oasis of LocalSocialism

Marinaleda is a predominantly agricultural municipality and this makes up the bulk of its economy. It is noted for its socialist principles led by Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, mayor since 1979 and a member of the Unitarian Candidacy of Workers (CUT). Local workers and peasants have achieved a high rate of development and practically full employment for its people. The development of an alternative economic model has achieved notable results, even during the economic crisis that began in 2008.

Guardian article calls it a mini-utopia. Andalusia is the poorest region of Spain, and agriculture is difficult. Unemployment everywhere outside Marinaleda is over 30%. But within this little enclave, there is no unemployment, no poverty. Everyone seems to have enough to live comfortably.

A socialist mural in Marinaleda.

 

Encourage Fear

In the late 1970s I lived in Boston, and was privileged to count among my friends two members of the band called Bright Morning Star. They did political music proud, with barn-stomping rhythms, clever lyrics, superb musicianship and a message that was perfectly in tune with their time.

This song is a perennial but of special relevance this spring. Sung by Court Dorsey with piano by George Fulginiti-Shakar. Music is by Molly Sott, and words by Stephen Wangh.

“They pollinate the grass roots.  They bang away at the walls of indifference.  They celebrate humanity.

The six members of Bright Morning Star do a better job educating people to what’s right and what’s wrong on this crazy planet than a hundred politicians, teachers, and preachers… And they do it all with lightness, laughter, and love.”

Listen or download

The End of America?

The Founders of our country did not intend for us to delegate the defense of liberty to a professional class of pundits or politicians or Constitutional scholars.

If we all take on the patriots’ task—and it begins with a revolution from within—there is every reason to believe we can save our country in time and restore liberty and democracy for our neighbors, our children, and ourselves.

— Naomi Wolf (2007)

In this, as in all life’s aventures, fear is the main obstacle.

The crisis we’re experiencing is more about the use of fear to subdue and manipulate people than it is about a viral epidemic. As an epidemic, it is not unusual. When the data is all in, it may be comparable to the most recent bad flu year, 2017. It will certainly be far less deadly than the Hong Kong flu of 1968, which was eclipsed at the time by news of two tragic assassinations and the Woodstock festival.

We are stronger, more creative, more resilient, when we are free of fear. In fact, shocking us into giving up hope is part of the game plan of those who are putting on this show.

Please remember the strength of human bonds and the power of creativity, which has blossomed during the worst periods of repression in history, like flowers popping up through cracks in the pavement.

There were loving families that held together during the starvation of Mao’s Great Leap
Forward. There were groups that shared mimeographed books during the Stasi era
in East Germany. There was music composed by Jews at Auschwitz.

We will resist this clampdown, but if it should succeed temporarily, there will still be
millions like us keeping love and truth and creativity alive until the day when the
top-heavy system of repression topples, as it must.

This vision of human resilience and liberation was born millennia in the past, and it will continue to inspire long after the coronavirus of 2020 has disappeared down the memory hole.

— Josh Mitteldorf, born this day in 1949

Is this guy for real?

Eric Weinstein is deeply disaffected from the academic community that provided his pedigree. He holds a PhD in mathematical physics from Harvard (1992). But he has never held an academic job, and has been working largely in isolation on the Big Enchilada, the Theory of Everything, the Unified Field Theory, the integration of quantum field theory with Einstein’s theory of gravity that the biggest brains in physics have been trying to crack for lo these last 80 years.

Last month, Weinstein came forward with details of his Geometric Unity theory. He claims that a 14-dimensional space naturally divides into the 4 dimensions that we all know and love plus 10 dimensions of spinors, which Paul Dirac identified 90 years ago as the appropriate wave function form for electrons and the other familiar particles.

I have a PhD in theoretical physics, but his presentation is way over my head. There are probably 20 or 30 elite physicists in the world who are qualified to judge whether Weinstein’s theory is sound. All of them are already committed to one or another approach of their own. Where is the motivation for them to invest months studying and evaluating Geometric Unity, which comes from an outsider, and which is unlikely to enhance their own professional standing, no matter how the theory eventually fares?

Weinstein has claimed that academic science is populated by the most brilliant minds on the planet, but that their university culture is deeply troubled and unable to assimilate truly new ideas. He says that anyone whose thinking is radical enough to have a chance of solving fundamental new problems will not survive in today’s academic environment. From my personal experience, I agree.

What I and many others find hard to understand and even suspicious is why Weinstein has not submitted a journal article so that his ideas can be evaluated through established channels?

May Day in Havana

May Day (1st of May) is massively celebrated in Cuba with workers marching with their colleagues to the Revolution Square, where special cultural and musical events are held as well as speeches from leading figures. The largest gathering in Cuba is in Havana, where every year more than a million workers, parade along the streets until they reach the Plaza de la Revolucion at the foot of the giant statue of Cuba’s godfather of the Revolution – Jose Marti.     Read more
Cuban leaders attending the May Day Parade in Havana

Cuba is the nearest thing I know to a worker’s political system. It has its strengths and its weaknesses.

  • Universal free education — and it works. Theirs is a highly literate population.
  • Universal free medical care— and it works. Their health stats are ahead of ours in crucial areas (life expectancy, infant mortality) despite spending 1/10 of what we spend per capita!
  • Dance, music, and truly communal culture.
  • Low rates of alcoholism and drug abuse.

But

  • Most people work hard with little material prosperity
  • Limited freedom of expression, and harsh punishment for people who oppose the government.
  • Limited career opportunities in academia, science, art.
  • Single party system, no democracy.

But how can we know the potential of the Cuban model when the US has done everything in its power to impoverish and isolate the the country, through cultural restrictions and trade sanctions? Worse, we have conspired repeatedly to infiltrate the political system and assassinate their leaders, ever since 1957.