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Author Archives: authorextraordinaire

Old and New

Old and New
I watched two hours of Richard Wolff, Econ. Emeritus Professor at U of Mass, and The New School auniversity. The speech was on LINKTV this morning.  He, like I, sees capitalism as a defunct system. It has produced movement in human life for some centuries, just as monarchies, and earlier forms of economic and social structures have. Holding on to a passe system of “the organization of enterprise,” when its inefficiencies are proven, is disastrous. Like all technologies ( tools devised to make human life easier) change is necessary.   Wolff says, and I concur, that the social/human consequences of the capitalist enterprise are, currently,  inefficient. In its place, he speaks of a system that I learned  at Roosevelt U in the 1970s, “participatory democracy,” where social decisions are really made by the participants, not via layers of filters that “muddy the process.”  Wolff says, if we accept democracy, as we say we do, then why not be totally committed to democratic values? We are not, and do not practice–nor even adequately understand– those values.

Values, meaning attending to what is important, crucial to the survival and well-being of the society, is the basic function of a society. Not only the survival of the “Queen Bee.” Unless we choose to be drones.

You can guess that I have questions even with this insightful concept. I perceive that unless there is a massive commitment to a fully educational system for children to adulthood, the public does not have the tools to concoct and manage democratic enterprise. We see the effects of that lack in the blow-back of the current reactionary political system. I do not think that this system will last much longer under the massive inequities, and depletion, it has produced.

During the Q &A period Wolff responded to interesting questions. A teacher wrote of her inability to control any aspect of her work/career. His reply was to the invalidity of separation of private versus public. What private enterprise does affects the public, and vice versa. He gave examples of how other societies are trying alternative organizational structures and procedures, i.e., Germany and Italy’s changes to more involvement between owners and laborers. Two former fascist countries! No doubt, until the US goes through a really wrenching change (now in process) it will not be able to conceive of more than patchwork alternatives, with continually falling back into invalidity that does nothing to ameliorate essential fallacies.

I do not suggest that Dr. Wolff’s–or anyone’s  ideas, theses, experience, conclusions be ingested. I suggest that given the insufficient information, and framework taught in the usual educational-social system, and if “you” are concerned about the problematic circumstances in our world, perhaps, hearing,and thinking on other views of the same situation may open a lens to alternative thinking and being. This is, I suggest, what learning is.

The speech was made before the collapsing European economies, during the past few weeks. I would like to hear/read his discourse on the possibility of European financial collapse. I enjoyed the talk, although I’d heard part of it. This time I stayed with it. Two hours before a TV is much for me. Meanwhile, if people did their homework what enlightened people we  could be. He mentioned how Mayor Bloomberg destroyed the Occupy Movement library of thousands of donated books–many political,historical and economic, while he is closing NYC libraries. If more Americans had knowledge of comprehensive world history we could make intelligent decisions and develop practical “organization of enterprise,” with the word enterprise meaning more than just exploitative markets, and capital domination. http://www.rdwolff.com Website

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Post-Racial Farce

Is it possible that a bare majority–if not the gross majority– of the words we use to convey our most intimate, intelligent and innocuous thoughts, feelings and actions may be really wrong? Then, we’re not communicating. Take an easily bandied word RACE. I heard someone refer to “the German race.” a day ago. I did not bite my tongue, but I said nothing. I won’t insult your intelligence by posting multiple dictionary definitions. Dictionaries compose themselves around how words are being used by a certain percentage of people, That is why dictionaries change regularly. My favorite dictionary is an unabridged Webster’s from 1979. I like “real words,” not acronyms that are removed from the dictionary when they are passe, while the latest all consonant “words”(sic) are inserted.  Post-racial is a recent hybrid that has been in public usage for a few years. Journalists and pundits like to say “post-racial” to indicate that, because the US has elected a president with one-half African  and one-half European heritage the nation is no longer mired in the quicksand of its history: chattel slavery, legal, de facto segregation, and discrimination against the descendants of African captives to this hemisphere.

Are you laughing, yet? One corner of my mouth is turned up, and one corner is turned down when I think “post-racial.” Russ Limbaugh, the garbage disposal that someone forgot to flick on,  is a waving flag to the fallacy of “post-racial.” He and his fellow traveling reactionaries and conservatives, who dispute the legitimacy of the president as an American citizen, redefined the word almost as quickly as it has come into use.

The most accurate definition of race is as a synonym for the species of hominids, homo sapiens sapiens, seven billion of us. Take Limbaugh’s tirade against the president’s one-half African ancestry to the entire species, or, particularly, the female one half plus. The ignorance of Limbaugh’s attack on a Georgetown law student’s reasoned comments on institutionalized prejudice/racism denies students’ health services that are not controversial to medial science, nor students’ free choice.  Post-racial becomes its polar opposite, above/beyond limitations imposed in the name of “race” in the dictionary/scientific. Now laugh, really loud.