It can be plausibly argued that violence does cause thinking. If peace was predominant, there would never be much occasion for thoughtful reflection. So, thinking is bound to violence, and violence seems the janus-faced side of civilization. And, the trick it seems, is to avoid thinking and not thinking about your thinking. One runs the risk of madness, the risk of physical suffering and the risk of death. The act of finitude, and non-neutrality are never peaceable processes and pacific procedures. They are violent.
There have been a number of dark periods in American history, generally for those excluded prom the shelter of white privilege. As Occupy Wall Street carries on, there is a need to differentiate between the real issues and what are simply stylistic demands for self-expression that risk an alienating and divisive process, and perhaps reinforcing the consumerism, militarism and racism- MLK’s unholy trinity. Better to be a common weed, almost indestructible than a temporal flower:
“And I thanked mi papa who’d always said to me that we, los Indios, the Indians, were like weeds. That roses you had to water and give fertilizer or they’d die. But weeds, indigenous plants, you gave them nada-nothing; hell, you even poisoned them and put concrete over them, and those weeds would still break the concrete, reaching for the sunlight of God.” — Victor Villasenor, BURRO GENIUS
The demands are pretty straightforward: get the money out of politics; eliminate a financial system that acts like a crime syndicate; provide a measure of income stability and security, a living wage, for working people; a level of acceptable health care; a retirement income.
To a Stranger. by Walt Whitman
PASSING stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me, as of a dream,)
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
All is recall’d as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me, or a girl with me,
I ate with you, and slept with you—your body has become not yours only, nor left my body
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass—you take of my beard,
hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone,
I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
Francine Prose: In Zuccotti Park I felt a kind of lightening of a weight, a lessening of the awful isolation and powerlessness of knowing we’re being lied to and robbed on a daily basis and that everyone knows it and keeps quiet and endures it; the terror of thinking that my own grandchildren will suffer for whatever has been paralyzing us until just now. I kept feeling these intense surges of emotion — until I saw a placard with a quote from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: “I am large, I contain multitudes.” And that was when I just lost it and stood there and wept.Read More:http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/opinion/finding-clarity-of-purpose-at-occupy-wall-street/12006/
…If Walt Whitman were alive today, he wouldn’t hear America singing. He’d hear it whining. From Occupy Wall Street to the tea party, we all want to see America return to its old form. And maybe a little whining works around the edges. But to my knowledge, no country has ever whined its way back into prosperity
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/17/ask-matt-labash-occupy-wall-street-nazis-vs-commies-and-i-hear-america-whining/#ixzz1bQhW0aXQ
…But Whitman wouldn’t have forgotten them. What’s most shocking about his writing today is not that he loves men or describes “the body electric.” What’s stunning is his democratic sensibility. He loves everyone. “I contain multitudes,” he wrote. He embraced the soul of democracy, its fundamental faith in humankind. He knew that the fate of each one of us is inextricably linked to the fate of all. “Whoever degrades another degrades me,” he wrote. “I speak the password primeval, I give the sign of democracy./By God, I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms.”
Where does this deep devotion come from? This isn’t someone who reduces the idea of democracy to an abstract concept like voting, or a knowledge of civics. He knows in his gut that people share so much, if only we had the eyes to see and the willingness to reach out to our fellow beings.
Whitman looks across America and sees himself in whomever he meets: “the horseman in his saddle,/Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,/The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles, and their wives waiting,/The female soothing a child–the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,/The young fellow hoeing corn.”
It’s ironic that Whitman chose to celebrate what we share at a time when Americans were less dependent on each other than we are today. Many more people lived on farms in the nineteenth century, and so they could be a lot more self-reliant: growing their own food, sewing their clothes, building their own homes. But rather than applauding what each American could do in isolation, Whitman embraced all of us together: “I hear America singing.”
Most of all, he loved to see Americans at work, using their broad arms as much as their brilliant minds. Images of working men and women leap from his pages, alive with power. We see “men that live among cattle or taste of the ocean or woods” alongside “the builders and steerers of ships and the wielders of axes and mauls, and the drivers of horses.”
Whitman often described the freedom of walking on the public road. The contrast with today’s world is telling. Now, Republicans see freedom not as walking on the public road, but as resisting taxation. The consequence–no public road. Extolling the value of self-reliance, Republicans have no answer for the person who studies hard, works hard, and then makes the mistake of working at a company whose CEO commits fraud and brings the organization down. It’s all very well to tell him to start his own company when the banks won’t lend.
Republicans have refused even to hold hearings for a Nobel Prize winner nominated to the Federal Reserve. His area of expertise? Employment. But Senator Shelby is more intent on protecting the wealthy, the ones whom Whitman describes like this: “Here and there with dimes on the eyes walking,/To feed the greed of the belly . . ./A few idly owning, and they the wheat continually claiming.”
Whitman contrasts these idle owners with the “Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff for payment receiving.” His heart is with the many.
Whitman reminds us of another way of seeing ourselves and our world. He celebrates a nation where everyone is worthy, not where a few do well. In his America, we glory in our own work and we make sure there are jobs for everyone. Read More:http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/07/walt-whitman-and-the-soul-of-democracy/241558/
Christopher Caudwell. (1935):Thus, after all, the bourgeois dream of liberty cannot be realised. Social restraints must come into being to protect this one thing that makes him a bourgeois. This ‘freedom’ to own private property seems to him inexplicably to involve more and more social restraints, laws, tariffs, and factory acts; and this ‘society’ in which only relations to a thing are permitted becomes more and more a society in which relations between men are elaborate and cruel. The more he aims for bourgeois freedom, the more he gets bourgeois restraint, for bourgeois freedom is an illusion.
Thus, just as much as in slave-owning society, bourgeois society turns out to be a society built on violent coercion of men by men, the more violent in that while the master must feed and protect his slave, whether he works or not, the bourgeois employer owns no obligation to the free labourer, not even to find him work. The whole bourgeois dream explodes in practice, and the bourgeois state becomes a theatre of the violent and coercive subjection of man to man for the purposes of economic production.
Unlike the violence of the footpad, the violence of the bourgeois though similar in motive plays a social role. It is the relation whereby social production is secured in bourgeois society, just as the master-to-slave relation secures production in a slave-owning civilisation. It is for its epoch the best method of securing production, and it is better to be a slave than a beast of the jungle, better to be an exploited labourer than a slave, not because the bourgeois employer is ‘nicer’ than the slave-owner (he is often a good deal crueller), but because the wealth of society as a whole is more with the former relation than the latter.
But no system of relations is static, it develops and changes. Slave-owning relations develop into Empires and then reveal their internal contradictions. They collapse. … In the same way, feudal civilisation, exhausted in England by the anarchy of the Wars of the Roses, collapsed. But not this time, before an external enemy; it fell before an internal enemy, the rising bourgeois class.
Bourgeois relations, too, developed. In the famous bourgeois booms and slumps, they show the potential decay of the system. This decay was retarded by Imperialism, that is, by forcibly imposing on other countries the ‘natural rights’ of the bourgeois. In these backward countries the bourgeois right to trade profitably and to alienate and acquire any property was forcibly imposed. Here too the bourgeois, out of his dominating relation to a thing, secretly imposed his dominating relation over men, which can yet be disguised as democracy, for does not democracy declare that all men are equal and none may enslave the other? Does it not exclude all relations of domination – despotism, slave-owning, feudal privilege – except the ‘innocent’ domination of capitalist over ‘free’ labourer?
But in this imperialising, a new situation arose – external war instead of internal violence and coercion. For now, in exploiting backward countries, or, it was called, ‘civilising’ them, one bourgeois State found itself competing with another, just as inside the State bourgeois competes with bourgeois.
But inside the State bourgeois competes with bourgeois peacefully, because it is the law – and this law was established for their own protection against the exploited. The laws forbidding one bourgeois to seize another’s property by force arose as the result of the need to prevent the have-nots seizing property by force. It is an internal law, the law of the coercive State. If it had not been necessary for the existence of the whole bourgeois class for them to be protected against the seizing of their property by the exploited, the law against the forcible seizure of private property, coercively enforced and taught to the exploited as a ‘necessary’ law of society, would never have come into existence. For the individualistic, competitive nature of bourgeois trade (each ‘getting the better’ of the other) is such that no bourgeois sees anything wrong in impoverishing another bourgeois. If he is ‘bust’ or ‘hammered’ – well, it’s the luck of the game. But all unite as a class against the exploited, for the existence of the class depends on this. If it is a case of a battle royal inside the bourgeois class, each bourgeois believes by nature and education that, given an equal chance, he will get the better of the other. This eternal optimism of the bourgeois is seen in the historic bourgeois appeals for ‘fair-play’, ‘fair field and no favour’, and all the other allied bourgeois slogans which express the ethics of the ‘sporting’ English gentleman.Read More:http://www.marxists.org/archive/caudwell/1935/pacifism-violence.htm