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Has Anyone the Courage Now II

Roger in Baltimore 04 Apr 99 - 09:37 PM
Susan A-R 04 Apr 99 - 10:29 PM
Night Owl 04 Apr 99 - 10:45 PM
AlistairUK 05 Apr 99 - 06:40 AM
Ethan Mitchell 05 Apr 99 - 07:57 AM
AlistairUK 05 Apr 99 - 08:03 AM
Neil Lowe (inactive) 05 Apr 99 - 09:39 AM
AlistairUK 05 Apr 99 - 09:44 AM
Ethan Mitchell 05 Apr 99 - 10:35 AM
AlistairUK 05 Apr 99 - 11:26 AM
Chet W. 05 Apr 99 - 06:50 PM
Pete M 06 Apr 99 - 12:34 AM
Bert 06 Apr 99 - 09:51 AM
AlistairUK 06 Apr 99 - 11:59 AM
Ethan Mitchell 12 Apr 99 - 11:59 PM
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Subject: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 04 Apr 99 - 09:37 PM

This continues a thread RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Susan A-R
Date: 04 Apr 99 - 10:29 PM

I hope that this thread keeps going at its new location Roger, thanks for moving it again. Ethan, Guess Vermont does draw/breed more'n its share of anarchists. (I'm guessing due to the sovernet address, as that's ours as well) We're involved in publication of The Northern Spy, which is an anarchist publication. Read good old Emma Goldman too, she's a great intro.

As for music, the songs I choose to sing, or the songs I have written could no more be separated from the things (including politics) in which I believe, or about which I feel strongly, than I could be separated from the music. It's good for my soul and sanaty. Now and then, it's also a vehicle to reach folks who wouldn't normally think about an issue, or a way to help the folks who are involved in issues to find the energy to keep on going. I sing what I believe In struggles worth the fighting for of wealth and greed, of rich and poor A birth of peace, an end to war With satire up my sleeve.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Night Owl
Date: 04 Apr 99 - 10:45 PM

Chet...you mention being dissillusioned by the current fragmentation of groups with the same ideology. If you were hearing the music of the sixties, I assume you may also remember the in-fighting among CiviL Rights groups...SNCC, CORE, NAACP, URBAN LEAGUE, SCLC, Black Panthers, etc,etc. As bad as the disagreements re: methodology were, we did manage to get one or two things accomplished!


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: AlistairUK
Date: 05 Apr 99 - 06:40 AM

When will people realise that the system doesn't work? when will they realise that you can't play the system because the way it was designed? We haven't got a look in, we haven't got a chance...unless the system is changed. Chet will live out his life trying to ease the lives of his juveniles, Mick will keep on fighting for his members, and I will go on sitting in my corner waiting and watching and shaking myhead at the futility of it all. There are two options, Fight or give up. Which one do you want?


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Ethan Mitchell
Date: 05 Apr 99 - 07:57 AM

Alistair, question about the passive voice: 'unless the system is changed'. Changed by who? And changed how? Because if the answers are 'by us' and 'by fighting it', then I think Chet and Mick's work (and perhaps even your head-shaking) are steps in that direction.

Susan, yaay, anarchy in Vermont! Yes, it was dumb of me to forget Goldman...you know she was actually here in Barre, when the granite carvers and the quarry workers were striking? But music, music...you say your music is inseperable from your politics, and I would say thats pretty generally true insofar as your political outlook shapes your experience, and you have to sing from experience. Does this automatically 'politicize' the music of oppressed people, no matter what they're singing about?


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: AlistairUK
Date: 05 Apr 99 - 08:03 AM

Ethan: Damn! I teach EFL out here in Brazil and you bring out the grammar. I naturally assumed from the context of the discussion that using the passive voice in this instance, the agent would be a given as anybody who is interested in changing the system. Also, I was trying to give the impression that the "system" should be changed radically and quickly. Working within it has not really brought about any significant results. Sigh! Maybe I should have been born at another time.


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Neil Lowe (inactive)
Date: 05 Apr 99 - 09:39 AM

Gandhi and pacifism brought about radical change by essentially sitting down and doing nothing....and 1/3 of Tim Leary's equation "Turn on, tune in, drop out" approach to life seems apropos as well (which 1/3, or maybe more than 1/3, depending on your bent, I'll leave to you, dear reader). Corporations think of us as nothing more than thoughtless consumers who exist only to have something sold to them.


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: AlistairUK
Date: 05 Apr 99 - 09:44 AM

But we are.. I mean I just gotta have that new soap powder...and I hear there gonna start a new flavour coke yummmm


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Ethan Mitchell
Date: 05 Apr 99 - 10:35 AM

Sorry Alistair...don't mean to be so picky. But, OK, you're in Brazil, you say social work doesn't change anything, or doesn't change much, or doesn't change enough. Whatever. What would say about the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra? From my vantage point of total ignorance up here in New England, it sounds like the largest populist uprising in the world today...and yet they're totally unknown in the North. Would they meet your standards of 'changing the system'? They certainly meet mine...of course Sem is not 'social work', it's revolution. I guess what I object to is the idea that social work has some sort of ceiling beyond which it durst not try to change anything...social work should *be* revolutionary, at least in terms of long-term goals.


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: AlistairUK
Date: 05 Apr 99 - 11:26 AM

Ethan: Ok this is where the dichotomy comes in. about 20% of Sem Terra are truly landless peasants looking for a fairer distribution of land so that they can work and keep themselves ( I do not deny that the distribution of land here in Brazil is not unequal). The other 90% can be split up between the various criminal organisations that are agitating to line their own pockets and the landowners that are trying to get even more land for themselves. the Sem Terra is not a legitimate force for change, it is, like so many things here in South America, a farce that is doing more damage than good. Still the poor are kept poor and the rich (landowners, industrialists, criminals...sort of synonyms really)are out to get richer. The thing is it's so well orchestrated by the media ( Read Globo...Roberto Marinho the journalist who owns Globo was a military lackey during the military regime here and further helped keep the people ignorant in his approved programming) and those in the government that have the power to paint over the discrepencies in what the 'movement'is doing.


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Chet W.
Date: 05 Apr 99 - 06:50 PM

I suppose we should say something about music now and then to make this look like an appropriate forum for this discussion. I know that there was infighting among the various groups of the civil rights movement, but it was me that was too caught up in the egalitarian aspects of it all to think that this infighting was important. I cling to lines like the one about having a dream that all God's children of all backgrounds and persuasions and chromosome shapes could sit down at the table as equals. I thought that we all really wanted to reach a point where we were judged by the content of our character(s), etc. But like everything else, as I look back, most people were just there for the party (as in merrymaking) and a large chunk of the rest were there to promote their own narrow causes. Those who truly wanted real equality for us all were always in the minority and not really prized by any of the more visible groups. The "system" that we'd like to change, I'm afraid, is as much a part of nature as food and sex. There will always be a majority of people that look out only for themselves and their own. We, like all living things, first and foremost protect our food supply (wealth) and our reproductive potential (in today's terms, also wealth). It will take mutations and a few more billion years of evolution before people like me (and you) are more than a flea on the elephant's ass. That's why these fights we get into are so maddening; we have so few allies, even among our own perceived cultures, that we have to content ourselves with the trying. A lot of brilliant people, I believe, have lost their minds over this for centuries or even millenia. So don't give up the fight - get up, stand up, or whatever you must do, but a little perspective goes a long way here.

With just a touch of wisdom, I hope, Chet


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Pete M
Date: 06 Apr 99 - 12:34 AM

Hi Alistair, did you go to the Ronald Reagan school for the mathematically gifted? You know - "Imagine the economy as a big cake, cut it up and you have half for the national debt, half for defence and the other half for social services."? (grin)

Seriously though you are right, any movement by the powerless, whether pacific or revolutionary, if it looks like succeeding, will by definition attract people who seek power and who will subvert the movement to their own ends and ensure that the powerless remain so. Ethan is also correct in that we should not make the mistake of assuming that what we do as social worker, union organiser or whatever, is in a watertight box. In practical terms I no longer expect to change the world as we hoped back in the sixties, but if we make life better for one person or help others to understand the inequity of their situation, we have made a difference. Given the amount of effort put in by the government and corporates respectively to tell us that we bleeding heart liberals should "keep out of politics" and "live in the real world" I think perhaps we make more difference than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.

Pete M

PS Alistair, Fink I'll 'ave ter watch me grammer from nahron!


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Bert
Date: 06 Apr 99 - 09:51 AM

Alistair, I'm glad I'm not the only one who makes typos. Now, perhaps, The Shambles can get at you for a while and forget about my sogs.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: AlistairUK
Date: 06 Apr 99 - 11:59 AM

Bert, you know I was 45% certain that I wasn't going to make any typos but the other 65% of me just new it was all going to go wrong. Just keep up the sogs my man and we will all be happy.

Pete, erm Roanld Reagan was my 3rd form maths teacher what about it ?


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Subject: RE: Has Anyone the Courage Now II
From: Ethan Mitchell
Date: 12 Apr 99 - 11:59 PM

Glad to be back near a computer... I think all revolutionary movements are quickly co-opted by the Other Side, and that this is an accelerating process; governments and corporations have gotten really hip in this Century. Think about the body counts we got during Vietnam: gloating over the fallen enemy. Today when we bomb villages the media is barely credulous that we might have hurt anybody: 'The Iraqis claim that a civilian was injured in the bombing...' But I don't think this is a reason to throw up my hands in despair. Yeah, ST is full of ruthless oppurtunists. And look what happened to the French Revolution, or the Russian Revolution, or the Cuban Revolution...they all degenerate to man-bites-man sooner or later. That does not mean that they accomplished nothing. More importantly, that does not mean that revolutions are bad...I think the problem is that revolutions *stop*, stop questioning the system the moment they become the system. The Trotsky thing. And of course, the problem is that none of us are going to be around for the End Of The War, so we get really wrapped up in the battles. And the battles--even the really huge battles, the liberation of whole peoples, whatever--are not complete by themselves. I am afraid I am rambling. Final thingy before I go to sleep: One of the ways that people who are somewhat active keep a fire under their ass is by being really harsh on themselves. Sometimes this even works to politicize people who aren't. But it can also be a sort of a vice, a bad habit...if you really convince yourself that anything you do is pointless, you'll stop doing it...and then your humility has the same effect as everyone else's apathy. Sleepy ---- Ethan


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