Firstly, I want to direct readers to Susan Rosenthal’s blog. Susan, a physician and revolutionary socialist, has recently relaunched her website. It looks excellent, is user friendly and full of sharp, illuminating writing. Susan is a part of the International Health Workers for People Over Profits which also includes Patricia Campbell, President of the Independent Workers Union of Ireland and was represented at the last Labor Notes conference.
She writes powerfully about issues of class and health including the book Power and Powerlessness: Social Power is Necessary for Human Health and a recent and excellent essay called Class, Health and Health Care. Not just for militant health care workers Rosenthal’s work on class, capitalism and health is relevant for all of us, after all what is more personal and more social than our health?
Secondly, I want to warn those around me that my trigger is hairy and if I hear the phrase “middle class”, “main street”, “tax payer” or “consumer” one more time I am going off. Don’t test it. In fact, I am so pissed off at the language of the elections and the bailout (rescue); it is base, it is simple, even pablum, and it is false, that until the elections pass I am asking my friends and comrades to speak to me only in the most precise language of classical Marxism. I will only respond to terms found in the five volumes of Hal Draper’s Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution until the elections are over.
Thirdly, you hear a lot about the need for a “new New Deal” from progressives and others these days. I am all for the whatever public projects, benefits, social security, etc. that the working class can get, including those won in the 30’s, but what I want to know is if the New Deal was such a panacea why is it long gone and capitalism, its inequity greater than ever, still here? It couldn’t have been that much of a “solution” given the last 70 years of boom, bust and everything in between.
My Grandfather, the teenage son of a union coal miner (and behind him a further 6 continuous generations of miners) during the Depression, once told me that if it weren’t for the New Deal there would have been a revolution in this country. Or maybe it was a solution…for the capitalists. A revolution would have saved us from the last two generations’ slog through the mire.
And finally, I want to prove to those that deny it; my grudges can pass. For almost twenty years I resented the Philadelphia Phils for landing Cincinnati’s greatest son, Pete Rose, going on to beat the Dodgers for the NL Championship in 1983 (a funny history of Rose’s 1983 season here). In a replay of that series they meet up again an hour or so from when I write these lines. I gave up trying to defend Pete only a couple of years ago (I am loyal too), but this year I am 100% behind the Phils. If I can give up a baseball grudge I might even be able to forgive Wilco pimping for Volvo one day. Maybe not.