Friday, January 14, 2011
Book in the Kitchen
I'll return to recipes next week but I had hoped to write up a few thoughts on Chris Hedges' Death Of The Liberal Class on Thursday. But there was not time. So I pushed it to tonight.
Hedges book explores how we got to the point we are in this country today.
Historically, he examines the last century. I'm not sure how conversant we all are in various figures -- labor leaders, etc. -- from the 20th century so I'll instead use Lynne Stewart which will also give me a chance to do my part in keeping political prisoner Lynne in our thoughts.
If you don't know, Lynne is in a prison in Fort Worth, Texas. The grandmother is an attorney, the people's attorney. Fighting to give everyone a defense. And for that, the Bush administration went gunning for her. They had a show trial where they repeated 9-11 a great deal and convicted her of the 'crime' of breaking a guideline, not a law.
The railroading of Lynne could not have happened if we had stood firm. Instead, we had the weak asses like David Cole (Georgetown professor) offer a weak ass 'defense' of Lynne in The Nation. And more weak ass defenses followed. Instead of insisting that Lynne having broken no law meant no need to prosecute her, they tried to appear 'reasonable' and a host of other silly terms.
In doing so, they weakened not only the law or our judicial systems, they also condemned Lynne to prison.
Where were the strong left voices? Always somewhere else.
And Hedges notes this silence with regards to various events in the 20th century. (To be clear, he does not speak about Lynne. She is my point of illustration, not his.) So, as Lynne was gone after, others were gone after. And the David Coles wanted to keep their posts in academia and their media attention so they were defanged and declawed and house-bound tabbies stretching out by the window for sunlight. As one Lynne-like leader after another was railroaded and attacked and discredited in MSM, society suffered.
So the gains that the labor movement made were taken away bit by bit as the 70s brought about the David Coles wanting compromise and respect.
And it's destroyed the country, destroyed the workers rights, destroyed the environment and much more.
By refusing to fight back repeatedly, the liberal class has aided in the destruction of the radical class which is the class that pushed through and made many changes happen.
Hedges feels that things will collapse; however, I think if enough people will wake up that could change. But that might be my need to hopelessly delude myself.
The Ralph Nader section, near the end, really does make Hedges' case for him. Ralph Nader was riding high (this is a very loose summary), getting Congress to pass legislation to protect the people, getting major exposes covered in the press. Then Abe Rosenthal is put in charge of the New York Times -- Canadian right-winger. As managing editor and determined to increase the paper's readership (by going 'upscale' via suburban readers -- a traditional pattern with papers) and its adverstising monies, he gets heavily in bed with business and devises a new plan: No Nader findings can be reported on in the paper unless there is a response from the Big Business in question. Big Business learned of that (before or after it became policy?) and would issue "no comment" thereby killing any chance of the stories making the paper.
As the New York Times 'led,' others quickly followed.
Nader was 'disappeaered.' Upon entering politics, he was savaged by a bunch of left wing poodles who never had anything of real value to contribute but did make damn sure that they raked in money from their cushy, self-protected academic posts.
It's a complex book and I may not have come close to doing it justice but hopefully I at least raised your interest in it enough for you to pick it up.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday: