Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Earnest left-liberal blah blah Ryan Cooper says "This is good"
The biggest difference between Gornick’s Communists and today’s socialists, of course, is that—for better and worse—there is no Communist Party, and no world power backing it. The Communists “came from everywhere,” as Gornick puts it, not because they all had socialist parents or grew up in the radical milieu of the Jewish Lower East Side, though many did. They came from everywhere because they lived through a world-historical moment—the Depression—and the Party, itself the product of the world-historical Russian Revolution, was there waiting for them. As Belle Rothman tells Gornick, “Life came in on us, and we were bashed over the head, and we struggled to our knees and to our feet, and when we were standing there was the Communist Party.” CP membership more than tripled over the course of the 1930s, from 18,000 to over 65,000, and peaked at 85,000. 
But the CP dwindled, the Soviet Union collapsed, the unions were broken. By the time the Great Recession bashed today’s socialists over the head, there was nothing there. It has taken nearly a decade to build an organization, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), that comes anywhere close to approaching the CP in numbers—DSA currently has around 50,000 members—though it is not really comparable in most other senses.
pathetic, tragic, or farce. I'm not sure what to say. She didn't recognize Gornick's name. She probably wouldn't recognize Michael Harrington.

I'll never forget the Debs-Thomas dinner for Major Owens and Sam Meyers in 1987. Getting drunk with auto mechanics and secretaries, laughing in the face of idiots from the DSA, one of whom I recognized from high school. He went to Yale. He was manning the youth table. My girlfriend was on the executive committee of Meyers' Local 259. She was a secretary/assistant to the film curator at the Whitney, and the shop steward. She was a first generation college grad, but she went on for a PhD. A couple of years after she left, they voted to decertify the union.

The author, Alyssa Battistoni, on twitter: "we are truly entering a golden age of Romance content......keep an eye out for pieces by @AriBrostoff, @sophiepinkhmmm, @CoreyRobin, @micahuetricht, @dtortorici, and more I'm sure" One of the tagged replies, tagging Jodi Dean.

"Jodi Dean, the college professor as intellectual self-pitying Goth",  and Robin.

In the end it all dovetails...

Klub Kids

Le Guin on "content"

I need a tag for the hive.
Now I have one.

We had a lot of fun at that party, beginning with the ride in, picked up at our apartment on the South Side by another member of the executive committee, a Puerto Rican woman in her 50s in an Oldsmobile driven by a man who my girlfriend had explained was "a friend". Her husband was at home, or somewhere, but her friend was a great guy, and they both liked to drink. And she hated Victor Potamkin.

All the anti-Koch politicos were there. Rangel was there. Dinkins spoke; Harrington spoke. I remember my reaction not the words. Both were boring, Dinkins out of political tact and weakness, Harrington because he was earnest and out of his depth. The long-time UAW lawyers spoke with camaraderie and humor. The Jesuitical dissimulation of lawyers is a kind of honesty. Owens was great. Before he was a politician he was a librarian. He loved libraries and books, the public good.

Meyers was a creature from another era. He was stentorian and comic. He acknowledged with theatrical forbearance that some of his people had voted for Reagan but said they would come to regret it. He launched into a speech that he must have been giving for years, stories that everyone from the union had heard dozens of times, and which they were ready out of a similar forbearance to go through again, especially the bits timed to make the politicos and newbies blanch.  "I remember in 1945!... The first shop I was sent to organize, way out in Flatbush.  I walked in and the first man I saw was this SIX FOOT SPADE...!" He held the pause long enough to hear the uninitiated shuffle in their seats. "AND THAT MAN WAS BROTHER JOHN JOHNSON!!" A tall black man rose slowly, shaking his head, looking at the ground, smiling. He raised his head and a hand to the room and stood as Meyers continued the story. Next up was Brother Pete Papadopoulos, later the woman who'd given us a ride to the party. Last up was my girlfriend. "WE GOT ART HISTORIANS NOW!" Everyone had a story told. The romance was real but faded. The friendships were still there.

If I'm telling stories I should talk about the night at dinner in the early 70s when my father found out to his chagrin that he was a hero to the local CP. The son of an old friend was in town and staying at the party office. They had places to crash. My father called at the end of dinner and the kid on the line interrogated him: "Who are you? What do you want?" My father gave his name.  "Oh,Yes sir! Yes, Mr Edenbaum. I'll get him sir." Sitting at the table I watched my father move the phone away from his ear, incredulous.

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