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Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 03:51 AM PDT

Trotsky's continuing relevance

by isabelle hayes

LeGaulliste recently wrote about Marx's concept of the necessity of the connection between the worker and the work, the concept of one's life-activity having value and being natural to the healthy human; that capitalism has severed that connection,  creating a host of ills for the ordinary person.

A person's free, conscious activity is what differentiates man's species (if I understood Marx correctly), from the animals and without which the laborer is alienated from his/her work.

That diary started me thinking about the steady or growing rate of unemployment in the urban and rural ghettos of this country.  The ordinary young persons (not specially talented athletes) growing up there have to go into illegal trade if they have ambition (exceptions of course do happen), a situation created by our society being run by and for capitalists and wannabe capitalists.  That system requires scapegoats,  another method used to gull the voters.  The willingness of the many to ascribe fault to the poor can make a humanist very depressed indeed.

I've been able to be involved and interested in american politics only since 2008,  having since Reagan been unable to take it seriously, or believe in the intelligence or good will of the electorate.  And this alienation extends to the entire human race, given the history of hatred, murder, mayhem, permanent war.  

Such thoughts cannot but occur to anyone who cares about the apparent human inability to create a world supportive of all living creatures.

But for the last year or so  I've been  reading Leon Trotsky's writings, and books about him, and have found his life (and death) exemplary and inspiring.  No more need be said about his foresight than to quote from the book he wrote circa 1920, entitled “Terrorism and Communism”:

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my heart is really in it
being a child of leftist nonreligious galician jews who came to the usa to escape poverty and prejudice, and married to an irish/english man who tells me i'm always ready to run away from a pogrom,  i guess being a jewess (i love that word) is in my blood

i also feel very close with the arabs,  though the only ones i know are christians; but whatever religion they've chosen, i know we're related (duh);

recently there have been diaries about how the peace process is almost certainly abandoned, that between the  so-called leaders in israel and among the palestinians they've managed to make it look like there's no option for anything but continued hostilities into the future

an idea has come to me, i'd like to know if anyone else sees this possibility:

the arab culture has many different modes of expression, and one of them is the warrior life;  

despite the many years that the two tribes have been warring, we read that the arabs see the jews as europeans, trying to impose that culture on the middle east; a culture that has given up seeing war as a way of resolving differences;  

the arabs have seen that the west will put a certain amount of muscle into a region to get what's wanted out of it, but they've also seen that the west will always leave, at least for intervals

if the jews are just europeans then the expectation is that they'll also leave eventually if life is made hard enough, if loss of life is shocking enough for long enough;

but that is what differentiates the jews from the europeans:  they have no place to go back to

i know that for the palestinians who, back in the day,  suffered the loss of their homes and villages, their wound is still suppurating, but their grand and great grandchildren can only identify at second-hand, vicariously

these children have grown up seeing the israeli jews take whatever has been thrown at them, and persevere; they're not going anywhere is what has become obvious i think to the young arab mind

i haven't done any research on this idea, but i've read about the struggle from both points of view, and  have the humanistic view toward all peoples, so this idea has given me great hope that sometime in the near future, before i have to go,  the i/p struggle will evaporate, like the two irish sides, which, by the way, were much more different peoples than are the semites

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