Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Thoughts on Class War

Historian A.J. P. Taylor: "The Left preach class war; the Right practice it."

Given a choice, I'd rather not mention class at all.

I'd rather spend my time reciting Shakespeare and promoting exciting underground writers.

But some folks are always waging class war upon me!

When wealthy banker's son Rick Moody receives grants of philanthropy, that's class war upon other writers.

When Dave Eggers is portrayed by bourgeois magazines as grass roots and D-I-Y, though his McSweeney's was conglomerate-backed from the beginning, that's class war.

When snobby heads of local bourgeois writers groups refuse to shake my hand, I consider this a statement of class war.

I'd like to get along with everybody. Most ULAers feel the same way. But we insist-- bizarrely, uncomfortably-- in being treated as equals, with simple respect.

We know the rich and patrician Senate refused to raise the minimum wage, which has stayed the same for nine years (it was too low then!) while prices costs health care gasoline transportation food executive celebrity salaries everything has been skyrocketing. (There is no "free market" justification because this isn't an unmanipulated free market.) At the same time, the safety valve of bankruptcy is being closed.
Class war: People pushed to the wall.

The reason much of the media establishment, aristocrats like Beinart and vanden Heuvel, backed centrist Kerry is because they saw that Bush would push much of the population in desperation to the extreme Left or extreme Right-- the Black Bloc or the militias-- leaving fissures in the ground beneath their underground palaces.

WHAT I PUT ON THIS BLOG is actually quite moderate. As a long-time undergrounder, I have access to the full spectrum of radical information and ideas. I get mailings from those who want blood flowing in the streets. I've been satisfied that the ULA is merely more radical than anything else on the lit-scene, without being extreme. We can go way farther. Should we re-consider our strategy?
The ULA's strength to my mind is that we're the most populist lit group, without being overtly partisan or political, which allows us to appeal to writers and artists on both sides of the aisle. We hold to no narrow political ideology-- literature is our focus.

We've tried to work with extreme conservatives like "Ranger West," but he couldn't keep from intruding Rush Limbaugh jingoism irrelevant to our campaign into everything he said. Nor will we allow ourselves to be labelled, categorized, and put into a box as Leftists. This is 2005. It's not time for outdated categories and stale thinking. The Left has barricaded itself into academia and thereby lost its edge and its relevance, staring perplexed at the world from shuttered windows. The ULA works among the populace. No tops-down approach from us! We're not Chomsky and that wonky insular sinecured crowd. Our D-I-Y philosophy appeals to those Chomsky will never touch.

The future belongs to new ideas. The ULA will succeed because we've built a better foundation. We've created a synthesis of the best aspects of the Left and the Right. In no way will we be chained to old ideologies and failed movements. But we still want to change things! Only by people on all sides uniting can people even have a voice. (Otherwise we get the same-old collection of mainstream media elitists.)

The ULA belongs to all writers. Even the Ivy League kind are welcome-- provided they reject their pedigree, change their spots, drop their snobbery, and become cooperative uncorrupted individuals freed from old ways of literary thought. Because we're new, loud, radical, populist, an experiment in rebellion, the excitement in the lit world lies with us-- not with polite stodgy stuffy mandarins and stooge demi-puppet sycophants.

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