Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter232



Letters to the Editor

(January 2, 2012)


[Please include your first and last names, and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]

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Year-end Review -- Access all the Reviews in the Past Issues

To the Editor:

We have seen the most momentous year in decades. Some of us have long argued that the fundamental realities of our day are incomprehensible without a consciousness of social class, and the realization that the few who own and rule the world do so strictly in their own short-term interests. We talked ourselves blue that those the corporate capitalist nature of electoral politics made it an inadequate mechanism for shaping a rational environmental strategy, establishing a more just world, or even simply security a saner, peaceful world. Finally, we insisted that the lot of any workers could not ultimately be improved without improving the condition of all working people anywhere in the world. No amount of words spoken or written made much headway on these questions in the wider society.

2011 placed these fundamental principles of class, political power, and internationalism on the agenda. The economic collapse exposed the self-interested mismanagement at the heart of power. As the Arab Spring confronted the misrulers there, the masters here launched a mean-spirited assault upon the standards of living of those without wealth and power, and even conservative Ohio defeated the ruling party by a margin of 2 to 1 to sustain the rights of public employees to collective bargaining. Then, in September came the call to Occupy Wall Street.

In short order, groups formed in hundreds of cities and towns, with several thousand mobilized overseas under the same rubric. Places that saw little or no activity in the 1960s are seeing large demonstrations, seeking to represent everybody and transcending policy tweaks to address fundamental issues. No level of repression nor movement disorganization can make the issues that brought these people into the streets go away.

And no words can adequately convey our best wishes for the New Year.


Mark Lause
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - December 22, 2011


Year-end Review -- Access all the Reviews in the Past Issues

To the Editor:

Swans' year-end review is impressive as ever. I've been absent for a year and notice that the list of writers, and nationalities, represented has vastly expanded. Bravo!

I took a leave from political commentary this year, and most Internet activities, to attend to a personal crisis. When you're dealing with something that has grandly fucked up your life, and others', the vicarious pleasure of talking about national and world events seems a distraction. I admire Peter Byrne's humble acknowledgement of the limited role a writer has to play, as well as the very good job of doing it he does anyway.

I liked Manuel García's commentary too, for breaking down newspaper/chronological history into conceptual categories like "nature's power," "poverty," and "debt," so that we can think more about them, and ending with a gallant tribute to the merely "imaginary" heroes of, mostly, film, who have made our personal lives richer.

I read Jonah Raskin's account of his unexpected transition from academia to retirement with pleasure, since I shared the experience, and Raskin shows more grace and wisdom than I did in handling it. And I loved the title "Inside and Outside the Whale." We are all, in the U.S., inside the whale, in one way or another.

The rest of this impressive list of Swans' contributors I have to leave for another day. Thanks to Gilles d'Aymery for his hard work in keeping Swans going, and his own clear-headed, challenging commentary, that never stops at mere disgust but turns it into re-committment.

Robert Wrubel
Stewarts Point, California, USA - December 28, 2011


The Essence of Humanity

Dear Swans staff:

Which is the inner humanity's essence? Can we try to grasp a common rhythm to the endless harmonies' diversity of the souls in every time and in every place? Can we try to reach, in reality, the archetypal idea of "man"? The cosmopolitan language blending intends to reach this goal, maybe in a status of kind haughtiness, surely like a necessity, that cannot be renounced, of divenir del mondo esperto. Present, past, and future are merged in one continuum, the Australian caverns of the Dream belong to the same Augustinian works' library and to the Sioux songs, and even the very clear Dante's light coexists with Baudelaire's obscurity thanks to the superimposition carried out by this thought's movement. The message, the deep sense to bring, is not linked indissolubly to the provenance's language but instead takes his origin from the spiritual essence of the personalities that finally are "man."


Riccardo Balletta and Ruggero Biondo
Palermo, Sicily, Italy - December 21, 2011


Year-end Review: Jan Baughman's 2011: A Stormy Year

To the Editor:

The most insightful and presciently acerbic comment I found in my wandering among the thick forest of opinions is this one: "Polar bears have fallen out of favor, with the middle class taking their place in 2011 as the poster child for extinction of a species." A brilliantly serrated line that cuts and reveals not only our moral-economic conundrum, but also makes us aware of Jan Baughman's intimidating clairvoyance. Her tightly packed opinion-review, contrary to all of our redundant ramblings, was the exemplar of eloquence, in understated brevity; she nailed it. Kudos!


Raju Peddada
Des Plaines, Illinois, USA - December 21, 2011


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Published January 2, 2012
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