: Posted this piece in a rush. This unedited first draft is offered up without a blush from me whatsoever. I know exactly what is lacking in activist circles. Which does not mean I’m not open to tweaking my angle of vision. But leisurely discussion of options — not currently on the table for well-meaning concerned citizens — must come first. That’s what I’m seeking. Chris Steele just emailed me in response to my outreach on his http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/26/denial-and-loathing-in-colorado /; said he’d call later today. Let’s hope Nicole joins the fray too, getting past the way in which I choose to express myself, pressing buttons with my shotgun approach to writing.
“Virtually all ‘love songs’ these days, partially or wholly, must incorporate a sense of community, have somehow embedded, even if only obliquely, a sense of solidarity which runs counter to the ‘Do Your Own Thing mantra’, which sounds the death knell of our civilization at this juncture. That doesn’t mean we can’t have straight up love lyrics. I hope that’s clear. And I hope that anyone reading rants which acknowledge that take that point of view. A good example is what’s captured in ‘Out of the Rain’, what can be gleaned from those lyrics which can have zero to do with personal love.” — one of the author’s home schooled teenage charges
Appolonian Ox on The Sunny Troxell Trolley
by Richard Martin Oxman
I’ve got this absolutely thrilling, fun piece to post for the good folks at whistleblowers.org after I tweak it a bit here and there. Usually, I throw stuff up unedited, touching up as the spirit moves and time permits afterwards. But coming across Nicole’s http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/?q=node/3260 upon rising this top ‘o the mornin’ I switched gears.
What I have to say to Beatrice Edwards & Whistleblower Co. after hearing her on radio yesterday and reading their online blah blah is important, but since I haven’t received any substantial replies to my missives yet… not even the “confirmation of receipt” requested from some in their quarter… I can water the Whistleblower flowers at a later date. They can wait. Got a date with Nicole right now.
I came across her and her Kentucky+ dilemma on ZNet… a well-meaning, truly academic, deeply experienced alternative media outlet… as much in need of tweaking as my Whistleblower piece and the Whistleblower organization itself.
Nicole’s piece really resonated. For a number of reasons. One is that I also got into teaching at institutions of so-called higher education back in the day for much of the same reasons that she entered the realm. Way back in the day. For I entered the fray in ‘64… and by ‘74… just when I had completed all of my doctoral work sans the dissertation… I got out… just as Nicole seems prepared to do, all else being equal, or should I say all else remaining unequal. What I saw in ‘74 was that spirits like mine were being trashed, the university powers that be replacing the likes of me with new faculty aspirants (zero experience, but “cost effective”)… pushing those with doctorates (up for tenure) into taxi cab driving in New York City. Concern for students a very low priority.
Want to take The Troxell on a trolley of sorts. A fresh ride.
All of my activism is deeply personal. For I see quite clearly how the “bottom line” which goes unacknowledged ‘cross the activist board is embedded in Rilke’s You must change your life. Nicole needn’t be bothered by the fact that SEIU isn’t firmly ensconced in her Kentucky… for the tiny inroads they are capable of making in the best scenario they can imagine cannot possibly cut the mustard respecting what must be done.
What must be done as the first order of biz is to address the apathy, resignation, cynicism, ignorance, habit, complicity, fear and atomization plaguing everyone at present from co-workers in her Department of Sociology, the general population in her Bluegrass State, and among the good women at her Freedom Socialist Party. Changing one’s life has too little to do with the obsolete forms of protest currently in vogue, and less to do with the primary priorities of the general population and/or the self-serving agendas of just about every single college instructor, professor et alia. Adjunct, tenured or not. [All this begs for elaboration, I know. That's available 24x8 upon request.]
When I imagine what Nicole is all about I fancy that she’s some kind of Charlotte Despard or some sort of member of the Pankhurst family, maybe Sylvia… who spent more time in prison than the other often-jailed women in that glorious WWI group. But what do I know? What does it matter? [The matter of having heads bashed in at barricades and getting arrested, along with other obsolete forms of 'screaming out' must now be addressed anew.]
No matter that I may be way off respecting who Nicole is at the moment.
Contrary to all appearances, this is not personal. Not along the lines that mediocre minds will take it. For I am about creating a watershed in history with Nicole. Yesterday.
I have the greatest sense of urgency on earth about the issues which are dear to our collective hearts. But heartbeats must beat a bit faster than they are at present in the many well-meaning quarters festooned throughout our activist realm, including those at http://www.socialism.com/drupal-6.8/home, http://zcomm.org/znet/ and http://www.whistleblower.org/ . And the thousand+ other centers I’ve touched base with over the past decade or so in and out of academia, in and out of union halls, in and out of this and that street down dark alleys where bootless cries have called for institutional change which can never be brought about without a core group of people changing their lives… for starters. [Forever.]
I have a fresh paradigm to offer up for the kind consideration of my Nicole.
I am banging on her ear here.
But this is NOT about the kinds of hugs and coarse kisses we’re inundated with courtesy of our mundane entertainers these days.
Rather it is about Spring wanting to burst forth. About the LOVE it will take to turn over the toxic game board on which we’re being played, on which we’ve been splayed forever. Which activists are avoiding or talking about on the run with jaded, impotent arrows in their quiver. Lacking in the lyrical innocence which is absolutely essential… as a supplement to embracing the hard core facts, facing the stinkable unthinkable. W/o poetry, sans pleasing visceral appeals. [Sans significant reins of power.]
The innocence you can see in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES4JdPkWsJE is what I’m so much about. Caring about that. Knowing that our horrid momentum is about to keep the Morning Sun from ever rising again.
The Sun which wants to put its arms around everyone. And dance for joy.
O bailan todos o no baile nadie.
Hey, ending this piece with those smiling bluegrass steps isn’t a bad note to end on, yes?
: If all else fails with my outreach here, I do pray that I’ll be given the opportunity to at least lay out my experiences with ineffective activism in Kentucky, in Nicole’s backyard. For I have lots to share that’ll be instructive. That goes for Chris too respecting my interactions in and around Denver, Colorado… his backyard, if and when he follows through on his promise to connect today (6/27).
“Do the birds sing in the morning because the Sun comes up, or does the Sun rise because of their singing?” — the author’s main mentor in the 60s, when he was around the same age that Nicole was in the formative moment cited at the opening of her article: “When I was 19 years old, a college professor changed my life.”