May 27, 2010

Red Prometheus

El Cabrero just finished reading David Priestland's grande book, The Red Flag: A History of Communism. It was very readable and non-polemical and included cultural as well as political matters in a global history of that very diverse movement.

Early on, Priestland invokes the myth of the primordial rebel Prometheus, who was terribly punished by Zeus. The young Marx referred to Prometheus as "the most eminent saint and martyr in the philosophical calendar."

Viewing the history of the movement through that lens, Priestland's final lines are worth pondering:

The history of Communism should have taught us two things. The first lesson, now drawn by many writers, is how destructive dogmatic utopian thinking can be. The second, rather more neglected today, is the danger of sharp inequalities and perceived injustice--for they can make that utopian politics very appealing. Since 1989 the dominant powers have learnt neither lesson. Reacting sharply against communist utopias, messianic dogmatic liberals have sought to export their system--sometimes by force--across the globe. Perhaps, only now, chastened by the crises of 2008, will we finally learn from the history of Communism. Only if we do so will we be spared another bloody act in the tragedy of Prometheus.

MASSEY MINE DISASTER. Here's NPR's coverage of the congressional hearing held in Beckley earlier this week and here's an interview with WV Senator Jay Rockefeller about the disaster from the Charleston Daily Mail. And, while we're at it, here's a take on Massey CEO Don Blankenship's leadership style from a business social responsibility blog.

WELFARE TO WHAT? Recession-induced cuts to child care may force low income workers out of their jobs.

OF TESTOSTERONE AND TRUST, one may learn something by clicking here.


No comments: