March 31, 2011

The long defeat

Lately I've been blogging about things that are totally realistic and relevant to social justice from The Lord of the Rings. This is installment #4.

El Cabrero is no elf or other immortal, but I have been around for a while. And when I look back on many struggles, some "won" some lost, I get kind of sad. It is possible--and fun--to help win a good fight every now and then. But it seems to me, with apologies to Dr. King, that the moral arc of the universe wings around randomly but tends to tilt towards plutocracy and oligarchy. Which is to say rule of, by, and for the wealthiest.

The first big fight I took part in was the Pittston strike. The union won a contract, but after a few years the company got out of coal and many were either laid off or had to work nonunion. Another big one was the Ravenswood lockout, when 1700 steelworkers were locked out of their jobs and "permanently" replaced. The union members won that one too, eventually getting their jobs back. Just lately though, the company that inherited the plant cut off retiree health benefits.

And so it goes.

There are a couple of lines from LOTR that sum this up pretty well, both spoken by the elves Elrond and the lady Galadriel, who fought against the Darkness for ages beyond human imagining. Elrond said,

"I have seen three ages in the West of the world, and many defeats and many fruitless victories."

Galadriel puts it this way,
"Through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat."

I ask again, where's the escapism?

THAT PINKO, EISENHOWER. Here are some musings on the relativity of left and right.

WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? Here are some interesting reflections on war.

FASTING FOR THE HUNGRY. Even foodies are doing it to protest proposed Republican cuts to nutrition and food security programs.

UPPER BIG BRANCH. The federal mine agency MSHA never hit the Massey mine with major fines for safety violations prior to last year's disaster.

HEAVY METAL. Metal books possibly dating to the 1st century AD could be the earliest surviving Christian writings.


No comments: