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Monday December 18th 2017Tim Candler9

 

      After his death Bayard Rustin was praised by Ronald Reagan for rejecting racial quotas in the pursuit of equal opportunity. And it's true that Rustin was firm in his belief that people should be judged by their merit, rather than their color. The problem, Rustin was very aware of, was that for any thing like equality in a society there's always been that powerful element amongst us that preserves institutional and cultural assumptions about race, breeding, heritage, class and so on, and on endlessly.  These assumptions remain stubborn and are very difficult to change, impossible to do so overnight this side of the rapture. And here it's hard to avoid the contrasting views of Lenin and Trotsky on the subject of Marx's analysis of 19th Century society. In my mind I understand these contrasting views in terms of history and weather forecasts. If I believe the weather forecast for tomorrow I can anticipate what I need to wear, darn the socks, hunt down the gum-boots or whatever. And too if I believe the predictions of this or that economist or political theorist I can hold fast to the comfort of an inevitable and true vision of both tomorrow and the next day, and begin the process of arranging matters so that I will be emotionally able to maintain a presence in the predicted and inevitable future, do something truly ridiculous because theoretically it looks like the right thing to do.

 

Past

     Leninists would say that if tomorrow is known then to get the process rolling faster than a Snail's pace today can be pushed to look more like tomorrow, so the thing to do was to see to it that people whether they liked it or not are properly persuaded that indeed this is what their inevitable future would look like, and just get on with it. Trotskyites would say that what happens tomorrow might well be known but when that tomorrow might arrive will always be a bit of a mystery and better to be really flexible just in case what you thought would happen didn't happen, so it was wiser to maintain enthusiasm for the beautiful cause by keeping freshness and agility, and frequent changes at the top, in the pursuit of tomorrow instead of getting too bogged down in increasingly unrealistic and possibly corrupted convictions. The idea of quotas would be Leninist, attempting to force the future. So I guess Reagan and Rustin would fall into the category of Trotskyites on the subject of racial quotas. With Trotsky, he so pissed off the more authoritarian minded by the confusion, uneasiness and difficulties his constant questions were causing amongst the faithful that after several failed attempts he was assassinated in Mexico City by an agent of the NKVD wielding an ice pick.  Monotheistic religions and the current Republican Party here in the United States are in my view far too dominated by Leninists, and their current leader would just love to be Stalin.  Either way, tomorrow looks to be mostly cloudy with a high of 57 Fahrenheit and I'll spend tomorrow morning as an uncompromising Leninist commissar, or a Paul Ryan, happily sending Grapevines to the Gulag and to hell with the consequences.

 

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