Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Just got around to reading this. Mike, here's the thing: I fail to see the connection between democracy and unbridled capitalism. Marxian thought remains valuable to me for its roots in Fourierism, which dares to imagine an end to exploitation—including self-exploitation. But we will likely never agree on this. The politics of Pound, D.H. Lawrence, etc., are obviously atrocious; but their rage against a system which turns the earth, human beings, and time itself into quantifiable units for consumption is something I strongly empathize with. The struggle now—yes, I see it as poetical as well as political—is simply to imagine other possibilities (not necessarily other systems—systematic, totalized thinking is very much part of our human problem) than those currently available. More and more rarely do acts of genuine political imagination make it into the mainstream—Dennis Kucinich has his Department of Peace, but this has been ignored and derided. It's barely possible to imagine something as humane as universal health care in this country, or an end to capital punishment. As Noam Chomsky said in a New York Times Magazine profile not that long ago, "This is the best country on earth." But I see that as more an indictment of the way life is lived on earth than an excuse to preen. "Literacy is universal"—really? How about eating properly? If capitalism is the law which says that the market alone must be permitted to determine who eats, who gets health care, and yes, who learns to read, then in the words of Mr. Bumble, "The law is an ass!"

I will not be content with any poetry that reflects, reinforces, or represents the status quo. Things as they are must be changed on the blue guitar.

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