Friday, November 4, 2011

Writers and protest

Just a quick notice about an upcoming posting that will be another of my occasional reports on "writers and protest" and how our best wordsmiths still can give us inspiration to fight the good fight in society today.

I've been re-reading some old favorites this fall season--Nelson Algren, Jack London, Dorothy Day--and I'm struck by how much their writing still resonates and still says important things about mankind and, more specifically, the struggle of those who get the raw end of the deal to make themselves heard in the U.S. and beyond.

These are heady times. The Greek prime minister is castigated for attempting to insert democracy into the nation's financial crisis and to put to a popular vote the latest "austerity" deal European and U.S. bankers want to impose on the people. It's a neo-liberal mantra that draconian cuts are better than tax hikes in offsetting debt. In some ways, it's a Tea Party-Gone-Global philosophy, and the Greek people have rightly protested in the streets to have some say-so in the matter.

Here in the states, voters in Boulder, Colo., joined citizens in Madison and Dane County, Wisconsin, by supporting a bid to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens' United ruling through a constitutional amendment. If our politicians are too scared to take it on, then let the people have their say!

"Occupy Wall Street" protesters are continuing to refocus the national dialogue despite arrests and police harassment from Nashville, Tenn., to Oakland, Calif., and more power to them!

"Behind Business's billboards and Business's headlines and Business's pulpits and Business's press, and Business's arsenals, behind the car ads and the subtitles and the commercials, the people of Dickens yet endure," novelist Nelson Algren once wrote.

Jack London wrote a weekly column on the labor movement, Jim Thompson was a former Wobbly, and James Cain worked as a reporter covering the plight of mine workers in West Virginia. They all saw then what we're seeing today.

Stay tuned as I take a fresh look at these writers and see what they have to tell us.

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