Sabers Up! Redux
by William Hastings
I have resigned. This is my last essay for this book review. Let me make this clear from the outset: I speak for myself, not for the union. I stand alone.
Which is how it should be.
In last month’s issue I ran a column by Eric Miles Williamson. I ran it alongside a bunch of other great work and then went back to living my life. A few weeks later I received a frantic email from the Industrial Worker’s editor, Diane Krauthamer, that told me to remove Eric’s column because “people are getting up in arms about this article.”
I thought: Great.
It’s high time people got up in arms.
But then I grew scared. I was scared because I was asked to censor a writer, and worse, by the same union that won us our public free speech rights in the early part of the twentieth century. How far we’ve come since the flooded jails of Spokane, I thought.
When we have come to a point where the “radical” left is as conservative as the far right, just over different terms, it’s time to get real scared about the future of this country and it’s time to fortify your spine and stand on your own. The groups aren’t doing anything for us.
The word conserve comes to us from the Latin conservare, com and servare meaning to keep, guard, observe. That is, to conserve something is to “keep in a safe state.” Anytime groupthink circles up and starts screaming that order is being disrupted, or groupthink is challenged, or they are being made uncomfortable, and then groupthink demands to have that gadfly stop, it is being conservative. “You won’t challenge us,” groupthink says, “you won’t make us think differently. Don’t agitate our safe little boat. We’re going to stay just like we are.”
Because, obviously, keeping things in a static, safe state, is the way to create change.
That was sarcasm.
I have to say that because it was apparent from the emails I received that the sarcasm and humor in Eric Miles Williamson’s column failed to reach many.
The very act of creation, whether it be in art or politics, is a dynamic, forceful act, one born from deep within and fired loudly without. And as history has shown us, the greatest creative acts were born from lone individuals bucking trends, systems and groupthink, willing to stand far out on the edge on their own. Change is not created by holding a safe state.
The incessant demands to remove Eric’s column highlight not only the conservative nature of supposedly liberal politics, but also deeper problems not many are willing to face. In a supposedly democratic union, a demand from any one member toward another is not democratic shop discussion but rather a type of fascism, a consolidation of power toward the center and away from the edges. Whether it happens in emails to me, or it happens on the street when one person screams at another to shut up because the first is offended, equal rights are not being created, rather, power is being centralized and hoarded…
Read the full article at Industrial Worker Book Review: www.iwwbookreview.com/Sabers-Up-Redux.htm