Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beware The People Weeping

For the first time in a number of years, May Day celebrations in Europe turned into riots. The loss of their standard of living, rising unemployment and lost benefits were the cause of the large May Day turnout. In the US, we, as workers, don't need to espouse any alternative types of economic systems because everything is just going just great. In fact, in the US we don't celebrate May Day anymore because in 1959, the day was rebranded Loyalty Day.

Anger and hunger have a way of making movements develop before there are press releases, before time can be reserved on the bird for stand-ups, before it can be packaged. Gil Scott Heron had some thoughts on this. As did John Steinbeck in the Grapes Of Wrath which is well worth a watch again.

I came across Herman Melville's "The Martyr", his elegy on Lincoln's death, and the last stanza gave me a shock.

The Martyr
Herman Melville
There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand:
Beware the People weeping
When they bare an iron hand.

The truth can be a fearsome thing.

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