Monday, July 30, 2012

Quotes of the Month

"Socialism will not and cannot be created by decrees; nor can it be established by any government, however socialistic. Socialism must be created by the masses, by every proletarian. Where the chains of capitalism are forged, there they must be broken. Only that is socialism, and only thus can socialism be created." -- Rosa Luxemburg, "Organizational Question of Social Democracy," in Selected Political Writings, edited and introduced by Dick Howard: New York and London, Monthly Review Press, 1971, pp. 396-7.

"The fact is, however, that Social Democracy is not bound up with the organization of the working classes; rather, it is the very movement of the working class. Social Democratic centralism must, therefore, be of essentially other coin than the Blanquist. It can be nothing but the imperative summation of the will of the enlightened and fighting vanguard of the working class as opposed to its individual groups and members. This is, so to speak, a 'self-centralism' of the leading stratum of the proletariat; it is the rule of the majority within its own party organization." -- p.290

"If, with Lenin, we say that opportunism is the attempt to cripple the independent revolutionary class movement of the proletariat in order to make it useful to the power-hungry bourgeois intelligentsia, then in the beginning stages of the labor movement this goal can most easily be reached not through decentralization but precisely through rigid centralism. It is by extreme centralization that the still unclear proletarian movement can be delivered up to a handful of intellectuals." -- p. 301

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Paterno Sculpture: Why Remove When You Can Re-Purpose?

While I agree with the decision not to leave the Joe Paterno sculpture as it was, they could do something more creative to remember the victims of his negligence. I propose keeping the sculpture but commissioning an addition: the figure of an abused child lying at his feet. That way, he'd now be portrayed leading his team forward while looking straight -- and ignoring what's right under his nose.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Moon Shot Day!

July 20, 2012, was the 43rd anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon -- one of my earliest and most significant memories.

Though at the age of not quite eight, I wasn't yet in the habit of following the news, I sat on the sofa for hours with the rest of my family (father, mother, an older brother) watching the Apollo 11 mission. Because of my young age I kept falling asleep, but my brother would periodically shake me, saying, "Wake up, they're about to land!" So I'd resume watching, and the announcer would say, "They should be landing any minute now" -- and then they wouldn't, and I'd fall asleep again.

I wasn't awake at the moment Neil Armstrong was shown setting foot on the Moon, and even after being roused again I was too sleepy to really comprehend what was on the screen. Only years later did I learn that they'd detected a layer of dust on the surface but didn't know how deep it was, and so were worried it might bury the spacecraft. And they worried they'd have to go home before finding a safe place to land, lest they ran out of air. But they didn't want the public worrying about such things, so they just kept saying that they'd be landing any minute. Still, I'm glad I was "there" for this historic event... sort of.