Tag Archives: revolution

Revolution Starts with the Fence

Is there revolution in the air?  Russell Brand is talking about it. Yves Smith at “Naked Capitalism” asks if it’s time to look at alternatives to capitalism.  She cites Brand’s writings and recent essays by Ian Welsh as examples of whiffs of revolutionary expressions.

Where to start?  I am reminded of one of Gary Larson’s great cow cartoon entitled “Cow Poetry” in which the beatnik cow laments the confines of the electric fence.

DISTANT HILLS
by A Far Side Cow

 The distant hills call to me.
Their rolling waves seduce my heart.
Oh, how I want to graze in their lush valleys.
Oh, how I want to run down their green slopes.
Alas, I cannot.
Damn the electric fence!
Damn the electric fence!

Don’t be afraid of the electric fence.  Roam free on the free range.

Notes:  Russell Brand doesn’t vote.  He never has.  It took me awhile to get to that place, but I wrote about it last year in “Power to the Apathetic”.  And as Brand points out, it’s not apathy but more like righteous indignation and not wanting to be complicit in the wrong doing of the corrupt system.

“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”

Watched “Les Miserables” last night.  Hugo described his novel as “a progress between good and evil, from injustice to justice….  Even after  bad reviews when it first opened, the musical went on to become the   4th longest running Broadway musical.  I’ve never been much of a musical  buff and when I was a NY talent agent had to go to “Les Mis” several times to see clients.  So I grudgingly sat down to watch it.  But like every time, half way through I get sucked into the revolutionary fervor.  The whole idea at the start of the musical of Valjean being imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family is unjust.  Stealing  by the nasty innkeeper is juxtaposed against stealing for someone else’s good.  The film resonates also because of this fantasy of revolution and how the young and gorgeous take to the barricades to fight for justice.

But this particular revolution was largely forgotten until Hugo used it for his novel.  When people talk on the blogs of “taking to the streets”, they have a vision of Liberty carrying the red flag amongst beautiful blondes.  But in reality most revolutions are much more mundane.    But an image is important and I now have a image of a brave young man, Aaron Swartz taking on the Bourbons and their Javerts of today. Right now there is an empty chair in the cafe where Aaron should be.  But with people like Ian Welsh still at the table in the corner of that  cafe talking about ways to right the wrongs, the mundane and ordinary work of revolution goes on.