Labor Committee Debate

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Order / DeGate / FLEX / Experience /
(FLEX is of course the Free Learning Exchange, 1970)
@ K. 2002 07 17

pk “Debates” the Labor Committee
(Kleptocrats in Disguise)

Isn’t it wonderful the straight faces we can keep while lying, stealing, and killing? Nazis told you they were the super-race with a straight face. Christians tell you that they are Christians! with a straight face: expecting you to think that Jesus loves them! (Is right to love them!) The government tells you it’s democratic with a straight face. The school board tells you with a straight face that the swill in the teacher’s mouth is “mathematics.”

thanx ClipartOf

I’ll start today’s memory with the punch line as it were. Invited by the Labor Committee to present FLEX to them at a meeting, I found myself in a set-up. They’d invited me only to misrepresent me and to gang up on me. It occurred to me as the meeting degenerated into typical Homo sapiens group behavior, that maybe they further planned to beat me up, maybe to kill me, perhaps to butcher my carcass and have me for ritual dinner. My favorite memory of the meeting all these decades had been that their posters advertising the “debate” accused me of being a “personal friend” of Ivan Illich’s. (I’ve spent today fruitlessly looking for my letter to Ivan describing the incident and his response: both without success yet.) What stimulates my addition of this file today though is a different slant on what occurred: apropos of my son’s recent responses to my couple of years work on kleptocracy:

The Labor Committee told me that they might kill me. That I was an enemy (of the People, of course). Finally, as an afterthought as it were, they conceded that FLEX was a “cute” idea, that after the revolution, once they firmly ran everything, they’d “probably have something like that”: a free information system.

In retrospect, I adore it. Typical kleptocrats (Collectivist kleptocrats: if the group steals, it’s not stealing, anything “for the people” is OK).
The American colonists wanted a government, but they didn’t want King George’s government. A “democracy” appealed to some. They didn’t altogether like what they know of Athenian “democracy,” but were zowed by what Franklin introduced them to of Iroquois democracy. So they killed the Iroquois as savages and stole their democracy! (Radically de-liberalizing it as they did so. The Great Law of Peace for example, clearly respected women, gave them broad powers, great respect; not so the US Constitution!) No royalty necessary. No thanks. No apology. Just take it, (pervert it,) and call it your own.

thanx britannica

Marxism wanted to steal the industrial state from the industrialists. Kill them, damn capitalists, and take it.

And the Labor Committee, Marxists fairly conspicuous for their pathology, wanted to kill poor me: and steal my most important work: after vilifying both the source (Illich, out of Christ) and the channel (me).

2003 11 30 Ouch! Knowing that I’d put this file here lulled me into thinking that I had told the story. Now I see that I haven’t: merely tacked a detail to no body. I’ll be back to add a detail or two about that memorable evening.

I had never heard of the Labor Committee when they first invited me (challenged me). FLEX friend Charlie Herr explained to me: “They’re way left of the Communists, they think the Communists are part of the right wing. Friday nights they ambush the Communists as they get out of their weekly meeting, beat them up, girls too, their own girls doing the beating: right at the Cathedral Parkway IRT station.” (The corner at Broadway.)
One of their girls had been looking at me so eagerly at a party I’d assumed she wanted to get it on: that’s how contact started: I thought it was social: it was carnivorous.

Fortunately Charlie was also able to explain to me that it was their standard practice to reserve a hall at Columbia, invite somebody, then gang up on them: it wasn’t personal, it wasn’t ideological either, they were just a street gang that used words too, pretended to have ideas.
Charlie sat there, abstaining: he didn’t defend me, didn’t try to help present Illich, didn’t join the Committee’s rapacity either. He didn’t want to get beat up, killed!

Oh: it was a riot: not only did they accuse me of being a personal friend of Illich; they accused me of working for the CIA!

“What!?” I choked.
“Oh, we’re not saying that you know you’re working for the CIA, we’re not saying that they pay you; only that you’re their dupe.”

Any one of those people could have been a Jesuit. (Or, have worked for the CIA!)

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I seldom kept copies of my letters, seldom dated them. Illich too just spewed little notes. But I certainly kept his: or meant to. You see, I passed them around, wanted everyone to see. Thus, very few remain in my possession. I have a keen memory though, and am more honest than average. (2013 05 01 I found one of the most important letters Illich wrote me the other day, will post it ASAP.)

2012 11 01 I mentioned Columbia as our host for the debate: Hamilton Hall, the seat of most of my classes as an undergraduate. But you mustn’t imagine that Columbia was aware of or approved any content exposed on their turf. Any group could request the use of a room in off hours. Universities, including private universities, are monolithic in some respects, but would be full of holes the size of cumulus clouds whatever they intended. Do you imagine that the Temple of Jerusalem knew what Jesus and John discussed on the river bank? or that the temple had any idea what Jesus said or did on the Mount? No: and they didn’t know what Barabas said in jail either.

Centralization may assume, but doesn’t have, omniscience.

I’m so glad Charlie was there, monitoring the audience. He reported later that I’d really moved some members, the females in particular: I was concentrating on the ideas, not on the personalities. I’d paraphrased Ian McHarg’s story: zooming in on earth from space: white and blue, beautiful, in closer, green, green everywhere: white, blue, and a lot of green. Closer yet some gray splotches appear, closer still the gray is connected by tendrils, closer still the gray seems everywhere. One recognizes: cities! highways, networked, interconnecting. And one asks:

Is man a planetary disease?

In summarizing, their moderator, my opponent it proved, cited my parable as proof that I was insane: the idea that man is anything but what we uncritically and without reason believe. But, Charlie assured me: the group, the girls, was conflicted, they were moved by the planetary cancer story.
Note: McHarg reported his source for that story: Loren Eisley? I used to know that cold.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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