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No Better Time Than Now, by Ray Zwarich

To All the Really Good Ones, and to all in peril on land or sea:

Caliban has been writing a lot, but not wanting to disturb people's holidays, I've only inflicted it on smaller groups. (Still trying to 'slay the first dragon'). Of course, for my Eastern Orthodox readers in Russia, Ukraine, (and Boston, for that matter), Christmas yet lies ahead. (It was celebrated on January 6th by my Ukrainian grandparents and folks).

Many religions hold celebrations of life on these darkest shortest days, (at least in the Northern Hemisphere, some of my readers are far in the South), when human spirits tend to darken as the sun's warmth fades. It always feels good when the solstice passes, and we know the sun will return, (leastways it always has ... LOL..). 

Hamilton Nolan, who identifies himself as "a labor reporter for In These Times", recently posted an article entitled 'The Year That Labor Hung On By Its Fingertips'.   

Mr. Nolan apparently has some experience with fellow workers in forming unions in his own 'online journalism' workplaces, and that has taught him a lot, and he's very thoughtful about what he has learned, but he shows that he clearly does not understand the root issues, the BIG issues, which boil, then simmer, then boil again in Labor's Big Pot. Union Democracy? Or Bid'ness Unionism? I don't find anything in Mr. Nolan's writing that shows any understanding of this most basic issue that plagues American Labor Unionism. (Perhaps the fault is in my reading?).

Only self-awareness can 'save' us. We must be aware of the clear difference between 'knowledge' and 'belief'. We must be aware of what we 'know', and also of what we do NOT know. No? 

Mr. Nolan has learned a little, but he writes as if he 'knows' much more than he apparently does, because he does not understand the difference between what he knows, and what he believes. 

Anyway ... I don't mean to be unkind, and the very reason Caliban's attention goes to this writer is that his brilliance is just 'there' on the page. He addresses the Common People. His voice is respectful of his reader. He is unassuming, but he 'speaks' in the dignified voice of a 'proud', self-respecting Common Man among the Common Men, and a Citizen among the Common Citizens.

Yea ... Well ... First the praise ... LOL ... then the scolding.

Mr. Nolan's thinking clearly has not gone far enough, (or at least it appears 'clear' to me), due to his lack of knowledge and experience, to even presume to be making the Major Proposals he does, as if he were an 'expert', rather than merely a "labor reporter". He is overstepping himself. He's singing a song he hasn't really learned well. ("And I'll learn my song well before I start singin' " --from Hard Rain) 

Mr. Hamilton captivated my attention immediately. His 'voice' is respectful, honest, and unassuming, and it's just a very charismatic combination. And he manages it all with engaging good-humor and good-spirit. I have spent a couple hours lightly researching his career, and reading a number of his articles, interviews with him, etc. Interestingly, he started out in show business, as a comedy writer, and at other odd-jobs in the general 'writing' field, as he learned the 'ins and outs' of the long odds against making a living as a writer.

He wrote this wry humorous 'info-comedy' piece in late 2009, about the prospects of 'making a living as an online journalist'. His closing advice (his last sentence) from that article is to learn the online journalism profession's most essential job skill, "trying to blend into the scenery so your boss can't find you to fire you". 

Apparently, from what I gather, this genial, thoughtful, and witty young man just wanted 'to be a writer' when he grew up, and he became a 'labor reporter', without much experience, or many other qualifications either, just because he kind of 'fell into it'. If there'd been a job opening as a comedy writer, that paid more, or offered ANY benefits, he'd be a comedy writer instead.   

Apparently he became interested in labor unions when he became involved with online writers who were trying to address their atrocious pay and general working conditions by organizing unions in online media 'shops'. 

It seems Mr. Nolan just wanted to make a living, pretty much any way he could, from his writing talents, and when he found out how bleak his prospects were, he became involved in union organizing in places where he worked, and just kind of began writing about labor issues without any degree of significant experience, or any particular training, or very much knowledge about Labor in general. He just kind of came upon the opportunity to start 'writing about labor', (instead of comedy), so that's what he did. He became a 'labor writer', complete with the title, "Labor reporter for In These Times ", (that line appears, verbatim, in most every google entry).

Ain't that just the way life is for most ALL of us? We set sail with big dreams, and then do our best to navigate all the storms. We take advantage of every 'accident' we can. (Much, maybe even most, opportunity comes by accident).   

Mr. Nolan is clearly very intelligent, and as he gains some real experience, and thinks his way more deeply into what he writes about, his writing will likely gain more 'value'. I will now look eagerly for his byline, just to see how, (or 'if', I s'pose, but I have faith in him), his thinking deepens as his experience matures in him.

He is curiously spilling with many incisive insights, now. And he presents himself with palpable 'good spirit', but he clearly has not yet developed a 'unified vision' of how all those insights fit together into a 'unified whole vision' of our lives and times. 

He can write with great insight about many of the trees, but he's not yet formed any coherently lucid vision of 'the forest'. 

So ... LOL ... Caliban is 'scolding' this young man, Hamilton Nolan, but I sure don't want to discourage him. He's a VERY good writer. And when he writes, his audience is clearly the Common People. This young man may even have some 'great writing' in him. (That'd be my bet).

The Left has many brilliant writers who don't really seem to care much at all about addressing the Common People. Hamilton Nolan can maybe take comfort from Caliban's past scoldings of such brilliant writers as Danny Sjursen, whose primary 'audience', the people he is addressing in his mind as his fingers clatter over the keyboard, seems to be the kind of people he encounters at "beltway cocktail parties", (his term). MajorDanny, (as he is known by some), seems to care more about winning the recognition and affections of the DC Glitterati, (in gowns and tails, and brass and colored ribbons on many puffed chests), than he is in bringing 'enlightenment' to the Common People. 

Hamilton Nolan may become one of Labor's 'great writers'. He's got the talent. The intelligence. The wit. The good humor. He presents Good Spirit in an easy charismatic manner that just naturally 'draws one in'. Yea ... Well ... He's got all those things, sure enough, but does he have 'what it takes'? THAT is far from apparent, at this point. He is not yet quite 'self-aware'. He does not understand the boundaries/'limitations' of his own knowledge. He doesn't 'keep in mind' what he does NOT 'know'. And he sometimes takes 'belief' for 'knowledge'.

And thus he seems to habitually arrive at 'conclusions' that he posits from uninformed and largely irrational (unreasoned/logically fallacious) thinking. 

As a case in point .. Mr. Nolan formally presents the contention that The Left, (as an 'entity' of some kind, but that remains an undefined term), should abandon electoral politics and focus our energies on Labor organizing. ('Labor', referring to the large issues challenging the lives of working people, rather than just 'work', should be capitalized, in my opinion, though few 'labor reporters' do so). 

Writers don't often state the detailed logical syllogisms that form their argument, but a lucid argument will at least lead the reader through the general logical framework underlying her or his thinking. It appears that Hamilton Nolan, who doesn't really understand the deepest currents of his own mind's explorations, is recommending a Momentous Hypothesis based entirely on what is basically very shallow and apparently uninformed thinking. 

We've never gotten anywhere through the political system, because the political system is corrupted by its two-party rules, he argues. Thus we should stop doing that, and do something else. And Labor organizing seems like a good way to go to him.   

Okey doke ... We can work with this ... Well ... It's certainly a bold proposal ... But by god, when a citizen puts forward a Formal Proposal into the Public Forum, we OWE that citizen our consideration.

Has Mr. Nolan explored the possibility that The Left's complete and utter, (to the point of clownish), marginalization from the nation's political arena could be the result of The Left's own failure to adopt more effective political strategy? 

Could a better strategy be more effective, and maybe even actually WIN political power through the electoral system?

People on The Left have long been brutally bullied into Stalinist caliber compliance with the LOTE (lesser of..) electoral strategy for DECADES, for whole generations. 

Look how the vicious Stalinst Bolshevik Left savagely attacked Citizen Nader, who did 10,000 times more for the Common People in his own one lifetime, than the ENTIRE edifice of The Left.

The Left's ranks of self-appointed 'leadership cadres' rule over the Left by manipulation and 'strong-arm' (figuratively) bullying. I challenge anyone to cite any group on the American Left that functions democratically. There is not one single Left Public Forum, in the entire nation, that is not censored. (If ANY can cite an exception, please do). Every list-serve of every local 'peace action' group has an 'owner', and they won't let you say things they don't like. Every Left website with a comments section is censored.

Nader DARED to challenge The Left's Stalinist LOTE Party-Line. The Savage Bolshevik Left was on Nader like a pack of vicious starving hyenas. In terms of actual concrete political accomplishments, these idiot bolshevik 'legends in their own minds' are not qualified to "shine Citizen Nader's shoes". But as the vicious fanatical 'pack' that they have learned to be, guided by an insular cult ideology, they ripped open the throat of one of our nation's truly GREATEST citizens in all our tragic and often sordid History.  

It has been this LOTE strategy alone that has kept The Left as clownishly impotent, politically, as we can ALL see it is.  

If ole Squinty McGoo, the lovable old sheepdog, 'Bern', had been SERIOUS, at ALL, about being anything but a judas-goat candidate for his good buddies in the Senate (like Skinny Joe), he would have led his forces out of the DPM (DemoPartyMachine) Tent, in 2016, (when the DPM's moral corruption was exposed), and announced that the Democratic Party will NEVER win another election. EVER!!

But ole Squinty is a character from 'central casting', NOT a REAL 'leader'. 

Had he been a REAL 'leader', he would have carried on his campaign as head of a New Party, and he may very well have won. Had he not won, the Party would carry on, and it would become obvious to the American Common People that the DPM had been completely disemboweled, and the citizen's attention would have naturally then turned to the New Party.

We could EASILY knock the Democratic Party out of existence. They'd try their best for one election cycle. They'd make a half hearted effort in the next. Then they'd fold their tent and go suck their thumbs while sitting in the dustbin. 

Well ... Sure ... That means the Republicans are going to win in the near term. So? Isn't that actually GOOD for The Left? The Left is ALWAYS greatly energized when the Republicans are in power. And The Left's energies dissipate when the DPM is in power. 

Well ... That's OBVIOUSLY true. No one could argue, (not with a straight face), that The Left's was NOT hugely 'energized' under Bush, and then deflated completely under Obama. Then hugely energized again under Trump. 

Clearly, if our objective is to win political power, (as Caliban's most definitely is), it's better to have the Party that presents the Enemy's naked face in power, than the Party that pretends to be one thing, but is actually the exact opposite. 

That is so clearly true, for OBVIOUS reasons, (because the Party that pretends fools everybody, even us), that anybody who can't 'see' it is NOT self-aware.

Let's review the 'lay of the land'. (And if any dispute these facts, please speak up). According to polls, (which I don't necessarily trust, but they're pretty much 'all we got'), over 70% of the entire American population supports the Left's primary policy agenda, (Green New Deal, M4A, etc), but an even LARGER percentage hates the Left's guts with considerably agitated passion. 

Why are both those things true?

The Left will not be 'self-aware' until it can answer that question.

In the 50+ years that I have been a leftist, the Left has not made one INCH, one fracking tiny INCH, of progress toward gaining political power.


Well ... Gee ... In all its Stalinist 'brilliance', the Left bullies us mercilessly, to keep us voting for the DPM. Gee .... Ya s'pose any 'a these folks maybe work for the DPM? LOL ? Are we familiar with the highly technical term, 'duhhh'?

They don't know it. That's 'the thing'. They are not aware of the strings they dance on. They all beg for money. The money goes where Big Money wants it to go.

We have not yet been able to form a Political Front to represent the Common People because the American Bolshevik Left won't let us. 

Well .. Everybody can see Nader's body still twisting in the hot sun .... (In Rome, it got so bad after Caesar's murder that Antony had Cicero's head, and his right hand, (his writing hand), hung in the Forum, where it stayed until it rotted away). This pack of vicious Bolshevik Left hyenas is not qualified to shine that Great Citizen's shoes, but they sure showed us what they can do as a wild vicious pack with sharp fangs.

Well ... Can we blame young Hamilton Nolan for coming to the conclusion that electoral politics is so hopeless that we should stop doing it? We can't have a candidate to vote for because the American Bolshevik Left appears to be 'working for' the Democratic Party Machine, and like the political two-bit thugs they are, they'll 'Strong-Arm', (figuratively), anyone who dares to challenge their Stalinist Party-Line. 

What Caliban would like Mr. Nolan to think about, and then write about, is what he thinks would have happened, and where would the 'Progressive Left', the AUTHENTIC Left, be now, if Sanders had been a 'genuine political leader', rather than a judas goat (aka: 'sheepdog') candidate. 

Well ... There's no better time to START doing the right thing than right now.

Labor Union organizing is an excellent idea, of course. Let's leave it at that, for now ...

The Party of True Democrats will be known colloquially as simply the True Democrats.

'Democracy' itself will be our platform. The rest, (Green New Deal, M4A, equitable wealth distribution, etc), just pours forth naturally. 

"If you don't believe in TRUE Democracy, then DON'T call yourself a True Democrat", will the the Party Motto.


R Zwarich
Bent Birch Farm
63 Webber Rd
Brookfield, MA 01506
774 449-8030