Happy Sunday y’all. Time to get down, get down, get down, get Shameless.
This week I’ve mainly been working, and gardening and writing, and, lately, spending a lot of time arguing elsewhere about Rand Paul. Not because I like Rand Paul — I think in the interview he proved himself to be both mendacious and ignorant; I have other, preexisting reasons for thinking of him as a ridiculous conservative tool. I’m arguing about it, rather, because I do like the sit-in movement, and the rigged debate between Paul’s side and Maddow’s has completely obliterated what that movement actually did, by means of grassroots direct action, without the assistance of federal antidiscrimination laws, Equal Opportunity bureaucracies, or Title II lawsuits.
Here as elsewhere, both conservatives and progressives have shitty arguments that presuppose that
free markets mean only stereotypical forms of commerce and cash exchange, while
politics means only organized attempts to achieve goals through government lawsuits or government legislation; but if those are the options, where does that leave grassroots social movements? Thus we are given the counterfactual and patronizing claim that without white Democratic politicians handing down a federal Civil Rights Act, the grassroots social movement to dismantle Jim Crow could not have gotten anywhere—in spite of 6 years of repeated grassroots victories for the sit-in movement before the Civil Rights Act even existed. If so profound a transformation cannot easily fit into traditional categories of thought, e.g.
political, it is not because these categories do not apply but because they are not big enough: the Freedom Movement bursts through them.
And you? What have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.
-  We just picked our first vine-ripened tomato—a nice, midsized Roma from a volunteer plant that grew up after I mashed a few too-mushy Food Not Bombs tomatoes into the ground. ↩