The Only Way We’ll Survive Is Together
September 9, 2018 8:48 AM   Subscribe

The Cornbread Manifesto is such a coupling of traditional and contemporary leftist promotion created through the collective labor of all walks of Appalachian life: Black, anti-racist womanists; queer syndicalists; leftist-organizing coal miners’ daughters; agrarian anachro-communists; and the like. (PDF, Google Drive)
posted by The Whelk (8 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks for this. I've sent it to my Appalachian activist friend.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:38 AM on September 9, 2018


A fascinating insight, thank you, Whelk.

I’ve often thought that pure communism probably would work only if there were a significant pressure valve for the unavoidable individualist impulse, that occasional personal initiative that otherwise doesn’t seem well accommodated by most models of communism I’ve read about. Otherwise, it risks becoming a totalitarianism of mediocrity. Actual communists would take exception to this concern, I’m sure. Nevertheless, proudly wearing the label “Stalinist” or “Maoist” doesn’t make it any more palatable personally or, I suspect, accessible to the uninitiated.

There’s some in this to be admired, but some is a bridge too far — for me, anyway. I have often dreamed of communal living, and have even had some brief experiences with it. The joys of shared purpose, profit, and pain are significant. But there have always been structural challenges, too, generally centering on incentivizing prosocial behavior and fair sharing of the burden.

I’m more in harmony with the democratic socialism that is a healthy blend of the capitalist market and socialist safety net. UBI and a basic jobs program so that everyone can work who wants to do so. Establish rent and housing price controls, so that developers and municipalities have to offer and support lower cost housing if they want to build more expensive dwellings. Provide free universal health care, but let boutique health care providers offer special services to this who wish to pay for them. Provide free public transportation — and support it — but let people buy cars. Quadruple the current tax on non-commercial gasoline usage, so it begins to reflect the real costs. Provide free higher education, then expect a year or two of public service after graduation, and then let them choose through the market how and where to work after that. Let people become millionaires through extra hard or clever work, while taxing the upper incomes heavily, closing tax shelter loopholes, and increasing tax on luxury goods, so that most of that higher income is going back to the people. Tax financial transactions such as day-trading stock speculation and arbitrage that do not serve to create wealth through production of something of value. Give the CFPB an expanded portfolio, adequate funding, and real legislative teeth.

While part of me thinks I would love to live my days as a humanist monk in a commune in the meadowlands, I find myself more in agreement with the quote provided in the post just preceding this one:
"I grew up in a socialist country—not Danish-style socialist, but idiot-style socialist in the Soviet Union. That doesn't work. Venezuela doesn't work, either. There has to be a compromise. But it has to be capitalism with humane characteristics. And it works! Certain components of it are always there; there're always strong unions, for example. There's always a strong social sector, in terms of free education and free health care. These are not poor societies. I know the right-wing media is going bananas with it and trying to smear all of these things, but those things all work. I'm not a socialist; I think making money is fine, and there are certain incentives. But people have to recognize that, beyond a certain amount, there will be no more pleasure derived from that money, other than keeping a scorecard, the same way you keep a scorecard in a sport. But life isn't a sport; there are people whose lives are impacted by your game-playing."
Even so, I do like me some cornbread.
posted by darkstar at 9:40 AM on September 9, 2018 [6 favorites]


Disseminating your communistic manifesto through Google Drive seems akin to distributing your vegan manifesto via the web hosting division of the world's largest meat packing conglomerate.

Also it doesn't work very well for me at least, so here's a link to an actual pdf still on Google Drive, but bypassing the crappy web viewer.
posted by sfenders at 9:58 AM on September 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


Awesome! Thanks.
posted by evilDoug at 10:12 AM on September 9, 2018


I found out about this from Queer Appalachia, who are definitely worth a follow (Instagram/Facebook).
posted by ITheCosmos at 10:46 AM on September 9, 2018 [4 favorites]


Is anyone arguing that Appalachia, or the US of A, needs rapid industrialization? That seems odd to talk about as something they're not interested in when I'm not sure who is.

Also, as far as I can tell, Oklahoma isn't Appalachian right? Nonetheless, I got strong Green Corn Rebellion vibes.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:27 AM on September 9, 2018


Well...the years of rebellion start coming and they don't stop coming.
posted by howfar at 5:12 PM on September 9, 2018


U. Gene Dabs
posted by Chipmazing at 10:18 PM on September 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


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