Better Than a Stick in the Eye

My girlfriend calls me Little Man Tate in the mornings while she’s forced to endure my sighs and natterings while reading the New York Times, a filthy habit I picked up as a teen and can’t seem to break. I never saw the movie, but Jodie Foster plays the mother of a small child (Tate) who passes a newsbox, reads the headline and sighs deeply for the pain and suffering of humanity. It’s my gal’s pleasant way of saying I’m annoying.

Today, it’s Paul Krugman who’s got me sighing. Krugman’s the nation’s leading liberal economist and only man alive who can explain credit default swaps in less than a minute on a check-out line. He’s smart and wry and a must-read, even though in the end he defends a sort of mythological capitalism in which there are profits without wars, poverty, racism and suffering.

Today he began the long slog through Election Day with: vote for Democrats, “disappointment is better than disaster.” It actually could be the Dems’ tagline for November cause it sort of sums up their record this past year and a half.

But can we just agree that the depths of the crisis at home and abroad deserve politics better than: it’s better than a stick in the eye.

100 million Indian workers went on strike this week, nearly 2 million French, South African workers who tore down apartheid struck for weeks this past month. Even at home, thousands of undocumented immigrants who work in carwashes are joining the small but real numbers of workers daring to fight back inside the Empire. I honestly believe that this is where real hope lies—in struggle and organizing and learning the political lessons of the past so we have some hope of making the world fit to live in.

I know, it’s a lot harder than just voting. But they don’t call it struggle for nothing.

If you’re in the NY metro area, get your ass to the demo against the Islamophobic bigots who are trying to stop the building of an Islamic Community Center. Meet at Centre St. and Chambers at 12:30PM, 9/11. Bring a sign and a friend.

Sherry Wolf is a public speaker, writer and activist available to speak at your campus, community center or union hall for a moderate fee. Wolf is the author of Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and Theory of LGBT Liberation (Haymarket Books, named one of the Progressive’s “Favorite Books of 2009”). Contact Sherry at: sherrywolf2000 at or find her on Facebook


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