At the Old Labor Hall, Barre, Vt, Aug. 25

Friday night instead of going home and staring at the white walls of my condo or driving all the way to Burlington to go to a party I went to the annual meeting of the Vermont Labor History Society in Barre. I went to this event to get out of the house and also because I knew a little history of the building (though I had never been there before) and a little bit about the anarchist labor movement in Barre in the 20's and 30's: This is the kind of history that appeals to me.

I knew in advance that even though I am forty years old I would likely be on the younger side of the audience of this event... And this proved to be very much the case. However I did end up sitting at a table with four young Democratic party activists which was fun and I did enjoy William Greider's talk even though I don't share his faith in the Democratic Party or unions as a way out of the current political situation. He argued that the conservative movement that originated with Ronald Reagan has reached it's high point and will soon recede, riven by its own contradictions and by the fact that it has so distorted the distribution of wealth in this country.

I wish I wasn't so cynical and believed in something positive but it's hard, I think the American people get the government they deserve: spendthrift, addicted to borrowing, skewed by apocalyptic religious fantasies, etc. and I also am reminded of the end of Animal Farm where there are no differences between parties: Men are pigs, and pigs are men.... a fable for our time? It funny that American politics is so partisan and destructive and yet I can't imagine belonging to either political party. And what is worse is that in Vermont there are some 3rd party options (the progressives) and I don't care for them either! Perhaps if the Greens took hold that might inspire me.

Turnout for this event was pretty good (even if the average age was definitely 65+) and very 'pink' (ie, liberal, not 'gay') and it was funny because it was relatively easy for me to close my eyes and imagine what it was like to be in the building in the 20s when it would be packed with 1st generation Italian stone workers espousing anarchist principles and rioting: There was a shooting here, if I had Internet access (see previous post!) I would provide some links, there are a few (not many) references to this on the web, it is an interesting subject: Fight the power!


Update: Here's a link to an article about the history of the building.

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