Monday, 18 October 2010

Bashing Brodsky(I)

Before I bash Brodsky a few words of praise:

On 18 January 1964 in Leningrad… Iosif Brodsky stood trial for the crime of not taking regular work and thus being a ‘parasite on the state’.  Asked why he had not tried to learn how to be a poet in some institution of higher learning, Brodsky answered: ‘ I did not think it was something that could be learnt….’  [he] was sentenced to five years’ exile with compulsory labour. (Amanda Haight)

A great man.

“A parasite on the state.”  These words should resonate deeply with us today.  For once again we are at the mercy of the Puritans, with the campaigns against benefit scroungers, and the attacks generally against people out of work.   All the superfluous people the government is to increase by thousands… The chutzpah of it all.  When the real scroungers, those who pay the Press’s bar bills, the banksters of the Square Mile, continue to enjoy our money; our large handouts… 

It’s part of a wider trend, of course.  The idolization of work has been a cultural norm for well over a century; on both the Left and Right. It is the absolute precondition for the modern industrial society; where even leisure time becomes a chore.   Despite the propaganda the Soviet Union was not a new socialist civilisation but a corruption of Western industry, a nation turned into a multinational corporation, and thus a peculiarly brutal variant of state capitalism, where instead of the profit motive people were sacrificed to the bureaucrats; who imposed a narrow theology, which they vigorously enforced – the major difference between the two societies, after the mass murders of Stalin. 

Think of life in the firm – dare you criticise its assumptions and PR?  As the West becomes increasingly dominated by Big Business, with its theology of the Market, so society will increasingly come to look like the corporation.  We will turn into the USSR.  And one day we will be arrested for collecting the dole.

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