This series of occasional journals will offer a little of how other people think about things I figure are sometimes important enough to type about.
Bertolt Brecht lived in a time that spanned two centuries. He was born in 1898 and died in 1956. He was a poet, playright, theatre director and marxist. He is much criticised in history, a communist by some, a traitor to communism by others, but there is no doubt that he was a profound thinker and believed that people needed to participate in, and understand, politics. This is what he said about that -
“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn't hear, doesn't speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn't know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions.
The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn't know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies"
This is what C J Werleman*
says about that statement by Brecht -
Brecht nails it!
Political illiteracy is what propels middle class workers to protest the expansion of collective bargaining laws, like what happened recently in Tennessee when Volkswagen allowed its workers to vote for union membership by holding placards sponsored by Americans For Prosperity.
If there was a better example of Orwellian genius than Americans For Prosperity, I haven’t seen it. I mean, who doesn’t want prosperity? But less than 10 percent of Americans know that Americans For Prosperity is a political action committee wholly and solely funded and founded by David and Charles Koch. Its sole purpose is to ensure the continued prosperity of David and Charles Koch, which ultimately comes at the expense of the same middle class workers holding Americans For Prosperity placards. An embrace of infantile emotionalism has supplanted political literacy.
* CJ Werleman is an Australian born author, columnist, and U.S political and social commentator. He is a critic of the Christian right and the influence of corporatist politics and social inequality.