Celebration and thanksgiving

Chris, London 100423.2040 at compuserve.com
Sun Nov 26 00:56:45 MST 1995

Celebration and Thanksgiving.

A  British Labour Prime Minister is now mainly remembered for 
having said "a week is a long time in politics".

A week is a long time on the marxism list, and I am struck by the 
contrast of the dramas of last weekend with two flame wars, 
and the present weekend. Lisa has said goodbye to me and Bryan as
co-(non)-moderators and gone for a few leafy walks. Louis has posted 
a piece about a quiet reflective visit to old friends, with young
children,  and an egret winging its way gracefully out 
of sight as the train makes its way back to New York. Out of sight
but not out of mind.

Louis's piece is unprecedented on this list. (Louis's peace........ ? )
and at first glance people may ask what is it doing here. Especially
at over 250 lines. Although occasionally  self-conscious,
it seemed beautiful to me. Only Louis would dare to be so eccentric as
to post such a piece. [Apologies, Ralph could post a poem by Blake]
But it seems to me to say something for the list as a whole.

We have had some sharp but IMO rather limited exchanges on religion.
It seems to me there is a space for a marxist understanding of spirituality
as based in the material reproduction of human society. Seasons matter.
In England our autumn festival of celebration, November 5th has its distant 
folk memory of victory over the dark forces of Catholic absolutism.
Louis's piece caused me to remember, what I really do not know at all, 
that Thanksgiving in the US is a celebration, in religious form, of 
deliverance from oppression. 

What I hear in Louis's piece is a quiet celebration of the commonality
of humanity, and its location in a natural universe that still
reasserts itself in strength and beauty, despite all our problems.

We know that traces of flowers have been found on a Neanderthal grave.

To show reverence and respect to these values seems to me not incompatible
with a materialist philosophy of life. Periodic reflection and 
reconciliation even in ritualised form, may give strength 
to pursue collective tasks more effectively when the time comes. 

In posting such a personal piece, Louis seems to be saying to me, 
it isall right to reflect and celebrate what is still good 
about life, and to include this list in that experience.

Chris, London.  

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