[Marxism] re: here's your hat, John Paul, what's your hurry?

Alex Briscoe obeynow20001 at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 2 23:50:58 MST 2005

Yeah, I never liked the Pope for a variety of reasons, especially this reactionary, who I grew up with.
I live next door to the gateway neighborhood for Poles who come to Chicago (there's some aphorism like, "There are more Poles in Chicago than in Warsaw").  My father's family is Slavic Jewish, so I like going to the Polish delis, bars, barbers.  The food and the culture is similar to Ashkenasi, the conversations are interesting, many or most of the people aren't too happy about capitalism, etc.
One of my worse anti-semitic Polish experiences was going to a religious Polish barber in the neighborhood who started ranting about the Communists and the Jews when he saw that I was reading Cliff's bio of Lenin.  Blood libel, the Jewish oligarchs, the Jews are taking over Poland, etc. etc.  I almost grabbed him by the throat.  He revered the Pope and hated the liberation Catholics.  What mitigated the situation somewhat is he also talked about how his father was Turkic and how the nazis kept making his father pull down his pants to check that he wasn't Jewish.
Today, by coincidence, I was getting my hair cut again by a nicer Polish barber with a smaller shop.  The Pope was dying, and the barber and one customer were listening to the news.  However, they and the other customers at the restaurant I went to for brunch didn't seem overly preoccupied with the Pope.
Most of the younger Poles or those who have been forced to immigrate to the U.S. by mass unemployment are pretty cool- they don't have the same hatred of "Communism" or level of anti-semitism that the more settled immigrants have.  At the restaurant, I met a bricklayer who wanted to be a gym teacher in Poland, but like so many other Poles in their 20s or 30s can't because 80 year olds can't retire because there are little to no pensions.  I've met similar people who would go back to Poland in a minute and fill jobs as teachers, social workers or small business people but can't.   They don't like capitalism, at least the capitalism in Poland and my impression is that they have very mixed feelings about capitalism here in the U.S.  They are very sympathetic to a socialist point of view.  Like a comrade of mine, who's a specialist on Slovakia said, Eastern Europe has the highest number of socialists per capita with some of the lowest number of activists per capita.
The other guy I talked to was probably born here with immigrant parents- he's studying IT at DeVry, a local tech school.  He said if he can't find a job in his field, he'll probably go active duty in the Air Force, working on sattelittes.  One of his favorite bands was the Clash, he really loved Wesley Willis and Jello Biafra.  He said he voted Republican but was deeply unhappy about how the corporations were screwing up his and his friends lives with insecurity and unemployment.  His former roommate was an orthodox muslim convert.  He found the hadiths really fascinating and valuable.
I'll have to tell you about my favorite Polish bar some other time.  I've met Turkish Mongolian Polish J-Lo and the Italian Polish Football Player from Cup Winning Team Auschwitz there.
Alex Briscoe


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