[Marxism] Fwd: Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey have never been more relevant in the drought-stricken West - Salon.com
daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Mon Apr 20 14:03:15 MDT 2015
Great article, Michael.
I have the ex post facto 'claim-to-fame' of having known Abbey. We
had several one-on-one extensive debates over socialism (me) vs.
anarchism (Abbey) at his residence during the 1969-70 winter he spent
in Logan, Utah. I saw him occasionally over the next decade+ because
of his visits to Salt Lake and mainly because of his relationship with
my sister Susan (who he at one time asked to marry him). He had
agreed to come up from Oracle, AZ to speak at the newly-founded
Central America Solidarity Coalition's first march and rally in spring
1983 but then backed out and sent a written greeting to be read at the
rally. (There is a possibility that document is still in my
As long as i'm boasting about acquaintances, i also met Leonard
Arrington (friend of my father's) who was the premier Mormon
historian, especially economic historian [Arrington, Leonard J., Great
Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints,
1830-1900. Harvard University Press., 1958]. It was an influential
intellectual experience for me (1969/1970?) when i came across a small
booklet Arrington had written (maybe text of a speech) which was in
the Special Collections/Archive section of the Utah State University
library (Arrington was on the faculty of USU from 1946-72). It was a
brief history of Orderville which made it clear that the Mormon
"United Order" version of utopian socialism there had been quite
successful from the mid-1870s until the mid-1980s. Brigham Young's
successor (Young died in 1877) John Taylor had difficulty
extinguishing Orderville and some other community socialism
experiments because of their success and grass-roots popularity.
Taylor's successor Wilford Woodruff had to grapple with the task of
stamping out the other major Mormon heresy that was preventing Utah's
integration into the United States, polygamy.
On Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 12:36 PM, michael yates via Marxism
<marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
> The Salon essay Louis linked us to is well worth reading. Stegner and Abbey are great writers of the U.S. West. I have promoted their work on various lists, but the response of people from the eastern U.S. cities is typically one of "who are they." Sometimes they are dismissive, as if Abbey, for example, was some sort of primitive Luddite, rather than a highly skilled writer and a person who, as the Salon essay says, could, through his writing, get us to act. Desert Solitaire is one book that got us to move West and stay there. Stegner's book, Mormon Country, was where I learned about Orderville, a communal enclave established by poor Mormon settlers sent there by Brigham Young in one of his efforts to get the Saints to reinvigorate the original Mormon precept to live simply and to share. Orderville was more or less a communist society, with no private property, no money, and communal living.
> Here is something I wrote in 2005: http://monthlyreview.org/2005/03/01/the-ghosts-of-karl-marx-and-edward-abbey/
> BTW, Abbey was born in Western Pennsylvania, a few miles from my hometown. We played baseball on some of the same rural fields, though not at the same time.
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