[Marxism] Thomas Cole, William Cullen Bryant, and the American Indian | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 8 12:42:41 MDT 2019

In the past couple of months, I have begun to work intensively on a film 
titled “Utopia in the Catskills” that is inspired by an article in the 
leftist PM newspaper from 1947 with the same title. It celebrated 
Woodridge, NY, my hometown that had a thriving co-op movement that was 
inspired by the Rochdale principles and a Communist Party cadre that was 
based in the poultry farms in the next village.

Originally, I had intended only to focus on the southern Catskills that 
was the home of Woodridge and the mostly Jewish resort industry. I 
decided to include some material on the northern Catskills in order to 
put Woodridge into context but soon figured out that the Utopia theme 
was just as appropriate to the northern Catskills, where the mountains 
can actually be found. By the time you get to Woodridge, the only 
mountains to be seen are those of the Shawangunk Ridge that is connected 
to a range in Pennsylvania.

The segment on the northern Catskills will deal with the mountain lions 
and their extinction since the question of species extinction looms so 
large today. It was the mountain lion that the Catskills are named for, 
after all. The word for cats in Dutch is Kaaters and for river is Kill. 
When Henry Hudson’s crew explored the mountains when the Half Moon was 
docked near Bard College, my alma mater, they saw mountain lions in 
profusion. By 1900, they had been hunted to extinction. It will also 
deal with the ethnic cleansing of the Lenape Indians who made the 
Catskills their home—the Mohicans and the Munsees.


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