Monday, February 10, 2014

Dorothy Day Anarchist

Anarchist Dorothy Day left no corporate structure for the Catholic Worker Movement she founded, all association is voluntary, so it really matters not at all when putative "followers" misrepresent Day for whatever reasons.  Let's hear Day:
Roosevelt will be elected on the platform of Cake and Circuses. During the depression years the relief checks flowed in, and now during the war years the government checks come regularly on the first of every month. The millions who are thus bought and paid for do not want any change. They are afraid of change. Mothers of six children cash their $180 stipend every month and go on a binge of department-store buying, movies, … candies, radio, and even sometimes a car. It’s amazing how much you can get in the way of luxury if you just do without the necessities. [Quoted in an article in the summer 1999 issue of the St. John’s Law Review.]
Ouch! Fairly standard anti-state, pro-freedom anarchist thought. Now let's hear from Tom Cornell, a writer for the Catholic Worker blog today:
No anarchist of sound mind holds either that government does not exist or ought not exist, etymology notwithstanding. Anarchists want more government, if that means the Department of Labor defending the right to organize, the Department of Agriculture helping to initiate producer cooperatives, sponsoring farm support and surplus food distribution programs, and much less government if it means the State Department, and the so-called Defense and Justice departments; more anti-trust legislation and enforcement, more environmental protection, more OSHA; immediate access to federal courts for every labor organizer punished for organizing. 
His blended definition of anarchist is wrong and right, an act of dishonest writing.    So any anarchist, such as Dorothy Day, cannot be of sound mind (unless they accept Cornell's crazy definition.)    Tom Cornell is flexible enough to say words do not mean what they mean (anarchy) and flexible enough to say "an entity with a monopoly on violence is OK as long as its policies reflect my personal preferences."  No wonder the Catholic worker movement has no appeal to people of good will.

There are plenty of people today who benefit personally saying "Well, when Jesus said this, what he really meant was..."

Cornell also has this to say in his essay:
Dorothy Day liked the shock value of the term "anarchist." 
You see, she was just a clown, going for cheap shock value.  A sort of Catholic Lenny Bruce.

I'd love to hear from Tom Cornell, on a particular topic.  Does he presently depend on government checks for his ... no check that, he is unlikely (from reading his writings) to be accurate...  does he receive any monetary compensation from the government?

And this is why we have no anti-war, pro-peace, pro-labor movement.  They've been bought off, just as Day described.

Happily there is no corporate "Catholic Worker Movement" so I am free to state without fear of contradiction that I am the Catholic Worker Movement in the USA, and the people associated with Tom Cornell and his website are not.  If you want real contemporary source of Catholic Worker thought and critique, grounded in the social teachings of the Catholic Church, I am the source.

I wonder if Dorothy Day would disagree with me?

Feel Free To Email This To Three Friends.

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