Saturday, December 16, 2017


Image result for businessman icon

- So you got out.
- Finally. For a while.
- Tell me about it.
- What's there to tell?
- How you got out.
- A friend in Europe arranged the place, money in the bank from the Hungarian Memory Book paid. Or is that not what you asked for?
- It's not.
- If I wasn't too particular about where I was going, I knew what I was leaving: politics and poverty. Politics turned into a tool of deepening poverty and poverty imbued with politics. They followed me to the very shuttle bus to the airport from the long term parking where the city buses stop. Last minute errands had been successfully accomplished: spare suit jacket from the cleaners and pair of new jeans from the consignment shop picked up from where they'd been for months; a light, second-hand computer bought for travelling, my ten year old eight pound IBM laptop and my bike left with the Guru,* the half crazy religious Jew in Beverly Hills I stayed with shortly after my 2014 return from Europe.
- And the politics and poverty?
- Before I could climb onto the shuttle bus an old woman with two huge new suitcases recruits me to help her drag them up the doorway steps. I do what she asks, and as the bus jerks into motion she proceeds to explain herself: the suitcases are filled with gifts for the destitute, she was staying at the Marriot (hundreds of dollars a night: note the woman's ragged clothes, unhealthy pallor, disheveled hair). She'll change shuttles at the airport for one that will drop her there. She's retired, was a publisher of guide books. In fact, she invented Facebook, tried to fight them for her rights and the banks too, Wells Fargo and Chase, who stole other ideas from her. But had to give up. She questions me when I don't respond: what do I do? where am I going? I confess I've a hard time explaining myself. Barcelona is where I'm going. Why? Also difficult to say. Interesting things are happening there. The state of Catalonia is in a fight with the national government for independence. In the Catalans desire for separation nationalism is mixed up with liberalism.** Here the girl of college age sitting next to me breaks in:
- I hate that people think that Catalonia is liberal. It's not! The government is authoritarian.
- Are you from Catalonia?
- Yes.
- Thanks for the information. I don't know anything about the Catalan government. I'd assumed that the people of the 1935 anarchist revolution and the election of the present mayor were liberal. The mayor is very liberal, right? A campaigner to stop evictions?
- She is. I'm obsessed with her.
- I assumed that, whether or not the present government is conservative, an independent Catalonia would be a place where liberalism would more likely flourish? Is that not right?
The old woman cuts off the girl's answer, wanting geographical and statistical data. Did you catch the symbolism? On the one side, the assumption that politics was governments, rather than the people governments presently are engaged in impoverishing. On the other side, poverty that has accepted that the marketplace takes away personal responsibility for others and consequently the only public life can be that of social role and social status.
- And when you're so poor you have no real social status it has to be imagined. The poor of L.A., you think, ought to have their character free from politics, as at least historically the people of Catalonia have.

Further Reading:
The Situation In Catalonia
Romantic Stories
* At The Spiritual Film Festival
** "For example, the Spanish constitutional court annulled Catalan Parliament policies including a guaranteed basic income, poverty reduction measures, a tax on nuclear waste and sugarised beverages. More recently, Madrid imposed punitive restrictions on the right of the City of Barcelona to use its budget surplus carry out social projects, and prohibited the housing of refugees in facilities that the City had built for that purpose." (Yanis Varoufakis, DiEM25)