Sunday, July 11, 2010

*I Will Love This Country Until The Day I Die-I Will Fight This Government Until We Achieve Our Communist Future- A Short Note

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of Merle Haggard performing his classic anti-countercultural song, Okie From Muskogee.

Markin comment:

Sometimes it is fun for me to be a communist propagandist trying to mesh the news of the day, the poltical atmospherics, and the struggle for our communist future together. And, at times, learning a little something in the process. Not today though, or at least not anything I think is worth learning. Hear me out.

In a recent post on this and other sites that I contribute to (Not Ready For Prime Time Class Struggle- Merle Haggard’s Song Okie From Muskogee, dated July 8, 2010, and reposted below) I noted that there is sometimes no accounting for personal taste. Against every political instinct that I possess and all the politics that I hold dear-which includes a savage indictment of the governmental apparatus of this American society that we live in- I like, and like very much, Merle Haggard’s old time patriotic song, Okie From Muskogee. Not in the same way I like The Internationale, of course, but I like the song.

Of course, as well, use of the blogosphere opens one’s postings and opinions to random viewing, not all looking for a way out of the morass that American society finds itself in. Or, at least, not the fight for our communist future that is the hallmark of this space. As fate would have it I received a very negative (oh, mercy me) comment on this post. Not about the craziness or utopianism of the communist program. Nor the usual “one way ticket” to Russia (hello, the Cold War is over, or a little abated anyway) "America-love it or leave" song and dance. None of that at all, but get this, about my gall in even placing the lyrics of Merle Haggard’s Okie From Muskogee on such an un-American site. The messenger made it clear that I was not worthy of kissing old Merle’s a-- and other such sentiments not worthy of further public exposure.

Now I have my dander up. I will, as the nature of politics in America dictates, including and maybe especially left-wing politics, roll with the punches on most anti- communist commentary and move on. But on the question of being un-American (whatever that means, we Americans seem to have a moving standard on that one, somewhat expectedly in a country populated by about 99 % immigrants) I take umbrage, serous umbrage, at the remark.

However, rather than write another in an endless series of screeds for each individual “okie”, oops, “airhead” who feels they have to defend this country, keyboard at hand, on the Internet, if no where else I have already essentially taken up this matter in an earlier blog entry in this space. I have reposted it (edited a little) below. That should satisfy my “honor” on this one:

AMERICA-LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT?, posted June 6, 2007, on the American Left History blog.


Recently I reviewed Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson, a book on the very topical issue of the rise of the American Empire. As readers know this space is dedicated to the spreading of socialist ideas. I hold Marx, Lenin and Trotsky in very high regard. I have made no secret of that. I nevertheless have gotten a comment from some irate reader stating that I could use some “reality” therapy by taking a trip to North Korea for a grass diet. I have been in politics for a long time and have had my share of barbs thrown at me. And have done the same in return. That comes with the territory. What has got my Irish up is the utter sameness of the response when one tweaks the American “belly of the beast” and the sunshine patriots come out form under their well-kept rocks . Below is my response to that irate reader.

“I am tired of every Tom, Dick and Harry that wants to defend the American Empire, consciously or unconsciously and I suspect here consciously, volunteering to act as my personal travel agent. In the bad old days of the Cold War when I mentioned that nuclear disarmament might be a rationale idea I was advised to go thresh wheat on some Soviet collective farm. When I argued that mainland China (then Red China) was the legitimate government there I was kindly told to cull rice in some people’s commune. After protesting the American-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion and asking for fair play for Cuba it was suggested that cutting sugar cane might be my life’s work. When I protested that America was raining all hell down on Vietnam some unkindly souls pointed out that I might prefer an air raid shelter in Hanoi. Now I am advised to go eat grass in North Korea. No, I will not have it. My forbears on my father’s side were run out of England in the early 1800’s and my mother’s forbears came here on the ‘famine ships’ from Ireland. That may not give me the pedigree of the Mayflower crowd but it is damn good enough. My fight is here. I will make my own travel plans, thank you.”


The offending post-Exhibit A

*Not Ready For Prime Time Class Struggle- Merle Haggard's Song- "Okie From Muskogee"

Markin comment:

Okay, blame it on Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters (including “beatnik” holdover/bus driver Neal Cassady). Or blame it on the recently re-read Tom Wolfe's classic The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test that pays “homage” to Kesey and his Pranksters. Or, better blame it on Jack Kerouac and that self-same Cassady for his On The Road. Or just blame it on a residue of the Fourth of July (which as a recent entry indicated, we don’t celebrate these days). But do not, please do not, blame it on me and my sometimes perverse sense of humor for placing the lyrics to Okie From Muskogee on this site. I like the song and that is that. Although I prefer Jim Kweskin's (of Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band fame in the 1960s) 1970 version better than old Merle’s.

Merle Haggard, Okie from Muskogee Lyrics

We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don't take our trips on LSD
We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin' right, and bein' free.

I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all

We don't make a party out of lovin';
We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo;
We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

And I'm proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball.
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin's still the biggest thrill of all.

Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals won't be seen.
Football's still the roughest thing on campus,
And the kids here still respect the college dean.

We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.

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