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Sea- Change? - Catholic Worker odds & ends
May 18th, 2010
09:33 am


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Sea- Change?
In an e-mail to me on May 4th Karl Meyer wrote: "Dear Bob, of course I had the same reaction to the article ('In Defense of Anarchism' by Tom Cornell'--CW, May 2010) as you had. His definition isn't anarchism, it is democratic state socialism with a personalist emphasis." Do the other editors of The Catholic Worker subscribe to Tom's position? If so this marks a sea-change in the philosophy of the New York Catholic Worker community. When Robert Ludlow, who had been the Catholic Worker's chief anarchist theoretician and whose articles Dorothy said she backed up 100%, renounced anarchism, she printed his views in her paper but did not change her mind on the subject of anarchism and in her column of June, 1967, later reprinted in "On Pilgrimage: the Sixties," she wrote: "An anarchist then as I am now, I have never used the vote that the women won by their demonstrations before the White House during that period." And when discussing Peter Maurin's attitude toward the State in the same column she continued: "Peter Maurin was a philosophical anarchist in the tradition of Kropotkin and never missed an opportunity to express his distrust of the State. He agreed with Jefferson that the less government there is, the better. He wanted to stay out of the N.R.A. (National Recovery Administration) and all the other initialed projects and he endorsed the union movement only as long as it kept the State out of its bargaining with the bosses." Of course, since her death the center of gravity has slowly shifted away from the "mother house" to other CW communities in the mid-west and the south-west. Karl stated that: "Few will pay much attention to his article." I wonder. ----Robert Steed (former assoc. editor of The Catholic Worker.)

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Date:May 18th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
It is perhaps more difficult to live "off the grid." But people are also less inclined to form intentional communities. I don't know why? Maybe so many of the "cults" and "communes" of the 60s failed to become true communities. Too many seekers were badly hurt by the paths their searches took. Who are the successors to Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day? The next issue of the CW newspaper should be interesting.
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