Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

A New Generation Party? I Can Feel the Trembling of Change…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Jewish Themes,Life & Death,Philosophy,Poetry & Prose,Politics,Social Policy and Justice — Bob at 9:27 am on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This is an exception for me.

I really never write about politics, economics or the whole circus.

I guess I don’t feel smart enough, or think who gives a damn what I think and other self-deprecating emotions.  When Rick Munden asked me to write this blog with him, four years ago, I figured he had some political thoughts to express and I’d write poetry and non-fiction stories. 

 But now is now and I feel like there’s something to say from a guy on the edges, who watches the crowds.  I’m a Jew and Jews tend to get run over in the juggernaut of massive political change.

We are and have been the “Canaries in the Mine” of political & social change.  The Canaries never fare well.  So, yes, I’m beginning to feel the first sense of fear that the ground is shifting.

So, here is how I, one person from a very old and despised people who have traveled the world for millennia seeking refuge from chaos and murder…see what is happening all at once:   

This is an amazingly slow motion crashing together of continents.  Maybe nothing will come of it and cold weather will kill it. 

Or, just possibly, it is something big, very big, which will crush the ignorance and prejudice of  the Tea Party mentality in America  and squeeze out the nationwide selfishness that allow the truly wealthy to disregard the crushing misery of the poor.  No one ever really recognizes the triggers of social change until after they’ve been pulled.

When the rich begin to experience fear–especially in this country–and there is no safe harbor for them anywhere in the world, all they can do is throw money at the poor and plead with them to stay away. This isn’t a Hooverville in the Great Depression.  Too many smart people far too well-connected all over the world. 

Truly the whole world is watching.  I think what’s happening is unsurpressable.

It’s the slow rise of a socio-economic political movement, that transcends all the usual divisions of race, age, gender, education, economics and religion.  A New Generation Party.  I made up this name, but it is not just an American Party.  It seems to me to be trans-national.  No one can control it and that creates fear in the people who feel they can control whatever comes along.  This time, the panic will be on the Right. 

When the women rise up and refuse to allow themselves to be controlled by other’s religions, refuse to accept being paid as if they are lesser beings and when they become fully half of the United States Congress, instead of being treated as a delicate submissive minority when in fact, they are the majority, America’s priorities will change.   Who could stop them?

God help the man who tries to suppress or harm my three strong-willed daughters. I raised them all to bite back, and bite back hard.   I respect and admire their mother, and they know it.

When Rome fell, so did the rich, but the state of the poor remained the same. Utter darkness.  This has to be a better way.  I don’t want the terrible past to be a model for a terrible future.

If this movement somehow connects with the North African revolutions, and tiny Israel realizing that Palestine’s time has come, and the poor in America no longer accepting that no insurance and no work  and cynical financial manipulation are acceptable social conditions for the powerless underclasses, and the instability in Western Europe that can and has toppled governments there, with the rise of the middle class in China who want to control there own lives, finally, well, “Occupy Wall Street” is too big to stop or control and change is on the horizon.

Why bring up microscopic Israel?

Without America behind it, Israel can’t survive on its own.  If America sneezes, Israel dies.  I see the possibility of real peace between such similar peoples.  But  Israel needs to be wiser and better led.  Israel’s six million people would best find an earthly resolution to its difference with both Palestine and the other one billion Arabs surrounding it, and not depend on divine intervention.   Historically, that hasn’t worked out well in the Jews’ favor.    

I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’m in the history business.  This is not the Sixties, and it’s not “Sex & Drugs & Rock n’ Roll”.

This just may possibly be a tsunami of social change.

The rich will discover to their horror–if it continues–what happens when they can’t buy off the whole world.

Brace yourselves.

Robert M. Katzman

(I usually haven’t added my other life to my signature.  Seems like I should this time, and let my two lives join together, for the sake of honesty.   I see the rise and fall of governments past on the walls of my Chicago-area’s store’s old newspapers every single day.  To me, change is not some romantic fantasy.  It’s history.)                                                                                            

About the writer and his other life in Skokie, Illinois:

Twitter: @MagazineMuseum

Bob Katzman’s Magazine Museum: 100,000 periodicals back to 1576!
Wall of Rock: 50 years of cool Rock periodicals on display & for sale
4906 Oakton St. (8000 north and 4900 west) Skokie, Ill 60077
(847)677-9444 Mon-Fri: 10 am to 5 pm / Weekends: 10 am to 2 pm

Katzman’s Publishing Company site: www.FightingWordsPubco.com
Katzman’s online non-fiction stories: www.DifferentSlants.com

Poetry? For me, writing poetry is not an option.
It’s a response to emotion. Like cigarette smoke,
it’s fast-flowing, shapeless and with little time to capture it.
Writing poetry in an imperative. I say what I feel compelled to say.

I sell my five published books via mail order and accept major credit cards.
I don’t use PayPal. I just talk to people on the phone.
Fast, reliable service. Read my stories and see what you think.
I’m also available for hire to read my true Chicago stories to organizations
and answer all questions. I autograph my books when I sell them.

I am currently seeking an agent to do more readings.
Feel free to call me at the number above.


Comment by Herb Berman

October 19, 2011 @ 10:46 am

Thank you for this very astute and heartfelt analysis, Bob. I’m going to circulate it.

I don’t know how this movement will evolve, and what it might lead to, but I feel that something very powerful is blowing in the wind.

The anti-war, civil rights, youth movements of the sixties coalesced and changed society in very unpredictable ways. To a degree, “freedom” degenerated into “sex drugs and rock n roll,” and led to the powerful conservative backlash that has been at the heart of our politics ever since.

I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ll see.

Comment by Bob

October 19, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

From Lars Drake in Uppsala, Sweden


I like this piece too! It is one way to give voice to and interpret the significance of this movement. I want you to know that there were demonstrations in support of Occupy Wall street in some Swedish cities (and towns).

Among them my little town, Uppsala, where I gave a speech. I presented myself as a professor of economics to see the reaction. There was some, but after they applauded. The inequality in many countries and globally is unacceptable. So is the greed of some at the top.


PS: Jews are in all strata of the US society (and parts of Occupy Wall street) so I am not worried about safety of Jews in the US.

Comment by Bob

October 19, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

Jews are two-tenths of 1% of the population of all of Scandinavia, or about 26,000 out of 26,000,000.

History has already demonstrated what your country, Sweden, and Denmark both did when the chips were down, time was short and the Danish Jews were about to be snapped up by the Nazis, consequently resulting in some 98% of them surviving the war.

Politics is one thing, but what a society does in real life–and without debate–when a tiny minority in its country is seriously endangered is what really counts. The dead can’t argue about politics.

Sweden is frequently critical of Israel, and Sweden periodically gets negative press in the west for different reasons, but that doesn’t matter. Not to me.

It is what you DID as a country that really counts and holds your own small country, and Denmark,as well, up as an unforgettable example of resolute courage in the face of German beastiality in overwhelming numbers.

Denmark was instantly crushed by the Nazi hordes for its selfless actions and Sweden–armed like a porcupine with defensive weapons–dared the Nazis to invade. Intimidated by Sweden’s defiance and resoluteness, Germany did not.

If only France, a very big–and big talking–country had shown equal courage, hundreds of thousands of Jews, and other defenseless minorities, would likely have survivied the war.

I, and many other Jews, even these many decades later will never forget about Sweden, Denmark and what kind of people you are, and were.

And, of course, the same will be true of France.

Thanks for writing to me, Lars. We are both older, but the distance doesn’t matter. Be well, my friend.


Comment by J Steve Adler

October 19, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

As a history novice, I would note that most dramatic change has taken place when the haves and have nots grow extremely large in size and wide apart. This is particularly occurs where there is no “middle class”. Visibility of the “haves” and their overt bad behavior also spurs change. Perception puts many people at risk as centuries of fear and loathing can cause irrational behavior on both sides.

In this case, to change the subject slightly, our elected representatives and those running have not reacted well to any of the factions. Most governments are too slow to react, which we see globally.

Thanks for your point of view. Steve

Comment by Don Larson

October 19, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

Everyone is angry but for different reasons. As in a fire people flee in different directions, they can even trample one another.

The two parts of the “Wail Street” protests I agree with are: 1) Protests against Obama and his Administration, and 2) No bailouts for anyone.

The Tea Party of which I align myself with are not prejudiced. I’ve been to three Tax Day Tea Party Rallies held each April here in San Diego and there are were indications of prejudice. The Tea Party partly was motivated by the bailouts and we have managed to stop them since last November.

I am against tax class warfare, instead want to see a single rate Flat Tax on all gross income for every person earning income.

I don’t worry much about what goes on in Europe, they are sinking under their own failures and if we emulate them further, we might sink too.


Comment by Don Larson

October 19, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

This paragraph should have said:

“The Tea Party of which I align myself with are not prejudiced. I’ve been to three Tax Day Tea Party Rallies held each April here in San Diego and there were no indications of prejudice. The Tea Party partly was motivated by the bailouts and we have managed to stop them since last November.”


Comment by Bob

October 19, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

Quoting Lori Ann :

Hello! Sorry I don’t share your views. I believe in Capitalism, this is what separates us from other struggling countries. Anything is achievable with perseverance in the good old USA.

I am not rich nor will I probably ever be, but I don’t begrudge others from their deserved wealth. I believe a fair tax program will benefit all citizens. I am tired of paying my taxes to support some lazy ass bum, so he can sit on his hands all day and suck off the government!

This is not what the forefathers of this country wanted for this land. The Constitution tells us this.
As for Israel, I love the president there, and I support Israel totally.

We differ in opinion and I think this occupy Wall street thing will pass. There is what 1,000 or less people there and I’m amazed that of that number they all complain about having equality but if the tides were turned they would feel very different.

Many of these people bring their laptops, cell phones, I-Pads etc. all of which cost a lot of money, many get stolen, (funny they are stealing from each other!) but they can’t repay student loans etc…

Sorry friend I feel for some, but not for all. These are 1968 wanabees, and America is tired of these cry babies. I could cry too…but I don’t I pick my self up, dust myself off and keep going. They should try it. I have much more pride than to throw in the towel
and complain about how bad I have it.

Ok I’m off my soap box. Friends with differences helps to make life interesting!

Love ya,

Lori Ann Gum
Visual Solutions & Display
630 606-9219
206 984-1353 fax

Comment by Herb Berman

October 19, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

Interesting, Lori. I’m pretty well off, and yet I understand, as did Adam Smith and Milton Friedman, that unrestrained capitalism is insupportable. It’s really a very simple philosophical and religious premise: There’s a limited supply of the things desired, but desire is without limits. Thus, unless we are to have the most well-born or the greediest beggar the rest of the population, as well as ravage the limited resources of the planet, limits on desire must be enacted.

You jump to conclusions without evidence as to “lazy ass bums,” stolen items, failure to repay loans, “1968 wannabees,” “America,” as opposed to the writer, being “tired of these cry babies.” One using such pejorative terms should at least cite some supporting evidence. Otherwise, the comments are easily dismissed as a rant.

I find it impossible to support Israel (or anyone or any country) “totally.” I decline to turn my critical intelligence over to anyone.

Comment by Lori Ann Gum

October 19, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

Herb, That was a rant! You are RIGHT!
I’m busy making money and enjoying the fact that I live in a society that supports entrepreneurial interests. If I had more time I could give you volumes of support materials to back up my feelings. Let’s just leave it at that. Bob knows me and loves me anyway!

Comment by Bob

October 19, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

Comment from Michal Mendalsohn:

Read your blog and though my family was very politically involved in the New York Democratic machine while growing up, I must say I am disgusted with the way things are.

Kudos to you for articulating some of the very violent feelings I have been dealing with about our future as a country (yes, the U.S.) and as people who always had a sense of idealism (although, falsely divined for so many years) as few could see what lay ahead. I hate to be a prognosticator, but I forsaw so many bad things already in California where I lived for 20 years back in 1979, when the proposition was passed doing away with most property taxes and forbidding increases (only allowing a limited rise).

I knew then, that years later, Californians would have no money for schools, programs, city events, etc and 30 years later-a calamity. Everyone said to me, “Don’t you want to pay less?” the very short-sighted view.

When I worked in a corporate environment, I could see that the CEO was hedging his bets from quarter to quarter and no one was thinking of the long-term consequences- Now he is in prison! And his $6,000 shower curtain was auctioned off by the Feds.

With everything going on today (or not), I decry that one-third of our children go to bed hungry each night, that there are hundreds of thousands kids who have to try and go to school each day, but are homeless and that Congress dithers about ridiculous things. Many years ago, I said the only thing that would help would be a revolution as corporations have this country by the balls (and yes, I was a lobbyist, but I had the express promise to deny to lobby over something I was fervently against, pleading that I was not a good liar).

Maybe the time is Now!

Comment by Brad Dechter

October 19, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

Bob, the world is full of speculation as to what will be. I choose not to add to it. Hopefully, whatever happens, the outcome will be humanly just and appropriate.

Comment by Bob

October 19, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

From Gargi, who is also known as “Ess”:

…and, despite your own internal protests, you indeed captured the political zeitgeist so well enough (if not the universal juggernaut of human consciousness).

That Lori An who “contributed”– wowa–dontchajustluvher?– I guess so, she says ya do!

Have sent you a “sampler” (by separate forwarded email) I received via a newsletter some days ago already (I’m sure it’s lengthened by now considerably), showcasing
just how many people are getting involved and how spread over the world this movement really is (as opposed to Lori An’s view of the “1,000 or less there”).

I’m outta time (and mind) at this end, but have made a copy to re-read on the busride.


Comment by Judy

October 20, 2011 @ 9:44 am


I am with you on so much of what you said. I worry about what has become of the USA and I am in total sympathy with the 99%.

There are issues, however, that I wish I would hear more about from them and others in our country. Chief among them is the assertion by the far right that we incorporate the Christian religion into our government. The time spent by Congress discussing abortion and even birth control instead of jobs is so telling in this respect. I am not taken in, as many Orthodox Jews are, by the “support” given by the far right to Israel.

What happens to Jews in the next coming tells us they are trying to make us complicit in our own destruction: convert or die. And while I am no fan of the current Israeli administration, it is important to look at the history of the State of Israel (much as you referred to the history of WWII) to realize that accepting a Palestinian state without the necessary protections for Israel would be calamitous.

It is the Palestinian leaders who will not budge on those vital needs, not the Israelis. And many on the left — including Jews — take none of that into account when condemning Israel. See this link for an interesting discussion. http://www.aish.com/

Comment by Bob

October 20, 2011 @ 11:10 am

Thank you for your excellent comment.

But also,I have revised my opinion piece this morning and added something which ought to get your blood moving. We know each other and we don’t, Judy.

Despite your awareness that I had an severely disturbed and abusive mother, I am, unpredictably, an ardent feminist beginning with how I raised my 3 daughters (15 to 36) and one son.

I decided to make what I said just a little more honest and consequently, hopefully more incendiary. I wrote it before I saw your new comment, by the way.

I believe what I believe and have for decades. When you take a look,you will understand. If it makes you smile, let me know. It won’t be difficult for you to spot the revisions and additions.

I appreciate your taking the time to comment. My rare political commentary has received thousands of hits and it astounds me. If you feel it has merit, please tell others to read what this under-employed poet has written.

Thank you, Judy,


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