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0 Heart it! Gabriel Rosenstock 33
September 25, 2018
Gabriel Rosenstock
0 Heart it! 33

Strangers in a Strange World
Gabriel Rosenstock

Wolfi Landstreicher is a contributor to Modern Slavery Journal. He’s someone who does a lot of questioning and self-questioning. We’re all strangers in a strange world, he believes.

This alienation is not something that happened yesterday. It’s been around since the octopus-state plunged its tentacles into everything. It began with the disappearance of the tailor, the cobbler, the tinker, the blacksmith : this merry band were all replaced by corporations.

What’s bothering Wolfi? We’re not in control of our own lives any more, that’s what. We’ve been severed from our own creative energy, a creativity that would allow us to shape our own destiny.

So, he’s against this world we’ve created – because it’s not of our creation at all. You could call him a deserter. That’s what he calls himself. We need more deserters.

There’s an expression in Irish to define an outsider, ‘Ní dár gcaoirigh é’ – he’s not one of our sheep, he doesn’t belong to the flock.

Wolfi is no sheep! He is in open conflict with the flock – that could include family and friends. But he’s writing – and where there are intelligent words being written, there’s hope of some recognition, some response, a flicker of recognition.

Your life isn’t your own, he insists, it’s something that’s happening to you; it’s not of your creation. This should give us pause for thought. Maybe you’ve thought about it and shrugged it off. Nothing much to be done about it, is there? That’s life.
       Such fatalism doesn’t appeal to the anarchist, freedom lover, or poet. We can and must have another vision of the world, is the answer to fatalism.
             ‘It’s not your life.’ There’s something chilling about that statement. Are we no longer in control? Then who is? Bankers? That’s an old conspiracy, laced with anti-Semitism. But, hold on a while. If it’s not my life, who or what has taken it away from me? Capitalism?

       ‘Capitalism would have us believe that we only deserve to be here because of what we produce,’ states A P Gumbs. That makes sense. That would appear to be the cause of our alienation, our ‘Entfremdung’ as a young Marx called it.

Wolfi reminds us of the pressures that come to bear on us in order to sacrifice our whole lives for money, simply in order to survive. The trouble with this scenario is that it leads to a barren existence, one that offers no real openings for our creativity. To feed the capitalist world we offer ourselves on a sacrificial altar.

They didn’t tell us this at school. Of course not. Because schools are there to make us into acolytes of the system.

All over the world, people are crowding into cities. Policemen are becoming more and more like soldiers –  the system senses that there are heretics out there who have begun to question its power. Yes, there are people out there who say their freedom has been taken away from them and they want to regain it. They sound like a bunch of weirdos, don’t they? That Wolfi guy, he’s cracked!

Marx says – Groucho this time – ‘Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light.’

(A version of this essay first appeared in Irish. Gabriel Rosenstock’s latest book is Glengower: Poems for No One in Irish and English, The Onslaught Press)


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0 Heart it! Gabriel Rosenstock 33
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