Thursday, September 25, 2008

Summer Issue Editorial

We are proud to mark 11 years of the Blue Collar Review. It has been a privilege to have been able to publish so many of the best and strongest poets and writers of our working class. It continues to be our mission to publish and promote the progressive working class literature and perspective that would otherwise not be seen.

We, your editors, are also plagued by the adversities of working class life. Poverty, unemployment, and work related disabilities, create obstacles to funding and publishing this kind of journal. The Blue Collar Review continues to exist due to the support of our readers and to our own militant determination to struggle onward.

Our summer issue has the inseparable themes of war and the destruction of our environment. These issues are of key relevance to our own survival and have never been as vital. In this election year these are the issues that matter most. It is questionable if legitimate elections are even possible as Republicans conspire at election tampering including purging voter rolls of mortgage crisis evictees, and others. In this election, the choices, while far from ideal, represent different possible futures. The Republicans offer escalating war without end, repression of labor including defeat of the Employee Free Choice Act, more attacks on our civil rights, further ecological devastation. They offer the collapse of economic markets and their restructure by scruple-less savior-profiteers, and a divisive, allegedly evangelically based suppression of science when it challenges corporate profits.

Though the Democrats are far from progressive, we look to them for a more rational alternative. Given the many crises our nation and ecosystem face at this crucial period of history, this could be our last chance to avoid utter calamity. The corruption and inanity of our electoral process as well as its consequences are themes which permeate this collection.

The winners and runners up of our Working People's Poetry Contest are also announced in this issue. This years entries were of astounding quality and choosing a winner was a real challenge! The winning poem is "Mona Lisa Works the Service Industry" by Kent Newkirk. This visceral poem fleshes out the angry degradation of work at the lower levels of our economy -- a place too many of us know. Runners up are: "Slag" by Kathleen Hellen and "Dedication: Campaign" by Benjamin Baltheser -- both excellent poems. While we can only offer, (and barely) one grand prize of $100.00, all win a year's subscription to this journal and a year's online posting on our website.

This is an especially gritty, collection of worker poetry and representative of where we find ourselves as a class at this historic moment on the precipice of economic disaster. We already know that our bank accounts and pensions, should we be lucky enough to have them, are not safe and that our government can not help us in time of natural disaster. We hope this undeniable reality will spur a rejection of corporatism and ignite massive demands for real change toward an economically rational, sustainable, working class democracy. Whoever is selected in November, our struggle as a class will continue.

We close this issue with a poem by Robert Edwards which condemns narrow anti-intellectualism in the guise of revolutionary zeal and casts down the gauntlet, "Write better poems." We as ordinary people are intellectuals, realists, pragmatists and visionaries. To do and do better is the life of the progressive person. At this pivotal time we cast down the gauntlet to our elected representatives.
We look forward to your comments, your support, and your great writing in our collective efforts for a better world in the months and years ahead.

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