I am posting a video of Grace Lee this week. She has continued to grow and this video is a reflection of that. Everyone has their "own" Grace Lee Boggs. I don't think Jomo or I have any secrets that our "Grace Lee Boggs" is the one who wrote "State Capitalism and World Revolution," "The American Worker," and "Facing Reality" to name a few of the key works she co-authored with CLR and/or Raya. However this does not mean we are ignorant of how she has changed in the past forty years.

In this interview, Grace does lay out some of the key problems facing society: war, the prison industrial complex and global warming. She says one of the ways we can solve this is by building community gardens. I do think these gardens can play a role in bringing communities together and teaching young people valuable lessons about the environment and the care it takes to grow food. As Grace mentioned, it also teaches people that the world does not operate on a "press the button" demand system. That there is an organic process to life and we should learn to respect it. However, I believe there are certain limitations to only working in community gardens. I wonder what Grace would think of the danger of community gardens becoming sub-cultures? How do community gardens challenge police brutality, institutionalized racism, poverty etc etc? How would community gardens relate to anti-racist organizations, to labor struggle organizations etc etc.?

Grace shows an uncomfortable relationship with political work. She describes old political movements being about worker's control over production and management and about capturing state power. I definitely agree that if politics is about capturing state power, the history of this has shown no gain or profit for working people. Instead, the best parts of the workers' struggles have resulted in gains such as the eight hour day, better wages, right to unionize etc. But I do disagree with her about the lack of possibilities for workers' power at the site of production. Just because plants might be sent overseas does not mean that workers cannot organize overseas or that there are no plants left in the United States. Nor is international solidarity out the picture. I am not trying to pick a fight with Grace. I got mad respect for her, but I gotta disagree with her on the perspective on workers' power.

I do like what she says about leadership in the end. We cannot look for great leaders who will come out of nowhere to save us. There are millions of everyday leaders. We are all capable of being leaders. We should not elevate Grace, Malcolm, Yuri, or anyone else to such a status where their human abilities and historical legacies are beyond our own capabilities. We should remember that all "great leaders" in the past were young like us, were willing to take a chance, were willing to take imaginative leaps, take risks, and more….


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