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Columns

Ruth Conniff wonders why so many working people voted for Scott Walker.

Cover

It All Turns on Affection

Wendell Berry
We urgently need to find alternatives to corporate rule.

Features

Conyers at Career’s End?

Clarence Lusane
Aging and redistricting are taking their toll on this embodiment of black politics.

Surveying Happiness Laura Musikanski and John de Graaf
A new measure of social well-being is catching on globally.

Night Watch Darryl Holliday and E. N. Rodriguez
Nuns defy the law to help undocumented immigrants.

1st Person Singular

The NYPD’s File on Me Jordan Flaherty
New York’s finest came all the way to New Orleans to violate my rights

Interview

Cenk Uygur

Ed Rampell
“Things are getting much better” on cable TV, says the progressive talk show host.

Culture
Kate Clinton
roots for nuns.
Dave Zirin testifies about a landmark NFL lawsuit.

Poem Matthew Murrey

Books Jordan Michael Smith reviews Fire in the Ashes, by Jonathan Kozol.

Jim Hightower says move your money out of the bankers’ vaults.

More

By Ruth Conniff

Wisconsin workers face a lousy jobs picture this Labor Day, according to...

Here, for Labor Day, are the top ten working class hero movies of all time.

At a swank club in Madison, Walker supporters get an earful.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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