The Ultimate Working Class

Gary Snyder just published a surprisingly charming book of essays called Back on the Fire. (I’d link to the excellent review by Thomas Curwen in the LATimes, but their freaking search engine can’t find it.)

Anyhow! In a characteristically tough-minded essay called "Writers and the War Against Nature," Snyder articulates a thought yours truly has long believed, but never stated so clearly.

In the Abrahamic religions, "Thou shalt not kill applies only to human beings. In Socialist thought as well, human beings are all-important, and with the "labor theory of value" it is as though organic nature contributes nothing of worth. Later it came to me, green plants doing photosynthesis are the ultimate working class.

Today in the NYTimes, Natalie Angier gives us a journalistic version of the same idea, along with a useful phrase to describe it: "plant blindness." Really, how blind can we be, not to see the likes of
this? (From approximately 619,000 examples available on Flickr.)


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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