Re: (OPE-L) Paul M. Sweezy, 1910-2004

From: Cyrus Bina (binac@MRS.UMN.EDU)
Date: Sat Feb 28 2004 - 23:09:37 EST

Dear Jerry,

    I have no choice other than to accept the bitter news about Paul M.
Sweezy (1910-2004), an embodiment of the struggles in the long and bloody
Twentieth century.  He was the first who taught me the very alphabets of
Marxism, quite sometime before Marx.  And, although I have since taken a
second look at those alphabets, ahhhhh..., I dearly miss him, as I begin to
remember his bright eyes and smiling face in the 1993 (?) Dinner, given in
his honor by a handful of dedicated, worldly, and graceful graduate students
at Harvard (Sanjay Reddy of Barnard was one of them), where I was the only
faculty (visiting or otherwise) present there.  Among other things, he told
us that his departure (after 3 years of teaching) from Harvard was of his
choice.  He spoke of Joseph A. Schumpeter (1883-1950) kindly and revealed
that Schumpeter, on his behalf, conducted a straw poll in order to see where
the Department stood vis-a-vis his tenure, if he were to decide to stay at
Harvard.  Paul remarked: Schumpeter had voted for him and Hansen had voted
against him; and the Department was then divided equally.  I was sitting
across the table from him.  He then lowered his voice and unregrettfully
said that it was the time for him to leave Harvard for good.

    I am sorry; I cannot overcome my emotions anymore tonight ... I
can't....  But please allow me to post below a poem ("A Radiant Passage")
that I wrote for another passing, the passing of the best and brightest
(Persian) poets of the Twentieth century Iran, A. Shamlu, in the year 2000.
Like Sweezy, Shamlu was also a very dear friend of mine.  Thus, I wish to
rededicate this poem to Paul M. Sweezy and eulogize him properly in my own
emotional way.  My very condolences to Mrs. Sweezy.

Journal of Iranian Research and Analysis, Vol. 16, No. 2 (November 2000).

A Radiant Passage

Cyrus Bina

I weep at the crossroads of the shooting stars
that carried you throughout your nightly passage-
I weep at the trace of your grace
that was left vividly on my mind.

I weep behind the wall of Time
-behind the tempting shadow of mortality-
searching for you:
in every nook and cranny of the land
that is immersed in your memory.

I look at the wild amber of sorrow in the grass,
in search of a glimpse of you;
And I weep with the grieving wind.

I weep with the mother of time,
at the threshold of your tranquility.


On Earth,
you've brought the gods to their knees
and made them worship
the splendor of the earth
-particle by particle, limb to limb-
in humility.
You-the upright son of Adam.

On the face of your life,
The Sun gleamed in glory.
On the face of your death,
Life shrivels in envy.
Your commencement has just begun!
You've arrived-and in this arrival:
Dignity embraced Beauty.
You-bold n' brave.
You-the upright son of Adam.


You spoke of death
to the last butterfly of the garden.
You spoke of death
-as the death of a fountain,
whose very last breath yet enlivens the garden.

You asked us: "return me to earth,
naked, from head to toe,
just as when we kneel before Love
-without the concealment of a cover-
for, I want to passionately embroil the earth:"

O earth, pour down lightly o'er his tranquility;
O Sun, shine brightly upon his name;
O grief, tumble down-tumble down through my heart;
O earth, pour down-pour down on my head.


"In the passage of gentle breeze,
in the passage of rain,
in the passage of a shadow:
[you've] made of rising waves
a song, much more vibrating than soul.
[You've] made of love
a rhythm, far more resonating than death.
[You've] made of death
a rhythm, much more beating than life."
You-the upright son of Adam.


"If I were to live this virtuous, [you imagined],
I'd be so disingenuous, if I shall not found
an eternal mountain of memory-from my faith,
o'er the Earth's mortal face."

Your awesome presence has never left us:
the brooks of majesty are in flux,
the mountain of immortality is erect
-and your commencement has begun.
You-you, the upright son of Adam.

[September, 2000
Minnesota, USA]

 1 Ahmad Shamlou (A. Bamdad), one of the best poets in contemporary Persian
literary history, passed away on July 23, 2000 in Tehran.
2 Cyrus Bina is the author of Khorshid-o-Khak (The Sun and the Earth),
Poems, Los Angeles, 1998.  He teaches at the University of Minnesota,
3 Shamlou's poem: "as marg, man sokhan goftam [I Spoke of Death]."
4 Shamlou's poem: "tamseal [Proverb]."
5 Shamlou's poem: "daramikhtan [Embroiling]."
6 Shamlou's poem: "man, marg ra [I Made of Death ...]."
7 Shamlou's poem: "boudan [To Be]."

Saturday night, February 27, 2004
Camden Hall
UMM, Minnesota, USA

Cyrus Bina, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics and Management
Division of the Social Sciences
University of Minnesota, Morris
Morris, MN 56267
Office: (320) 589-6193
Fax:     (320) 589-6117

----- Original Message -----
From: "OPE-L Administrator" <ope-admin@RICARDO.ECN.WFU.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2004 4:42 PM
Subject: (OPE-L) Paul M. Sweezy, 1910-2004

> There is no easy way to say this.
> Paul M. Sweezy died last night at the age of 94.
> He was without a doubt one of the most influential
> figures in the history of 20th Century radical political
> economic thought.
> In solidarity, Jerry

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