On May Day, 1909, the English verb in the sign you carried was twinned in Yiddish with a verbless adverbial construction: anider mit, “down with.”
If we separate the verb from its untwin and then further generalize it from transitive to intransitive. it detaches itself from its sentence and its social contexts and becomes half of a new unit of meaning: one twinned not with another word but with you. “Abolish,” says the word in the lower half of the unit, and by not repeating itself in the upper half, it makes that upper half reverberate in silence. There in your half, you will never open your mouth to cry “Abolish!” In relation to each other, you and your own abolition will forever be still unravished brides — or, if you wish, gesticulating professors reminding each other back and forth across the dialectic gap that abolish can translate into Hegelian German as aufheben. But from now on, the word won’t be necessary as such. Having once seen you and your word together as one, your fans forever after are going to know abolish only as a composite of word and silence. Because the word, once seen in that doubly defining way, will never again have a meaning separate from you, it will forever postpone your own abolition. Now you are never going to die.
Image previously posted at https://jonathanmorse.blog/2019/04/24/greetings-from-what-was-once-america/