Saturday, August 12, 2017

In Boston-Celebrate and Join the Save Our Community Centers Campaign!

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COMMUNITY MEETING
featuring City Councilor Tito Jackson

Monday, August 14th
6:30 PM

West Roxbury Public Library
1961 Centre Street

Celebrate and Join the Campaign!

Come out on Monday and to discuss the recent victory of Save Our Community Centers (SOCC) at Draper Pool and Ohrenberger Community Center & join the resistance to Boston City’s agenda of cuts and austerity for working people. Help organize to stop all cuts and win full funding for all of Boston's community centers!

Speakers include:
Seamus Whelan, SOCC organizer and West Roxbury resident
Tito Jackson, City Councilor and candidate for Boston Mayor
and more!
Click to RSVP!
Last Fall Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) announced 16 community centers in the city would lose their morning operating hours and subsequently staff from Ohrenberger Center, Draper Pool and others. In response, Community members banded together and launched the Save Our Community Centers campaign against the cuts.

After months of community organizing and and media outreach, SOCC has won a significant early victory in forcing Mayor Walsh’s BCYF to withdraw a portion of the cuts by reopening senior programming at the Ohrenberger and by extending Draper pool hours.
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A VIew From The Left-NEW WARS / OLD WARS – What Could Possibly Go Wrong


HURTLING TOWARD ‘FIRE AND FURY’
It’s easy to discount Trump’s bluster, based on his long history of practicing the art of “bullshit.” Maybe he’s just trying to make Chinese leaders nervous about his intentions, so they try a little harder to rein in Pyongyang. Surely he understands by now just how devastating a war with North Korea would be, right?  …North Korean leaders have consistently maintained that they want and need nuclear weapons only to deter a U.S. attack, not to start a war against the world’s only superpower. Most experts on Korea agree. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who actually negotiated with Kim’s predecessor in 2000, asserts that while the risks of inadvertent war are growing, North Korea has no intention of launching a surprise nuclear attack…  President Trump’s views on preemptive war are rejected not only by the experts, but by the majority of Americans. Fewer than a third of U.S. adults believe the situation in North Korea requires a military response, according to a new CBS poll, and 61 percent are rightfully uneasy about Trump’s ability to handle the situation.    More
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Is Donald Trump Tweeting the U.S. Into a War on North Korea?
Perhaps more disturbing than what Trump tweets publicly is what he is telling influential U.S. senators privately. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said recently that Trump told him he is willing to militarily obliterate the nation of North Korea if necessary. “There is a military option to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself,” Graham told NBC. Trump, he said, “told me that to my face.” … Tensions on the Korean peninsula are not new. And every U.S. administration seems to find itself in a similar conundrum with the regime. But Trump is erratic and tends to just spit out whatever he is thinking. And that could prove very dangerous with nuclear weapons and nuclear powers.   More

What’s Worse:
Trump’s Campaign Agenda or Empowering Generals and CIA Operatives to Subvert it?
Ironically, Trump’s principal policy deviation around which elites have now coalesced in opposition – a desire for better relations with Moscow – was the same one that Obama, to their great bipartisan dismay, also adopted (as evidenced by Obama’s refusal to more aggressively confront the Kremlin-backed Syrian government or arm anti-Russian factions in Ukraine).
It is true that Trump, being Trump, was wildly inconsistent in virtually all of these pronouncements, often contradicting orabandoning them weeks after he made them. And, as many of us pointed out at the time, it was foolish to assume that the campaign vows of any politician, let alone an adept con man like Trump, would be a reliable barometer for what he would do once in office…  Nonetheless, Trump, as a matter of rhetoric, repeatedly affirmed policy positions that were directly contrary to long-standing bipartisan orthodoxy, and his policy and personal instability only compounded elites’ fears that he could not be relied upon to safeguard their lucrative, power-vesting agenda.    More

Sanctions-Obsessed Senate Strikes at Russia, IranRussia, Iran, North Korea
Talks and Reconciliation, Not Sanctions!
Last week Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill that applies sanctions to Russia, Iran, and North Korea. President Trump is expected to sign it. Yet, this dangerous bill will needlessly provoke all three countries and move us away from productive solutions to the issues the sanctions supposedly address.  We are extremely disappointed to report that all eleven Massachusetts members of Congress, and every Democrat in all states, voted in favor of these counterproductive and destabilizing sanctions.  Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, and three House Republicans were the only no votes.

US INTERVENTION IN SYRIA IS NOT OVER. 
US support for “anti-ISIS” armed groups, together with US bombing in Syria (illegal under international and US law) and Iraq (technically “legal” but unwise and immoral) is on-going -- with horrific civilian casualties.

The U.S. is also risking a catastrophic military clash with Russia or Iran in Syria. There is no legal or moral basis for the United States to be waging war in Syria, risking conflict with Russia and nuclear apocalypse for us all.  ISIS is retreating in Syria and Iraq, but the US is not. The Trump administration has not made secret its hostility to Iran -- and the drumbeats for war are building.

A View From The Left-WARS ABROAD, WARS AT HOME

*   *   *   *
WARS ABROAD, WARS AT HOME

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/08/06/opinion/sunday/06anderson-sub/06anderson-sub-master768.jpgThe Policies of White Resentment
Mr. Trump’s fixation on Barack Obama’s birth certificate gave him the white nationalist street cred that no other Republican candidate could match, and that credibility has sustained him in office — no amount of scandal or evidence of incompetence will undermine his followers’ belief that he, and he alone, could Make America White Again.  The guiding principle in Mr. Trump’s government is to turn the politics of white resentment into the policies of white rage — that calculated mechanism of executive orders, laws and agency directives that undermines and punishes minority achievement and aspiration. No wonder that, even while his White House sinks deeper into chaos, scandal and legislative mismanagement, Mr. Trump’s approval rating among whites (and only whites) has remained unnaturally high. Washington may obsess over Obamacare repeal, Russian sanctions and the debt ceiling, but Mr. Trump’s base sees something different — and, to them, inspiring.    More

Black people aren’t keeping white Americans out of college. Rich people are.
What is essential to understand is that it’s not a vast crowd of black or brown people keeping white Americans out of the colleges of their choice, especially not the working-class white Americans among whom Trump finds his base of support. In fact, income tips the scale much more than race: At 38 top colleges in the United States, more students come from the top 1 percent of income earners than from the bottom 60 percent. Really leveling the admissions playing field, assuming the Trump administration actually cares about doing so, would involve much broader efforts to redistribute wealth and power. A focus on fringe campaigns against affirmative action suggests it does not.    More

Let’s remember how Jared Kushner got into Harvard
The civil rights division of President Trump’s Justice Department is preparing to shift its resources toward “investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants,” the New York Times’s Charlie Savage reported Tuesday. Any shift in priorities hasn’t been finalized or announced yet, so it’s unclear where this policy will end up or how specifically it will be implemented. Still, in conversations and debates over just who gets the biggest leg up in university admissions, the tale of how senior White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner got into Harvard is an instructive one. Of course few will be surprised that Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, a wealthy and connected developer and political donor, helped him get in…  Jared’s father handed Harvard (a school he did not attend) a big pile of money just as Jared was starting to apply to colleges. Around the same time, Jared’s dad got his US senator to contact another US senator to arrange a chat with Harvard’s dean of admissions.   More

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack
Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge…  There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.   More


In Boston- Dorchester Standout for Black Lives Thursday August 17, 5:30-6:30 PM (and the third Thursday of every month) at Ashmont T station plaza

Come to the next monthly 
Dorchester Standout for Black Lives
Thursday August 175:30-6:30 PM 
(and the third Thursday of every month)
at Ashmont T station plaza

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Kelley writes:
The monthly Dorchester Standout for Black Lives continues. It was quite hot last month but the enthusiasm of those holding the banner "We Believe that Black Lives Matter” and Black Lives Matter signs (about a variety of issues that impact Black lives) kept us cool! The solidarity of those honking as they drove by or stopped at the table as they walked to or from the T was encouraging. We also had a MBTA bus driver beeping a number of times as they passed us by. We had water, food, and were able to share what was happening around town including the announcement of a vigil for a young man, Christopher L. Austin, Jr., who was gunned down in broad daylight on Ashmont St.

Do come stand out with us; all are welcome! Remaining dates this spring and summer are:
August 17 and September 21. If you have any questions, don't hestitate to contact Kelley, kelready@msn.com or Becky, beckyp44@verizon.net, or call Dorchester People for Peace 617-282-3783

In Boston- White Supremacists commit murder in Charlottesville - BMDC to respond, Join us tomorrow at 2PM

Hi Folks,

At  least one person has died in Charlottesville as the fascists seek to terrorize the movement against racism. The fascists will be mobilizing in Boston on August 19. They are organizing a so called "free speech" rally on Boston Common on that date. Far from free speech, these fascists are organizing to take away our free speech and terrorize the movements for social justice in this country. Those opposed to their racist and xenophobic campaign are called upon to counter-mobilize and send out a clear message of unity and strength, defending the rights and interests of working class people and oppressed social layers in this country. The counter-mobilization will be first and foremost on the agenda at the Boston May Day Coalition meeting. Please join us:

Boston May Day Coalition general meeting
Sunday, August 13, 2:00 PM
Encuentro 5
9A Hamilton Place
Boston, MA
Next to the Orpheum Theater
(Park Street T stop on the Red and Green lines)

Adelante,
John

What Is In A Name-The Film Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance Of Being Earnest”(1952)-A Review

What Is In A Name-The Film Adaptation Of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance Of Being Earnest”(1952)-A Review




DVD Review

By Film Critic Sandy Salmon
 
The Importance Of Being Earnest, starring Michael Redgrave, Michael Denison, Dame Edith Evans, directed by Anthony Asquith, 1952    

No question the great late 19th century English playwright Oscar Wilde took a terrible beating from hypercritical late Victorian society for his little ‘vice’-“the act that dare not speak its name” to use the quant phrase used in polite society for homosexuality. (Victorian society hypercritical since as far as the upper crust and certainly in the literary and culture milieus there were plenty of closeted, and not so closeted in some places, homosexuals who were tolerated if not celebrated). Certainly today his activities would have drawn little attention in Western society anyway but then such exposure devastated his career.

Before Wilde’s fall, before he took his court room beating sending him to Reading Gaol and infamy he wrote and had produced the play upon which the film under review is based, The Importance Of Being Earnest. A play which was a humorous sent-up of all the hypocrisy, manners and tedium of upper-crust bourgeois society. There was not necessarily any great political message to the work but by virtue of the truly great use of dialogue Oscar was able to drive his spears in all the better. The film adaptation by Anthony Asquith is pretty fateful to the original play and the acting is of a high order so we get today a fairly decent sense of what was going on in some circles in those bygone days.             

Here’s the simple plotline on which the fast-paced dialogue rises and falls. A couple of free-wheeling gentleman, representing country and city, Jack and Algy having time on their hands and wicked senses of humor carry around some assumed names, Ernest for the former and Bunbury for the latter in order to brush off any untoward questions or people. They both have the same problem or aspects of the same problem. They long for female companionship, for proper marriages. Jack is in love with Algy’s cousin the aristocratic Gwendolyn and Algy is in love with Jack’s ward out in his country estate Cecily.Therein lies the dilemma. Jack is caught up in a bind because having under the assumed name Ernest he has caught Gwen’s attentions although she is fickle enough only to want to marry a man named Ernest. Cecily by a certain sleight of hand by Algy only wants to marry a man named Ernest as well.         

With that conundrum in mind the chase is on. Jack has to invent a younger brother Ernest whom he tries to kill off but who shows up at the country estate door but Algy posing as Jack’s supposedly late brother Ernest. Then Gwen, mother in tow shows up as well to find out whether Jack, who has willingly proposed to Gwen and she has accepted, has the correct lineage to betroth her daughter. Every social and cultural prejudice of the day gets a work-out as in the end love conquers all once Jack, who turned out to be a foundling, actually had been born with the name Ernest. Nice touch. A great sent-up and great fun if not a big time look at the foibles of late Victorian society.           


Waving the Flag of Slavery in Charlottesville “Alt-Right” Fascists: Shock Troops for Racist Genocide-Built The Anti-Fascist United Front Now!

Waving the Flag of Slavery in Charlottesville
“Alt-Right” Fascists: Shock Troops for Racist Genocide-Built The Anti-Fascist United Front Now!



Frank Jackman comment: as I have mentioned on other occasions I usually will post political material here that may be of interest to the liberal and radical milieu without comment. And without necessarily agreeing with the content. After all I can as here write my own commentary on the issues of the day to give my view. Occasionally, and given the developments in Charlottesville today, August 12, 2017 mentioned in the article this is one of them, I will post an article which I stand in solidarity with. I do so here.

Learn the lessons of history. Stop the Nazis, KKK, Alt-right and their supporters in the egg. Build the Labor, Black, and other oppressed people United Front against the Fascists-Now!!!!       



Workers Vanguard No. 1115
28 July 2017
 
Waving the Flag of Slavery in Charlottesville
“Alt-Right” Fascists: Shock Troops for Racist Genocide-Built The Anti-Fascist United Front Now!
In Virginia, the state where Confederate general Robert E. Lee was defeated and surrendered, the small city of Charlottesville has become ground zero for fascist defenders of the Southern slavocracy. On July 8, 50 Klansmen, many in the hoods and robes of lynch rope terror, rallied in defense of a statue of Lee that the city council had voted to remove. On top of this, a new breed of fascist organizations in the “alt-right” is calling for a “Unite the Right” rally on August 12 in front of Lee’s statue. The poster for the rally features armed troops marching under the battle flag of slavery, surrounded by monuments to military and other Confederate leaders and with Nazi-style eagles flying overhead. This is a direct attack against black people.
Emboldened by the “Make America Great Again” racism of the Trump administration, fascist organizations like Identity Evropa and the Traditionalist Worker Party have been staging provocations across the country. The fascists are paramilitary shock troops that are held in reserve by the capitalist rulers and unleashed at times of social crisis against any prospect of revolutionary struggle by the working class. Their purpose is nothing less than the destruction of the workers movement, including unions and the left, and racial genocide. In the U.S., that means they especially have black people in their sights.
The roots of American fascism go back to the defeat of the Confederacy by the Union Army in the Civil War. The KKK and other race-terrorists came into being after that victory to bloodily suppress the newly freed slaves. No less than the Klan, the fascist vermin in the “alt-right” today represent a threat to the very right of black people to exist. 
To date, this new crop of fascists has mainly aimed its fire at Muslims, immigrants, Jews and the antifas (anti-fascist activists) who have mobilized against them. Feeling the wind in their sails, they are now openly building for race-terror against black people through their “Unite the Right” rally, including by competing with the Klan over who best represents the “heritage” of the slavocracy. The aim of these fascists is to reverse the verdict of the Civil War.
The speakers list for the August 12 rally is a veritable who’s who of the contemporary American fascist movement. First among them is would-be f├╝hrer Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute. In May, Spencer led dozens of fascists carrying torches and chanting Nazi slogans in Charlottesville in defense of Lee’s statue. Other speakers include Matthew Heimbach, head of the Traditionalist Worker Party, and Michael Hill, president of the League of the South. “Former” Klansman David Duke, a keynote speaker at the League of the South’s recent conference, is backing the August 12 rally.
Every time the fascists successfully rally, they gain confidence and win new recruits to their program of race-terror. In June 2016, when white-supremacists of the Traditionalist Worker Party and the Golden Gate Skinheads descended on Sacramento, they stabbed and slashed at least seven anti-fascists. This April, hundreds of fascists rioted in downtown Berkeley, where they chanted, “Hitler did nothing wrong” and attacked anti-fascists and leftists with clubs, flagpoles and knives. A week after Spencer’s torchlight rally in Charlottesville, Richard Collins III, a 23-year-old black student and Army lieutenant, was killed at the University of Maryland by a fascist. In early June, fascists rallied in Portland in what was essentially a celebration of the murder of two men who had intervened to stop the racist abuse of two women—one black, one Muslim—by a white-supremacist who had attended “alt-right” rallies.
Like the Klan, these neo-Nazis are the genuine face of American fascism. And they have powerful defenders, from the off-duty and retired cops and military personnel in the Oath Keepers who have provided security at their rallies to the regular police thugs of the capitalist state. On July 8 in Charlottesville, police arrested 23 of the more than 1,000 demonstrators who came out to protest the Klan’s provocation. Four of those arrested face felony charges, including for wearing a mask in public. With the local chief of police arguing that his main concern was “not the KKK,” cops intimidated and harassed anti-racist activists at their homes and workplaces in the weeks before the KKK rally. A spokesman for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) told Al Jazeera (8 July) that the cops singled out non-whites for harassment at their homes. Drop all charges against the anti-Klan protesters!
Now, SURJ is appealing to the Charlottesville city government to revoke the permit for the “Unite the Right” rally. To rely on the forces that administer capitalist “law and order” to ban the fascists is a deadly delusion. It is those very forces that repress anti-fascist fighters. The protesters who had signs declaring “Cops and Klan Go Hand in Hand” had it right. While the cops were hurling tear gas against the anti-Klan militants, their bosses in the local government organized prayer meetings and “community discussion” together with assorted preachers, invoking the fascists’ “right to free speech.”
Fascism is not about free speech; it is about racist terror. Black people know only too well that when the fascists speak, it is with the lynch rope. Their “words” are fired out of the barrel of a gun. Their intent is to organize for an America in which black people do not exist. As the then-revolutionary Socialist Workers Party wrote in Socialist Appeal (3 March 1939), “The workers who spend all their time and energy in the abstract discussion of the Nazis’ ‘democratic rights’...will end their discussion under a Fascist club in a concentration camp.”
In contrast to the fascists, who see their road to power through extraparliamentary violence, right-wingers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter are racist provocateurs and ideologues. When antifa groups shut down their speaking tours, they fall right into these bigots’ trap, handing them the flag of “freedom of speech” to wave like a bloody shirt. The likes of Yiannopoulos and Coulter should be protested, exposed and refuted. But to equate them with fascists only serves to disarm people in the face of the Nazis and other race-terrorists, who must be crushed in the egg.
The thousand-strong anti-Klan turnout on July 8 shows that there are plenty of people who want to stop the fascists in their tracks. Among such activists are antifa groups across the country. But while they have often shown real courage, the confrontations waged by small groups of antifas will not stop the fascist gangs. The fascists must be met by an overpowering counterforce, based on disciplined mobilizations of the multiracial working class. As Leon Trotsky, who together with V.I. Lenin was a central leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, wrote in the Transitional Program (1938) on the fight against Hitler’s Nazis: “Only armed workers’ detachments, who feel the support of tens of millions of toilers behind them, can successfully prevail against the fascist bands. The struggle against fascism does not start in the liberal editorial office but in the factory—and ends in the street.”
The new fascist organizations are small, but they are growing, armed and dangerous. They feed off economic devastation and are emboldened by official racist reaction. But the bitter economic and social discontent of the working class and oppressed can also fuel the rise of a fighting workers movement. In the U.S. during the 1930s Depression, militant workers who had waged pitched battles against the bosses and their state in order to organize unions struck some real “fear of god” into the fascist gangs.
In Minneapolis, where truckers strikes led by Trotskyist militants in 1934 laid the basis for the growth of the Teamsters into a powerful nationwide union, strike leaders and other battle-tested militants organized a union defense guard to take on a fascist gang called the Silver Shirts. The defense guard was led by Ray Rainbolt—one of the key fighters in 1934, a military veteran and American Indian—and included hundreds of union members. In Teamster Politics (Monad Press, 1975), Farrell Dobbs, a young Trotskyist leader of the truckers strikes, recalled that the defense guard aimed to build a labor-centered fighting force that would “include the unemployed, minority peoples, youth—all potential victims of the fascists, vigilantes, or other reactionaries.” When the Silver Shirts tried to hold a rally in Minneapolis, members of the defense guard were called out to the site. The audience turned tail and ran, and, having gotten wind of the union action, the Silver Shirts leader didn’t even show up.
Today, the idea that organized labor would mobilize its power in its own interests, as well as in opposition to the fascists, might seem fantastical, particularly to youth who have seen little to no union struggle. Responsibility for this situation lies with the trade-union misleaders, who have shackled the social power of the working class to the interests of their capitalist exploiters, particularly through the Democratic Party. But labor has real power, which lies in its numbers, collective organization and, above all, its ability to choke off profits through strikes and other actions. Whether it is the factory floor, the transit barns or the docks, the workplace remains the main site of integration in racist capitalist America.
Labor can and must be organized to smash the fascists. The potential for such action was shown in a small but real way by the labor/black mobilizations initiated by the Spartacist League and Partisan Defense Committee to stop Klan and Nazi provocations in several cities in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Through flexing their muscle in massive, multiracial mobilizations against the fascists, the workers will come to recognize their power as a class. What must be done is to build a revolutionary workers party that will wield that power to finally fulfill the promise of black freedom and emancipate all the exploited and oppressed. It will take nothing less than a third, socialist American Revolution to break the chains of racist capitalist rule and bury the fascist gangs for good. For labor/black action to stop the fascists!

On The 60th Anniversary Of Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" (1957)- "Beat" Poet's Corner- Allen Ginsberg's "America"

On The 60th Anniversary Of Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" (1957)- "Beat" Poet's Corner- Allen Ginsberg's "America"




YouTube's film clip of Allen Ginsberg reading in 1956 from his famous poem "America"


In Honor Of Jean Bon Kerouac On The 60th Anniversary Of “On The Road” (1957)
By Book Critic Zack James


To be honest I know about On The Road Jack Kerouac’s epic tale of his generation’s search for something, maybe the truth, maybe just for kicks, for stuff, important stuff that had happened down in the base of society where nobody in authority was looking or some such happening strictly second-hand. His generation’s search looking for a name, found what he, or someone associated with him, maybe the bandit poet Gregory Corso, king of the mean New York streets, mean, very mean indeed in a junkie-hang-out world around Times Square when that place was up to its neck in flea-bit hotels, all-night Joe and Nemo’s and the trail of the “fixer” man on every corner, con men coming out your ass too, called the “beat” generation. (Yes,  I know that the actual term “beat” was first used by Kerouac writer friend John Clemmon Holmes in an article in some arcane journal but the “feel” had to have come from a less academic source so I will crown the bandit prince Corso as genesis) Beat, beat of the jazzed up drum line backing some sax player searching for the high white note, what somebody told me, maybe my older brother Alex they called “blowing to the China seas” out in West Coast jazz and blues circles, that high white note he heard achieved one skinny night by famed sax man Sonny Johns, dead beat, run out on money, women, life, leaving, and this is important no forwarding address for the desolate repo man to hang onto, dread beat, nine to five, 24/7/365 that you will get caught back up in the spire wind up like your freaking staid, stay at home parents, beaten down, ground down like dust puffed away just for being, hell, let’s just call it being, beatified beat like saintly and all high holy Catholic incense and a story goes with it about a young man caught up in a dream, like there were not ten thousand other religions in the world to feast on- you can take your pick of the meanings, beat time meanings. Hell, join the club they all did, the guys, and it was mostly guys who hung out on the mean streets of New York, Chi town, North Beach in Frisco town cadging twenty-five cents a night flea-bag sleeps, half stirred left on corner diners’ coffees and cigarette stubs when the Bull Durham ran out).

I was too young to have had anything but a vague passing reference to the thing, to that “beat” thing since I was probably just pulling out of diapers then, maybe a shade bit older but not much. I got my fill, my brim fill later through my oldest brother Alex. Alex, and his crowd, more about that in a minute, but even he was only washed clean by the “beat” experiment at a very low level, mostly through reading the book (need I say the book was On The Road) and having his mandatory two years of living on the road around the time of the Summer of Love, 1967 an event whose 50th anniversary is being commemorated this year as well and so very appropriate to mention since there were a million threads, fibers, connections between “beat” and “hippie” despite dour grandpa Jack’s attempts to trash those connection when they acolytes came calling looking for the “word.” So even Alex and his crowd were really too young to have been washed by the beat wave that crashed the continent toward the end of the 1950s on the wings of Allan Ginsburg’s Howl and Jack’s travel book of a different kind (not found on the AAA, Traveler’s Aid, Youth Hostel brochure circuit if you please although Jack and the crowd, my brother and his crowd later would use such services when up against it in let’s say a place like Winnemucca in the Nevadas or Neola in the heartlands). Literary stuff for sure but the kind of stuff that moves generations, or I like to think the best parts of those cohorts. These were the creation documents the latter of which would drive Alex west before he finally settled down to his career life as a high-road lawyer (and to my sorrow and anger never looked back).             

Of course anytime you talk about books and poetry and then add my brother’s Alex name into the mix that automatically brings up memories of another name, the name of the late Peter Paul Markin. Markin, for whom Alex and the rest of the North Adamsville corner boys, Frankie, Jack, Jimmy, Si, Josh (he a separate story from up in Olde Saco, Maine),   Bart, and a few others still alive recently had me put together a tribute book for in connection with that Summer of Love, 1967, their birthright event, just mentioned.  Markin was the vanguard guy, the volunteer odd-ball unkempt mad monk seeker who got several of them off their asses and out to the West Coast to see what there was to see. To see some stuff that Markin had been speaking of for a number of years before (and which nobody in the crowd paid any attention to, or dismissed out of hand what they called “could give a rat’s ass” about in the local jargon which I also inherited in those cold, hungry bleak 1950s cultural days in America) and which can be indirectly attributed to the activities of Jack, Allen Ginsburg, Gregory Corso, that aforementioned bandit poet who ran wild on the mean streets among the hustlers, conmen and whores of the major towns of the continent, William Burroughs, the Harvard-trained junkie  and a bunch of other guys who took a very different route for our parents who were of the same generation as them but of a very different world.

But it was above all Jack’s book, Jack’s book which had caused a big splash in 1957(after an incredible publishing travail since the story line actually related to events in the late 1940s and which would cause Jack no end of trauma when the kids showed up at his door looking to hitch a ride on the motherlode star, and had ripple effects into the early 1960s (and even now certain “hip” kids acknowledge the power of attraction that book had for their own developments, especially that living simple, fast and hard part). Made the young, some of them anyway, like I say I think the best part, have to spend some time thinking through the path of life ahead by hitting the vagrant dusty sweaty road. Maybe not hitchhiking, maybe not going high speed high through the ocean, plains, mountain desert night but staying unsettled for a while anyway.    

Like I said above Alex was out on the road two years and other guys, other corner boys for whatever else you wanted to call them that was their niche back in those days and were recognized as such in the town not always to their benefit, from a few months to a few years. Markin started first back in the spring of 1967 but was interrupted by his fateful induction into the Army and service, if you can call it that, in Vietnam and then several more years upon his return before his untimely and semi-tragic end. With maybe this difference from today’s young who are seeking alternative roads away from what is frankly bourgeois society and was when Jack wrote although nobody except commies and pinkos called it that for fear of being tarred with those brushes. Alex, Frankie Riley the acknowledged leader, Jack Callahan and the rest, Markin included, were strictly “from hunger” working class kids who when they hung around Tonio Pizza Parlor were as likely to be thinking up ways to grab money fast any way they could or of getting into some   hot chick’s pants any way they could as anything else. Down at the base of society when you don’t have enough of life’s goods or have to struggle too much to get even that little bit “from hunger” takes a big toll on your life. I can testify to that part because Alex was not the only one in the James family to go toe to toe with the law, it was a close thing for all us boys as it had been with Jack when all is said and done. But back then dough and sex after all was what was what for corner boys, maybe now too although you don’t see many guys hanging on forlorn Friday night corners anymore.

What made this tribe different, the Tonio Pizza Parlor corner boys, was mad monk Markin. Markin called by Frankie Riley the “Scribe” from the time he came to North Adamsville from across town in junior high school and that stuck all through high school. The name stuck because although Markin was as larcenous and lovesick as the rest of them he was also crazy for books and poetry. Christ according to Alex, Markin was the guy who planned most of the “midnight creeps” they called then. Although nobody in their right minds would have the inept Markin actually execute the plan. That was for smooth as silk Frankie now also a high-road lawyer to lead. That operational sense was why Frankie was the leader then (and maybe why he was a locally famous lawyer later who you definitely did not want to be on the other side against him). Markin was also the guy who all the girls for some strange reason would confide in and thus was the source of intelligence about who was who in the social pecking order, in other words, who was available, sexually or otherwise. That sexually much more important than otherwise. See Markin always had about ten billion facts running around his head in case anybody, boy or girl, asked him about anything so he was ready to do battle, for or against take your pick.

The books and the poetry is where Jack Kerouac and On The Road come into the corner boy life of the Tonio’s Pizza Parlor life. Markin was something like an antennae for anything that seemed like it might help create a jailbreak, help them get out from under. Later he would be the guy who introduced some of the guys to folk music when that was a big thing. (Alex never bought into that genre, still doesn’t, despite Markin’s desperate pleas for him to check it out. Hated whinny Bob Dylan above all else) Others too like Kerouac’s friend Allen Ginsburg and his wooly homo poem Howl from 1956 which Markin would read sections out loud from on lowdown dough-less, girl-less Friday nights. And drive the strictly hetero guys crazy when he insisted that they read the poem, read what he called a new breeze was coming down the road. They could, using that term from the times again, have given a rat’s ass about some fucking homo faggot poem from some whacko Jewish guy who belonged in a mental hospital. (That is a direct quote from Frankie Riley at the time via my brother Alex’s memory bank.)


Markin flipped out when he found out that Kerouac had grown up in Lowell, a working class town very much like North Adamsville, and that he had broken out of the mold that had been set for him and gave the world some grand literature and something to spark the imagination of guys down at the base of society like his crowd with little chance of grabbing the brass ring. So Markin force-marched the crowd to read the book, especially putting pressure on my brother who was his closest friend then. Alex read it, read it several times and left the dog- eared copy around which I picked up one day when I was having one of my high school summertime blues. Read it through without stopping almost like Jack wrote the final version of the thing on a damn newspaper scroll in about three weeks. So it was through Markin via Alex that I got the Kerouac bug. And now on the 60th anniversary I am passing on the bug to you.           



America
Allen Ginsberg


America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can't stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don't feel good don't bother me.
I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I'm sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don't think he'll come back it's sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I'm trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I'm doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven't read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for
murder.
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I'm not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet. 
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there's going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right.
I won't say the Lord's Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven't told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over
from Russia.

I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven't got a chinaman's chance.
I'd better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I'm a Catholic.

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his
automobiles more so they're all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the 
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America you don're really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader's Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I'd better get right down to the job.
It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts
factories, I'm nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.