Saturday, December 07, 2019

Upon The 50th Anniversary Of The Death Of "King Of The Beats" Jack Kerouac-*A Nod From The Be-Bop To The Hip-Hop Generation- Tupac Shakur's-"Rebel Of The Underground"

Rebel Of The Underground lyrics
Tupac Shakur


Rebel.. rebel.. REBEL
Rebel.. rebel..

[2Pac]
They just can't stand the reign, or the occasional pain
from a man like me, who goes against the grain
Sometimes I do it in vain, so with a little bass and treble
Hey Mister! It's time for me to explain that I'm the rebel
Cold as the devil
Straight from the underground, the rebel, a lower level
They came to see the maniac psychopath
The critics heard of me, and the aftermath
I don't give a damn and it shows
And when I do a stage show I wear street clothes
So they all know me
The lyrical lunatic, the maniac emcee
I give a shout out to your homies
And maybe then, the critics'll leave your boy alone, G
On the streets or on TV
It just don't pay to be, a truth tellin MC
They won't be happy till I'm banned
The most dangerous weapon: an educated black man
So point blank in your face, pump up the bass
and join the human race
I throw peace to the Bay
Cause from the Jungle to Oaktown, they backin me up all the way
You know you gotta love the sound
It's from the rebel -- the rebel of the underground

Rebel he's a rebel, rebel of the underground [4X]

[2Pac]
Now I'm face to face with the devils
Cause they breedin more rebels than the whole damn ghetto
And police brutality
shit it put you in the nip and call it technicality
So you reap what you sow
So reap the wrath of the rebel, jackin em up once mo'
Now the fox is in the henhouse, creepin up on your daughter
While you sleep I got her sneakin out
[From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/t/tupac-shakur-lyrics/rebel-of-the-underground-lyrics.html]
Tupac ain't nuttin nice
I'll be nuttin how I wanna, and doin what I'm gonna
Now I'm up to no good
The mastermind of mischief movin more than most could
So sit and slip into the sound
Peep the rebel -- the rebel of the underground

Rebel he's a rebel, rebel of the underground [4X]

[2Pac]
They say they hate me, they wanna hold me down
I guess they scared of the rebel -- the rebel of the underground
But I never let it get me
I just make another record bout the punks tryin to sweat me
In fact, they tryin to keep me out
Try to censor what I say
cause they don't like what I'm talkin bout
So what's wrong with the media today?
Got brothers sellin out cause they greedy to get paid
But me, I'm comin from the soul
And if it don't go gold, my story still gettin told
And that way they can't stop me
And if it sells a couple of copies, the punks'll try to copy
It's sloppy, don't even try to
I'm a slave to the rhythm, and I'm about to fly through
So yo to the people in the ghetto
When ya hear the bass flow, go ahead and let go
Now everybody wanna gangbang
They talkin street slang, but the punks still can't hang
They makin records bout violence
But when it comes to the real, some brothers go silent
It kinda make you wanna think about
that ya gotta do some sellin out, just to get your record out
But 2Pacalpyse is straight down
So feel the wrath of the rebel -- the rebel of the underground

Tupac is a rebel, rebel of the underground [8X]

Thursday, December 05, 2019

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-*From The Frontlines Of The Anti-Afghan War Struggle- On The Slogan- “Down With The Obama Government”- A Commentary

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-


By Frank Jackman

History in the conditional, what might have happened if this or that thing, event, person had swerved this much or that, is always a tricky proposition. Tricky as reflected in this piece’s commemorative headline. Rosa Luxemburg the acknowledged theoretical wizard of the German Social-Democratic Party, the numero uno party of the Second, Socialist International, which was the logical organization to initiate the socialist revolution before World War II and Karl Liebknecht, the hellfire and brimstone propagandist and public speaker of that same party were assassinated in separate locale on the orders of the then ruling self-same Social-Democratic Party. The chasm between the Social-Democratic leaders trying to save Germany for “Western Civilization” in the wake of the “uncivilized” socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 had grown that wide that it was as if they were on two different planets, and maybe they were.

(By the way I am almost embarrassed to mention the term “socialist revolution” these days when people, especially young people, would be clueless as to what I was talking about or would think that this concept was so hopelessly old-fashioned that it would meet the same blank stares. Let me assure you that back in the day, yes, that back in the day, many a youth had that very term on the tips of their tongues. Could palpably feel it in the air. Hell, just ask your parents, or grandparents.)

Okay here is the conditional and maybe think about it before you dismiss the idea out of hand if only because the whole scheme is very much in the conditional. Rosa and Karl, among others made almost every mistake in the book before and during the Spartacist uprising in some of the main German cities in late 1918 after the German defeat in the war. Their biggest mistake before the uprising was sticking with the Social Democrats, as a left wing, when that party had turned at best reformist and eminently not a vehicle for the socialist revolution, or even a half-assed democratic “revolution” which is what they got with the overthrow of the Kaiser. They broke too late, and subsequently too late from a slightly more left-wing Independent Socialist Party which had split from the S-D when that party became the leading war party in Germany for all intents and purposes and the working class was raising its collective head and asking why. 

The big mistake during the uprising was not taking enough protective cover, not keeping the leadership safe, keeping out of sight like Lenin had in Finland when things were dicey in 1917 Russia and fell easy prey to the Freikorps assassins. Here is the conditional, and as always it can be expanded to some nth degree if you let things get out of hand. What if, as in Russia, Rosa and Karl had broken from that rotten (for socialism) S-D organization and had a more firmly entrenched cadre with some experience in independent existence. What if the Spartacists had protected their acknowledged leaders better. There might have been a different trajectory for the aborted and failed German left-wing revolutionary opportunities over the next several years, there certainly would have been better leadership and perhaps, just perhaps the Nazi onslaught might have been stillborn, might have left Munich 1923 as their “heroic” and last moment.  


Instead we have a still sad 100th anniversary of the assassination of two great international socialist fighters who headed to the danger not away always worthy of a nod and me left having to face those blank stares who are looking for way forward but might as well be on a different planet-from me.  


Click on the title to link to the Karl Liebknecht Internet Archive's copy of his protest against the granting of war credits to the German government DURING World War I.

From the front lines of the anti-Afghan war struggle, such as it is.


Markin comment on this link:

This is the time for radicals and other anti-war activists to review the work of Karl Liebknecht, the great German internationalist revolutionary, as we face many of the same political problems that he had to confront with a capitalist government hellbent on war and escalation of war, including, in our case, the question of parliamentary opposition to the executive branch's war budget.

Markin comment:

Recently, while attending one of several impromptu ad hoc demonstrations in Boston called to protest the escalation of the latest American imperial adventure, Obama’s massive troop surge in Afghanistan, I fell into a discussion with a young militant I met there who has been carrying a poster that read – “Down With The Obama Government”. While such a homemade poster should gladden the heart of every old time anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist militant (and every new militant, as well) I argued with her, and I argue here that such a slogan is clearly premature. And here is why I think so.

I have made something of a truism in this space of the fact that politics, and that includes revolutionary politics, is many, if not most, times a matter of timing. That is the case here. To help illustrate that proposition I will give just a couple of pieces of information about this woman’s own political trajectory that I think demonstrates my case for the prematureness of her slogan. Budding militant X , in 2008, became as a freshman at a local Boston college an ardent supporter of, and campaign worker, for the presidential campaign of one Barack Obama. Apparently there was no job too small or place too far away that she would not go to on behalf of his candidacy.

Her reasoning, as she immersed herself emerged fully into the political battlefield, for supporting Obama need not detain us here, although that is an interesting story for another time as it somewhat parallels my own checkered youthful political evolution. As she related her story about her hours of campaigning and the places she had gone let’s just say that I not mistakenly realized that she is a fellow political ‘junkie’. In any case, Ms. X had high hopes, especially for Obama’s peace platform, as least as she understood it. By February of this year, with Obama’s deployment of some 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan just shortly after his inauguration, she was very worried. This latest troop escalation put her into opposition on the streets.

Hey, this is a nice conversion for our side. This, my friends, is the kind of human material we need to recruit as we gather cadre for our future anti-war, anti-capitalist struggles, right? Right. But this saga of a youthful disillusioned liberal seems to me to be exactly the point. We are just now in the beginning of a period that should see the breaking, among some, of illusions in the Obama government. We, certainly, will add to that process with our own timely propaganda (including the use of this example) but this is where we are realistically- in the process of accruing a critical mass of fervent anti-imperialist, anti-war militants.

I strongly emphasize again, we are not there now- not by a long shot. So take another look at that slogan- “Down With The Obama Government”. What could that mean today? It could only mean some alternate form of Democratic Party administration of the executive branch of government (A Biden government?). Or, more realistically, some “Tea Party”-style Republican administration. Egad- we damn sure do not want that.

For those of us who have some acquaintance with revolutionary history, we know that this kind of slogan certainly has had its uses. In a pre-revolutionary or revolutionary period, as most famously demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in their agitation and propaganda in the spring and summer of 1917 during the Russian revolution, a variation of this slogan can have great effect. Unfortunately, as the old saying goes," times ain’t now nothing like they used to be”.

So, here is what I propose (and I did so, in a kidding and gentle manner) to Ms. X. Store that poster for now and help us get the American and other Allied troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq (and the world). Victory in that effort will go a long way towards fulfilling the reality expressed in her slogan. One day we will unwrap that poster and walk the streets under that banner- with plenty of people behind us. Our day will come, but just to be on the safe side for now -Obama- Immediate Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S. Troops From Afghanistan Iraq! Not One Penny, Not One Person For Obama's Wars! Build A Workers Party That Fights For A Workers Government!

*From The Archives-On Karl Marx, Abraham Lincoln And The American Civil War-A Guest Discussion

Click on title to link to a discussion about the relationship between Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx and the early Marxist movement that hailed Lincoln's leadership of the 'Second American Revolution'.

Markin comment:

I wish to highlight the following paragraph from the "Workers Vanguard" reply to Joel in the linked article above:

"Joel asserts that the period of the Civil War—including Marx’s support to Lincoln—“is actually a time when the concept of a ‘two stage revolution’ makes sense, even though the term was not used at that time.” However, this poses the question in an ahistorical manner. Marx was not working within the framework of “two stage revolution.” To the contrary, for Marx, the Civil War was not the first stage of a revolution whose sequel would bring the working class to power but the culmination of the bourgeois revolution. The dogma of “two stage revolution,” as originally developed for tsarist Russia, held that because Russia was a backward country that had not yet undergone a bourgeois-democratic revolution, a bourgeois republic was necessary to achieve modernization and prepare the proletariat for taking power. But by the time the two-stage conception appeared on the scene, capitalism was no longer capable of playing a historically progressive role."

Every radical, every revolutionary, hell, every serious liberal should think long and hard about this paragraph. The progressive days of the capitalist system are over, long over. Every attempt, including many in the old days by this writer, to deny that reality and try to forge a strategic alliance (as opposed to an occasional episodic united front on a specific issue) with even ONE representative of that class today, in 2009, is political folly, or worst. And that is true even if that ONE representative is the high-flying Barack Obama whom many are still giving a political 'free ride' despite his much demonstrated undying devotion to the preservation of the American empire and the international capitalist system.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The Centennial Of Pete Seeger’s Birthday (1919-2014)- * Another Figure From The 1960s Folk Revival Passes From The Scene- Folklorist Bess Lomax Hawes

Click on the title to link to "The Boston Globe" obituary for Bess Lomax Hawes, an important secondary fixture on the folk revival circuit in the 1950s and 1960s and co-writer of the famous "The MTA Song" .


From The Charlie On The MTA Web site:

Charlie on the MTA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have long enjoyed listening to "The M.T.A. Song", better known as "Charlie on the M.T.A". In recent years, I have learned a great deal about the song and about the M.T.A (now M.B.T.A) itself, and would like to share this information here. About a year ago, I had the privilege to hear the original recording of the song (only two copies of the record exist) - regrettably I did not have a tape recorder with me at the time :-). I would like to give credit to the speaker at the BSRA meeting who gave the presentation, but I can't recall his name. If you're that person, let me know.

Melody

The melody of this song is a fairly old one. The first song (as far as I know) to use this melody was "The Ship That Never Returned", written in 1865 by Henry Clay Work. Work also wrote the more well-known song "My Grandfather's Clock" (and there are some similarities in melody between the two). The more famous use of this melody was in "The Wreck of Old #97".

Short clips of the songs are here (MP3 format):
The Ship That Never Returned (899K) - listen to the chorus - it's almost exactly the same
The Wreck of Old 97 (860K)


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Lyrics
Copyright Info: These words, as far as I know, are copyright Jacqueline Steiner, and Bess Lomax-Hawes. The Kingston Trio version is copyright Capitol Records.
Before I get into the background of the song, let me present the lyrics in their entirety. The version recorded by The Kingston Trio includes the chorus after each verse. Words in italics indicate the changes made by The Kingston Trio in their later recording. Parentheses indicate backing vocals.

Let me tell you the story
Of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day
He put ten cents in his pocket,
Kissed his wife and family
Went to ride on the MTA

Charlie handed in his dime
At the Kendall Square Station
And he changed for Jamaica Plain
When he got there the conductor told him,
"One more nickel."
Charlie could not get off that train.

Chorus:
Did he ever return,
No he never returned
And his fate is still unlearn'd
He may ride forever
'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned.

Now all night long
Charlie rides through the tunnels
the station
Saying, "What will become of me?
Crying
How can I afford to see
My sister in Chelsea
Or my cousin in Roxbury?"

Charlie's wife goes down
To the Scollay Square station
Every day at quarter past two
And through the open window
She hands Charlie a sandwich
As the train comes rumblin' through.

As his train rolled on
underneath Greater Boston
Charlie looked around and sighed:
"Well, I'm sore and disgusted
And I'm absolutely busted;
I guess this is my last long ride."
{this entire verse was replaced by a banjo solo}

Now you citizens of Boston,
Don't you think it's a scandal
That the people have to pay and pay
Vote for Walter A. O'Brien
Fight the fare increase!
And fight the fare increase
Vote for George O'Brien!
Get poor Charlie off the MTA.

Chorus:
Or else he'll never return,
No he'll never return
And his fate will be unlearned
He may ride forever
'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man (Who's the man)
He's the man who never returned.
He's the man (Oh, the man)
He's the man who never returned.
He's the man who never returned.

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History
(If you have any corrections to the information here, please let me know)

In the 1940s, the MTA fare-schedule was very complicated - at one time, the booklet that explained it was 9 pages long. Fare increases were implemented by means of an "exit fare". Rather than modify all the turnstiles for the new rate, they just collected the extra money when leaving the train. (Exit fares currently exist on the Braintree branch of the Red Line.) One of the key points of the platform of Walter A. O'Brien, a Progressive Party candidate for mayor of Boston, was to fight fare increases and make the fare schedule more uniform. Charlie was born.

The text of the song was written in 1949 by Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes. It was one of seven songs written for O'Brien's campaign, each one emphasized a key point of his platform. One recording was made of each song, and they were broadcast from a sound truck that drove around the streets of Boston. This earned O'Brien a $10 fine for disturbing the peace.

A singer named Will Holt recorded the story of Charlie as a pop song for Coral Records after hearing an impromptu performance of the tune in a San Francisco coffee house by a former member of the group. The record company was astounded by a deluge of protests from Boston because the song made a hero out of a local "radical". During the McCarthy era of the 1950s, the Progressive Party became synonymous with the Communist Party, and, since O'Brien was a Progressive, he was labeled a Communist. It is important to note that, contrary to popular belief, O'Brien was never on the Communist Party ticket. Holt's record was hastily withdrawn.

In 1959, The Kingston Trio released a recording of the song. The name Walter A. was changed to George to avoid the problems that Holt experienced. Thus ended Walter O'Brien's claim to fame.

Walter A. O'Brien lost the election, by the way. He moved back to his home state of Maine in 1957 and became a school librarian and a bookstore owner. He died in July of 1998.

While the information above is in the public domain, the text was written by me in late '98/early '99. Some wanker ripped off part of my text and is using it on other pages.

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Charlie's Route
Of course, one has to estimate Charlie's route given that the MBTA has changed dramatically between 1949 and the current day, but I have compiled what I imagine is a fairly accurate route:

Kendall Square -> Park Street -> Arborway

Here is my basis for this:

Charlie handed in his dime at the Kendall Square Station
that's pretty self-explanatory
and he changed for Jamaica Plain
As far as I know, there was no stop called "Jamaica Plain", so that line means that Charlie changed to a train going in the general direction of JP. The only lines that go anywhere near Jamaica Plain are the E branch of the Green line and the Orange Line.
The Red line from Kendall Square connects to both the Green and Orange lines, however in the next step, you'll see why he didn't take the Orange Line.

Charlie's wife goes down to the Scollay Square Station..
Scollay (pronounced 'Scully') Square Station is the old name for Government Center, which is on the Green Line. When Charlie got to his stop on the E-line, he couldn't get off without paying the five cents. So, they kept him on the train, which would have eventually gone through the loop at Arborway and returned to the line, probably passing through Scollay Square.
Charlie might just have been able to get off the train at some point the '70s. From 1968 to 1980, the subway fare was 25 cents. In the mid 1970s, a senior citizen discount was introduced for "half fare". Rather than charge 12.5 cents, half-fare was defined as "10 cents". If Charlie was well into his 30s when he got on the train, he might just have been over 65 before 1980, and could have gotten off the train in Jamaica Plain. Getting might be a problem...

Monday, December 02, 2019

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-* From The Archives -War-Monger-In-Chief Obama Throws Down The Gauntlet- The Gloves Are Off- To The Streets- Not One Penny, Not One Person For The Afghan War

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-


By Frank Jackman

History in the conditional, what might have happened if this or that thing, event, person had swerved this much or that, is always a tricky proposition. Tricky as reflected in this piece’s commemorative headline. Rosa Luxemburg the acknowledged theoretical wizard of the German Social-Democratic Party, the numero uno party of the Second, Socialist International, which was the logical organization to initiate the socialist revolution before World War II and Karl Liebknecht, the hellfire and brimstone propagandist and public speaker of that same party were assassinated in separate locale on the orders of the then ruling self-same Social-Democratic Party. The chasm between the Social-Democratic leaders trying to save Germany for “Western Civilization” in the wake of the “uncivilized” socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 had grown that wide that it was as if they were on two different planets, and maybe they were.

(By the way I am almost embarrassed to mention the term “socialist revolution” these days when people, especially young people, would be clueless as to what I was talking about or would think that this concept was so hopelessly old-fashioned that it would meet the same blank stares. Let me assure you that back in the day, yes, that back in the day, many a youth had that very term on the tips of their tongues. Could palpably feel it in the air. Hell, just ask your parents, or grandparents.)

Okay here is the conditional and maybe think about it before you dismiss the idea out of hand if only because the whole scheme is very much in the conditional. Rosa and Karl, among others made almost every mistake in the book before and during the Spartacist uprising in some of the main German cities in late 1918 after the German defeat in the war. Their biggest mistake before the uprising was sticking with the Social Democrats, as a left wing, when that party had turned at best reformist and eminently not a vehicle for the socialist revolution, or even a half-assed democratic “revolution” which is what they got with the overthrow of the Kaiser. They broke too late, and subsequently too late from a slightly more left-wing Independent Socialist Party which had split from the S-D when that party became the leading war party in Germany for all intents and purposes and the working class was raising its collective head and asking why. 

The big mistake during the uprising was not taking enough protective cover, not keeping the leadership safe, keeping out of sight like Lenin had in Finland when things were dicey in 1917 Russia and fell easy prey to the Freikorps assassins. Here is the conditional, and as always it can be expanded to some nth degree if you let things get out of hand. What if, as in Russia, Rosa and Karl had broken from that rotten (for socialism) S-D organization and had a more firmly entrenched cadre with some experience in independent existence. What if the Spartacists had protected their acknowledged leaders better. There might have been a different trajectory for the aborted and failed German left-wing revolutionary opportunities over the next several years, there certainly would have been better leadership and perhaps, just perhaps the Nazi onslaught might have been stillborn, might have left Munich 1923 as their “heroic” and last moment.  


Instead we have a still sad 100th anniversary of the assassination of two great international socialist fighters who headed to the danger not away always worthy of a nod and me left having to face those blank stares who are looking for way forward but might as well be on a different planet-from me.  


Click on title to link to the Karl Liebknecht Internet Archive’s copy of his 1915 anti-war speech during World War I, "The Main Enemy Is At Home". He was a man who know how to react to the home-grown war-mongers of his time

Markin comment:

We of the anti-war, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist left rarely, if ever, get a chance to set the agenda for national and international politics. More often than not we are forced to react to some egregious act or policy, like the current Obama-driven troops escalation in Afghanistan, where we are on the defensive trying to provide the rational voice in the cacophony of voices- Immediate Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S./Allied Troops From Afghanistan.

Today, however, we have an exceptional opportunity to drive our propaganda points home against a president assumed to be some kind of progressive. In retrospect it was almost too easy to discredit the bizarre George W. Bush government as long as the “democratic’ alternative was in the wings, especially an attractive, intelligent black man. Now that Obama has shown his fangs by staking his presidency on Afghanistan we have some very effective ammunition for our pro-socialist alternatives. Step one in that direction is the fight against funding the war. Think this: After Obama, Us. But in the meantime- Not One Penny, Not One Person for This War! Forward.