Saturday, May 12, 2007

*Goodbye Tony Blair, But With No Tears-Build A Militant Labor Party In The Britsh Isles-Now!

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the histroy of the Labor Party in Britain.




The face of bourgeois politics in Europe has changed over the last year. However, there is no need for leftist militants internationally to rejoice. Although there have been changes in governmental control in a number of countries including France, Northern Ireland and presently in Great Britain no picture has emerged that, except for the general opposition to the United States-led Iraqi War, links any of these developments to an increase in social struggles. On the contrary, except perhaps for the far-left in France, the opposite appears to be the case. Obviously, the situation in France is the most worrisome for leftists and the situation in Northern Ireland appears almost tragic against the original IRA/Sinn Fein struggle to get the British out. Today, however, I want to focus on the recent resignation announcement of one Anthony Blair, British Prime Minister-President George Bush’s pet poodle but also seemingly the last major international political player who unequivocally went down the line with American imperialist policy on Iraq.

Mr. Blair made no bones about his desire of turning the tepid reformist Labor Party into a mini-version of the United States Democratic Party. He carried this transformation out with Mr. Gordon Brown the heir presumptive to the leadership of the British Labor Party and probable next Prime Minister. In this endeavor they were, sad to say, successful. New Labor is dependent on the trade unions but that is less so than in the past. It is clear that in Britain a new workers party is necessary. That means that militants there must put themselves in a position to split the left-wing of New Labor and create a new party based on a socialist program. That means it is necessary to be in that New Labor Party even if one has to hold one's nose in doing so.

To state the task is easy. To do it is obviously much harder given the British labor movement’s seeming undying commitment to the traditions of the old Labor Party. But damn there is no other way forward. One last point that should shame all militant leftists. After ten years Mr. Blair is going to be able to resign. For his criminal role in Iraq as Mr. Bush’s publicity agent and spear carrier Mr. Blair should have, for starters, been booted out on a vote of no confidence by Parliament long ago. Real justice still waits to be served.


Click on the title to link to the Partisan Defense Committee Web site


Join PDC Contingents—Philadelphia and San Francisco, May 17!
For Class-Struggle Defense to Free Mumia Now!

On May 17 in Philadelphia the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in what could well be the final legal appeal in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Shot and arrested on 9 December 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal—a talented journalist known as the "voice of the voiceless," a former Black Panther, a supporter of the MOVE organization and an outspoken opponent of racist oppression—was framed and falsely convicted for the mur¬der of police officer Daniel Faulkner. Any ruling by the Third Circuit, which could come within weeks or months, will likely be appealed to the reactionary U.S. Supreme Court.

Mumia is the victim of the forces of racist capitalist "law and order," who see in him a voice of defiant opposition to the oppression of black people that is a cornerstone of American capitalism. In the last week, the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) harassed and made threats of terror that forced a change of venue for a birthday celebration for Mumia in Philadelphia on April 24, as well as of a hip-hop event for Mumia in New York City on April 15. The state's determination to carry out his execution is a warning to ail who challenge cop repression, to workers who stand up for their rights on picket lines, to those who protest U.S. imperialist depredations in Iraq and elsewhere around the world.

From the unions to the campuses, all out to support Mumia's fight on the day of oral arguments! The kind of pressure that will have an impact on the courts is the social power of the multiracial labor movement demanding that this innocent man be freed now. It is with this understanding that we are mobilizing Partisan Defense Committee contingents for the May 17 rallies which are called by Mumia supporters, including, in Philadelphia, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the New York Coalition to Free Mumia and, in San Francisco, the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Join the PDC's contingent under the slogans: "Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Innocent—For Class-Struggle Defense to Free Him Now! There Is No Justice in the Capitalist Courts! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!"

In August of 1995, Mumia won a stay of execution based on worldwide protests, crucially involving the labor movement. From 1995 through 1999, new evidence was revealed in his case that further blew the state's frame-up to bits. All the evidence proving Mumia's innocence, including the testimony of William Singletary and Veronica Jones who saw the shooter run away, was rejected by the courts. Around this same time a number of reformist socialist organizations such as Workers World Party, Socialist Action, the International Socialist Organization and the Revolutionary Communist Party (and their front groups), raised the call for a "new trial" for Mumia. Instead of mobilizing to free Mumia as an innocent man and victim of a political and racist frame-up, these groups mobilized on the basis that Mumia could get a new and fair hearing in federal court, leading to a new and fair trial in the same Philadelphia courts that sent him to death row. These fake socialists promote illusions that Mumia can get justice from the same capitalist state that killed some 38 Panthers under its murderous COINTELPRO operations, and that massacred eleven black people, including women and children, in the 1985 fire-bombing of MOVE's Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia.

Many of these so-called socialist organizations now raise "freedom for Mumia" in conjunction with calls for a "new trial." However, their politics remain in the framework of reliance on the bourgeois state. Behind the attempts to misdirect the struggle for Mumia to a call for a "new trial" is a political program premised on reliance on the capitalist state—a program directly counterposed to a mobilization of working-class power for his freedom. This political program of tying the masses to their class enemies and pushing faith in the capitalist state demobilized millions who once filled the streets in support of Mumia.

Mumia's case lays bare the workings of the capitalist state. His frame-up conviction was not the act of one "rogue" cop or prosecutor or judge, but that of an entire system that cannot be reformed. Mumia's innocence has been attested to by mountains of evidence, including the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, killed Faulkner. Arnold Beverly stated that he was hired to kill Faulkner, whose interference with prostitution, gambling and payoffs made him a problem for the mob and corrupt cops. More than five years ago, Mumia's attorney submitted this confession to the courts, but to the racists in black robes, a court of law is no place for evidence of the innocence of this fighter for the oppressed.

The frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal symbolizes what the racist death penalty in the U.S. is all about: a legacy of chattel slavery, the lynch rope made legal. We oppose the death penalty on principle—we do not accord the state the right to say who lives and who dies. With the execution in December 2005 of Stanley Tookie Williams, over substantial popular opposition, the ruling class sent a signal that they are deadly serious that Mumia will soon be another victim of the barbaric death penalty.

In the international fight to save Sacco and Vanzetti, James P. Cannon of the International Labor Defense pointed out, as the rulers geared up in 1927 for the legal lynching of the two anarchist workers: "It is, of course, absolutely right to exhaust every legal possibility and technicality in the fight, provided—that the workers have no illusions." He emphasized: "We must appeal at the same time to the laboring masses of America and the whole world who are the highest court of all." This is the class-struggle defense strategy that the Partisan Defense Committee stands on.

The worldwide movement for Mumia must be revived on the basis that Mumia is an innocent man who must be freed now, that his conviction is a racist, political frame-up, that there is no justice in the capitalist courts. The capitalist state and its courts are not neutral institutions but organs of repression against the working class and the oppressed. Mumia's freedom will not be won through reliance on the rigged "justice" system or on capitalist politicians, whether Democratic, Republican or Green.

The PDC, a class-struggle legal and social defense organization associated with the Marxist Spartacist League, fights to mobilize the social power of the multiracial labor movement— those who create the wealth of this society and who can shut it down. That is why our contingents in Philadelphia and the Bay Area on May 17 are based on the need for class-struggle defense to free Mumia and the understanding that the capitalist state serves the interests of the racist ruling class. Labor must be mobilized independently of the very forces of the capitalist state that framed up this innocent man! The road to victory in Mumia's case begins with the understanding that the class enemy is determined to carry out his execution. The multiracial working class has every interest in fighting against that outcome, which would further bolster the machinery of capitalist state violence whose ultimate target is the working class.

We are building contingents in Philadelphia and the Bay Area as a step toward the labor-centered, mass united-front mobilizations needed to free Mumia. Such mobilizations must send the court the message: We will not let Mumia die or rot another day in prison! Free Mumia Now!

—Partisan Defense Committee, 26 April 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

*For Class Struggle Defense To Free Mumia- A Guest Commentary

Click on the headline to link to an article about the need for class struggle defense in the death penalty case of black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.

*From The Partisan Defense Committee- Labor: Defend Immigrant Rights- A Guest Commentary

Click on the title to link to the article described in the headline from the Partisan Defense Committee.




Apparently the ‘dark Prince'Vice President Cheney has a bull’s eye on his head. Every time he has moved out of the confines of Washington D.C. some angry group is taking dead aim militarily at him. A couple of months ago it was on a ‘surprise’ visit to Afghanistan. This week it is in the heavily guarded Green Zone of Baghdad. Clearly it does no pay to apply for a job on his staff, or the American Embassy in Baghdad for that matter. That is life in the fast lane, however, and such inconveniences come with the territory. But, that is no what has drawn my attention today. It is rather the purposes of Mr. Cheney’s mission.

The Bush Administration has staked it political head on ‘success’ for the current military 'surge' operation and its consequent stabilizing effect on the Iraqi puppet government. Congress has, weakly, challenged that strategy by attempting to tie timetables and/or benchmarks to the war budget funding. Fair enough. Enter Mr. Cheney. His current trip to Baghdad is to push on the Iraqis the need to make good on those benchmarks so the money can keep flowing for the American troops. But here is the kicker.

While in America the parliamentary political temperature has heated up dramatically with all parties ready to bring out the big guns in Iraq the parliamentarians are discussing a two-month summer recess. In short, no action on those beloved American benchmarks. All this writer can say is turnabout is fair play. The Americans wanted a ‘democracy’ in Iraq and in emulation of their patrons in Washington the Iraqis have apparently learned one lesson quite well. Enough said.





A recent newspaper article highlighted the fact that a previously discharged sailor who while on active duty had openly admitted to his superior that he was gay was recalled by the Navy due to his specialized skills and the stretched out military due to the strain of Iraq and Afghanistan. Under Clinton-era legislation a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was the ‘compromise’ reached with the military brass so that gays and lesbians could serve without the military services having to recognize sexual orientation. That policy was de facto discriminatory then and it is now and should be repealed. Recently soon to be retired Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Martin Meehan has introduced legislation to repeal the ban. Militants support such a repeal.

Over the past few years I have made many commentaries in opposition to the Iraq War and by implication the negative role of military personnel in that war. As a general proposition militant leftists are opposed to the imperialist military. We are not, however, indifferent to the fate and the rights of individual service personnel. We fight all manifestations of any form of discrimination, including that based on sexual orientation, wherever it is found. Thus, we opposed and continue to oppose the convenient policy (for the military brass) that allows the military to discriminate in situations where it would be prohibited in civilian life. This is particularly true when ‘outing’ subjects one to a discharge from military service and therefore could have repercussions over a lifetime. Simply put- DOWN WITH THE “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” LEGISLATION! REPEAL IT NOW!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

***IN THE TIME OF THE 'LOCO-FOCOS'- The Age Of Jackson

Click on the headline to link to a "Wikipedia" entry for the Loco-Focos.



The recently deceased bourgeois historian Arthur Schlesinger first won prominent for his landmark studies later collected and published under the title The Age of Jackson. Along the way he was also a top ‘braintruster’ for the Kennedy New Frontier and stalwart intellectual defender of the traditions of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” long after that had lost its cache in Democratic Party circles. Thus, Schlesinger was a long time political opponent of mine and of all militants who have called for a break from the twin bourgeois parties of capitalism, Democratic or Republican.

Nonetheless, his Age of Jackson is an important book to study as an overall guide to understanding the formation of American capitalism, particularly finance capitalism, as it emerged in the 1820’s and the rudiments of creation of a politically conscious working class movement. The Age of Jackson may not be the last place to stop, given the immense increase in scholarship concerning this period since Schlesinger’s book was written in the 1950’s, but it is certainly the place to start. His copious footnotes and source references will aid one in studying the available sources from fifty year ago.

The central story line of the Jacksonian period economically, socially and politically was the fight over the establishment, continuation and rechartering of the Bank of the United States which despite its name was a privately owned corporation headed by the notorious Nicholas Biddle. In short the story was, as almost always under capitalism, about the money. Hard money, paper money, metallic money, federal money, state money, no money. It is all there. As confusing and, frankly, somewhat trivial as the issues may seem to the 21st century mind the various fights determined the path of capitalist formation for the rest of the 19th century. One does not have to be a partisan of any particular monetary policy to know that if the Biddle-led forces had won then capital formation in the United States would have taken a very different turn. Thus, the essential Jacksonian victory on the bank question is one that militants today can give a retroactive endorsement.

While this book does not go into the slavery question in any great detail or into the cultural and social milieu of the times except tangentially this Jacksonian victory is why, in a previous review on William Jennings Bryan, I noted that the last time militant leftists could seriously consider supporting a Democratic Party presidential candidate was in the time of Andrew Jackson. Just to list later presidential names and their political programs should make every progressive shutter. I also, however, noted in that review - "But damn, that was long ago". The continued dependence political support of the Democrats by the likes of Schlesinger and his progeny has politics in this country spinning in circles. It is time, more than time, to move on.

Although control of the money was the underlying premise for the political fights of the day they also represented some very different appreciations of what American society should look like. Schlesinger goes to great pains to highlight the various factions within each of the coalescing parties that would come to form the Democratic and Republican two-party system that we are familiar with today. Moreover, these fights had different implications for differing sections of the country. In that regard the names Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay and their various congressional devotees can generally stand to represent the various sectional interests.

One might also note that names that became familiar in the immediate pre-Civil War period, like Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, John Bell, Gideon Welles, William Seward, etc. started to receive political notice as secondary figures during this period. One should also note that this was a period of political realignment and that the political situation was fluid enough that with changing political winds the various leading personalities were as likely to change sides as not. Readers should pick up the trail that Schlesinger only alludes to on the importance on the third party Liberty and Free Soil Parties in the 1840's. Despite that lapse dealing with the various political manifestations of the period is the strongest part of the professor’s book.

Of particular importance to those who want to learn about working class history in this country and are baffled by the lack of political class consciousness of today’s working class, as represented by an independent class party, is the story of the rise and fall of the first trade unions and working class parties. Although this is a period of the rise of industrial capitalism in America it is nevertheless still fairly rudimentary and agrarian concerns still dominate the political landscape. This is reflected in the programs, concerns and the organizations that various parts of the working class formed at this time mainly, it appears, among the more skilled workers. One should note that on a political level, although not uniformly, the American working class of the 1830’s was more politically class conscious than today’s working class. Which pretty well defines our problem today.

One should also note the tendency of working class organization to block with other forces, mainly urban Democratic Party Jacksonians. Today such a policy is called the ‘popular front’ and is the sole strategy of the American labor bureaucracy (the only question seemingly being which bourgeois faction to block with). Militants today, as a matter of principle, are opposed to that strategy. However, back in the 1830’s there were issues on which working class organizations could have, and should have, blocked with bourgeois parties. That, unfortunately, would not have saved them from oblivion as it was just too early, the forces were too small and unorganized and too politically immature to break out of the general Jacksonian democratic aura.





Watching the daily maneuverings of the Congress on the question of the Iraq war and its funding is frankly painful even for those of us, like myself, who have had no illusions that this war could be settled by parliamentary means. Everyone knows by now that President Bush has vetoed the original Congressional Iraqi war budget bill. What may not be familiar is that, as is the nature of such proceedings, the Congress is getting ready to pull in its horns on the question of timetables and proceed to a piecemeal budgetary authorization. Jesus, even in the context of their own lame response to the war this is parliamentary cretinism at its extreme. Once again this writer will note, as he has on previous occasions, that this war will not be over as long as President Bush draws political breathe. Unless we do something to end it. Bush made his position clear long ago and damn it he is sticking to it. The Congress obviously is another matter. They are seemingly intent of giving him his way at the first obstacle. However that is not what concerns me today.

As noted above some anti-war militants have had no illusions about a parliamentary resolution to the war. Unfortunately there are not enough of us. That said, I have recently read two articles that shed a great deal of light on the why Bush is in the catbird seat and thus can ignore the mass of the anti-war movement. The first article concerns the anti-war strategy of the Internet-driven MoveOn. Org movement. While no one should, at this point, underestimate the power of the Internet one should not overrate it as a vehicle for social change either. Not when war is the subject. MoveOn’s strategy has been to work with parliamentary lobbyists, essentially behind the scenes, to ‘pressure’ Congress, particularly the Democrats, on the war funding bills. The trick here is that these lobbyists tend to have been former congressional doers and fixers. In short, now that they have gotten ‘religion’ on the war issue these lobbyists are working with their old bosses to ‘push’ them. Jesus,Iraq really will, as I have noted before, freeze over before that tactic ends anything.

The second article is related to the first on the issue of the war budget in that one of the few Democratic Congressmen who is today (and was yesterday) ready to vote down the Iraqi war budget on a straight vote has noted in an interview that the mass of politicians in this country are way behind ( I would add way, way behind) the people in their willingness to get the hell out of Iraq NOW. And that is the rub. What joins the two articles together is the point I have been making for the last few years. This war will not end NOW by parliamentary means. Any strategy that is predicated on that notion is doomed to failure. Hell, let us call a thing by its right name. On this issue if you do not get to the streets, the factories, offices and to the military bases (in order to get to the rank and file troops) you are in the wrong places. You have no strategy for immediate withdrawal. To the mass of the anti-war movement here is my little piece of wisdom. BREAK WITH THE DEMOCRATS! NOW!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

*Hard Times In Babylon- Growing Up Among The Working Poor In The 1950s



Recently I wrote a personal commentary about a childhood friend from back in the old neighborhood where I grew up in the 1950’s (see "An Uncounted Casualty of War", May 8, 2007 archives). I have also been re-reading the recently deceased investigative journalist David Halberstam’s book "The Fifties" that covers that same period. Halberstam’s take on the trends of the period in contrast to the reality of my own childhood experiences as a child of the working poor that missed most of the benefits of that ‘golden age’ rekindled some memories. It is no exaggeration to say that these were hard times in Babylon. Those events have also made me reflect on why the hard anti-communist politics of the period left people like my parents high and dry. The defeat and destruction of the left-wing movement, principally pro-communist organizations, of that period has continued to leave a mark on today’s political landscape and on this writer.

There are many myths about the 1950’s to be sure. However, one cannot deny that the key public myth was that those who had fought World War II and were afterwards enlisted in the anti-Soviet Cold War fight against communism were entitled to some breaks. The overwhelming desire for personal security and comfort on the part of those who had survived the Great Depression and fought the war was not therefore totally irrational. That it came at the expense of other things like a more just and equitable society is a separate matter. Moreover, despite the public myth not everyone benefited from the ‘rising tide’. The experience of my parents is proof of that. Thus this commentary is really about what happened to those, like my parents, who did not make it and were left to their personal fates without a rudder to get them through the rough spots. Yes, my parents were of the much ballyhooed and misnamed ‘greatest generation’ but they were not part of it.

I will not go through all the details of my parents’ childhoods, courtship and marriage for such biographic details of the Depression and World War II are plentiful and theirs fits the pattern. One detail is, however, important and that is that my father grew up in the hills of eastern Kentucky, Hazard, Harlan County to be exact, coal mining country made famous in song and by Michael Harrington in his 1960s book "The Other America". This was, and is, hardscrabble country by any definition. Among whites these ‘hillbillies’ were the poorest of the poor. There can be little wonder that when World War II began my father left to join the Marines, did his fair share of fighting, settled in the Boston area and never looked back.

By all rights my father should have been able to take advantage of the G.I. Bill and enjoyed home and hearth like the denizens of Levittown described in Halberstam’s book and shown on the classic television shows "Ozzie and Harriet" and "Leave It To Beaver". But life did not go that way. Why? He had virtually no formal education. And moreover had three young sons born close together in the immediate post-war period. Furthermore he had no marketable skills usable in the Boston labor market. There is no call for coal miners here. My father was a good man. He was a hard-working man; when he was able find work. He was an upright man. But he never drew a break. Unskilled labor, to which he was reduced, is notoriously unstable, and so his work life was one of barely making ends meet. Thus, well before the age when the two parent working family became the necessary standard to get ahead my mother went to work to supplement the family income. She too was an unskilled laborer. Thus, even with two people working we were always dirt poor.

Our little family started life in the housing projects, at that time not the notorious hell holes of crime and deprivation that they later became but still a mark of being low, very low, on the social ladder at a time when others were heading to the Valhalla of the newly emerging suburbs. By clawing and scratching my parents saved enough money to buy an extremely modest single-family house. The house was in a neighborhood that was, and is, one of those old working class neighborhoods where the houses are small, cramped and seedy, the leavings of those who have moved on to bigger and better things. The neighborhood nevertheless reflected the desire of the working poor in the 1950’s, my parents and others, to own their own homes and not be shunted off to decrepit apartments or dilapidated housing projects, the fate of those just below them on the social ladder. This is social progress?

But enough of all that. Where in this story is there a place for militant political class-consciousness? Not the sense of social inferiority of the poor before the rich (or the merely middle class). Damn, there was plenty of that consciousness in our house. But where was there an avenue in the 1950’s, when it could have made a difference, for a man like my father to have his hurts explained and have something done about them? Nowhere. So instead it went internally into the life of the family and it never got resolved. One of his sons, this writer, has had luxury of being able to fight essentially exemplary propaganda battles in small left-wing socialist circles and felt he has done good work in his life. My father’s hurts needed much more. The ‘red scare’ aimed mainly against the American Communist Party but affecting wider layers of society decimated any possibility that he could get the kind of redress he needed. That, dear reader, in a nutshell is why I proudly bear the name socialist today. And the task for me today? To insure that future young workers, unlike my parents in the 1950’s, will have their day of justice.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

An Uncounted Causality Of War- The Never-Ending Vietnam War Story On The Anniversary Of The Fall Of Ho Chi Minh City 1975 (Then Saigon)

As The Burns-Novick Vietnam War Documentary AirsAn Uncounted Causality Of War- The Never-Ending Vietnam War Story

Markin comment:


This space is usually devoted to ‘high’ politics and the personal is usually limited to some experience of mine that has a direct political point. Sometimes, however, a story is so compelling and makes the point in such a poignant manner that no political palaver is necessary. Let me tell the tale.

Recently I returned, while on some unrelated business, to the neighborhood where I grew up. The neighborhood is one of those old working class neighborhoods where the houses are small, cramped and seedy, the leavings of those who have moved on to bigger and better things. The neighborhood nevertheless reflected the desire of the working poor in the 1950's, my parents and others, to own their own homes and not be shunted off to decrepit apartments or dilapidated housing projects, the fate of those just below them on the social ladder. While there I happened upon an old neighbor who recognized me despite the fact that I had not seen her for at least thirty years. Since she had grown up and lived there continuously, taking over the family house, I inquired about the fate of various people that I had grown up with. She, as is usually the case in such circumstances, had a wealth of information but one story in particular cut me to the quick. I asked about a boy named Kenny who was a couple of years younger than I was but who I was very close to until my teenage years. Kenny used to tag along with my crowd until, as teenagers will do, we made it clear that he was no longer welcome being ‘too young’ to hang around with us older boys. Sound familiar?

The long and the short of it is that he found other friends of his own age to hang with, one in particular, from down the street named Jimmy. I had only a nodding acquaintance with both thereafter. As happened more often than not during the 1960’s in working class neighborhoods all over the country, especially with kids who were not academically inclined, when Jimmy came of age he faced the draft or the alternative of ‘volunteering’ for military service. He enlisted. Kenny for a number of valid medical reasons was 4-F (unqualified for military service). Of course, you know what is coming. Jimmy was sent to Vietnam where he was killed in 1968 at the age of 20. His name is one of the 58,000 plus that are etched on that Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington. His story ends there. Unfortunately, Kenny’s just begins.

Kenny took Jimmy’s death hard. Harder than one can even imagine. The early details are rather sketchy but they may have involved drug use. The overt manifestations were acts of petty crime and then anti-social acts like pulling fire alarms and walking naked down the street. At some point he was diagnosed as schizophrenic. I make no pretense of having adequate knowledge about the causes of mental illnesses but someone I trust has told me that such a traumatic event as Jimmy’s death can trigger the condition in young adults. In any case, the institutionalizations inevitably began. And later the halfway houses and all the other forms of control for those who cannot survive on the mean streets of the world on their own. Apparently, with drugs and therapy, there were periods of calm but for over three decades poor Kenny struggled with his inner demons. In the end the demons won and he died a few years ago while in a mental hospital.

Certainly not a happy story. Perhaps, aside from the specific details, not even an unusual one in modern times. Nevertheless I now count Kenny as one of the uncounted casualties of war. Along with those physically wounded soldiers who can back from Vietnam service unable to cope with their own demons and sought solace in drugs and alcohol. And those who for other reasons could no adjust and found themselves on the streets, in the half way shelters or the V. A. hospitals. And also those grieving parents and other loved ones whose lives were shattered and broken by the lost of their children. There is no wall in Washington for them. But, maybe there should be. As for poor Kenny from the old neighborhood. Rest in Peace.