Saturday, June 29, 2013

***Growing Up Absurd In The 1950s- Out In The Teen Dance Night-Penny’s Sweet Sixteen Party

A YouTube film clip of The Dubs performing their 1950s classic, Could This Be Magic.

CD Review

The Golden Age Of American Rock ‘n’ Roll; Volume 4, various artists, Ace Records, 1994

Scene: Prompted by the cover photograph, the memory cover photograph, which grace each CD in the The Golden Age Of American Rock ‘n’ Roll series. The photo on this CD, as might be expected, shows a girl, a pony-tailed, starch-bloused, woolen-sweatered, wide, flouncy skirt-wearing, Penny Parker, all grown up almost, as the good teen D.J., a.k.a. hostess, that she is, doing her chore of spinning platters, okay, okay, putting records on her portable 45s record player for the guests at her sweet sixteen party, her very first house teen be-bop hop.

We all wish her well, right? And hope she plays a couple of Elvis, Chuck, and Jerry Lee things and not too many slow dances since some of the guys still have not got the hang of that yet. Oh yes, for the clueless, a record player was a machine to put records on in order to hear those rock guys just mentioned. And records, for the really clueless, were grooved, vinyl plate-like objects that kept the blues away in the 1950s teen night. Just like iPOD, texting, yahoo messaging, etc. keep the blues away from the hip-hop nation teen night.

“Don’t come back before one,” Penny Parker, now sweet sixteen party-crowned Penny Parker, as she shouted to her parents leaving out the breezeway door to the garage to take off to places unknown, maybe unknowable, until at least that one o‘clock hour. Peter Parker, Penny proud without showing it, muttered under his breath that he damn well would not be back before one, come hell or high water, while that rock and roll music was infesting, and that was the word that he used, his house. Or at least the downstairs part, rock and roll previously being limited to the Penny upstairs netherworld, and kept away from his ears, well, mainly away form his ears.

“Now, Peter,” was all that Delores Parker at first could come up with, and that was usually enough. Tonight however she added, and told him so in no uncertain terms, that her husband was being an old fogy seeing that this was Penny’s sweet sixteen party, she had baby-sat to perdition in order to fund the party (with a little Parker parent help, Delores mainly), had done mostly what they had asked of her, as much as one could expect from a rock-addled post- World War II teenager from what she had read in the women’s magazines that she was addicted to reading.

Most importantly tonight was, and here is where woman-girl- female whatever solidarity came in, Penny was going to “coax” Zack Smith into giving her his class ring, the universal teen sign of “going steady,” hands off, and a 180 degree turn in their sometimes stormy relationship since back in about junior high school. If he showed. At least, Delores, thought, she had given that Jimmy Kelly the air, although he was invited, invited tonight for old times sake since Jimmy had been there the night Penny played her first record, Could This Be Magic by the Dubs on her brand new, slave wages-bought record player. But enough of Parker parents, tonight is Penny's night.

Penny night or not, Miss Parker is already starting to fret that Zack will be a no-show. See they had had an argument last week about that “going steady” thing, that eternal love class ring- signifying thing, and Zack for the twenty-third, at least, time stormed off. And Penny for the twenty-second time made peace over the telephone, the midnight blues telephone. But you never knew with Zack. All Penny knew was she wanted him, wanted him bad, and wanted him here tonight to share her sweet sixteen-ness.

So as the couples, maybe a dozen or so of their close friends, started filling up the Parker living room Penny, knowing that she was not the only rock-addled teen in the room, played D.J. And revved up the old Sear& Roebuck recorder player with a stack of platters (records, 45 RPM records okay); Ray Sharpe ‘s Linda Lu; Nappy Brown’s Little by Little; Maybe by the Chantels although she always wondered how they could get their voices that high on that one; a tear-jerker but a slow one by request from Pammy and Sue who had boyfriend troubles of their own, Little Anthony and the Imperials’ Tears On My Pillow which got even hardened corner boys a little weepy as she found out once when Zack and she were “finished” and king corner boy Frankie Riley had asked her out, and she had accepted. Well, she thought that should last this crowd for a while, for a while until Zack gets here, hopefully.

Later, around ten, ten-thirty, just as she was about to give up the thought of Zack’s coming that night, and had resigned herself to playing D.J. putting Buddy Knox’s Party Doll on(although she wasn’t feeling like any party doll then) for this rock-addled crowd Zack came in kind of sneakily through the side door. And instead of coming over to say thanks to Penny for inviting him or any other kind of social graces recognition he began to get into an animated conversation with Jimmy Kelly. Nothing serious but as Penny found out later Zack was miffed at Jimmy, one of his best friends now that the Zack-Jimmy girl wars, or rather Penny wars were over in Zack’s favor, because Jimmy had not told Penny that he was going to be a little late. But that miffed-ness turned into nothing once Zack told the reason for his lateness. See, Penny performing, as it turned out, her last D.J duty for the evening putting on that much requested previously mentioned Could This Be Magic was finally called over by Zack and as the strains of the song echoed through the house he presented her with his class ring, just a while ago engraved with To P.P. Always 10/7/59. Magic.

Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By-In Honor Of The Frontline Defenders Of The International Working Class-From Our Forebears The Diggers Of The English Revolution-“The World Turned Upside Down”



 A YouTube film clip of Billy Bragg (Known In This Space As Narrator Of Woody Guthrie And His Guitar: This Machine Kills Fascists )performing The World Turned Upside Down.


An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!-Defend The International Working Class Everywhere!


Fight-Don’t Starve-We Created The Wealth, Let's Take It Back! Labor And The Oppressed Must Rule!


A Five-Point Program As Talking Points


*Jobs For All Now!-“30 For 40”- A historic demand of the labor movement. Thirty hours work for forty hours pay to spread the available work around.  Organize the unorganized- Organize the South- Organize Wal-Mart- Defend the right for public and private workers to unionize.  

* Defend the working classes! No union dues for Democratic (or the stray Republican) candidates. Spent the dough instead on organizing the unorganized and on other labor-specific causes (good example, the November, 2011 anti-union recall referendum in Ohio, bad example the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall race in June 2012).  

*End the endless wars!- Immediate, Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S./Allied Troops (And Mercenaries) From Afghanistan! Hands Off Pakistan! Hands Off Iran!  Hands Off Syria! U.S. Hands Off The World! 

*Fight for a social agenda for working people! Quality Free Healthcare For All! Nationalize the colleges and universities under student-teacher-campus worker control! Forgive student debt! Stop housing foreclosures!    

*We created the wealth, let’s take it back. Take the struggle for our daily bread off the historic agenda. Build a workers party that fights for a workers government to unite all the oppressed.     


As Isaac Deutscher said in his speech “On Socialist Man” (1966):


“We do not maintain that socialism is going to solve all predicaments of the human race. We are struggling in the first instance with the predicaments that are of man’s making and that man can resolve. May I remind you that Trotsky, for instance, speaks of three basic tragedies—hunger, sex and death—besetting man. Hunger is the enemy that Marxism and the modern labour movement have taken on.... Yes, socialist man will still be pursued by sex and death; but we are convinced that he will be better equipped than we are to cope even with these.” 

Emblazon on our red banner-Labor and the oppressed must rule!   


Markin comment:

In this series, presented under the headline  Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By, I will post some songs that I think will help us get through the “dog days” of the struggle for our communist future. I do not vouch for the political thrust of the songs; for the most part they are done by pacifists, social democrats, hell, even just plain old ordinary democrats. And, occasionally, a communist, although hard communist musicians have historically been scarce on the ground. Thus, here we have a regular "popular front" on the music scene. While this would not be acceptable for our political prospects, it will suffice for our purposes here.





If John Milton was the literary muse of the English Revolution then the Diggers and their leader, Gerrard Winstanley, were the political muses.


The World Turned Upside Down


We will not worship the God they serve, a God of greed who feeds the rich while poor folk starve.

In 1649 to St. George's Hill

A ragged band they called the Diggers came to show the people's


They defied the landlords, they defied the laws

They were the dispossessed reclaiming what was theirs.

We come in peace, they said, to dig and sow

We come to work the lands in common and make the waste

ground grow


This earth divided we will make whole

So it may be a common treasury for all "**

The sin of property we do disdain

No man has any right to buy or sell the earth for private gain


By theft and murder they took the land

Now everywhere the walls spring up at their command

They make the laws to chain us well

The clergy dazzle us with heaven, or they damn us into hell


We will not worship the God they serve,

a God of greed who feeds the rich while poor folk starve

We work and eat together, we need no swords

We will not bow to masters, nor pay rent to the lords


Still we are free, though we are poor

Ye Diggers all, stand up for glory, stand up now!

From the men of property the orders came

They sent the hired men and troopers to wipe out the Diggers'



Tear down their cottages, destroy their corn

They were dispersed - only the vision lingers on

Ye poor take courage, ye rich take care

This earth was made a common treasury for everyone to share

All things in common, all people one

They came in peace - the order came to cut them down



***When Radio Ruled The Air-Waves

From The Pen Of Peter Paul Markin

Josh Breslin always, when talking about his place in the sun, made a point to explain to whoever would listen (mainly me over a scotch, or seven) that he was a first generation child of the television age, although in recent years he said he had spent more time kicking and screaming about that fact than watching the damn thing. Of course I too am a first generation child of the television age, although I do not take that as a special emblem of some kind of wisdom about the world since virtually everybody who is now AARP-worthy, in the process of applying for Social Security benefits, or is dipping into some 401k retirement fund is in that same category. I don’t take my status as a child of television that is except, that is, when I perhaps had more scotch and got all rum brave in battling Josh’s foolishness. But here I will let the remark slide since I have the big picture to look at.

What got Josh on his high-horse most recently about his place in the television age sun was his purchase of a little compilation of Decca hits and standard tunes from the 1940s and early 1950s. He had bought the thing in a nostalgic fit as a valentine offering to the radio days of his parents’ youth, parents who came of musical age (and every other kind of age as well) during the Great Depression of the 1930s and who fought, or waited for those out on the front lines fighting, World War II. His relationship with his parents, his second generation parents, from up in Olde Saco , Maine was to say the least rocky (as was my relationship with mine except they were not second-generation but about fifth and of course did not live in Olde Saco but down by the shore in North Adamsville in Massachusetts) and before their respective passings was still strained (ditto mine) so I was surprised that he would pick up such a compilation, much less as some kind of posthumous valentine peace offering to the departed..

Those selections when he played them for me one time when we were driving to New York City got me to thinking that I was just old enough though to remember the strains of songs like the harmonic–heavy Mills Brothers Paper Dolls (a favorite of my mother’s) and The Glow Worm (not a favorite of anybody as far as I know although the harmony is still first-rate) that came wafting, via the local Adamsville radio station WJDA, through our big box living room radio in the early 1950s. One could hardly get away from it when my father had been drinking and was nostalgic for his Marine Corps times during World War II or my mother was weepy about something, about some lost thing that had escaped her grasp, her dreams, facing the hard reality of three growing boys and not enough to go around. It seemed they, or maybe the Andrews Sisters, be-bopping (be-bopping now, not then, you do not want to know what I called it then), on Rum And Coca-Cola or tagging along with Bing Crosby on Don’t Fence Me In were permanent residents of the airs-waves in the 1950s Markin household.

But see, I like Josh (hell, we met in San Francisco in the Summer of Love, yes, capitals, 1967 when rock, serious, mind-bending rock, was breaking out over the known world), am also an unapologetic child of Rock 'n' Roll but those above-mentioned tunes were the melodies that my mother and father came of age to and the stuff of their dreams during World War II and its aftermath. The rough and tumble of my parents raising a bunch of kids might have taken the edge off it but the dreams remained. In the end it is this musical backdrop, the backdrop behind the generation musical fights that roiled the Markin household in teen times, that hit a chord and made this compilation most memorable to me.

Just to say names like Dick Haymes (I think my mother had a “crush” on him at some point), Vaughn Monroe, The Inkspots (who, truth, I liked even then, even in my “high, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee, Buddy Holly days, especially on If I Didn’t Care and I’ll Get By-wow), and Louis Armstrong. Or songs like Blueberry Hill, You’ll Never Know, A- Tisket- A Tasket, You Always Hurt The One You Love and so gather in a goodly portion of the mid-20th century American Songbook. Other talents like Billie Holiday, The Weavers, and Rosemary Clooney and tunes like Lover Man (and a thousand and one Cole Porter Billie-sung songs), Fever, and As Time Goes By (from Dooley Wilson in Casablanca) came later through very different frames of reference. But the seed, no question, no question now, was planted then.

Let’s be clear, since Josh likes to make such a big deal about it, going back to that first paragraph mention of television - there something very different between the medium of the radio and the medium of the television. The radio allowed for an expansion of the imagination (and of fantasy) that the increasingly harsh realities of what was being portrayed on television did not allow one to get away with. The heart of World War II, and in its immediate aftermath, was time when one needed to be able to dream a little. The realities of the world at that time seemingly only allowed for nightmares. My feeling is that the songs contained in that compilation probably touched a lot of sentimental nerves for the World War II generation (that so-called ‘greatest generation’), including my growing-up Irish working- class families on the shores of North Adamsville. Nice work, Josh.

***Out In The Be-Bop 1960s Night-"What Folksinger Dave Van Ronk Stole"

YouTube film clip of Dave Van Ronk performing Fair and Tender Ladies.

What Folksinger Dave Van Ronk Stole

“Hey Joyell, good news, Dave Van Ronk is playing at the Club Morocco over in Harvard Square next Friday night, do you want to go?” Phil Kiley asked over the telephone, the late night telephone as was his habit in dealing with Joyell, Joyell Davidson. While he waited for an answer he thought about how he had started making these late night calls. Reason: well two reasons really, Joyell worked at the Eden Café in Kenmore Square as a waitress most week nights for a few hours for pocket change to be among what she sardonically called the “proles,” and what she called part of a proper education, a sociology degree-driven education, about how the other half lived. Of course, the so-called proles were other girls from the university, some whom Joyell knew from her classes, who were also seeing how the other half lived, more or less, although some may have actually needed the pocket change.

This Eden Café, by the way, catered to nothing but university students, mainly university students who had fathers who had dough like Joyell’s (her father was some rich stockbroker in New York City and, from what Phil gathered, she hardly needed to work), so the whole bourgeois-prole combination running its commentary through every 1960s college was rather comical every time Phil, a real prole, a real son of the working poor at university on a partial scholarship, went into the place. Went in to see or pick up Joyell, not to eat. Too expensive for him, he tended to eat at Timmy’s Irish Pub down near Fenway Park where the “eats” was cheap, and plentiful.

But that Eden Café “experience,” or more the idea behind it, is what drove Phil toward Joyell in the first place. That "bourgeois slumming" make him desire her even more ever since they met last month at the beginning of school in Professor Sharpe’s Modern Social Theory seminar. And one thing led to another and now they were at the talking stage, talking over the phone or after work as he walked her to her apartment that she shared with another girl, a decidedly bourgeois non-slumming girl, down Commonwealth Avenue toward the Boston Common. And that was the second reason that Phil made his late night calls. He was just flat-out scared that anything he said to Joyell, a New York City girl, a Hunter College High girl, and a Jewish girl (or mostly Jewish according to the way that she described her family’s genealogy, but enough Jewish to satisfy the Israelis is the way she put it) might be taken the wrong way.

Sure Phil had plenty of girls, plenty of kind of interesting girls back at North Adamsville High a couple of years back, but they were all cookie-cutter Irish Catholic girls of varying degrees of virtue who mainly thought about marriage, white picket fences, and more than he would like to admit, girls who wanted to have many kids to honor Jesus, jesus. But Joyell talked of things that he had not heard of like the ballet, the opera, the opera for christ sakes, and Broadway (and, more often, off-Broadway off-beat plays). Phil had read a ton of modern plays, O’Neill, Brecht, Tennessee Williams, and so on but he had never actually seen a Broadway play, just some hokey high school production of Chekov’s Cherry Orchard and stuff like that. But the saving grace was Joyell’s fantastic interest in the burgeoning folk scene-the one that had developed right down the street from her (so to speak) in the Village (Greenwich Village in New York City for the greenhorns).

This interest mirrored Phil’s own fascination with roots music, first with rockabilly before rock ‘n’ roll got stale, country blues, then city blues, and now going through folk traditional and protest songs, especially the protest songs. Joyell actually knew people who knew the likes of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and other folk names the reader might not recognize but that Phil spent many a Sunday radio night listening to for hours on the local folk station. And, back in North Adamsville High days, he developed an intense interest in the music of folksinger Dave Van Ronk. Not just of his vast knowledge of the American songbook but for his very gritty-voiced (and professional) renditions of those songs. He heard Van Ronk's version of Come All You Fair And Tender Ladies first and flipped out. That is the one that he, timidly, sang to Joyell when they were comparing notes about folksingers. Strangely, as important as Van Ronk was to the behind- the-scenes New York (and general) folk scene that was working its way west to San Francisco and north to Boston (although Boston, with the Club 47 in Harvard Square and the like, of starting out Joan Baez and whiz Eric Von Schmidt, could stake its own secondary claims to importance) he was not that well-known. So when he heard that Van Ronk was coming to town he was beside himself fretting away the hours to ask Joyell for their first "date."

“Sure,” answered Joyell, “I hope he is all that you have cracked him up to be. If I don’t see you before then come by around seven o’clock and we can walk over if it is a nice night and save the cab fare. And if you get a chance come by Thursday to the ‘Eden’ and you can walk me home, okay?”

(Another funny Joyell "prole" thing, she thought taxis were too, too bourgeois although she didn’t say it exactly that way, Phil thought afterwards. She never mentioned taking the bus, the bus from Dudley that almost passed her apartment. He also found out later that everybody, everybody with the price of the fare, and tip of course, took cabs in New York City).

“Okay,” was all Phil could say, "and I will try to come by Thursday but I have to work that night myself." (Phil, no prole status -craving student looking for pocket change had a job driving a truck around the city delivering boxes, boxes of this and that, to stores and factories a few nights a week depending on demand.)

As it turned out Phil had to work that Thursday night and so did not see Joyell until he showed up at her door around seven o’clock that Dave Van Ronk Friday night. Melissa (the non-slumming bourgeois roommate) opened the door and pretty much ignored his existence after that, although freshman year they had had a couple of classes together and she sat a few seats away from him then. But Phil hardly noticed the snub, if it was a snub, and not just Melissa’s problem with men, or something like that because he was hopped-up, not drug hopped-up if that’s what you think, but maybe more sexual promise hopped-up if anything but mainly just excited to have a date with such an exotic flower as Joyell.

Then she came out of her room looking, well, looking fetching with a peasant blouse (expensive peasant blouse if that is not an oxymoron), the de rigueur jeans of the folk scene, sweater on her arm against a possible cool weather night, black hair gleaning, eyes flashing, laughing eyes he thought. God’s own gypsy princess. On seeing her then he got even more hopped-up, if that was possible.

And his luck had held, that night was a clear, fall-ish October night, big moon, big promise, and perfect for walking over the Massachusetts Avenue bridge (pavement smoots and all) through Central Square to the edge of Harvard Square where the Club Morocco’s lights beckoned all to come and eat, drink and be merry. Of course Phil was also hopped-up on talking about Dave Van Ronk, like somehow keeping the talk on him was a magic mantra to ward off their social differences (although pro-prole Joyell seemed to like him well enough his insecurities as well as his lack of social lacks some times got the best of him, especially with her). As he analyzed the situation later this over-hype was probably decisive in what happened later.

But, except for that nervousness, things went along okay, maybe better than okay as Joyell suddenly displayed a great deal of knowledge about mountain music, a staple of Van Ronks’s play list. She rattled off some stuff about the British musicologist, Cecil Sharpe, who had “discovered” that Fair and Tender Ladies song that Phil was always harping on down in the hills and hollows of Kentucky in 1916 He was impressed (and was still impressed later, but for another reason) when he found out that trying to impress him she had gone, as he had and many others as well, to Sandy’s Records on Mass Ave. where she got the “skinny” on lots of folk information).

You knew, if you have been to Harvard Square anytime between the landing of the Mayflower and 1963, that the Club Morocco was not so much a coffeehouse, the vital core of the folk revival existence, as a be-bop jazz club. Moreover they sold liquor, liquor by the glass, as Phil’s Irish-born grandmother used to say when his father and his cronies hightailed it over to North Adamsville’s Dublin Grille to toss down a few (well, more than a few) rather than a sober (lesser, really) amount at home, so naturally Phil and Joyell were carded at the door to make sure they were twenty-one. No problem, no problem either in finding some seats near the front to hear Mr. Van Ronk better. While getting seated, they half, or maybe quarter-listened to the front performer twanging away on some sing-along thing that was supposed to get everybody in the spirit of the thing. (Why, Phil wondered, did they always have some lame, half on, half off-key local “coming folk star” to warm up the audience when you came to see, see exclusively that night, the main performer. And the front guy, and it was usually guys, was never heard from again, usually.)

More importantly, Phil noticed Dave at the bar drinking a couple of shots (whiskey shots, he assumed) straight-up. Well anything to fortify you Phil thought. Probably will help to get that gravelly voice razor-edged. Then Dave tossed another as Phil turned to give his undivided attention to his gypsy princess. Damn she looked, well, fetching was the word that came to his mind, at least for public consumption, although if Phil was was honest with himself he was just hopped-up, sexually hopped up.

The front man finished up to lackluster applause, as he should have expected except for his sing-along rendition of Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land always a crowd-pleaser, especially late in the night. The MC announced Dave to hearty applause; aficionados were clearly in the house for this performance. Phil noticed that as he came away from the bar Dave tossed another straight-up whisky down. He got slightly nervous never having heard any rumors about a drinking problem but also knowing, first hand-knowing, or rather observing, that several straight-up drinks were not a good sign. Moreover Dave had what Phil thought at first was a water bottle (or soda, although he had always been taught at home to call it tonic) but on closer inspection looked much more like a flask on his hip. Dave took to the impromptu stage, taking the steps steadily enough, introduced himself, and after the applause died down, started in right away on his Fair and Tender Ladies version, sounding a little tinny in the process. And sipping from the flask.

Another song, Cocaine Blues, followed. And then the axe. Well the axe for Phil, anyway. Dave literally mumbled the old time traditional song Railroad Boy. Joyell had had enough by then. As she explained while they were walking out the door she was no “purist” but she wasn’t going to spend the night listening to a drunk, a drunk that she could have listened to on the street outside to better effect. Out the door she spied an MTA bus, the one to Dudley that went right by her apartment, and told Phi that she was going to take it home. Home alone. And that was what Dave Van Ronk stole from one heart-broken Phillip Francis Kiley.

Free Bradley Manning Now!

Update 6/28/13: SF newspapers run Pride in Bradley pages

The San Francisco Bay Guardian ran this full page “We are Bradley Manning” mask in this week’s Pride Edition!
Meanwhile, we ran this full-page ad in the SF Bay Reporter this week:

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern appeared recently on CCTV’s “The Heat” program to argue, “Bradley Manning: Hero or Traitor”
Mike Walter hosts John Higginson, political editor at London’s “Metro Newspaper” from London and Ray McGovern (in studio in Washington)

Bradley Manning Trial-Day 12

Judge admits two WikiLeaks tweets, rejects Most Wanted Leak list: trial report, day 12

By Nathan Fuller. June 28, 2013.
Judge Denise Lind, sketched by Clark Stoeckley
Judge Denise Lind, sketched by Clark Stoeckley
To open Bradley Manning’s 12th day of trial at Ft. Meade, military judge Col. Denise Lind ruled that two WikiLeaks tweets from 2010 are admissible for Identification, and that a 2009 Most Wanted Leak list is not.
Judge Lind ruled that the two tweets, one of which stated that WikiLeaks was in possession of an encrypted video and the other requested “.mil email addresses,” were properly authenticated, despite defense arguments that because the tweets were retrieved from Google Cache and not WikiLeaks’ Twitter account directly, they couldn’t be verified.
She said that these tweets were both relevant to the “aiding the enemy” charge, the claim (spec. 1 of charge 2) that Manning “wantonly caused [U.S. defense intelligence] to be published on the internet,” and the charge that Manning downloaded a Global Address List in Iraq. The government has provided no evidence that Manning saw either of these tweets, but Judge Lind ruled that they were relevant as circumstantial evidence, due to their timing and public availability, and the fact that Manning was known to have searched Intelink (the military’s Google) for ‘WikiLeaks.’
Judge Lind denied a third item, a 2009 WikiLeaks Most Wanted Leak list, ruling that while it would be relevant to show Manning’s knowledge of WikiLeaks and its intentions, it hasn’t been properly authenticated and therefore is not admitted for identification. The document was obtained via Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which largely uses third-party donors to crawl the web, and the government didn’t present a witness with first-hand knowledge of how it was retrieved.
Manning’s commander in Iraq
Col. David Miller, Bradley Manning’s unit commander in Iraq, testified about the effect that Manning’s disclosures had on the unit morale. He said he was “stunned” to learn of an information compromise, because the “last thing I anticipated was an internal security breach from one of our own.” He said unit morale “took a hit,” and that a “funeral-like atmosphere fell over that crowd.”
On cross-examination, Col. Miller testified that there were no restrictions on surfing the SIPRNet, the military’s Secret-level internet, where he perused the State Department’s Net-Centric Diplomacy Database. He also said that soldiers were allowed to download files to their computers and to digital media, such as CDs, and there were no restrictions on the ‘manner’ in which a soldier could download. This refutes the claim that by using the download-automating Wget program, Manning exceeded his authorized computer access.
We’re scheduled to hear one more live witness, someone from the State Dept. whom prosecutors will attempt to qualify as an expert on counterintelligence and espionage. The government is expected to read three stipulations of expected testimony, though one full one and part of another will be read in closed sessions, and two stipulations of fact.
I’ll update this post later today.
Update 2:45pm ET
Change of plans: the parties are working on more stipulations, so we’re done for today and will resume on Monday at 9:30am ET. They’ll aim to finish the remaining government witnesses Monday, but will continue Tuesday if needed. Either way, the court will be closed Wednesday–Friday, July 3-5.

Free Bradley Manning

From The Marxist Archives- The Communist International and the Struggle for Black Liberation

Workers Vanguard No. 871
26 May 2006



The Communist International and the Struggle for Black Liberation

(Quote of the Week)

Under the influence and tutelage of the Communist International led by V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky, the early American Communist Party came to understand the strategic importance of the struggle against the oppression of black people in the United States. Writing at the time of the mass Southern civil rights movement, James P. Cannon, a founding leader of both the Communist Party and the Trotskyist movement in the U.S., explained the organic link between the Bolshevik Revolution and a proletarian revolutionary perspective against the racist American capitalist state.

The earlier socialist movement, out of which the Communist Party was formed, never recognized any need for a special program on the Negro question. It was considered purely and simply as an economic problem, part of the struggle between the workers and the capitalists; nothing could be done about the special problems of discrimination and inequality this side of socialism....

The difference—and it was a profound difference—between the Communist Party of the Twenties and its socialist and radical ancestors, was signified by its break with this tradition. The American communists in the early days, under the influence and pressure of the Russians in the Comintern, were slowly and painfully learning to change their attitude; to assimilate the new theory of the Negro question as a special question of doubly-exploited second-class citizens, requiring a program of special demands as part of the over-all program—and to start doing something about it....

After November, 1917 this new doctrine—with special emphasis on the Negroes—began to be transmitted to the American communist movement with the authority of the Russian Revolution behind it. The Russians in the Comintern started on the American communists with the harsh, insistent demand that they shake off their own unspoken prejudices, pay attention to the special problems and grievances of the American Negroes, go to work among them, and champion their cause in the white community....

An honest workers’ party of the new generation will recognize this revolutionary potential of the Negro struggle, and call for a fighting alliance of the Negro people and the labor movement in a common revolutionary struggle against the present social system.

—James P. Cannon, “The Russian Revolution and the American Negro Movement” (1959), reprinted in The First Ten Years of American Communism (Pathfinder Press, 1973)

The Russian Revolution and the Black Struggle in the United States

James P. Cannon

Written: Summer 1959
Source: Fighting for Socialism in the “American Century”; First published in the Summer 1959 issue of International Socialist Review, under the title “The Russian Revolution and the American Negro Movement”. © Resistance Books 2001 Published by Resistance Books 23 Abercrombie St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Permission for on-line publication provided by Resistance Books for use by the James P. Cannon Internet Archive in 2003.
Transcription\HTML Markup:David Walters

All through the first 10 years of American communism, the party was preoccupied with the Negro question, and gradually arrived at a policy different and superior to that of traditional American radicalism. Yet in my published recollections of this period, the Negro question does not appear anywhere as the subject of internal controversy between the major factions. The reason for this was that none of the American leaders came up with any new ideas on this explosive problem on their own account; and none of the factions, as such, sponsored any of the changes in approach, attitude and policy which were gradually effected by the time the party finished its first decade.
The main discussions on the Negro question took place in Moscow, and the new approach to the problem was elaborated there. As early as the Second Congress of the Comintern in 1920, “The Negroes in America” was a point on the agenda, and a preliminary discussion of the question took place. Historical research will prove conclusively that CP policy on the Negro question got its initial impulse from Moscow, and also that all further elaborations of this policy, up to and including the adoption of the “self-determination” slogan in 1928 came from Moscow.
Under constant prodding and pressure from the Russians in the Comintern, the party made a beginning with Negro work in its first 10 years; but it recruited very few Negroes and its influence in the Negro community didn’t amount to much. From this it is easy to draw the pragmatic conclusion that all the talk and bother about policy in that decade, from New York to Moscow, was much ado about nothing, and that the results of Russian intervention were completely negative.
That is, perhaps, the conventional assessment in these days of the Cold War when aversion to all things Russian is the conventional substitute for considered opinion. But it is not true history—not by a long shot. The first 10 years of American communism are too short a period for definitive judgment of the results of the new approach to the Negro question imposed on the American party by the Comintern.
Historical treatment of Communist Party policy and action on the Negro question, and of Russian influence in shaping it in the first 10 years of the party’s existence, however exhaustive and detailed, cannot be adequate unless the inquiry is projected into the next decade. It took the first 10 years for the young party to get fairly started in this previously unexplored field. The spectacular achievements in the ’30s cannot he understood without reference to this earlier decade of change and reorientation. That’s where the later actions and results came from.
A serious analysis of the whole complex process has to begin with recognition that the American communists in the early ’20s, like all other radical organisations of that and earlier times, had nothing to start with on the Negro question but an inadequate theory, a false or indifferent attitude and the adherence of a few individual Negroes of radical or revolutionary bent.
The earlier socialist movement, out of which the Communist Party was formed, never recognised any need for a special program on the Negro question. It was considered purely and simply as an economic problem, part of the struggle between the workers and the capitalists; nothing could be done about the special problems of discrimination and inequality this side of socialism.
The best of the earlier socialists were represented by Debs, who was friendly to all races and purely free from prejudice. But the limitedness of the great agitator’s view on this far from simple problem was expressed in his statement: “We have nothing special to offer the Negro, and we cannot make separate appeals to all the races. The Socialist Party is the party of the whole working class, regardless of colour—the whole working class of the whole world.” (Ray Ginger: The Bending Cross) That was considered a very advanced position at the time, but it made no provision for active support of the Negro’s special claim for a little equality here and now, or in the foreseeable future, on the road to socialism.
And even Debs, with his general formula that missed the main point—the burning issue of ever-present discrimination against the Negroes every way they turned—was far superior in this regard, as in all others, to Victor Berger, who was an outspoken white supremacist. Here is a summary pronouncement from a Berger editorial in his Milwaukee paper, the Social Democratic Herald: “There can be no doubt that the Negroes and mulattoes constitute a lower race.” That was “Milwaukee socialism” on the Negro question, as expounded by its ignorant and impudent leader-boss. A harried and hounded Negro couldn’t mix that very well with his Milwaukee beer, even if he had a nickel and could find a white man’s saloon where he could drink a glass of beer—at the back end of the bar.
Berger’s undisguised chauvinism was never the official position of the party. There were other socialists, like William English Walling who was an advocate of equal rights for the Negroes, and one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People in 1909. But such individuals were a small minority among the socialists and radicals before the First World War and the Russian Revolution.
The inadequacy of traditional socialist policy on the Negro question is amply documented by the historians of the movement, Ira Kipnis and David Shannon. The general and prevailing attitude of the Socialist Party toward the Negroes is summed up by Shannon as follows:
“They were not important in the party, the party made no special effort to attract Negro members, and the party was generally disinterested in, if not actually hostile to, the effort of Negroes to improve their position in American capitalist society.” And further: “The party held that the sole salvation of the Negro was the same as the sole salvation of the white: 'Socialism’.”
In the meantime, nothing could be done about the Negro question as such, and the less said about it the better. Sweep it under the rug.
Such was the traditional position inherited by the early Communist Party from the preceding socialist movement out of which it had come. The policy and practice of the trade union movement was even worse. The IWW barred nobody from membership because of “race, colour or creed”. But the predominant AFL unions, with only a few exceptions, were lily-white job trusts. They also had nothing special to offer the Negroes; nothing at all, in fact.
The difference—and it was a profound difference—between the Communist Party of the ’20s and its socialist and radical ancestors, was signified by its break with this tradition. The American communists in the early days, under the influence and pressure of the Russians in the Comintern, were slowly and painfully learning to change their attitude; to assimilate the new theory of the Negro question as a special question of doubly-exploited second-class citizens, requiring a program of special demands as part of the overall program—and to start doing something about it.
The true importance of this profound change, in all its dimensions, cannot be adequately measured by the results in the ’20s. The first 10 years have to be considered chiefly as the preliminary period of reconsideration and discussion and change of attitude and policy on the Negro question—in preparation for future activity in this field.
The effects of this change and preparation in the ’20s, brought about by the Russian intervention, were to manifest themselves explosively in the next decade. The ripely favourable conditions for radical agitation and organisation among the Negroes, produced by the Great Depression, found the Communist Party ready to move in this field as no other radical organisation in this country had ever done before.
Everything new and progressive on the Negro question came from Moscow, after the revolution of 1917, and as a result of the revolution—not only for the American communists who responded directly, but for all others concerned with the question.
By themselves, the American communists never thought of anything new or different from the traditional position of American radicalism on the Negro question. That, as the above quotations from Kipnis’ and Shannon’s histories show, was pretty weak in theory and still weaker in practice. The simplistic formula that the Negro problem was merely economic, a part of the capital-labour problem, never struck fire among the Negroes—who knew better even if they didn’t say so; they had to live with brutal discrimination every day and every hour.
There was nothing subtle or concealed about this discrimination. Everybody knew that the Negro was getting the worst of it at every turn, but hardly anybody cared about it or wanted to do anything to try to moderate or change it. The 90% white majority of American society, including its working-class sector, North as well as South, was saturated with prejudice against the Negro; and the socialist movement reflected this prejudice to a considerable extent—even though, in deference to the ideal of human brotherhood, the socialist attitude was muted and took the form of evasion. The old theory of American radicalism turned out in practice to be a formula for inaction on the Negro front, and—incidentally—a convenient shield for the dormant racial prejudices of the white radicals themselves.
The Russian intervention changed all that, and changed it drastically, and for the better. Even before the First World War and the Russian Revolution, Lenin and the Bolsheviks were distinguished from all other tendencies in the international socialist and labour movement by their concern with the problems of oppressed nations and national minorities, and affirmative support of their struggles for freedom, independence and the right of self-determination. The Bolsheviks gave this support to all “people without equal rights” sincerely and earnestly, but there was nothing “philanthropic” about it. They also recognised the great revolutionary potential in the situation of oppressed peoples and nations, and saw them as important allies of the international working class in the revolutionary struggle against capitalism.
After November 1917 this new doctrine—with special emphasis on the Negroes—began to be transmitted to the American communist movement with the authority of the Russian Revolution behind it. The Russians in the Comintern started on the American communists with the harsh, insistent demand that they shake off their own unspoken prejudices, pay attention to the special problems and grievances of the American Negroes, go to work among them, and champion their cause in the white community.
It took time for the Americans, raised in a different tradition, to assimilate the new Leninist doctrine. But the Russians followed up year after year, piling up the arguments and increasing the pressure on the American communists until they finally learned and changed, and went to work in earnest. And the change in the attitude of the American communists, gradually effected in the ’20s, was to exert a profound influence in far wider circles in the later years.
The Communist Party’s break with the traditional position of American radicalism on the Negro question coincided with profound changes which had been taking place among the Negroes themselves. The large-scale migration from the agricultural regions of the South to the industrial centres of the North was greatly accelerated during the First World War, and continued in the succeeding years. This brought some improvement in their conditions of life over what they had known in the Deep South, but not enough to compensate for the disappointment of being herded into ghettoes and still subjected to discrimination on every side.
The Negro movement, such as it was at the time, patriotically supported the First World War “to make the world safe for democracy”; and 400,000 Negroes served in the armed forces. They came home looking for a little democratic payoff for themselves, but couldn’t find much anywhere. Their new spirit of self-assertion was answered by a mounting score of lynchings and a string of race riots across the country, North as well as South.
All this taken together—the hopes and the disappointments, the new spirit of self-assertion and the savage reprisals—contributed to the emergence of a new Negro movement in the making. Breaking sharply with the Booker T. Washington tradition of accommodation to a position of inferiority in a white man’s world, a new generation of Negroes began to press their demand for equality.
What the emerging new movement of the American Negroes—a 10% minority—needed most, and lacked almost entirely, was effective support in the white community in general and in the labour movement, its necessary ally, in particular. The Communist Party, aggressively championing the cause of the Negroes and calling for an alliance of the Negro people and the militant labour movement, came into the new situation as a catalytic agent at the right time.
It was the Communist Party, and no other, that made the Herndon and Scottsboro cases national and worldwide issues and put the Dixiecrat legal-lynch mobs on the defensive—for the first time since the collapse of Reconstruction. Party activists led the fights and demonstrations to gain fair consideration for unemployed Negroes at the relief offices, and to put the furniture of evicted Negroes back into their empty apartments. It was the Communist Party that demonstratively nominated a Negro for Vice-President in 1932—something no other radical or socialist party had ever thought about doing.
By such and similar actions and agitation in the ’30s, the party shook up all more or less liberal and progressive circles of the white majority, and began to bring about a radical change of attitude on the Negro question. At the same time, the party became a real factor among the Negroes, and the Negroes themselves advanced in status and self-confidence—partly as a result of the Communist Party’s aggressive agitation on the issue.
The facts are not disposed of by saying: The communists had their own axe to grind. All agitation for Negro rights is grist to the mill of the Negro movement; and the agitation of the communists was more energetic and more effective than any other at that time—by far.
These new developments appear to contain a contradictory twist which, as far as I know, has never been confronted or explained. The expansion of communist influence in the Negro movement in the ’30s happened despite the fact that one of the new slogans imposed on the party by the Comintern—the slogan of “self-determination”—about which the most to-do was made and the most theses and resolutions were written, and which was even touted as the main slogan, never seemed to fit the actual situation. The slogan of “self-determination” found little or no acceptance in the Negro community after the collapse of the separatist movement led by Garvey. Their trend was mainly toward integration, with equal rights.
In practice the CP jumped over this contradiction. When the party adopted the slogan of “self-determination”, it did not drop its aggressive agitation for Negro equality and Negro rights on every front. On the contrary, it intensified and extended this agitation. That’s what the Negroes wanted to hear, and that’s what made the difference. It was the CP’s agitation and action under the latter slogan that brought the results, without the help, and probably despite, the unpopular “self-determination” slogan and all the theses written to justify it.
The communists turned Stalinists, in the “Third Period” of ultra-radicalism, carried out their activity in the Negro field with all the crooked demagogy, exaggerations and distortions which are peculiar to them and inseparable from them. But in spite of that the main appeal to equal rights came through and found an echo in the Negro community. For the first time since the abolitionists, the Negroes saw an aggressive, militant dynamic group of white people championing their cause. Not a few philanthropists and pallid liberals this time, but the hard-driving Stalinists of the ’30s, at the head of a big, upsurging radical movement generated by the depression. There was power in their drive in those days, and it was felt in many areas of American life.
The first response of many Negroes was favourable; and the party’s reputation as a revolutionary organisation identified with the Soviet Union, was probably more a help than a hindrance. The Negro upper crust, seeking respectability, tended to shy away from anything radical; but the rank and file, the poorest of the poor who had nothing to lose, were not afraid. The party recruited thousands of Negro members in the ’30s and became, for a time, a real force in the Negro community. The compelling reason was their policy on the issue of equal rights and their general attitude, which they had learned from the Russians, and their activity on the new line.
In the ’30s, Communist Party influence and action were not restricted to the issue of “civil rights” in general. They also operated powerfully to reshape the labour movement and help the Negro workers gain a place in it which had previously been denied. The Negro workers themselves, who had done their share in the great struggles to create the new unions, were pressing their own claims more aggressively than ever before. But they needed help, they needed allies.
The Communist Party militants stepped into this role at the critical point in the formative days of the new unions. The policy and agitation of the Communist Party at that time did more, 10 times over, than any other to help the Negro workers to rise to a new status of at least semi-citizenship in the new labour movement created in the ’30s under the banner of the CIO.
It is customary to attribute the progress of the Negro movement, and the shift of public opinion in favour of its claims, to the changes brought about by the First World War. But the biggest thing that came out of the First World War, the event that changed everything, including the prospects of the American Negro, was the Russian Revolution. The influence of Lenin and the Russian Revolution, even debased and distorted as it later was by Stalin, and then filtered through the activities of the Communist Party in the United States, contributed more than any other influence from any source to the recognition, and more or less general acceptance, of the Negro question as a special problem of American society—a problem which cannot be simply subsumed under the general heading of the conflict between capital and labour, as it was in the pre-communist radical movement.
It adds something, but not much, to say that the Socialist Party, the liberals and the more or less progressive labour leaders went along with the new definition, and gave some support to the claims of the Negroes. That’s just what they did; they went along. They had no independent, worked-out theory and policy of their own; where would they get it—out of their own heads? Hardly. They all followed in the wake of the CP on this question in the ’30s.
The Trotskyists, and other dissident radical groups—who also had learned from the Russians—contributed what they could to the fight for Negro rights; but the Stalinists, dominating the radical movement, dominated in the Negro field too.
Everything new on the Negro question came from Moscow—after the Russian Revolution began to thunder its demand throughout the world for freedom and equality for all national minorities, all subject peoples and all races—for all the despised and rejected of the Earth. This thunder is still rolling, louder than ever, as the daily headlines testify.
The American communists responded first, and most emphatically, to the new doctrine from Russia. But the Negro people, and substantial sections of American white society, responded indirectly, and are still responding—whether they recognise it or not.
The present official leaders of the “civil rights” movement of the American Negroes, more than a little surprised at its expanding militancy, and the support it is getting in the white population of the country, scarcely suspect how much the upsurging movement owes to the Russian Revolution which they all patriotically disavow.
The Reverend Martin Luther King did remark, at the time of the Montgomery boycott battle, that their movement was part of the worldwide struggle of the coloured peoples for independence and equality. He should have added that the colonial revolutions, which are indeed a powerful ally of the Negro movement in America, got their starting impulse from the Russian Revolution—and are stimulated and strengthened from day to day by the continuing existence of this revolution in the shape of the Soviet Union and the new China, which white imperialism suddenly “lost”.
Indirectly, but all the more convincingly, the most rabid anti-sovieteers, among them the liberal politicians and the official labour leaders, testify to this when they say: The Little Rock scandal and things like that shouldn’t happen because it helps communist propaganda among the dark-skinned colonial people. Their fear of “communist propaganda”, like some other people’s fear of the Lord, makes them virtuous.
It is now conventional for labour leaders and liberals—in the North—to sympathise with the Negro struggle for a few elementary rights as human beings. It is the Right Thing To Do, the mark of civilised intelligence. Even the ex-radicals, turned into anti-communist “liberals” of a sort—a very poor sort—are all now pridefully “correct” in their formal support of “civil rights” and their opposition to Negro segregation and other forms of discrimination. But how did they all get that way?
It never occurs to the present-day liberals to wonder why their counterparts of a previous generation—with a few notable individual exceptions—never thought of this new and more enlightened attitude toward the Negroes before Lenin and the Russian Revolution upset the apple cart of the old, well-established and complacently accepted separate-but-unequal doctrine. The American anti-communist liberals and labour officials don’t know it, but some of the Russian influence they hate and fear so much even rubbed off on them.
Of course, as everybody knows, the American Stalinists eventually fouled up the Negro question, as they fouled up every other question. They sold out the struggle for Negro rights during the Second World War, in the service of Stalin’s foreign policy—as they sold out striking American workers, and rooted for the prosecution in the first Smith Act trial of the Trotskyists at Minneapolis in 1941, for the same basic reason.
Everybody knows that now. The chickens finally came home to roost, and the Stalinists themselves have felt impelled to make public confessions of some of their treachery and some of their shame. But nothing, neither professed repentance for crimes that can’t be concealed, nor boasts of former virtues that others are unwilling to remember, seem to do them any good. The Communist Party, or rather what is left of it, is so discredited and despised that it gets little or no recognition and credit today for its work in the Negro field in those earlier days—when it had far-reaching and, in the main, progressive consequences.
It is not my duty or my purpose to help them out. The sole aim of this condensed review is to set straight a few facts about the early days of American communism—for the benefit of inquiring students of a new generation who want to know the whole truth, however the chips may fall, and to learn something from it.
The new policy on the Negro question, learned from the Russians in the first 10 years of American communism, enabled the Communist Party in the ’30s to advance the cause of the Negro people; and to expand its own influence among them on a scale never approached by any radical movement before that time. These are facts of history; not only of the history of American communism, but of the history of the Negro struggle for emancipation too.
For those who look to the future these facts are important; an anticipation of things to come. By their militant activity in earlier years, the Stalinists gave a great impetus to the new Negro movement. Then, their betrayal of the Negro cause in the Second World War cleared the way for the inch-at-a-time gradualists who have been leading the movement unchallenged ever since.
The policy of gradualism, of promising to free the Negro within the framework of the social system that subordinates and degrades him, is not working out. It does not go to the root of the problem. The aspirations of the Negro people are great and so are the energies and emotions expended in their struggle. But the concrete gains of their struggle up to date are pitifully meagre. They have gained a few inches, but the goal of real equality is miles and miles away.
The right to occupy a vacant seat on a bus; the token integration of a handful of Negro children in a few public schools; a few places open for individual Negroes in public office and some professions; fair employment rights on the books, but not in practice; the formally and legally recognised right to equality which is denied in practice at every turn—that’s the way it is today, 96 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
There has been a big change in the outlook and demands of the Negroes’ movement since the days of Booker T. Washington, but no fundamental change in their actual situation. This contradiction is building up to another explosion and another change of policy and leadership. In the next stage of its development, the American Negro movement will be compelled to turn to a more militant policy than gradualism, and to look for more reliable allies than capitalist politicians in the North who are themselves allied with the Dixiecrats of the South. The Negroes, more than any others in this country, have reason and right to be revolutionary.
An honest workers’ party of the new generation will recognise this revolutionary potential of the Negro struggle, and call for a fighting alliance of the Negro people and the labour movement in a common revolutionary struggle against the present social system.
Reforms and concessions, far more important and significant than any yet attained, will be by-products of this revolutionary alliance. They will be fought for and attained at every stage of the struggle. But the new movement will not stop with reforms, nor be satisfied with concessions. The movement of the Negro people and the movement of militant labour, united and coordinated by a revolutionary party, will solve the Negro problem in the only way it can be solved—by a social revolution.
The first efforts of the Communist Party along these lines a generation ago will be recognised and appropriated. Not even the experience of the Stalinist betrayal will be wasted. The memory of this betrayal will be one of the reasons why the Stalinists will not be the leaders next time.

Friday, June 28, 2013

***Out In The 1940s Crime Noir Night-Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake’s “This Gun For Hire”-A Film Review

DVD Review

This Gun For Hire, Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, based on a novel by Graham Greene, Paramount Pictures, 1942

No question I am a film noir, especially a crime film noir, aficionado. Recently I have been on a tear reviewing various crime noir efforts and drawing comparisons between the ones that “speak” to me and those that, perhaps, should have been better left on the cutting room floor. The classics are easy and need no additional comment from me as their plot lines stand on their own merits. Others, because they have a fetching, or wicked, for that matter, femme fatale to muddy the waters also get a pass. Some, such as the film under review from 1942, This Gun For Hire, offers parts of both. The plot line maybe less so, although because it is set in World War II America and indirectly part of the fight to defeat the nefarious (in this case Japanese) enemy it has a certain intrigue factor. As for femme fatale energy, or rather quasi-femme fatale energy, although I have always considered Veronica Lake (and her classic air over her eye look) fetching here she is a cross between that type and the girl next door.

As for the plot. Alan Ladd, a gun for hire to the highest bidder does his job as expected and is paid off for doing so. Unfortunately those that hired Ladd to silence an employee of a chemical company whose president was ready to sell poison gas to the highest bidder (Japan)were not on the level. They tried, might and main, to set Brother Ladd up as the fall guy. But one does not get to be, or rather one does not survive in the hired gun business, by being a chump for some nefarious scheme. Needless to say the plot is partially driven by his well-earned revenge.

However, a second plot line is brought in by Ms. Lake. America was at war and selling poison gas to the highest bidder, Japan, was, well, not right so she is “hired” to get the goods on the chemical operation through a weak-link, one of the company executives. Naturally in the course of these two plots unwinding the Ladd-Lake combination is brought to a boil, well, almost a boil. Through twists and turns the pair get the bad guys, although Ladd as a bad guy himself, or maybe just misunderstood, has to take a bullet for the cause because as we all know- “crime, especially murder, does not pay.” Not as good a pairing of Ladd and Lake as in The Glass Key but okay. But you can see what I mean about this one being sort of a semi-classic noir, right?
***On Intergenerational Sex-“…And Keep Me Young As I Grow Old”- With A Tip Of The Stetson To The “Belfast Cowboy,” Van Morrison

YouTube film clip of Van Morrison performing The Beauty Of The Days Gone By which has the "... and keep me young as I grow old" line in it.

From The Pen Of Peter Paul Markin

This space, fundamentally, is devoted to political struggles, the big picture communist future political struggles that reflect the hard fact, as noted by Leon Trotsky's definitive biographer, Isaac Deutscher, that we communists have in the past, and continue now, to devote the bulk of our energies to the most immediately pressing of the three great tragedies of life, the struggle against hunger. The other two, sex and death, have gotten short shrift other than to be dealt with in broad brush stokes, basically arguing that in our communist future those two acknowledged mysterious passages will be dealt with more thoughtfully, less traumatically, and with deeper insight.

That said, where does that leave my old North Adamsville High School Class of 1964 corner boy class mate, Johnny Silver, and his twin sex and death dilemmas-growing old and still having a yearning for sexual adventure, sexual adventure with younger, much younger women. Other than calling him, rightly I think, a “ dirty old man” for even thinking about having sex with a young, curvaceous, nubile woman, to speak nothing of what it might do to his physical condition, we have no immediate communist program to alleviate his problem. Sorry Johnny. No question though under such a now seemingly utopian regime inter-generational sex will be no more the subject of scandalous gossip that various other homo and heterosexual variations of sexual activity that are the norm now.

Now, if one has been attentive, I have, with the exception of Leon Trotsky’s brief fling with Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in the late 1930s during his Mexican exile, not spent much time on the personal sex lives of our revolutionary forbears. That has been in keeping with the traditional reticence of revolutionaries to discuss their personal sexual lives. And with my own preferences in the uses of this space. I, however, feel that Johnny Silver’s case can be instructive for those of us who are going into our “golden years” and are still as randy as middle- schoolers. Therefore I have posted Johnny Silver’s story, non-communist, non-political, Johnny Silver’s story, here for your perusal. The weak of heart, those under a doctor’s care, and assorted outraged moral philistines should avoid reading this for the good of your lives and/or souls. Note, and note carefully that other than a little editorial work this is strictly Johnny’s responsibility although I will admit my temperature and pulse were vicariously rising somewhat while performing this onerous task.

Johnny Silver’s comment:

I always liked younger girls when I was just a kid and I never got out of that habit, that sweet young thing habit. I used to take a lot guff from Frankie Riley, Peter Paul, and the other corner boys “up the Downs” at our hang-out, Salducci’s Pizza Parlor, when at sixteen I dated up twelve-year old “Luscious” Linda Lorraine. But she was “hot,” hot way beyond her years as I found out, have mercy, when she practically “raped” me, raped me if you can believe that, on our first date down at the North Adamsville Beach one summer night. I won’t say more because Peter Paul, who is editing this thing, might take a heart attack when he reads this since he never got to first base with her, and he tried, at least that is what she said, they all tried. They would yell “jail bait,” “baby-snatcher,” “cradle-robber,” and all that stuff that has been said by people, guys especially, since about the time Adam tried to date up Eve (who was a lot younger than he was and must have been pretty “hot” herself to get Adam off the straight and narrow) but she was fine, some sweet soap-smelling fine, and just getting some nice curves and stuff. Maybe that is where I go the habit.

[Markin: All we ever said was “watch out” Johnny. Linda, who lived the next street over from me then, was nothing but a “man trap,” a serious man-trap and Johnny was only one of several who enjoyed her “favors” in those days. Despite Johnny’s obvious lapse of memory I never tried to get to first base, or any base with her. As for the others, the corner boy others, I would not be surprised if on some “horny” girl friend-less nights they didn’t take a shot at it. It wasn’t hard. Last we heard of Linda she had had several kids by her early twenties and died of a heroin overdose in her mid-thirties so it wasn’t the age thing at all about Linda whatever Johnny might say now.]

And it's always pretty much was that way going forward. My first wife, Laurie, whom I met and who Peter Paul knows, was nothing but a fox when I was in graduate school and she was in high school and whom I met when I came back for a North Adamsville –Adamsville high school Thanksgiving Day football game. She was captain of the Red Raider cheer-leaders and I took dead aim at her.

[Markin: I agree Laurie was a fox, no question, but again we told Johnny to “watch out” on her as well because she was nothing but a man-eater as he found out a few kids, and a lot of alimony payments, later. I admit I took a “run” at her myself when they split up but I am still grinding my teeth over the way she treated me during our short “affair,” if that’s what you could call it.]

When I met my second wife, Alicia, she was just in graduate school and I was in my late thirties.

[Markin: Johnny and I started drifting apart then, mainly different parts of the country, so I don’t know about Alicia’s qualities but Johnny says that she treated him “good,” which to Johnny always meant good at giving him oral sex and stuff like that. Okay, get used to it we are adults and more explicit sexual details will be coming up so be forewarned. And take your heart medicine for god’s sake.]

My third wife, Becky, was barely out of college and I was in my forties when we met but she was “good.”

After that I stopped marrying them and just settled into a steady diet of “dating” seemingly ever younger women that I met through my work contacts or other social situations. [Markin: Johnny was, and is, a very good construction site consulting engineer.] And then, after Carrie left to pursue her screen-writing “dream” in California things dried up, dried up hard for this older man [Markin: Carrie was Johnny’s last serious live-in girlfriend, emphasis on the girl part, barely legal]. Well, first, damn the computer age for one thing, since it meant I could do more of my consulting work from home. And get more work done (and charge more as well). But it meant that the social situations also dried up. And no 50-something guy, no 50-something guy in his right mind, is going to the “meat market” singles bars around town trying to pick up the young ones when they have plenty of young guys around to moon over and get worked up about.

[Markin: I am trying to be gentle with Brother Silver here but he “forgot” to mention getting laughed at, ridiculed and told to go “back to the nursing home” by those self-same younger women. He also “forgot” to mention that he was not a 50-something guy but a 60-something guy when the “heat” came on him.].

And second, damn, whatever that Adam “spreading his seed” thing was because even if things dried up socially this old man wasn’t dried up, if you get my meaning. [Markin: Translation; he was still as randy as a middle- schooler] So I did whatever any “on the information super-highway” guy would do, I went online looking for sex sites, younger women-centered sex sites.

[Markin: Johnny didn’t have to work up a sweat finding them they practically come at you from the homepage onward.]

Of course “dating” services have been going on since just after Adam and Eve got it on. (Eve, by the way, a younger woman, a much younger woman and probably pretty “hot,” with a firm, curvaceous, naked body hot from what I heard, if I didn’t mention it before). Nowadays though (thank god, and thank god I took my medicine beforehand) the sexually explicit stuff women are putting online for your perusal is “over the top,” especially the younger ones, thank god. So naturally I filled out my “profile” page, paid my dough (via credit card but be careful), and “joined” all the other guys, horny guys waiting, wanting to “get laid” tonight.

Well things were kind of slow for a while since I blocked off returning messages to any women over thirty, and rightly so as they started looking kind of sad sack by then (although there were plenty of them around, around with kid baggage, if that is where your tastes run go see). I though at first it might be because there was a prejudice against 50-something guys in this hellish youth-drive universe.

[Markin: See note above on the age question, the Johnny Silver age question.]

And then Tracy, sweet eighteen-year old Tracy, answered my plea.

Now Tracy was not your average young woman (girl really but let’s leave it at that). She was eighteen, bright, intelligent, ambitious, resourceful, and looking for a “sugar daddy,” whatever that might mean. Yes dear, Johnny Silver is just your meat.

[Markin: After some research this old-fashioned term “sugar daddy” could mean, like in the old days, someone, some man, who paid the freight to today’s “hook-up” or “friends-with benefits," or something entirely innocuous.]

But here is where the problem came in. We sent many message back and forth and we were making some headway. She stated clearly that she was not into “mere boys,” but older men who had been around, and knew a thing or two (or three). Yes Tracy, Johnny is very, very just your meat.

Eventually she agreed to meet me in a public place to discuss, discuss our “the exact meaning of sugar daddy" business, and the like. But here is where the wheels started to come off, almost. She wanted some pictures of me, presumably recently up-loaded digital camera-produced photos, before we met. Her idea, innocent enough, and actually reasonable enough, was to make sure I was not some three-headed monster or, perhaps, someone recently released from parole for any number of charges from sexual offenses to murder and mayhem

[Markin: Smart girl. As for any possible sexual offenses, as far as I know, they were all consensual and not in the least bit criminal although a few irate fathers might differ. The murder and mayhem I would advise that Johnny plead the Fifth on that one.]

And that was the first stumbling block. See, old guys like Peter Paul and me, were not suckled on computer technology practically from birth like today’s kids. We survive on the “information super-highway” but just barely and while I know, as Markin does, enough to get by let’s just call us “primitives.” In short, I confess, bitterly confess, any pictures I had were not digital, and even if they were I did not know how to up-load them onto any site, sex site or not. Truth. However Tracy did not believe me, and it made sense in her iPhone, iPad, texting, Facebook world that everybody knew how to do such an eight- year old simple task. I only avoided total defeat by producing some older photos and reading every manual for up-loading that came with the printer. But it was a near thing.

I won’t bore the reader with the details of our first meeting, or our later meetings but she was certain fetching in person and wiser in age than some of the older young women that I have been with through the years. But the big thing was that she was wonderful in bed. And this is where the faint-hearted, or just plain perverted, can get off and find your own sex site. Well let’s start off as always with the firm, soft, wrinkle-free skin, breast, buttock, thighs, that has driven me wild since old-time Linda Lorraine (hell, I can still smell her Palmolive soap, or perfume or whatever she used to drive the boys wild even now). Then of course the school-girlish strip tease that always gets me going. And then placing her mouth, well, placing her mouth where it did some good. Hell though everybody who reads this knows what’s what. I don' t have to draw a diagram, do I? Yes, we did it did several times (not all in one day, Viagra is good but no that good). She was very inventive with positions and of course, I knew a thing or two (or three) that got her going (read: moaning and groaning for her sugar daddy and not the old –fashioned meaning of the word either whatever Markin’s research said it meant in the old days). She still smiles about those two (or three things) when I bring it up.

But the point is really about “… and keep me young while getting old” as the line from the Van Morrison song, The Beauty Of The Days Gone By. Some guys get it by pumping iron or other maniac strenuous exercising, and some by endless youth-enhancing operations. And some, like Markin, by writing endlessly about the old days like they were coming back, or could do anybody any good.

[Markin: Watch it, Johnny, watch it brother.]

Me, no, I want a young thing, a young firm thing, a young sex-crazed thing, a firm young thing that wants a lesson in those two (or three) things I could teach her (and have her sweaty-smiling a couple of days later over) right next to me right up until, and maybe past, judgment day. Can you blame me?

Markin postscript comment:
We had better get to that communist future in a hurry, a real hurry. In the meantime I’ll go off and take a shower, a very cold shower. Oh yes, Johnny, by the way (BTW for the cyber-slang crowd) what is Tracy’s cell phone number? Or does she have a geezer-craving girlfriend? Whatever you do, Johnny- “don’t watch out, not now.”