Saturday, February 15, 2014

Out In The Black Liberation Night- The Black Panthers And The Struggle For The Ten-Point Program-The Complete Stories


One-A Room Of One’s Own

Big Joe Barker (the Big Joe, rather than just Joe earned from many labor battles along the docks, along the waterfront, going back to the big one, the Frisco big one in ’34) sat in that Merritt College (Oakland, out in California, if you didn’t know its locale) classroom, a room like many another he had sat in over the years, chalky blackboard, wooden chairs and all, wondering what Bobby Seale, the Chairman of this new Black Panther Party that had gotten all the notoriety earlier in the year flashing rifle barrel up shot guns over in the state capitol, Sacramento, and had the all the power puff white boys all freaked out, freaked out big time, was going to say about the black nation, about how he, and his black brethren were going to finally inherit the earth, finally have a place to call home without ever eye-balling whitey hanging his fat white ass all over the place.

Funny, Big Joe thought, as he waited for the room to fill a little and the program to begin, how what goes around comes around. He remembered way back in the early 1930s when he first heard of the Communist Party when they had come around the Embarcadero, around Third Street over in Frisco and were helping him and a couple of the brothers out trying to stop people from being evicted on his block at the height of the Depression that one of their comrades had mentioned, mentioned in passing, wouldn’t it be great if black people had their own nation. That idea, that simple seeming idea, had drawn his interest since he had been (and his daddy too, his daddy like Malcolm’s never getting over that first thrill of black-ness, black righteousness) a fervent supporter of Marcus Garvey and his black- nationalist movement back in the early 1920s. So at that time he was all ears when that guy had mentioned something about Harry Haywood and his work on the black nation question, the question of the right of national self-determination, for their organization.

And so, like this evening, he had gone to a meeting, a meeting like this one, chalkboard and wooden chairs included, over at Berkeley, when Harry Haywood had come to town on a speaking tour touting Communist Party work, work on the Negro question as it was then posed. Now this Harry Haywood was beautiful, smooth as silk, seemed like a “talented tenth” guy (although not having read W.E.B. Dubois then he would not have used that term), a good speaker, and fashioned himself out as the “black Bolshevik,” but some of the stuff he had to say was just pure air.

See, he, or someone, had gone to a lot of trouble, to show on a map just exactly how the right to self-determination (that’s the way they liked to present the idea, present it in democratic terms) would look if a black nation was created, created in the south of the United States where most black people lived then. He had laughed, laughed to himself that the damn thing looked like a checker board. Moreover, he (and his daddy) had hightailed it out of the south, the damn Mister James Crow south in the late 1920s to get the hell away from that crap. If that was the black nation they wanted him to fight for then no deal, no sale. So while he worked with the Communists in that '34 Frisco strike, and a few things afterward, sometimes very closely, he always kept a certain distance even though he had never given up on that idea of a black nation, or black something.

So he wondered, wondered what this Bobby Seale was going to say, say about what this right of self-determination was going to look like. He swore if they brought that old time Haywood map, or something like it, out he would walk right out. If Seale said let’s take California as our space then he would give a serious listen. Still, he had learned a few things since those old days, that the black man’s fate, his fate (or, more importantly his grandchildren's) for better or worse, and he hoped not for the worst like always, was trying to break down the goddam barriers in the whole country, trying to jail-break out of the whole thing. Still he liked the idea of a black nation, a room one could call one’s own…


Ten Point Program[edit]

The original "Ten Point Program" from October, 1966 was as follows:[43][44]
1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our black Community.
We believe that black people will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny.
2. We want full employment for our people.
We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the white American businessmen will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
3. We want an end to the robbery by the white man of our black Community.
We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules was promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of black people. We will accept the payment as currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered six million Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of over 50 million black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make.
4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
We believe that if the white landlords will not give decent housing to our black community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.
5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.
We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.
6. We want all black men to be exempt from military service.
We believe that black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like black people, are being victimized by the white racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from the force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means necessary.
7. We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of black people.
We believe we can end police brutality in our black community by organizing black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all black people should arm themselves for self defense.
8. We want freedom for all black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
We believe that all black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.
9. We want all black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their black communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
We believe that the courts should follow the United States Constitution so that black people will receive fair trials. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the black community from which the black defendant came. We have been, and are being tried by all-white juries that have no understanding of the "average reasoning man" of the black community.
10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace. And as our major political objective, a United Nations-supervised plebiscite to be held throughout the black colony in which only black colonial subjects will be allowed to participate for the purpose of determining the will of black people as to their national destiny.
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
This Saturday, February 15th at 2pm
15 Now New England 
Day of Organizing
Working people in New England need a raise. We can't rely on the two parties of Wall St to give it to us, we need to build a movement of working people to win it. That is why we are having an open conference this weekend in Boston to launch the campaign for 15 Now New England. We will have speeches and workshops to discuss how we will win this important demand. Workshops will include:

-Organizing 15 Now in the Workplace
-The 15 Now Toolkit
-Getting 15 Now on the Ballot
-15 Now and the Struggle for Women's      Rights

This is going to be the beginning of an important movement for workers rights in New England and across the nation. Tomorrow is your chance to be on the ground floor. We need 15 Now, because the rent won't wait. 

For any questions about this event or about the campaign for 15 Now, please email us at or call (857) 615-5082
For admission we ask for a donation of around $5, but no one will be turned away because they cant pay.
February 15th 
From 2pm to 4pm
The Democracy Center,
45 Mount Auburn Street 
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Like us on Facebook

Join our event of Facebook, then invite all your friends!

Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter      
President Obama, Pardon Pvt. Manning

Because the public deserves the truth and whistle-blowers deserve protection.

We are military veterans, journalists, educators, homemakers, lawyers, students, and citizens.

We ask you to consider the facts and free US Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.

As an Intelligence Analyst stationed in Iraq, Pvt. Manning had access to some of America’s dirtiest secrets—crimes such as torture, illegal surveillance, and corruption—often committed in our name.

Manning acted on conscience alone, with selfless courage and conviction, and gave these secrets to us, the public.

“I believed that if the general public had access to the information contained within the[Iraq and Afghan War Logs] this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy,”

Manning explained to the military court. “I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan were targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare.”

Journalists used these documents to uncover many startling truths. We learned:

Donald Rumsfeld and General Petraeus helped support torture in Iraq.

Deliberate civilian killings by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan went unpunished.

Thousands of civilian casualties were never acknowledged publicly.

Most Guantanamo detainees were innocent.

For service on behalf of an informed democracy, Manning was sentenced by military judge Colonel Denise Lind to a devastating 35 years in prison.

Government secrecy has grown exponentially during the past decade, but more secrecy does not make us safer when it fosters unaccountability.

Pvt. Manning was convicted of Espionage Act charges for providing WikiLeaks with this information, but  the prosecutors noted that they would have done the same had the information been given to The New York Times. Prosecutors did not show that enemies used this information against the US, or that the releases resulted in any casualties.

Pvt. Manning has already been punished, even in violation of military law.
She has been:
Held in confinement since May 29, 2010.
• Subjected to illegal punishment amounting to torture for nearly nine months at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia, in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Article 13—facts confirmed by both the United Nation’s lead investigator on torture and military judge Col. Lind.
Denied a speedy trial in violation of UCMJ, Article 10, having been imprisoned for over three years before trial.
• Denied anything resembling a fair trial when prosecutors were allowed to change the charge sheet to match evidence presented, and enter new evidence, after closing arguments.
Pvt. Manning believed you, Mr. President, when you came into office promising the most transparent administration in history, and that you would protect whistle-blowers. We urge you to start upholding those promises, beginning with this American prisoner of conscience.
We urge you to grant Pvt. Manning’s petition for a Presidential Pardon.
FIRST& LAST NAME _____________________________________________________________
STREET ADDRESS _____________________________________________________________

CITY, STATE & ZIP _____________________________________________________________
EMAIL& PHONE _____________________________________________________________
Please return to: For more information:
Private Manning Support Network, c/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610


Note that this image is PVT Manning's preferred photo.

Note that this image is PVT Manning’s preferred photo.

Six Ways To Support Freedom For Chelsea Manning- President Obama Pardon Chelsea Manning Now!
 Note that this image is PVT Manning's preferred photo.
Note that this image is PVT Manning’s preferred photo.
The Struggle Continues …
Six Ways To Support Heroic Wikileaks Whistle-Blower Chelsea  Manning
*Sign the public petition to President Obama – Sign online  “President Obama, Pardon Pvt. Manning,” and make copies to share with friends and family!
You  can also call (Comments”202-456-1111), write The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, e-mail-(’contact/submitquestions-and comments) to demand that President Obama use his constitutional power under Article II, Section II to pardon Private Manning now.
*Start a stand -out, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, in your town square to publicize the pardon and clemency campaigns.  Contact the Private Manning SupportNetwork for help with materials and organizing tips
*Contribute to the Private  Manning Defense Fund- now that the trial has finished funds are urgently needed for pardon campaign and for future military and civilian court appeals. The hard fact of the American legal system, military of civilian, is the more funds available the better the defense, especially in political prisoner cases like Private Manning’s. The government had unlimited financial and personnel resources to prosecute Private Manning at trial. And used them as it will on any future legal proceedings. So help out with whatever you can spare. For link go to
*Write letters of solidarity to Private Manning while she is serving her sentence. She wishes to be addressed as Chelsea and have feminine pronouns used when referring to her. Private Manning’s mailing address: Bradley E. Manning, 89289, 1300 N. Warehouse Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 66027-2304. You must use Bradley on the address envelope.
Private Manning cannot receive stamps or money in any form. Photos must be on copy paper. Along with “contraband,” “inflammatory material” is not allowed. Six page maximum.
*Call: (913) 758-3600-Write to:Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander U.S. Detention Barracks 1301 N Warehouse Rd
Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027-Tell them: “Transgender rights are human rights! Respect Private Manning’s identity by acknowledging the name ‘Chelsea Manning’ whenever possible, including in mail addressed to her, and by allowing her access to appropriate medical treatment for gender dysphoria, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT).” (for more details-!/2013/11/respecting-chelseas-identity-is-this.html
Send The Following Message (Or Write Your Own) To The President In Support Of A Pardon For Private Manning

To: President Barack Obama
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

The draconian 35 years sentence handed down by a military judge, Colonel Lind, on August 21, 2013 to Private Manning (Chelsea formerly known as Bradley) has outraged many citizens including me.

Under Article II, Section II of the U.S. Constitution the President of the United States had the authority to grant pardons to those who fall under federal jurisdiction.
Some of the reasons for my request include: 

*that Private Manning  was held for nearly a year in abusive solitary confinement at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, which the UN rapporteur in his findings has called “cruel, inhuman, and degrading”

*that the media had been continually blocked from transcripts and documents related to the trial and that it has only been through the efforts of Private Manning’s supporters that any transcripts exist.

*that under the UCMJ a soldier has the right to a speedy trial and that it was unconscionable and unconstitutional to wait 3 years before starting the court martial.

*that absolutely no one was harmed by the release of documents that exposed war crimes, unnecessary secrecy and disturbing foreign policy.

*that Private Manning is a hero who did the right thing when she revealed truth about wars that had been based on lies.

I urge you to use your authority under the Constitution to right the wrongs done to Private Manning – Enough is enough!

Signature ___________________________________________________________

Print Name __________________________________________________________


City / Town/State/Zip Code_________________________________________

Note that this image is PVT Manning's preferred photo.

Note that this image is PVT Manning’s preferred photo.

Heroic Wikileaks Whistleblower Private Chelsea Manning ‘s Fight For Freedom Will Again Be Remembered At The Fourth Annual Veterans For Peace-Led Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade in South Boston On March 16, 2014


We will be forming up at the corner of D Street and West Fourth in South Boston (take Redline MBTA to Broadway Station-walk up four blocks and then left) at 1 PM for a 2 PM step-off (note time change). Supporters of Chelsea Manning will be out in force distributing informational leaflets and stickers as well as encouraging participants to sign the Amnesty International and Private Manning Support Network petitions calling on President Barack Obama to pardon her. We will not leave our sister behind        

***When Norman Mailer Was A Lion-Cannibals and Christians- A Book Review

Book Review

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

Cannibals and Christians, Norman Mailer, 1966

There was time in my youth back in the 1960s and early 1970s that I devoured everything I could get my hands on by the later American writer Norman Mailer. While that urgency is no longer true I nevertheless still find him an interesting political and philosophical opponent. What was the reason for that enthusiasm in my youth?  Simple, it was Mailer’s commitment to do novelistically and journalistically for the philosophy of existentialism what the French writers, especially, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, did for the philosophical argument itself. That philosophy, borne of terminal despair at the carnage, brutality and inhuman cruelties of World War II (and nicely written about in a first-hand way with his first novel, The Naked and the Dead), the seeming almost organic inability of the international working class to go beyond Stalinism and Social Democratic reformism in the quest for socialism and an acknowledgement that modern humankind had let technological developments outstrip its capacity to understand and control those forces, has nevertheless become threadbare with time. We live too existential lives to find much conform in such philosophy (to speak nothing of the aid of tech/text/eyes down-driven technology)


Let us face it; every political and social commentator is confronted with the need to find some basis to ground his or her analysis of the seemingly random events that demand our attentions and explanations. Over long experience I have found historical materialism a much more grounded philosophy for looking at the apparently random individual facts of existence. Although I have not read very recent Mailer all his works I have read lack this connection. So be it. We were after all in the end political opponents. Nevertheless, the man could turn some rather nice metaphors in his arguments. And he sure as hell could write. For this compilation of articles, reviews etc., written in the mid-1960’s and late I recommend his articles on the Republican National Convention, his stint as a man of the book review (especially that article about his then contemporaries like Styron, Jones, and Salinger), his polemic against the pretensions of the 1960’s New York liberal literary establishment (which in the end is where his real political fight was always aimed) centered on the famous Paris Review interview. There is a significant about of free verse poetry interspersed throughout the book although none of it would make any anthology of American poetry and is easily passed over. Read on. 
From The Marxist Archives -The Revolutionary History Journal-Oskar Hippe (1900–1990)

*Our Flag Is Still Red -Markin comment:

This is a repost of 2008's (and the two previous years)commentary in honor of our international working class holiday. I would add that the comments made then still apply today. I would further add that these damn bourgeois presidential campaigns have taken most of the air out of the political atmosphere thus retarding our efforts. Notice the virtually total fade away of pro-immigration street demonstrations. To speak nothing of Iraq. What happens to these parliamentary reformists if they wake up on January 20th 2009 and one John McCain is getting ready to take the oath of office? Enough said-for now.



Politically, the writer of these lines is far distance from those of the Haymarket Martyrs. Their flag was the black flag of anarchism, the writer’s is the red flag of communism. Notwithstanding those political differences, militants must stand under the old labor slogan that should underscore all labor defense work now as then- ‘An injury to one is an injury to all’. Unfortunately that principle has been honored far more in the breech than in the observance by working class organizations.

Additionally, in the case of the Haymarket Martyrs today’s militants must stand in solidarity and learn about the way those militants bravely conducted themselves before bourgeois society in the face of the witch hunt against them and their frame-up in the courts of so-called bourgeois ‘justice’. Not for the first time, and most probably not for the last, militants were railroaded by the capitalist state for holding unpopular and or/dangerous (to the capitalists) views. Moreover, it is no accident that most of the Haymarket Martyrs were foreigners (mainly Germans) not fully appreciative of the niceties of 19th century American ‘justice’. This same ‘justice’ system framed the heroic anarchist immigrant militants Sacco and Vanzetti in the early 20th century and countless other militants since then. As we struggle in the fight for full citizenship rights for immigrants today we should keep this in mind. Although, as we know, this American system of ‘justice’ will not forget the occasional uppity ‘native’ political dissenter either.

Most importantly, we must not forget that the Haymarket Martyrs at the time of their arrest were fighting for the establishment of a standardized eight hour work day. It is ironic that 120 years later this simple, rational, reasonable demand should, in effect, still be necessary to fight for by working people. All proportions taken into account since the 1880’s, a very high percentage of the working class still does not have this luxury- given the necessity of two wage-earner families, two job wage-earners, dramatic increases in commute time in order to gain employment, unpaid but mandatory work time (note especially the Walmartization of labor time) and a high rate of partially or fully unemployed able-bodied workers. To do justice to the memory of the Haymarket Martyrs this generation of militants should dust off another old labor slogan that used to be part of the transitional demands of the socialist movement- 30 hours work for 40 hours pay. TODAY THIS IS A REASONABLE DEMAND.

Obviously such a demand cannot be implemented in isolation. To even propose such a demand means we need to build a workers party to fight for it. Moreover, and let us not have illusions about this; this capitalist state does not want to and will not grant such a demand. Therefore, we must fight for a workers government. That would be a true monument to the memory of the Haymarket Martyrs.


Click below to link to the Revolutionary History Journal index.

Peter Paul Markin comment on this series:

This is an excellent documentary source for today’s leftist militants to “discover” the work of our forebears, particularly the bewildering myriad of tendencies which have historically flown under the flag of the great Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky and his Fourth International, whether one agrees with their programs or not. But also other laborite, semi-anarchist, ant-Stalinist and just plain garden-variety old school social democrat groupings and individual pro-socialist proponents.

Some, maybe most of the material presented here, cast as weak-kneed programs for struggle in many cases tend to be anti-Leninist as screened through the Stalinist monstrosities and/or support groups and individuals who have no intention of making a revolution. Or in the case of examining past revolutionary efforts either declare that no revolutionary possibilities existed (most notably Germany in 1923) or alibi, there is no other word for it, those who failed to make a revolution when it was possible.

The Spanish Civil War can serve as something of litmus test for this latter proposition, most infamously around attitudes toward the Party Of Marxist Unification's (POUM) role in not keeping step with revolutionary developments there, especially the Barcelona days in 1937 and by acting as political lawyers for every non-revolutionary impulse of those forebears. While we all honor the memory of the POUM militants, according to even Trotsky the most honest band of militants in Spain then, and decry the murder of their leader, Andreas Nin, by the bloody Stalinists they were rudderless in the storm of revolution. But those present political disagreements do not negate the value of researching the POUM’s (and others) work, work moreover done under the pressure of revolutionary times. Hopefully we will do better when our time comes.

Finally, I place some material in this space which may be of interest to the radical public that I do not necessarily agree with or support. Off hand, as I have mentioned before, I think it would be easier, infinitely easier, to fight for the socialist revolution straight up than some of the “remedies” provided by the commentators in these entries from the Revolutionary History journal in which they have post hoc attempted to rehabilitate some pretty hoary politics and politicians, most notably August Thalheimer and Paul Levy of the early post Liebknecht-Luxemburg German Communist Party. But part of that struggle for the socialist revolution is to sort out the “real” stuff from the fluff as we struggle for that more just world that animates our efforts. So read, learn, and try to figure out the
wheat from the chaff. 



Oskar Hippe (1900–1990)

Oskar Hippe, the veteran German Trotskyist, died on 13 March, a few days short of his ninetieth birthday.
Born on 1 April 1900, Hippe had joined the workers’ struggle by the time he was 16 years old.
In the years between the November Revolution in 1918 and the end of the revolutionary post-war crisis of 1923; between the outbreak of the world economic crisis of 1929 and the Prussian coup d’etat in July 1932, Oskar was involved in the militant upsurges in the German labour movement.
From the Free Trade Union Youth Movement and the Spartakus League through to the KPD; the Left Opposition in the KPD and the Lenin League under the leadership of Hugo Urbahns, and then in the leadership of the legal and illegal work of the Trotskyists, his life is a story of active participation.
He was imprisoned for two years by the National Socialists, from 1934 to 1936, and, in 1948, was sentenced to 25 years by the East German Stalinist regime (a term from which he was eventually released in 1956).
This brief extract, which covers some events of 1923, is taken from his autobiography ...and Red is the Colour of Our Flag: Memoirs of 60 years in the workers’ movement, English translation by Andrew Drummon, which will be published by Index Books in September 1990, price £8.95. (Index Books, 28 Charlotte Street, London W1P 1HJ. Tel: 071-636 3532.)
Bob Archer

In Central Germany and in the Ruhr district, the Proletarian Battalions had been built up on a cross-party basis and in great numbers, while there was scarcely anything else in the country apart from that. Now the construction of these groups was supposed to proceed with increased energy. In places where it was possible, these were to be built as organs of a United Front; where it was not possible, then as Communist Party organs attracting non-party people. Where the party now began to construct Workers’ Self-Defence Organs in other parts of the country, it was done quite hectically.
In Saxony and Thuringia, the Social Democratic organisations found themselves under strong pressure from their rank-and-file. The chairman of the KPD, Heinrich Brandler, who had travelled to Moscow in the decisive August days of 1923, returned at the beginning of September. None of the middle-ranking officials in our district knew what had been decided there, but everyone was clear that things were now on a razor’s edge. Everywhere in Germany, as in the central area, strikes took place. The workers demanded actions which went far beyond wage strikes. So the weeks passed. In the meantime, Heinrich Brandler travelled to Moscow again. When he returned on 8 October, not only the members of the party, but also the other workers were prepared to defend themselves against possible attacks by the Fascists, the army and the ‘Black National Army’. In Saxony and Thuringia, in quick succession, workers’ governments were formed by the SPD and KPD. On 12 October, Brandler, together with Paul Böttcher and Fritz Heckert, entered the Saxony government of the left Social Democrat, Zeigner.
At that time, a workers conference was convened in Chemnitz, to discuss the critical food supply situation. The KPD used one intervention at this conference to call for a general strike. Everyone knew that an act like what at that time would mean a general uprising. The conference rejected the call. So the KPD sent couriers from Chemnitz into the districts, advising them to stand down from their preparations for uprising. All the couriers reached their destinations, except the one for Hamburg. And so the Hamburg uprising took place. For three days, several hundred workers fought against a superior number of police.
For the members of the KPD, and even more for the workers who were sympathisers, the defeat was a great disappointment. Generally, people were of the opinion that we should investigate the reasons why the preparations for the general strike had been called off. Later, in the internal arguments in the party, through so-called Discussion Documents which had been made available to the membership, we learnt of a letter written by Stalin in the late summer of 1923 to the members of the Politbureau of the Russian Party, in which he warned against calling a general strike in Germany, because it might lead to an uprising. He claimed that the revolutionary situation had finished in Central Europe, and said that the German comrades had to be restrained. Amongst the party membership there was a general feeling that Heinrich Brandler, when he was in Moscow at the beginning of October, had agreed with Stalin’s evaluation.
The governments which had been formed in Saxony and Thuringia were completely legal. The Social Democrats and Communists had a parliamentary majority in those states. They demanded from the new Stresemann government some action against the reactionary forces in the south. In Saxony, Heinrich Brandler had managed to get the Proletarian Battalions legalised as a sort of auxiliary police force. The national government took this and the inclusion of some Communists in the state governments as an excuse to act with force against the governments of Saxony and Thuringia. The Social Democratic President, Ebert, gave the commander-in-chief of the German Army full powers for this ‘Imperial execution’. The army occupation claimed many victims again. The hunt for Communist Party officials now began in the whole of Central Germany. The party talked of eight to nine thousand arrests. While the large towns and industrial areas throughout Saxony and Thuringia were occupied, there was no occupation of the Geisel valley or of the Bitterfeld coalfield. The feeling in our group and the neighbouring party groups was that the October events could have led to a victorious revolution if only Heinrich Brandler had abandoned his opportunist policies. He had lost all credit in the party at that time.
The KPD was banned on 23 November. The Communist Youth League had planned a regional conference for the beginning of December. It took place despite the ban. The public house in which the conference was held lay at the edge of town, on the Dolau Heath. It went ahead as planned at the weekend, without interruption. The main points on the agenda were “The October Defeat” and “Our Future Tasks”. In the industrial area, despite the ban, our work continued almost legally.
After the October defeat, the factories were closed to me. And there was no prospect of receiving any unemployment benefit in the foreseeable future. My father informed me that he was no longer prepared to feed me. All the attempts of the party to find work for me were unsuccessful. For political reasons, I should have remained in the Geisel valley: I had important functions in the party and the Youth League, and was also a delegate at regional level. However, after a discussion with the regional leadership in Halle/Merseburg, we agreed that I should leave the district and find work elsewhere. I then got in touch with my sister in Berlin. At the beginning of January, I left the Geisel valley to set up home in Berlin.
***In The Beginning Were The Words…Dennis Quiad’s The Words –A Film Review



From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

The Words, starring Dennis Quiad, Jeremy Irons, Bradley Cooper, 2012

Anybody, any amateur, who has seriously tried to put three coherent paragraphs together knows that writing is a tough, tough experience. Doubly, maybe more so, for anyone with any pretensions to write professionally for some audience that he or she has in his or her head to make that big breakthrough and earn enough money to get out of some rustic garret, to be able to look the landlord in the eye and to eat something more original than day-old bread. That little struggle for success in today’s ravishingly competitive dwindling book market (old style) is one of the little points made in this entertaining and engaging film under review appropriately named, ah, The Words.    

The plotline of the film unfolds under the old standby-telling a story within a story within a story and with the limitations of that trope the film works, works well, as a study about the frustrations and temptations of the modern writer. A well-known novelist (Dennis Quiad) who is in something of a mid-career slump gives a public presentation of his latest successful novel. The plot of that novel is that a certain young New York writer, Rory (played by Bradley Cooper,  and yes, much of writing is autobiographical) was working, and waiting, for his big break out. Working and waiting with his beautiful wife whom he took on a honeymoon to Paris where she found a writer’s briefcase that she purchased thinking it might be a good omen. Sometime later after they got home to New York and Rory was in deep writer’s funk he found in that Parisian briefcase a tattered and torn anonymous manuscript which had all the ingredients of a major new novel. After about a minute of reflection he decided to copy the manuscript and claim it as his own work. After cajoling publishers the thing was finally published and was a smash critical and popular hit. He then had that fame and fortune that he had craved for so long.             

Well almost, see the story-line that he, ah, stole, was the effort of a budding American soldier-writer (Jeremy Irons) in World War II who got the writing craze as will happen and also a craze for a French girl he met while doing garrison duty. Their ill-fated love affair (including the then French wife leaving the manuscript behind in that briefcase that Rory’s wife had subsequently purchased) was the central theme of that novel. Well, Jeremy although no longer writing had a strong interest in letting Rory know he knew that it was not his work. That tension, between whether Rory should admit the plagiarism or just continue to draw revenue and probably generous advances on future books, was what drove the latter portion of the film. Yeah, and you say the writing game is not such a tough racket. Huh!         

Friday, February 14, 2014

***Poet’s Corner- Langston Hughes 

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

February is Black History Month

This was the limit. That exact thought and no other crossed Louise Crawford’s mind as she fumed, fumed for the third time that week waiting, waiting for his lordship, his budding poet lordship, to show up sometime in the next decade so that he could take her to the Red Hat where the Earl and the boys were playing some heavy noted jazz that week. No, no Crawford  was ever on this great earth to be kept waiting, for anything under any circumstances, and she would make that abundantly clear to him when he arrived, if he did arrive. (Yes that Crawford of the Wall Street financiers Crawford she, Louise the youngest daughter, twenty-two, if anybody was asking.)  Of course, she recognized the double-standard, although only recognized it and would not be enslaved to it any more than any other twenty-two year old woman would be, that she was more than willing to play her own fashionably late card when it suited her, especially among her old boarding school friends who made something of a science of the custom.
She, moreover, did not care, did not care one whit, that he, Jesse to give him a name, was somebody’s protégé , some friend of Mabel Dodge’s granddaughter or something like that, and the greatest poet, the greatest black poet since, what was his name, oh yes, Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance back in the Jazz Age or something (not real jazz, not from what she had heard on old records but more stuff to please the booze-swilling patrons, not like today with Earl, and walking daddies like Earl, and their cool, ultra-cool be-bop, be-bop sound). She had had her full string of Greenwich Village hipsters, or want-to-be- hipsters,of every variety and she had had a veritable United Nations of lovers from the time she had turned eighteen and learned the karma sutra arts (and liked them) from poet prince Jesse back to Bob, the Jewish folksinger, and before him, Jim the jug band guy, and let’s see, Julio the painter, Michelangelo the sculptor (no, not that old time one), Betty, the writer (just a crush and trying something new when some guy, a trumpet player so it figured, introduced her to sister and to some low-life sex stuff), Lothario the high-wire artist and juggler, and, well you know, a lot of very interesting people.

Of course Jesse was her first negro, oops, black lover. (She remembered one night when she called him that, negro, “the greatest Negro poet since Langston Hughes,” when she introduced him to friends at a party and later he yelled holy hell at her saying that he was a black man, a black son of Mother Africa and that his people were creating stuff, human progress stuff, when her people were figuring out how to use a spoon, and trying to figure out why anyone would use such a thing if they could figure it out. He said if he was in Mexico or Spain and was called that it would be okay, okay maybe, but in America he was black, a sable warrior, black. And had been black since Pharaoh times. Later that night he wrote his well-received In Pharaoh Times to blow off the madness steam he still felt toward her). And being her first black lover she gave him some room knowing that he was an artist, and he really was good in bed but this standing up thing was just not done, not done to a Crawford and so she determined that she would give him his walking papers.
Just then she remembered, remembered the last time, that second time he, Jesse, had kept her waiting and the next day, as an act of contrition, he had written his lovely poem Louise Love In Quiet Time for her that some Village poetry journal was all aflutter to publish (and that she had re-read constantly). So maybe tonight she would not give him his walking papers…


Oh, silver tree!
Oh, shining rivers of the soul!

In a Harlem cabaret
Six long-headed jazzers play.
A dancing girl whose eyes are bold
Lifts high a dress of silken gold.

Oh, singing tree!
Oh, shining rivers of the soul!

Were Eve's eyes
In the first garden
Just a bit too bold?
Was Cleopatra gorgeous
In a gown of gold?

Oh, shining tree!
Oh, silver rivers of the soul!

In a whirling cabaret
Six long-headed jazzers play.

Langston Hughes