Saturday, December 06, 2014

Happy Birthday!
Free her now!
2.30-4pm. Tue, 17 December 2014 
on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ  Charing Cross Tube
(St Martin’s requests that vigils on the steps are silent)
Other actions so far include Berlin, Philadelphia and
San Francisco .
. . If you organise an event, let
us know and we will publicise it.
Chelsea Manning is 27 years old on this day.  Formerly known as Bradley, she is the transgender whistleblower, US soldier, Grand Marshal at San Francisco Pride 2014, who revealed US, UK and other governments’ war crimes and corruption.  She leaked hundred of thousands of documents to Wikileaks exposing the truth and therefore saving many lives.  Imprisoned in 2010 and held for months under torturous conditions, she was sentenced to 35 years in August 2013.
If this stands, she’ll be out in 2045.
We cannot let this happen – we have to get her out!
Sign Amnesty International’s petition for her immediate release. For more info: Chelsea Manning Support Network

US: 215 848 1120 UK: 020 7267 8698
Queer Strike
US: 415-626 4114  UK: 020 7482 2496

Birthday Vigil for Chelsea Manning

November 17, 2014 by Chelsea Manning Support Network

On Chelsea Manning’s 27th birthday, this December 17th 2014, the Payday Men’s Network and Queer Strike are organizing vigils in her honor. Currently, actions are planned for London, San Francisco, Berlin, and Philadelphia.

Supporters are encouraged to also organize an event in their area, and Payday Men’s Network and Queer Strike will publicize it.  Write to for more information and to share details of your event.

London vigil details:

2:30-4:00 PM Tuesday, December 17
On the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ Charing Cross

(St. Martin’s request that vigils on the steps are silent)
Details on other locations TBA – Check back for more info.

From Payday Men’s Network & Queer Strike on the vigils:
Imprisoned in 2010 and held for months under torturous conditions, Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in August 2013. If this stands, she’ll be out in 2045. We cannot let this happen
As The 100th Anniversary Of The First Year Of World War I (Remember The War To End All Wars) Continues... Some Remembrances-The First Small Anti-War Cries- Karl Liebknecht’s Protest Against the War Credits 

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman  

The events leading up to World War I from the massive military armament of almost all the capitalist and imperialist parties in Europe and elsewhere in order to stake their claims to their unimpeded share of the world’s resources to the supposedly eternal pledges not honored by most of the Social-Democrats and other militant leftist formations representing the historic interest of the international working-class to stop those war-hungry parties in their tracks at the approach of war were decisive for 20th century history. Also decisive, although shrouded in obscurity early in the war as he languished in exile, was the soon to be towering figure of one Vladimir Lenin (a necessary nom de guerre held over from the hell broth days of the Czar’s Okhrana ready to send one and all to the Siberian frosts for the slightest opposition. That alias moniker business not a bad idea in today’s NSA-driven frenzy to know all, to peep at all), leader of the small Russian Bolshevik Party ( a Social-Democratic Party in name anyway adhering to the Second International although not for long), architect of the theory of the “vanguard party” building off of many revolutionary experience in Russia and Europe in the 19th century), and author of an important, important to the future communist world perspective, study on the tendencies of world imperialism, the ending of the age of progressive capitalism, and the hard fact that the current system was a drag on the possibilities of human progress and needed to be replaced by the establishment of the socialist order. He also has a "peace" plan, a peace plan of sorts, a way out of the stinking trench warfare stalemate eating up the youth. Turn the bloody world war among nation into a class war to drive out the war-mongers and bring some peace to the blood-soaked lands. But that is the wave of the future as the sinkhole trenches of Europe are already in the first year a death trap for the flower of the European youth.   

The ability to inflict industrial-sized slaughter and mayhem on a massive scale first portended toward the end of the American Civil War once the Northern industrial might tipped the scales their way almost could not be avoided in the early 20th century once the armaments race got serious, and the technology seemed to grow exponentially with each new turn in the war machine. The land war, the war carried out by the “grunts,” by the “cannon fodder” of many nations was only the tip of the iceberg and probably except for the increased cannon-power and rapidity of the machine-guns would be carried out by the norms of the last war. However the race for naval supremacy, or the race to take a big kink out of British supremacy, went on unimpeded as Germany tried to break-out into the Atlantic world and even Japan, Jesus, Japan tried to gain a big hold in the Asia seas.

The deeply disturbing submarine warfare wreaking havoc on commerce on the seas, the use of armed aircraft and other such technological innovations of war only added to the frenzy. We can hundred years ahead, look back and see where talk of “stabs in the back” by the losers and ultimately an armistice rather than decisive victory on the blood-drenched fields of Europe would lead to more blood-letting but it was not clear, or nobody was talking about it much, or, better, doing much about calling a halt before they began among all those “civilized” nations who went into the abyss in July of 1914. Sadly the list of those who would not do anything, anything concrete, besides paper manifestos issued at international conferences, included the great bulk of the official European labor movement which in theory was committed to stopping the madness.

A few voices, voices like Karl Liebknecht, who against the party majority bloc voting scheme finally voted against the Kaiser’s war budget, went to the streets to give rousing anti-war speeches listened to in the workers’ districts, lost his parliamentary immunity and wound up honorably in the Kaiser’s  prisons. That last, that prison business the only honorable place for a socialist deputy once the bloody capitalists get their war lusts up and Rosa Luxemburg ( the rose of the revolution also honorably prison bound) in Germany, Lenin and Trotsky in Russia (both exiled at the outbreak of war and who got out of their places of exile just in time), some anti-war anarchists like Monette in France and here in America Big Bill Haywood (who eventually would controversially flee to Russia to avoid jail for his opposition to American entry into war) and the stalwart Eugene V. Debs (who also went to jail, to “club fed” in Atlanta and ran for president in 1920 on the Socialist Party ticket out of his jail cell),  were raised and one hundred years later those voices have a place of honor in this space.

Those voices, many of them in exile, or in the deportations centers, were being clamped down as well as the various imperialist governments began closing their doors to political refugees when they were committed to clapping down on their own anti-war citizens. As we have seen in our own times, most recently in America in the period before the “shock and awe” of the decimation of Iraq in 2002 and early 2003 the government, most governments, are able to build a war frenzy out of whole cloth. At those times, and in my lifetime the period after 9/11 when we tried in vain to stop the Afghan war in its tracks is illustrative, to be a vocal anti-warrior is a dicey business. A time to keep your head down a little, to speak softly and wait for the fever to subside and to be ready to begin the anti-war fight another day. So imagine in 1914 when every nationality in Europe felt its prerogatives threatened how the fevered masses, including the beguiled working-classes bred on peace talk without substance, would not listen to the calls against the slaughter. Yes, one hundred years later is not too long or too late to honor those ardent anti-war voices as the mass mobilizations began in the countdown to war, began four years of bloody trenches and death.                   

Over the next period as we continue the long night of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and beyond I will under this headline post various documents, manifestos and cultural expressions from that time in order to give a sense of what the lead up to that war looked like, the struggle against its outbreak before the first frenzied shots were fired, the forlorn struggle during and the massive struggles after it in places like Russia, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the hodge-podge colonies all over the world map, in order to create a newer world out of the shambles of the battlefields.    


Karl Liebknecht 1914

Liebknecht’s Protest Against the War Credits

Source: Liebknecht “Liebknecht’s Protest Against the War Credits,” Justice, 17th December 1914, p.1;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

The “Berner Tagewacht” publishes the full text of Karl Liebknecht’s protest in the Reichstag against the voting of the war credits. The protest was suppressed in the Reichstag, and no German paper has published it. It appears that seventeen Social-Democratic members expressed their opposition to the credits on December 2, but Karl Liebknecht’s was the only vote recorded against them.
Liebknecht’s protest declares that “this war, which none of the peoples involved desired, was not started for the benefit of the German or of any other people. It is an Imperialist war, a war for capitalist domination of the world markets and for the political domination of the important countries in the interest of industrial and financial capitalism. Arising out of the armament race, it is a preventative war provoked by the German and Austrian war parties in the obscurity of semi-absolutism and of secret diplomacy.
“It is also a Buonapartist attempt tending to demoralise and destroy the growing Labour movement.”
“The German word of command ‘against Czarismus,’ like the English or French word of command ‘against militarism,’ has been the means of bringing forth the most noble instincts, the revolutionary traditions and hopes of the peoples, for the purpose of hatred among the peoples. Accomplice of ‘Czarismus,’ Germany, a model country of political reaction, possesses not the qualities necessary to play the part of a liberator of peoples ...
“This war is not a defensive war for Germany. Its historical character and the succeeding events make it impossible for us to trust a capitalist Government when it declares that it is for the defence of the country that it asks for the credits.
“A peace made as soon as possible and which will humiliate no one is what must be demanded. All efforts in that direction should be supported. A simultaneous and continual demand for such peace in all the belligerent countries will be able to stop the bloody massacre before the complete exhaustion of all the peoples concerned .....”
Liebknecht concludes his protest by declaring that he will vote in favour of anything that will lighten the hard lot of “our brothers on the field of battle, and those wounded and sick, for whom I have the warmest compassion .... But my protest is against the war, against those responsible for it, against those who are directing it; against the capitalistic ends for which it is being pursued, against the violation of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxemburg, against military dictation, and against the complete neglect of social and political duties of which the Government and the dominant class are guilty to-day.” 
29th Annual Partisan Defense Committee Holiday Appeal...The Struggle That Passes Through The Prisons-Free the Class-War Prisoners!

Workers Vanguard No. 1057

28 November 2014
29th Annual PDC Holiday Appeal
Free the Class-War Prisoners!
(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)
For nearly three decades, the Partisan Defense Committee has provided stipends to class-war prisoners—those behind bars for opposing varied expressions of racist capitalist oppression. The PDC is now organizing our annual Holiday Appeal fundraisers on behalf of 16 such prisoners. We send them $50 monthly stipends and provide holiday gifts for them and their families. The prisoners generally use the funds for basic necessities, from supplementing the inadequate prison diet to buying stamps and writing materials, or to pursue literary, artistic and musical endeavors that help ameliorate the living hell of prison life.
The PDC’s stipend program is modeled on a tradition of the early Communist movement, specifically the International Labor Defense (ILD) under its first secretary, James P. Cannon, from 1925-28. The ILD sent monthly contributions to more than 100 people imprisoned for fighting in the interests of the working people and the oppressed. As Cannon observed: “The procession that goes in and out of the prison doors is not a new one.... All through history those who have fought against oppression have constantly been faced with the dungeons of a ruling class” (“The Cause That Passes Through a Prison,” Labor Defender, September 1926).
This past year, we added Albert Woodfox as a stipend recipient. Along with other Black Panther Party members known as the Angola Three, Woodfox stood up against the hideous racism at Louisiana’s notorious Angola prison. In retaliation, prison authorities have subjected him to more than four decades of solitary confinement.
Others who had received stipends are now outside prison walls. After months of medical neglect and with thousands demanding her release, Lynne Stewart was finally let out of federal prison last New Year’s Eve. Suffering serious complications from breast cancer, Stewart is undergoing special treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York City. She reports that she is struggling with drug side effects and is having difficulty walking. Other former PDC stipend recipients are the young anti-fascist activists known as the Tinley Park 5, who were released at various times over the last 12 months or so. They had been tossed into prison for heroically dispersing a Chicago-area meeting of fascists in May 2012.
As Cannon said, “The class-conscious worker accords to the class-war prisoners a place of singular honor and esteem.” Join us in this vital work of solidarity. The 16 class-war prisoners receiving stipends from the PDC are listed below.
*   *   *
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther Party spokesman, a well-known supporter of the MOVE organization and an award-winning journalist known as “the voice of the voiceless.” Framed up for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer, Mumia was sentenced to death explicitly for his political views. Federal and state courts have repeatedly refused to consider evidence proving Mumia’s innocence, including the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, shot and killed the policeman. In 2011 the Philadelphia district attorney’s office dropped its longstanding effort to legally lynch America’s foremost class-war prisoner. Mumia remains condemned to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Leonard Peltier is an internationally renowned class-war prisoner. Peltier’s incarceration for his activism in the American Indian Movement has come to symbolize this country’s racist repression of its native peoples, the survivors of centuries of genocidal oppression. Peltier was framed up for the 1975 deaths of two FBI agents marauding in what had become a war zone on the South Dakota Pine Ridge Reservation. Although the lead government attorney has admitted, “We can’t prove who shot those agents,” and the courts have acknowledged blatant prosecutorial misconduct, the 70-year-old Peltier is not scheduled to be reconsidered for parole for another ten years! Peltier suffers from multiple serious medical conditions and is incarcerated far from his people and family.
Eight MOVE members—Chuck Africa, Michael Africa, Debbie Africa, Janet Africa, Janine Africa, Delbert Africa, Eddie Africa and Phil Africa—are in their 37th year of prison. After the 8 August 1978 siege of their Philadelphia home by over 600 heavily armed cops, they were sentenced to 30-100 years having been falsely convicted of killing a police officer who died in the cops’ own cross fire. In 1985, eleven of their MOVE family members, including five children, were massacred by Philly cops when a bomb was dropped on their living quarters. After more than three decades of unjust incarceration, these innocent prisoners are routinely turned down at parole hearings. None have been released.
Albert Woodfox is the last of the Angola Three still incarcerated. Along with Herman Wallace and Robert King, Woodfox fought the vicious, racist and dehumanizing conditions in Louisiana’s Angola prison and courageously organized a Black Panther Party chapter at the prison. Authorities framed up Woodfox and Wallace for the fatal stabbing of a prison guard in 1972 and falsely convicted King of killing a fellow inmate a year later. For over 42 years, Woodfox has been locked down in Closed Cell Restricted (CCR) blocks, the longest stretch in solitary confinement ever in this country. His conviction has been overturned three times! According to his lawyers, he suffers from hypertension, heart disease, chronic renal insufficiency, diabetes, anxiety and insomnia—conditions no doubt caused and/or exacerbated by decades of vindictive and inhumane treatment.
Jaan Laaman and Thomas Manning are the two remaining anti-imperialist activists known as the Ohio 7 still in prison, convicted for their roles in a radical group that took credit for bank “expropriations” and bombings of symbols of U.S. imperialism, such as military and corporate offices, in the late 1970s and ’80s. Before their arrests in 1984 and 1985, the Ohio 7 were targets of massive manhunts. The Ohio 7’s politics were once shared by thousands of radicals but, like the Weathermen before them, the Ohio 7 were spurned by the “respectable” left. From a proletarian standpoint, the actions of these leftist activists against imperialism and racist injustice are not crimes. They should not have served a day in prison.
Ed Poindexter and Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa are former Black Panther supporters and leaders of the Omaha, Nebraska, National Committee to Combat Fascism. They are victims of the FBI’s deadly COINTELPRO operation, under which 38 Black Panther Party members were killed and hundreds more imprisoned on frame-up charges. Poindexter and Mondo were railroaded to prison and sentenced to life for a 1970 explosion that killed a cop, and they have now spent more than 40 years behind bars. Nebraska courts have repeatedly denied Poindexter and Mondo new trials despite the fact that a crucial piece of evidence excluded from the original trial, a 911 audio tape long suppressed by the FBI, proved that testimony of the state’s key witness was perjured.
Hugo Pinell, the last of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, has been in solitary isolation for more than four decades. He was a militant anti-racist leader of prison rights organizing along with George Jackson, his comrade and mentor, who was gunned down by prison guards in 1971. Despite numerous letters of support and no disciplinary write-ups for over 28 years, Pinell was again denied parole in 2009. Now in his late 60s, Pinell continues to serve a life sentence after having finally been released from the notorious torture chamber Pelican Bay SHU in California, a focal point for hunger strikes against grotesque inhuman conditions.
Send your contributions to: PDC, P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013; (212) 406-4252.
As The 100th Anniversary Of The First Year Of World War I (Remember The War To End All Wars) Continues ... Some Remembrances-Poets’ Corner  

In say 1912 in the time of the supposedly big deal Basle Socialist Conference which got reflected in more circles than just workingmen, small shopkeepers and small farmers, or 1913 for that matter when the big deal European powers were waging "proxy" war, making ominous moves, but most importantly working three shifts in the munitions plants, oh hell, even in the beginning of 1914 before the war clouds got a full head of steam that summer they all profusely professed their undying devotion to peace, to wage no war for any reason. Reasons: artists who saw the disjointedness of modern industrial society, freaked out at what humankind had produced, was producing to place everybody in an inescapable box and hence their cubic fascinations from which to run, put the pieces to paint; sculptors who put twisted pieces of scrape metal juxtaposed to each other  to get that same effect, an effect which would be replicated on all those foreboding trenched fronts; writers, not all of them socialists either, some were conservatives that saw empire, their particular empire, in grave danger once the blood started flowing  who saw the v   of serious history books proving that, according to their Whiggish theory of progress,  humankind had moved beyond war as an instrument of policy; writers of not so serious novels drenched in platitudes and hidden gabezo love affairs put paid to that notion in their sweet nothing words that man and woman had too much to do to denigrate themselves by crying the warrior’s cry and for the sweet nothing maidens to spent their waking hours strewing flowers on the bloodlust streets; musicians whose muse spoke of delicate tempos and sweet muted violin concertos; and poets, ah, those constricted poets who bleed the moon of its amber swearing, swearing on a stack of seven sealed bibles, that they with all their creative brethren would go to the hells, literary Dante's rings, before touching the hair of another human, that come the war drums they all would resist the siren call, would stick to their Whiggish, Futurist, Constructionist, Cubist, world and blast the war-makers to hell in quotes, words, chords, clanged metal, and pretty pastels.

And then the war drums intensified and they, they made of ordinary human clay as it turned out, they who could not resist the call, could not resist those maidens now busy all day strewing flowers on the bloodlust streets for their soldier boys, those poets, artists, sculptors, writers, serious and not, musicians went sheepishly to the trenches with the rest of the flower of European youth to die deathless deaths in their thousands for, well, for ….            


Our little hour,--how swift it flies When poppies flare and lilies smile; How soon the fleeting minute dies, Leaving us but a little while To dream our dream, to sing our song, To pick the fruit, to pluck the flower, The Gods--They do not give us long,-- One little hour. Our little hour,--how short it is When Love with dew-eyed loveliness Raises her lips for ours to kiss And dies within our first caress. Youth flickers out like wind-blown flame, Sweets of to-day to-morrow sour, For Time and Death, relentless, claim Our little hour. Our little hour,--how short a tune To wage our wars, to fan our hates, To take our fill of armoured crime, To troop our banners, storm the gates. Blood on the sword, our eyes blood-red, Blind in our puny reign of power, Do we forget how soon is sped Our little hour? Our little hour,--how soon it dies: How short a time to tell our beads, To chant our feeble Litanies, To think sweet thoughts, to do good deeds. The altar lights grow pale and dim, The bells hang silent in the tower-- So passes with the dying hymn Our little hour. _Leslie Coulson_

Friday, December 05, 2014

***The Roots Is The Toots-The Music That Got The Generation Of ’68 Through The 1950s Red Scare Cold War Night -Little Richard's Lucille
On His 82nd Birthday-HB 


On Entering North Adamsville High Redux , Circa 1960


From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin 

A few years ago, maybe four or five now, around the time that Frank Jackman (always Frank and not Francis since that was too much like that St Francis who was good to animals and stuff and no self-respecting corner boy wanted that tagged to his name besides the formal name sounded kind of faggy when the guys talked about names one night, also not Frankie since that name was taken up in his crowd) and Frankie Riley (always Frankie and not Francis for the same reason as Frank but also Frankie because he had always been called Frankie since time immemorial to distinguish him from his father Frank, Sr.) his Jack Slack’s bowling alleys corner boy chieftain all through high school in North Adamsville had been commemorating, maybe better to say comparing notes, on their fiftieth anniversary of entry into that school in the ninth grade Frank had written a remembrance of the first day of school freshman year. He had written it at the behest of a female fellow classmate, Dora, for a class website where she was the webmaster that she and a few others had established so that those from the Class of 1964 who wished to, those who were able to, could communicate with each other in the new dispensation of cyberspace.

That remembrance, one of a series of sketches that he eventually did, and on recent inquiry from Jimmy Jenkins another classmate and ex-corner boy comrade, Frank has stated that he stood by that “sketch” characterization, centered on the anxieties that he had on that first day about making a brand new impression on the freshman class, about changing his junior high school quasi-“beatnik” style, his two thousand fact barrage that he would lay on anybody who would listen. A style change that lots of guys and gals have gone through when faces with a new situation, although the people he was trying to impress had already been his classmates in that junior high school and were painfully aware of the previous way that he had presented himself, presented himself  under Frankie’s direction, to the world. When Frankie at the time read what Frank had written, a thing filled with new found sobbing, weeping, and pious innocence he sent him an e-mail which brought Frank up short. Frankie threatened in no uncertain terms to write his own “sketch” refuting all the sobbing, weeping, piously innocent noise that Frank had been trying to bamboozle their fellow classmates with. The key point that Frankie threatened to bring down on a candid world, the candid world in this instance being the very curious Dora for one, and her coterie of friends who had stayed in contact since high school since they all lived in the area, to be clear about was the case of Frank Jackman and one Lydia Stevenson. Or rather the case, the love-bug case he had for her. That, and not some mumble-jumble about changing his act which he never really did since you could always depend on Frank going on and on with one of his two thousand arcane facts that he tried to impress every girl he ran across in high school with and to dress like he had just come walking in from post-beat Harvard Square, was the very real point of what was aggravating him on that long ago hot endless first Wednesday after Labor Day morning.

See Frank had gotten absolutely nowhere with Lydia, nowhere beyond the endless talking stage, and thus nowhere, in junior high but he was still carrying the torch come freshman year and fifty years later he still felt that fresh-scented breathe and that subtle perfume, or bath soap, or whatever it was she wore, breezing over him. Or maybe her curse, a North Adamsville curse that he claimed at one point that Lydia cast on him since he never had then a girlfriend from school, or from North Adamsville for that matter. Not in high school anyway. The currency of that fresh breeze that occupied his mind may have been pushed forward by his getting back in touch with classmates. And as fate would have it, the thrice-married Frank, never one to say never to love had as a result of getting back in touch with classmates on the website had a short fruitless affair with another classmate, Laura, who had been a close friend of Lydia’s in junior high school and told him a couple of things about what Lydia had thought about Frank. Laura confirmed that Lydia had expected Frank to ask her out in junior high school but also confirmed by that failed affair that Lydia’s curse was still at work fifty years later. And it is that missed opportunity to fall under the sway of that Lydia scent that will drive this short sketch, hell, forget Frank and his sketch business, this short piece.                   

This is the way Frank described to me what happened after Frankie sent that fatal e-mail that might expose his long hidden thoughts:  

“Frankie, for once listened patiently as I finished my story, the one that he say was filled to the brim with sobbing, weeping, whining bull about starting anew and being anxious about what would happen, and which he threatened to go viral on, immediately after I was finished let out with a “Who are you kidding Jackman that is not the way you told me the story back then.” Then he went on. “I remember very well what you were nervous about. What that cold night sweats, that all-night toss and turn teen angst, boy version, had been about and it wasn’t first day of school jitters. It was nothing but thinking about her. That certain "she" that you had kind of sneaked around mentioning as you had been talking, talking your his head off about filling out forms, getting books, and other weird noises, just to keep the jitters down. The way you told it then, and I think you called me up right after school was out to discuss the matter, was that while on those pre-school steps you had just seen her, seen her with the other North Adamsville junior high girls on the other side of the steps, and got all panicky, got kind of red-faced about it, and so you are going to have to say a little something about that. And if you don’t I will.” 

Frankie continued along this line, stuff which seemed to be true but which made me wonder how a guy who when we met at the Sunnyville Grille over in Boston for a few drinks to discuss this and that, not the Lydia thing but our corner boy exploits, couldn’t remember where he left his car keys and we had to call AAA to come out and find them on his driver’s side seat. Jesus.  Here’s what he was getting at.

“See, I know the previous school year, late in the eighth grade at North Adamsville Junior High, toward the end of the school year you had started talking to that Lydia Stevenson in art class. Yes, that Lydia who on her mother’s side from was from some branch of the Adams family who had run the jagged old ship-building town there in North Adamsville for eons and who had employed my father and a million other fathers, and I think yours’ too if I am not mistaken, for a while anyway, around there and then just headed south, or to Greece or someplace like that, for the cheaper labor I heard later. She was one of the granddaughters or some such relation I never did get it all down. And that part was not all that important anyway because what mattered, what mattered to you, was that faint scent, that just barely perceivable scent, some nectar scent, that came from Lydia when you sat next to her in art class and you two talked, talked your heads off.

“But you never did anything about it, not then anyway although you said when we talked later about it you had this feeling, maybe just a feeling because you wanted things to be that way but a feeling anyway, that she had expected you to ask her out. Asking out for junior high school students then, and for freshmen in high school too because we didn’t have licenses to drive cars, being the obligatory "first date" at Jimmy Jack's Shack (no, not the one off Adamsville Boulevard, that's for the tourists and old people, the one on Hancock up toward the Square is the one I am talking about). You said you were just too shy and uncertain to do it.

“Why? Well you said it was because you came from the “wrong side of the tracks” in the old town, over by the old abandoned Old Colony tracks and she, well like I said came from a branch of the Adams family that lived over on Elm in one of those Victorian houses that the swells are crazy for now, and I guess were back then too. That is when you figured that if you studied up on a bunch of stuff, stuff that you liked to study anyway, then come freshman year you just might be able to get up the nerve to ask her to go over to Jimmy Jack's for something to eat and to listen to the jukebox after school some day like every other Tom, Dick and Harry did then.

“.... So don’t tell me suddenly, a bell rang, a real bell, students, like lemmings to the sea, were on the move, especially those junior high kids that you had nodded to before as you took those steps, two at a time. And don’t tell me it was too late then to worry about style, or anything else. Or make your place in the sun as you went along, on the fly. No, it was about who kind of brushed against you as you rushed up the stairs and who gave you one of her biggest faintly-scented smiles as you both raced up those funky granite steps. Yeah, a place in the sun, sure.”

And so there you had Frank satisfying Frankie enough with his agreement to make public on the class website the gist of his stubborn e-mail. Funny though as much time as they spent talking about it back in the day and then when they resurrected it a few years ago Frank never did get to first base Lydia in high school, although she sent him a few more of those big faintly-scented smiles which Frank didn’t figure out until too late. Within a couple of weeks of the school opening Lydia was seen hand in hand with Paul Jones, a sophomore then, the guy who would lead North Adamsville to two consecutive division football championships and who stayed hand in hand with him until she graduated. Frank had had a few girlfriends in high school, Harvard Square refugees like himself who went crazy for his two thousand facts but they were not from the town. The few times Frank did try to get dates in school or in town, get to first base, he was shot down for all kinds of reasons, a couple of times because he did not have a car and the girls had not the slightest interest in walking around on a date, a couple of times he was just flat stood up when the girls he was to date took the next best thing instead. Yeah, the Lydia hex sure did him in. And after that Laura disaster don’t say he wasn’t jinxed, just don’t say it around him.        
Free Chelsea Manning - President Obama Pardon Chelsea Manning Now!

Birthday Vigil for Chelsea Manning In Boston


In honor of Chelsea Manning’s 27th birthday, this December 20th 2014, responding to a call from the Chelsea Manning Support Network and Payday Men’s Network and Queer Strike long-time supporters of freedom for Chelsea Manning from the Boston Chelsea Manning Support Committee, Veterans For Peace and other activists in Boston will celebrate Chelsea’s birthday. Currently, Payday Men’s Network and Queer Strike actions are planned for London, San Francisco, Berlin, and Philadelphia.

Supporters are encouraged to also organize an event in their area, and Payday Men’s Network and Queer Strike will publicize it.  Write to for more information and to share details of your event.

Boston vigil details:

1:00-2:00 PM Saturday, December 20
Park Street Station Entrance on the Boston Common

Imprisoned in 2010 and held for months under torturous conditions, Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in August 2013. If this stands, she’ll be out in 2045. We cannot let this happen- – we have to get her out! We will not leave our sister behind. Bring yourself and encourage others to attend and sign the petition for a presidential pardon from Barack Obama in this important show of support to Chelsea Manning  
The Latest From The Partisan Defense Committee Website- And A Personal Appeal From The American Left History Blog - Remembering The Class-War Prisoners During The Holiday Appeal     


James P. Cannon (center)-Founding leader of The International Labor Defense- a model for labor defense work in the 1920s and 1930s.

Click below to link to the Partisan Defense Committee website.

Reposted from the American Left History blog, dated December 1, 2010, updated December 2014.

Markin comment:

I like to think of myself as a long-time fervent supporter of the Partisan Defense Committee, an organization committed to social and political defense cases and causes in the interests of the international working class. Cases from early on in the 1970s when the organization was founded and the committee defended the Black Panthers who were being targeted by every police agency that had an say in the matter, the almost abandoned by the left Weather Underground (in its various incantations) and Chilean miners in the wake of the Pinochet coup there in 1973 up to more recent times with the Mumia death penalty case, defense of the Occupy movement and the NATO three, and defense of the heroic Wiki-leaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley).

Moreover the PDC is an organization committed, at this time of the year, to raising funds to support the class-war prisoners’ stipend program through the annual Holiday Appeal drive. Unfortunately having to raise these funds in support of political prisoners for many years now, too many years, as the American and international capitalist class and their hangers-on have declared relentless war, recently a very one-sided war, against those who would cry out against the monster. Attempting to silence voices from zealous lawyers like Lynne Stewart, articulate death-row prisoners like Mumia and the late Tookie Williams, anti-fascist street fighters like the Tingsley Five to black liberation fighters like the Assata Shakur, the Omaha Three and the Angola Three and who ended up on the wrong side of a cop and state vendetta and anti-imperialist fighters like the working-class based Ohio Seven and student-based Weather Underground who took Che Guevara’s admonition to wage battle inside the “belly of the beast” seriously. Others, other militant labor and social liberation fighters as well, too numerous to mention here but remembered.

Normally I do not need any prompting in the matter. This year tough I read the 25th Anniversary Appeal article in Workers Vanguard No. 969 where I was startled to note how many of the names, organizations, and political philosophies mentioned there hark back to my own radical coming of age, and the need for class-struggle defense of all our political prisoners in the late 1960s (although I may not have used that exact term at the time).

That recognition included names like black liberation fighter George Jackson’s present class-war prisoner Hugo Pinell’s San Quentin Six comrade; the Black Panthers in their better days, the days when the American state really was out to kill or detain every last supporter, and in the days when we needed, desperately needed, to fight for their defense in places from Oakland to New Haven,  as represented by two of the Omaha Three (Poindexter and wa Langa), in their younger days; the struggle, the fierce struggle, against the death penalty as represented in Mumia’s case today (also Black Panther-connected); the Ohio 7 and the Weather Underground who, rightly or wrongly, were committed to building a second front against American imperialism, and who most of the left, the respectable left, abandoned; and, of course, Leonard Peltier and the Native American struggles from Pine Ridge to the Southwest. It has been a long time and victories few. I could go on but you get the point.

That point also includes the hard fact that we have paid a high price, a very high price, for not winning back in the late 1960s and early 1970s when we last had this capitalist imperialist society on the ropes. Maybe it was political immaturity, maybe it was cranky theory, maybe it was elitism, hell, maybe it was just old-fashioned hubris but we let them off the hook. And have had to fight forty years of rear-guard “culture wars” since just to keep from falling further behind.

And the class-war prisoners, our class-war prisoners, have had to face their “justice” and their prisons. Many, too many for most of that time. That lesson should be etched in the memory of every pro-working class militant today. And this, as well, as a quick glance at the news these days should make every liberation fighter realize; the difference between being on one side of that prison wall and the other is a very close thing when the bourgeois decides to pull the hammer down. The support of class-war prisoners is thus not charity, as International Labor Defense founder James P. Cannon noted back in the 1920s, but a duty of those fighters outside the walls. Today I do my duty, and gladly. I urge others to do the same now at the holidays and throughout the year. The class-war prisoners must not stand alone. 

Bloggers, , | 1 Comment

Michael James :
A solo run west, ChicagoFest and Maxwell Street, and a taste for electoral politics, 1979

Halsted by Maxwell had a great hot dog stand which I frequented during late night hunger attacks for polish sausages smothered with grilled onions and hot peppers and greasy fries on the side.

michael 2 - long train
Long Train on the Plains, 1979. Photos by Michael James from his forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James’ Pictures from the Long Haul.
By Michael James | The Rag Blog | October 7, 2014
[In this series, Michael James is sharing images from his rich past, accompanied by reflections about — and inspired by — those images. These photos will be included in his forthcoming book, Michael Gaylord James’ Pictures from the Long Haul.]
Throughout 1979, work, politics, and travel commingled. The brutal winter blizzard that year brought me extracurricular work driving a dump truck and a small front loader to help remove the onslaught of paralyzing snow. When winter finally broke, I was in get-out-of-town mode; in April I embarked on a solo drive West.
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Bloggers | 1 Comment

Jonah Raskin :
Berkeley Free Speech Movement turns 50

Aging Berkeley radicals and young undergrads mark the anniversary of the FSM in a gathering that’s short on nostalgia, long on hope, zero on regret.

fsm 1
FSM vets and Berkeley students gather for rally, October 1, 2014. Photo by William Pinkus / The Rag Blog.
By Jonah Raskin | The Rag Blog | October 7, 2014
BERKELEY — Lynne Hollander Savio served as the MC for the event and played a tape of her husband, Mario, delivering his famous speech in which he invites fellow students to “put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!”
Mike Smith of the Oakland Seven stood behind Lynne Hollander Savio and held an American flag. Sixties radical and UC Santa Cruz professor, Bettina Aptheker, spoke, as did Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers (UVF), plus Jack Weinberg, who noted famously ages ago, “Don’t trust anyone over the age of 30.”
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Ron Jacobs :
BOOKS | Redefining urban renewal: Squatting
in Europe

‘The City is Ours’ examines both politically and socially the squatters’ movement in Europe over the past 40 years and provides a template for the movement’s future.

the city is ours
Essays on the squatters’ movement in Europe.
By Ron Jacobs | The Rag Blog | October 15, 2014
[The City is Ours: Squatting and Autonomous Movements in Europe from the 1970s to the Present, edited by Bart van der Steen, Ask Katzeff, and Leendert van Hoogenhuijze (September 2014: PM Press); Paperback; 336 pp; $21.95.]
British novelist Doris Lessing wrote a novel titled The Good Terrorist. The story revolves around an autonomous leftist cell in London that decides to step up their participation in the struggle against capitalism and imperialism by providing material support to the IRA. Eventually, the cell moves on to taking their own armed actions, which result in the death of one of their members.
The main character in the novel, a woman named Alice, has political and moral disagreements with the course she and her comrades have taken but remains committed to the course of action. The cell’s living quarters is in a squatted building in London. Unlike her fellow squatters, Alice takes an active interest in making the squat a livable quarters. Lessing’s descriptions of the squat and the work undertaken to make it livable are why I mention this work of fiction.
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