Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring Walk For Peace From Leverett Massachusetts To Washington, D.C. Boston Area-March 15-19

Spring Walk For Peace From Leverett Massachusetts To Washington, D.C. Boston Area-March 15-19

*****Frank Jackman’s Fate-With Bob Dylan’s Masters of War In Mind

*****Frank Jackman’s Fate-With Bob Dylan’s Masters of War In Mind


From The Pen Of Sam Lowell

Jack Callahan’s old friend from Sloan High School in Carver down in Southeastern Massachusetts Zack James (Zack short for Zachary not as is the fashion today to just name a baby Zack and be done with it) is an amateur writer and has been at it since he got out of high school. Found out that maybe by osmosis, something like that, the stuff Miss Enos taught him junior and senior years about literature and her favorite writers Hemingway, Edith Wharton and Dorothy Parker to name a few, that she would entice the English class stuck with him with through college where although he majored in Political Science he was in thrall to the English literature courses that he snuck in to his schedule. Snuck in although Zack knew practically speaking he had a snowball’s chance in hell, an expression he had learned from Hemingway he thought,  of making a career out of the literary life as a profession, would more likely wind driving a cab through dangerous midnight sections of town  occasionally getting mugged for his night’s work. That Political Science major winding up producing about the same practical results as the literary life though. Stuck with him, savior stuck with him, through his tour of duty during the Vietnam War, and savior stayed with him through those tough years when he couldn’t quite get himself back to the “real” world after ‘Nam and let drugs and alcohol rule his life so that he wound up for some time as a “brother under the bridge” as Bruce Springsteen later put the situation in a song that he played continuously at times after he first heard it “Saigon, long gone…."  Stuck with him after he recovered and started building up his sports supplies business, stuck with him through three happy/sad/savage/acrimonious “no go” marriages and a parcel of kids and child support.  And was still sticking with him now that he had time to stretch out and write longer pieces, and beat away on the word processor a few million words on this and that.  

Amateur writer meaning nothing more than that he liked to write and that writing was not his profession, that he did not depend on the pen for his livelihood(or rather more correctly these days not the pen but the word processor). That livelihood business was taken up running a small sports apparel store in a mall not far from Lexington (the Lexington of American revolutionary battles to give the correct own and state) where he now lived. Although he was not a professional writer his interest was such that he liked these days with Jimmy Shore, the famous ex-runner running the day to day operations of the store, to perform some of his written work in public at various “open mic” writing (and poetry) jams that have sprouted up in his area.

This “open mic” business was a familiar concept to Jack from the days back in the 1960s when he would go to such events in the coffeehouses around Harvard Square and Beacon Hill to hear amateur folk-singers perfect their acts and try to be recognized as the new voice of their generation, or something like that. For “no singing voice, no musical ear” Jack those were basically cheap date nights if the girl he was with was into folk music. The way most of the "open mics" although they probably called them talent searches then, worked was each performer would sign up to do one, two, maybe three songs depending on how long the list of those wishing to perform happened to be (the places where each performer kicked in a couple of bucks in order to play usually had shorter lists). These singers usually performed in the period in front of the night’s feature who very well might have been somebody who a few weeks before had been noticed by the owner during a pervious "open mic" and asked to do a set of six to sixteen songs depending on the night and the length of the list of players in front of him or her. The featured performer played, unlike the "open mic" people, for the “basket” (maybe a hat) passed around the crowd in the audience and that was the night’s “pay.” A tough racket for those starting out like all such endeavors. The attrition rate was pretty high after the folk minute died down with arrival of other genre like folk rock, heavy rock, and acid rock although you still see a few old folkies around the Square or playing the separate “open mic” folk circuit that also ran through church coffeehouses just like these writing jams.

Jack was not surprised then when Zack told him he would like him to come to hear him perform one of his works at the monthly third Thursday “open mic” at the Congregational Church in Arlington the next town over from Lexington. Zack told Jack that that night he was going to perform something he had written and thought on about Frank Jackman, about what had happened to Frank when he was in the Army during Vietnam War times.

Jack knew almost automatically what Zack was going to do, he would somehow use Bob Dylan’s Masters of War lyrics as part of his presentation. Jack and Zack ( a Vietnam veteran who got “religion” on the anti-war issue while he in the Army and became a fervent anti-war guy after that experience despite his personal problems) had met Frank in 1971 when they were doing some anti-war work among the soldiers at Fort Devens out in Ayer about forty miles west of Boston. Frank had gotten out of the Army several months before and since he was from Nashua in the southern part of New Hampshire not far from Devens and had heard about the G.I. coffeehouse, The Morning Report, where Jack and Zack were working as volunteers he had decided to volunteer to help out as well.

Now Frank was a quiet guy, quieter than Jack and Zack anyway, but one night he had told his Army story to a small group of volunteers gathered in the main room of the coffeehouse as they were planning to distribute Daniel Ellsberg’s sensational whistle-blower expose The Pentagon Papers to soldiers at various spots around the base (including as it turned out inside the fort itself with one copy landing on the commanding general’s desk for good measure). He wanted to tell this story since he wanted to explain why he would not be able to go with them if they went inside the gates at Fort Devens.

Jack knew Zack was going to tell Frank’s story so he told Frank he would be there since he had not heard the song or Frank’s story in a long while and had forgotten parts of it. Moreover Zack wanted Jack there for moral support since this night other than the recitation of the lyrics he was going to speak off the cuff rather than his usual reading from some prepared paper.  

That night Zack was already in the hall talking to the organizer, Eli Walsh, you may have heard of him since he has written some searing poems about his time in three tours Iraq. Jack felt right at home in this basement section of the church and he probably could have walked around blind-folded since the writing jams were on almost exactly the same model as the old folkie “open mics.” A table as you entered to pay your admission this night three dollars (although the tradition is that no one is turned away for lack of funds) with a kindly woman asking if you intended to perform and direct you to the sign-up sheet if so. Another smaller table with various cookies, snacks, soda, water and glasses for those who wished to have such goodies, and who were asked to leave a donation in the jar on that table if possible. The set-up in the hall this night included a small stage where the performers would present their material slightly above the audience. On the stage a lectern for those who wished to use that for physical support or to read their work from and the ubiquitous simple battery-powered sound system complete with microphone. For the audience a bevy of chairs, mostly mismatched, mostly having seen plenty of use, and mostly uncomfortable. After paying his admission fee he went over to Zack to let him know he was in the audience. Zack told him he was number seven on the list so not to wander too far once the session had begun.

This is the way Zack told the story and why Jack knew there would be some reference to Bob Dylan’s Masters of War that night:

Hi everybody my name is Zack James and I am glad that you all came out this cold night to hear Preston Borden present his moving war poetry and the rest of us to reflect on the main subject of this month’s writing jam-the endless wars that the American government under whatever regime of late has dragged us into, us kicking and screaming to little avail.  I want to thank Eli as always for setting this event up every month and for his own thoughtful war poetry. [Some polite applause.] But enough for thanks and all that because tonight I want to recite a poem, well, not really a poem, but lyrics to a song, to a Bob Dylan song, Masters of War, so it might very well be considered a poem in some sense.   

You know sometimes, a lot of times, a song, lyrics, a poem for that matter bring back certain associations. You know some song you heard on the radio when you went on your first date, your first dance, your first kiss, stuff like that which is forever etched in your memory and evokes that moment every time you hear it thereafter. Now how this Dylan song came back to me recently is a story in itself.

You remember Eli back in October when we went up to Maine to help the Maine Veterans for Peace on their yearly peace walk that I ran into Susan Rich, the Quaker gal we met up in Freeport who walked with us that day to Portland. [Eli shouted out “yes.”] I had not seen Susan in about forty years before that day, hadn’t seen her since the times we had worked together building up support for anti-war G.I.s out at the Morning Report coffeehouse in Ayer outside Fort Devens up on Route 2 about thirty miles from here. That’s when we met Frank Jackman who is the real subject of my presentation tonight since he is the one who I think about when I think about that song, think about his story and how that song relates to it.   

Funny as many Dylan songs as I knew Masters of War, written by Dylan in 1963 I had never heard until 1971. Never heard the lyrics until I met Frank out at Fort Devens where after I was discharged from the Army that year I went to do some volunteer anti-war G.I. work at the coffeehouse outside the base in Army town Ayer. Frank too was a volunteer, had heard about the place somehow I forget how, who had grown up in Nashua up in southern New Hampshire and after he was discharged from the Army down at Fort Dix in New Jersey came to volunteer just like me and my old friend Jack Callahan who is sitting in the audience tonight. Now Frank was a quiet guy didn’t talk much about his military service but he made the anti-war soldiers who hung out there at night and on weekends feel at ease. One night thought he felt some urge to tell his story, tell why he thought it was unwise for him to participate in an anti-war action we were planning around the base. We were going to pass out copies of Daniel Ellsberg’s explosive whistle-blower expose The Pentagon Papers to soldiers at various location around the fort and as it turned out on the base. The reason that Frank had balked at the prospect of going into the fort was that as part of his discharge paperwork was attached a statement that he was never to go on a military installation again. We all were startled by that remark, right Jack? [Jack nods agreement.]

And that night the heroic, our kind of heroic, Frank Jackman told us about the hows and whys of his Army experience. Frank had been drafted like a ton of guys back then, like me, and had allowed himself to be drafted in 1968 at the age of nineteen not being vociferously anti-war and not being aware then of the option of not taking the subsequent induction. After about three week down at Fort Dix, the main basic training facility for trainees coming from the Northeast then, he knew two things-he had made a serious mistake by allowing himself to be drafted and come hell or high water he was not going to fight against people he had no quarrel with in Vietnam. Of course the rigors of basic training and being away from home, away from anybody who could help him do he knew not what then kept him quiet and just waiting. Once basic was over and he got his Advanced Infantry Training assignment also at Fort Dix which was to be an infantryman at a time when old Uncle Sam only wanted infantrymen in the rice paddles and jungles of Vietnam things came to a head.

After a few weeks in AIT he got a three day weekend pass which allowed him to go legally off the base and he used that time to come up to Boston, or really Cambridge because what he was looking for was help to file an conscientious objector application and he knew the Quakers were historically the ones who would know about going about that process. That is ironically where Susan Rich comes in again, although indirectly this time, since Frank went to the Meeting House on Brattle Street where they were doing draft and G.I. resistance counseling and Susan was a member of that Meeting although she had never met him at that time. He was advised by one of the Quaker counselors that he could submit a C.O. application in the military, which he had previously not been sure was possible since nobody told anybody anything about that in the military, when he got back to Fort Dix but just then, although they were better later, the odds were stacked against him since he had already accepted induction. So he went back, put in his application, took a lot of crap from the lifers and officers in his company after that and little support, mainly indifference, from his fellow trainees. He still had to go through the training, the infantry training though and although he had taken M-16 rifle training in basic he almost balked at continuing to fire weapons especially when it came to machine guns. He didn’t balk but in the end that was not a big deal since fairly shortly after that his C.O. application was rejected although almost all those who interviewed him in the process though he was “sincere” in his beliefs. That point becomes important later.

Frank, although he knew his chances of being discharged as a C.O. were slim since he had based his application on his Catholic upbringing and more general moral and ethical grounds. The Catholic Church which unlike Quakers and Mennonites and the like who were absolutely against war held to a just war theory, Vietnam being mainly a just war in the Catholic hierarchy’s opinion. But Frank was sincere, more importantly, he was determined to not got to war despite his hawkish family and his hometown friends’, some who had already served, served in Vietnam too, scorn and lack of support. So he went back up to Cambridge on another three day pass to get some advice, which he actually didn’t take in the end or rather only partially took up  which had been to get a lawyer they would recommend and fight the C.O. denial in Federal court even though that was also still a long shot then.  

Frank checked with the lawyer alright, Steve Brady, who had been radicalized by the war and was offering his services on a sliding scale basis to G.I.s since he also had the added virtue of having been in the JAG in the military and so knew some of the ropes of the military legal system, and legal action was taken but Frank was one of those old time avenging Jehovah types like John Brown or one of those guys and despite being a Catholic rather than a high holy Protestant which is the usual denomination for avenging angels decided to actively resist the military. And did it in fairly simple way when you think about it. One Monday morning when the whole of AIT was on the parade field for their weekly morning report ceremony Frank came out of his barracks with his civilian clothes on and carrying a handmade sign which read “Bring the Troops Home Now!”

That sign was simply but his life got a lot more complicated after that. In the immediate sense that meant he was pulled down on the ground by two lifer sergeants and brought to the Provost Marshal’s office since they were not sure that some dippy-hippie from near-by New York City might be pulling a stunt. When they found out that he was a soldier they threw him into solitary in the stockade.

For his offenses Frank was given a special court-martial which meant he faced six month maximum sentence which a panel of officers at his court-martial ultimately sentenced him to after a seven day trial which Steve Brady did his best to try to make into an anti-war platform but given the limitation of courts for such actions was only partially successful. After that six months was up minus some good time Frank was assigned to a special dead-beat unit waiting further action either by the military or in the federal district court in New Jersey. Still in high Jehovah form the next Monday morning after he was released he went out to that same parade field in civilian clothes carrying another homemade sign “Bring The Troops Home Now!” and he was again manhandled by another pair of lifer sergeants and this time thrown directly into solitary in the stockade since they knew who they were dealing with by then. And again he was given a special court-martial and duly sentenced by another panel of military officers to the six months maximum.

Frank admitted at that point he was in a little despair at the notion that he might have to keep doing the same action over and over again for eternity. Well he wound up serving almost all of that second sex month sentence but then he got a break. That is where listening to the Quakers a little to get legal advice did help. See what Steve Brady, like I said an ex-World War II Army JAG officer turned anti-war activist lawyer, did was take the rejection of his C.O. application to Federal District Court in New Jersey on a writ of habeas corpus arguing that since all Army interviewers agreed Frank was “sincere” that it had been arbitrary and capricious of the Army to turn down his application. And given that the United States Supreme Court and some lower court decisions had by then had expanded who could be considered a C.O. beyond the historically recognized groupings and creeds the cranky judge in the lower court case agreed and granted that writ of habeas corpus. Frank was let out with an honorable discharge, ironically therefore entitled to all veteran’s benefits but with the stipulation that he never go onto a military base again under penalty of arrest and trial. Whether that could be enforced as a matter of course he said he did not want to test since he was hardily sick of military bases in any case.                                       

So where does Bob Dylan’s Masters of War come into the picture. Well as you know, or should know every prisoner, every convicted prisoner, has the right to make a statement in his or her defense during the trial or at the sentencing phase. Frank at both his court-martials rose up and recited Bob Dylan’s Masters of War for the record. So for all eternity, or a while anyway, in some secret recess of the Army archives (and of the federal courts too) there is that defiant statement of a real hero of the Vietnam War. Nice right?      

Here is what had those bloated military officers on Frank’s court-martial board seeing red and ready to swing him from the highest gallow, yeah, swing him high.

Masters Of War-Bob Dylan 

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
’Til I’m sure that you’re dead

Copyright © 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music

As The 13th Anniversary Of The (Second, The 2003 One) Iraq War Is Upon Us-No New War In Iraq! Down With The War-Monger Obama

As The 13th Anniversary Of The (Second, The 2003 One) Iraq War Is Upon Us-No New War In Iraq! Down With The War-Monger Obama 


From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

[No this writer is not lost in a time warp, nor  is he suffering from a senior moment in continuing to note the anniversary, the 12th anniversary, of the ill-fated, ill-advised, ill, well, let’s just keep it as the previous two ills, of what seemed last year to be the end of the seemingly completed fiasco in Iraq. However although American troops have mainly been withdrawn many thousand American bought and paid for “contract” soldiers are still operating in that theater. Moreover the wreckage from the huge American footprint (bootprint, really) is still wreaking havoc on that benighted land from lack of electrical power to unexploded bombs to speak nothing of the current constant political turmoil between the myriad factions struggling for power. Then there is the question of those tens of thousands of soldiers who had been switched over within a heartbeat from benighted Iraq to benighted Afghanistan. The call for immediate troop withdrawal from Afghanistan of that last ten thousand troops if not drawing much support in these back- burner concern days is still a necessary call. Finally, if there is a modern example  of the follies of war, of a needless imperial adventure, of flat-out American imperial hubris to do something explosive (in more ways than one) then the ill-famed Iraq invasion started on March 19, 2003 should be etched in every leftist militant, hell, every thoughtful citizen’s brain. Yet President Obama seeks on his hands and knees if you can believe this new authorization to send the Iraq War into overtime with this alleged existential threat by ISIS or whatever initials those insane butcher terrorists are running to these days. Make no mistake we have no truck ISIS and whatever alphabet soup organizations spring from, are associated with, or are successor organizations to that one but to go along with the bloodied-handed imperialists who brought forth these demons who want to get more deeply involved in a sectarian conflict with no “good” sides is rich, very rich, indeed. No way. ]         

Here part one of a little cautionary tale to commemorate this sad occasion (see this blog for parts two and three dated March 20 and 21):   

Tim Reid was sure where he stood, stood on the impending war in Iraq, on that cold February 2003 New York City Saturday morning as he noted many, many people walking in the opposite direction headed toward Union Square or somewhere around there carrying signs and banners calling for No War In Iraq, Stop The War, and other more politically direct ones aimed at President Bush. Tim knew for sure was that he was not going to be among those who were heading in that opposite direction that day ready to clog up the streets of Manhattan to make their point. Not that he wished them ill, not that war was not a terrible way to deal with issues, not that he was unconcerned that American sons and daughters were going to be put in harm’s way again in bloody Iraq but 9/11 had changed a lot of things since he had been out front against the first Iraq war back in 1991.            

Yes the world had changed since then, had changed in ways not favorable to the interest of the United States, and so while he was against war like any reasonable man (or woman) he was backing President Bush on this one. At least until he saw what those weapons of mass destruction were that that bastard Saddam Hussein had brewing in those damn laboratories that he wouldn’t let inspectors see. Yes, in case anybody was asking, any of those peaceniks that were passing the other way, he had voted for George Bush in 2000 something he never thought he would do after his father dropped the ball in that first Iraq massacre. He had voted for Bill Clinton with both hands in 1992 against the old man. But like he said things had changed in the world since that dastardly deed on that sunny September morning. Stuff that no New Yorker alive should forgot, especially if like him, that citizen of this fair city had lost someone close to him or her. So it was personal too.       

Maybe too, and he would not discount it if pressed, Tim had changed too, older now, with kids, with responsibilities to take every effort to make sure those kids were secure in a dangerous world. Any father would. The thing that had tipped it for him though was when Secretary of State Colin Powell gave the green light, declared that mad man Hussein was doing nasty stuff against our interests over there in the desert. Some of Bush’s people, frankly, seemed kind of weird when they talked about war but General Powell was a solid, no nonsense guy and that made the difference. So damn yes, until somebody proved otherwise, he was sticking with the President and his people who knew lots of stuff maybe he and those protesters did not know. He hoped so…   

On Coming Of Political Age In The Age Of The Generation Of ‘68 - Norman Mailer’s The Presidential Papers

Click on the headline to link to a Wikipedia entry for th elate American author Norman Mailer.



At one time, as with Ernest Hemingway, I tried to get my hands on everything that Norman Mailer wrote. In his prime he held out promise to match Ernest as the preeminent male American prose writer. Mailer certainly has the ambition, ego and skill to do so. Although he wrote several good novels in his time I believe that his journalistic work, as he himself might have partially admitted, especially his political, social and philosophical musings are what will insure his place in the literary pantheon. With that in mind I was recently re-reading his work on the 1960 political campaign-the one that pitted John F. Kennedy against Richard M. Nixon- that is the center of the book under review. There are other essays in this work, some of merely passing topical value and interest, but what remains of interest today is a very perceptive analysis of the forces at work in that pivotal election. Theodore White won his spurs breaking down the mechanics of the campaign and made a niche for himself with The Making of a President, 1960. Mailer in a few pithy articles gave the overview of the personalities and the stakes involved for the America of that time.

Needless to say the Kennedy victory of that year has interest today mainly for the forces that it unleashed in the base of society, especially but not exclusively among the youth. His rather conventional bourgeois Cold War foreign and domestic politics never transcended those of the New Deal but his style, his youth and his élan seemingly gave the go ahead to all sorts of projects to order in order to ‘‘seek a newer world”. And we took him up on this. This writer counted himself among those youth who saw the potential to change the world. We also knew that if the main villain of the age , one Richard Milhous Nixon, had been successful in 1960 as he graphically demonstrated when he later became president we would not be seeing any new world but the same old, same old.

I had been haphazardly interested in politics from an early age. Names like the Rosenbergs, Joseph McCarthy, Khrushchev and the like were familiar if not fully understood. It was the 1960 presidential campaign that brought me to political age. Mailer addresses the malaise of American political life during the stodgy Eisenhower years that created the opening for change-and Kennedy and his superb organization rushed in. These chances, as a cursory perusal of the last 40 odd years of bourgeois presidential politics makes painfully clear, do not come often. The funny thing is that during all of 1960 I was actually “Madly for Adlai,” that is I preferred Adlai Stevenson, the twice defeated previous Democratic candidate, but when the deal went down at the advanced age of 14 I walked door to door talking up Kennedy. Of course, in Massachusetts that was not a big deal but I still recall today that I had a very strong sense I did not want to be left out of the new age aborning. That, my friends, in a small way is the start of that slippery road to the lesser evilism that dominates American politics and that took me a fairly long time to break with.

Mailer has some very cutting, but true, remarks about the kind of people who populate the political milieu down at the base of bourgeois politics, those who make it to the political conventions. Except that today they are better dressed and more media savvy nothing has changed. Why? Bourgeois politics, not being based on any fidelity to program except as a throwaway, is all about winning (and keeping on winning). This does not bring out the better angels of our nature. For those old enough to remember that little spark of youth that urged us on to seek that newer world and for those too young to have acquired knowledge of anything but the myth Mailer’s little book makes for interesting and well-written reading.

In The Beginning …And The End Was The Jug-With The Memphis Jug Band In Mind

In The Beginning …And The End Was The Jug-With The Memphis Jug Band In Mind

By Lester Lannon

“Remember back in the early 1960s when folk music of all kinds was getting a serious workout not from the folk, they were kind of abandoning that old-time music, the Saturday night barn dance, the mist of times hills and hollows, the big muddy Delta silts, for other more modern ways, but city kids like us, college students who were looking for something new, or maybe better something old, and would gravitate toward anything that smacked of that, ’’chuckled Zack James, a.k.a. Washboard Slim back in the day as he told his gathered audience of Frankie Riley, Jack Callahan, Sam Lowell, Bart Webber, and Julie Lisa, a. k. a as the Riverdale Jug Band back in that same day sitting in at the bar at the Club Nana of blessed memory as they cut up the torches of their youthful musical days.

The whole idea of cut up torches, or rather what would become that cutting, had gathered steam a few months before when the crew and their wives and girlfriends, or in the case of Julie, her husband, had gone to the 50th anniversary reunion of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band at the Clun Passim in Harvard Square. That night the remaining trio, Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, and an assortment of side musicians who had worked with the trio on various subsequent occasions put on show to show that they might be fifty years older but their ability to made that jug which they created at the beginning still had “it,” that that “it” required no further explanation. Name it, Washington At Valley Forge, Cassie Moan, The Killing Floors, Rent Man Blues, Rag Mama, Blues In The Bottle, the whole shebang, ending up with the classic Just Like You Used To Be had the small full house in rapture the whole evening.

After that show, the early show of two that the Jug Band was putting on for three straight nights at the Club, the ex-Riverdale Jug Band members headed to the Café Blue to discuss their various takes on that performance that night. While the waitress, oops, waitperson as Julie corrected everybody, took their orders for expresso lite and brownies, also lite if that is possible for a brownie, a throw-back to the old days when such an order was mandatory if you wanted to hold your seat in the clubs where there was no cover charge all agreed that for whatever reason, the Kweskin Jug Band still could arouse a crowd just like they had when Sam and Frankie had first seen the band in its infancy at the old Club 47 on Mount Auburn Street. Part of their energy and spirited voices reflected in a comment by Frankie that Jim and Geoff’s taking many years off from performing before coming back on tour probably was a very wise move that saved their voices unlike the never-ending tour of Bob Dylan which had destroyed whatever voice he might have had left. After sipping their expressos lite and devouring their brownies (nobody could believe that back in the day there were nights when that brownie was “supper”) they all went their separate ways.       

That night though set something going in all their hearts, something like unfinished business, something not completed. As if by some blown wind they in their respective closed thoughts thought about how after some initial local success, playing regularly at the Club Blue and Café Nana a sign of success in those days when those clubs were just a notch below the Club 47 as the place for up-and-coming talent. Places to work out their kinks, test their material on knowledgeable audiences and gain some credence by being in the thick of one of the three or four major folk centers in the country along with the Village, Old Town in Chi town and North Beach in Frisco town. Then the bottom sort of dropped out, there was not enough room in the rarified airs of jug music for several groups to succeed once rock and roll, the British invasion, and acid-etched rock came to the fore. As usual people began to make other plans, go back to whatever they had originally planned to do before the jug bug got to them. Julie, the lead vocalist (and incredible tambourine player), had been the first to go after deciding to get married (not to that husband with her that Club Passim concert night that was her second husband). Then Sam and Bart decided to head west not so much in pursuit of any musical ambitious but to join their generation in search of whatever it was that they were in search of. Frankie tried to pick up with other musician but the sound never was the same with the younger players who had not been washed by, hell, who actually had not even heard of the Memphis Jug Band, The Cannon Stompers, or the Mississippi Sheiks, and after trying a failed solo career went to work in his father’s carpet business (which he now ran getting and was getting ready to pass on to his son).     

What stuck in their collective craws after the Kweskin concert would not let go. Frankie would remember when they had played the Newport Folk Festival and were seen as an up and coming group. Jack remembered the night they fronted for Judy Collins at the Suffolk Downs race track with all the planes from Logan flying overhead. Julie remembered the night Maria Muldaur came backstage and showed her a couple of exercises to do so she could yodel on a Jimmy Rodgers song. Sam remembered a few night when he would leave some club and a couple of female aficionados would be waiting to talk to Mr. Lowell. Bart remembered how proud he was the night his girlfriend, Betsy Binstock, later to be and still his wife, came to see him play at Jordan Hall the night they fronted for Josh White, Junior. Zack James remembered the night Joan Baez saw him play that washboard and started calling him Washboard Slim (and a couple of other things when they were alone at her place a few nights later). With those memories it was only natural that all would think the obvious thought now that they had run through careers, child-rearing, marriages, affairs, and assorted amateur nights of performing for family, friends and congregations. Nobody balked at Zack’s idea, nobody said you can’t go home again, nobody said that was then and this is now.

So not many nights after the night we speak of after Julie had gone to Zambo’s Music Store in the Square and bought a nice second-hand tambourine and made arrangements to take voice lessons again with Annabelle Worth, after Jack dusted off the old jug that was serving now as ornament in his den office, after Frankie tuned up his guitar, after Zack went rummaging for a decent washboard, after Bart rented a bass, and after Sam got a new bow for his fiddle the old Riverdale Jug Band could be found in Bart’s Garage in that town preparing to do their first rendition of Cassie Moan in almost fifty years getting ready for when they would play at the Evergreen bar for three night come April.  In the beginning was the jug. In the end too.   


From The Anti-War Archives-Sometimes Words Are Worth A Thousand Pictures-On The 13th Anniversary Of The Iraq Invasion

From The Anti-War Archives-Sometimes Words Are Worth A Thousand Pictures

In Boston -Walk for Water Justice-Saturday, April 23, 2016, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

In Boston -Walk for Water Justice-Saturday, April 23, 2016, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
300 Athenaeum Street • (near Kendall Square red line stop) • Cambridge
From Flint to Chelsea to Palestine, water must be a basic human right.  But water in these communities is being used as a weapon for political purposes.  The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine and the organization 1for3 are teaming up to bring attention to this issue, especially Israeli control of the water supply used by Palestinians in the Palestinian territories and Gaza.  Water is plentiful in the Jewish settlements, but Palestinians often don't have enough water for daily use.
1for3's Walk for Water is raising money to support important water reclamation projects, rooftop gardens, and more for the Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank of Palestine.  UJP stands in solidarity with 1for3 and all groups working for water justice.  UJP is supporting this campaign -- come join us!
Join the UJP Team on April 23rd in 1for3's Walk for Water -- 5K walk in support of Palestinian refugees.
Go to to register and/or donate. 
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Movies From The Left To Check Out -1913: Seeds of Conflict- And -The Land Speaks Arabic

What is... disturbing to me is that many of these pro-Israeli lawmakers sit on the House International Relations Committee despite the obvious conflict of interest that their emotional attachments to Israel cause... The Israeli occupation of all territories must end, including Congress."'  ~Cynthia McKinney

"In the end, we must come out publicly with the truth: We had no right to build a settlement and to realize the ideal of Zionism with other people's property. To do this is robbery." ~Rabbi R Benjamin, 1955

1913: Seeds of Conflict
How things first went wrong in Palestine

[see trailer]

Showing Thursday, March 17, in Cambridge
[please download & distribute flyer]
Many consider the Balfour Declaration and Mandate period of the 1920s as the origin of today''€'™s Israeli occupation of Palestine. Nay, not so. Breaking new ground, 1913: SEEDS OF CONFLICT explores the divergent social forces growing in Palestine --before World War I-- that caused the simultaneous rise in Jewish and Arab nationalism.

1913 Palestine is a multi-lingual, multi-cultural society. Muslims, Jews and Christians coexist in relative harmony and often gather together in the coffeehouses of Jerusalem. But after European Jewish migrants arrive, Ruhi al-Khalidi, Jerusalem''€'™s representative to the Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul, voices growing concerns about what he sees as their secret agenda to build a state. So does Albert Antebi, an Arab-speaking Sephardic Jew known as the Jewish ''€'œpasha,''€' who embraces economic and cultural Zionism, but fears the consequences of a Zionist land grab.

"We witness a world where Jerusalem''€'™s Old City is ... one where Muslim, Christian, Armenian, and Jews all share a common space, with coffeehouses a particularly popular gathering-spot for men. This reality is slowly upended as European Zionist Jews disembark at Palestine''€'™s ports." ~Khelil Bouarrouj

"The ever expanding land-use by Jewish immigrants and creation of militias to guard their collective farms makes it all but inevitable that disputes between the communities would turn violent."''  ~Claire Sadar

"What good is it to arouse the bitterness of our fellow citizens? I predict an inextricable situation of Ottoman anti-Semitism if we do not change our methods.''€'''  ~Albert Antebi

The Land Speaks Arabic
See Trailer

This film documents the founding of the Zionist movement and the expulsion of Palestinians in the early part of the 20th century. The historical narrative is reconstructed by weaving archival materials such as photographs, films, news reels and official documents, with the testimonies of Palestinian survivors of the forced expulsion of 1947-48, referred to as the Nakba.

Beginning with Masalha''€'™s thesis emphasizing the idea of ''€'œtransfer''€' as the rudimentary motive of Zionism, the film chronicles the establishment of the Israeli state through the initial proposals of European Zionists in the late 19th century and the terrorist tactics of Jewish settlers in Palestine under the British Mandate. Acting as the historical anchor of the film, Masalha first describes how he came upon innumerable records in Israeli archives outlining the transfer of European Jews to Palestine with the simultaneous ejection of local Palestinians to neighboring countries. He then places this policy within the European colonial mindset of the time, one based on racist, supremacist notions.

Terrorizing Palestinian communities meant disrupting local Arab society. Often dressed as Arabs, members of Zionist terrorist organizations such as the Stern Gang and the Irgun, set out to disrupt Arab urban centers by initiating these explosions and intimidating Palestinian leaders.''  By 1948, the terror campaigns turned to large-scale massacres and attacks on villages, leading to the mass explosion of Palestinians that culminated in the Nakba. The film ends with several eyewitness accounts by Palestinians who experienced and survived the Nakba.

Employing a team of researchers who scoured through archives in Europe, the US, and the Middle East, The Land Speaks Arabic is thoroughly researched, nuanced and well-made. Gargour''€'™s film is a significant contribution to the historical recording of the Palestinian narrative and is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of Palestine and the Palestinians.


"[Zionism] wasn'€™t just to colonize Palestine. It was also to exploit indigenous people as cheap labor, dispossess and disperse them, replace them with arriving Jews, legitimize ethnic cleansing, and remove Palestinians from their land and history. Historical records were falsified. Palestinians were re-invented as a semi-savage, nomadic remnant.'  Mass elimination methods were justified for a 'people too many.' " ~Stephen Lendman, writer (eg, Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III), syndicated columnist, activist, News TV personality
"The state of Israel must invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the methods of provocation and revenge'…. And above all, let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space."'  ~From the diary of Moshe Sharett, Israeli''’s first Foreign Minister from 1948-1956, and Prime Minister from 1954-1956

"'“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours. '…Everything we don''’t grab will go to them." ~ Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.

"We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves."''  ~Heilbrun, Chairman, Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, mayor of Tel Aviv, Oct. 1983
'€œBetween ourselves, it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this small country. There is no other way than to (get rid of) all of them. Not one village, not one tribe should be left.'€'  ~ Joseph Weitz wrote in1940 as head of the Jewish Agency'€™s Colonization Department

"They are too many and too much rooted. The only way is to cut and eradicate them from the roots. Without taking action to transfer the [Arab] population we will not be able to solve our question by land buying. ~ Yozef Weitz, Jewish Natl Land Fund

"The British played a crucial role in terms of disarming the Palestinian society. The zionists by contrast had an arms industry. The way the Jewish community was created in Palestine, it was created as a military civilian community. Settlers were also soldiers at night. Settlers had a fence and watchtower. The Jewish community in Palestine was trained as a military garrison."
~Dr Nur Masalha, School of Theology, Philosophy & History, St Mary's College; Univ of Surrey, Director of Holy Land Studies
Plan Dalet, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
"War will give us the land. The concept of 'ours' and 'not ours' are peace concepts; only and in war they lose their whole meaning."
~Ben Gurion

"The Jewish community in Palestine had more soldiers than all the Arab countries around it. Come to early 1948, the [Arab] villages had no weapons at all. Militarily the balance was completely against the Palestinians."
~Dr Nur Masalha

"I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy not approved by the Jews. ... I am very much concerned over the fact that the Jewish influence here is completely dominating the scene and making it almost impossible to get Congress to do anything they don't approve of. ... The Israeli embassy is practically dictating to Congress through influential Jewish people here in this country.
" ~John Foster Dulles, 1948

"We have exhausted our requests. President Clinton has answered all our needs. There has been no American president in history like President Clinton, in his support of Israel and the Jewish people." ~ Shimon Peres (From Washington Report, July 1996, pg. 17)

"Capitol Hill is an Israeli occupied territory". ~Patrick Buchanan (St. Louis Dispatch, 10/20/1990)

"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." - Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.


doors open 6:40; film starts promptly 7pm
243 Broadway, Cambridge - corner of Broadway and Windsor,
entrance on Windsor

Please join us for a stimulating night out; bring your friends!
free film & free door prizes[donations are encouraged]feel free to bring your own snacks and soft drinks - no alcohol allowed

"You can't legislate good will - that comes through education." ~ Malcolm X

UPandOUT film series - see

Why should YOU care? It's YOUR money that pays for US/Israeli wars - on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine, Libya. Syria, Iran, So America, etc etc - for billionaire bailouts, for ever more ubiquitous US prisons, for the loss of liberty and civil rights...

Veterans For Peace Action Alert- Full Disclosure – Truth About America’s War in Viet Nam


Brothers and Sisters,

We have been working on an exclusive edition of Full Disclosure – Truth About America’s War in Viet Nam, specifically designed to counter the Pentagon’s Vietnam War Commemoration revisionist campaign to mythologize that war. The 24-page paper is loaded with the unadorned truth about the American war in Vietnam from those who fought in it and from those who fought against it. We are especially proud to be featuring two perspectives the Pentagon refuses to seriously acknowledge -- the Vietnamese people and the G.I. Resistance movement. We are confident that this one-time publication will become a valued resource as well as a collector's item. The paper will go to print the week of March 21st. Don’t miss out.

In Solidarity,

Becky Luening, Doug Rawlings, Ellen Davidson, Ken Mayers, Mike Ferner and Tarak Kauff


Veterans For Peace appreciates your generous donations.

We also encourage you to join our ranks.




A View From The Left-The Rise of Trump - How do we fight the threat of the Right

Frank Jackman comment:
Usually when I post something from some other source, mostly articles and other materials that may be of interest to the radical public that I am trying to address I place the words “ A View From The Left” in the headline and let the subject of the article speak for itself, or let the writer speak for him or herself without further comment whether I agree with the gist of what is said or not. After all I can write my own piece if some pressing issue is at hand. I do so here.     
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The Rise of Trump - How do we fight the threat of the Right?

There is a lot of talk, encouraged by sections of the liberal media, that Trump himself is a fascist. Trump’s politics have much in common with Le Pen although, unlike her, he does not represent a fully fledged far right party. Read article here.

Kshama Sawant calls on Sanders to run all the way

“We cannot allow our movement and Bernie’s movement, to be imprisoned within the two party corporate and capitalist establishment … We need a party of the 99%!” Read article here.

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