Saturday, June 23, 2018

Updated Introduction to Frank Jackman’s Fate -In Honor Of The Native American Artist and Poet T.E. Cannon and All The Members Of The Vietnam War Class Of 1969 Whatever Their Fate

Updated Introduction to Frank Jackman’s Fate -In Honor Of The Native American Artist and Poet T.E. Cannon and All The Members Of The Vietnam War Class Of 1969 Whatever Their Fate   

Jesus, Even I can’t believe this- An Introduction to the Introduction by Allan Jackson

Originally the “Introduction” to an encore version of Frank Jackman’s Fate below was to be placed as my introduction to a sketch in the encore edition of the The Roots Is The Toots rock and roll series. I had been behind the recreation of series after I had been dismissed from running this publication having been given what by all accounts was a vote of confidence by friend and foe alike to do the Introductions to the series having been the evil genie who sweated blood and tears and that of the writers to bring the original forth. That series   highlighted, mostly highlighted how a group of guys, guys we called corner boys among ourselves in line with what all the then up-to-date sociologists, academics and criminologist described our existence who grew up poor, came of age in the 1950s rock and roll night and took graduate degree courses in the blues, folk, acid rock of the subsequent 1960s where we called ourselves, proudly called ourselves the Generation of ’68.

Some of us kicking and screaming and some of us following gladly the lead of Peter Paul Markin (whose name I have used for years as my on-line moniker) who saw and heard the fresh breeze coming first among us. Like a lot of things thought that idea got waylaid when Frank Jackman did an essay/sketch centered on his Army experiences during the Vietnam War and his curious notion that he was part of the Vietnam War Class of 1969 after he was overwhelmed with the fact that many of his friends and associates had passed through Vietnam in that year. The straw that broke the camel’s back, the thing that got him to what I called “come out of the closet” about his Army service which had started in 1969 was his assignment to review the art exhibit of the work of the late Native American artist and poet T.E. Cannon at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Cannon had spent the latter part of his Vietnam tour of duty with the 101st Airborne Division in 1969. Frank took that as the decisive portent. He would come out of the closet as described below in a very public way looking for recognition from his fellow veterans who had their own 1969 experiences. That change is what took Frank’s experiences out of that rock and roll series and removed it to an Introduction to a separate piece about an encore of Frank Jackman’s Fate  But even that now seems misplaced and so we will produce this as a separate sketch independent of either of the previous placements     


Originally Intended Introduction by Allan Jackson

[That Frank Jackman is a piece of work, a real piece of work. Many people know that he has worked as a political commentator for both the hard copy and now on-line version of American Left History (and before that both the East Bay Other and The Eye and before that an eye-popping number of publications as a free-lancer). And many know that he was one of the corner boys I grew up with along with a few other writers here like Sam Lowell. What many people do not know is that Frank back in the 1960s when every young guy patriotic, indifferent or protesting had some choices to make even if by ignorance, took a very different direction from the rest of us, from the corner boys, hell, from most of the guys facing the draft and facing orders to Vietnam. Took a different turn on military service during our generation’s, the so-called Generation of ’68’s, war, the Vietnam War. Sure Frank, kicking and screaming since he had lost a chance to go to law school when they stopped the draft deferments for law school students, allowed himself to be indentured (his term) when his draft call came in 1969, actually 1968 for his physical and 1969 for induction.

Frank told me once that after about three days in basic training down at Fort Jackson in South Carolina (I did mine at Fort Dix in New Jersey where most guys from the North went so I don’t, and neither does he, why he wound up there except that being far from home and resources freaked him out knowing that he had better not go crazy down there for he might find himself in some black box or worse) that he knew that he had made a huge mistake, had to let his basic genie, anti-war genie out of the bag, hell bottle, hell some container. Most importantly unlike the rest of us (including me who held my doubts in and did my tour like every other fucking stupid asshole who knew better, knew that our fellow corner boys Rickie Rizzo and Frank White had laid their heads down in 1966 for no good reason except getting etched in black granite but went anyway but this isn’t about me and that story can wait another day, maybe a decade since I still don’t fully understand it) Frank as was his wont when he felt deeply about something followed through, went down in the mud with mano a mano with the whole fucking Army establishment, Made as he said laughingly once it was over and we could talk about it since most of us corner boys who went like sheep to the slaughter were very ambivalent about what Frank did for a while, including the Scribe, Peter Paul Markin if you can believe that rue the day they drafted him.  One bastard colonel almost lost his rank for his efforts in trying to shut Frank up so that black hole idea was no joke. He won, won his freedom but it was a very close thing, close indeed. Funny, and not in a laughing way Frank suffered a lot of the same feelings that he no longer knew the old world we grew up in that the rest of us who went did coming back to the ‘real’ world after the Army.  

All the rest of us corner boys who were draft-worthy had either enlisted or had accepted the draft without murmur, including Rickie Rizzo and Frank White who laid down their heads on the plateaus of Central Vietnam and whose names now are etched in the town memorial and in black granite in Washington for eternity. We would have spat on anybody, Frank included, who actually would have even though about refusing induction whatever we thought of the war and most of us saw it as a big bother to whatever other plans we had had. We would all change our minds later and I and others have written about that sea change elsewhere. So the collective North Adamsville corner boys were not any different from the whole cohort of our generation who had decisions to make one way or another about what to do when the war dragged on seemingly forever.

Then there was outlier Frank, or what we thought then was outlier Frank, who would accept that crazed induction and then refuse to go to Vietnam as an infantryman, as a grunt as we called ourselves and as “cannon fodder” as we learned to call ourselves when we got smarter after our military service and after, as always, the late Peter Paul Markin,  forever etched in North Adamsville lore of a certain old time corner boy generation as Scribe, gave us the skinny on what the fuck we had been through, why and for who. Frank would flat out refuse to go when after Basic Training and AIT (Advanced Infantry Training which I also went through and which in 1969, and a few years before and a few years after meant only one desperate destination-Vietnam-as it did for me). Frank’s story which not all of us knew, including me, knew at the time since we were in Vietnam as part of what we, he would call the Vietnam War Class of 1969, either because we didn’t want to believe it or didn’t want to hear about it from our own guilt about going to war once we got in-country and knew we were fucked, had been fucked over royally.      

This is the way Frank told it one night in the early 1970s when we were all back and after we were able to listen to him since like I said not all of us we happy with him while he going down in the mud like some berserk lunatic, was fucking around with the Army, what (and we were being fucked). He had received orders for Vietnam down in Fort Benning in Georgia, had come home and immediately, or if not immediately since I think he said he shacked up with some young woman for some time before he did so since he had like the rest of us had a thirty day leave before having to show up at Fort Lewis in Washington, went to get some G.I. counselling from the Quakers over in Cambridge. Even the idea of checking in with the Quakers seemed strange when I first heard about it in Vietnam, about the service they were offering guys in the military in their peaceful bid to end the endless war. Whatever else we knew we knew that our church, the Roman Catholic Church, at the official level accepted the government’s version of the necessary defense of Vietnam as the key domino part of a just war in order to put its own stamp on it as such, supported it long after other religious groups turned away from support, except a few crazy renegades like the Berrigan brothers who Father Lally railed against in Sunday sermons from the blood-stained pulpit at Sacred Heart.

These Quakers were historically with some others like Mennonites known as anti-war people, as conscientious objectors to war (except I wondered at the time about Grace Kelly in her Quaker maiden role in High Noon since she did a rooty-toot toots on the bad guys when her man was in danger but that could have been self-defense and some such and not war). Quirky people who I never really had had truck with except knowing they were some kind of Protestant sect. What they had going for them was they had been deeply involved in draft counselling, in draft resistance which had its heyday in the Vietnam War for those who don’t know what I am talking about. Strangely while I was in college, working my way through since my family had no, nada money for such a cause, I serviced coffee machines and part of my route passed right by the Arlington Street Universalist or Unitarian Church this before they united later in the decade so I am not sure which in downtown Boston where the draft resistance was located, was a draft sanctuary and I would beep my horn. Such were the contradictions of Allan Jackson-hell Frank and every other corner boy as well. Hell Scribe lived for the contradictions that would finally lead him to an early grave.
What they, the Quakers started doing and I am not sure when, and I am not sure if I asked Frank if he would know either, was they started offering G.I. counselling at some point when it became clear that a small munity was beginning to form in the military by drafted citizen-soldiers and others, guys back from Vietnam too, who were looking for personal and political ways to oppose the war. How Frank found out about the service I don’t remember but somehow he got over there to leafy Cambridge and that changed everything.  

Hey, you should know this about Frank. He was/is a quiet guy, a bookish guy like Scribe except in the corner boy days Scribe had so many angsts and alienations that he was forever running his mouth. So Frank was no leader, not exactly a follower either but one of the guys, one of the guys who went along with every caper Scribe or Frankie Riley our acknowledged leader put to paper. If anybody figured to be a crazy anti-war guy it was Scribe not Frank. Scribe when he got what he called “religion” would become a fire and brimstone guy about war later but it was nobody but Frank who did what he did and had kept pretty quiet about it before he opened up to us that night.

What Frank learned from the Quakers was that he could put in an application to the Army for conscientious objector status. Yeah, I know what you are thinking because I thought the same thing too and as I am writing this down it still sounds implausible even though federal courts up and down have declared it a valid way to get out of the military. If you signed up for the Army or got drafted how the hell a person could be a conscientious objector-be what I thought and still think a little something like a Quaker. Here was Frank’s first hurdle though. Putting an application in at Fort Lewis where he was supposed to go was filled with some danger since they were dragooning such applicants in the dead of night and shipping them to Vietnam under guard after formally and quickly turning the application down.

That tactic would make it hard to get to a federal court in time to get a writ of habeas corpus on jurisdictional grounds (thanks Frankie Riley for that information). Another option and the Quakers were wise to give options and not orders even if with a Quakerly wink was to go AWOL (absent without leave) which means in military terms unlawful for over thirty days or so at which time he would be what was called “dropped from the roles,” essentially a free agent and turn himself in at the nearest army base which happened to be Fort Devens about forty miles west of Boston. While waiting to have the AWOL litigated he could put his C.O application in without the Fort Lewis danger. (Frank also gave a bunch of other reasons why this strategy was good, but I forget them except it would be easier for his Quaker-provided lawyer to get to him which makes sense.)

Frank followed the second option (there had been a couple of others presented but this was the best of the bunch as far as I remember), went AWOL, turned himself in at Fort Devens, and while his AWOL case was being disposed of put in his C.O. application, got some minor punishment and a fine I think and, no capital AND, his application turned down within a few weeks. Done. Cooked next stop Vietnam. Well not quite. There were some changes happening in C.O. law since many applications, mostly civilian, were being turned down and being litigated in the lower federal courts and eventually a few in the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS in tweeter speak) some of which would be decided before Frank’s time was up and helpful to his case. His lawyer took that application to the federal court in Boston and on the basis of the merits of his case was able to get a judge to order a temporary restraining order (TRO) which kept Frank in the court’s jurisdiction pending disposition. (That legal maneuver turned out to be very useful later but also at the time since on the very day the TRO was ordered the Army was in the process of giving him another set of orders to Fort Lewis and then Vietnam-under guard, under the guard of two lifer sergeants-whee! Even I was impressed by the maneuvering on that one as Frank hid on base all day while the petition was before the court in Boston.)

During this time Frank was reading like crazy, reading radical anti-war stuff and the like and staying in touch with the Quakers whom he liked as people even if he did not always understand where they were coming from. I think, and I have mentioned it to him since that the Army’s whole treatment of him and especially that “under guard” maneuver broke something in him, broke him free maybe and I made him laugh once when I told him before I knew the whole story and before he had decided to resist what were they going to do –put him in the stockade. Once you get clear on that-once you face that dragon and don’t flinch then what the hell do what you have to do-which is what I would eventually come to see was my own attitude toward what Frank did and what the rest of us didn’t do. That was also the time along with the G.I. counselling that the Quakers and others (some much more radical and less committed to non-violence) were moving away from reliance on mass marches in place like Washington, D.C. and pleading with politicians and hitting the military bases with G.I. coffeehouse outreach nearby and smaller marches and rallies in front of the bases.    

These ideas sparked Frank’s imagination, got him into second gear in his defining his commitment to the anti-war struggle. Like I said something snapped in Frank, something of the old time stay cool and out of the firing line when the Scribe or Frankie Riley were in high dungeon which is my clearest high school corner boy memory of him, Now Frank was the heroic John Brown avenging angel that the Scribe kept talking what we considered his crazy talk about on lonesome penniless Friday night. In corner boy talk Frank did not give a fuck about what the Army did or did not want to do to him. One day when the Quakers decided to have a rally outside the gates of Fort Devens protesting the war (and trying to drum up interest among the soldiery there) Frank, Private E-1 Francis James Jackman (that E-1 the lowest rank possible for a soldier since he had been reduced in rank due to that AWOL rap) decided to leave the fort in uniform doing duty hours and join them. That night Frank, Private E-1 Francis James Jackman and you know the why of E-1, after returning to his barracks was picked up by the MPs and taken to the Provost Marshal’s office and from there thrown in solitary at the stockade.

That what they called “disobeying lawful orders," not being on the base during duty hours, would eventually lead to the first of two special courts-martial both which like I said technically were labelled as “disobeying lawful orders” and sentenced to six months on each rap. It was at that first court-martial that when Frank was asked if he had any words in his defense he took out a ragged piece of paper and read from the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s Masters of War. With his back to the judges and facing the courtroom crowd which included some supporters gathered from the Quakers and others who periodically showed up outside the fort to call for his freedom. That support was important as Frank found out during his jail terms to keep spirits up knowing that some people were outside rooting him on (not his parents or any relatives but he did not dwell on that when he spoke to us that late night but and we knew what was what about Acre families and the war who like Frank’s father had supported the war in many cases to the bitter end. He would be forever grateful to the Quakers and allies for that. (By the way if anybody is wondering why Frank was not shipped off to Fort Leavenworth the worse military facility out in Kansas and the one the drill sergeants in basic training kept warning every scared recruit was going to be their fate if they fucked up, or gave them any lip that TRO held him under the court’s jurisdiction in Massachusetts but also meant that they could not give him a general court martial with longer sentences  that the Judge Advocate-General’s Office wanted to impose.              

And so Frank did his time, read a lot, wrote some and talked a blue streak to the few other guys who he roomed with when he was not in solidarity. He never the whole time he was imprisoned there had been let into the general population and perhaps they, the  Army, showed a tad bit of  sense for their fears since he was on his righteous John Brown avenging angel high horse and Frank said he would have started an anti-war rally in the stockade if he had been out there. As it was he never had more than a couple of roommates at a time, I guess cellmates is a better way to say it, and never saw more than a few people when he was out playing basketball in the compound which was the way used his recreational time. (Truth; Frank was one of the worst pick-up basketball players of all time and was absolutely the last guy picked when we were bucking up for teams, one time we played short not to have to take him.)   Also took stock of his personal life when the wife he married, a college sweetheart, refused to come see him in the stockade despite her own anti-war views getting grief from her Marine Corps World War II Pacific War father. That would be the first of three marriages for Frank (and the rest of us, except Jack Callahan and his beloved forever Chrissie, not far behind in the marriage department). Took a look too at what he would do if he got done with his sentence before the judge ruled in his case. A definite possibility given the logjam in the courts as his lawyer made clear. He was also trying to chart out what he would do if the judgement came down against him while he was in the stockade and they tried to rush him out under guard to Fort Lewis and transport to Vietnam.

In the situation Frank need not have worried since judgement did not come down during the first sentence. Frank set up the next part of what he had to say by saying it was hard to explain but once you have decided to do what you had to do and faced the limit, faced jail then other things kind of fell into place. And so they did when Frank was released from his first sentence and decided his Army time was over, decided to refuse to wear the uniform. Did it with a flourish though worthy of Scribe since one Monday morning at Morning Report, the weekly parade field event to see who showed up and who was AWOL he walked from his barracks to the parade field in civilian clothes (he said he had bell-bottom trousers on which when I recall this now I have to laugh about oh foolish, funny youth except his G.I. boots). Walked with a sign calling “Bring The Troops Home. I need not detail that once again since you know as well as I do now that he wound up in the stockade again in solidarity. And again received that six months special court-martial sentence for his troubles.

For years after Frank would make us laugh when he mentioned that he could have kept doing those sentences until he was old and gray he had been so determined to run out his course. Fortunately toward the end of his second sentence, a few days before as it turns out the federal judge in Boston granted his writ of habeas corpus and a week or so later when the JAG decided not to appeal he was discharged, an honorable discharge just like the rest of us. So Frank was discharged not by the Army really but by that old cranky judge.                  

Funny after that night and maybe by unwritten agreement among ourselves since I know nobody mentioned for us to do this we kind of put Frank’s experience, put our own Vietnam War experiences in some deep recess of our brains. Just like our World War II fathers had done before us with less reason to be ashamed or humiliated. The only thing Frank’s father ever mentioned was that he had been ashamed of Frank, had had a hard time at work and among the neighbors for a while but after he finally got over those feelings he had a little unspoken pride that a Jackman had done what he thought was the honorable thing to do when he needed to his father’s mind do something. We went about our collective lives, drifted apart or closer usually depending on where we were in the marriage and brood raising merry-go-round.

Frank did mention to me when we were talking one night several years later that he sometimes had doubts about the wisdom of what he had done. Not that he wasn’t personally proud that he stood up when the deal when down but that maybe he should have gone to Vietnam and tried to raise some holy hell there among the growing disillusioned common soldiers there. I never said anything to him about it but in my mind,  I thought he was crazy to think that the Army which was willing to put him in a black box and was ready at a minute’s notice to ship his ass to ‘Nam was going to let him run loose among already mutinous troops. But there we left it.         

Left it until a few years ago when something began to stir in Frank about why he kept his anti-war fight on the low despite having spent most of the rest of his life actively opposing the wars of the American imperium (sometimes dragging us along as on the Iraq War in 2003, sometimes not as in the initial reaction post-9/11 to the war on Afghanistan). Maybe it was reflecting on age and mortality like many of us our types are finding we are doing more often. Reflecting on a worthwhile life, what we did and didn’t do or should have done differently. I ask him that question one night recently when we were having a few drinks at Jack’s in Cambridge and he surprised me with his answer.  Said what triggered him was running into a guy up in Maine who had served in Vietnam in 1969, the time when Frank was refusing to go to Vietnam, who said of his own experience that he had gone through two marriages and neither wife ever knew he had been in Vietnam. Talk about keeping it on the low. He would run into others who more or less shared that some silence about their Vietnam service. The kicker for Frank though was in the fall of 2017 when PBS aired the Lynn Novick-Ken Burns ten-part eighteen hour Vietnam series and in the very first episode a couple of Marines whose wives had known each other for over a decade and both couples had socialized frequently neither knew that the other had been in Vietnam. Weird vibes, very weird.

Those thoughts got Frank off the dime, got him thinking that he needed to let some people know that there had been resistance inside the military. Encouraged everybody to tell their story for the couple of generations that are now pretty clueless about what a hellish time it was to be a young man (mostly men then) facing all kind of decisions based on the mutterings of old men. Frank, as usual for him, got a slow start, let a couple of people know one time when he was going down to Washington for an anti-war demonstration. Talked about it around a round table one night with a bunch of guys who were in Vietnam in 1969. (Frank was developing a feeling that he needed to be accepted as a member of that class despite his own personal twist.) Frank came out of the closet for real though on Memorial Day of 2018 when as part of the Poor People’s Campaign’s War Economy Week he was asked to speak as somebody impacted by war. Impacted his way as surely as others were impacted in theirs. Felt good about it afterward, felt that maybe he really had been on the right side of the angels when the deal went down. 

A Call to Observe Hiroshima and Nagasaki Week in Massachusetts Building Peace with North Korea and Iran August 5 - August 9, 2018

A Call to Observe Hiroshima and Nagasaki Week in Massachusetts

Building Peace with North Korea and Iran

August 5 - August 9, 2018

Michelle Cunha and Mike Van Elzakker at Korea Peace Network's lobby days, June 11-12

73 years have passed since the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 48 years since the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) took effect, and almost one year since the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signing.  Yet the five original nuclear weapons states, led by the United States, have not taken serious action on their commitments to abolish nuclear weapons.

After threatening North Korea with “fire and fury”, President Trump held a summit meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un, but much work remains to resolve the nuclear crisis with North Korea and bring peace to the Korean peninsula.  He unveiled a Nuclear Posture Review that for the first time declares that the U.S. might use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear threats, and he continues to fund the $1.2 billion nuclear weapons escalation program.   President Trump broke the Iran nuclear deal, falsely claiming that Iran was a nuclear threat. 
In reality, it is the United States’ 6,500 nuclear warheads, although with those of the other nuclear powers, that pose an imminent threat to humanity.  The President can launch a civilization-destroying nuclear war on his sole authority.
Without a powerful grassroots movement dedicated to nuclear disarmament, the world’s nuclear crisis will only get worse instead of better. Therefore, Massachusetts Peace Action joins with peace groups, people of faith, youth, community groups, and human rights advocates who have organized events across Massachusetts on August 5-9, 2018, to call attention to the people’s demand for an end to the $1 trillion nuclear weapons escalation and the failure of the United States to support the nuclear ban treaty.
We urge your or your organization to plan an event in your town, church, or campus. Send information on your events to We will publish a calendar of events across the state so that all people who seek a peaceful world will know that they are not alone!   Last year, we listed 17 events in Massachusetts and we hope to top that this year! 
We hope you will collaborate with us in this joint effort! Contact 617-354-2169 or with questions or to connect and exchange ideas.
We have posted the events we know about here.


Grafton Peace Pagoda's Peace WalkSaturday August 4, 1pm, Hanscom Air Force Base, Lincoln – Nuclear Holocaust Peace Pilgrims. Join the monks and nuns of the Grafton Peace Pagoda at Hanscom Air Force Base and for the other events on their walk for nuclear disarmament. 
Sunday, August 5, Amherst to Leverett – Peace Walk with the monks and nuns of the Grafton Peace Pagoda followed by Hiroshima Ceremony, then continuing on to Vermont Yankee, Bennington, Saratoga Springs, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, and Grafton on August 12. 
Michelle Cunha and Mike Van Elzakker at Korea Peace Network's lobby days, June 11-12
Sunday, August 5, 11:45 am, Cambridge Common – Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Welcoming Momentum for Peace in Korea.  Outdoor gathering after church.

How to Participate

75 to charity
We urge your organization to plan an event in your town, church, or campus. Send information on your events to and we will add it to our current calendar so that all people who seek a peaceful world will know that they are not alone! Last year, we listed 17 events inMassachusetts and we hope to top that this year!  

We hope you will collaborate with us in this joint effort! Contact 617-354-2169 or info@masspeaceaction.orgwith questions or to connect and exchange ideas.

"Not one step back"

Cole Harrison
Executive Director
Massachusetts Peace Action - the Commonwealth's largest grassroots peace organization
11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138
617-354-2169 w
617-466-9274 m
Twitter: masspeaceaction

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Lobby Day for SD 2448 - July 12 -SD 2448 is the Massachusetts state Senate resolution on presidential first use of nuclear weapons.

SD 2448 is the state Senate resolution on presidential first use of nuclear weapons.

Stand by for a more complete announcement to share with supporters, but please save the date, Thursday, July 12, and let me know if you can make it!


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Cole Harrison <>
Date: Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 5:29 PM
Subject: Lobby Day for SD 2448 - July 12
To: Friend, Emma (SEN) <>, Samantha Blake <>, John Qua <>, Jonathan King <>, Michelle Cunha <>, Shelagh Foreman <

Emma confirmed that we will hold the lobby day on Thursday, July 12, at 10 am.
Meet in room 222 of the State House.
Sen. L'Italien will say a few words, and so will we, then we will then discuss the plan with the participants, distribute materials, and send people off. 

She pointed out that Thursdays are the best day to find Senators and staff in their offices.

I will get back from a week's vacation the day before, so I will be there on the 12th, but I'll be leaning on others for a lot of the prep.

John, I think you were going to work on some words that each of the 3 collaborating groups can use in an e-alert.   How is that coming?
Emma's office will also help to get the word out.   


On Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 11:53 AM Cole Harrison <> wrote: 
Hi Emma, I spoke with John Qua of Global Zero and Samantha Blake of WAND. We would like to hold a lobby day on July 2 to have a group of activists visit members of the Veterans & Federal Affairs committe.   Does that Monday seem like a reasonable date to you?   If so, can you reserve a room for the …
Cole Harrison
Executive Director
Massachusetts Peace Action
11 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
f: /masspeaceaction  t: @masspeaceaction
Cole Harrison
Executive Director
Massachusetts Peace Action
11 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
w: 617-354-2169
m: 617-466-9274
f: /masspeaceaction  t: @masspeaceaction
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The Literary World Lamp Goes Dim Again-“Portnoy’s Complaint” Author Philip Roth Has Cashed His Check At 85

The Literary World Lamp Goes Dim Again-“Portnoy’s Complaint” Author Philip Roth Has Cashed His Check At 85

A link to an NPR Open Source program hosted by Christopher Lydon who interviewed Philip Roth at his Connecticut home in 2006

By Bart Webber

As usual Scribe, the late Peter Paul Markin, who was what amounted to our intellectual-in- residence that residence being our 1960s corner boy haven in front of Tonio’s Pizza Parlor in the Acre neighborhood of North Adamsville, was the first to hip us to the recently deceased American author Philip Roth. The book he hipped us to was the first big Roth novel Portnoy’s Complaint in 1969 while Scribe was doing his psychologically fatal tour in Vietnam. He kept raving about it being the first truly honest, if over the top, depiction of sexual acts including the no-no talk masturbation along with serious dirty language not known in earlier books, at least books we knew about. Previously he had like half the literary world touted guys like his heroes Hemingway and Fitzgerald with a little John Dos Passos thrown in (and it was mostly guys in his literary pantheon although Dorothy Parker and strangely Edith Wharton were on his top writers list). Beyond that he dared not go in our crowd, our crowd of Irish Catholic corner boys who while pissing against the wall about the ill effects of that doctrine on our love lives and our guilt trips still maintained some semblance of adherence if only as background noise in our brains.       
That Irish Catholic stranglehold was no small matter when it came to anything involving Jews. That despite Vatican II of our later youth eliminating the idea of Jews as Christ-killers (my grandmother who had many good qualities never reconciled herself to that elimination and to her dying day cursed John Paul XXII for his infamy. Also hated the idea of the Mass in the vernacular although she could speak no Latin phrases when in church). Mostly this was a “street” gentile anti-Semitism, a little Jew-baiting of Jewish kids in our high school who were all the smart ones in the academic sense and we, even Scribe for a time, hated that book smart idea. It was fine to be street smart like our leader Frankie Riley but book smart was off the charts. Except when Scribe went into one of his raves. He went to his grave cursing himself for in high school not hanging out with the Jewish kids who filled up the Great Book Club which he had refused to join because of the ban on book smarts which even he tended to adhere to inside our corner boy circle. So this was not some neo-Nazi thing but a common, too common, gentile distaste and disparagement of the “other” (nice term, right). The one Jewish kid, a good kid and an athlete which held some cache with us, who tried to hang with us on the Tonio corner got the cold shoulder and after a while stopped trying to bust into our ignorant little crowd.         

The fact is part of the reason we didn’t go for book smarts, except as always when Scribe got on his high horse, was we, and I in particular then did not give a fuck about books, high-brow or low. Never read much except a few times to get next to some girl who would mention some book and had I read it and off I would go to the Thomas Knowles Public Library and grab a copy. Most of the stuff was too gushy romance which I held my nose as I read. But such is the love battles. As for Jewish writers I would say I don’t remember reading any then, then in high school. Especially after Scribe would fill, try to fill, our lonely Friday nights reading some fag homo named Allen Ginsberg, a friend of Jack Kerouac, who had written a poem Howl  which he insisted that we let him read once he “discovered” the Beats. Jesus, a couple of guys, Timmy Riley for one who later on became one of the great drag queens in San Francisco after he came out of the closet and maybe Jack Callahan who holds the distinction of being the sole corner boy who stayed married to one woman for life almost tore Scribe apart one night to stop his madness. Later in the Summer of Love we would be so stoned on drugs that when Scribe started to recite Howl we were all ears.
To cut to the chase about Philip Roth once Scribe gave the word that this guy had something to say even to us gentile anti-Semites about the new mores in book world where unlike in Hemingway and Fitzgerald say they merely alluded to various sexual practices and had their swears sanitized he let it all hang out we were all ears. Except here is the funny part we were talking that talk, except maybe going on and on about masturbation so much, out in the streets so I remember Frankie Riley who respected Scribe more than the rest of us wondering what the big deal was. So, yeah, Philip Roth wrote some good stuff, told a tale well, expanded the literary universe, or what was left of it back then and got a bunch of guys who probably would have not given a damn reason to read him. RIP, Philip Roth, RIP             

**In Honor Of Our Class-War Prisoners- Free All The Class-War Prisoners!-Freddie Hilton, (Kamau Sadiki)

**In Honor Of Our Class-War Prisoners- Free All The Class-War Prisoners!-Freddie Hilton, (Kamau Sadiki)
A link above to more information about the class-war prisoner honored in this entry.

Make June Class-War Prisoners Freedom Month 

Markin comment (reposted from 2010)

In “surfing” the National Jericho Movement Website recently in order to find out more, if possible, about class- war prisoner and 1960s radical, Marilyn Buck, whom I had read about in a The Rag Blog post I linked to the Jericho list of class war prisoners. I found Marilyn Buck listed there but also others, some of whose cases, like that of the “voice of the voiceless” Pennsylvania death row prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, are well-known and others who seemingly have languished in obscurity. All of the cases, at least from the information that I could glean from the site, seemed compelling. And all seemed worthy of far more publicity and of a more public fight for their freedom.
That last notion set me to the task at hand. Readers of this space know that I am a longtime supporter of the Partisan Defense Committee, a class struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which supports class war prisoners as part of the process of advancing the international working class’ struggle for socialism. In that spirit I am honoring the class war prisoners on the National Jericho Movement list this June as the start of what I hope will be an on-going attempt by all serious leftist militants to do their duty- fighting for freedom for these brothers and sisters. We will fight out our political differences and disagreements as a separate matter. What matters here and now is the old Wobblie (IWW) slogan - An injury to one is an injury to all.
Note: This list, right now, is composed of class-war prisoners held in American detention. If others are likewise incarcerated that are not listed here feel free to leave information on their cases in the comment section. Likewise any cases, internationally, that come to your attention. I am sure there are many, many such cases out there. Make this June, and every June, a Class-War Prisoners Freedom Month- Free All Class-War Prisoners Now! 

Reflections On Memorial Day, 2017 At The Vietnam Memorial Wall-Fritz Taylor’s Endless War

Reflections On Memorial Day, 2017 At The Vietnam Memorial Wall-Fritz Taylor’s Endless War

By Josh Breslin

[My old friend Fritz Taylor from down in Fulton County, Georgia was from what I heard from others, from his contemporaries like my oldest brother, Laurent and of course Peter Paul Markin, known in his younger pre-draftee days around his old neighborhood as the Scribe and thereafter as the Be-Bop Kid when he got back from that hellhole, not him, one of the bravos of the Vietnam War. Had a few medals, well won, which he eventually threw over the fence at the Supreme Court building down in Washington, D. C. in if I remember correctly 1971 when a bunch of Vietnam veterans who had turned against the war they had helped fight, had been marked forever by, decided that such a gesture was an appropriate way to show their fierce opposition.

But that was not the end of it not by a longshot either politically or mentally for Fritz Taylor. The mental part first. Whatever it was that happened to Fritz over there in that hellhole he carried those psychic wounds around with him for a long time, still does. (As did my brother and sad to say every time I bring up that bastard’s giant oversized name Markin who cashed his check early, died of some demons egged on in Vietnam down in Sonora in Mexico when a drug deal he was involved went bad and he went to a potter’s field grave) Went through the usual drug (cocaine and speed as he will freely tell you in order to keep some demons at bay anyway), divorce (two, first to his high school sweetheart whom he married out of despair when he got those dreaded orders to report to Fort Lewis for transport to Southeast Asia, homelessness (drug habits drain resources, and friendships, fast, “recovery” always a very close thing cycle familiar from life experiences among fellow soldiers until he was able to keep his demons somewhat in check and function in a reasonable manner. Know this though this is an on-going struggle even today almost fifty years later so you know some serious shit happened, he saw and did some stuff that will never let him be washed clean, so you know a little why the demons had him on the run for a while.    

All during this psychic drama though Fritz never lost his hatred for war that he had experienced at first hand once he, as the late Peter Paul Markin also a Vietnam veteran and the man who introduced me to Fritz long ago used to say, “got religion,” got on the right side of the angels on the questions of war and peace. Successively Fritz had belonged to Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) and Veterans for Peace after the former organization kind of petered out. It was as part of a contingent of VFP members who were going to protest the Trump government’s desire to increase the bloated military budget by 54 billion dollars that found him in Washington this Memorial Day, 2017. Found him as always drawn to the Vietnam Memorial adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. He, as always, paid his respects to those he knew from the war, and from his old neighborhood. But he would also always have a moment of bitter reflection about some comrades who did not make the wall-and should have. This is what he expressed to me when he came back and I spoke to him about his trip. The words are mine but the thoughts are his. ] 


Fritz Taylor, Vietnam veteran, 1969-1971, 4th Infantry, always claimed long after he had gotten “religion” on the questions of war and peace, after he had earned the right to oppose the bloody damn thing having been up close and personal that some of his fellow veterans had been shortchanged when it came to the crying wall, crying for him every time he went down to D.C. and was drawn to, had to pay his respects to his fallen comrades. He knew that each name inscribed on that black granite had paid their dues. No question.       

This year he happened to be in D.C. on Memorial Day as part of a contingent of Veterans for Peace to protest the latest round of the military again feeding at the public teat. As it turned out quite by accident while he was doing his “duty” to his fallen comrades from the 4th Infantry, and to his hometown boys Eric Slater and Jimmy Jenkins forever etched in stone there, he had caught part of the annual ceremony. Righteous Fritz who when he went over to the peace side of the equation probably had logged more jail time than was good for him with acts of civil disobedience those time he wanted to make a point about the current wave of endless wars, moreover did not have any issue when new names of those who were missing in action somehow had gotten repatriated or had been accounted for by some other method. (See above for additions to this year’s crying wall). What grieved Fritz was those like his friend from Vietnam days, Johnny Ridge, a working class kid from Steubenville out in Ohio near the river who after many years of suffering psychic wounds received in Vietnam jumped into that Ohio River. (The bridge Fritz thought had since been taken down for other reason.) Or another friend from anti-war soldier days, Manny Gibbons who spent his last few years fighting cancer which the doctors directly related to his exposure to Agent Orange. Then there was Markin, Peter Paul Markin, who helped him get “sober,” get sober the first few times, whom he had met when he was a “brother under the bridge” out in Southern California and Markin was doing stories about guys like him who hadn’t adjusted to the “real” world after ‘Nam who fell down himself in Mexico on a busted drug deal driven by who knows what demons. There were others whose stories Fritz knew but those two first accounts and Markin’s whom I knew and loved ever since I met him out in San Francisco in the Summer of Love, 1967 before the evil draft got its clutches into him will do to make this point. I still cry over Markin but never felt it was place to think about why his name wasn’t etched in stone either.   

Fritz, righteous Fritz, that day once again promised his lost comrades that he would work until he went to his own not too distant death to get their names etched in stone, etched in that benighted black granite. Vietnam will never end for one Fritz John Taylor, or for a lot of other guys either.