Saturday, August 11, 2018

As The 100th Anniversary Of The Armistice Day 11/11/1918 at 11 AM Commences-Some Artists Who Fought/Died/Lived Through The Nightmare That Destroyed The Flower Of European And American Youth -Horace Pippin

As The 100th Anniversary Of The Armistice Day 11/11/1918 at 11 AM Commences-Some Artists Who Fought/Died/Lived Through The Nightmare That Destroyed The Flower Of European And American Youth -Horace Pippin  

By Seth Garth

A few years ago, starting in August 2104 the 100th anniversary of what would become World War I, I started a series about the cultural effects of the slaughter which mowed down the flower of the European youth including an amazing number of artists, poets and other cultural figures. I had my say there in a general sense but now as we are only a few months away from the 100th anniversary of, mercifully, the armistice which effectively ended that bloodbath I want to do a retrospective of artistic works by those who survived the war and how those war visions got translated into their works with some commentary if the spirit moves me but this is their show-no question they earned a retrospective.

As The 100th Anniversary Of The Armistice Day 11/11/1918 at 11 AM Commences-Some Artists Who Fought/Died/Lived Through The Nightmare That Destroyed The Flower Of European Youth -Otto Dix

As The 100th Anniversary Of The Armistice Day 11/11/1918 at 11 AM Commences-Some Artists Who Fought/Died/Lived Through The Nightmare That Destroyed The Flower Of European Youth -Otto Dix  

The War

By Seth Garth

A few years ago, starting in August 2104 the 100th anniversary of what would become World War I, I started a series about the cultural effects of the slaughter which mowed down the flower of the European youth including an amazing number of artists, poets and other cultural figures. I had my say there in a general sense but now as we are only a few months away from the 100th anniversary of, mercifully, the armistice which effectively ended that bloodbath I want to do a retrospective of artistic works by those who survived the war and how those war visions got translated into their works with some commentary if the spirit moves me but this is their show-no question they earned a retrospective

Blues Legend Henry Butler Passes To The Great High White Note Search Beyond

Blues Legend Henry Butler Passes To The Great High White Note Search Beyond 

An Encore Salute To The Untold Stories Of The Working- Class 1960s Radicals-“The Sam And Ralph Stories”- Down With The Death Penalty-For The Innocent-And The Guilty-Where Was The Ma. Committee Against The Death Penalty and Amnesty International On Judgment Day!

An Encore Salute To The Untold Stories Of The Working- Class 1960s Radicals-“The Sam And Ralph Stories”- Down With The Death Penalty-For The Innocent-And The Guilty-Where Was The Ma. Committee Against The Death Penalty and Amnesty International On Judgment Day!  

Greg Green, site manager Introduction 

 [In early 2018, shortly after I had taken over the reins as site manager at this on-line publication I “saw the light” and bowed to the wisdom of a number of older writers who balked at my idea of reaching younger and newer audiences by having them review films like Marvel/DC Comics productions, write about various video games and books that would not offend a flea unlike the flaming red books previously reviewed here centered on the now aging 1960s baby-boomer demographic which had sustained the publication through good times and bad as a hard copy and then on-line proposition. One senior writer, who shall remain nameless in case some stray millennial sees this introduction and spreads some viral social media hate campaign his way, made the very telling observation that the younger set, his term, don’t read film reviews or hard copy books as a rule and those hardy Generation of ’68 partisans who still support this publication in the transition from the old Allan Jackson leadership to mine don’t give a fuck about comics, video games or graphic novels. I stand humbled.

Not only stand humbled though but in a valiant and seemingly successful attempt to stabilize this operation decided to give an encore presentation to some of the most important series produced and edited by Allan Jackson-without Allan. That too proved to be an error when I had Frank Jackman introduce the first few sections of The Roots Is The Toots Rock And Roll series which Allan had sweated his ass over to bring out over a couple of years. Writers, and not only senior writers who had supported Allan in the vote of no confidence fight challenging his leadership after he went overboard attempting to cash in on the hoopla over the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in 1967 but also my younger writer partisans, balked at this subterfuge. One called it a travesty.

Backing off after finding Allan, not an easy task since he had fled to the safer waters of the West looking for work and had been rumored to be any place from Salt Lake City to some mountainous last hippie commune in the hills of Northern California doing anything from pimping as press agent for Mitt Romney’s U.S. Senate campaign in Utah to running a whorehouse with Madame La Rue in Frisco or shacking up with drag queen Miss Judy Garland in that same city, we brought Allan back to do the introductions to the remaining sections. That we, me and the Editorial Board established after Allan’s demise and as a guard against one-person rule, had compromised on that gesture with the last of the series being the termination of Allan’s association with the publication except possibly as an occasional writer, a stringer really, when some nostalgia event needed some attention.      

That was the way things went and not too badly when we finished up the series in the early summer of 2018. But that is not the end of the Allan story. While looking through the on-line archives I noticed that Allan had also seriously edited another 1960s-related series, the Sam and Ralph Stories, a series centered on the trials and tribulations of two working-class guys who had been radicalized in different ways by the 1960s upheavals and have never lost the faith in what Allan called from Tennyson “seeking a newer world” would resurface in this wicked old world, somebody’s term.

I once again attempted to make the mistake of having someone else, in this case Josh Breslin, introduce the series (after my introduction here) but the Editorial Board bucked me even before I could set that idea in motion. I claimed, somewhat disingenuously, that Allan was probably out in Utah looking for some residual work for Mitt Romney now that he is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senator for Utah or running back to Madame La Rue, an old flame, and that high- end whorehouse or hanging with Miss Judy Garland at her successful drag queen tourist attraction cabaret. No such luck since he was up in Maine working on a book about his life as an editor. To be published in hard cop y by well-known Wheeler Press whenever he gets the proofs done. So hereafter former editor and site manager Allan will handle the introductions on this encore presentation of this excellent series. Greg Green]                  

Allan Jackson, editor The Sam And Ralph Stories -New General Introduction

[As my replacement Greg Green, whom I brought in from American Film Gazette originally to handle the day to day site operations while I concentrated on editing but who led a successful revolt against my regime based on the wishes of the younger writers to as they said at the time not be slaves to the 1960s upheavals a time which they only knew second or third hand, mentioned in his general introduction above some of the series I initiated were/are worth an encore presentation. The Sam and Ralph Stories are one such series and as we go along I will try to describe why this series was an important testament to an unheralded segment of the mass movements of the 1960s-the radicalized white working- class kids who certainly made up a significant component of the Vietnam War soldiery, some of who were like Sam and Ralph forever after suspicious of every governmental war cry. Who also somewhat belatedly got caught up in the second wave rock and roll revival which emerged under the general slogan of “drug, sex and rock and roll” which represented a vast sea change for attitudes about a lot of things that under ordinary circumstances would have had them merely replicating their parents’ ethos and fate.        

As I said I will describe that transformation in future segment introductions but today since it is my “dime” I want to once again clear up some misapprehensions about what has gone on over the past year or so in the interest of informing the readership, as Greg Green has staked his standing at this publication on doing to insure his own survival, about what goes on behind the scenes in the publishing business. This would not have been necessary after the big flap when Greg tried an “end around” something that I and every other editor worth her or his salt have tried as well and have somebody else, here commentator and my old high school friend Frank Jackman, act as general introducer of The Roots Is The Toots  rock and roll coming of age series that I believe is one of the best productions I have ever worked on. That got writers, young and old, with me or against me, led by Sam Lowell, another of my old high school friends, who had been the decisive vote against me in the “vote of no confidence” which ended my regime up in arms. I have forgiven Sam, and others, as I knew full well from the time I entered into the business that at best it was a cutthroat survival of the fittest racket. (Not only have I forgiven Sam but I am in his corner in his recent struggles with young up and coming by-line writer Sarah Lemoyne who is being guided through the shoals by another old high school friend Seth Garth as she attempts to make her way up the film critic food chain, probably the most vicious segment of the business where a thousand knives wait the unwary from so-called fellow reviewers.) The upshot of that controversy was that Greg had to back off and let me finish the introducing the series for which after all I had been present at the creation.               

That would have been the end of it but once we successfully, and thankfully by Greg who gave me not only kudos around the water cooler but a nice honorarium, concluded that series encore in the early summer of 2018 he found another way to cut me. Going through the archives of this publication to try to stabilize the readership after doing some “holy goof” stuff like having serious writers, young and old, reviewing films based on comic book characters, the latest in video games and graphic novels with no success forgetting the cardinal rule of the post-Internet world that the younger set get their information from other sources than old line academic- driven websites and don’t read beyond their techie tools Greg found another series, the one highlighted here, that intrigued him for an encore presentation. This is where Greg proved only too human since he once again attempted an “end around,” by having Josh Breslin, another old friend whom I meet in the Summer of Love, 1967 out in San Francisco, introduce the series citing my unavailability as the reason although paying attention to the fact that I had sweated bullets over that one as well.      

This time though the Editorial Board, now headed by Sam Lowell, intervened even before Greg could approach Josh for the assignment. This Ed Board was instituted after my departure to insure the operation would not descend, Sam’s word actually, into the so-called autocratic one-person rule that had been the norm under my regime. They told Greg to call me back in on the encore project or to forget it. I would not have put up with such a suggestion from an overriding Ed Board and would have willingly bowed out if anybody had tried to undermine me that way. I can understand fully Greg’s desire to cast me to the deeps, have done with me as in my time I did as well knowing others in the food chain would see this as their opportunity to move up.  

That part I had no problem with, told Greg exactly that. What bothered me was the continuing “urban legend” about what I had done, where I had gone after that decisive vote of no confidence. Greg continued, may continue today, to fuel the rumors that not only after my initial demise but after finishing up the Roots Is The Toots series I had gone back out West to Utah of all places to work for the Mormons, or to Frisco to hook up with my old flame Madame La Rue running that high-end whorehouse I had staked her to in the old days, or was running around with another old high school pal, Miss Judy Garland, aka Timmy Riley the high priestess of the drag queen set out in that same town whom I also helped stake to  his high-end tourist attraction cabaret. All nonsense, I was working on my memoir up in Maine, up in Olde Saco where Josh grew up and which I fell in love with when he first showed me his hometown and its ocean views.          

If the reader can bear the weight of this final reckoning let me clear the air on all three subjects on the so-called Western trail. Before that though I admit, admit freely that despite all the money I have made, editing, doing a million pieces under various aliases and monikers, ballooning up 3000 word articles to 10,000 and having the publishers fully pay despite the need for editing for the latter in the days before the Guild when you worked by the word, accepting articles which I clearly knew were just ripped of the AP feed and sending them along as gold I had no dough, none when I was dethroned. Reason, perfectly sane reason, although maybe not, three ex-wives with alimony blues and a parcel of kids, a brood if you like who were in thrall to the college tuition vultures.

Tapped out in the East for a lot of reasons I did head west the first time looking for work. Landed in Utah when I ran out of dough, and did, DID, try to get a job on the Salt Lake Star and would have had it too except two things somebody there, some friend of Mitt Romney, heard I was looking for work and nixed the whole thing once they read the articles I had written mocking Mitt and his white underwear world as Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate. So it was with bitter irony when I heard that Greg had retailed the preposterous idea that I would now seek a job shilling for dear white undie Mitt as press agent in his run for the open Utah United States Senate seat. Here is where everybody should gasp though at the whole Utah fantasy-these Mormons stick close together, probably ingrained in them from Joseph Smith days, and don’t hire goddam atheists and radicals, don’t hire outside the religion if they can help it. You probably had to have slept with one of Joseph Smith’s or Brigham Young’s wives to even get one foot in the door. Done.              

The helping Madame La Rue, real name of no interest or need to mention,  running her high-end exclusive whorehouse out in Half Moon Bay at least had some credence since I had staked her to some dough to get started after the downfall of the 1960s sent her back to her real world, the world of a high class hooker who was slumming with “hippies” for a while when it looked like our dreams were going to be deterred in in the ebbtide. We had been hot and heavy lovers, although never married except on some hazed drug-fogged concert night when I think Josh Breslin “married” us and sent us on a “honeymoon” with a fistful of cocaine. Down on dough I hit her up for some which she gave gladly, said it was interest on the “loan: she never repaid and let me stay at her place for a while until I had to move on. Done

The whole drag queen idea tells me that whoever started this damn lie knew nothing about my growing up days and had either seen me in The Totem, Timmy Riley’s aka Miss Judy Garland’s drinking with a few drag queen who worked and drew the wrong conclusions or was out to slander and libel me for some other nefarious reason. See Miss Judy Garland is the very successful drag queen and gay man Timmy Riley from the old neighborhood who fled to Frisco when he could no longer hide his sexual identity and preferences. To our great shock since Timmy had been the out-front gay-basher of our crowd, our working-class corner boy gay-bashing crowd. I had lent, after getting religion rather late on the LGBTQ question, Timmy the money to buy his first drag queen cabaret on Bay Street and Timmy was kind enough to stake me to some money and a roof before I decided I had to head back East. Done.

But enough about me.  This is about two other working- class guys, Sam Eaton and Ralph Morris, met along life’s road one from Carver about fifty miles away from where Seth, Sam, Timmy and a bunch of other guys grew up and learned the “normal” working-class ethos-and broke, tentatively at times, from that same straitjacket and from Troy, New York. Funny Troy, Carver, North Adamsville, and Josh’s old mill town Olde Saco all down-in-the-mouth working class towns still produced in exceptional times a clot of guys who got caught up in the turmoil of their times-and lived to tell the tale. I am proud to introduce this encore presentation and will have plenty more to say about Sam and Ralph in future segments.]


Ralph Morris comment:

You know when I was a kid I had all the traditional working-class attitudes toward crime and criminals. At least in the sense that those who committed grievous crimes should pay the full penalty that society can deliver to such conduct. In short in the interest of retribution the state should be able to put to death those who go far off the norms of society. Now it wasn’t that I had such a sophisticated view of the matter or had it all worked out. You know picking the retribution argument out of the several reasons that the death penalty should be an option as against say its deterrent effect, the cost to society of keeping the prisoner alive through the arduous appeals process, or to bring closure to the victims of the heinous crimes committed.

Probably a lot of my attitude came from listening at the family dinner table to my father spewing forth about how criminals, demented and crazed criminals like rapist Caryl Chessman who a bunch of do-gooders in California were trying to save, should face their maker rather quickly, maybe something like summary execution according to his view. My father for days was happy when they put that “rat” Chessman (his word) down.  A little probably had to do too with the guys who I hung around with at Van Patten’s Drugstore in my old working-class neighborhood in the Tappan Street section of Troy, New York where I grew up. Those guys driven by what they saw at the movies or learned from their own family dinner tables would also go out of the way to say those “dirty rats” should sizzle. I know when the film adaptation of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood came out when we watched the end we said “yes!” when that trap-door sent the pair to their maker.        

Here is the funny thing though, funny since I grew up a Catholic on both sides of the family and the Catholic position on the death penalty has always been in the interest of the sanctity of life to oppose that measure. Frankly, I did not really know that was the position of our church (my then church since seriously lapsed for many reasons, not all of them religious differences) until I was about fourteen and my maternal grandmother, Anna Kelly, who had been influenced by the Dorothy Day-led Catholic Worker movement of the 1930s told me so one time when I asked about the church’s attitude while staying at her house during a school vacation. That knowledge made me think, not then so much because I was still under the influence of my father and my high school corner boys but later when I had a serious sea-change in a lot of my attitudes. Then it kind of naturally followed.   

Of course for me, a child of the 1960s and thus of lots of sea-changes brought about in lots of different ways, it had been my tour of duty in the United States Army in the Central Highlands in Vietnam where I, and a lot of my Army buddies, did things that it is hard to speak of even now to people who never bothered mine or theirs. More importantly during my eighteen months of duty (the normal tour was twelve months but I had extended my tour not so much because I was gung-ho as I wanted to finish my three year enlistment early which they offered to do for the extension and get the hell out) I became more and more disgusted with what was going on, going on in what even then seemed a senseless war. Truth though some of that sense was developed later once I got out and could think through things a little, take stock of what was going on in the world then.    

A couple of key events that pushed me around, make me think a little differently about life. One day in early 1970 I was delivering a special motor from my father’s high-precision electrical shop where I worked for a while after I got out of the service to a customer on Vanderbilt Street near Russell Sage College in Albany and saw a ragtag group of ex-veterans in consciously mismatched uniforms walking almost silently down the street carrying individual signs and a big banner in the lead calling for “Immediate, Unconditional Withdrawal from Vietnam” and signed by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). It was impressive as the passers-by stood in, I think, stunned into silence since here were guys who knew what it was all about saying get the hell out, pronto. One of the lead ex-soldiers shouted out for any veterans to join them. Like a lemming to the sea I did so, did march that day with my new-found “band of brothers.”  

I would do more marches, rallies, sit-ins with the VVAW in Albany and down in New York City when they needed bodies but the big turnaround event was May Day 1971 when we planned to symbolically shut down the Pentagon, our former bosses, as part of a larger action of thousands of people working under the slogan-“if the government does not shut down the war, we will shut down the government.” For our efforts that day all we got was tear-gassed, billy-clubbed and sent to the bastinado holding area at the RFK football stadium. That is where I met my longtime friend and political associate Sam Eaton who had come down from Boston with a group of red and radicals from Cambridge whose task was to “capture” the White House. Like I said we met at RFK stadium as a result of our collective efforts.

The most important result from that disastrous episode was that we both spent the next several years until we both saw the 1960s high promise alternate vision ebbing joining various study groups (and studying on our own) run by various kinds of socialists, un-joined some as well and wound up generally working with whatever ad hoc groups had need of bodies for whatever they were protesting. It was during this period, which was also a period in which there was turmoil around the use of the death penalty and its uneven application by each state which caused a moratorium to be called on executions for several years, that I readjusted my views on the death penalty to jibe with the changes in my other views (and this is also the period where I changed my view on abortion from anti to pro-choice, that position partially induced by a personal situation at the time). My father was furious but Grandmother Kelly just smiled a knowing smile.    

Over the next few decades although we would not put the frenzied 24/7 energy into political activism that we did in the early 1970s as we pursued our careers and began raising families we would response to any calls from social activist groups who needed bodies. Then the lead-up to the Iraq War in 2002 made us both abandon our “armed truce” (Sam’s term) with the American government and have continued to be active, although with a greater sense now that we had to hope younger activists would show up to take over the main struggles. So we have done our fair share of anti-war vigils, rallies, marches, especially after I joined Veterans for Peace (VFP), progeny of the old VVAW (and Sam who was military exempt during Vietnam as the sole support of his mother and four younger sisters after his father had died suddenly of a massive heart attack in 1965 became a non-veteran associate member). Did some work around the Occupy movement in 2011 too.       

Around the death penalty though over the years we probably had not done much except donate to various anti-death penalty organizations in New York and Massachusetts when the pro-death penalty forces reared their heads after some particularly egregious crime stirred up the issue again. That is until we got involved in the last stages of trying to save the life of Troy Davis down in Georgia in 2011. We failed there after the United States Supreme Court turned down a last minute appeal. And until now in Massachusetts where Sam had commandeered me to stand with him around the Boston Marathon bomber case, the case of the surviving Tsarnaev, in Federal District Court.

Sam and I both recognized this as a tough one given the horrendous actions of the brother bombers consciously killing and gravely maiming many people who were among the crowd at the finish line on the afternoon of Patriot’s Day 2013. Sam admitted, since he knew a few people in the running community who had been affected that day, that he had taken something of a “dive” on showing up at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston to oppose the death penalty the federal prosecutors were asking for without question, and without any plea deal for life without parole. In Troy the matter riled up many people for a while but it did not have the same intensity that it still had for Boston where the wounds ran deep. 

Nobody would be on the side of the angels on this one. But here is where little quirky things done by individuals kind of make you stand up and take notice. One VFP-er, Joe K., whom I knew vaguely from his coming down to New York City for some solidarity actions, had taken it upon himself to show up at the courthouse every day the trial was in session from jury selection until the forgone guilty verdict conclusion. He had received a certain amount of attention for carrying a simple homemade sign each day stating “Down with the Death Penalty.” Sam who works with the Boston VFP chapter, the Smedley Butler Brigade, received a message on their website sent by Joe that bodies were needed at the courthouse for the critical sentencing stage since the guilt issue had been essentially conceded by the defense team. In federal court the jury makes the recommendation on sentence in capital cases (murder, one) and thus had the options of execution by lethal injection, the preferred federal method, or life without parole. The “hook” was that if one jury voted against the death penalty on even one count the sentence would automatically be life without parole. The problem though was that the jury had been “death-qualified” meaning, in practice that no totally anti-death penalty advocate could have served on the jury and the prosecutors would have been sharpening their knives to exclude any even mild opponents, or people with open minds on the subject. Joe’s idea, the right one, was to have a presence each day of anti-death penalty people showing up and to show the world that death was not the answer. And if nothing else to get that message across to the milling around press corps in front of the building.               

Sam and I worked to get the word out, worked all the lists we had accumulated over the years of social and progressive groups to come stand with us. Not many did most days, a few to a couple of dozen or so but we got the word out, got the word that people were willing to stand-up and say no to death by the state in even the most egregious cases. One guy had a sign saying- “we do not grant the state the right to kill the innocent-or the guilty.”  Those who wrote the accompanying article from a left-wing newspaper that was handed out one day at an anti-war Iraq and Syria war rally would appreciate such sentiments.

Of course as the headlines have screamed out the young bomber, Tsarnaev, has been formally sentenced to death by the judge in the case and our efforts thus far have gone for nought. Here is what I want to know though, a question which formed the “hook” headline   to this piece. Why were the natural organizations (beside VFP which has a long history of opposition to the death penalty as well) to lead the public vigil against the death penalty in Massachusetts-the Committee Against The Death Penalty (who have the martyred Sacco and Vanzetti as their logo) and the local branch of Amnesty International absent from the front of the Moakley Federal Courthouse. They were repeatedly asked to join the vigil and their answers were not forthcoming. Rumor, which you can contact them to verify or not, has it that the case “was too hot to handle.” Yeah, do ask them about that one.      

From The Archives-No- From Today's Front Pages In Portland- As The First Anniversary Of Charlottesville Approaches-We Are In A Cold Civil War In America-No Platform For Fascists-No Platform For Nazis Or KKK Either-Join And Built The People’s Resistance

From The Archives-No- From Today's Front Pages In Portland-   As The First Anniversary Of Charlottesville Approaches-We Are In A Cold Civil War In America-No Platform For Fascists-No Platform For Nazis Or KKK Either-Join And Built The People’s Resistance  

August 6. 2018 Update-

A few friends, close friends at that, have taken me up short when I mention to them, to the political world beyond them as well that we are in the throes of a “cold civil war.” They look at me in disbelief. Look at me as if I was in some 1930s Germany time warp (even there they are wrong it is the 1920s which set the stage for the 1930s horrors not out of the blue) harping on the divide in this American society. A divide I did not make or make up but through plenty of things, tensions, from race to class have brought things to a boiling point. Then things like Charlottesville last year, things like Portland this weekend where the cold civil war took at heated turn between the alt-right and anti-fa and who knows what next weekend in Washington, D.C. on first anniversary of Charlottesville. Those friends still smirk a little but all I know is that as I have repeated mentioned I did not believe that in my six decade I would be seriously discussing the danger from the fascists small as it seemed a while back but more menacing now. More later-much more.

By Frank Jackman

[I really hate to start a piece with a bracketed introduction, really a double bracketed introduction since I had to do the same when I introduced the original piece last year around this time in the wake of the events in Charlottesville down in Virginia, down in the college town of the University of Virginia. However given the nature of the subject, no, given the impeding urgency of the subject the heating up of the cold civil war in America, a phenomenon not seen in this country since the decade before Civil War which ended slavery only after a series of compromises proved illusionary to end the damn institution and the only way to resolve the situation was with arms in hand and its concurrent phenomenon the rise of the organized fascist movement, aided not a little by the rabid occupants of the White House and the rest of the governing apparatus we need to talk.

This heating up of the cold civil war is a phenomenon which I have been noting for maybe a decade, maybe a little less but certainly since the big Great Recession as the economists call it now in historical hindsight when many people’s live were hung out to dry, hung out big time which started toward avalanche toward the big break of the have-nots, or maybe have not enough toward the right after flirting with Barack Obama to no avail. During that time, say since 2011 when I reported heavily on the wisp of the will phantom Occupy movement in these pages (and in Progressive Nation now on-line but which I was one of the hard copy founders of back in the 1970s but which was subsequently bought to a writers collective), I have interviewed many of those who have not move forward, no, who have been left behind for no fault of their own and no reason that they can figure out why they lost out except that now they have a handle on the damn thing as victims of globalization, liberal cabal globalization.

Still in 2016 despite knowing, feeling this unsatisfied undercurrent I was as taken aback, as shocked, and plainly speaking as clueless as any other of the talking class, of the political pundits who are supposed to have a ide about what was what in the political arena. Worse on the second point, on that rise of the fascistic elements from their cubbyholes and warrens in backwoods America, was not that I was unaware of it, hell, I had done a whole series on militias, survivalists and others who had a morbid fear ignited by their race hatreds, by their hatred of Barack Obama despite their generally have no contact ever with black people and despite not living within fifty miles of any black communities, barrios, Asian enclaves or urban Jews. Jesus. What had, has me stumped in that after fifty years or more of political struggle, fifty years since I wrote my first term paper on fascist groups in America (think of the name George Lincoln Rockwell as the poster child of that movement back then) I have to go out on the streets and hold the bastards off. Below is a quick review and summary of the past year complete with that bracketed introduction, now second introduction, that I have threatened you with. Frank Jackman]              

Original Introduction

[Under the now not so new direction of site manager Greg Green who has made some mistakes and made some very right decisions as is usual for chief editors and assignment impresarios we writers, young and old, free-lance or staff, stringers or by-line worthy have been given the green light as part of our works to discuss how we got the assignment or any other material the reader may find interesting as back story. I will do so here in a review of what I have called the impeding cold civil war in American over the past period. Frank Jackman]  

Sometimes out in the political hustings you come across a piece of written propaganda which hits you exactly where you live. Expresses your sentiments better than you could on your own. That is the case with the small, inexpensive paper leaflet that I picked up, or was handed to me, at an anti-fascist demonstration last summer on the Boston Common which I was covering for this publication. I subsequently received the same copies at a few other anti-fascist rallies and stand-outs again not sure which I picked up and which were handed to me although that is of no import to the political message stated. This “pick-up” “handed” conundrum the result of the fact that I grab one way or another every piece of literature that I come across at any rallies or such events that I cover or take part in.        

I headlined the beginning of this piece with the statement that we are in a cold civil war in this country, in America, and have been for a while, maybe the last twenty years at least but that fact has only been pushed in our faces bigtime since the age of Trump began where all the contradictions, all the divisions and all the cultural clashes have become part of the daily political battleground. There have been over the past year or so some important nodal points making that cold civil get at least momentarily hotter-one was horrendous Charlottesville which put all on notice that the divisions were deep and maybe had reached some boiling point. Make no mistake that Charlottesville was a “victory” for what passes as the Alt-Right, Nazi-Fascist-KKK-Militia combine which has been emboldened by the rise of the Trump reaction. Another was the recent nationwide student lead-high school student-led March for Our Lives demonstration, so you know this is something very different on the political horizon which was a “victory” for our side, for the people’s resistance which is important if we can keep up the momentum.  

One of the problems if you will of our side is that some people, a lot of people, many of whom have only recently come to political life have many mixed and confused feelings about what to do to stop the Alt-Right-Nazis-Fascist-KKK in their tracks. Have bought into at least partially the notion that these bastards have some “right” to free speech that we must respect. That we must expend political capital defending. “Forget that noise” as the late Pete Markin, a guy I grew up with and who gave me plenty of political insights said and would say today as well. We are private citizens and not governmental agents so have no obligation to defend such rights to free speech under any constitutional theory.

But the Constitution is only the bedrock of running a civil society. We the people of the resistance have to be clear that we do not support any right for the Alt-Right-Fascist-Nazi-KKK-Militia cabal to free speech to spew their genocidal, ethnic-cleansing, race war programs. And that, as history shows us, and everybody should read the history of the rise of fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany, is their calling card, their intention and we had better be clear that we have to nip that movement in the bud. Not only by confronting them across the police lines, police lines there to protect them and their so-called right to free speech since the police are governmental agents but to make sure they find not havens, no platforms, to spew their hateful messages. So yes so-called free speech issues take a very far back seat to the fight against the intentions of these monsters if we don’t stop them. Believe me they don’t give three-fifth of a damn about our free speech rights, will see us in hell first another sign we are in a cold civil war situation. More later.    

In Boston –The Latest Bash Back Boston-Stop The Fascists In Their Tracks November 18th on Boston Common  

Frank Jackman comment:

I have mentioned on more than one occasion that we have been for a while in a state of cold civil war in America that has only had fuel to the fire added to it, make it tend toward a hot civil war, by the massive frauds, midnight rip-off actions, and general ignorance promoted by the Trump Administration. This rightly, and I think most thankfully, has gotten the previously moribund left, the bewildered and the oppressed up in arms enough to slowly begin a counter-attack against the night-takers from corrupt and venal right-wing bourgeois politicians like Trump and his ilk to the more dangerous extra-parliamentary forces-call them alt-right, fascist, KKK, etc. that have been unleashed-have been given fresh wind in their sails.

Not everything the left and its allies argue for in counter-attack either makes senses or provides a road forward in the anti-fascist struggle for example RefuseFascism has identified the Trump-Pence regime as fascist and to call for a parliamentary impeachment process to get rid of the bums. This Bash Back Boston grouping seems to be more militant but not quite sure that confrontation in itself without more gets us anyplace. I leave it an open question today. But for now as we sort things out, or as they get sorted for us which is as likely and has actually been the case over the past several months, let’s keep to the united front idea going until further notice. In short Saturday November 18th in Boston be on the Boston Common to stop the Nazis, fascists and their ilk in their tracks whatever anti-fascist ideas you march under. 


In Boston Nov 4 -ResistFascism Rally Report From Allan Franklin

By Political Reporter Frank Jackman

[I have recently at Allan Jackson’s, the site administrator, request done a review of a lesser Humphrey Bogart movie Sirocco from the early 1950s because it had a political theme-or at least touched about what World War I wrought on the world beyond murder and mayhem in the trenches on all sides. Because I spent some time on that and a few other projects I missed a local event in Boston on the Boston Common on November 4th sponsored by an organization called who were attempting to build some momentum to publicize an upcoming counter-demonstration against a thing called “Rally For The Republic,” a seemingly innocuous front name for a cohort of Nazis, Alt-Rights, KKK, White Supremacists, wacky Trump supporters and street thugs to be held at the Parkman Bandstand on November 18th . The grouping had applied for but had been rejected for a permit to use that facility by the City of Boston but nevertheless intended to demonstrate that day for “free speech” rights or whatever other cover story they were pushing. The “call” for the rally itself told the real story that what they wanted was a street fight, especially targeting their nemeses the Anti-fa black-clad anarchists and Black Lives Matter.

Not to belabor the point the idea of a gathering momentum rally on the 4th sounded like a good idea and so I detached my associate at the on-line Progressive America, Allan Franklin, to go check out and report back on the event. My premise for even bothering him with the assignment was that the literature associated with the event, including a full- page ad in the New York Times by ResistFascism made it appear like it was going to be a prelude similar to the massive 40, 000 plus counter-rally in Boston also held on August 19th also at the Parkman Bandstand. As Allan will report that was not the case, not by a long shot although this resurgent fascist (and their sundry allies) menace needs to be combatted and combatted with massive counter-demonstrations to make them go back into their rat holes or wherever they hang out. To “crush them in the egg” as an old-time militant antifascist once told me who had been close to the Socialist Workers Party in the 1930s when James Cannon had told an audience in New York City that he had heard their chief, Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, use that expression for the tasks ahead against the Nazi-night-takers. (That militant had at that time been instrumental through his union in bringing out a mass of working people to surround Madison Square Garden in that city when the fascist thugs tried to get a toehold there so I am sure he had the Trotsky remark on good authority.)

Allan, and I had agreed, had expected to take his notes and make a “think piece” story to be published here and at Progressive America. Subsequently we have decided to merely publish his somewhat edited notes which gives as much flavor to the event as it deserved.

Frank Jackman]              

[In the event the November 18th “rally” drew about fifty to one hundred demonstrators and a counter-rally of about one thousand to fifteen hundred mainly Anti-fa, Black Lives Matter and Veterans for Peace militants. Curiously except for a couple of people that Allan had recognized from the November 4th rally selling newspapers and passing out leaflets there was no identifiable presence by this ResistFascism operation on the Common at least. From their literature they had planned a rally at Copley Square about one half mile away from the Common although it might as well have been ten thousand miles away as far as visibly confronting the fascist menace that day. Frank Jackman]    


Frank- Here are my observations about the ResistFascism rally that took place at the Parkman Bandstand on November 4, 2017 which we, you and I, have had many e-mail and phone conversations about with the organizers who wanted us to publicize the thing and cover it extensively. Also between us about our approach to a group we knew very little about except their literature and their persistent at the time and that unlike the paltry sums most leftist operations can gather these days they must have had an “angel” to be able to put a full page ad in the New York Times.

I showed up at the advertised spot, the Parkman Bandstand, about 3:30 for the 4:00 event at which time there were maybe twenty people gathered while the organizers were putting up signs and stocking a table with literature. (At first I thought I had the wrong spot not having been on the Common in years and figuring that maybe it was to be at the Park Street MBTA station entrance one of the historic protest spots on the Common that I knew from previous events but after asking if this was the right place of a person milling around I found I was indeed at the right spot.) After finding I was in the right place I knew almost immediately that this event was going to be far smaller than it was hyped up to be and which the organizers hounded us to publicize extensively beforehand and provide plenty of coverage for on the day of the event.

I did meet Steve, whom you told me you had plenty of contact via e-mail and cellphone with when he noticed my press tag and we talked for a bit. He continued to badger me about covering the November 18th event they were planning at Copley Square. I told him frankly I did not see how a rally in Copley when the fascists were going to be on the Common a half mile away made sense, made a statement to the scumbags, made a statement about effectively resisting fascism as advertised. He demurred at that point and told me he had to help set up. This Steve seemed like a nice guy of the old school 1960s organizer sort that I have run into a lot in New York and out in San Francisco lately who under current adverse conditions are keeping up the good fight as best they can in an age when the social media technology and the subsequent generations’ organizing style have down-graded the old time ways of putting together protest rallies out in the real mean streets.

I sensed and somebody I talked to later knowledgeable about the leftist remnant still around the Cambridge/Boston milieu that this operation was an off-shoot of the old “Not In My Name” grouping from Iraq War 2003 days which was organized by an old-time cultist Maoist who didn’t hear he, Mao, died or something. It definitely had that liberal democratic feel especially around the main villains of the piece in their literature Trump/Pence and the urgent need to impeach them as if that would create the “newer world” you and the older guys I know are always harping back to when stuff like this comes up and you get all misty-eyed about the huge X number of people who came to some event against war, racism, capitalism, whatever about fifty years ago.     


The rally itself when I left about 5:30 never had more than one hundred people and that is perhaps generous considering the number of student journalists and other such curious student types who apparently were assigned by their professors to do coverage as a class assignment. The usual run of  general curiosity seekers who peek around the edges of such events getting confirmation for their distant hometown fears that Boston is some Red Moscow of the East Coast and making note never to send their kids to school in the town listening to the usual speakers preaching to the choir about that war, racism, sexism you and your crowd are always talking about how you almost had turned the corner on that stuff but you underestimated the forces of counter-attack arraigned against you and have been on the run ever since. Of course this included the usual Kumbaya folk music that is supposed to stir the crowd to a revolutionary pitch by evoking Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and who knows who else singing about the magic wand of getting rid of oppression. All in a regular left event day’s schedule.

I did notice that on a hand-out leaflet ResistFascism was advertising marching in a veteran’s peace parade on the 11th, on Veterans Day and giving our starting time and place. I urged all the people I met to join that march that day since we are very familiar with and support the efforts of the main sponsor Veterans for Peace although I think you told me they were trying to reclaim the original purpose of the day by calling it Armistice Day since Sam Lowell, Fritz Taylor and I think Allan Jackson are Vietnam-era veterans, right.          

There were a few minor heavy verbal confrontations between protesters and a few Alt-right people who showed up obviously to do “recon” and size up what was what knowing they could get a row going by spitting out their garbage in a small environment. One from Salisbury, a young Iraq War veteran who portrayed himself as only interested in a dialogue with the left, told me he was an organizer for the so-called Alt-right rally on the 18th. When I asked him about the rally “call” which we had culled from Facebook being inflammatory, calling for a street fight like you said after you read the Facebook announcement, he said just like the far left they had their crazy far right who wanted to stir things up. Take that for what it is worth, although one thing I have noticed about this newer breed of whatever you want to call these modern fascists is that that they are a bit slicker than the old guys who used to breath fire and damnation against the generic left, n----rs, gays, women and “commies” without blinking at eye. They are more media savvy and couch things in terms like “free speech,” “oppression,” “railing against the elites” and the like. Off the top of my head I think we have to treat them at least in the post-Charlottesville era where they showed some unsavory savvy and skills as being as smart as us in this war of words and images.    

Not much heated argument although a woman started yelling about those NFL players who went down on their knees during the national anthem before their football games and got into an argument with an Anti-fa who seemed very much the angry young man masked and dressed in Johnny Cash black of course.  A Veteran for Peace guy whom I think you know, at least he said he knew you, was able to calm her down a bit and she left. (I told him that I had been urging people I talked to during this time to join the Veterans Day peace march which would be starting near this section of the Common and he corrected me by calling it Armistice Day so I guess they are serious about reclaiming the day, or at least the name.      

All and all a waste of time and I told Jeff whom you had also assigned to this story to do interviews and take some photos and who was heading down to meet me to go home. Stuff might have happened after I left but I don’t think so. I am glad we had a hands-off with this R-F group although if they show up with any forces on the 11th for that Veterans for Peace march let’s see what they have to offer. 

I felt sorry for you and Allan since you were inundated by phone calls and e-mails for stuff that seemed like a big deal and was all smoke and dreams. We have to help save your time and energy for the big stuff not this Mickey Mouse stuff so we better screen this stuff better.