ORGANIZER 3

 

THANKS, GEORGE -- AND A PERSONAL REMINISCENCE  [ HUNTER GRAY  NOVEMBER 20, 2001]

 

THE "WAR" AND DSA AND THE TRAIN OF HISTORY  [HUNTER GRAY   NOVEMBER 18, 2001]

 

REQUEST FOR  E-MAIL LETTERS TO THE   NORTH DAKOTA GOVERNOR  -- IN RE THE
MURDERS OF NATIVE PEOPLE AT GRAND FORKS

From Hunter Gray [November 6, 2001]

 

THE CRISIS, NATIVE MATTERS AND SOME OTHER THINGS   HG  10/25/01

CRUCIBLE TIMES FOR RADICALS  HG   10/19/01

 

=====================================


THANKS, GEORGE -- AND A PERSONAL REMINISCENCE   [ HUNTER GRAY  NOVEMBER 20, 2001]

 

Note by Hunterbear:  Light reading from another list.  When I was Field
Organizer for SCEF, we lived in a large Black housing addition on the outer
edge of Raleigh -- the only non-Black family in that entire complex.  Only a
couple of blocks away lived George Greene -- then not very old at all.
Decades later, we're on the same discussion list -- and, of course, always
in the context of firm solidarity!

=====================================================================

If you read this short reminiscence, you'll realize that I'm not in any way
personally worried about being called vile names.  On the other hand, I
continue to be disturbed when most others fail to say anything critical
about these descents into manure piles.  Where I come from, Red-baiting is
anathema in bona fide union and human rights circles: it comes from  the
likes of copper bosses and plantation owners and gaggles of racists and
reactionary police commanders and red-neck sheriffs.

I personally [ and so do  family members who have followed this bizarre
ASDnet "sequence"]  very much appreciate George Greene's supportive comments on my behalf -- vis-a-vis Leo Casey's continuing [if singularly uncreative efforts] to shoot vile terms at me.  As I continue to say, I have a very thick hide and a very thick skull which have enabled me to get through a
considerable number of threatening, painful, seriously injurious, and other
such experiences.  Given the lethal nature of much of that, Leo Casey's
Red-baiting is really simply a few sand burrs on the way to catch Big Fish
in the river.

I've been called "Communist" for decades.  Until Leo, though, I don't think
I have ever been called a "Stalinist." I think I've already mentioned how
the far-right Arizona Republic, while I was an ASU grad student in the fall
of '59 -- and, more to the point -- organizing Mine-Mill strike relief/labor
defense -- called me on its front-page, "Young Mr. S [from my original
name], the head of the Arizona State Communist Party."

 General Jim Dan Hill [originally from East Texas], was Commander of the
Wisconsin National Guard and the ultra-reactionary President of Wisconsin
State, Superior during my first year of college sociology teaching in
1960-61.  He reacted venomously to my partially successful effort to sign up
fellow faculty in AFT [I already belonged to the Phoenix local [1010] on an
at-large basis] and to our extraordinarily successful efforts in organizing
much of the student body around student rights and social justice issues.
We were visited by one of my good friends and a nationally known subversive:
Ammon Hennacy, the Catholic anarchist  -- who, with Dorothy Day, was a major figure in the Catholic Worker movement.  Ammon spoke virtually all night at my apartment to a continuing overflow of college students and working people, and radicals of all sorts.   An increasingly incoherent General Hill got control of his voice long enough to denounce me repeatedly as a
"Communist, an atheist, and an advocate of free love."  Exactly what he
meant, especially on the final point, was never clear.  That June -- getting
ready to go to Mississippi for what was six years in the Movement -- I
married my [one and only] wife -- who is right here, right now. Several
clergy were in attendance at the affair and my best man was a reserve major
in the U.S. Marine Corps [now a retired full colonel.]

In the South, it was Red-baiting forever -- to the point it lost any
effective meaning anywhere. The Jackson Daily News and its companion
Clarion-Ledger, however, loved to play editorially on the fact that I am an
Indian -- mixing that with its view of my presumed political affiliation.
"Heap Redskin" was a staple favorite of the JDN -- or, broadening it out a
bit from me alone, "Heap Redskins in that integrated wigwam at Tougaloo
[College.]"  The newspapers often referred to Tougaloo -- a United Negro
College Fund institution  -- as "Cancer College."

The Birchy Mayor of Rocky Mount, N.C., upon being given a "file" on me by
the Textile Managers Association, announced publicly that I had been in jail
for inciting to riot in Mississippi throughout the summer of '63 and then,
several paragraphs beyond, had me being wined and dined by Fidel Castro in
Havana during that precise time in that very same summer.

In Chicago, a Neanderthal police commander in Richard Daley's home ward --
Bridgeport -- Red-baited me constantly, referring to me as "a major figure
in  subversive international conspiracies" and someone "who organizes Puerto
Ricans into riots."  He had me tagged as the spark-plug of the civil
disorders on Chicago's Division Street in 1966 -- but on that one, I was
still down in the South being Red-baited there.

And so it goes.  Lester Bennett, of Ontario Co., New York, the 19th
century-type exploiter of migrant Canadian Algonquin Natives -- against whom
I organized an extremely successful strike and legal action campaign --
added something a bit new when, cognizant that I was director of social
justice activities for the 12 country Rochester  Catholic Diocese, he
publicly denounced me as a "cut-throat do-gooder."

It continues right along.  When I recovered over 3,000 pages of my FBI file
[1950s to 1979 -- not counting several hundred pages they still refuse to
give me] -- I found, not surprisingly, that I'd been placed on high priority
agitator lists at a very youthful age:  Section A of Reserve Index and then
graduated into Security Index and then into Rabble Rouser Index.  Documents
from the Albuquerque regional office of FBI in 1979 sought -- in an
obviously deliberate fashion -- to confuse me with a deranged war veteran
who screamed and yelled at bank tellers when they wouldn't cash his checks.
[As soon as I saw that, I protested that with vigour and FBI actually
apologized and, at least ostensibly, removed those documents from its
massive file on me. This story is on our website.]

Much poisonous stuff in North Dakota, much here in Idaho.   Much everywhere I go.

Leo Casey hasn't contributed anything much that's all that new but he did
produce something: i.e., his contention that I'm a supporter of the Taliban
and Bin Laden et al.  Now that's well worth keeping.

And, Jesus,  who knows what FBI is saying these days?  Can't wait to find
out.   Holding my breath.


Nialetch.  Hunter [Hunterbear]

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (social justice)

Left Discussion Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Redbadbear

THE "WAR" AND DSA AND THE TRAIN OF HISTORY  [HUNTER GRAY   NOVEMBER 18, 2001]

I still haven't yet seen the "newest" of the DSA statements on the "War" --
the apparently very much watered down and compromised one that stands far
closer to George Bush [and Woodrow Wilson] than it does to Gene Debs.  I
suppose it's around somewhere -- and I always remember the old Southwestern
saying, "If that were a snake, it would have bitten you" -- but somehow I
just haven't seen it.  I have seen for many, many days, the genuinely
excellent and courageous statement issued by YDS and sent to me by Peter
Frase.

If I were ever being presumptuous enough to write an autobiography, I'd
point out that, at various points along the trail of life -- from childhood
on -- one is confronted with key, definitive choices.  How one reacts to
those challenges -- whether ostensibly "big" or "little" -- defines the
person.  Some freeze, some become dangerously reckless, and some retreat.

Many, fortunately, grit their teeth, suppress any inhibiting emotions, and
take on the challenge with fortitude and effectiveness [ an effectiveness
hopefully attained and at least attempted] -- and, whatever the physical and
other scars, keep going full ahead.  In addition to whatever they've helped
accomplish for the Cause, there are other satisfactions.  Murray Kempton
once remarked, with respect to the consistently courageous life-long radical
[and pacifist], A.J. Muste, "There were no eyes in all his past into which
A.J. Muste was not glad to look."

But A.J. never wrote off any human being -- and he did believe redemption is
always possible.

As with individuals, so with organizations.

The so-called "War" -- the Bush War -- is far indeed from being over.  In
addition to whatever rear-guard multi-factional guerrilla action now lies
ahead for years to come, it's clear that the "Northern Alliance" is no
different in any significant fashion than the Taliban.
The entire region continues to be increasingly destabilized -- along with
much collateral turf and, in a very real sense, the world en toto.  Bush
hawks swirl above Iraq and covet far more than that long tortured country.
Only the most naive -- or disingenuous soul -- would ever try to rule out
Oil as at least one of several key tributaries in this increasingly
sanguinary river.

Obviously, I didn't get to the DSA convention.  And, for me at least, it's
hard to get any intricate sense of what interaction, precisely, occurred a
little over a week ago.   But it's sadly obvious that, on the "War"
situation, the Train of History came to the Station -- and much of DSA
[exclusive, obviously, of  many youth and some others] pulled back.

The "War Issue" is still there -- and the Train, for DSA, may still be
waiting.

In any case, speaking as someone who -- as I've now said several times --
came into DSA via DSOC about 1978 [and who has and always will see its
Anti-Racism Commission as very solid], the organization is now going to have
to do a hell of a lot to show me that it has any claim to any bona fide
American socialist tradition.

I suspect that I'm very far from alone.

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]



Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (social justice)

Left Discussion Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Redbadbear

 

REQUEST FOR  E-MAIL LETTERS TO THE  NORTH DAKOTA GOVERNOR  -- IN RE THE
MURDERS OF NATIVE PEOPLE AT GRAND FORKS

From Hunter Gray [November 6, 2001]


This is a request for e-mail communications to the  Governor of North
Dakota -- asking simply that he use his good offices and resources to
apprehend the  September 2001 killers of three Native people [Robert
Belgarde, Damian Belgarde, and Jerome Decoteau] at Grand Forks, ND; and to
take all possible preventative steps with regard to future tragedies.  The
letters need not be long -- and should simply be couched in calm, clear,
and direct terms.

The basic factual situation has been indicated by me in  several previous
posts to e-mail discussion groups and individuals. To briefly reiterate:

On the night of September 7, 2001, the bodies of Robert Belgarde [40] and
his son, Damian [19], were found shot to death six miles south of Grand
Forks, North Dakota [a small city of 50, 000.]  These murders fall into the
jurisdiction of the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department.  They have not
yet been solved [as of this date, 11/6/01.]

The body of Jerome Decoteau  [50], obviously having suffered several major
physical injuries, was found at his Grand Forks apartment on September 24,
2001.
But he had been dead for as much as two weeks -- and a neighbor had seen
newspapers piling up beginning with September 8.  This murder falls into the
jurisdiction of the Grand Forks City Police Department.  It has not been
solved [as of this date, 11/6/01.]

It is possible that all of the murders, given the date of the Belgarde
deaths and the probable date of Mr. Decoteau's death, are related.  However,
this is speculative. There have been other relatively recent multiple
murders -- unsolved -- of Native men in the general Northern Plains region.
Whether these Grand Forks/environs killings are related to those is, again,
speculative.

What isn't speculative is that three Native men have been murdered  and the
killers are still at large.

This situation has occurred in the general context of deteriorating lawmen/
minorities/community relations.  We have been stirring up positive action on
that front and the "good systems" are well activated and moving well.

But what we do need is solid and effective arrest -- and preventative --
action on the law enforcement front. Thus our request for appropriate e-mail
communications to the Governor -- who is:

Honorable John Hoeven
Governor
State of North Dakota                         Governor@state.nd.us
State Capitol
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505



We thank you for your assistance in this tragic situation.

The following is my own letter to Governor Hoeven, which also reprints my
October 12, 2001 Editorial in the Grand Forks Herald  with respect to the
Native murders and the generally deteriorating lawmen / minorities /
community relations atmosphere at and around Grand Forks.  Although the
Herald made several efforts to elicit Grand Forks Police Department comment
/ response on my Editorial, the police did not.    Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]




Honorable John Hoeven
Governor of North Dakota
Bismarck, North Dakota

November 6, 2001

Dear Governor Hoeven:

Although presently living in Idaho, I was a long-time resident [17 years]
of Grand
Forks and am a fairly recently retired full Professor [and former Chair] of
the Department of Indian Studies, University of North Dakota. I was also
very active in many vigorous social justice endeavors at Grand Forks and
throughout
the state, chaired two Grand Forks city committees [police and community
relations] and was the 1989 recipient of the annual North Dakota Martin
Luther King, Jr. Award [presented by the State King Commission and Governor
George Sinner.]

Three Native men were murdered in and around Grand Forks in September 2001
and no arrests have yet been made. The men were Robert Belgarde [40] and
his son, Damian [19] -- whose bodies were found six miles south of town [in
the jurisdiction, of course, of the Grand Forks County Sheriff's
Department] on
September 7th. The third victim -- possibly a related matter, possibly
not -- was Jerome Decoteau [50] whose body, although found in his Grand
Forks apartment on September 24th, may well have been killed on September
8th --
the point where a next door neighbor initially began to notice newspapers
piling up.
This, of course, falls into the realm of the Grand Forks City Police
Department.

We hope very much indeed that you will use your good offices and resources
to swiftly ensure the apprehension of the killers of these three Indian
people --
and that you will do everything possible to prevent these tragedies from
occurring in the future.

Attached is a letter of mine on the murders -- and the generally
deteriorating lawmen / minorities / community relations situation in and
around Grand
Forks. The Grand Forks Herald published my letter as a formal editorial on
October 12, 2001.

I am herewith reprinting the letter cut-and-paste. Its Herald link,
however, is
"http://web.northscape.com/content/gfherald/2001/10/12/editorial/GRAY1012.ht
m"

====


GF police/community relations slip [Grand Forks Herald editorial, October
12, 2001 - Hunter Gray]

POCATELLO, Idaho-- At least three Native American people -- Robert Belgarde,
Damian Belgarde and Jerome Decoteau -- were murdered this past September in
and around the Grand Forks setting. (I knew and certainly appreciated Mr.
Decoteau.) No killers, as far as I know, have been apprehended. At the same
time -- although I can't speak regarding the Sheriff's Department and other
noncity law enforcement agencies -- I am quite aware via friends and other
contacts that the once-high level of police/community relations in Grand
Forks (and very much with respect to people of color) has slumped badly in
recent years.

In 1983, I was a UND Indian Studies professor. With the late Professor Doug
Wills and the active support of then-Mayor Bud Wessman and with the
involvement of other concerned and committed people, we were instrumental in
launching the Mayor's Committee on Police Policy. This resulted, in the
1984-85 period, in a new police chief -- Chet Paschke -- and an extremely
positive shift into the sun in the whole broad arena of police/community
relations.

Relationships between the Police Department and the minority communities,
students, air base personnel and citizens in general were very good,
characterized by a pervasive and consistent atmosphere of mutual respect.

When problems did arise, they were dealt with in a swift and honorable
fashion -- very consistent with all principles of due process and social
justice in general.

I continued my active involvement in the Grand Forks police situation past
my retirement from UND in 1994 and to the very moment we moved in July 1997.

Not much later, Paschke retired.

It's obvious that there has been substantial deterioration in this very
sensitive and critical realm. It's long past the time that concerned
citizens, officials, law enforcement officers -- and all other persons of
good will -- get the whole police/community relations situation and all of
its collateral relationships back on track.

It is late -- but it's never too late.

And it's time to apprehend these killers of Native people and to vigorously
endeavor, with every ethical resource, to prevent these tragedies from
happening again -- to any people.

Hunter Gray


Hunter Gray, formerly John R. Salter Jr., is a retired professor and former
chairman of the Department of Indian Studies at UND. He also is former head
of the Grand Forks Mayor's Committee on Police Policy and former chairman of
the Grand Forks Community Relations Committee.


===

Thank you, Governor,  for your timely attention and action with respect to
this very
serious matter.


Sincerely,


Hunter Gray [John R. Salter, Jr] 2000 Sandy Lane, Pocatello, Idaho 83204




THE CRISIS, NATIVE MATTERS AND SOME OTHER THINGS

Another very dark, early morning in Idaho.   Several coyotes are howling only
a  hundred yards from our house.  A couple of days ago -- from a  far up
ridge -- I saw a Bobcat chasing a rabbit about 200 yards below me.  They
disappeared into a thicket  -- neither emerged -- and I'm still wondering
how  all of that turned out.

There are some things in the Universe about which we can do nothing at
all -- even if we wanted to do so.   My inseparable companion -- my one-half
Bobcat cat [who I'm convinced is psychic] -- has just given me a  very sharp
"which side are you on?"  look.  But to her -- "Cloudy" -- I'm now quickly
telepathing, "I'm not taking sides on that issue."  We also have two huge
domestic pet rabbits.

But we certainly, of course, are taking sides on  many other things --
things that we can, as  all-of-us-together keep on keeping on, do a great
deal indeed about.

The "War" news is grim -- but the rising Peace Movement -- nationally,
globally -- shows tremendously encouraging promise.  Another Congress has
buckled into shallow and extremely dangerous "pragmatism" and is giving us
some of the most sinister anti-civil libertarian legislation since the late
'40s and the early-mid '50s -- and toss in the whole World War I / post-War
Red Scare epoch as well. We'll fight all that -- and, while it's going to be
interesting to see, for example, how the US court system handles this
frenetically passed repressive belladonna [nightshade], much of which was
designed to procedurally  bypass the courts -- the reality is, of course,
that vigorous and intensive and sensibly militant and continual grassroots
action is always and forevermore the most crucial dimension in the fight for
a full measure of bread-and-butter and a full measure of liberty.

It's always been that way, always will.  Grassroots organizing and
grassroots activism -- that's Genesis.

And an effective organizer is always very much aware that "the grassroots is
people" -- and that bona fide organizing -- the really effective stuff --
consistently serves the people.

One of the broad areas of victimization emerging from 9/11 is that many
local situations -- not always immediately seen as related to the publicly
predominate issues -- can literally "get lost in the shuffle."  One that --
long, long before September 11 -- could often get lost as far as much of
mainline United States and Canada are concerned -- is the "Native
situation." Much has been happening on that front -- as always -- purely and
simply because Indian people, and our committed non-Indian allies, are
continuing to push hard for social justice.

But it's been very difficult, as I mentioned a few days ago, to develop much
awareness of Native social justice matters in the current atmosphere of
sanguinary clouds and bloody rain -- and the destructive fires of fear and
hysteria and repression.

Three days ago, I did a major post [including an update of sorts] on the
still unsolved murders of three Native men last month at Grand Forks, North
Dakota [a town of about 50,000] -- and  I sent it around broadly to a number
of discussion lists.  [I also sent my post to Portside, as I had an earlier
one, and continue to hope that that excellent info posting service will
eventually run something on this.]

One of the reasons for my broad postings on these North Dakota Native
murders  is simply to publicize a very negative situation:  three murdered
Indians, no arrests to date after the passage of many weeks, a deteriorating
police/people-of-color situation [in a generally sinking police/community
relations milieu.]

And, as I also mentioned three days ago, we are  very much cognizant that,
in  the Great Plains, there have  been relatively recent, strange clusters
of unsolved murders of Native men.  While nothing has surfaced publicly in
these Grand Forks tragedies to indicate a tie with those, there is [among
other things] an intriguing dimension:  Two of the victims, Robert Belgarde
and his son, Damian, were found shot to death just south of town; the other,
Jerome Decoteau, was found dead  -- some days after the fact -- of multiple
injuries in his in-town apartment. But it appears that all three were killed
within the framework of a day or two.

The other reason for broad posting is to develop an awareness of this
situation for specific "Action Memo" purposes:  If there are no substantial
breaks in these killings in the quite near future, we shall ask people to
e-mail the Governor of North Dakota and [assuming he's not too busy
approving plans for concentration camps for radicals], the U.S. Attorney
General -- and demand rigorous investigative action  into all of this from
each of those governmental perspectives.

In any case, of course, we shall have periodic updates on this situation.

I have gotten some very positive comments from my posting of three days ago.
Examples:

  Our good comrade, Duane Campbell, who heads the Anti-Racism Commission of
DSA, quickly confirmed that, "The Anti Racism Commission of DSA, by
electronic vote, has endorsed  the  resolution [on the Native murders and
the generally deteriorating situation.]"

And a woman from Pennsylvania:  " [I] would like to know about the situation
and if there is anything specific I can do to facilitate any positive action
at this point?  Please let me know.  I cannot think of a group in this
country who has been screwed over more than Native Americans. . .  Now more
than ever we cannot afford to be divided in terms of ethnicity or anything
else.  All commarads need to stand together.  The young ones debate entirely
too much and act entirely too little in my opinion. At any rate, please let
me know what I can do to assist you.  I live in PA, but have a few
connections here and there around the country, perhaps a bit of
old-fashioned organizing is in order here.
In Solidarity, Judy

And from an old friend, a very active and very effective union organizer in
the Far West:
" . . .well, my brother, I have already forwarded it [my post] around and
we'll write as soon
as you give the word."

All bona fide  social justice organizers know that, in the final analysis,
with respect to the successful hatch of any organization -- or any broad,
transcendent movement -- everything always rests on what is done at the most
basic grassroots level.  Again, that's Genesis -- getting directly down to
the basic bone and marrow and life-blood: local people.

The Big Questions of War and Peace, Liberty and Repression, rage on -- and
very rightly engage the great and good efforts of all of us On The Side Of
The Sun.  But three just- murdered Indian people lie under the ground of now
heavily snow-covered North Dakota -- their hands reaching out and beyond
from that hideously blood-stained and centuries-old trail.
---------------
[Questions have recently come up -- in connection with these particular
posts of mine --about the "Native American situation."  So I'm now reposting
the link to our large website  www.hunterbear.org which goes directly to my
two very recent Indian articles:  "Native American Struggle: One Century
Into Another" and "Natives and Radicals."  Each of these pieces -- and there
is some natural overlap vis-a-vis certain background material and
specifically delineated Native goals -- has its own special focus.  Each is
scheduled to be published very shortly in American socialist journals.  The
link to my two new articles:
http://www.hunterbear.org/nativeamericans.htm   ]

Semper Fi -

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]   Micmac / St Francis Abenaki / St Regis Mohawk --
and DSA, CCDS, SPUSA [and several labor unions]


Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (social justice)

Left Discussion Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Redbadbear

 

Crucible Times For Radicals

Thoughts on  things -- stimulated by some happenings yesterday and today
especially.  Anyone  here -- on our List -- should feel free to comment.

These are "crucible times" -- testing times for socialists and other Left
radicals.  If some aren't making it, most are certainly standing tall.
Good, hard metal.

Three of the Left's democratic socialist organizations  -- groups with which
I'm specifically familiar -- have produced good,  solid, and thoughtful
statements against the War [if this wildly aggressive and increasingly
bloody outburst by the most powerful nation in the world against one of the
smallest and most faction-ridden and utterly poverty-stricken can even be
distinguished by that label.]

These three groups are Socialist Party USA  [SPUSA], Committees of
Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism [CCDS], and Democratic Socialists
of America [DSA.]  I happen, BTW, to belong to all three. I'm the Native
American person for the Anti-Racism Commission of DSA -- and I'm also the
public Idaho and general regional contact for CCDS. Whatever the differences
in these statements -- and they are not all that substantial --  the good
positions taken by each of these outfits certainly embrace the basic, broad
and genuinely humanistic concept of peace with justice and justice with
peace
and underscore the genuinely socialist commitment  of these organizations.

I posted each of these statements on our List yesterday, October 17th.

I have heard of no significant criticism, within and around their respective
organizations, with regard to the SPUSA and CCDS statements.  On the other
hand, on ASDnet [a predominately but not exclusively DSA list], there has
been some heavy  -- and generally snide, sometimes almost frenetic--
sniping.  It's come from the much more conservative wing -- a position which
historically has far more in common with, say, classic social democrats than
with  actual socialists.

I hasten to say -- and underscore this -- that I don't see this tendency as
a dominant one at all in DSA.  It's there, has been since the inception of
the organization a generation ago, and the resultant dichotomy has coloured
many debates about many issues.  But on this so-called War, as fundamental
an issue as one could ever encounter, a Grand Canyon of division has
certainly come into perspective in the ASDnet arena.

One person, for example, has taken the position that DSA should support the
War -- not only because he  somehow sees it as a deserving war but because
he thinks DSA must do so in order to build credibility with the public! He
also clings to the fantasy that the USA has the greatest coalition of allies
since World War II ! Gone, gone from his Vision  -- he's obviously in
retreat  into a setting akin to the Democratic Party -- is socialism as a
trail-blazing, point-riding, humanizing  beacon force.

Another happily brought the news to ASDnet that a self-styled Green, and
former California state legislator, plans on challenging Barbara Lee --
solely on the basis of the courageous Ms. Lee's lone vote against a
Congressional blank war check for Bush et al.

Yet another  brought in the now much Left discussed article --  a piece
very, very effectively and convincingly attacked indeed  by a wide range of
current radicals--  "Left Falls Apart As Center Holds"  in the New York
Observer http://www.observer.com/pages/frontpage1.asp   Here, in the always
tragic fashion of past national crises and crucibles, a collection made up
predominately -- if not completely -- of tired, fast-becoming-ex-radicals
and [even!] ex-liberals talks to the capitalist press about their
disillusionment with those of the Left -- often with the much younger
Left -- who forthrightedly oppose the War.  I'm familiar with several of the
names of the -- to put it in an undeservedly kind fashion -- fading
Leftists.  Most have done little or nothing of genuinely radical work for
years.  One or two may still cling to the right wing of Dissent magazine.

And another, in response to a critic's question, said that he'd certainly be
 very happy to drop bombs on Afghanistan.

And  yet another talks of "Islamic fascism" -- and also of Islamic
resistance to "modernism."  I have to confess that I know virtually nothing
of Islam -- but I really don't think this gentleman does, either.  As a
Native person, I'm extremely skeptical of Euro-American ethnocentric
measuring sticks [and I quickly  say that there are many Euro-Americans  who
are not into ethnocentrism at all.]  But I suspect, from his sweeping
dogmatism, that this person is -- however unconsciously it may be -- very
much drenched with the old cultural superiority complex.  I certainly don't
see the system in present Afghanistan -- even taking into account American
political and media hype -- as something in which I'd care to be enmeshed.
Hell, maybe it even does have some fascist elements [although I do think
fascism and theocracy are certainly different cactus spines.]

But, in any case, no matter how dismally repressive the Afghanistan ruling
regime may be, what gives us the justification to launch a War against a
sovereign nation -- and one against which no international criminal charges
have been even remotely proven?  Nothing in the Cosmos, of course, gives us
that right -- morally or legally.

In all of this conservative sniping at the DSA position, I have yet to
detect any genuine concern for  the now very rapidly mounting casualty toll
of dead and injured civilians and others.  I've detected little or no
apprehension about the profoundly sinister, destablizing impact this
incredibly bloody action of the United States is having on a world-wide
basis.

There are always those people who,  perhaps once radicals, eventually become
tired and fall away to the sidelines.  That's too bad -- but, far worse, are
those who in retreat from radicalism, and differing with their comrades on,
say, something very definitive like the War -- work zealously to stonewall
and  undercut the principled endeavours of the bona fide radicals.  When the
Crisis -- whatever it is  -- has settled, they are frequently no longer in
the radical ranks.

Sometimes aging is a factor in all of this -- but generally not.  I always
remember the December night -- a very cold one in a Southern state -- where
several of us arrested in a civil rights demonstration were in a cell in a
small jail in which the heat had been deliberatly turned off. All of us
except one was in his twenties,  The one who was not was an 86 year old
Episcopal clergyman.  We covered him -- against his wishes -- with our
coats.  The next morning, he refused to be bonded out until we were also
released.

Keeping on, keeping on is not a matter of age.  It's something deep: deep in
one's heart and mind and soul.

Based on what I've been hearing, most American Leftists are very much
opposed to this hideous War and are fast becoming commendably active on a
vast array of sectors. And, ever the sociologist and optimist and historical
determinist -- and very much because I've been around for a long time and
have seen this before in other eras and epochs -- I'm quite convinced that
public opinion will, with whatever deliberate speed and undoubtedly covered
with the blood of innocent others, come at least generally to our side on
the War and its related issues. A moral awakening may occur in some;
certainly none will be oblivious to cost factors and their related
dimensions.

As for DSA, I strongly suspect that most of its members will support the
Statement. And there are some --  actually, a great many -- very solid
stalwarts: e.g., Jason Schulman -- known to some  on our List right here.
And there are many more indeed.

For my part, after having earlier in various ways made my position clear, I
did this final ASDnet post  on this topic this morning:

===================================================================
Hunter Gray [Hunterbear] :


Just for the record, and for whatever it may mean, I certainly want to
reiterate my strong support for the just issued DSA National Political
Committee Statement on the War.  DSA is a democratically socialist
organization and the statement is certainly what one would expect -- and
very much appreciate -- from that perspective.

Although X [my substitution here], and a handful of others who apparently
share his
reservations about the statement, have certainly not claimed List consensus
vis-a-vis their essentially conservative views, it would certainly be
unfortunate if that were the perception held by anyone with respect to the
ASDnet discussional arena and its collateral dimensions.

I personally have neither the time nor inclination to become involved in a
ponderous and tedious analysis of this point or that one -- in a world where
the very clouds and earth are  becoming rapidly dark with blood.  The DSA
statement as it stands works very well at this point.

Madness is coming from the very Four Directions.  I for one -- and I'm sure
there are a great many indeed --  do very much  appreciate  the thoughtful
and forthright DSA NPC Statement on the War.  It would be regrettable if the
alchemy of a few were able to render it insipid.

Fraternally,  Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]

======================================================================
And Semper Fi -

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (social justice)

Left Discussion Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Redbadbear

 

FOLLOW UP DISCUSSION [10/20/01]

My good friend, Sam Friedman, picking up on the astute Walter Davis'
comments, has raised some questions about Left organizational statements --
in this instance, specifically Committees of Correspondence for Democracy
and Socialism -- in its usage of the term, "innocent victims" with respect
to those who died in the World Trade Center.

Now that can get very, very deep.

I, myself, have no problem with that term in this WTC context [and others of
similar nature]; and, at this point, I'll give a few quick thoughts to
support myself!  Views of any others on this list will certainly be welcome
indeed -- very much so.

Join this!

 Speaking for me, I'm reasonably sure none of us believe anyone warrants
that kind of horrific conclusion to his or her life.  And, of course, the
bulk of the people who died there were, I am sure, working class people by
any reasonable definition.

But much more deeply than that, I have a great deal of difficulty with the
entire concept of "collective guilt/responsibility."  [Just as I have much,
much trouble indeed with the sweeping "conspiracy" fishnets so  often used
by the Justice Department against political dissidents.] The "collective
guilt/responsibility" thing is, after all, the centerpiece  of the
transparently self-serving and fraudulent rationale that the present
leadership of this country is using to destroy Afghanistan and  substantial
numbers  of its people, present the American people with the burned
sacrificial corpses, and make that region "safe" for Western corporate oil
interests.  And of course it's been used in countless other Machiavellian
schemes. I think there are instances where "collective guilt/responsibility"
can be justly [albeit generally] applied [e.g., much of Germany -- very
conscious Germany -- during the Nazi period] but, on the whole, I'm inclined
to move very cautiously in these thickets.

I  have to say that, in the last analysis, I no more believe in "free will"
than I believe in the Easter Rabbit.  And while I know  my Marx fairly well
and certainly appreciate it [there are many on this list much better versed
in all of that than I], I have always especially liked and certainly
subscribed to the trenchantly analytical assessment given so long ago by
Hendrick William Van Loon: "The history of the world is the record of a man
in quest of his daily bread and butter."

In the end, in this  tragic epoch and  a myriad of others, I very much blame
certain systemic forces in the first cause sense. And I certainly  blame
capitalism  and all of its collateral political and military dimensions
["and all of its wicked works and ways"] for most of the tragedy currently
afflicting very, very long suffering,  blood-dimmed Humanity.   And, despite
my great reservations about the existence of "free will," I'm quite willing
to blame the top brass in all of these things -- hold them responsible --
along with their genuinely conscious lackeys -- for they, after all, have
much cognizance of the "bigger picture" and cunningly manipulate it for
their own enhancement and enrichment.

In Solidarity - Hunter


Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (social justice)

Left Discussion Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Redbadbear



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