ORGANIZER 17

FEAR, SEX AND BABIES GALORE -- AND SUPERIOR WISCONSIN EXPERIENCES  [HUNTER GRAY  7/2/02] UPDATED APRIL 3 2006 -- NEW MATERIAL  JULY 8 2008

 

LABOR ORGANIZING AND CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES -- AND SOME LESSONS FROM THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT ERA [HUNTER GRAY  7/01/02 ]

 

A POSSIBLE VALEDICTORY [AND ADMITTEDLY PRESUMPTUOUS WORD] TO DSA FRIENDS AND CRITICS  [HUNTER GRAY 7/12/02]

 

 

FEAR, SEX AND BABIES GALORE -- AND SUPERIOR WISCONSIN EXPERIENCES  [HUNTER GRAY  7/2/02]  UPDATED 4/03/06  -- NEW MATERIAL  JULY 8 2008

UPDATE: ADVENTURES [OFFSPRING]

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:

I slept through the latest impressive firestorm on Redbadbear -- noting that
our List has now tallied up more than a hundred posts since April 1
[2006] -- and, as I've digested all of this in the early morn with the help
of strong black coffee and a couple of big pipefulls of whiskey-flavored
tobacco, I encountered Michael's not unreasonable query to the effect
that, Was it an adventure bringing up Beba [John]?

It was -- as was/is the case with All of Them [including varying degrees of
involvement with [so far] eight grandchildren.  I readily give Eldri much
credit indeed and she, bless her heart, recognizes my contributions to the
Cause.  When we were married, going on 45 years ago, my best man, a USMC
major and now a retired colonel [and a sociologist], remarked "You'll do a
very fine job, John.  You always have."  I appreciated his vote of
confidence but I do give much credit to my fine partner and certainly to our
kids and grandchildren themselves.  Our family, like the turbulent one from
which I emerged, is rather tribal in nature: lots of individual autonomy
and, hence much creativity -- but always within a cohesive circle of unity
and strong solidarity and characterized by a strong sense of mutual
responsibility. [We have never had the serious alcohol problems that
characterized some of my own family, and we do consider ourselves very
fortunate in that regard.]

When Beba was born, I drove hours through Klan-infested darkness [my .38
Special Smith and Wesson revolver readily at hand on my car seat] and made
it to the hospital on time.  All of the other offspring appearances have
their own fascinating accounts.  When I was close to death in early
September 2003, Beba drove 650 miles from Fargo to Lincoln, picked up Mack,
and they drove relentlessly for 1,000 miles into Idaho.  As soon as they
arrived to join the assembled family entourage, we drew up -- in my hospital
room -- our communalistic will.

There is an old Pete Seeger song [from, I think, the Folkways album "Love
Songs for Friends and Foes," in which an old timer, recounting his life and
productive marriage, concludes with, "Oh Lord, I'd do it again."  Of course,
as Eldri and I tell each other increasingly in these especially reflective
days, We Would.

Here is a relevant post I made quite awhile back:

FEAR, SEX AND BABIES GALORE -- AND SUPERIOR WISCONSIN EXPERIENCES  [HUNTER
GRAY]


Note by Hunter Bear:

This post of mine stems from a recent newspaper article indicating that many Americans are responding to the post 9/11 pressures by producing babies.  Here is my comment [I've herewith omitted the article for space reasons.]


Personally, I find this very encouraging.  As a rule, babies are nice.
I do recommend a good diaper service -- and, when they yell, just feed'em.
Keep feeding. Later, when they're older, do the bribe thing. Negotiate with
zeal, of course, but buy'em off all the way through at every point. And stay
away from glorified crack-pots like Dr Laura.

 My first semester of my first year of college sociology teaching [AY
1960-61 at Wisconsin State, Superior] involved five three semester hour
courses -- one of which was Marriage and the Family.  An earnest young
bachelor, I certainly did my best with that one, quickly upsetting most of
the town's clergy [Protestant and Catholic] when I indicated my strong
conviction that, given the high divorce rate in US society, the Swedish
system of trial marriage had a lot going for it.  "Free love" was a charge
hurled  at me by some of the less inhibited clergy. [On my initiative, I met
directly with them as a group and they were generally reassured.]

That was a turbulent year for me and my many activist students -- with
a number of significant social justice and academic freedom victories. We
showed Salt of the Earth [three 16 mm reels shipped up from Bayard, NM by
Juan Chacon] many times indeed and did many related things. We also had the
welcome arrival of my friend, Catholic Anarchist Ammon Hennacy [Catholic
Worker], who spoke all night to students and workers and radicals and other
community folk from my large apartment. [The local Monsignor had forbidden
all priests to give Ammon a parish hall in which to speak and the adult
Protestants were really bigoted on the Catholic thing at that point with JFK
running and winning.]  I used C.Wright Mills' excellent pro-Cuban Revolution
work -- Listen Yankee! -- as a text in several of my classes.

With the very large student Student Action group we organized --
really excellent kids, Indian and Anglo [ many Finnish] -- and with very
little backing from a frightened faculty, we were able to put the tyrannical
college president, General Jim Dan Hill, a Texas Bircher-type, on the skids
[retirement two years hence.]  In that, we were assisted by then-Gov Gaylord
Nelson [later, of course, Senator] with whom we met.  We were also helped by
Glenn Parrish of Superior, a national Vice-President of AFT, who was an
uncle of one my strongest student supporters -- and a good friend of my old
Arizona AFT buddy, Bill Karnes of Phoenix, himself a national VP of AFT.
Among my several union affiliations was my at-large membership in Phoenix
AFT Local 1010.  General Hill was convinced that I was a "Communist" and an
"atheist" and "an advocate of free love."  Interestingly, decades later when
a friend of mine, Duane Hale, a Creek Indian historian, ran across Jim Dan
at the West Texas Historical Convention, and slyly mentioned my name, Hill,
then very old, remarked immediately and warmly that he remembered me very
well.  "A very active young man," said Hill, adding that "John certainly
appreciated Frank Dobie" [a reference to one of Texas's very fine writers
and staunchly outspoken liberal and a great Southwesterner.]

Anyway, when Eldri and I were married at Superior that June 1961, it
was, of course, a proper Church wedding -- with a number of clergy and many
students and all kinds of labor unionists and radicals present to wish us
very well.  We were then Off-To-Mississippi.  I never taught Marriage and
the Family again -- was never asked to do so, fortunately -- but I certainly
did have a number of baby experiences as the River of Time flowed onward.
One was born at Jackson, another at Raleigh, still another on Chicago's
Southside, and the latest at Gallup. And then, in addition,  there are, of
course, the many offspring of the first three.

And, many years later, when I stumbled upon my notes from that long
ago Marriage class at Superior -- the notes formulated by a well-meaning
young instructor who took himself and his subject so very seriously --  I
read no more than three or four pages of bachelor wisdom before grinning and
tossing the whole sheaf into our pine-burning fireplace.

 Hunter [Hunter Bear]  No Protestante!

NEW MATERIAL: "HORROR STORY IN THE GROVES OF ACADEME" [A DISCUSSION POST MADE ON JULY 7 2008 [CONTAINS SOME OF THE ABOVE]  HUNTER BEAR

Eldri and I were married at Superior, Wisconsin, on June 25 1961 -- and a few weeks later arrived in Mississippi
for six years of activism in various parts of the hard-core South. This interesting article, "Jim Dan who?" was published on June 25 2008 -- out of Duluth, Minnesota, right across the river from Superior.

But that's not the only connection we have. We met in the context of Superior State College in what can only be described as an academic nightmare for students, most faculty and staff, and many townspeople indeed. The college president was General Jim Dan Hill, something out of the Dinosaur Age. [Too many schools today exhibit -- at all levels --and in however veiled a fashion, some of these same sorry characteristics -- in addition to using multitudes of poorly paid, non-tenured, adjunct faculty in higher ed levels.]

The article covers the man and the purely horrendeous situation he created -- and over which he presided -- quite well. And, although it misses a few of the courageous community activists who challenged him, it includes most of them. We knew and worked with those people in common cause.

Something of the flavor as it relates to me is conveyed by this little section. It's an accurate one, save for the fact that it was 1960-61 that I was at Superior and Not 1961-62. As I've indicated, we arrived at Tougaloo College in the latter summer of '61-- after Superior.

"Hunter Gray Bear (John Salter), a Native American activist who taught at
the Superior campus in 1961-62, recruited faculty into the American
Federation of Teachers and helped organize students when Hill suspended
student government.
Bear writes on his Web site, “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.”

Hill never met me before I was hired as a sociology instructor. Short on faculty and with time running out before the onset of the 1960-61 school year, he found me via a teacher agency and sent a lackey to Denver who briefly interviewed me. [I drove from Flagstaff.] I suspect he was reassured by the fact that I was an Arizonian and an honorably discharged Army vet [still in the inactive reserves.] Eldri, an Augsburg College sociology grad, was employed as Lutheran student counselor by Minnesota Lutheran Student Foundation -- at and within Superior State . She helped our activist cause immensely.

See the story as the saga winds its way: http://www.businessnorth.com/exclusives.asp?RID=2489 The painting of Hill is a highly idealized one, I should add.

I saw him last when I walking in a driving rain along Superior Street and he drove by in his huge black Chrysler, obviously laughing at me as he gestured wildly in my direction. He then drove around the block and went through his thing yet again. I was tempted to "flip the bird" but that really isn't my style. I simply looked coldly at the old S.O.B.

I add, as a kind of personal conclusion re Superior, this excerpt from our Hunterbear website:

FEAR, SEX AND BABIES GALORE -- AND SUPERIOR WISCONSIN EXPERIENCES [HUNTER
GRAY]

Note by Hunter Bear:

This post of mine stems from a recent newspaper article indicating that many
Americans are responding to the post 9/11 pressures by producing babies.
Here is my comment [I've herewith omitted the article for space reasons.]

Personally, I find this very encouraging. As a rule, babies are nice.
I do recommend a good diaper service -- and, when they yell, just feed'em.
Keep feeding. Later, when they're older, do the bribe thing. Negotiate with
zeal, of course, but buy'em off all the way through at every point. And stay
away from glorified crack-pots like Dr Laura.

My first semester of my first year of college sociology teaching [AY
1960-61 at Wisconsin State, Superior] involved five three semester hour
courses -- one of which was Marriage and the Family. An earnest young
bachelor, I certainly did my best with that one, quickly upsetting most of
the town's clergy [Protestant and Catholic] when I indicated my strong
conviction that, given the high divorce rate in US society, the Swedish
system of trial marriage had a lot going for it. "Free love" was a charge
hurled at me by some of the less inhibited clergy. [On my initiative, I met
directly with them as a group and they were generally reassured.]

That was a turbulent year for me and my many activist students -- with
a number of significant social justice and academic freedom victories. We
showed Salt of the Earth [three 16 mm reels shipped up from Bayard, NM by
Juan Chacon] many times indeed and did many related things. We also had the
welcome arrival of my friend, Catholic Anarchist Ammon Hennacy [Catholic
Worker], who spoke all night to students and workers and radicals and other
community folk from my large apartment. [The local Monsignor had forbidden
all priests to give Ammon a parish hall in which to speak and the adult
Protestants were really bigoted on the Catholic thing at that point with JFK
running and winning.] I used C.Wright Mills' excellent pro-Cuban Revolution
work -- Listen Yankee! -- as a text in several of my classes.

With the very large student Student Action group we organized --
really excellent kids, Indian and Anglo [ many Finnish] -- and with very
little backing from a frightened faculty, we were able to put the tyrannical
college president, General Jim Dan Hill, a Texas Bircher-type, on the skids
[retired a few years later.] In that, we were assisted by then-Gov Gaylord
Nelson [later, of course, Senator] with whom we met. We were also helped by
Glenn Parrish of Superior, a national Vice-President of AFT, who was an
uncle of one my strongest student supporters -- and a good friend of my old
Arizona AFT buddy, Bill Karnes of Phoenix, himself a national VP of AFT.
Among my several union affiliations was my at-large membership in Phoenix
AFT Local 1010.

Anyway, when Eldri and I were married at Superior that June 1961, it
was, of course, a proper Church wedding -- with a number of clergy and many
students and all kinds of labor unionists and radicals present to wish us
very well. We were then Off-To-Mississippi. I never taught Marriage and
the Family again -- was never asked to do so, fortunately -- but I certainly
did have a number of baby experiences as the River of Time flowed onward.
One was born at Jackson, another at Raleigh, still another on Chicago's
Southside, and the latest at Gallup N.M. And then, in addition, there are, of
course, the many offspring of the first three.

And, many years later, when I stumbled upon my notes from that long
ago Marriage class at Superior -- the notes formulated by a well-meaning
young instructor who took himself and his subject so very seriously -- I
read no more than three or four pages of bachelor wisdom before grinning and
tossing the whole sheaf into our pine-burning fireplace.

Eldri and I had a quiet 47th Wedding Anniversary here in the Gem State.

Hunter [Hunter Bear]

 

 LABOR ORGANIZING AND CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES -- AND SOME LESSONS FROM THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT ERA [HUNTER GRAY  7/01/02 ]

I am grateful -- as I know a vast number of others are -- for the existence
of Portside, the News Force of Committees of Correspondence for Socialism
and  Democracy.  Its editors, Carl Bloice and Jay Schaffner and Barry Cohen
and others do a fine job of giving us Real Meat on which to chew. And I
always appreciate, too, the good work of Labor Notes which seeks to "put the
movement back in the labor movement."

I found the Cohen and Atkins piece from Portside --  the current state of
American labor, historical touch points and trail blazes, the case for
vigorously pervasive rank-and-file democracy, and some good looks Over the
Mountains Yonder -- to be a very fine and thoughtful discussional
headwaters. [The other comparable pieces posted by Portside in this
discussion have been quite solid.]  It's really refreshing to read something
about labor that digs deep down in insightful fashion -- and is consequently
sensibly militant and honestly socialist to boot.

I became actively and loyally -- and enduringly -- involved in American
labor in 1955.  And for as long as I can remember, the American Labor
"Movement" in the general sense has been  essentially on the defensive.
With a few significant exceptions [e.g., UFWA, a few dimensions of a few
other internationals] it missed a big piece of History when, failing to
formulate new visions and strategies, it consequently failed to
affirmatively join the Civil Rights Movement. [Each would have benefited
enormously from the other -- as would all of the "people of the fewest
alternatives".]

At present and for many many years prior, the primary organizing arena of
much of AFL-CIO has been  focused mainly on Congress and state legislatures.
For almost half a century, I've heard about "organizing the unorganized."
And while, to be sure, there's always been some focus in this critical
context, grassroots labor activism at the point of production has  now
played second fiddle to electoral politics for decades. And the "quality" of
those politics has generally been set by an increasingly conservative
control-oriented Democratic Party. [I certainly don't see the Republicans as
any solution of any kind.]

Organizing -- bona fide labor organizing which by its very nature has to be
broadly and deeply democratic -- is Genesis. And that has to be joined by
the kind of radical Vision that simultaneously goes out and far beyond  --
and also, reaching deep down into one's innards, can stir a soul  again and
again and again:  the "Old Revival Spirit." Racial and ethnic minorities,
youth, women are all very logical areas of focus for effective
unionization -- but so is every worker of whatever background and gender.
We can ignore no one.

Grassroots Organizing, Day-To-Day Victories, and Vision Over the Mountains
Yonder are all dimensional streams that feed into one another and with an
ever-greater effectiveness. And all of this adds up to a bona fide Movement
that is strong, tough, and vital.

In the late 1980s and through the '90s and beyond, it became more and more
common to hear international union staff  and/or officialdom decline to get
into a particular organizing situation -- or even a complex advocacy one --
on grounds that, however phrased, added up to "it can't done" and/or "it
isn't worth our time and money."

"If it would organize any workers in any number," Jesse Prosten [Director of
Organizing for United Packinghouse Workers] once told me when we were
swapping stories in a '60s meet at Chicago, "I'd stand on my Goddamned head
all day in the sun."  Then he added, "and for a month of Sundays."

Well, I agreed with Jesse then and I agree with his words and spirit now.  I
also agree with the old military adage, "There's No Such Word As Can't."
And, if you don't want to go to the military for guidance, go to the
old-time Wobblies.

It all starts with Grassroots Doing.
 

Fraternally and Sincerely -
 

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

 

A POST-SCRIPT

In my previous piece a bit earlier this morning, I said in part:

With a few significant exceptions [e.g., UFWA, a few dimensions of a few
other internationals] it missed a big piece of History when, failing to
formulate new visions and strategies, it consequently failed to
affirmatively join the Civil Rights Movement. [Each would have benefited
enormously from the other -- as would all of the "people of the fewest
alternatives".]

I'm not talking about important -- but "show" -- marches.  There was
significant labor representation in events like the March on Washington --
but the basic success of that was a result of the Civil Rights Movement and
all  its spark-plugs in Southern crucibles far more than  such important
components as Labor and the National Council of Churches. A few labor
organizations -- internationals, locals etc -- contributed significant funds
to the Movement in various ways.  Some like Packinghouse shipped down large
quantities of food and other relief supplies to evicted sharecroppers in
several hard-core Southern settings.  In any case, however, this isn't my
point.  [Participating in "safe" marches was comparatively easy.]

What I'm talking about is the general failure on the part of Labor to
actively and enduringly join the Movement -- that biggest part of the
Movement that was genuinely oriented toward grassroots organization of
grassroots people--  in long-term, on-going activist organization. [Several
us vigorously pushed from early 1965 onward for an intensive and on-going
Civil Rights/Labor thrust focused on the broad organization of Southern
communities -- with all possible unionization efforts proceeding militantly
within that context.]  From about 1965  for about two or three years thereafter,
there was a  fertile field for a very functionally effective Civil Rights
Movement / Labor working alliance [if not a kind of marriage.]  But by the
late '60s, the old Civil Rights Movement was fading rapidly. Capitalistic
Machiavellianism, high-level national political betrayals,  the nefariously
divisive effects of the predominately conventional dimensions of the
so-called War on Poverty [as opposed to those several very effective radical
and democratic grassroots anti-poverty programs in several parts of the
hard-core rural South],  the various separatist debates and issues,
tokenism, the corrosive atmosphere generated by the War, FBI maneuvering,
and other negative forces got the upper hand of The Dream. The basis for
democratic, interracial unionism in the South and some other places had been
laid by the Movement. And it is still there -- and the ground  still
fertile. But, with some few commendable exceptions, Labor as a whole missed
a historic opportunity in the mid and latter 1960s.

We can learn from that -- but that water went down the Mississippi into the
Gulf a long, long time ago. Now we've got to get busy at the grassroots --
wherever those grassroots are -- and get, as some certainly are, much into
basic, long-term democratic and visionary organizing on a wide range of
fundamental social justice fronts.  Labor can and must be a big, big piece
of all of that. And I think, as the cards fall out, that it will be.

Fraternally and Sincerely -

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

 

A POSSIBLE VALEDICTORY [AND ADMITTEDLY PRESUMPTUOUS WORD] TO DSA FRIENDS AND CRITICS  [HUNTER GRAY 7/12/02]

Note by Hunterbear:

There are all sorts of Machiavellian efforts by its moderator and others to
play games with ASDnet  [an unofficial DSA discussion list] -- and I've indicated that, if these go on and on, I'm simply saying Adios to that List.  I'll stay on the other two DSA lists, one of which I "own" as moderator.  H

 

It's possible that, before very long at all -- to paraphrase some words in
the old cowpuncher ballad, "Little Joe the Wrangler" -- my days with ASDnet
will soon be "done." ["It is Little Joe the wrangler / who'll never wrangle
more / his days with the remuda they are done."]  We have a joke in Native
circles about "Conference Indians." I've never really been a conference
person of any kind [now and then, of course I go and maybe even speak] but
that's probably one of the reasons that I'm not especially well known, at
least in the Eastern circles of DSA.  For that reason, and more
fundamentally because it's in both the traditions of Native America and
rural Western America, I tell stories -- usually from personal experience --
that do have a point. My experience continues to accrue and will as long as
I live. [If they don't drink themselves to death, most people in my family
get close to the century mark.]

ASDnet certainly has many fine people residing on it -- some of whom I may
agree with on many things, others not. But ideological agreement has never
been, for me, any prerequisite for friendship.  I have friends who fall into
all sorts of interesting ideological camps -- some are still CPUSA members
and there are even a few Libertarians. People are complicated -- each of us
is unique -- and I like most people. When it comes to friendship, I really
don't give a damn about  politics or  gun control or religion -- or
whatever.  I do draw the line at consistent anti-people bigotry of any kind.
Some of our most loyal neighbors immediately around us here in Idaho --
Indian, Chicano, Anglo -- are also very good Mormons.

My 11 year old granddaughter, Samantha, who lives with us here [and who, in
addition to that which she gets from our side of the family, is also
one-quarter Spanish Basque and one-quarter Jewish] has considered herself
from age three onward to be a militant atheist.  An interesting
out-of-the-blue but very properly existentialist comment of hers at age
three was "We don't exist because we want to exist.  We exist because we
exist." This was of considerable interest to Eldri's brother, Arnie, who
chaired Philosophy at Moorhead State, MN, until his recent retirement.
Anyway, Samantha and I have interesting and feisty and endless arguments
about God and such, but remain very close  friends. Now she just smiles if
I, playfully, wave a crucifix in her face.

As I object to people who, say, leave the Catholic Church and then become
shrill, fanatic and all encompassing anti-Catholics [and, remember, I was
fired by the Bishop of the Rochester Diocese -- for "insubordination"], so
do I object to people who react to difficult Leninist or Maoist or
Trotskyist or whatever experiences by hurling "Stalinist" and "Popular
Fronter"  or Whatever at anyone who happens to disagree with them on some
facet of their new [whatever it may be]  interpretation of Humanity.

And I certainly think it's extremely regrettable when decent people sit
by -- anywhere -- and let other people be consistently slandered and
smeared.

Leo Casey made reference the other day to the fact that I had  once said,
"Shut up" to he and Jim Chapin.  He didn't give the context -- which, in its
own way, strikes right at the heart [as I see it] of  one of DSA's central
problems.  I made that comment -- for which I do not apologize -- at the
soon-after-911 point where Bush/Ashcroft were both taking us into the War
and mangling the Hell out of the Constitution.  There were people -- good
people -- in and out of DSA who were mobilizing against that/this Madness.
And Leo Casey and Jim Chapin, on ASDnet and perhaps elsewhere, were shooting
hard -- not really at Bush/Ashcroft -- but at those many they didn't and
don't  like on the mobilizing Left.  My comment was something directly to
the effect that, "If you can't support these efforts against the War and the
emergent Patriot Act, then why not Shut Up and let others do their thing?"
I am not the one who should apologize for that -- and anyone who expects me
to do so can travel to Hell and wait down there Forever.

It's worth noting that SPUSA, CCDS, Solidarity, DSA Youth -- all of these
and more -- issued  fast, clean, strong statements on the War.  The official
DSA position on the War was tortured, belated, and not strong.

I can't say that I've heard Casey et al say one substantial word on behalf
of bona fide socialism -- or much at all on behalf of civil liberty.
Nothing  of significant indignation about the fact that 2,000  people at
least were imprisoned without formal charges in this country -- a great many
now deported -- or the fact that, day by day, the Gletkins of the FBI et al
gather power and perform functions that, frankly, could be taken out of one
my favorite all-time books, and one which I periodically re-read: Arthur
Koestler's excellent Darkness at Noon. [In case anyone isn't aware of this,
that's perhaps the greatest anti-Stalinist novel ever written -- by a man
who continued his courageous crusading for a Good and Just World throughout
his entire life.]

 And, BTW, I have on a number of occasions, vigorously encouraged Bogdan
Denitch, The Socialist Scholar, to hunt up my long essay, "Reflections on
Ralph Chaplin, the Wobblies, and Organizing in the Save the World
Business -- Then and Now."  That's very easily found -- since it's the lead
essay in the "Voices of Western Labor" edition [Summer, 1986] of the very
well known Pacific Historian.  But I don't think Bogdan ever looked that
up -- for, if he had, he would have realized that my admiring focal point
was a man who, a committed and courageous and life-long libertarian radical
who also fought hard for Indian rights -- was also extremely anti-Stalinist.
[Because of this, Chaplin is barely mentioned anywhere by Phil Foner --
something I note in my essay.] I cited Ralph Chaplin's  great book, Wobbly,
just yesterday in my "Copper Skies" post.

I find the attacks on CCDS absolutely bizarre. Totally surreal.  Here are
people who made a highly principled and clean break with the CPUSA --  now
being trashed by a very few of ASDnet's ex-radicals.  I had friends who were
at the interesting convention at Cleveland more than a decade ago when Gus
Hall called the police on the dissidents -- who then left and mostly became
CCDS.  In doing that, Hall did exactly what the right-wing social democrat,
Adolph Germer, did to John Reed and the Socialist Left at the 1919
Convention of the Socialist Party.  I would, of course, have strongly
supported Reed -- and I [a DSAer] certainly had no problem joining the new
CCDS.

Increasingly, as this strange ASDnet and up-close DSA experience have
progressed [not all without their blessings], I have told family and friends
that, in addition to judging people by what they actually do or don't --
rather than by their ostensible ideology,  I was Goddamned lucky to grow up
on the "frontiers" of the Southwest and  do my initial social justice work
there  -- and then elsewhere on other frontiers.  In those remote settings,
I could work without the incubus of sectarian ideological bickering and
backbiting.  Even when I lived in urban areas of significance -- Seattle,
Chicago, Rochester -- I avoided  all sectarian involvements, focusing on my
grassroots organizing.  [Always and forever a loyal Mine-Mill man, of
course, I certainly had no compunctions -- indeed, I had endless
enthusiasm -- about fighting the Eastern-based Steel union finks who were
out to raid the Mine-Mill membership.  We were able to handle those
Red-baiting "popsicle" boys easily enough.]

I have been a strong participant and supporter within DSA Anti-Racism
Commission since its inception twenty or so years ago.  The excellent Duane
Campbell and I met at Manning Marable's  very well done Third World
Conference at Fisk University, Nashville, 1983, where we both were among the
many fine speakers.  I continue to be very much impressed with Anti-Racism
and with DSA youth generally -- and with many of the "older" DSAers, whether
or not we always find resonance with each other.

DSA will have a bright and very effective organizing and activist future --
if it can reach out and take History and ride with it on the Winds.

Fraternally and in Solidarity -

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]  DSA, CCDS, SPUSA -- and three labor unions
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´

 

 

 

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