ORGANIZER 25:

FUSSING ABOUT WORKERS WORLD -- VS. THE CHALLENGE OF THE REAL REALITIES  [HUNTER GRAY  2/11/03]

REALLY CREATIVE RED-BAITING:  JIMMY WARD, THE MISSISSIPPI MASTER   [HUNTER GRAY  1/24/03]

 

FUSSING ABOUT WORKERS WORLD -- VS. THE CHALLENGE OF THE REAL REALITIES  [HUNTER GRAY  2/11/03]

I don't know a great deal -- or even much at all -- about Workers World. [I remember it slightly from the early and mid '60s but it was only a very peripheral and minor presence in the South.]  But it is my understanding that it presently numbers much less than a thousand nationally.  This means you could cut a very small slice from Pocatello, Idaho [total population about 50,000 or so] right here and have far more souls than WW.  At this point, it's an easy target for Redbaiters and reactionaries and ex-radicals and sanctimonious/supercilious "liberals" -- but, if it weren't around, they'd find many other scapegoats [and are -- including DSA!]. 

 
WW, like anything else, is certainly not beyond thoughtful criticism at all -- but I'm not impressed with  people who are spending their basic time and passion attacking WW -- or any other Left outfit at this point -- when the world teeters on the brink of one of the worst regional disasters in human history, when unemployment and subemployment in this country are carrying us straight to Hell in a handbucket, when farmers and ranchers are continuing to lose their land in the Great Plains [and elsewhere], and when Bush/Ashcroft/Ridge are testing our democratic foundations with wave after wave of what I call "wistful fascism."  [I do think our basic democratic institutions will survive the assault.] Nor am I at all impressed with those who "use" the presence of WW as an excuse to cop out of social activism -- either via transference or outright retreat.   
 
I gather WW, along with many others, has done an effective job in organizing and mobilizing people in the anti-War cause -- and started, commendably, along with many others, with the "previous" and still on-going "war" in Afghanistan [which, of course, set the stage for this Iraq crisis.]  If WW has anything solid to offer over the long haul, it'll grow; if not, it won't.  The  relatively free minds of people can still reject error and grab truth.
 
Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]  DSA Anti-Racism, Solidarity, CCDS, SPUSA
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'
 
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]
 

REALLY CREATIVE RED-BAITING :  JIMMY WARD, THE MISSISSIPPI MASTER   [HUNTER GRAY  1/24/03]

Although most folks are well aware of this by now, newcomers to our website may not -- and so I note that my former name was John R. Salter, Jr.

Note by Hunterbear:

If the smell of wistful fascism travels these days over the Four Directions,
there's certainly another corollary dimension riding right along with it:
Red-baiting.  The country -- and our tortured planet -- may be engulfed in
one of Humanity's greatest "foreign" crises of recent times [somehow
reminiscent of MacArthur's plans to nuke Manchuria], our Constitution is
fighting for its very existence -- and the Redbaiters are coming, to state
it bluntly, out of every dank hole in the country.

I'm not talking about reasonable discussion in the circle of functional
unity [public and otherwise] about whatever-organization's tactical
approaches and related matters.  I'm  talking about smear stuff --
vilification -- whose motives range from "justification" of non-involvement
in, say, worthwhile demonstrations and related endeavours, to efforts to
serve the Bush et al. agenda.

For my part, I've been a target of Red-baiting for almost half a century.
And a couple of adages have served me very well indeed as I've traveled
along the River of No Return:  the old Native saying, "If you fish for
trout, expect to be bitten by mosquitoes" -- and the old-time Wobbly
guideline:  "Better to be called Red than be called Yellow."

In discussing this recently with a good friend and kindred spirit who blends
within himself the best of the Deep South and the Real Southwest, I
commented about some really creative Red-baiting from Old Mississippi -- and
I cited one of the greatest racist smear artists in the history of our
country:  James Myron Ward of the old Jackson Daily News [ the vicious and
venal Hederman press] -- who spent a lot of time [always to no avail] on me.

To my good friend, I wrote in part:

"Our Lair of Hunterbear website is now three years old.  Its major thrust
has
always been sensibly radical activism -- but a corollary dimension is that
it very effectively counters the multitude of smear and vilification stuff
that I -- like a great many activist organizers -- inevitably attract. And
do so to this very moment. It's been very useful and now there are around
350 hits per day!

I have a great fondness for your old state, A. [which is that of my
daughter, Maria, fussing congenially in the kitchen with her
half-Mississippi Choctaw son, Thomas.]  But I do have to say that, between
the Hedermans and the Citizens' Council and the Sov Comm -- and then K.
 the Carpetbagger -- and finally E. -- it's certainly tossed a
lot of pure defamation at me.  Here's one from Jimmy Ward in the Jackson
Daily News a long time ago:

Jimmy Ward, Editor, on the front page of the Jackson Daily News, September
26, 1963 did, as he had so often, mixed my Indian background with his
presumption of my politics:

"The Southern Conference Educational Fund, Inc., has announced that Prof.
John R. Salter, Tougaloo College professor who sought to grab control of
Negro agitation in Jackson, has joined Carl Braden, convicted Fifth
Amendment guy from New Orleans. This announcement causes about as much
surprise as day breaking, the moon rising, the sun setting and evening
falling. They are of the same trouble-making tribe. Heap Redskins in that
integrated teepee at Tougaloo.

Jackson gains in citizenship as the mustard-splattered Prof. John R. Salter
of Tougaloo flies East and joins in fellow field traveling Carl Braden,
ex-jailbird who served time for playing mum to Federal agents on his alleged
Communist activities. Salter who also got peppered in lunch counter
demonstrations was supposed to be a great sociology instructor. Now he will
play second fiddle to an ex-convict. What a case of deflation but one must
take orders from on high. Who will be the next to show their real colors.
Not her? Not him? What's going on Tougaloo?

As Prof. John Salter departs and takes up residence in Raleigh, N.C., to
continue his graduate work in hate, let it be recalled that the Daily News
on numerous occasions warned the Negro leadership of Jackson to be careful
of the purposes of those squattin' and sittin' and prayin' incidents last
summer. As Salter joins Braden does the light shine brighter on those
warnings today?

Will the departure of Prof. John R. Salter, heap big trouble-maker who
leaves Tougaloo College to play second fiddle to an ex-convict known as Carl
Braden, have any influence on the frequency of parties being conducted
between students of different institutions of higher learning hereabouts?
Will students still be worried over their grades if they don't participate in
those fancy parties? Who will answer these questions?"

See this clipping and my notes on it at
http://www.hunterbear.org/creative.htm

And again, my Personal Background Narrative at
http://www.hunterbear.org/narrative.htm

[Carl Braden, btw, had never used the Fifth Amendment in his appearance
before HUAC.  He used the First -- in a major test case which he lost.
Later, however, Pete Seeger used the First and won.  Also, as SCEF Field
Organizer, I didn't play "second fiddle" to Carl or anyone else.  Basically
I worked pretty much on my own all over the hard-core South, reporting to
our excellent Executive Director, Jim Dombrowski, and to the SCEF Board of
Directors.]
----------------------------------------------------
And, finally, there's another sad dimension that was certainly pervasive in
Old Mississippi and the hard-core South generally and hangs in the sick
mists of Our Time Now:  the failure of too many essentially decent people --
in the Left and elsewhere -- to clearly and candidly denounce what can only
be called the madness of character assassination.

Fraternally / In Solidarity

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Micmac/ St Francis Abenaki/St Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]

previous

index

continue