And Bill Mandel, Claude Wright and Me -- Plus Mohawks! [Hunter Gray  March 30, 2002] 



The Garden of Genocide has many poisonous manifestations.  Even discounting
the existence of genocide as Israeli/state policy [something about which one
cannot sometimes help but wonder at this point],  it's brutally obvious that
much of the leadership of Israel has seeded hard-line policy intractability
against moderation and conciliation, callousness vis-a-vis basic human
rights alchemically into the waters of racism,  and ethnic hatred -- all of this to the point that an increasing number of Israelis are practicing a kind of very
lethal genocide against the Palestinians at this very moment.

The closest thing to pervasive  fascism that has existed  in this country
was Mississippi ["The Closed Society."]  Other Southern states had, within
their borders,  very large areas that were just as segregated, just as
racist, just as brutally violent as the Magnolia State.  But with
Mississippi, from the latter 1950s into the mid-1960s, it was all in a fully
feathered-out  totalitarian framework. Almost no non-Whites could even
register to vote and many poor Whites were without franchise. Powerful
police forces existed at every level -- backed up by ignorant Anglo rabbles.
Virtually every public official -- all of whom were White -- was a member of
the Citizens' Council [the "uptown KKK"] and committed to "States Rights,
Racial Integrity." [The exceptions were very, very few:  courageous Bill
Winter, then state tax collector -- and eventually, much later, governor
from 1980-84; and one or two state legislators.]

The leadership of Mississippi at virtually every level, especially during
the sanguinary Ross Barnett rule and the first part of the Paul Johnson
administration, was convinced the state was under attack by "Communist race
mixers" from within and via the Federal government and The North, as well as
by sea -- i.e., Cuba.  Massive resistance and day-after-day paranoia and
hatred -- laced with sanctimonious and hypocritical platitudes  disclaiming
violence and proclaiming democracy, etc -- incited much of the White
population. White moderates were especially hated. The leadership would have
been both horrified and insulted to have been accused of promoting
 genocide -- BUT:

Among the evil effects of the Mississippi system  were many, many many
Blacks  killed with dreary frequency -- much of this unreported nationally
and all of this unpunished [if even investigated.]  This was grassroots
genocide.  It wasn't disclaimed by the leadership which -- looked the other
way.  But it was certainly a variety of genocide -- and much of it was
carried out by so-called official "lawmen" -- constables, police, sheriffs
and deputies, highway patrolmen -- often "under color of law."

Dissent was systematically stifled -- often strangled. And then brutally

And if Black kids threw rocks at the violent Mississippi "lawmen", as some
did in the aftermath of Medgar Evers' funeral [I had already been arrested
and saw much through the tiny circle of bars in a paddy wagon located
conveniently in the middle of it all], shots were fired at them, the
Governor proclaimed this a "riot" and called up even more National Guardsmen
to bolster the huge racist forces of "lawmen" already mobilized for the
status quo.

And there were people in the Kennedy administration who decried the matter
of Black kids throwing rocks at Mississippi lawmen -- who were clubbing and
police-dogging and fire-hosing and tear-gassing -- and shooting.

[Mississippi was not alone in all of this, of course, and these atrocities
occurred across much of the South and in many parts of the country -- and
still continue in varying forms in Free America.]

The Blacks of the United States and the other dispossessed are not committed
to genocide again anyone.  Even in the very "old time," there were many
Native American leaders who sought some sort of accommodation with the
Europeans -- but always had their efforts destroyed by the invaders whose
hunger, of course, was consistently [and often still is] insatiable.

I doubt if most Palestinians are committed to genocide against Israel,
either -- but many more days of this could certainly ensure that a very huge
number move into that camp.

In any case, from what the world sees, the State of Israel with all of its
official might and means is attacking an almost completely civilian
population:  people that are increasingly destitute and scattered -- and

Human courage and persistence for social justice always endure in the long
run.  Mississippi et al. changed -- and so will Israel.  Let's hope that the
United States does as well.

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]  ( social justice )


I have a couple of things to say about the vicious Denver police [etc] attacks on Left radicals, peace people, civil righters and other dissidents and freedom
fighters -- and  very good words for such outfits as the Quaker-grounded
American Friends Service Committee and the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

If I recall correctly, I was the first person to post on our "local
discussion lists" [RedBadBear, ASDnet, etc] the initial newspaper story on
the most recent phase of revelations regarding repressive spying at Denver:
"Wed Mar 13, 2002  11:14 am  Subject:  Police 'spy files' assailed [Denver

Soon thereafter, there were a number of timely posts by others -- which
indicated that pacifist groups -- e.g., American Friends Service
Committee -- were among the target victims.

I was quick to spot the mention of the Denver situation.  We -- our family
and several others here in Pocatello, Idaho -- have experienced this
continual surveillance [and obviously related and frequently very crude
harassment] for years.  In this setting [and this has gradually surfaced in
various other parts of the country], it's coming [in addition to the usual
openly racist outfits] from  much more than simply the local cops.

FBI-managed "task forces" -- involving FBI, state and local "lawmen," postal
authorities, etc et al. -- have been a key foundational/repressive context
in the United States since at least the passage of Clinton's so-called
"Anti-Terrorism Act" of 1996 [which also facilitates implementation of the
death penalty].  I strongly suspect this is the basic structure poisoning
freedom at Denver.

["Red Scare Repression" stuff never really ends.  What I was able to recover
of my FBI files via FOIA over years in the 1980s -- 3,000 plus pages not
counting several hundred they won't release at all -- runs from the
mid-1950s to 1979.  I can only imagine the new mountain peaks of spy data
that have developed via the Federal [and other] finks -- and am preparing to
file a whole new round of FOIA demands shortly [though recognizing that,
with Ashcroft on the throne, it may take into what might be my next physical
incarnation -- if there is anything to reincarnation -- and I do plan to
live in this present form for a long, long time!]

Anyway, anyone who thinks all of this began with Bush/Ashcroft is someone to
whom I could sell the Grand Canyon.  It's obvious that Clinton/Gore were in
this sort of repressive spy thing for years -- which is only one reason that
I don't think Gore's ascendancy would have made any basic difference  at all
in the twin and currently on-going dimensions of War and Repression [and
economic deprivation.]

We were in North Dakota for sixteen years before we came to Idaho in 1997.
In that setting, I was -- at University of North Dakota -- a full professor,
departmental chair, some-time chair of Honors, member of the graduate
faculty etc  -- and, over the years, won a number of awards for social
justice activities including the state's annual Martin Luther King, Jr.
Award in 1989.  I had also been chair of the reform-activist Grand Forks
Mayor's Committee on Police Policy for many years and also, from the
beginning of the 1990s, was Chair of the city's  new Community Relations
Board.  More to the point, I had very solid grassroots backing for our many
social justice and human rights endeavours throughout the entire region.

But there were obviously repressive things -- especially around mail and
telephones -- that happened there with frequency.  We always attributed that
stuff to the FBI at one level and  to John Birchers and comparable creatures
at another.

When we came here to Pocatello almost five years ago,  very open police
surveillance began virtually immediately -- as did blatant interference with
our mail, telephones, and -- in due course some time later -- constant
hacking attacks on our computers. There is evidence of both city and state
involvement -- and certainly much of a Federal nature.

The continual postal thing indicates a very clear Federal relationship.  As
one of a myriad of examples, early in 1999  my son in the Fargo/Moorhead
area sent several publications to me via Priority Mail.  They reached us ten
days later in a package which had holes punched into it. I made, over a long
period, three formal, major complaints to the regional postal inspectors --
and,  with one, I attached almost a hundred envelopes and packages that
provided clear evidence of blatant interference with our mail -- felony
crimes, by the way.  Not one of those three major, formal complaints was
even acknowledged by the Postal Inspection division.  That was during the
Clinton epoch.

About a year ago, with the new regime settling into the old policies and
expanding them, a very well wrapped Priority Mail package was sent to me by
the excellent, New York-based Committees of Correspondence for Socialism and Democracy, which contained ten copies of one of its publications, The
Corresponder, and ten copies of its other journal, Dialogue and Initiative.
This took many days to reach us and, when I opened it here, everything
inside the outwardly dry package had been very freshly and thoroughly
water-soaked and functionally ruined.  CCDS immediately filed complaints
with the very top postal authorities.  That was a year ago and, as of a few
days ago, there had still been no response.  That, of course, is in the
context of the Bush/Ashcroft epoch.  [It's hard for me to see much
difference here -- but, as yet at least, I haven't been incarcerated in a
United States concentration camp, sans any formal charges,  like about 2,000
other souls.]

As  we have always, everywhere over many decades, we've continued our social justice efforts:  here in Idaho and also regionally and beyond.  We
developed our very large social justice website and,
among  all of the other vital issues, we've explicitly and to-the-fore
publicized all of these things via website. And then we've also done this on
various discussion lists.  In time, well before Bush/Ashcroft, we began
hearing of similarly repressive  FBI-managed Task Force goings-on around the
country:  e.g., Portland, Oregon and more indeed.

For anyone interested, here is a full and reasonably up-to-date page on our
website that covers the basics of our Idaho experiences:

I have only the highest regard for the American Friends Service Committee
and for the Fellowship of Reconciliation.  Although not a pacifist -- I do
vigorously support, however, tactically non-violent direct action -- I have
worked with them congenially for decades.  They're brave and committed and
thoroughly admirable people.  That the whole array of Finkdom would go after
them [as it has for generations]  is not at all surprising:  AFSC and FOR can be as immovable as Pike's Peak.

I have, by the way, just received via a good friend who heads the national
Indian desk of AFSC, a fine and very timely pamphlet from that organization:
"Whose Land?  An Introduction to the Iroquois Land Claims in New York
State."  [ American Friends Service Committee, Upper New York State Area
Office, 410 1/2 Gifford Street, Syracuse, New York 13204  Tel: 315/4754822
Fax: 315/4750304 ]

I should add that 'way back, AFSC was giving invaluable assistance to the
then-long forgotten Abenaki nations of Maine -- assisting them, among other
things, in providing the basic foundation for the ultimately relatively
successful and precedent setting Maine Indian Land Claims Case
[Passamaquoddy v. Morton] and in securing critical Federal recognition.

American Friends Service Committee staffers were working with the Navajo in
the late 1940s and 1950s -- much to the concern of, say, the Flagstaff AZ
American Legion -- and often stayed at our out-on-the-edges home when they
were in Flag. To our house there also came frequently the admirable Wilson
Riles, then principal of the small Black elementary school -- the first FOR
member I ever met.  After the 1954 Brown desegregation decision, that school
was closed and Wilson Riles went on to the West Coast to become regional
director of FOR in that setting [where he worked closely with then very
young Dave McReynolds --  also our quite good friend indeed in this current
epoch of struggle. Dave, of course, is a major figure in the War Resisters
League and the Socialist Party USA -- as well as in other fine causes.]

From the late 1940s especially and onward deep into the 1960s, the metal
mining bosses, the Federal government, various state authorities, thugs and
vigilantes -- and then-right wing unions like United Steelworkers --
savagely attacked the always commendably radical and thoroughly democratic
and unyieldingly egalitarian and consistently militant International Union
of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers.  Those waves  made up a hideously
repressive complex -- very similar to that visited against the I.W.W. in the
World War I and Red Scare epochs. There is a page on our website discussing
this which is drawn from a long 1960 article of mine in Mainstream --
"IUMMSW:  The Good, Tough Fight" -- and to which I've added updating notes:

Mine-Mill, as it had since its founding in the Coeur d'Alenes in 1892-93 as
the Western Federation of Miners, fought back very effectively on all
fronts:  collective bargaining, labor defense, civil rights and civil
liberties.  And  eventually, over the years, it won every single Federal
case brought against it.  A major struggle was the so-called phony "
Mine-Mill conspiracy case" -- involving the spurious "non-Communist
Taft-Hartley affidavits" -- which was initially brought by the Feds late in
1956, and which lay quiescent until the Great Copper Strike of 1959 into
early 1960.  As the hard-fought strike began to take shape, the Federals and
the copper bosses --in an obvious union-busting and strike-breaking
attack -- then suddenly activated the so-called "Conspiracy Case" in such a
fashion that much of the top leadership of the Union was tied up in the
on-going Federal trial at Denver: thus doing double-duty on both strike and
legal defense fronts.  Mine-Mill eventually won this very hard-fought strike
that stretched from the Montana copper towns to the Mexican border -- and
into some other geographical areas as well.  In June, 1966, the U.S. Supreme
Court threw out the entire "Mine-Mill Conspiracy Case" once and for all. [In
addition to the always very effective Mine-Mill general counsel, Nat Witt,
the Union was also represented all the way through in the "conspiracy case"
by General Telford Taylor, who had prosecuted at Nuremberg.]

As this savage "conspiracy case" became activated  in the context of the
bitter copper strike, there came to the aid of Mine-Mill  a number of
leaders of major AFL-CIO unions -- breaking ranks with the Federation -- and
also Norman Thomas of the Socialist Party and the very fine labor writer,
Sid Lens.

And they were joined -- very openly and publicly and courageously -- by
Stewart Meacham, a major figure in the Quakers, the pacifist movements, and
the American Friends Service Committee.  And that, like the involvement  of
Sid Lens and Norman Thomas and the several AFL-CI0ers, meant a great deal
indeed in those dark days.

For a discussion of that particular case, see our recent website addition:

In the spring of 1961, I was preparing to marry Eldri [ now we are almost 41
years together].  We both wanted to go Deep South for the struggle.  I
contacted a very good friend, the Rev. Glenn Smiley, then field director of
the Fellowship of Reconciliation who, I knew, worked closely with Martin
Luther King -- and who had assisted us in our fight against Arizona's
compulsory college/university ROTC [a battle in which I, a veteran and thus
exempt, was most active.]

 Glenn immediately made the mutual connection between Eldri and me on the
one hand, and, on the other, Dr A.D. Beittel, president of  the embattled
Black and private Tougaloo Southern Christian College just north of Jackson
[supported by northern churches and by UNCF].  Dan Beittel, an active FOR
member, immediately hired us: I as a prof and Eldri for the business office.
I recall that the cheerful Glenn Smiley remarked to me that, "when you go
down there, it'll be as rough as it can ever get."  We went happily --that
ominous Summer of '61 -- and our Great Southern Adventure [which lasted
continuously into the Summer of '67] -- began and in many ways still
continues.  Glenn was Dave McReynold's FOR supervisor 'way back on the West Coast and, if I recall Dave's recent account of this to me, Glenn was
followed by Wilson Riles [our old Flagstaff colleague.]

And, on one of the several occasions that I  was pretty thoroughly and
bloodily beaten by Mississippi "lawmen," a photo of that taken by a national
wire service and sent around the world also wound up on the front cover of
the FOR magazine.

Anyway, for the Quakers and AFSC and FOR etc et al., I have only the kindest
and most supportive words.  Of course, they -- like all effective fighters
for social justice and human rights -- are going to be seen as subversive
and threatening by the usual gaggle and rabble of "cops" and Red-baiters.
And that collection of unsavoury entities -- that never really varies over
the eons --  is simply and sadly an inevitable part of the poisonous
geography when Humanity marches ever and onward across the Rivers and over the Ranges toward the Sun.

But they can't stop us.  They never will.

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

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]  ( social justice )


And Bill Mandel, Claude Wright and Me -- Plus Mohawks! [Hunter Gray  March 30, 2002] 

A RedBadBear matter, I think I'll post this on ASDnet as well where almost
all of the folks are  very good and solid -- but where there are some whose
souls could always use a friendly [if figurative] trip through the ore

I always appreciate  veteran radical Bill Mandel's quite good thoughts and
fine words.  I'm never surprised when the trails of people of very similar
Vision parallel and intersect.

A much older and extremely wise friend of mine, Claude Wright, a leading
trapper and lion and bear hunter in the Tonto Basin country of north/central
Arizona in the broad mid-century period, once commented to me that you could take fifty experienced woodsmen into strange and very rough country, show them a mountain fifty miles away, and ask them to proceed in the quickest fashion to it.  It was his contention, and I agree, that they would all via logic and intuition -- with a few vagaries here and there -- follow the same
basic route toward the Goal. IF they all had nerve and stamina.

Claude, I should add with no false modesty, much appreciated my ability as a
hunter and trapper and several times after I got out of the Army offered me
a partnership in his large operation which was based in the Mazatzal
Mountains -- just under the Tonto section of the very extensive and super
steep Mogollon Rim which, for hundreds of miles, cuts across  much of the
width of Arizona, dividing the northern forest and high plateau country from
the various desert gradations. I was greatly honored but, obviously,
embarked on my  own trail toward another goal -- which Claude fully
understood and consistently respected.

I certainly hope to meet Bill Mandel.

As Ever - Hunter [Hunterbear]

Hunter Gray  [ Hunterbear ]  ( social justice )
----- Original Message -----
From: "William Mandel" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2002 8:49 PM
Subject: Re: [Redbadbear] Mohawk ironworkers to be honored at WTC ceremony

> This business of our paths and interests crossing is fantastic. On pp.
> 381-2 of my book I write about a novel by my friend of half a century
> ago, Prof. Robert Carver North of Stanford: "North reached real heights
> in describing the local Indians. When asked how he was able to describe
> so convincingly a totally different culture, he told me that he knew
> Mohawks from upstate New York. He had worked with them as a high-iron
> bridgebuilder, if my memory serves me correctly. His wife of those years
> was a Native American, but her father was a Yale graduate."
> Bill  Mandel

Note by Hunterbear:

The high steel construction calling -- challenging, dangerous, meaningful,
well paid -- was a logical vocational extension of venturesome young
Mohawks, primarily [not exclusively] from the St. Regis [Akwesasne] and
Caughnawaga [Kahnawake] reservations/reserves  following the end of the fur
trade. That extraordinary commercial complex had drawn many Mohawks into the Columbia and Snake River country of the Far West -- from the latter 1700s
deep into the 19th century. There were several work ventures "out and yonder
in all directions" after the fur trade -- one of them being the "circus
Indian"  and "Wild West show" -- circuits.

High steel work for the Mohawks started when St. Regis men began working
with the Canadian Bridge Company in 1883 on a bridge near Cornwall.  Mohawks at Caughnawaga [Kahnawake] began in 1886 when the Victoria Tubular Bridge was built across a lower section of the St Lawrence River.  Many Mohawks were working on a new bridge across the St. Lawrence at Quebec City in 1907 when a large portion collapsed and several dozen workers were killed.

But, despite this tragic setback,  the note of positive resonance  vis-a-vis
high steel construction  had landed high and was planted deep in Mohawk
souls. They continued to enter high steel work in greater and greater
numbers -- rising to the very tops of the emerging skyscrapers in the
burgeoning cities in the United States and Canada.  And other Iroquois,
e.g., Onondaga, have certainly been much involved in this -- as well as
Natives from other and often northeastern tribes.

This has become great epic legend.

The Native high steel workers are always very good union men -- with very
good union families.  Tribal solidarity and Native solidarity and
Workingstiff solidarity!

And, no matter how much big urban residence -- New York metro, Rochester,
Buffalo, Montreal, Philadelphia and out to places like Chicago and the Bay
Area and Sea-Tac and Vancouver and many many more -- they always, like
virtually all Native people, maintain their primary commitment to their
respective tribal nations and cultures and their vital ties to  reservations
in the 'States and reserves in Canada.

And at the same time all of this has been proceeding, young Mohawks and
other Iroquois and other Natives have also, of course, been moving into
other lines of endeavour -- including a wide range of academically-trained

This certainly continues -- all of it -- with great momentum.

Although somewhat dated, one of the very best -- and most easily found --
studies of the Mohawks in high steel remains by that very name: Joseph
Mitchell's essay, "The Mohawks in High Steel,"  a major component of Edmund
Wilson's excellent book, Apologies to the Iroquois [New York:  Vintage
Books, 1960.]  Although it gives little of the historical background, it's a
fine discussion involving the still relatively contemporary and enduring
mid-20th century setting.

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]


Mohawk ironworkers to be honored at WTC ceremony
NYC American Indian community shares in grief
By Jim Kent