ORGANIZER 9:

RACIST PERSONAL ATTACKS IN A SOCIALIST DISCUSSION LIST -- AND MY RESPONSE  [HUNTER GRAY  4/20/02]

NORMAN THOMAS AND TOUGH TIMES AND ROUGH WATERS AND VISION [HUNTER GRAY 4/24/02]   AND MORE ON NORMAN THOMAS [HUNTER GRAY 5/7/02]

VERY BRIEF COMMENT ON GET-RICH-QUICK FRAUD SCHEMES  [HUNTER GRAY  5/1/02]

 

 

RACIST PERSONAL ATTACKS IN A SOCIALIST DISCUSSION LIST -- AND MY RESPONSE  [HUNTER GRAY  4/20/02]

Note by Hunterbear:  I posted this on a number of Left discussion lists -- and have sent it to many individuals.

 

My family and I certainly very much appreciate the solid, thoughtful words
of support that have come from a good number of you all -- on list and off
list.  The sanguinary rivers that are converging on long-suffering Humanity
from the very Four Directions make this noxious ASDnet episode one that
should not proceed into monopolization of the good thoughts and good works
of any of us.  But it all does warrant comment  -- so here are my thoughts:

The anonymously rank and obviously racist thing of yesterday afternoon --
neither creative nor witty and obviously the antithesis of courage -- that
was posted on ASDnet is not, I'm quite sure, the work of an occasional
visitor to the list. Normally, that would be a reasonable enough assessment.
But the ASDnet situation is a Grand Canyon away from any normalcy.  This
Skull & Crossbones potion falls well within the narrow and crude denigrating
tradition that's come to frequently characterize ASDnet -- especially, but
hardly exclusively, directed against me -- and very much when I've posted on
various Native topics or, say, boosted the coming Paul Robeson Peace Arch
concert commemoration [May 18] near Vancouver B.C.,  and certainly when I've taken my traditionally and explicitly and emphatically Left socialist
position on a number of key issues. [The obvious attack, now and at previous
points, on my very good friend, Louis Proyect of Marxmail, is certainly
revealing and significant. ]

It's clearly coming from somewhere within the group on ASDnet -- which is
certainly not restricted in DSA to that oft-unhappy discussion list:  a
faction that, for all practical purposes, are Democrats and nothing more.
[There can be -- and are -- very  profound differences between so-called
social democrats and  democratic socialists who are genuinely socialist.]
After this, of course, it's speculative, since we're dealing with anonymous
cowards whose depth and finesse would hardly impress, say, the creatively
and intricately caustic Henry Mencken -- or Ambrose Bierce.

What isn't speculative is the basic silence that prevails on ASDnet when
something ugly like this breaks out .  Or, there's the typically convoluted
comment by Jim Chapin yesterday [Friday] evening to Evan Godt's very
thoughtfully critical statements about the affair.  This is how Chapin
sought to handle the matter -- certainly no denunciation of "racist swill"
[as Sam Friedman so accurately tagged it on our RedBadBear.]  Said Chapin --
endeavoring, I'm sure, very unconvincingly to any half-way objective mind,
to turn it all around and attack Evan's criticism:

"Doesn't this  constitute abuse, not of a person, but of a whole class of
persons?  I think that most of the people on this list, both those with whom
I usually agree and those with whom I often disagree, have had rather interesting lives.    Jim Chapin "

The suggestion that Evan made that "they" "get a life" obviously touched a
nerve.  And it's also very accurate.  While there are certainly people on
ASDnet who've had and have interesting lives, and productive ones, there are
many who have not and who -- when History has reached out Its hand -- have
pulled back with fear and timidity.  And these people very much resent
anyone who has an interesting and productive life --  who has done things
and continues to do so.  And some of these people, whose  very limited
bundle of talents does include knifesmanship [note my gender use], act
viciously.  And, of course, they do so within their traditions of cowardice
and anonymity.

But, as I say, the real problem in ASDnet -- and one in DSA -- is the
failure of many of the "good people" [of various philosophically socialist
shadings -- but good people] to speak out on racist attacks of this sort.
[Some who would and have on other occasions may very well be away during
this critical demonstration period.]  It's reminiscent of what we used to
call "the Silent South" -- the moderate Whites who never spoke.  And that
was the reason that the Movement  worked -- as any well-grounded and
courageous and committed and focused Movement always does -- with those "of the fewest alternatives" who were and are willing to courageously move
out -- move out through Hell and High Water -- to the Sun.

DSA has many good people within it.  But the jury is still 'way out on the
matter of its basic, enduring, ultimate relevancy.

Jeffrey Levine's good concerns -- and those of others -- that I stay on
ASDnet can be easily answered by me with an affirmative.

Once again, our great appreciation to every one of you who has expressed
genuine concern in this latest, sad episode.

Here is the full Skull & Crossbones thing for anyone who hasn't seen it:

Fraternally -- and in Solidarity -

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


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

"Note from HunterWeasel:

I have to put this note before all of the e-mails I forward to the
ignorant, insensitive and crude DSAers on ASDNET, because they are
stupid white men who do not appreciate the truths of the Great Spirit of
tribal religion. Look you stupid racist honkies, I will not sit by idly
in my lier... whoops, liar... no, no, no, I mean lair..., while you pass
judgment on how I worship the weasel by cutting out its innards.

The following is a piece authored by one of my comrade hunters, the
weasel Lou Proyect, in which he explains the correct Trotskyist [or is
that Stalinist?] position on tribal rites.

FW: Viva Female Genital Mutilation And Other Tribal Religious Rites

The renegade Ellen M. Woods, in her anti-Marxist tract "Women's
Liberation and the Tribe," puts forward a characteristically
petite-bourgeois analysis of female genital mutilation among the tribes
of Somalia. Woods, a founder of the Smithian school on the origin of
capitalism, suggests that women should have a "right" to refuse the
deeply held, culturally integral pratice of genital circumcision. What
could be more anti-Marxist than the concept of "rights"? And what does a
woman need a clitoris for anyway?

Like the third volume of Capital, the manuscript breaks off at this
point.  "

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

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

For an earlier example of shabby things -- Red-baiting on ASDnet -- please continue to the next page:  "Strange Birds."

 

NORMAN THOMAS AND TOUGH TIMES AND ROUGH WATERS AND VISION [HUNTER GRAY 4/24/02] AND MORE ON NORMAN THOMAS [HUNTER GRAY 5/7/02]

This is on  Norman Thomas -- the old Socialist Party activist and
visionary -- and it's a very good word for him.

I got up as usual around 2 am Mountain Time and, fortunately, had a couple
of cups of strong coffee before I even glanced at the Outlook Express
fish-net.  I've never understood how some [not all are abstainers] of my
good Mormon friends and nearby neighbors [some are Indian] can start up
without coffee -- strong coffee.  I will note, as an aside on that
interesting issue, that every grocery store in this heavily LDS setting
carries coffee -- lots of coffee indeed.  I doubt that that great  martyred
visionary, Joseph Smith, or that extraordinary organizer, Brigham Young, are
that troubled on the coffee thing.  Brother Young, BTW, a very practical
man, always packed a revolver or two and had as a body-guard, the kindly
Mormon gunman, Porter Rockwell, who, as a still-kindly old man in Salt Lake,
so impressed the then very, very young William D. Haywood and his circle of
childhood friends.

The flare-ups around Norman Thomas trouble me a  great deal.  I tend to see
things always much more  personally, I suppose, than ideologically -- and
family and friends are always critically important dimensions for me. [These
are very persistent and enduring Native cultural traits.]  David McReynolds
and I are part of each other's time and have  all sorts of mutual touch
points around people and philosophies -- as well as a fundamentally basic
mutual vision. Although he is a commendably consistent pacifist and I more
of a "tactical nonviolent," we certainly share a very great wariness of
violence as a means toward any good ends.

Greg Pason and I have worked together comfortably and congenially -- and
have in common a kind of "rough corner of the neighborhood" bad boy ethos.
I like him. I hope we have an opportunity to meet before long.

I don't pretend to know all of the intricacies involved in this current
little dispute around Norman Thomas.  But I do know one thing:  Norman
Thomas was a damn good man and a consistent fighter for social justice on
very broad fronts -- and very much a crusader for civil rights and civil
liberties.  The idea of Norman Thomas being a CIA tool is very, very much
off the mark and a Grand Canyon away from Reality.

Recently I made a couple of conventional posts -- on about eight discussion
lists -- indicating the coming May 18th Paul Robeson Peace Arch Concert
commemoration on the US / Canadian border, just south of Vancouver, BC.
This forthcoming event honours the courage of many who, when Robeson was
blocked by the US government [and the then-sycophantic Canadian government] from entering Canada in 1952, organized a tremendous  concert.  It was arranged precisely right on the very international border  by the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers union -- which had a large and radical and militant
membership in both countries.  Paul Robeson sang, that day in May 1952, in a
tremendously successful affair,  to people in both countries [and to the
world] and the whole thing was repeated in August, 1953.  Now, with many of
the same spontaneous and government-manufactured fear and hysteria civil
liberties-strangling issues and policies once again rising to the fore, a
very significant 50th Anniversary Commemoration Concert is being scheduled
by another army of brave souls.

My posts on the matter stirred nothing negative on any lists -- save on
one-- where a very few hide-bound types, and a very few "younger people" who probably came of age with Paul Robeson's grandchildren, attacked Robeson as a "Stalinist" [and myself as well] -- and a great deal of "old history" was trotted out which, actually, had little to do with anything of current interest to most. [I'm also, to add an antithetical aside, occasionally
attacked on that particular discussion list, sometimes by a few of the same
people, as being a religious or spiritual mystic as well. All of this
paradoxical stuff would  probably surprise both Stalin -- who died when I
was still a Teen -- and my old, late courageous friend, the Catholic Worker
anarchist, Ammon Hennacy -- to say nothing of my late Catholic Native
American father!]

I came of political age -- and in some very tough crucibles -- as the
horrific Cold War built in savage intensity. [I have always subscribed, as I
have often indicated, to the very sharp critiques issued vis-a-vis both of
the competing and conflicting power structures in that sanguinary
dichotomy -- by C. Wright Mills: e.g., his excellent book, "The Causes of
World War III."]  As I developed, becoming a full-fledged Left radical
around the time I emerged from my Army experiences at the very beginning of
1955, I blended Rocky Mountain anarcho-syndicalism with Native tribalism and my great admiration for Debs and Haywood and Ralph Chaplin -- and
Geronimo -- into my life-long and hardly ideologically rigid mix.  This has
always enabled me to function very ecumenically in the Left -- something
which, over the long pull, any really effective radical activist has to do.

Norman Thomas, to his great and eternal credit, was no ideologue.  He was an
honorable and committed human being who reflected some of the finest
traditions of the old American Socialist party -- which in turn always had
some major contributing currents stemming from the Judeo-Christian
headwaters whose prime launcher, Jerusalem Slim [the friendly and fraternal
moniker given J.C. by Western cowpunchers and Wobblies, and carried by Woody Guthrie],   was certainly a great radical in His own right.

In the latter 1950s, the always courageous Norman Thomas joined several
also very courageous AFL-CIO presidents and others -- like the great
pacifist, Stewart Meacham -- in publicly and consistently supporting our
very brave and indigenously radical  and thoroughly democratic and
egalitarian International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers in a major

and prolonged period of crisis.

Mine-Mill was, of course, always under  heavy attack by the metal mining
bosses and their "goons and ginks and company finks" [had been since its
founding as WFM in North Idaho and Montana in 1892-93.]  But, from the late
1940s onward, those traditional enemies of the Union were openly and
consistently joined by the copper-collared Federal government and some
comparably captive state governments and by right-wing unions like the old
Steelworkers and its opportunistic president, "Wavy Davy McDonald" --  that
because of his coiffured hair style.  Mine-Mill fought very well and very
effectively: both on the collective bargaining fronts and in all of  the
mounting Federal legal cases maneuvered by its enemies and centered on
alleged charges of "Communism."  [Every one of those Federal witch-hunting
cases, I should add, was ultimately won by Mine-Mill -- but the costs were

very heavy over many years.]

In the Great Copper Strike of 1959 into the beginning of 1960 ["from Butte
to the Mexican border" and some other places as well], led by Mine-Mill, the
Federal government suddenly brought  out to trial old "Taft-Hartley
Communist conspiracy" indictments originally levied in November, 1956
against a number of top Mine-Mill leaders -- indictments which had slumbered
latently for three years. This union-busting maneuver, of course, created a
situation where much of the International leadership of the Union was tied
up in a Federal courtroom at Denver [with all sorts of attendant, daily "Red
Scare" stories for the hungry Western  news media] during the extremely
embittered strike itself.  A sociology grad student at Arizona State

University, Tempe, I was very active in Mine-Mill strike support and labor
defense efforts during that entire era.  The hard-fought copper strike was
won.  The Mine-Mill leaders were convicted in the hysterical Denver trial
but ultimately won on appeal years later.  In addition to the excellent
Union attorney, Nat Witt, Mine-Mill was defended over this long haul  by
General Telford Taylor -- who had prosecuted at Nuremberg.

A very key dimension in the Mine-Mill defense efforts in this phony
"Communist conspiracy case" were the public endorsements by Norman Thomas and Stewart Meacham and the several AFL-CIO international presidents [and some other great people.]  A major and heavily circulated  defense booklet was prepared in 1960 and issued en masse  by the Mine-Mill Defense Committee:  "The Mine-Mill Conspiracy Case."  Sid Lens, a top American labor and socialist writer, wrote this critically significant and detailed booklet -- and Norman Thomas wrote its excellent and forthright
introduction.  That took guts -- and Norman Thomas had those, and Vision,
and he did us and civil liberties and labor in general a tremendous service.

On that "conspiracy case" and the witch-hunting times, see this substantial
page on my website http://www.hunterbear.org/Mine-Millconspiracycase.htm


As I sit here, with another cup of very strong black coffee, I hold one of
my several copies of that old Mine-Mill defense booklet. I remember those
really tough times. I recall how I was called by Art Heenan, a super right
wing columnist for the major, Arizona Republic newspaper, "Young Mr. S., the
head of the Arizona state Communist Party."  [I was then John R Salter, Jr.,
ever and always the Native anarcho-syndicalist of course, and, also, too,
there was no Arizona state CP and hadn't been one for years in that
virulently repressive setting.]  Heenan and another right-winger, Ev Mecham,
both Birchers, later denounced Barry Goldwater as a "left-winger" and
founded a short-lived Birchy paper.  Heenan, a heavy drinker, died.  Mecham
went on to become Governor of Arizona and was then, as a result of an
extraordinarily wonderful bi-partisan and multi-ethnic campaign, quickly
impeached and removed in 1988.  The old editor of the Arizona Republic wound up in a Phoenix Episcopal-type retirement home, into which my mother had moved several years after my Dad's death -- and they lived precisely next
door to one another.  Despite political disagreements, the old editor and
mother got on personally very well  with each other -- too well, for my
liking  -- but my fears of a politically complicating marriage were
fortunately never realized.

In the mid-60s, as the Civil Rights Movement climaxed in the context of some
of the worst and bloodiest of the Deep South convulsions, Norman Thomas [no
stranger, ever, to the South and its myriad of thorny challenges]  came --
bringing with him some fine old freedom-fighting traditions.

And that took much courage.

Norman Thomas traveled the rough River of No Return  -- with its steep rock
walls and rushing waters --  which any of us radicals who want to be really
effective troopers in the Save the World Business must always take.  And,
like all of us, he hit a rock or two or three -- but, like most of us
fortunately, he kept right on traveling:  traveling those waters of the
Great Good Fight on which the Sun is always reflected -- the glittering,
golden waters which give us all courage and strength.

Norman Thomas helped us -- and helped us much.  We never forget our friends.

In Solidarity, and For Real Solidarity -

Hunter [Hunterbear]

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

 

MORE ON NORMAN THOMAS [HUNTER GRAY    MAY 6, 2002]

Posted on Socialists Unmoderated by me [Hunterbear]:

I strongly reiterate my position of a couple of weeks ago,  given just as
soon as the discussion of Norman Thomas arose -- and  in which I concluded
thusly:

"Norman Thomas traveled the rough River of No Return  -- with its steep rock
walls and rushing waters --  which any of us radicals who want to be really
effective troopers in the Save the World Business must always take.  And,
like all of us, he hit a rock or two or three -- but, like most of us
fortunately, he kept right on traveling:  traveling those waters of the
Great Good Fight on which the Sun is always reflected -- the glittering,
golden waters which give us all courage and strength.


Norman Thomas helped us -- and helped us much.  We never forget our
friends."

David McReynolds and I are both on a non-SPUSA socialist discussion list
where a couple of the  people consistently toss around the accusatory,
increasingly vague, falsely-grounded and defamatory charges of "Stalinism."
[In their case, they spend little or no time attacking capitalism,
government repression, or the war.]The effect is absolutely surreal --
giving the impression of timelocked museum mentalities.  In that situation,
whatever the specific motives involved, the effects have threatened to
become diversionary -- especially because many of the good people on that
particular list are reluctant to challenge this stuff.  At this horrific
point in Human History where it well behooves all of us to "Keep our eyes on
the Prize," this sort of nonsense vis-a-vis alleged "Stalinism" is much more
than simply regrettable.

I've been consistently on the Left for almost half a century.  My own
category-defying brand of radicalism -- a mix of Native tribalism with Rocky
Mountain anarcho-syndicalism and the homegrown democratic socialism that
characterized Debs and Haywood -- does put me Left of Norman Thomas [as Dave McReynold's uniquely American radicalism so places him.]  But, like Dave --
who was privileged to know and work with Norman Thomas -- none of this
diminishes Thomas who, in many more ways than even that of Family Icon, very much warrants the respect of all of us.

A major mentor of mine and fine friend always was Fred Thompson, the veteran Wobbly: one of the last of the old/old timers -- and a first rate organizer, writer, editor, socialist and counselor of hot-eyed youngsters.  Fred, who died in 1987, had been through a million crucibles -- including a
substantial prison stretch in California in the '20s on the phony "criminal
syndicalism" charges so widely used in the Western states especially to
attack the I.W.W.  Although he disagreed with Norman Thomas on a number of
strategic points -- e.g., heavy reliance on political action -- Fred's
respect for Norman Thomas, who he saw always as a Fellow Worker, remained
consistent.  He reiterated that to me in very early May, 1986, at Chicago to

which I had gone with a son of mine for a union conference and the Haymarket
Centennial.  We spent a full day with Fred, discussing many of the great
old-time warriors in the Save the World Business, and Norman Thomas was one of those much to the favorable fore.

Speaking as a self-unfrocked sociologist -- always an admirer, of course, of
Wright Mills and his courageous work on behalf of radically activist and
involved sociology -- I can certainly say that the only precise
categorizations that can be made regarding long suffering Humanity,
individually and collectively, are those made in ivory towers by, say,
"pristine" professors.

None of us here -- whatever our differences -- are that or those.  Younger
or older, I trust we've all been around enough to know you always look at

the deeper currents:  the basic drift.  The Norman Thomas who came into the
hideously sanguinary and tortured Deep South in the summer of 1964 looked,
to use the Southern expression, "like death."  Old, very pale, visibly ill,
he still came.

No surprise.  Norman Thomas always kept his face to the Sun -- and put his
body on the cutting-edge line.

And we all have some  very contemporary and compelling mountains to climb.
Some very hideous ones indeed.

And together we will all do just that.

Nialetch -

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]


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




VERY BRIEF COMMENT ON GET-RICH-QUICK FRAUD SCHEMES  [HUNTER GRAY  5/1/02]

Note by Hunterbear:

This is from the Marxist List but I'm also posting this on RedBadBear,
ASDnet, and SocUnity as an alert. Thanks, John (Lacny), to you and to your
always solidly based and flowing innate/intuitive wariness of any money
hustler of any kind -- and thanks to Macdonald [Stainsby] for his comparably
and consistently jaundiced view of Big Rock Candy Mountain schemes and his
solidly experiential contribution regarding these frequently cunning
fish-hooks.

Here's my input:

Scam Offers from Strange Lands and Not Necessarily  Friendly People:

I should add that, quickly pulling up all that I can dredge from my
reservoirs of fortitude, I periodically pass up the opportunity to become a
capitalist -- via a faction preparing to flee Nigeria with pockets lined
with the national treasury.  It's a tough exercise, turning down what could
transpose into the Mansion and Mint Juleps -- but, with the help of the
ghosts of Bill Haywood and others, I'm able somehow to pull back from the
Canyon of Decadence.

This beckoning offer comes about once every two or three months -- since
They obviously haven't been able to yet make their get-away.

Seriously, some of these  scams are very creatively set forth -- and with
just enough historical context and tastefully "broken" English -- to
alchemically pull off the superficial reality of yet another human global
flight from one tortured setting to another.

For my part, if I were to seek the literally Golden West [I am not], I'd
embark on a search for the Lost Adams Diggings -- the very real
Canyon-Full-Of-Gold somewhere in eastern Arizona or western New Mexico.
Gold Lost -- and Found -- and Lost Again.

And definitely still there.

Hunter [Hunterbear]

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






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