Sunday, May 31, 2009

The 1969 Weatherman Statement Revisited: Excerpts from Part 7

It’s not likely that the New York Times will mark the 40th anniversary of the June 1969 Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] National Convention in Chicago by reprinting excerpts from the position paper of the Weatherman faction of SDS. So following are some excerpts from Part 7 of this historic position paper (that originally appeared in the June 18, 1969 issue of New Left Notes) which might interest U.S. anti-war activists in 2009—during the current U.S. historical era of “endless permanent war abroad and economic depression at home”:

“…Why should young people be willing to fight on the side of Third World peoples? Before dealing with this question about youth, however, there follows a brief sketch of the main class categories in the white mother country which we think are important.

“Most of the population is of the working class, by which we mean not simply industrial or production workers, nor those who are actually working, but the whole section of the population which doesn’t own productive property and so lives off of the sale of its labor power…

“As a whole, the long-range interests of the non-colonial sections of the working class lie with overthrowing imperialism, with supporting self-determination for the oppressed nations (including the black colony), with supporting and fighting for international socialism. However, virtually all of the white working class also has short-range privileges from imperialism, which…tie them to a certain extent to the imperialists, especially when the latter are in a relatively prosperous phase. When the imperialists are losing their empire, on the other hand, these short-range privileged interests are seen to be temporary (even though the privileges may be relatively greater over the faster-increasing emiseration of the oppressed peoples). The long-range interests of workers in siding with the oppressed peoples are seen more clearly in the light of imperialism’s impending defeat. Within the whole working class, the balance of anti-imperialist class interests with white mother country short-term privilege varies greatly.

“First, the most oppressed sections of the mother country working class have interests most clearly and strongly anti-imperialist. Who are the most oppressed sections of the working class? Millions of whites who have as oppressive material conditions as the blacks, or almost so: especially poor southern white workers; the unemployed or semi-employed, or those employed at very low wages for long hours and bad conditions, who are non-unionized or have weak unions; and extending up to include much of unionized labor which has it a little better off but still is heavily oppressed and exploited. This category covers a wide range and includes the most oppressed sections not only of production and service workers but also some secretaries, clerks, etc. Much of this category gets some relative privileges (i.e. benefits) from imperialism, which constitute some material basis for being racist or pro-imperialist; but overall it is itself directly and heavily oppressed, so that in addition to its long-range class interest on the side of the people of the world, its immediate situation also constitutes a strong basis for...fighting through to revolution.

“Second, there is the upper strata of the working class. This is also an extremely broad category, including the upper strata of unionized skilled workers and also most of the `new working class’ of proletarianized or semi-proletarianized `intellect workers.’…The long-range class interests of this strata, like the previous section of more oppressed workers, are for the revolution and against imperialism. However, it is characterized by a higher level of privilege relative to the oppressed colonies, including the blacks, and relative to more oppressed workers in the mother country; so that there is a strong material basis for racism and loyalty to the system….Another consideration in understanding the interests of this segment is that, because of the way it developed and how its skills and its privileges were `earned over time,’ the differential between the position of youth and older workers is in many ways greater for this section than any other in the population. We should continue to see it as important to build the revolutionary youth movement among the youth of this strata.

“Thirdly, there are `middle strata’ who are not petit bourgeoisie, who may even technically be upper working class, but who are so privileged and tightly tied to imperialism through their job roles that they are agents of imperialism. This section includes management personnel, corporate lawyers, higher civil servants, and other government agents, army officers, etc…

“Fourthly, and last among the categories we’re going to deal with, is the petit bourgeoisie…The petit bourgeoisie consists of small capital—both business and farms—and self-employed tradesmen and professionals…The direction which this opposition takes can be reactionary or reformist…There are various issues, like withdrawing from a losing imperialist war, where we could get support from them…” (end of part 7 excerpts)

(New Left Notes 6/18/69)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The 1969 Weatherman Statement Revisited: Excerpts from Parts 5 & 6

It’s not likely that the New York Times will mark the 40th anniversary of the June 1969 Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] National Convention in Chicago by reprinting excerpts from the position paper of the Weatherman faction of SDS. So following are some excerpts from Parts 5 and 6 of this historic position paper (that originally appeared in the June 18, 1969 issue of New Left Notes) which might interest U.S. anti-war activists in 2009—during the current U.S. historical era of “endless permanent war abroad and economic depression at home”:

“. In reality, imperialism is a predatory international stage of capitalism…

“…When the petit bourgeoisie's interest is for fighting imperialism on a particular issue, but not for overthrowing it…, it is still contributing to revolution to that extent…Someone not for revolution is not for actually defeating imperialism either, but we still can and should unite with them on particular issues…

“What is the strategy of this international revolutionary movement? What are the strategic weaknesses of the imperialists which make it possible for us to win?...

“The strategy…is what Che’ called `creating two, three, many Vietnams’—to mobilize the struggle so sharply in so many places that the imperialists cannot possibly deal with it all. Since it is essential to their interests, they will try to deal with it all, and will be defeated and destroyed in the process.

“In defining and implementing this strategy, it is clear that the vanguard (that is, the section of the people who are in the forefront of the struggle and whose class interests and needs define the terms and tasks of the revolution) of the `American Revolution’ is the workers and oppressed peoples of the colonies of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Because of the level of special oppression of black people as a colony, they reflect the interests of the oppressed people of the world from within the borders of the United States; they are part of the Third World and part of the international revolutionary vanguard.

“The vanguard role of the Vietnamese and other Third World countries in defeating US imperialism has been clear to our movement for some time. What has not been so clear is the vanguard role black people have played, and continue to play, in the development of revolutionary consciousness and struggle within the United States…

“The black colony, due to its particular nature as a slave colony, never adopted a chauvinist identification with America as an imperialist power, either politically or culturally. Moreover, the history of black people in America has consistently been one of the greatest overall repudiations of and struggle against the state. From the slave ships from Africa to the slave revolts, the Civil War, etc., black people have been waging a struggle for survival and liberation. In the history of our own movement this has also been the case: the civil rights struggles, initiated and led by blacks in the South; the rebellions beginning with Harlem in 1964 and Watts in 1965 through Detroit and Newark in 1967; the campus struggles at all-black schools in the South and struggles led by blacks on campuses all across the country. As it is the blacks—along with the Vietnamese and other Third World people—who are most oppressed by US imperialism, their class interests are most solidly and resolutely committed to waging revolutionary struggle through to its completion. Therefore it is no surprise that time and again, in both political content and level of consciousness and militancy, it has been the black liberation movement which has...defined the terms of the struggle…

“…Within this country increased oppression falls heavier on the most oppressed sections of the population, so that the condition of all workers is worsened through rising taxes, inflation and the fall of real wages, and speedup. But this increased oppression falls heaviest on the most oppressed, such as poor white workers and, especially, the blacks, for example through the collapse of state services like schools, hospitals and welfare, which naturally hits the hardest at those most dependent on them.

“This deterioration pushes people to fight harder to even try to maintain their present level…

“…Can the black liberation struggle—the struggle of all blacks in the country—gain…liberation by concentrating on building base areas in the South in territory with a concentration of black population?

“…If the best potential for struggle in the South were realized, it is fully conceivable and legitimate that the struggle there could take on the character of a fight for separation; and any victories won in that direction would be important gains for the national liberation of the colony as a whole. However, because the colony is dispersed over the whole country, and not just located in the black belt, winning still means the power and liberation of blacks in the whole country.

“Thus, even the winning of separate independence in the South would still be one step toward self-determination, and not equivalent to winning it; which, because of the economic position of the colony as a whole, would still require overthrowing the state power of the imperialists, taking over production and the whole economy and power, etc.” (end of parts 5 and 6 excerpts)

(New Left Notes 6/18/69)

Friday, May 29, 2009

The 1969 Weatherman Statement Revisited: Excerpts from Part 4

It’s not likely that the New York Times will mark the 40th anniversary of the June 1969 Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] National Convention in Chicago by reprinting excerpts from the position paper of the Weatherman faction of SDS. So following are some excerpts from Part 4 of this historic position paper (that originally appeared in the June 18, 1969 issue of New Left Notes) which might interest U.S. anti-war activists in 2009—during the current U.S. historical era of “endless permanent war abroad and economic depression at home”:

“What is the relationship of the struggle for black self-determination to the whole worldwide revolution to defeat US imperialism and internationalize its resources toward the goal of creating a classless world?

“No black self-determination could be won which would not result in a victory for the international revolution as a whole. The black proletarian colony, being dispersed as such a large and exploited section of the work force, is essential to the survival of imperialism. Thus, even if the black liberation movement chose to try to attain self-determination in the form of a separate country (a legitimate part of the right to self-determination), existing side by side with the US, imperialism could not survive if they won it—and so would never give up without being defeated. Thus, a revolutionary nationalist movement could not win without destroying the state power of the imperialists; and it is for this reason that the black liberation movement, as a revolutionary nationalist movement for self-determination, is automatically in and of itself an inseparable part of the whole revolutionary struggle against US imperialism…

“…If necessary, black people could win self-determination, abolishing the whole imperialist system and seizing state power…

“Blacks could do it alone if necessary because of their centralness to the system, economically and geo-militarily, and because of the level of unity, commitment and initiative which will be developed in waging a people’s war for survival and national liberation. However, we do not expect that they will have to do it alone, not only because of the international situation, but also because the real interests of masses of oppressed whites in this country lie with the Black Liberation struggle, and the conditions for understanding and fighting for these interests grow with the deepening of the crises. Already, the black liberation movement has carried with it an upsurge of revolutionary consciousness among white youth; and while there are no guarantees, we can expect that this will extend and deepen among all oppressed whites.

“…The possibility of blacks winning alone cannot in the least be a justification for whites failing to shoulder the burden of developing a revolutionary movement among whites…

“…The only…path is to build a white movement which will support the blacks in moving as fast as they have to and are able to, and still itself keep up with that black movement enough so that white revolutionaries share the cost and the blacks don’t have to do the whole thing alone…” (end of part 4 excerpts)

(New Left Notes 6/18/69)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The 1969 Weatherman Statement Revisited: Excerpts from Part 3

It’s not likely that the New York Times will mark the 40th anniversary of the June 1969 Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] National Convention in Chicago by reprinting excerpts from the position paper of the Weatherman faction of SDS. So following are some excerpts from Part 3 of this historic position paper (that originally appeared in the June 18, 1969 issue of New Left Notes) which might interest U.S. anti-war activists in 2009—during the current U.S. historical era of “endless permanent war abroad and economic depression at home”:

“The struggle of black people—as a colony—is for self-determination, freedom, and liberation from US imperialism. Because blacks have been oppressed and held in an inferior social position as a people, they have a right to decide, organize and act on their common destiny as a people apart from white interference. Black self-determination does not simply apply to determination of their collective political destiny at some future time. It is directly tied to the fact that because all blacks experience oppression in a form that no whites do, no whites are in a position to fully understand and test from their own practice the real situation black people face and the necessary response to it. This is why it is necessary for black people to organize separately and determine their actions separately at each stage of the struggle.

“It is important to understand the implications of this. It is not legitimate for whites to organizationally intervene in differences among revolutionary black nationalists. It would be arrogant for us to attack any black organization that defends black people and opposes imperialism in practice. But it is necessary to develop a correct understanding of the Black Liberation struggle within our own organization, where an incorrect one will further racist practice in our relations with the black movement…

“…Huey P. Newton has said, `In order to be a revolutionary nationalist, you would of necessity have to be a socialist.’ This is because—given the caste quality of oppression-as-a-people-through-a-common-degree-of-exploitation—-self-determination requires being free from white capitalist exploitation in the form of inferior (lower caste) jobs, housing, schools, hospitals, prices…

“…Much of the black petit bourgeoisie is actually a `comprador’ petit bourgeoisie (like so-called black capitalists who are promoted by the power structure to seem independent but are really agents of white monopoly capital), who would never fight as a class for any real self-determination…Many black petit bourgeoisie, perhaps most, while not having a class interest in socialist self-determination, are close enough to the black masses in the oppression and limitations on their conditions that they will support many kinds of self-determination issues, and, especially when the movement is winning, can be won to support full (socialist) self-determination…” (end of part 3 excerpts)

(New Left Notes 6/18/69)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Did Supreme Court Justice-Designate Sotomayor's Law Firm Partner Violate NYC Rent Stabilization Law?

After working 5 years as an Assistant D.A. in Manhattan, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Designate Sonia Sotomayor worked at the Pavia & Harcourt corporate law firm between 1984 and 1991, eventually becoming a law firm partner of a Manhattan landlord named George Pavia--who owned an apartment building at 18 East 73rd Street.

Ironically, during the period when former New York City criminal prosecutor Sotomayor worked at Pavia & Harcourt (and sat on the State of New York Mortgage Agency's board of directors) her law firm partner apparently was violating New York City's Rent Stabilization Law. As a December 10, 2006 article in the New York Times noted:

"Mr. Pavia bought his building in 1977 for $365,000, renovating its first three floors as his family’s residence and allotting the four apartments above as rental units….

"In the fall of 1996, Mr. Couri [Pavia’s Tenant] signed a standard two-year lease with a monthly rent of $1,780….

"…Mr. Couri once retained, Ronald L. Kuby… Mr. Kuby said he considered Mr. Pavia a bad landlord who bullied his tenants. ..

“Mr. Couri did some digging of his own in 1999 and, after inquiring with neighbors, discovered that 18 East 73rd Street was subject to rent-stabilization laws; he says he was incensed that Mr. Pavia had not notified his tenants of this fact.

"New York City established rent control in 1943 to help curb rapidly inflating rents during World War II. Today, some one million New York apartments are subject to rent-control or rent-stabilization laws...Supporters argue that the practice keeps centrally located housing available and affordable for those with lower incomes.

"After New York state housing authorities notified Mr. Pavia in 2002 that his building was subject to rent stabilization, he spent several months disputing the judgment…

“Meanwhile, Mr. Pavia began eviction proceedings against Mr. Couri in 2002, heightening a series of legal battles.

"As tensions between Mr. Pavia and Mr. Couri reached a boiling point, Apartment 3B endured its own stresses. Mrs. Couri says she was painting on her terrace in 2004 when heavy chunks of ice that had settled on its transparent rooftop caused the structure to collapse in an avalanche of glass. ..

"Mr. Couri filed a complaint with New York City officials, who fined Mr. Pavia $2,500 for construction violations and filing false permits and ordered him to rebuild a section of his brownstone according to code. And as the terrace was no longer deemed to be `living space, Mr. Pavia was forced to lower Mr. Couri’s rent to $1,490 a month and pay him a refund of $4,000…

"So far the law has not been on Mr. Pavia’s side. In nearly three years of eviction attempts, the court has repeatedly said that Mr. Pavia has been unable to prove that Mr. Couri is a `nuisance' or has engaged in `criminal harassment.’”

But maybe Manhattan Landlord-Lawyer Pavia’s luck in court will begin to change if a former partner in his corporate law firm is now allowed to take a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court bench?

For more info about U.S. Supreme Court Justice-Designate Sotomayor's former law firm partner at Pavia & Harcourt, you can check out the following link:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The 1969 Weatherman Statement Revisited: Excerpts from Part 2

It’s not likely that the New York Times will mark the 40th anniversary of the June 1969 Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] National Convention in Chicago by reprinting excerpts from the position paper of the Weatherman faction of SDS. So following are some excerpts from Part 2 of this historic position paper (that originally appeared in the June 18, 1969 issue of New Left Notes) which might interest U.S. anti-war activists in 2009—during the current U.S. historical era of “endless permanent war abroad and economic depression at home”:

Not every colony of people oppressed by imperialism lies outside the boundaries of the U.S.. Black people within North America, brought here 400 years ago as slaves and whose labor, as slaves built this country, are an internal colony within the confines of the oppressor nation. What this means is that black people are oppressed as a whole people, in the institutions and social relations of the country, apart from simply the consideration of their class position, income, skill, etc., as individuals. What does this colony look like? What is the basis for its common oppression and why is it important?

“One historically important position has been that the black colony only consists of the black belt nation in the South, whose fight for national liberation is based on a common land, culture, history and economic life…

“This position is wrong; in reality, the black colony does not exist simply as the `black belt nation,’ but exists in the country as a whole. The common oppression of black people and the common culture growing out of that history are not based historically or currently on their relation to the territory of the black belt, even though that has been a place of population concentration and has some very different characteristics than the north, particularly around the land question.

“Rather, the common features of oppression, history and culture which unify black people as a colony (although originating historically in a common territory apart from the colonizers, i.e., Africa, not the South) have been based historically on their common position as slaves, which since the nominal abolition of slavery has taken the form of caste oppression, and oppression of black people as a people everywhere that they exist. A new black nation, different from the nations of Africa from which it came, has been forged by the common historical experience of importation and slavery and caste oppression…

“What is specifically meant by the term caste is that all black people, on the basis of their common slave history, common culture and skin color are systematically denied access to particular job categories (or positions within job categories), social position, etc., regardless of individual skills, talents, money or education. Within the working class, they are the most oppressed section…Token exceptions aside, the specific content of this caste oppression is to maintain black people in the most exploitative and oppressive jobs and conditions…

“Thus, northern blacks…have a single class interest, along with all other black people in the US, as members of the Black Proletarian Colony.” (end of part 2 excerpts)

(New Left Notes 6/18/69)

Supreme Court Justice-Designate Sotomayor's Pavia & Harcourt Connection

Neither the special interests of French and Italian government agencies and Italian, German, Spanish and other European clients nor the special interests of Israeli government agencies and Israeli clients are supposed to be represented on the U.S. Supreme Court Bench.

Yet, ironically, the former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney that Democratic President Obama recently appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, worked between 1984 and 1991 as an associate and partner in the corporate law firm of Pavia & Harcourt—which apparently represented the special interests of French and Italian government agencies and Italian, German, Spanish and other European clients.

As the Business Wire news service revealed in a May 12, 2000 article:

“Pavia & Harcourt, a 52-year old firm founded by international lawyer Enrico Pavia, has entered into an affiliation with Studio Legale Tonucci, one of the largest and fastest growing law firms in Italy …

“Pavia & Harcourt and Studio Legale Tonucci represent American, Italian, French, German, Spanish and other European clients primarily in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, banking, finance, real estate, litigation, arbitration, licensing, franchising, media and intellectual property….Pavia & Harcourt's clients include Unicredito Italiano, Banco di Sicilia, INVESCO Private Capital, Edelson Technology Partners, Olivetti, Fendi, Villeroy & Boch, Lavazza, Media Planning, S.A., Screenvision Cinema Network, Stagebill, Sommer Allibert, Laboratoires Arkopharma, SNPE Group, and various governmental entities of the Republics of France and Italy.

"`The alliance is a direct response to the expanding needs of our clients in the U.S. and Italy ,’ said George Pavia, managing partner of 34-lawyer Pavia & Harcourt. `We are pleased to be associated with a firm of Studio Tonucci's caliber.’…

“Pavia & Harcourt has terminated its 40-year relationship with Pavia e Ansaldo, the Italian firm that it founded in 1960. Pavia & Harcourt is located at 600 Madison Avenue .”

Besides apparently working as a prosecutor of African-American defendants when she was an Assistant D.A. in the early 1980s, former Pavia & Harcourt law firm partner Sotomayor also, coincidentally, was a member of the State of New York Mortgage Agency [Sonny Mae] board of directors--which apparently encouraged low-income tenants in New York City to saddle themselves with "low-interest" mortgages and become "first-time homebuyers" instead of just fighting for stronger federal rent control laws.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The 1969 Weatherman Statement Revisited: Excerpts from Part 1

It’s not likely that the New York Times will mark the 40th anniversary of the June 1969 Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] National Convention in Chicago by reprinting excerpts from the position paper of the Weatherman faction of SDS. So following are some excerpts from Part 1 of this historic position paper (that originally appeared in the June 18, 1969 issue of New Left Notes) which might interest U.S. anti-war activists in 2009—during the current U.S. historical era of “endless permanent war abroad and economic depression at home”:

“The contradiction between the revolutionary peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the imperialists headed by the United States is the principal contradiction in the contemporary world…

“So the very first question people in this country must ask in considering the question of revolution is where they stand in relation to the United States as an oppressor nation, and where they stand in relation to the masses of people throughout the world whom US imperialism is oppressing.

“…It is the oppressed peoples of the world who have created the wealth of this empire and it is to them that it belongs; the goal of the revolutionary struggle must be the control and use of this wealth in the interests of the oppressed peoples of the world.

“…We are within the heartland of a worldwide monster, a country so rich from its worldwide plunder that even the crumbs doled out to the enslaved masses within its borders provide for material existence very much above the conditions of the masses of people of the world. The US empire, as a worldwide system, channels wealth, based upon the labor and resources of the rest of the world, into the United States. The relative affluence existing in the United States is directly dependent upon the labor and natural resources of the Vietnamese, the Angolans, the Bolivians and the rest of the peoples of the Third World. All of the United Airlines Astrojets, all of the Holiday Inns, all of Hertz’s automobiles, your television set, car and wardrobe already belong, to a large degree, to the people of the rest of the world.

“Therefore, any conception of `socialist revolution’ simply in terms of the working people in the United States, failing to recognize the full scope of interests of the most oppressed people of the world, is a conception of a fight for a particular privileged interest…While the control and use of the wealth of the Empire for the people of the whole world is also in the interests of the vast majority of the people in this country, if the goal is not clear from the start we will further the preservation of class society, oppression, war, genocide, and the complete emiseration of everyone, including the people of the US.

“The goal is the destruction of US imperialism and the achievement of a classless world…Winning state power in the US will occur as a result of the military forces of the US overextending themselves around the world…" (end of part 1 excerpts).

(New Left Notes 6/18/69)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Why Weatherman Faction Excluded Big Media Reporters From 1969 SDS National Convention

As we approach the 40th anniversary of the June 1969 Students for a Democratic Society [SDS] National Convention in Chicago, the newspapers of the Big Media Monopoly conglomerates seem to be characterizing some of the anti-war/anti-imperialist activists who were members of the Weather Underground during the 1970s in a morally unflattering way. One reason might be that New Left members of the Weatherman faction of SDS apparently excluded Big Media reporters from the June 1969 SDS National Convention and issued the following June 1969 press release to explain why:

“Representatives of the capitalistic media have been excluded from the 1969 SDS National Convention for the following reasons:

“1. Mass media in the U.S. serve the interests of those who own it and their allies—SDS’s goal is to build a society with no ruling class in which the interests of the people are served. Those who work for the mass media ultimately serve the interests of their bosses despite their best intentions.

“2. The mass media fool the people—create false consciousness—in many ways: distortions, half-truths, commercialization, sensationalism and the placing of ideas, words, and events out of context. As long as people have a false sense of reality, they will not move in a revolutionary way.

“3. Repressive governmental agencies use journalists in their attempt to destroy our movement. Police photographers and investigators pose as professional newsmen, and FBI agents pressure journalists to give them information. Recently a New York Times reporter, authorized by his paper, gave testimony to the House Internal Security Committee—successor to HUAC. As long as the media continues to serve the ruling class and not the people—those who work for that media will be forced to act against the people’s movement.

“4. Our revolutionary movement has developed its own media. Unlike the capitalist media—where those who own it make their money from the labor of the working press—the movement media operate in the interest of the people and serve to fill the need to analyze the true nature of the capitalist society. The workers of the movement media are active participants in the revolutionary movement, not observers. Only active participants in struggle can portray that struggle with the necessary clarity, honesty, and creativity.”

Saturday, May 23, 2009

1998 Interview About 1968 Columbia Student Revolt With Ex-Weatherman Leader Bernardine Dohrn--Conclusion

(The following 1998 interview first appeared in the May 1998 issue of Z magazine. See parts 1-6 below. To see the current issue of Z magazine, you can check out its web site at ).

We’ve seen a revival of the anti-war movement on campuses like Ohio State [in 1998]. What’s behind this?

Bernardine Dohrn [BD]: The protest at Ohio State [in 1998] was startling, because the campuses were again denied to the warmakers. It’s extraordinary that the [Democratic Clinton] Administration thought that they could go to the campus to make war. I think they were lulled into it because they somehow thought that the Gulf War put Vietnam finally behind them.

Vietnam will never be behind the U.S. So the fact that students spoke out, disrupted, and asked demanding, probing questions: “Why? Why does it make sense? How can you bomb somebody into agreement with you? Why should a civilian population pay the price for its despicable leaders? How can the United States act alone against the rest of the world? Shouldn’t the United Nations and international law bodies be in play here?”

Those questions about American policy toward Iraq were not fully shaped into a whole analysis. But they were the right questions, the moral questions, the ethical questions. We will not allow immoral, unjust and illegal policy to be conducted in our name. That’s the heart of democracy. And the everlasting legacy of Columbia.

If the immorality of U.S. foreign policy is not altered, could the Columbia Student Revolt happen again?

BD: You know the plight that we have today [in 1998] is the plight that we started with in 1968, too. The notion that “people can’t make a difference.” The students who occupied the buildings at Columbia began as a small minority. It was not a majority. Remember that people who occupied the buildings were immediately surrounded by thousands of opposing “jocks” and right-wing students jeering at them. But the forces they unleashed there by being on the right track—not right about everything, but mainly on the right track about the oppressive U.S. role in the world, and in the Black community nearby, meant that the Cox Commission Report on Columbia University—by the final days of the Columbia Revolt—found that: “the revolt enjoyed wide and deep support among the students and junior faculty; and, in lesser degree, among the senior professors. The grievances the rebels felt were felt equally by a still larger number, probably a majority of the students.”

That’s what happens. A small group of people acting in concert for justice and peace throw into motion invisible questions held by a lot of people. They challenge that notion that “we can’t make a difference.”

We all have a drive to be free, to be connected to others, to recognize and reject the fact that many of us are non-poor because someone else is poor. Today [in 1998] enormous effort goes into convincing the American public that we’re just consumers of media manipulation and sound-bites and spin doctors. That we care only about ourselves, money, and “stuff.” That acting out of passion and conviction “doesn’t make a difference.” But all of history shows that it does. (end of article)

Friday, May 22, 2009

1998 Interview About 1968 Columbia Student Revolt With Ex-Weatherman Leader Bernardine Dohrn--Part 6

(The following 1998 interview first appeared in the May 1998 issue of Z magazine. See parts 1-5 below. To see the current issue of Z magazine, you can check out its web site at ).

In the 1970s, the women’s liberation movement developed and grew. Were you involved in any feminist groups when the new wave was originating?

Bernardine Dohrn [BD]: When I came to New York in 1967, I became part of a group of women. Suddenly we were meeting once a week, talking with other women. It seemed to be happening spontaneously everywhere. This small women’s group met through 1967-1968, just discussing our lives, really. How our personal concerns tied to bigger issues. We worked our way toward our understanding of how much gender influenced how we thought about ourselves and ways in which being a woman at that moment in time created barriers to full humanness. We “discovered” together the ways in which male supremacy influenced every aspect of our lives.

The women students who took part in the Columbia rebellion, of course, on the one hand had a secondary role and were relegated to the service of the great men speakers. On the other hand, Columbia and Barnard women were, themselves, critical organizers, analysts, thinkers, and speakers.

So women were coming to radical consciousness at that period of time. Part of what we were doing was, I think, not surprisingly, coming back to ourselves through the process of having been involved in struggling for equality and freedom and justice on behalf of others.

One of the most interesting things about Revolution and social change struggle is the relationship between external and internal change. It’s not an either/or process. You are transformed and opened to the possibility of who you can become, in the process of getting involved in justice and fairness for other people.

The real heart of the 1960s movements to me was that rejection on the part of millions of young people in the United States that “other people are not like us,” that there’s a “them” and an “us”, that the enemy is not human. The solidarity of humanity can be forged across different lines.

Today [in 1998] we’re told that people act only in their immediate self-interest. History is replete with examples which belie this reductionist, reactionary notion. Columbia exemplifies the capacity of people to choose to engage with a resistant world, to act as if people can be better, to challenge racism and national chauvinism.

Do you think the gains the women’s liberation movement made can ever be rolled back or reversed?

BD: Gains can always be unraveled. And frequently are. Unintended consequences happen all along the way of social change. Some things were changed forever, obviously. The role of women in the United States and in the world is not going to go back to what it was. There are powerful forces at work trying to control women’s bodies, to put women back in “their place”, to lock us exclusively back in the home, to divide more privileged women from women who suffer the most, as in welfare reform. All of these forces are constantly at work. Not just in the women’s movement, but in all social change movements. (end of part 6)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

1998 Interview About 1968 Columbia Student Revolt With Ex-Weatherman Leader Bernardine Dohrn--Part 5

(The following 1998 interview first appeared in the May 1998 issue of Z magazine. See parts 1-4 below. To see the current issue of Z magazine, you can check out its web site at ).

Where were you and what were your first thoughts when you heard that Martin Luther King had been assassinated? You had some personal contact with Martin Luther King, hadn’t you?

Bernardine Dohrn [BD]: When Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC] came to Chicago in 1965, I was a law student. I went to work for them on the West Side of Chicago, helping to organize a city-wide rent strike against slumlords. People put their rent into escrow accounts and fixed up their own buildings. SCLC organized marches for open housing into exclusively white neighborhoods every weekend.

So my life was transformed. My understanding of society was deepened through practical legal work with King and his civil rights organizers in Chicago that Winter and Spring of 1965-1966.

I was attending a meeting at the Guild offices to plan the Democratic National Convention protest legal support when somebody ran in saying that King had been assassinated in Memphis. We didn’t know what to do, but we all went downstairs—this was on Beekman Street—and got on the subway and went to Times Square. Which apparently tens of thousands of other people were doing. I don’t even know why we went there.

King’s open opposition to the War in Vietnam and his determination to move toward the labor movement, toward support of Black labor, those two forces were pushing him to connect issues. And that connection of issues, I think, is what pushed students, pushed me, pushed the Black movement into revolutionary consciousness. In a way, part of what was going on that Spring of 1968 was the recognition that the issues we cared about were not separate. That it was part of one system. And it was that understanding which became explosive.

Martin Luther King was a victim of COINTELPRO. Other people who have been victims of COINTELPRO are still locked up in the 1990s [and currently]. In terms of Columbia SDS, you have Dave Gilbert still locked up. In other countries they give amnesty to political prisoners. In the U.S. that doesn’t happen. Why do you think the establishment’s so reluctant to release some of the activists from the 1960s? And, in terms of the Columbia Revolt and student activism, what was Dave Gilbert’s role?

BD: I met David in 1967 when I spoke at Columbia Law School to organize a Guild chapter there. Then saw him during the November 1967 anti-war Rusk demonstration. I met Teddy Gold both of those times, too. Teddy, who died in March 1970 in an explosion at a New York townhouse, was an activist and a leader of the SDS chapter at Columbia.

David, you know, is one of those brilliant figures who was a real intellectual. A classic Columbia student. A political economist, who loved to talk theory. Who, if it hadn’t been 1968, would surely have become a professor and an academic and written books. Who was and is a gentle person.

But David and Teddy, like all of us, were thrown into this, were lucky enough, really, to be offered the opportunity to step into this cauldron. We felt the world didn’t have to be like this.

David remains both an intellectual and a determined freedom fighter in prison. I think the other Columbia alums think about him and acknowledge his determination and his clarity of vision in a very special way.

There’s no question that it’s important to the government to pretend that the political activists of that period were “violent”, “criminal” and “crazy”. I think the authorities remain reluctant to put that period behind us with justice, rather than propaganda wars. Amnesty should be granted not just to draft resisters, which was done in the late 1970s, but to all prisoners of conscience from that period. We criminalize so much behavior in this society, it is essential for the government to pretend that these were not acts of social commitment, but “crimes”. (end of part 5)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

1998 Interview About 1968 Columbia Student Revolt With Ex-Weatherman Leader Bernardine Dohrn--Part 4

(The following 1998 interview first appeared in the May 1998 issue of Z magazine. See parts 1-3 below. To see the current issue of Z magazine, you can check out its web site at )

The National Lawyers Guild is still around in 1998 [and currently], right?

Bernardine Dohrn [BD]: The Guild managed to survive the 1980s and continues to thrive by embracing a huge array of social issues. From immigration and labor, ecology, international law, women’s rights, children’s rights and so on. It is very much in the tradition of the 1960’s grassroots organization, where local chapters work away on their own priorities, but are a part of a broader network and coalition.

When you worked for the Guild, did you meet William Kunstler?

BD: I met Bill Kunstler, Leonard Boudin, Victor Rabinowitz, Howard Moore, Conrad Lynn, Ann Ginger, Haywood Burns, Ralph Shapiro. A whole generation of people who inspired me.

How were they different from other lawyers? Did they have anything in common, in terms of the quality that they had, that would distinguish them from the lawyers we see when we go to the corporate offices?

BD: Well, what’s distinguishing is that they committed themselves—each and every one of them, really—to being on the side of progressive social change. They were intellectually honest and rigorous, but they did not pretend to be neutral. They were clearly partisan. They were dedicated to their clients. They were people who stayed in touch with their clients for a lifetime. They added to our “new left” analysis a framework, a history of the uses and abuses of law. They identified the incredible strengths embedded in our constitutional and civil liberties, and civil rights traditions, as well as the social control and constraints and pull towards the status quo, which is fundamental to the law.

And the movement also changed them. It was a mutual relationship. Guild lawyers included people who practiced traditional corporate law, and they were influenced by the 1960s élan, the spirit, the notion that politics are not just your ideas, but your whole life and who you are.

Do you have any special memories related to William Kunstler?

BD: My most vivid memory of Bill will always be the Rap Brown conspiracy trial in New Orleans. I happened to be there during the trial. H. Rap Brown [n/k/a Jamil Al-Amin] became the chair of SNCC—Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee—after Stokely Carmichael [a/k/a/ Kwame Ture]. In the Spring of 1968—six days after the King assassination—Congress passed the Rap Brown Amendment, attached to some pending civil rights legislation. Rap Brown was so feared as a speaker on college campuses and within the Black community that Congress passed a piece of legislation to muzzle him. He was indicted for “conspiracy’ and tried in New Orleans.

The courtroom was ringed with armed National Guards. Every day you had to go through the military to get into the courtroom. Every night Rap Brown would speak to crowds of 10,000 people in the Black community. It was a city under a state of siege, practically.

Bill Kunstler and Howard Moore were his lawyers. I remember Kunstler at one point questioning an FBI agent who had followed Rap day and night, as one of the most brilliant pieces of cross-examination I’ve ever seen.

And the thing that was always so striking about Bill is that he played by the rules and he rejected the rules, simultaneously. He rejected the framework in which the legal violation was being discussed, even as he repudiated the allegations, point-by-point. (end of part 4)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1998 Interview About 1968 Columbia Student Revolt With Ex-Weatherman Leader Bernardine Dohrn--Part 3

(The following 1998 interview first appeared in the May 1998 issue of Z magazine. See parts 1-2 below. To see the current issue of Z magazine, you can check out its web site at ).

Why would the National Lawyers Guild agree to defend the Columbia and Barnard students? You mentioned that people went through files. The occupation of buildings. And the media, when they covered it, stress: “Students used violence to shut down and deny the academic freedom rights of an academic institution.”

Bernardine Dohrn [BD]: When I look back at the 1960s, including what was to come—which was certainly more militant than Columbia—I’m astonished at how restrained the movement was. The notion that people could be worrying now about the small amounts of violence committed by the anti-war movement, compared to the massive U.S. extermination of populations at home and abroad that was going on in our name. To me, the movement had an incredible record of restraint and appropriateness of response.

There was the nightly “body count” from Vietnam. The class and racial inequality of the draft and who was dying. The massive assault and occupations of urban Black communities by National Guard and police. Then you have students breaking a lock on a door? Going into files?

The response to me was highly contained and appropriate. Yes, it was breaking the law. Yes, it was taking risks. But people were acting in a larger framework, an illegal and immoral war abroad and cruel inequality at home. They were engaging in activist civil disobedience, willing to sign up for the consequences. People were actually getting off their career paths. The notion that “I have to be good and obedient all my life” is not what democracy is really about.

One of my favorite critiques of the 1960s comes from Samuel Huntington, a Harvard history professor who was advising the government.

He’s also an IDA trustee now in 1998.

BD: Is that right? At the time, he called the youth anti-war movement “an excess of democracy.” That is one of my favorite negative critiques of the 1960’s movements. We believed in John Dewey. We believed in the notion that democracy was the active participation of citizens, not just the pulling of a lever every four years.

Student activism revealed that the war was not what the authorities said it was, that the university was a citadel of learning and also a private landowner. And a racist landowner at that. And a profit machine. These were shocking revelations. And when a large number of students said: “We’re not buying it. We will not be complicit. And if it means it’s going to affect the rest of my life and my career and what you’re molding me into—so be it.”

The Columbia rebellion was in the finest tradition of American social activism and real democracy. We thought that we were part of a global movement for liberation and real democracy.

Let me tell you about the role of the National Lawyers Guild, because you asked me about that. The Guild challenged the legality of the Vietnam War. As you know, it was the longest undeclared war in American history and had no legal basis, ever. It was in violation of international law.

Secondly, we were committed to supporting people who were arrested in mass demonstrations against the war and the draft, including military resistance. We organized law students and lawyers at the Pentagon protest, at the Foreign Policy Association [Hilton Hotel demo]—which involved a lot of the Columbia students protesting the relationship of this elite group of policymakers to the war in Vietnam. The Guild took responsibility for organizing legal defense.

The Guild had a noble history of being involved in the Southern Civil Rights movement. Our notion was that lawyers should make themselves accountable to the movement, and that law students needed to be participants in social movements, as well as being trained to be legal experts. (end of part 3)

Monday, May 18, 2009

1998 Interview About 1968 Columbia Student Revolt With Ex-Weatherman Leader Bernardine Dohrn--Part 2

(The following 1998 interview first appeared in the May 1998 issue of Z magazine. See part 1 below. To see the current issue of Z magazine, you can check out its web site at ).

But why Columbia? Why would a major Ivy League university be affected by that [the world historical situation in 1968]?

Bernardine Dohrn [BD]: Columbia students, SDS, and the African-American students—Student Afro-American Society (SAS)--had been organizing—only small numbers—around two big issues at Columbia. One was the presence of secret war research. The university denied that it participated in this consortium, called the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA—a Pentagon-sponsored group of universities that were advising the government on defense strategy in return for lots of funding). Second was the construction of a gym for Columbia students in Morningside Park, which is part of the Harlem community, to which Harlem residents would be denied access.

SDS, three weeks before, had taken a petition with 1,800 signatures to the office of Columbia’s president, Grayson Kirk, demanding that Columbia stop its participation in war research.

IDA still exists, by the way, in 1998 [and in 2009].

BD: They were doing research, for example, on the “chemical control of vegetation,” the creation and use of Agent Orange or napalm, which ends up poisoning not only the countryside of Vietnam, but American troops as well.

IDA has a web site in which they brag about their current research in “deep attack analysis.”

BD: Right. And one of the other things that was also a major research project was “exo-atmosphere nuclear detonations.” So the students presented this petition and the president said it was a violation on a ban on indoor demonstrations. Columbia put some of the leadership on probation.

On April 23, a group of some 500 students met to protest putting students on probation. They marched to the gym site. There was a scuffle with police there. The fence got torn down. The SAS students and SDS marched over and occupied Hamilton Hall, taking an acting dean “hostage” in the process. Within a day and a-half, four other buildings were occupied by students.

My view is that a couple of things were going on here. One was that students at one of the most privileged places in the country were turning away from what universities were shaping them into: the technological products who benefit from inequality and world conquest. What they were doing is making a highly moral statement: “We won’t be molded into the future leaders of the society that you have in mind, if this is the society that you have in mind. And we can do something better.”

And with that action was released a spirit and an outpouring of creativity that attracted more people.

Once the students were occupying Low Library—which is where Grayson Kirk’s offices were—and went through the files, there was proof of everything that the university had been denying. In fact, Columbia and the other major universities were not only participants in IDA, they were discussing with the government and each other how to lie about it to the students.

So you have the kind of smoking-gun evidence of their manipulation of public relations. You have the wonderful research that had been done about Who Rules Columbia? And its interlocking corporate directorships. So everyone could see that universities really are part of the whole business of military, corporate and real estate power.

Then the Harlem community marched through the campus while the buildings were occupied by students. Obviously, Columbia was hesitant about what to do about getting the students out because of the presence of the Harlem community. Finally, Columbia decided to unleash a police riot against the students. A thousand police took part in what was really the largest police action at a college.

Did you see any of that?

BD: I didn’t see it. I was traveling for the National Lawyers Guild and was speaking at Morgan State, a traditional all-Black college, when I heard the news that the students had occupied the buildings. When I returned 700 students had been arrested. (end of part 2)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

1998 Interview About 1968 Columbia Student Revolt With Ex-Weatherman Leader Bernardine Dohrn--Part 1

(The following 1998 interview first appeared in the May 1998 issue of Z magazine. To see the current issue of Z magazine, you can check out its web site at ).

Thirty years ago [now 41 years ago] Columbia University was the scene of “The Battle Of Morningside Heights”—when [then-] Columbia President (and Institute for Defense Analyses Director) Grayson Kirk called in 1,000 NYC police to clear the campus of protesting students on two occasions—711 students were arrested, 148 injured, and 120 charges of police brutality were filed.

In July 1968, following the revolt, a National Lawyers Guild activist who coordinated some of the legal defense work on behalf of the arrested Barnard and Columbia students, Bernardine Dohrn, became a national officer of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). [And during the 1970s Dohrn was a leader of the Weather Underground.]

It’s now 30 years [currently 41 years] since New York City police were used to suppress the 1968 Columbia student revolt. Thinking back, what are your most vivid memories of that time?

Bernardine Dohrn [BD]: I remember the creative spirit of liberation and the moral force generated by Columbia students. Black and white students took action in solidarity with justice and freedom for others (in Vietnam and Harlem)—and by risking their own privileged futures, they forged meanings and discovered their own humanity. When several hundred students disrupted the status quo and defied their own upbringing by seizing university buildings, they uncovered a flood of creativity: daily wall newspapers, art posters, real learning in a crucible of activity, strike solidarity, legal defense strategies, freedom schools, unity with the Harlem community.

From this inventive rebellion would come activists of the women’s movement, the environmental struggle, Puerto Rican independence, labor, the gay liberation movement, Wounded Knee, struggles for the disabled, veterans, the elderly, health care, children, and a renewed peace movement.

Let me remind you of the context:

On January 5, 1968, Dr. Benjamin Spock and four other intellectuals were indicted for “conspiracy to aid, counsel, and abet” young men to violate the draft laws.

On January 30, the Tet Offensive began in Vietnam. The U.S. embassy in Saigon was overrun by Vietnamese liberation forces. In 36 cities of South Vietnam, there was a military uprising, ripping apart the illusion that the United States was on the verge of winning the war in Vietnam.

In the middle of January and continuing for 77 days, the Vietnamese surrounded the military outpost of Khe Sanh. The U.S. military made Khe Sanh the most heavily bombed target in the history of warfare for the next six months, until it was quietly abandoned.

On March 5, the Kerner Commission issued a report about the uprisings in Black communities across America, with the famous statement: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one Black and one white, separate and unequal.”

On March 15, the week’s casualty figures from Vietnam were 509 U.S. soldiers killed, 2,766 wounded. At that point, U.S. casualties in Southeast Asia—these numbers never included Southeast Asian casualties—surpassed the war in Korea.

The next day, Robert F. Kennedy announced that he was running for president. Also on March 16, although not yet known to the United States public, U.S. troops entered a hamlet called My Lai in the middle of the Mekong Delta. They reported to headquarters that they killed 128 “Viet Cong troops” and captured 3 weapons. My Lai was later exposed as a barbaric example of the nature of the war against an unarmed civilian population.

During the last week of March, a group called “the wise men” that President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) convened, composed of military and corporate leaders with whom he talked about the Vietnam war. The “wise men” told LBJ that the United States could not win in Vietnam, and they were concerned about the deep divisions in American society.

On the same day, SDS convened its National Council meeting in Lexington, Kentucky with 102 delegates. Primarily, we debated the question of support for the Black Liberation Movement.

Three days later, LBJ declared he would not run again. I don’t think it was tied to the SDS meeting. It was probably tied to the “wise men”’s determination that the U.S. could not win the war against Vietnam.

On April 4, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. There follows uprisings in 125 cities in the United States. Fifty-five thousand National Guard and federal troops are called out. Forty-six dead. Twenty thousand people arrested in that one week.

A week later, the worker/student strikes began in France. (end of part 1)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Would W.E.B. DuBois Have Supported Bail-Out Of Big Media Monopoly's Newspapers?

The newspaper subsidiaries of the Big Media Monopoly’s media conglomerates are no longer as super-profitable as they were before they had to compete for younger readers with non-profit bloggers and alternative journalists on the Internet; and before the current U.S. economic depression led to a decline in their super-profits from the sale of corporate advertising space.

So, predictably, some of the lobbyists for the White Corporate Male Power Structure’s media conglomerates have apparently been starting to lobby recently for some more tax breaks and public bail-out funds from local, state and federal government institutions for the Big Media Monopoly’s newspapers.

But it’s not likely that the now-deceased prominent 20th-century African-American intellectual, W.E.B. DuBois, would have wanted the tax money collected from U.S. working-class people to be used to bail-out the Big Media Monopoly’s newspaper industry. As early as 1955, for example, DuBois characterized the White Corporate Male Power Structure’s daily newspapers in the following way:

“Truth makes us free and lack of it enslaves us. Yet we have become accustomed to expect to have truth furnished us daily…at the hands of makers of clothes, cigarettes and toothpaste, who pay its main costs.

“When we slowly awake to the fact that much of the real news never reaches us, much is deliberately misinterpreted, we contemplate gathering our own news…”

DuBois had also asserted on July 29, 1953 that “the average New York Sunday paper is a vast bundle of pounds of advertisements enmeshed in a mass of propaganda and wrapped in a rag bag of entertainment, distraction and escapism…all calculated to make upon the reader the impression which the owners of this vast economic organization want made on the people of the U.S. and the world…”

(Downtown 11/9/94)

Friday, May 15, 2009

NYU's Historic Richard Nixon Connection

In his introduction to the 1974 book Big Brother and The Holding Company: The World Behind Watergate, Noam Chomsky asserted that “Richard Nixon is one of the major criminals of the 20th century, and the same is true of those who have designed and implemented the foreign policy of his administration;” and “it is plain that Nixon’s pleasant crew succeeded in stealing the 1972 election.”

In an essay, titled ‘Nixon and the Miami Connection”, which appeared in the same book, 1990s New York Times reporter Jeff Gerth also wrote that “from his smear campaigns in the late 1940s, to the secret slush fund that led to the Checkers speech in 1952, to the Hughes loan in 1960, to the $400,000 ITT scandal in 1972 to the Watergate break-in and the secret Republican war chest, Nixon’s ascendancy to power has been surrounded by the stigma of suspicion.”

Another essay in Big Brother and The Holding Company also described the now-deceased Nixon’s 1960s and 1970s connection to New York University’s board of trustees:

“Until 1963, Mudge, Stern, Baldwin & Todd was a stodgy old Wall Street law firm…One of its oldest clients was Warner-Lambert Pharmaceuticals, whose chairman, vitamin king Elmer Bobst, had a personal stake in finding a job for his old friend Richard Nixon…

“…Bobst…convinced the partners of Mudge, Stern, Baldwin & Todd that Nixon’s presence would bring in new clients…

“Nixon joined the firm in mid-1963 and on January 1, 1964, the name became Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander…

“Salmon Brothers has a pragmatic and self-serving interest in New York University. They made a `gift’ of $3 million to an education and research center relating to financial organizations…Other Mudge, Rose clients have an interest in New York University. Former chairman of Irving Trust, George A. Murphy is a trustee. Elmer Bobst, of Warner-Lambert, is not only a trustee, but also gave $11 million to New York University’s newly dedicated Elmer H. Bobst Library…”

(Downtown 5/11/94)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The FBI's Historical KKK Connections

The FBI apparently had a long history of being involved in the actions of U.S. right-wing groups like the Ku Klux Klan. As the 1992 book Spying On America: The FBI’s Counter-intelligence Program by James Kirkpatrick Davis revealed, by the end of 1965 the FBI “had more than 7,000 undercover informants in place and operating within the klaverns” and “undercover informants were used in 85 percent of Klan actions.” The same book also noted that “about 15 percent of the entire KKK” was composed of FBI “informants” and “about half” of the FBI informants “were elected to leadership positions” within the KKK in the 1960s. (Downtown 7/19/95)

Following the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, the Democratic Clinton Administration announced that it would hire yet another 1,000 FBI agents to “counter terrorism.” Yet as The True Story Of The Greensboro Massacre by Paul Bermanzohn and Sally Bermanzohn observed in 1980:

“The U.S. government has been using the Klan and other fascist groups for a long time. As far back as 1959 the FBI inserted Gary Rowe into the Alabama KKK. In the course of a 15-year terrorist career he instigated `many dozens’ of violent attacks, including a bloody assault on Birmingham freedom fighters in 1962, the church bombing murder of four schoolgirls and the murder of Viola Liuzzo. During the late 1960s, the FBI set up `more than 40’ all-informant Klan chapters in North Carolina alone.”

An FBI informant, Bill Wilkinson, apparently also set up the KKK’s Invisible Empire organization in 1980. As Blood In The Face by James Ridgeway recalled in 1990:

“In 1975 (David) Duke formed his own Knights of the Ku Klux Klan…

“In 1980, Duke ally, Bill Wilkinson, left the Knights to set up his own competing Invisible Empire…Wilkinson was able to persuade Duke to…sell the membership list of the Knights of the KKK for $35,000. Wilkinson secretly videotaped Duke making the deal. He then threatened to play the videotape for a Klan membership meeting. Soon thereafter, Duke quit the Klan…Klansmen later discovered that Wizard Wilkinson himself had been an FBI informer since 1974…”

Blood In The Face also pointed out that “an FBI informant was among the Klansmen who organized the 1961 attack on the Freedom Riders” during the Civil Rights Era, but “the FBI did nothing to stop the attack, and its silent complicity was not revealed until 14 years later.” (Downtown 5/17/95)

In the early 1970s, the FBI apparently also ordered one of its undercover agents to set up a terrorist bombing in Seattle. As Spying On America: The FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program by James Kirkpatrick Davis also noted in 1992:

“David Sannes, a special agent, served as the undercover liaison…in the Seattle area. He later testified that he was instructed by bureau counter-intelligence officials to develop a terrorist bombing operation, and to develop the explosives in such a way that they would misfire and kill those who were doing the bombings. In May 1972, after he had left the bureau, Sannes said that he had `decided to make what I had done public so that the people of the United States could be informed of what was going on.’”
(Downtown 6/14/95)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

`Greensboro Massacre Song'

The Klan arrived
The cops moved aside
The sharpshooters aimed their guns
The FBI laughed
The Nazis attacked
And shed five workers’ blood.
Five fighters for freedom now lay dead
Slain in Greensboro, their deaths will be avenged.

Jim Waller
Was a doctor
Who always served the poor
And he also saw
That mill workers
Needed to wage class war.
He led a strike and workers chose him head
But those who owned the factories wished him dead.

And brave Cesar
Was a fighter
Inside Duke Hospital
He fought the Klan
With his bare hands
Until they mowed him down.
He saw that those who work are still enslaved
And for his thoughts, they sent him to an early grave.

And Mike Nathan
Carried no gun
Yet still helped Africa
He did not run
But helped the wounded
Till shot from the Klan car.
On his deathbed, the Party honored him
But those who sent his killers, they still grin.

And Bill Sampson
Did not give in
And fired in self-defense
And as he died
He said “keep on firing”
As the bullets took effect.
He also led a union at his plant
And was not afraid to be a communist.

And Sandy Smith
She knew racists
All wished to see her dead
She saved children
Then took a gun
To make sure the Nazis fled.
They shot her down like many women before
The government killed her, `cause she was a fighter.

To listen to "The Greensboro Massacre" protest folk song, you can click on the following music site link:

“The Greensboro Massacre” protest folk song was written nearly 30 years ago, shortly after five anti-racist left activists were murdered on November 3, 1979 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

According to The True Story Of The Greensboro Massacre by Paul and Sally Bermanzohn:
“The U.S. Treasury Department Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms [BATF] had sent agent Bernard Butkovich to North Carolina to join the Nazis and oversee the assassination. On Nov. 3 [1979] he brought the list of who was to be shot and helped the killers escape. The caravan of Klan and Nazis were recruited and organized by Klansmen and FBI provocateur Edward Dawson. Dawson worked in league with the Greensboro Police Department. While Dawson led the caravan into our demonstration, Greensboro Police Detective Jerry Cooper followed them, deliberately delaying the arrival of any other cops.”

On Nov. 17, 1980 the Southern jury found the six Klansmen and Nazis indicted for murder, as a result of their apparent involvement in the Greensboro Massacre, to be “not guilty.” Coincidentally, African-Americans had not been allowed to serve on the jury. (Downtown 11/9/94)

To listen to some other protest folk songs, you can check out the “Columbia Songs for a Democratic Society” music site at the following link:

Additional protest folk songs from the 1970s and 1980s can be found at these other links:


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Newhouse Dynasty Obtained Wealth Historically--Conclusion

(The following article first appeared in the 11/18/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper Downtown)

By the time the Newhouse family somehow found the capital to purchase more newspapers in Syracuse, Jersey City and Harrisburg in the 1940s and in St. Louis, Oregon and Alabama in the 1950s, some people began to wonder how the Newhouse family obtained so much money. And by the time the Newhouse family—whose wealth approached $200 million [in 1950’s money] in the late 1950s—laid down its cash to gobble up Vogue and the other Conde’ Nast magazines, more suspicions about the Newhouse family’s source of wealth had developed. As the book Newspaperman by Richard Meeker recalled:

“Newspaper analysts were so suspicious of the source of Newhouse’s funds that they discussed openly the possibility that he was laundering money…Some went so far as to suggest that his newspaper operations had been used as a front for the notorious Reinfeld mob, a group of booze-peddling hoodlums, whose boss had made millions during prohibition.”

One way the Newhouse family apparently was able to accumulate so much money so rapidly during the 20th Century was by hiring accountants and lawyers who figured out unique ways for the Newhouse Dynasty to avoid paying a fair share of taxes on their rapidly growing family wealth. As Newspaperman reported:

“`They played every tax game there was,’ recalled one man who once served as publisher for several Newhouse newspapers. That meant that every cost that could conceivably be written off as a business deduction was, that assets were depreciated as rapidly as possible, ant that new acquisitions were `written up’ as high as the law allowed…Where Newhouse developed a special advantage was in the way he avoided paying taxes for the profits that remained to him after the payment of corporate taxes…

“Thanks to an ingenious device created by his accountant, Louis Glickman, and implemented by his attorney, Charles Goldman, Newhouse was able to avoid paying taxes on accumulated earnings and, thus, to multiply the value of his earnings several times. Doing so involved the creation of a special corporate structure for the various newspapers…Because the Goldman-Glickman construct kept the various enterprises separate—for tax purposes at least—each could claim the right to its own surplus. Taken together, the accumulation that resulted was many times what the IRS would have allowed had Newhouse simply treated all of his operations as a single corporation.”

The same book also characterized the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation as “a charity his [Samuel I. Newhouse I’s] lawyers had created as an additional tax dodge” and charged that Newhouse Foundation funds were used by the Newhouse family to finance its $18 million purchase of Alabama’s Birmingham News in 1955.

After Samuel Newhouse I died in 1979, his two sons, S.I. Newhouse, Jr. and Donald Newhouse, were accused of tax evasion by the IRS during the 1980s.

Six months after their father’s death, S.I. Newhouse, Jr. and Donald Newhouse valued his estate at $181.9 million and filed a tax return which claimed they owed $48.7 million in inheritance taxes. In 1983, however, the IRS informed the Newhouse brothers that their father’s estate “was worth an estimated $1.2 billion, and thus the tax as computed was deficient by more than $609 million” and “the government tacked on a 50 percent penalty ($304 million and change) for civil fraud,” according to the March 13, 1989 issue of The Nation magazine.

Although the IRS dropped its tax fraud charge against the Newhouse Dynasty later in the 1980s, it increased its tax delinquency bill for the Newhouse family to $1.2 billion, since it claimed the Newhouse estate was actually worth $2.2 billion—not $1.2 billion—when Samuel Newhouse I died in 1979, according to The Nation.

The U.S. court system was apparently not too eager, however, to rule against the Newhouse Dynasty and the “Newhouse Tax Evasion Case” ended with a favorable “not guilty” verdict for the Newhouse brothers.

Besides owning Parade and his other Big Media publishing properties, in the 1990s S.I. Newhouse, Jr. also owned a big collection of post-World War II paintings; and in the late 1980s, he spent $17 million to purchase modern artist Jasper Johns’ “False Start”. Coincidentally, the owner of Jasper Johns’ modern work of art also sat on Midtown Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art’s board of trustees in the early 1990s. (end of article)

(Downtown 11/18/92)

Monday, May 11, 2009

How Newhouse Dynasty Obtained Its Wealth Historically--Part 1

(The following article first appeared in the 11/18/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper Downtown)

Ever since Samuel Newhouse I started working as an office-boy, bookkeeper and rent-collector in Jersey Democratic machine politician, Bayonne Times owner and Judge Hyman Lazarus’s law office in 1908, the Newhouse family has shown a remarkable ability to accumulate more money, more swiftly, than most families who get involved in the U.S. media world.

By the time Samuel Newhouse I was 21 in 1916, he was earning around $30,000 per year and had been given 25 percent ownership of the Bayonne Times by his boss, Judge Lazarus, for his loyal service. By 1922, Newhouse had saved up enough money to purchase the Staten Island Advance in partnership with Judge Lazarus. And a few years later, when his original partner, Judge Lazarus, died in 1924, Newhouse also had enough money to buy up the Lazarus family’s share of Staten Island Advance stock.

During the 1920s, the Newhouse family also had enough money to loan the money to Henry Grafinkle which enabled him to open newsstands that were quite good at selling the Newhouse family’s Staten Island Advance at the St. George’s Ferry Terminal on Staten Island, as well as to open newsstands throughout Manhattan, at LaGuardia Airport, at Newark Airport and at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (the world’s largest and most lucrative newsstand)—which also sold other Newhouse publications quite well throughout the years.

During the 1930s Depression, the Newhouse family still had enough money to buy the Long Island Press in Jamaica and the previously competing Long Island Star, North Shore Journal and Nassau Journal, as well as the Newark Ledger, the Newark Star and newspapers in Syracuse. At the Long Island Press during the 1930s—where the Newhouse family was paying its non-unionized newsroom employees only 33 percent of what unionized New York Times and New York Daily News employees were earning for similar work—Samuel Newhouse I’s salary was more than the total of all the salaries paid to the Newhouse family’s 65 newsroom employees there. (end of part 1)

(Downtown 11/18/92)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Newhouse Dynasty Power And Wealth In The 1990s

(The following article first appeared in the 11/18/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper Downtown)

In the 1990s, the sons of Samuel Newhouse I continued to hold a lot of U.S. Big Media power. As the Magazine In America: 1741-1990 book by John Tebbel and Mary Zuckerman then observed:

“…S.I. Newhouse, Jr., could be considered the most powerful man in the publishing business, controlling what Fortune called the greatest concentration of wealth in private hands. He shared responsibility only with his brother Donald, a year younger, who directed the company’s newspapers and cable-television interests, while he concentrated on the magazines…Since Advance Publications, the umbrella covering all the family interests, is owned exclusively by the Newhouse brothers, there are no shareholders (and therefore not even the S.E.C.) to interfere in the administration of a communications empire worth between $8 to $10 billion.”

(Downtown 11/18/92)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

`Parade''s Cable-TV Connection Historically

(The following article first appeared in the 11/18/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper Downtown)

Perhaps one reason why many U.S. cable TV shows haven’t, historically, talked too much about either the amount of money and Big Media power that the Newhouse Dynasty possessed in the 1990s or the literary quality of its Parade, Vogue and other Newhouse media conglomerate magazines, was that Newhouse also owned many U.S. cable television systems in the 1980s and 1990s. As the book Newspaperman by Richard Meeker observed:

“By early 1981, the Newhouse family owned and operated dozens of cable systems throughout the Northeast, South and Midwest, with a total of 500,000 subscribers—making theirs the 8th largest cable-TV operation in the United States.”

In the early 1990s, the cable-TV operation of the Newhouse media conglomerate was the 14th-largest one in the USA. Among the cable-TV companies owned by its Newhouse Broadcasting Corporation in the early 1990s were Metrovision Inc., News-Channels Corporation and Vision Cable Communications. Coincidentally, S.I. Newhouse III was the assistant secretary of the Metrovision Inc. subsidiary and Jo Newhouse was the personnel director of the Vision Cable Communications Inc. subsidiary of the Newhouse media conglomerate in the early 1990s.

Newhouse’s Metrovision operated 21 cable systems in states like Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming in the early 1990s; and over 450,000 households subscribed to cable-TV systems which it owned in the early 1990s.

Newhouse’s Vision Cable Communications operated 15 cable-TV systems in states like Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Carolina in the early 1990s; and over 470,000 households subscribed to cable systems which it owned in the early 1990s.

Newhouse’s NewsChannels Corp. operated 31 cable systems in Alabama, Pennsylvania and upstate New York in the early 1990s; and over 380,000 households subscribed to this subsidiary’s cable systems in the early 1990s. Coincidentally, Newhouse’s NewsChannels Corp. operated a cable-TV system in Syracuse—where Newhouse also markets Syracuse’s daily newspaper—in the early 1990s.

(Downtown 11/18/92)

Friday, May 8, 2009

African-American Male Worker Jobless Rate Under Obama Regime: 17.2 Percent

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for African-American male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased from 15.4 percent to 17.2 percent between March 2009 and April 2009 under the Democratic Obama Regime, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for African-American female workers over 20 years-of-age also increased from 9.9 percent to 11.5 percent between March 2009 and April 2009; and the official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all African-American workers under the Democratic Obama Regime increased from 13.3 percent to 15 percent during this same period.

The “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white male workers also increased from 8 percent to 8.5 percent between March 2009 and April 2009.

The “seasonally adjusted” rate for all Hispanic or Latino workers in April 2009 was 11.3 percent.

For all U.S. workers over 20 years-of-age, the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate increased from 8.5 percent to 8.9 percent between March 2009 and April 2009.

The “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for African-American youth between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 32.5 percent to 34.7 percent between March 2009 and April 2009 under the Democratic Obama Regime, while the unemployment rate for Hispanic or Latino youth increased from 24.9 percent to 26.5 percent during this same period.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 8, 2009 press release:

“…In April, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries. Overall, private-sector employment fell by 611,000.

“The number of unemployed persons increased by 563,000 to 13.7 million in April…

“Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs rose by 571,000 in April to 8.8 million….

“The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 498,000 to 3.7 million over the month…

“About 2.1 million persons…were marginally attached to the labor force in April…These individuals wanted and were available for work…They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 740,000 discouraged workers in April…

“Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 539,000 in April to 132.4 million; private-sector employment declined by 611,000…In April, job losses continued in most major private-sector industries…

“Employment in manufacturing fell by 149,000 over the month…

“Construction employment declined by 110,000 in April…

“The professional and business services industry lost 122,000 jobs in April….Half of the April decline occurred in temporary help services.

“Employment in retail trade fell by 47,000 in April…. Wholesale trade employment was down by 41,000 over the month…

“Employment in transportation and warehousing declined by 38,000 in April…Employment in financial activities declined by 40,000 over the month…The leisure and hospitality industry lost 44,000 jobs in April…”