Rainbow over Bensonhurst

item image #1

Looking east down Bay Parkway from 86 St. in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, February 22, 2021.

Photo by Mitchel Cohen

 

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poet and Founder of City Lights Bookshop, Dies Aged 101

Poet and countercultural pioneer put on trial for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s Howl went on to become a beloved icon of San Francisco

https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/Ferlinghettidies.jpg

Lawrence Ferlinghetti outside his San Francisco store in 1998. Reuters

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet, publisher, painter and political activist who co-founded the famous City Lights bookshop in San Francisco and became an icon of the city himself, has died aged 101.

Ferlinghetti died at home on Monday night. His son Lorenzo said that the cause was interstitial lung disease.

Ferlinghetti was born in Yonkers, New York in 1919. His father died before he was born and his mother was committed to a mental hospital, leaving him to be raised by his aunt. When he was seven, his aunt, then working as a governess for a wealthy family in Bronxville, abruptly ran off, leaving Ferlinghetti in the care of her employers. After attending university in North Carolina, he became a journalist in 1941, then joined the US navy during the second world war. While studying for his doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris on the GI Bill, he began to write poetry.

Returning to the US in 1951, he was drawn to California as a place to start afresh. “San Francisco had a Mediterranean feeling about it,” he told the New York Times. “I felt it was a little like Dublin when Joyce was there. You could walk down Sackville Street and see everyone of any importance in one walk.”

In 1953, he co-founded the City Lights bookshop and publishing company with friend Peter Dean Martin, who left soon after, with the mission to democratise literature and make it accessible to all. “We were young and foolish,” he told the Guardian in 2019. “And we had no money.”

While most bookshops across the US closed early and on weekends at the time, City Lights stayed open seven days a week and late into the night, fostering a countercultural community that attracted the likes of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. City Lights initially focused on selling paperbacks, which were cheaper but looked down on by the literary establishment, and publishing poetry, offbeat and radical books by the likes of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Paul Bowles, Gary Snyder and Gregory Corso.

In 1955, Ferlinghetti heard Ginsberg’s seminal poem Howl read for the first time at the Six Gallery in North Beach. The next day, he sent a telegram to Ginsberg: “I GREET YOU AT THE BEGINNING OF A GREAT CAREER. STOP. WHEN DO I GET MANUSCRIPT OF HOWL?” The epic poem was printed in Britain and shipped to San Francisco, where the copies were seized. Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg were arrested on obscenity charges in 1957.

“I wasn’t worried. I was young and foolish. I figured I’d get a lot of reading done in jail and they wouldn’t keep me in there for ever. And, anyway, it really put the book on the map,” Ferlinghetti told the Guardian. Having already sent the poem to the American Civil Liberties Union, “to see if they would defend us if we were busted”, the ACLU successfully defended the poem at a trial that lasted months. The verdict set an important precedent for reducing censorship, and heralded a new freedom for books around the world, while also making both men internationally famous.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (left) and Allen Ginsberg in London in 1965.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (left) and Allen Ginsberg in London in 1965. Photograph: Stroud/Getty Images

He self-identified as a philosophical anarchist, hosting many sit-ins and protests against war at City Lights. He regarded poetry as a powerful social force and not one reserved for the intellectual elite, saying, “We have to raise the consciousness; the only way poets can change the world is to raise the consciousness of the general populace.”

In later decades, Ferlinghetti became an icon of his city. In 1978, when San Francisco was rocked by the double assassination of the city’s mayor, George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk, Ferlinghetti wrote a poem that ran two days later in the San Francisco Examiner. It was titled An Elegy to Dispel Gloom, and he was personally thanked by the city for helping maintain calm. In 1994 a street was named after him, and four years later he was named San Francisco’s first poet laureate.

He remained active in City Lights until the late 2000s, chatting with fans and tourists who popped in just to meet the legend. “When he was still here every day, fixing a lightbulb or some other little thing, he never refused somebody who wanted to talk to him,” Elaine Katzenberger, the current manager of the shop, said. “He usually looked for some commonality to have a little conversation with them.”

Though mostly bed-bound and nearly blind in his later years, he remained busy, publishing his final book, Little Boy, on his 100th birthday. A loosely autobiographical novel, Ferlinghetti refused to describe it as memoir: “I object to using that description. Because a memoir denotes a very genteel type of writing.”

In 2019, San Francisco named 24 March, his birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day to mark his centennial, with celebrations lasting all month. In an interview from his bed to mark the occasion, he told the Guardian that he was still hoping for a political revolution, even though “the United States isn’t ready for a revolution … It would take a whole new generation not devoted to the glorification of the capitalist system … a generation not trapped in the me, me, me.”

When asked whether he was proud of his achievements, Ferlinghetti said: “I don’t know, that word, ‘proud’, is just too egotistic. Happy would be better. Except when you get down to try and define the word happy, then you’re really in trouble.”

In 1958, Ferlinghetti published his own first collection, A Coney Island of the Mind, which sold more than 1m copies. He went on to write more than 50 volumes of poetry, novels and travel journals. As a publisher, he maintained a lifelong focus on poetry and books ignored by the mainstream, even as it became harder in the face of behemoth, profit-driven presses.

 

HE HAD A HAMMER: HENRY AARON, PRESENTE!

Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth - and he cried - Sports Box Now

Henry Aaron passes Babe Ruth’s 714 lifetime home runs in 1974.

Guest post by DAVE ZIRIN

When you write for a living, you invariably pen obituaries in advance so they are ready to be published as soon as the death knell of the famous is sounded. I could never do that with Henry “Hank” Aaron. Even at 86, he seemed so precious that I was in no position to even imagine a world without him. He seemed too important to die, like a monument that people would form a human chain to protect against the hordes determined to tear him down. Aaron was living testimony not only to greatness with a bat but to this country’s racism. His willingness to testify to this reality made him the foe of the darkest corners of this country, from chat rooms to the White House.

What we have lost in Aaron is more than just an all-time baseball player (he is among the best to ever take the field, with a record 25 All-Star selections, more RBIs than any player who ever lived, and a decades-long reign as Home Run King with 755 dingers, even though he never hit more than 47 in a season). We have lost one of our last living links to the Negro Leagues, where Aaron played for several months with the Indianapolis Clowns. We have lost someone who, even though he played much of his career in Atlanta, was a fierce foe of Jim Crow­and then the New Jim Crow, with its savage inequities in the criminal justice system. As he once said, with his deep and sincere humility, “Am I a hero? I suppose I am, to some people. If I am, I hope it’s not only for my home runs.… I hope it’s also for my beliefs, my stands, my opinions. Still, I’m not at ease being a hero.”

We also lost someone who could attest like no one else to the racism that runs deep in the marrow of this country and the limits of sports heroism as a vehicle to transcend that racism for the Black athlete. It was Aaron who was mercilessly threatened with murder as he chased down Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs in 1973. Aaron came up just shy, breaking the record in April of 1974. But that meant he received a tonnage of letters that winter­the most anyone in the United States not named Richard Nixon had ever received­that alternately pledged support or promised death for him and his family. The latter were the letters Aaron never threw away. These threats were so vicious that Aaron and his family needed bodyguards­even his daughter, who was away from home at the time. The threats were so vicious that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution pre-wrote an obituary to have on file in case of his assassination. Remember, this was just five years after the killings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, so the idea that greatness could be snuffed out at a moment’s notice was not far from the American imagination.

When Aaron was making his iconic home run trot in 1974 after hitting number 715 off of Al Downing, two young white hippies ran out of the stands to shake his hand, smiles on their faces. They had no idea that Aaron’s bodyguard, Calvin Wardlaw, had his hand on his gun ready to end their lives if the situation went sideways. This should have been his singular moment of unvarnished joy­instead, it was nearly a crime scene. As Aaron said, “It really made me see for the first time a clear picture of what this country is about. My kids had to live like they were in prison because of kidnap threats, and I had to live like a pig in a slaughter camp. I had to duck. I had to go out the back door of the ball parks. I had to have a police escort with me all the time. I was getting threatening letters every single day. All of these things have put a bad taste in my mouth, and it won’t go away. They carved a piece of my heart away.”

Later in life, Aaron was able to heal, but he was never shy about showing his scars. He was a superstar of uncommon decency who had lived through segregation and Jim Crow only to come out on the other side ready to lend his name and fame to keep the struggle alive. In 2018, he was asked whether he would visit Donald Trump’s White House and he answered simply, “There is no one there that I want to see.” This was a special man, and it is an indelible mark of shame on this country that he wasn’t treasured through every phase of his life. The most we can hope for now is to hold his memory high and stand on his shoulders for the battles to come. As Aaron said, “My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” Damn right.

WHAT IF? DID COVID-19 LEAK FROM A BIOLAB?

This is perhaps the first detailed query in the mainstream corporate press into the possible laboratory origins of Covid-19, emerging from so-called “gain-of-function” experiments done in biological labs. There are several serious omissions pertaining to the transfer of materiel from the U.S.’s biowarfare lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, to Wuhan and elsewhere in the Summer and Fall of 2019. We need to demand independent investigations, some by the U.S. Congress, into the laboratory origins of Covid-19 and their cover-up.

Mitchel Cohen

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/coronavirus-lab-escape-theory.html

The Lab-Leak Hypothesis
For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if …?

By Nicholson Baker

I.
Flask Monsters

What happened was fairly simple, I’ve come to believe. It was an accident. A virus spent some time in a laboratory, and eventually it got out. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft, and then it was made more infectious in one or more laboratories, perhaps as part of a scientist’s well-intentioned but risky effort to create a broad-spectrum vaccine. SARS-2 was not designed as a biological weapon. But it was, I think, designed. Many thoughtful people dismiss this notion, and they may be right. They sincerely believe that the coronavirus arose naturally, “zoonotically,” from animals, without having been previously studied, or hybridized, or sluiced through cell cultures, or otherwise worked on by trained professionals. They hold that a bat, carrying a coronavirus, infected some other creature, perhaps a pangolin, and that the pangolin may have already been sick with a different coronavirus disease, and out of the conjunction and commingling of those two diseases within the pangolin, a new disease, highly infectious to humans, evolved. Or they hypothesize that two coronaviruses recombined in a bat, and this new virus spread to other bats, and then the bats infected a person directly — in a rural setting, perhaps — and that this person caused a simmering undetected outbreak of respiratory disease, which over a period of months or years evolved to become virulent and highly transmissible but was not noticed until it appeared in Wuhan.

There is no direct evidence for these zoonotic possibilities, just as there is no direct evidence for an experimental mishap — no written confession, no incriminating notebook, no official accident report. Certainty craves detail, and detail requires an investigation. It has been a full year, 80 million people have been infected, and, surprisingly, no public investigation has taken place. We still know very little about the origins of this disease.

Nevertheless, I think it’s worth offering some historical context for our yearlong medical nightmare. We need to hear from the people who for years have contended that certain types of virus experimentation might lead to a disastrous pandemic like this one. And we need to stop hunting for new exotic diseases in the wild, shipping them back to laboratories, and hot-wiring their genomes to prove how dangerous to human life they might become.

Over the past few decades, scientists have developed ingenious methods of evolutionary acceleration and recombination, and they’ve learned how to trick viruses, coronaviruses in particular, those spiky hairballs of protein we now know so well, into moving quickly from one species of animal to another or from one type of cell culture to another. They’ve made machines that mix and mingle the viral code for bat diseases with the code for human diseases — diseases like SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, for example, which arose in China in 2003, and MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, which broke out a decade later and has to do with bats and camels. Some of the experiments — “gain of function” experiments — aimed to create new, more virulent, or more infectious strains of diseases in an effort to predict and therefore defend against threats that might conceivably arise in nature. The term gain of function is itself a euphemism; the Obama White House more accurately described this work as “experiments that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route.” The virologists who carried out these experiments have accomplished amazing feats of genetic transmutation, no question, and there have been very few publicized accidents over the years. But there have been some.

And we were warned, repeatedly. The intentional creation of new microbes that combine virulence with heightened transmissibility “poses extraordinary risks to the public,” wrote infectious-disease experts Marc Lipsitch and Thomas Inglesby in 2014. “A rigorous and transparent risk-assessment process for this work has not yet been established.” That’s still true today. In 2012, in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Lynn Klotz warned that there was an 80 percent chance, given how many laboratories were then handling virulent viro-varietals, that a leak of a potential pandemic pathogen would occur sometime in the next 12 years.

A lab accident — a dropped flask, a needle prick, a mouse bite, an illegibly labeled bottle — is apolitical. Proposing that something unfortunate happened during a scientific experiment in Wuhan — where COVID-19 was first diagnosed and where there are three high-security virology labs, one of which held in its freezers the most comprehensive inventory of sampled bat viruses in the world — isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s just a theory. It merits attention, I believe, alongside other reasoned attempts to explain the source of our current catastrophe. Continue reading »

FREE JULIAN ASSANGE, Report from NYC DEMO JAN. 3, 2021

Around 65 people turned out in the freezing cold rainy Sunday morning, January 3, 2021 at the British Consulate in NYC to demand that Britain refuse to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that Trump pardon him. A judge in Great Britain will be deciding whether to accede to the U.S. government’s persecution of Assange Monday.

All the speeches were very sharp, powerful and radical. Protesters also called for Freedom for Leonard Perrier and Mumia abu-Jamal, and all political prisoners. WBAI’s Mimi Rosenberg recorded the speeches by Randy Credico, Kim Ives, Patricia Dahl, Chuck Zlatkin, Marty Goodman, the Raging Grannies, and more ….

Very proud of those who braved the cold and the covid to stand for Julian Assange, freedom of the press, and against fascism and government repression.

PATRICIA DAHL, NYCFreeAssange.org

KIM IVES, Haiti Liberte

RANDY CREDICO

MARCY GORDON, singer-songwriter

MIMI ROSENBERG records speakers for WBAI radio.

MARTY GOODMAN, Socialist Action

MARILYN VOGT-DOWNEY, WBAI radio Local Station Board

CHUCK ZLATKIN

WHY DID THE DEMOCRATS HAVE A BAD ELECTION DAY?

Guest Column by RALPH NADER

Apart from barely squeezing through the swing states to defeat corrupt, incompetent, lying, corporatist Donald Trump, the Democratic Party had a bad election.

Loaded with nearly twice as much money as the Republican Party, the Democratic Party showed that weak candidates with no robust agendas for people where they live, work, and raise their families, is a losing formula. And lose they did against the worst, cruelest, ignorant, lawbreaking, reality-denying GOP in its 166-year history.

The Democrats failed to win the Senate, despite nearly having twice the number of Senators up for re-election than the Republicans. In addition, the Democratic Party lost seats in the House of Representatives. The Democrats did not flip a single Republican state legislature, leaving the GOP to again gerrymander Congressional and state legislative districts for the next decade!

Will all this lead to serious introspection by the Democratic Party? Don’t bet on it. The GOP tried to learn from their losses in 2012, which led to their big rebound. Already, the Democratic Party is looking for scapegoats, like third party candidates.

Will the leaders of these inexcusable defeats — Senator Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — explain how this happened? Will they take some responsibilitty and tell the American people why they let their profiteering media consultants spend so much money on tepid, low-impact TV ads at the expense of a massive ground game to give voters personal reasons to get themselves out to vote, beyond Trump? A third of all eligible voters stayed home. Could part of the problem be the 15% commission the consultants receive from TV ad revenues as compared to zero commissions from ground game expenditures?

Can the corporate Democratic leaders respond to inquiries by progressives and the sidelined primary voters of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren? Can they respond to why the living wage, the corporate crime wave, and the GOP-blocked stimulus/relief package, which was passed by the Democrats in May (including a $600 a week extension for tens of millions of desperate workers and critical aid to local agencies overwhelmed by the Covid-19 pandemic), were not prominently front and center? Also, why did the Democrats refuse to campaign for full Medicare for All, supported by 70 percent of the American people? The Democrats, as pointed out by political media specialist Bill Hillsman, did not speak directly to white, blue-collar workers who deserted Hillary Clinton for Donald Trump in 2016.

Moreover, the Democratic Party has a long-standing problem with authenticity. Rhetoric for a large infrastructure jobs program paid for by repealing corporate tax cuts and loopholes is seen as a throwaway line by many voters. Democrats should have explained, at the local level, how determination and integrity could shape the upgrading of our schools, clinics, roads, mass transit systems, waterworks, and other public services, with good-paying jobs.

Meanwhile, the Trumpsters showed their ferocious energy for wannabe, ego-obsessed, dictatorial Donald with more rallies, signs, and door-to-door contacts. The Democrats misread the faulty polls again thinking that the projected huge turnouts were primarily their voters and not also the Trump voters who turned out in greater numbers as well.

Too many Democratic operatives treat Trump with derision and mockery, instead of stressing how his daily lawlessness and serial violations of the Constitution have dismantled the protections for the people and turned the government over to big business to do and grab whatever they want.

Trump’s daily lawlessness and serial violations of the Constitution have dismantled the protections for the people and turned the government over to big business to do and grab whatever they want.

Trump openly commits federal crimes (e.g. The Hatch Act, the Anti-Deficiency Act) using federal property, including the White House, for his campaign, spending money illegally, while brazenly defying over a hundred investigative subpoenas from the House of Representatives.

Yet, neither Biden and Obama nor the Democratic Party made these corrupt forms of obstruction of justice, front and center issues. They even ignored Trump’s past criminal assaults of women, whom he has repeatedly degraded.

These many missed, obvious opportunities have consequences. Don’t Trump voters and their families also suffer from frozen minimum wages, from the absence of adequate or any health insurance, from those sky-high drug prices that Trump failed to reduce? He put more toxins in the air and water and allowed more dangerous workplaces. Trump calls endangering people and the planet deregulationbut what he was really doing is rewarding his corporate paymasters.

Trump calls endangering people and the planet “deregulation” but what he was really doing is rewarding his corporate paymasters.

Of course, the Democrats would never argue that the American people, not corporations, should CONTROL what they already OWN such as the public lands, the public airwaves, and the shareholding mutual and pension funds investing their money. The Democrats never even think to demand that U.S. taxpayers get a direct return for trillions of dollars of government research and development that have subsidized the growth of modern industries (from aerospace to computers to agribusiness, biotech, pharma, and more).

While Trump incites street violence and then cries loudly for “law and order,” the Democrats don’t throwback “law and order” for violent, polluting corporate crooks who cheat and harm children, consumers, workers, and communities, as well as rip off government programs like Medicare. Trump has gotten away with defunding the federal corporate crime police big time. Never will the Democrats go after Trump for the bloated, runaway, unaudited military budget and its Empire that are devouring necessities here at home.

The House Democrats refused to keep multiple impeachment pressure (apart from the Ukraine matter) on the Republicans. A national TV audience of the Senate dealing with a dozen of Trump’s impeachable offenses would give even the most ardent Trump supporters pause. (See December 18, 2019, Congressional Record, H-12197).

The Democrats let Trump and his lawless Attorney General William Barr get away with all his corrupt, criminal, and unconstitutional actions, which have turned the White House into an ongoing crime scene. And, despite this “rap sheet” Trump came close to winning the Electoral College for a second term!

Next time, the rulers of the Democratic Party should listen to civic groups and advocates and not be so smug and incommunicado. As an example, I’ll refer you to my Eleven Suggestions for turning out the vote, with popular mandates, available to everyone in whole and in part for weeks (See also my latest op-ed in the Louisville Courier-Journal, October 27, 2020).

Now let’s see how many rollbacks and repeals Biden will quickly institute to stop Trump’s devastations and usher in a truly progressive, majoritarian set of long-overdue policies.

————————————–
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, and author of many public policy books, including the just published, Wrecking America: How Trumps Lawbreaking and Lies Betray All.

ELECTIONS 2020

New York City, November 4, 2020.

The issue now in the U.S. is to fight for every vote to be counted — that is, the fight for at least the IDEA of democracy, even if it never actually existed and even though both candidates represent the interests of Wall Street and the 1 percent.

In some ways it’s like voting for either syphillis or ebola.

Despite that, I am a proponent within the Green Party (25 years a member) of trying to get the party to publicly advocate support for Biden in swing states. Why?

Because one party’s candidate openly calls for bolstering white supremacist lynch mobs (Trump), while the other at least mouths the words upholding “equality” and the ideal of an anti-racist society. I think that ideal is important to uphold. Even though it’s only rhetoric. Marx wisely observed that at some point ideas can and do become a material force.

We are in the position of having to choose from the evil of two lessers because neither the Green Party nor the rest of the Left have built ANY direct action mass-organizations for the last 12 years, and now try to substitute electoral campaigns for their lack of mass-based organizational work.

That desperately needed work stands to be more survivable under a Biden presidency than under Trump — who is just as imperialist and warmongering as his opponent. Some here don’t recognize that, and they portray Trump as a lesser-imperialist, but that’s simply not the case.

My recommendation to the Green Party (which the party officials have not accepted, and thus the need to fight for democracy within the Green Party too) do NOT ignore the horrors the Democratic Party has wreaked on the world; but Trump’s outright white supremacist organizing, including the militarization of the nation’s police forces, its attacks on women’s reproductive rights and control over their own bodies, and its fomenting of neo-Nazi death squads, are not trivial concerns.

The fight for democracy, as Marx and Engels wrote, is the first battle in any revolutionary socialist movement. That is where we’re at now: The fight for democracy.

I am asked by some fellow Greens why I am “parsing words” given that Biden is the apparent choice of the main imperialist sectors of U.S. capitalism. I respond thusly:

I don’t think opposing the candidate who publicly endorses and promotes and funds white supremacist lynch mobs is simply a “parsing” of words.

I don’t think opposing the candidate who publicly opposes a woman’s right to choose is simply a “parsing” of words.

I don’t think opposing the candidate who refused to provide necessary medical equipment to the states to fight a pandemic is a parsing of words.

I don’t think opposing a candidate who think it’s great to espouse grabbing women by “the pussy” at his discretion is a mere parsing of words.

I don’t think opposing a candidate who supports police murder of Black people is a parsing of words.

I don’t think opposing a candidate who refuses to recognize the validity of human-induced climate chaos and who opens the Arctic to oil drilling at the behest of his capitalist masters is a parsing of words.

Biden and Trump are equal in their imperialist service to their masters. So long as that remains fairly equivalent, and so long as there is no viable alternative at this critical moment (wishing the situation would be different won’t cut it when so many lives are on the line), it is inumbant on those who supported the Green’s electoral strategy to reassess their positions.

I pretty much think the Green party — and its banrupt and utterly stupid, narcissistic, and self-indulgent strategy at this time — has lost its soul, if not its mind.

Whom to vote for is NEVER a principle. It is a tactical decision based on an analysis of the conjuncture of forces and the historical moment.

To quote Dan Quayle (remember him?) “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.” (Addressing the United Negro College Fund, whose slogan is “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”)

Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens / Green Party

REMEMBERING DAY STAR CHOU

 

Day Star Chou

The shattered universe never ceases to slash us with shards of memory, and also makes us laugh over the pieces. Daystar’s dying is a horror, and I know we’ll all think back over our lives together and not only feel the immense pain, but also — more and more — the beauty that Daystar brought into our lives. I am of course so sad that she’s flown off. Let me share some moments …..

Daystar, Evergreen, and Little Horse – Founders of the Flushing Greens/Green Party of NY.

   When I was in the middle of a heart attack in January of 2001 at a statewide meeting of the NY Greens / Green Party, Day Star Chou and her sister Tanzania, drawing on their Cherokee heritage, put a small team together to physically push the blood through my body while we waited for an ambulance, and saved my life. It was quite miraculous, and yet it’s not in any of the modern medical books or protocols.

Day Star and Evergreen in Montauk Point

   Joel Kovel told Robert Gold to call an ambulance, and Jennifer Jager and Joel hopped into it with me. We arrived at St. Luke’s hospital. In a scene right out of Hollywood Jennifer, seeing that they had me on a long intake line and refusing to treat me or even move me up in the line — during a heart attack! — decided that the only thing she could do to get them to examine me right away was to race my gurney through the emergency room shouting, “he’s dying, he’s dying!” Joel Kovel said, “Sshh, don’t say that!”. I looked up and thought “I am?” Suddenly everyone clicked into gear. I was whisked through the emergency room, and my good friends and audacious fellow Greens saved my life for a second time that day.

   That scene has nothing directly to do with Day Star, but the different pieces are indelibly connected and jumbled together in my mind; what began with Day Star saving me was bookended by Jennifer saving me again.

Day Star and Evergreen in Montauk Point after NY State Green Party meeting.

   Day Star is always in my thoughts. She was the first to sign up with the No Spray Coalition against pesticides, representing the Flushing Greens on its Coordinating Committee.

   We’d met 5 or 6 years earlier. She supported the old Green Party USA (as did the rest of the NY Greens’ assembly of locals) and the two of us co-edited the NY Greens’ newspaper, which the prior editor, Pete Dolack (then a member of the Brooklyn Greens and No Spray Coalition coordinating committee), christened as “G”. We sat through lengthy meetings of the NY State Greens coordinating committee, which met one Sunday per month, frequently in the Flushing Greens’ office, where Day Star and I alternated as secretary, Evergreen served as Treasurer, and included Robert Gold, Maria Kuriloff, Paul Gilman, Elizabeth Shanklin, Nina Scalora, Marc Jacobs and 7 or 8 others.

Day Star and Evergreen. Evergreen and Day Star. The two of them, inseparable, were raising their nephew Little Horse, and we all watched him grow up into a tall and strong man. Day Star confided her fears of allowing Little Horse, as he got older, to venture off on his own; they were especially worried of how the NYPD would respond to Little Horse, and tried to teach him to be alert and avoid unnecessary confrontation with them.

Cathryn Swan, Little Horse, Day Star, Olivier (comrade from France), Mitchel, Cendra (also from France).

They supported freedom for Leonard Peltier and Mumia abu-Jamal, and helped steer those as policies of the NY Greens. They also opposed — unusual for Greens — the use of marijuana, although they were clear to separate that view from their denunciation of the Rockefeller Drug laws and the use of the drug war to throw Black people into jail.

  Day Star pushed Evergreen to run for local office on the Green Party line, and of course we endorsed his campaign,

Flushing Greens, Daystar and Evergreen’s home local of the Greens/Green Party of NY.

conducted in several languages among the large Chinese population. I tried to encourage Day Star to run as well, but she felt that Evergreen would better represent the largely Chinese-immigrant district.

   Day Star was (was? is?) someone just so special, so powerful and righteous, and engaged. A Green through and through. And the photo Paul Gilman found (at the top of this remembrance) is sooooo amazing. Wow.

Committee to Free David Wong

Missing Day Star’s presence on this planet ….

 

Day Star is unseen here, sitting next to the file cabinets in the rear. Notable for me because my daughter Malika is sitting next to me at a NY Greens coordinating committee meeting in the Flushing Greens’ office.

THE VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

HEROIC FLY ATTACKS V.P. PENCE FOR HIS LIES AND FASCISM DURING VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

Caught in
his web
of lies,
VP Pence
ensnared

click
photo
for more

“HELP ME”
PENCE PLEADS

 

 

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to reTweet it.­

“The first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle for democracy … one of the first and most important tasks of the militant proletariat.”

Karl Marx & Frederick Engels
The Communist Manifesto

My aim is to reinvent the wheel. My goal is to impeach or remove the Trump regime and, yes, to preach to the choir.

Resistance to fascism can and will take many forms. I write in the autumn of 2020. It is still possible to prevent the fascist juggernaut from sweeping away every gain won by workers in the United States since the 1880s, but well have to move quickly and back up our votes with militant direct action.

Public education, clean running water and sanitation, public libraries, the nations food supply, the last remaining forests, womens, Black, gay liberation and in fact everyone’s civil liberties as well, reproductive rights and personal privacy, are all under attack as never before. Corporate pollution threatens the most out-of-the-way corners of the planet. A novel pandemic is upon us, a wave to what to expect in the future (if there is to be a future)? There is no let-up, and climate chaos is already coming faster than we can deal with. Whole island nations are now submerged under water; the Arctic ice caps are melting; and mass applications of pesticides and genetically engineered crops are destroying our food supplies and sacred places, and taking over the world’s agricultural lands.

Neither liberalism nor conservatism, which dance around us as in the guises of Democrats and Republicans, present real solutions, but thats all were offered. We trap ourselves in a fundamentally immoral liberal imperialism, on the one hand, and the neo-conservative’s transfer of trillions of dollars in wealth from pretty much all of us to the wealthy, on the other. Liberals and Conservatives (both mislabeled as Democrats and Republicans) are equally deadly and equally bringing us to the brink of nuclear war, although via separate paths. They are twin horses of Apocalypse, the one thundering alongside the other in pretend battles like jousting knights of olde. Ecological collapse due to global climate chaos threatens to end complex life on this planet unless we the people rise up coherently — the poor, the once-upon-a-time workers who are being primed to slit each othersthroats in competition for the increasingly scarce and privatized water, hospital beds, individual dwellings, jobs and needed services. Who among us will be our Harriet Tubman, leading us to freedom?

The candidacy of Bernie Sanders for U.S. President in the Democratic Party had raised the concept of socialism in the mainstream corporate media for the first time in a century as a cure for the parasites of capitalism – the Capitalist Infesto. The corporate-controlled Democratic Party leadership smashed him down. Bernie was not allowed to go deep enough; he wasnt allowed to continue. Should he have stuck to his guns (so to speak) and seen it through? Perhaps. But is that the issue we want to fight out today? The immediate issue: Can new and overtly socialist ecological movements arise, obstruct, and reverse the current transformation of U.S. society into overt fascism, which is prelude to creating the new society we really want to live in?

I write not to explain the ins and outs of the terrible tragedies were facing but for the new generations to seize hold of the lessons from the new left the 60s generation — which have been stolen, co-opted, perverted and sold back to us as our false “paths to freedom”.

Black Lives matter! Reproductive Rights matter! Workers’ rights matter! The fights against industrial pollution and global climate chaos matter! Can we understand the meanings of our own movements and allow the lessons embedded in them to blossom, a gift from one generation to the next? That requires new ways of thinking and putting those thoughts into practice.

So, let us vote for the evil of two lessers, of course, to stay the blade of fascism and white supremacy … but in doing so let us also keep in mind that even the lesser evil is still evil, still imperialist. So let us use this moment to also begin to build the kind of revolutionary mass-movements necessary to transform this society!

SHOULD THE GREEN PARTY RUN ITS OWN CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT IN 2020?

by MITCHEL COHEN

Green Party 2020 candidates Howie Hawkins (President) and Angela Walker (Vice President)

As one of those who is trying to get the Green Party to switch its tactics and electoral strategy, I would appreciate it if Ajamu Baraka and others would at least address the arguments I and others are making …

… which has nothing to do with any expectations of Biden and the neo-liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

My ONLY points in recommending that Greens (and everyone else) vote for Biden in swing states are:

Trump is bolstering right-wing white supremacists (are there any other kind?), firing them up, egging them on to be his stormtroopers and death squads, and has appointed a US Attorney General that defends them and attacks antifascists instead.

Regardless of everything else about the Democrats, I do not think that Biden would do the same — do you? — and it makes a world of difference as to whether we are trying to organize under those conditions in a Trump regime vs. a Biden one.

The rhetoric alone makes a huge difference, but it’s not only about rhetoric.

In terms of domestic policy it ALSO makes a difference if you are a woman (reproductive rights), are gay-trans-bi-queer, are senior (a further raid on social security), and of course if you are Black.

Those are not insignificant differences, and to minimize them or not refer to them is dissembling. It means we cannot even discuss strategy for the Green Party until the above is recognized and acknowledged.

Note again: I think Biden will be terrible on foreign policy, although strangely he might support Cuba, as opening to Cuba was part of the Obama/Biden legacy. But when it comes to everywhere else, look out! …. Same as with Trump, despite what Baraka argues in Trump’s defense that Trump is serious about ending the “endless wars”. He gives a single example of a “peace process” towards Afghanistan, which is still yet to occur after 3 years. As of 16 months ago, Trump’s drone attacks, which Baraka ignores, far exceeded even Obama’s in 4 years:

According to a 2018 report in The Daily Beast, Obama launched 186 drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan during his first two years in office. In Trump’s first two years, he launched 238.
The Trump administration has carried out 176 strikes in Yemen in just two years, compared with 154 there during all eight years of Obama’s tenure, according to a count by The Associated Press and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Experts also say drone strikes under President Trump have surged in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
And, as was the case during Obama’s presidency, these strikes have resulted in untold numbers of civilian casualties. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan killed more than 150 civilians in the first nine months of 2018.
Amnesty International reports drones have killed at least 14 civilians in Somalia since 2017.
As of January of this year, U.S. drone strikes fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria have killed at least 1,257 civilians, according to the Pentagon, and a monitoring group, Airwars, estimates the number to be as great as 7,500.
That you might not be aware of what should be a startling and deeply troubling escalation in unaccountable remote-control warfare by the U.S. is both by design and default.
For one, the Obama administration paved the way for popularizing and normalizing drone wars, which also included the extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizens, first by hiding it, then by begrudgingly acknowledging it, and then by pretending to meaningfully constrain it.
Obama eventually put in place arcane requirements to issue public reports on civilian death tolls (but just in certain military theaters), to limit targets to high-level militants (again, in certain battlefields), and require interagency approval (also only for certain targets).
Trump has peeled back all of those requirements because, well, he can. We now know more than we did about U.S. drone wars when Obama first took office, but less than when he left.
        – S. E. Cupp Chicago Sun-Times  May 8, 2019

So if we are going to discuss Green Party strategy, at least understand what I and others are saying, acknowledge you hear it, and repeat it back accurately.

Stopping fascists from having their hands on executive power is the most important point in this election.

And, yes, of course we’ll have to do a lot more afterwards regardless of who wins. Frankly, the Green Party should be doing it now, but as a Party it is invisible.

Kevin Zeese: A Warrior for Peace and Justice Passes

Published originally in https://www.laprogressive.com/kevin-zeese-2/

The human rights community mourns veteran activist Kevin Zeese, my friend and comrade.

“For the Anniversary of My Death”

by W.S. Merwin  

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

Having met Kevin Zeese during the Occupy movement in September of 2011, by Merwin’s metric we passed unknowing the day that had finally come for Kevin nine times. Nine times we, (Kevin, Margaret Flowers -his loving partner, and I) were engaged in the struggle in one way or another.  Occupy DC, Occupy the EPA, Hands Up Don’t Shoot, Justice Mondays at the Department of Justice to name a few and lastly only hours before his transition — the fight to stop the desecration of Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda, Maryland.

He stood his ground and left an indelible mark in our memory and the landscape of the fight for human decency and liberation of the human spirit.

And there, always present, always willing, always gentle in his manner and generous with his wisdom, his strength, his courage—was Kevin. Passionate. Articulate. Good-natured.

I remember the first time I saw his T-shirt, emblazoned with his campaign slogan during his run for the US Senate: Zeese and Resist! That was Kevin. And the courtroom artist’s rendering of him when he argued before the Supreme Court, displayed among the many mementos that one with his penchant for advocacy acquires in the years, in the decades, in the long pull of history.

After this shock and all of the pain, what I will remember is Kevin’s voice last Friday, his patience, and the calm demeanor he carried with him in the heat of our struggle to save Moses African Cemetery, in the heat of the road in Bethesda on a hot September day when he stood and reasoned with the police who had arrayed themselves again against our non-violent protests as though we were the ones threatening violence, as though we were the ones hurling invective, curses, and threats. There, at the side of River Road, stood Kevin Zeese, nodding, listening, offering alternatives, presenting our case that resulted in no-arrests.

The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition (BACC) “Save Moses African Cemetery” protests last Thursday and Friday would be his last stand as an activist, a warrior for liberation of the human family, while securing a promise from the police that they would not be arresting any of the hundred-plus activists that had come to stand with us on what we would all learn with sadness was Kevin’s last day as an activist.

The youth of BACC, in particular worked closely with Kevin, as he provided instruction on Thursday Night in techniques of non-violent resistance that they might need during the Friday action.

Over the years, I’ve worked with Kevin and Margaret on a number of political actions.  We worked closely together on a project called: “Justice Monday” in the aftermath of the murder of Trayvon Martin. We organized demonstrations in front of the Department of Justice (DOJ) every Monday afternoon. The goal of “Justice Monday” was to force DOJ to release the Report of Investigation (ROI) that we were certain would exonerate George Zimmerman for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin. We instinctively knew that the Obama Administration’s Attorney General Eric Holder was going to exonerate Zimmerman but wanted to soft pedal their decision.  Through protests and demonstrations, Justice Monday succeeded in forcing the DOJ to release the ROI, that in fact, exonerated Zimmerman.

Our Friend, a Fighter for the People

Years later, Kevin and Margaret were among the first to answer the call to battle against developers and their enablers in the Montgomery County Maryland Planning Board and our local government.  Their experience and moral support enabled the fledgling organization to grow and make “good trouble.”  Kevin and Margaret gifted BACC with its very first banner.  Kevin and Margaret have not spared time and energy in driving more than two hours time after time to support and help with our struggle.  His inner strength is reflected in humility and gentleness, ever so kind and patient.

On a personal level, I came to deeply trust Kevin’s advice and keen ability to deconstruct the pitfalls of fighting injustice.

Kevin was a devoted supporter of Black Agenda Report. Kevin and Margaret would attend the yearly fundraiser and provide articles to BAR. In addition, they both supported the Left Forum, a yearly gathering of progressives from around the world that meet in New York.

Kevin died the way he lived, in the midst of struggle for racial justice and the dismantling of the architecture of white supremacy. The Friday before his transition, he stood his ground and left an indelible mark in our memory and the landscape of the fight for human decency and liberation of the human spirit.

He is missed and he left a light to guide us through the challenges that lay ahead.  Valiant warrior Rest in Power- our Ancestor!

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
Black Agenda Report

There will be an online tribute to Kevin on Saturday, September 19 at 3:00 pm Eastern/12:00 pm Pacific on Zoom. Click here to register . This event will also be livestreamed atFacebook.com/PopularResistanceOrg  andYouTube.com/PopularResistanceOrg .

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About Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is the author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated: No FEAR: A Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA . She worked at the EPA for 18 years and blew the whistle on a US multinational corporation that endangered South African vanadium mine workers. Marsha’s successful lawsuit led to the introduction and passage of the first civil rights and whistleblower law of the 21st century: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act). Marsha was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, March 2017. Currently, she is working to stop the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) and the Bethesda Self-Storage Company/1784 Holdings from its continue desecration of Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda, Maryland.

WHAT DOES “DEFUND THE POLICE” MEAN?

Herewith an aggregation of thoughts about policing, pointing towards various approaches to alternatives. Emphasis on getting to the root of the problems, rather than asking institutions of suppression to reform themselves. All complaints and queries may be directed to me, Dave Lippman.

First off, a bit of perspective about defunding: Society has been defunding education, affordable housing, mental health, and social services generally for decades, moving the money to the agents of armed social repression. So moving it back might be appropriate. But in a society that likes its solutions short term, we get repression, not progression.

Second, we have to consider what the police are: they are the agency that preserves order, and the order is unjust. It appears to be peacekeeping, but it actually maintains a permanent system of injustice, inequality, and poverty based on housing loan denials, localized inferior education, and pervasive discrimination. Not to mention its roots in Jim Crow and slavery.

A couple of basic sources:

https://m4bl.org/policy-platforms/ :
Here you can find short statements and demands from the Movement for Black Lives on topics like the war on black communities, demilitarization of police, surveillance, prisons, etc.

https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision :
A set of specific proposals to deal with a variety of problems and solutions in policing, including use of force, community oversight, for-profit policing (ticket and arrest quotas, etc.), power of police unions, etc.

Now then, What do people mean by defunding the police?

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DEFUNDING THE PENTAGON?

324 Congress Members Who Should Permanently Quarantine … Another futile exercise in capitalist “democracy”

A guest post by David Swanson

324 Congress Members Who Should Permanently Quarantine, by David Swanson

July 22, 2020

The U.S. House of Misrepresentatives on Tuesday voted 324 to 93 (with 13 not voting) to defeat a proposal to move a mere 10% of military spending to human, environmental, and health needs.

The 324 Congressional “representatives” who voted the wrong way on this really should never show their faces in public again. Our society ought to shame them so deeply that they pick up and move to a country with healthcare and retirement and clean energy and a decent education system where they can discover what they’ve been depriving the United States of, as well as discover what they’ve been inflicting on the world.

Certainly, nobody should ever vote to elect any of them again.

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MASKS: AN OPEN LETTER TO ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.’S CHILDREN’S HEALTH DEFENSE

Mitchel Cohen says: Wear your damn mask, while opposing mandatory vaccination for Covid-19! Commenting on: “The Risks vs. Benefits of Face Masks – Is There an Agenda?” by Dr. Alan Palmer, that was featured on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense website

https://childrenshealthdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/05-26-20-

I have no faith in the purity of products like vaccines, cutting corners and developed for profit under American capitalism. Thus, I join with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in opposing mandatory vaccinations.

Manufacturing, marketing and sale of all synthesized chemicals in the U.S. occurs without utilization of the precautionary principle, which would require manufacturers to prove that their product is safe for human and other animal use before it is introduced into the environment — be it in agriculture, waterways, or the human blood stream. The stated purpose of all vaccines is to provoke an immune system response, inducing the body to generate antibodies to the specific disease. But without sufficient and profit-free regulation and testing, aluminum-based adjuvants, impurities and other toxicants are knowingly allowed to be injected directly into children’s bloodstream. Vaccines — like GMOs, pesticides, and many other lab-created products — are thus anything but “safe”.

Food and Drug Administration regulators are hardly independent protectors of public health. They come from the same profit-driven corporations they’re supposed to be regulating, and they return to those same corporations when their time in “government service” has ended. That revolving door between Big Pharma and U.S. regulatory agencies is, to put it mildly, hardly inspiring of trust.

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Guest Post by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Flu Misinformation and Coronavirus Fears: My Letter to Dr. Sanjay Gupta

[]

April 16, 2020

By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman, Children’s Health Defense

The flu shot INCREASES the risks for common colds by 36%.
– Pentagon study (see below, in green)

Robert Kennedy, Jr. is speaking throughout about studies pertaining to the CoronaVirus, the cause for 20 percent of cases of the common cold, and not the current Covid-19 SARS2 virus.

Dear Sanjay,

Last week, your CNN producer, Matthew Reynard, notified me that CNN is featuring me in a documentary about “vaccine misinformation”. As usual, Mr. Reynard did not point out a single factual assertion by me that was incorrect (I carefully source all of my statements about vaccines to government databases or peer-reviewed publications). CNN uses the term “vaccine misinformation” as a euphemism for any statement that departs from the Government / Pharma orthodoxy that all vaccines are safe, necessary, and effective for all people.

I respectfully point out that CNN and particularly you, Sanjay, are today among the most prolific broadcasters of ‘vaccine misinformation.’

I have always admired you, Sanjay. Your obvious talents aside, you seem to be genuinely compassionate and to value integrity. Earlier in your career, you showed a courageous willingness to challenge Big Pharma’s vaccine orthodoxies. However, I respectfully point out that CNN and particularly you, Sanjay, are today among the most prolific broadcasters of “vaccine misinformation”. Over the last several years, I cannot recall seeing a single substantial CNN segment on vaccines that did not include easily verified factual misstatements. CNN’s recent special, “Pandemic”, was a showcase of erroneous assertions about the flu vaccine. Since I don’t like to think that you deliberately mislead the public — ­particularly about critical public health choices, I have taken the time to point out some of your most frequent errors.

I hope you will take time to read this. This critique has special relevance during the current coronavirus crisis, not to mention its important implications for the roles of government and press in a democracy. CNN and other media outlets treat CDC, NIH, and WHO pronouncements as infallible truths. In fact, regulatory capture has made these agencies subsidiaries of Big Pharma, and the lies that CDC has been telling us about flu are now muddying the debate over coronavirus.

Furthermore, of the mere 257 cases that could reasonably be blamed on the flu in CDC’s mortality data, only 7 percent were laboratory confirmed cases of influenza.

1. CNN assertion: In your annual flu shot promotions, you routinely parrot CDC’s estimates of overall flu deaths which have ranged in recent years from 36,000 for the 1990-1991 flu season to 80,000 for the 2017-2018 flu season.

Fact: The HHS’s mortality and morbidity data — available on the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) website — show that CDC’s (and CNN’s) annual estimates are off by orders of magnitude.

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