Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Lee Siu hin
Herbert P. Bix
Eleanor J. Bader
William e. Alberts
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
I remember when I met Dave Dellinger. It was May 1971—a few weeks after hundreds of antiwar actions around the country, including the militant Mayday civil disobedience in Washington, DC and an unprecedented, more traditional, all day sit-in of 5,000 at the federal building in Boston, Massachusetts.
I had been active for about a year as a staff member of the Boston People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice (BPCPJ), which organized the Boston sit-in. Three of us were chosen to represent BPCPJ at a national steering committee meeting in Washington. Because PCPJ was a multi-issue coalition to “end the war and address human needs in the U.S.,” it included antiwar, religious, welfare rights, the Communist Party, and the Weatherpeople. Needless to say, national meetings could be cantankerous affairs with ideologies and personalities determining preferred tactics, which could be miles apart.
New to the movement, I thought it was all about stopping a war; as well as a chance to feel good about myself because I was doing something positive. But it seemed there were these different ideologies and something called “having an analysis.” Nobody would tell me what that was or why this analysis was needed, but I interpreted it to mean don’t speak up if you haven’t got it.
Dellinger was there, in the middle of this, enjoying the debate, respectful of all, but firm in his convictions, which seemed based less on ideology and more on humane principles—peace, justice, compassion, community, and solidarity. Actually, he was what I thought someone in the movement for peace and justice would be like—a nice human being, sensitive to hypocrisy, with a sense of humor, not judgmental, never confusing style with substance, keeping an eye on principles and not getting bogged down in tactics, behavior, or personalities. Dellinger seemed to radiate what activist Lee Siu Hin writes about in this issue—“love and hope.”
His attitude was partly why I stayed active. Eventually, I got an “analysis” of sorts, but for me it still came down to finding opportunities—however fleeting—where I could bring some humanity into the world. More than that, it meant finding a place where I could express the best part of me: love, not hate; solidarity, not stepping on people; action, not passive indifference; commitment, not apathy; community, not isolation. I guess that’s why I never identified with one special issue over another (feminism, classism, racism, etc.). They all seemed connected and part of the humanity that Dellinger was able to maintain throughout his long life.
Looking back, there have been many reasons to give up. Even with recent hopeful signs from the World Social Forums, as well as the anti-corporate globalization movement, it is difficult to hold on to our principles and humanity when the world is falling apart all around us.
All these years of organizing and we get Bush and company, war without end, and the USA PATRIOT Act.
Recently, on the evening news, the co-anchor cheerily told Bostonians that they could expect something new on the subway: random searches. She could have been giving the weather report; the tone was the same.
Then there was the nauseating coverage of a week of “mourning” for Ronald Reagan, scripted like one of his badly acted movies. Even when reporters and commentators actually mentioned some of the more venal things that happened during his Administration, they managed to chuckle fondly over Reagan’s “humanity.” Here was one of the least popular (contrary to the media spin) and most morally reprehensible presidents in U.S. history (which is saying a lot), and he is celebrated in death like no other president since Kennedy was assassinated—maybe since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Watching TV pundits blather on about the beauty of Reagan’s “America” (mixing images of religious crosses with monuments to “democracy”) was almost too much to take, especially when compared with Dellinger’s life and work.
Through the years there have been more personal disappointments. How do we keep going when our humanity gets lost in analysis debates, compromises, attacks on our personalities, humiliations, manipulations, co-optations, and other day-to-day indignities? How do we watch much of the left either replicate the same corporate hierarchies it once criticized or get bogged down in competing hierarchies of oppressions or focus on a single issue while losing sight of others—or all of the above?
April I attended the March for Women’s Lives. On the one hand,
it was an incredible event. Its size alone made it successful—over
a million people—a kind of tribute to the early women’s
movement that fought valiantly for reproductive rights. The size,
in part, reflected what a handful of organizations with large, dues
paying memberships and years of hard work can do. The main message
was presented clearly: “Bush’s policies continue to be
a threat to women’s reproductive rights and his re-election
would put him in position to pick at least one Supreme Court justice,
if not more.” The website was easy to follow and helpful. There
was exemplary diversity among the speakers and the organizing groups,
if not in the crowd, which was mostly white, mostly women, mostly
middle class; with little visible presence from people of color
or from labor.
On the other hand, to me the March reflected a continuing “professionalizing” and packaging of one part of a once broad, even socialist feminist, movement against patriarchy, imperialism, and oppressions of class, gender, and race.
The Women’s March was a reminder, too, of a recurring movement dilemma: how do we continue to reach more and more people and stay true to our principles in the process? The answer has often been: dilute and repackage the message. But if the message is so diluted as to have little effect on the goal, then what’s the point? More importantly, if we stay true to our principles, how can a March for Women’s Lives feature speakers who have participated in or who praise past Administrations that have decimated women’s lives—the very cause we were marching for?
It was painful, then, to listen to Madeleine Albright, a featured speaker who—along with Hillary Clinton—praised Bill Clinton’s administration and roused the crowd to vote for Democrats in the November elections.
Even more appalling, in the run up to the March, Ms. Magazine ran a Robin Morgan interview with Albright in which Morgan, a radical feminist, praises Albright for the war in Kosovo (dubbed Madeleine’s War). Morgan fails to point out the imperial politics of that war and U.S. involvement in it. Likewise, she never mentions the infamous response to Leslie Stahl who asked Albright: “We have heard that a half a million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright’s response: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.” Well, there’s a new twist to being pro-choice, demonstrating how meaningless that slogan can be.
Everyone I talk to these days —radical or not—tells me how sickened they are by the current repressive political environment and agenda. I can’t help but dream of what might have been. If we had carried the “analysis” we developed over the years since the Vietnam War to a larger and larger group of people—without diluting it; if we had combined that message with long-term membership-based, dues paying, non-hierarchical institutions with broad progressive politics and overarching humane principles…. But we didn’t and I fear we might never prevail over these horrors without end.
Then I remember Dellinger. Love and hope. Thanks.
Lydia Sargent is co-founder of South End Press and Z Magazine . She has been a staff member of Z since 1988.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.