Volume 21, Number 7
Fannie Lou Hamer
Winter Soldier II
Behind the Scenes
Center for constitutional rights -- Ccr
CÃ©sar cuauhtÃ©moc GarcÃÂa hernÃ¡ndez
Pentagon's Toxic Legacy
Jeffrey st. Clair
Vietnam to Dude...
Body of War
Soldiers of Reason
Zinn's American Empire
Vision - Cooling Planet
Chomsky, Pappé Interview
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Utah Phillips, 1935 to 2008
Utah Phillips was born Bruce Duncan Phillips in Cleveland, Ohio in 1935. He decided early on that he would dedicate his time to social justice. By the mid-1950s, he was a veteran of the Korean War, damaged from the sights and sounds around him, a drifter with a taste for drink. Ending up in Salt Lake City, then 20-year-old Phillips arrived at the Joe Hill House, a shelter that was a part of the Catholic Worker movement, facilitated by Ammon Hennacy, an anarchist and associate of humanist and socialist Dorothy Day. Hennacy had a tremendous impact on Phillips, not only helping him to get clean and focused, but also by way of his radical beliefs. Phillips absorbed these ideas and, with the added influence from Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Borscht Belt comedians, and various country musicians, Phillips "created" U. Utah Phillips, the character whose life he'd live throughout the decades. Hennacy also introduced Phillips to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and Utah became a life-long, dues- paying member and activist with this global labor organization. He would later use many of Hennacy's teachings and statements in his oratories, at once satiric, sentimental, and revolutionary.
Though Phillips engaged in several noted career journeys (including an unsuccessful 1968 run for the Senate on the Peace and Freedom ticket), he will always be remembered as a folksinger. Making full use of the amazing IWW heritage of songs, Utah came to champion the IWW and their Little Red Songbook. His rounded baritone adorns more than one collection of recordings. In between writing many powerful originals songs, such as "All Used Up," Utah brought to life the ballads of Joe Hill, Ralph Chaplin, T-Bone Slim, and the "Unknown Proletariat."
Utah became something of a cult figure with the college crowd in later years. Two CDs with Ani DiFranco also brought him a bit of notoriety. But Utah always remained, well, Utah.
At a benefit concert on April 24, a month before he died, Utah spoke to a full auditorium. It didn't matter that it was his disembodied voice speaking over a cellphone held up to a microphone by Pete Seeger, one of the event's headliners. I was happy to be there to hear Utah's response to our benefit concert on his behalf, happier still to witness his warm exchange with Seeger, another elder fighting the good fight. The room on that sunny spring day in Rosendale, New York was dedicated to Utah Phillips. We'd come to help this man who'd been there for the greater "us" for decades. Utah told us of his life and plans for the future. Sure, he sounded tired, but we all thought that Utah would get through this latest challenge. He told us so. None would believe that he would pass away about a month later. At least we can say that it took a lot to silence him. But the echo of his work rings loudly, as sonorous as the music onstage that day from Seeger, Dar Williams, Redwood Moose, Sarah Underhill, Norm Wennet, Bill Vanaver, Flames of Discontent, and others.
Each time we take up a guitar, put pen to paper, speak our minds, or count our blessings, let's pause a moment for Utah Phillips.
John Pietaro is a labor organizer and cultural worker from New York (www. flamesofdiscontent.org).
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
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, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate 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.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org 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 the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
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 across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock 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.
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.
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.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.