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Detroit’s July ’67 Rebellion…

As we approached Detroit at 5,000 feet, I could see a dozen columns of black smoke climbing into the still July air. Hitting an inversion layer, the smoke spread out forming a great vaulted ceiling over the city.

It was all quite surreal. I was conscious of Lenin’s return to revolutionary Russia in a sealed train. No ego-mania, just a sign of how seriously we took our politics back then.

Early that Sunday morn, July 23rd, I got a call from a comrade in Detroit advising me to return immediately, “The revolution is on!” “Revolution” was a bit over the top, but it was most certainly one hell of a rebellion. more…

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Voting, Democracy & Revolution…

This is a monologue of a few ideas that are irritatingly rolling around in my brain like a BB in a boxcar. It’s longer than my usual articles, given the subject matter. I ‘spect it’s not the final word…

One of my earliest memories was listening to a political campaign on the radio—1944? ’48?—and asking my mother what was meant by “Democrats and Republicans?”

She answered in her Irish-New England lilt, “Republicans are the rich people, Nicky. Democrats are the rest of us.”  I admit, that always stuck with me. more…

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Praise the Warrior, Not the War…

By 1968, with more than 500,000 troops in Vietnam, many were returning home from the war.  Survivors usually served 13 months in-country, unlike the multiple deployments today. And, of course, Vietnam was the last war of involuntary conscription…unlike the “poverty draft” today.

Gallop polls back in 1967 indicated 52% of the American public was opposed to the war. With mass demonstrations growing, the American antiwar movement welcomed many Vietnam veterans into its ranks (besides, we had rock ‘n roll, dope, long hair and free love…where else were they gonna go?).

As a Vietnam era veteran of the 101st Airborne (1959-61), I co-founded the Veterans Against the War (VAW, 1967) in Detroit, Michigan. With other national vet groups, we then helped found the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). By May of 1970, there were some 50,000 members of the VVAW. more…

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Qui Nous Sommes…

Who we are is obviously quite different than what the public believes.  At least it’s obvious to most anyone who enters the prison system—whatever their moral/political framework.

More than a game...

 

Like Vietnam veterans, felons/prisoners are attaining a self and social identification that is increasingly integrated with their other relationships.

Given the reality of the current American criminal justice system, a fewer percentage every day are social predators, as is increasingly the condition of those who rule and enforce.

People will not long live in fear before that emotion turns to action.  Felons will not always identify themselves as “criminals,” at least not the sort that is politically imposed upon them.  more…

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