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Where Will Ms. Elizabeth Warren Be On March 18th...

...Among the Mayfair (or on that day the Hibernian) swells or at the Saint Patrick's' Day Peace Parade in South Boston with-

Those that are audacious and bold enough, in the street and at the seats of government, to, proudly and loudly through hard-bitten experience, put the words veteran and peace in the same sentence, and mean it.  Damn how we mean it.

*Those who, sometimes lonely, unheard  and unheralded, keep up the fight against war, from old time Vietnam to the now war drum beat threatened strike on Iran, alive on the vigil corners of Park Street, Copley Square, Arlington, Newton Center, Watertown Square and a hundred other often wind-swept streets and squares.  

* Those who have, as a matter of simple democratic and social decency,  proudly and publicly expressed their sexual  preferences and do not want to be shunted off into some airless closet on Saint Patrick’s Day, or any other day.  

*Those who cry out to the high heavens against the notion that living and breathing while being black, Hispanic, Moslem, or just plain ordinary different, is a crime.    

*Those who fiercely defy those who howl in the night, blood red in their eyes, when they rail that immigrant –created America be walled off against those who lately come to these shores.    

 *Those who “speak,” speak in the public squares, at the seats of government, and in the courtrooms, for those political prisoner sisters and brothers whom governments have attempted to silently entomb behind the walls.

*Those who are workers, or who support workers struggles, like at Verizon, out on the don’t cross picket lines and who stand for the private and public union principle-“No More Wisconsins”

*Those that organize and physically put themselves on the line to stand up to the banks and other financial institutions on public service rate increases and when foreclosure and evictions days come around.

*Those of the Occupy movement who, inexpertly, perhaps somewhat haphazardly and fitfully, have nevertheless attempted to provide a platform for the voiceless.

*And those who struggle against the myriad other hurts and oppressions of this wicked old world too numerous to mention here at the cost of sounding cranky and long-winded.

I don’t know where Elizabeth Warren will be on March 18th but I know where I will be, and gladly.

All Out On March 18th for the Saint Patrick’s Day Peace Parade- Chocky Ar La (rough, very rough, phonetic Gaelic translation- “Our Day Will Come”)

Al Johnson, member VFP, Saint Patrick’s Day Peace Parade Organizing Committee (used for identification only, although I hope I have caught the spirit of both groups)  
***    
Veterans For Peace

Call for Help

Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade

Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice

When: Sunday, March 18-2:00 PM

Where: South Boston- form up outside the Broadway Redline Station-follow the VFP flags to the staging area.

Please join us for our Second Annual Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, the

Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice.

Once again Veterans for Peace have been denied their application to walk in the official Saint Patrick’s Parade in South Boston. Last year they gave us a reason for the denial, “They did not want the word Peace associated with the word Veteran”. Well last year, in three weeks’ time, we pulled our own permit and had our own parade with 500 participants. We had to walk one mile behind the traditional parade. We had lead cars with our older vets as Grand Marshals, Vets For Peace, MFSO, Code Pink and numerous other local peace groups.

Also: Seventeen years ago the gay and bisexual groups in Boston were also denied. They were the first groups we reached out to and invited them to walk in our parade. Last year we had Join the Impact with us. We also had church / religious groups, and labor. Last year we stole the press, it was a controversy and we received front page coverage and editorial articles in all of the major newspapers, radio and television reports.

This year we anticipate 2,000 people in our parade, multiple bands, we have a Duck Boat, the Ragging Grannies will be singing from the top of the boat. We have a trolley for older folks not able to walk. We may have floats. We will have multiple street bands, a large religious division, a large labor division and “Occupy Everywhere” division, including Occupy Boston and numerous other Occupy groups.

All we need is you, your VFP chapter, peace groups, GLBT groups, religious and labor groups and Occupy groups. Please come to Boston and join us in this fabulous parade.

Please see the attached flyer and a description of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, its history and where we are.

On behalf of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade Organizing Committee.

Thank you,

Pat Scanlon (VN 69’)

Coordinator, VFP Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade

patscanlonmusic@yahoo.com

978-475-1776

MassPeaceAction:

Cole Harrison 617-354-2169 infor@MassPeaceAction.org

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/...

Facebook.com/smedleyvfp

Web: smedleyvfp.org

Twitter: @SmedleyVFP
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From Veterans For Peace:

Saint Patrick's Peace Parade-History

Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice

Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland was a man of peace. Saint Patrick's Day should be a day to celebrate Saint Patrick and the Irish Heritage of Boston and the contributions of the Irish throughout American history. In Boston the parade should be a day to celebrate the changes in our culture, the ethnic, religious diversity, points of views and politics of our great City of Boston. For on Saint Patrick's Day we are all Irish.

Saint Patrick Day parades have been held in Boston since 1737 (Unofficial parades). In 1901 Evacuation Day was declared a holiday in the City of Boston. Because of the coincidence of the proximity of the two holidays the celebrations were combined and for the past forty years the Allied War Veterans Council have been organizing the Saint Patrick's Day Parade, turning what should be the celebration of Saint Patrick, the Irish Heritage and History into a military parade.

In 2011, the local chapter of Veterans For Peace, the Smedley Butler Brigade submitted an application to march in the traditional Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Veterans For Peace is a national veterans organization with 130 chapters across the country. The Smedley Butler Brigade has over 200 members locally. Its members range from veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq and the Afghanistan War. All Veterans For Peace wanted to do was to march in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade and carry their flags and banners. Their application was denied by the "Allied War Council". When the organizer of the parade, Phil Wuschke, was asked why their application was denied, he stated, "Because they did not want to have the word peace associated with the word Veteran". They were also told that they were too political, as if the Saint Patrick's Day Parade and other activities surrounding the parade are not political.

Veterans For Peace subsequently filed for their own permit for the Saint Patrick's Peace Parade. Seventeen years ago, the gay and bisexual community (GLBT) had also applied to march in the parade and like the veterans were denied. GBLT sued the Allied War Council and the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, resulting in the Hurley Decision, named after Wacko Hurley, the ruler supreme of the parade. This decision states that whoever is organizing the parade has the right to say who is in and who can be excluded from the parade, no questions asked. Even though the City of Boston will spend in excess of $300,000.00 in support of this parade, they have no say in who can be in the parade. The Saint Patrick's Day Parade should be sponsored by the City of Boston and not by a private group, who have secretive, private meetings, not open to the public and who practice discrimination and exclusion.

In the case of Veterans For Peace, if you are carrying a gun or drive a tank you can be in the parade, if you are a veteran of the US Military and carrying a peace symbol, you are excluded. Once Veterans For Peace had their parade permit in hand the first group they reached out to was the gay and bisexual community in Boston. "You were not allowed to walk in their parade seventeen years ago, how would you like to walk in our parade" The response was immediate and Join the Impact, one of many GLBT organizations in the Boston area enthusiastically joined the Saint Patrick's Peace Parade, the alternative people’s parade. Because of another Massachusetts's Court decision the "Saint Patrick's Peace Parade" had to walk one mile behind the traditional parade. With only three weeks to organize the parade when it stepped off this little parade had over 500 participants, grand marshals, a Duck Boat, a band, veterans, peace groups, church groups, GBLT groups, labor groups and more. It was a wonderful parade and was very warmly welcomed by the residents of South Boston.

This year, once again, Veterans For Peace submitted an application to the "Allied War Council" for the inclusion of the small "Saint Patrick's Peace Parade" into the larger parade. Once again the Veterans were denied;

"Your application has been reviewed, we refer you to the Supreme Court ruling on June 19,1995your application to participate in the March 18,2012 Saint Patrick's Day Parade had been denied"

No reason given as to why, just denied. This should be unacceptable to every citizen of Boston, especially the politicians who will be flocking to the Breakfast and Roast on March 18th. This kind of exclusion should not be condoned nor supported by anyone in the City of Boston, especially our elected political leaders.

Just in case the Allied War Council has not noticed, South Boston is no longer a strictly Irish Catholic community. In fact the Irish are no longer a majority in South Boston. The community is much more diverse in 2012 in ethnicity, life styles, religion, points of view and politics then it was forty years ago. Times have changed, the City has changed, the population has changed, and social norms have changed. People are much more accepting of those that may be different, have a different religion, customs or ideas. We are a much more inclusive society, everyone that is except the antiquated Allied War Veterans.

It is time for the Saint Patrick's Day Parade to be inclusive of these differing groups. It is time for the Saint Patrick's Day Parade to be reflective of the changes in our culture. It is time for this parade to include groups of differing life styles, points of views and politics or the City of Boston should take back this parade. There is no place in Boston or anywhere in this country for bigotry, hatred, censorship, discrimination and exclusion. This should be a day of celebration, for all the peoples of the great City of Boston to come together, to celebrate Saint Patrick and our Irish History and Heritage. In 2012 this parade should be inclusive and also celebrate what makes us Americans, what makes this country great, our multi-ethnic diversity, differing life-styles, religious affiliations, differing politics and points of views. All of us should wear the green; no one should be excluded, since on Saint Patrick's Day we are all Irish.

Discuss

Fritz, old battle-scarred and battle-weary purple-hearted Fritz Taylor, Vietnam, 1969-1971, Fritz John Taylor RA048433691 to be exact, was still in a reflective mood a few days after he had made his way from home town Adamsville to the downtown Boston waterfront. To the jut of land Christopher Columbus Park for what he was not sure, exactly, was either the third or fourth annual Veterans For Peace counter-Memorial Day commemoration (really counter-traditional observance). And while he was glad, glad as hell, and felt about ten feet tall for a while, that he had done so these observance, memory trips triggered many old days Vietnam thoughts, too many sometimes. Although, mercifully, mercifully for his “sweet pea,” his better other, Lillian, not this time(he had named her that for her sunny disposition, and her tough determination to give him a home to feel planted in and, early on, a little anti-war “religion” bump start too).

This time his thoughts dwelt on an old comrade-in-arms from ‘Nam, Johnny Jakes, a buddy who had just recently passed away after a long struggle with about seven known medical complications, and about twelve unknown ones, including the mysterious war-frenzy disease (not carried by him, not quiet, unassuming Johnny Jakes, but caught from others, family others, Richard Nixon and his crowd others, VFW and American Legion others, back in the day, and now too for that matter, although the names of the frenzied have changed, if not the frenzy).

Yes, John Lee Jakes, Johnny Jakes out of nowhere Georgia (actually Dalton Junction but we will call it nowhere, okay), or a nowhere that Fritz, northern boy Fritz, had ever heard of, and from Johnny’s night stories, sometimes night barroom stories along the way, no where he needed to go. And as long as the two had known each other, and as many adventures, dead-ends, wrong roads, and, occasionally, a right road they had traveled together in a forty year friendship, through hot and cold friendship phases, he had never been there. And Johnny never pressed the issue, never pressed it after he told Fritz the rough outline details, the blood-stained, sweat-fermented, star-spangled details. And the story, the thoughtless rush to war, the hoopla three-ring circus, brass band blaring, waving off soldier boys at the station story, was not that unfamiliar then. Fritz had been caught up in a little quieter cousin of that same story. Fritz hoped against hope to high heaven that the story was uncommon now but he felt, felt deep in his war- scarred gut, that that was not true. But right now it is Johnny’s turn in the limelight. Speak, good god, quiet, unassuming Johnny Jakes speak, and maybe it will become an uncommon story:

“Jakes, and for that matter McKays (my mother’s side), have fought out of little nowhere Georgia in all of the American military adventures since back in Civil War times. Naturally that Civil War military adventure was under the auspices of the Confederate version of American military adventures but don’t tell me, my kin, my brethren, or any complete Southern stranger that it was a failed, flawed or any of that other yankee stuff about cloud-puff dreams for bad, or ugly, reasons. Let’s just say, so we stay even now, that we fought, that there was an honored tradition of fighting, and any odd-ball relative, male of course, our women don’t fight but stay at home and worry, who didn’t, well, I never heard about anyone like that so I don’t know what would have happened. We fought, some of us bled, and most of us grabbed a fist-full of medals along the way. And our womenfolk cheered us on, as we left for the world’s fronts at that still working little nowhere Georgia railroad station that took us to some god-forsaken military camp. We mostly came back that same way, mostly okay but not all, and not my father, Jefferson Davis Jakes.

See Jefferson Davis Jakes, before the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor, was the king hell-raiser of Forsythe County, was known far and wide as such and was not known to back down from anything, anything any male, or female for that matter, put in his way. But little did anyone know, anyone in the public know, that old Jeff (that’s the name he liked to be called by in latter life, by friend and foe alike, so I will use it here), was smitten by my mother, Doris McKay Jakes, so smitten that he had turned to putty in her hands. Not things that anyone, anyone in public anyway, would notice. All they would see is a king-hell-raiser and maybe a cut or other wound for their efforts, or the wise ones would cut a wide path away from his fury. But Doris had a spell over him, and he craved being with her, craved it more than anything, even being king hell-raiser of Forsythe County. Soft, and he knew it. So when those Jap bombs landed at Pearl and all Georgia thought it was William Tecumseh Sherman returned to burn the land and every red-blooded, hell, every any- blooded male, even black guys, were running to the railroad station to get signed up Jefferson Davis Jakes hesitated, hesitated just that minute, just that Doris McKay back home minute. Until Doris McKay, no squeamish damsel, and maybe with some vision of Scarlett O’Hara, pushed dad out the door- “Go now, and go fast.” And I will quote here, quote because I heard it about six times a year, at least, the first few years of growing up, “Kill every Jap you can get your hands on, and more if you can. And when you come back I will be a Jakes, and proudly.” So naturally she and half the town show up at that nowhere train station to see the boys, including in the lead my father, off.

And as such scenes go that is the nice, upbeat part. The not so up-beat part was that after almost four years of South Pacific war, relentless, heat-scrabbled, hell-underbrush and hard rock-scrabbled war on more nowhere islands than one would think possible as big as the Pacific is Jefferson Davis Jakes, Jakes fist-full of medals collected, some odd souvenirs of as many Japs as he could collect, and only a few small purple heart wounds he returned home, home to his ever-loving Doris McKay. They married, as Doris had promised, and they had four children, all boys, including number two, me, John Lee Jakes. Just a normal American post World War II scenario.

Hold on; hold on just a minute, please. Jefferson Davis Jakes came home, and to the public eye, he seemed just like the pre-war king hell-raiser of Forsythe County. But on some nights, sometimes late at night, after a few hours of hard, hard drinking he would go up into the attic of the old-time Jakes home where we lived and begin to howl, howl like a wolf at the moon. And everyone around thought that was what it was. We knew better, or got to know better, especially Ma. This went on for a few years, every once in a while, but as time went on more frequently as such things do. And dad got quieter, more home quiet, although out in public he was still Jefferson Davis Jakes whose family had fought in this country’s battles since back in Civil War days. Then one night when I was eight he went up to the attic and we didn’t hear him howl like we expected. A few minutes later we heard a shot, one shot. They buried Jefferson Davis Jakes with full military honors down at our nowhere Georgia cemetery, believing the story we had concocted about his having interrupted an intruder and had accidentally discharged his old M-1. And that was the end of it.”

Fritz thought; well, not quite the end of it. Once nowhere Georgia heard about the commies in Vietnam in the 1960s every red-blooded male, hell, every any-blooded male, even black guys, headed down to the fading railroad station to sign up. Including quiet, unassuming John Lee Jakes, the late Johnny Jakes. But see Johnny had also hesitated, hesitated just that non-Jakes moment, just that Doris McKay Jakes moment. Until Doris McKay, still no squeamish damsel, and maybe still with some vision of Scarlett O’Hara, pushed Johnny out the door- “Go now, and go fast. Kill every gook you can get your hands on, and more if you can.”
***
John Brown

John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
His mama sure was proud of him!
He stood straight and tall in his uniform and all
His mama’s face broke out all in a grin

“Oh son, you look so fine, I’m glad you’re a son of mine
You make me proud to know you hold a gun
Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get
And we’ll put them on the wall when you come home”

As that old train pulled out, John’s ma began to shout
Tellin’ ev’ryone in the neighborhood:
“That’s my son that’s about to go, he’s a soldier now, you know”
She made well sure her neighbors understood

She got a letter once in a while and her face broke into a smile
As she showed them to the people from next door
And she bragged about her son with his uniform and gun
And these things you called a good old-fashioned war
Oh! Good old-fashioned war!

Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they did not come
They ceased to come for about ten months or more
Then a letter finally came saying, “Go down and meet the train
Your son’s a-coming home from the war”

She smiled and went right down, she looked everywhere around
But she could not see her soldier son in sight
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
When she did she could hardly believe her eyes

Oh his face was all shot up and his hand was all blown off
And he wore a metal brace around his waist
He whispered kind of slow, in a voice she did not know
While she couldn’t even recognize his face!
Oh! Lord! Not even recognize his face

“Oh tell me, my darling son, pray tell me what they done
How is it you come to be this way?”
He tried his best to talk but his mouth could hardly move
And the mother had to turn her face away

“Don’t you remember, Ma, when I went off to war
You thought it was the best thing I could do?
I was on the battleground, you were home . . . acting proud
You wasn’t there standing in my shoes”

“Oh, and I thought when I was there, God, what am I doing here?
I’m a-tryin’ to kill somebody or die tryin’
But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
And I saw that his face looked just like mine”
Oh! Lord! Just like mine!

“And I couldn’t help but think, through the thunder rolling and stink
That I was just a puppet in a play
And through the roar and smoke, this string is finally broke
And a cannonball blew my eyes away”

As he turned away to walk, his Ma was still in shock
At seein’ the metal brace that helped him stand
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
And he dropped his medals down into her hand

Copyright © 1963, 1968 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991, 1996 by Special Rider Music

Discuss

Memorial Day for Peace

When: Monday, May 30, 2011, 1:00 pm
Where: Christopher Columbus Park • Atlantic Ave. at Long Wharf • Aquarium T • Boston

Start: 2011 May 30 - 1:00pm

Please join Veterans For Peace, Military Families Speak Out, United for Justice with Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee for a ceremony for Peace on Memorial Day.

Speakers to include:
John Schuchardt – House of Peace, Ipswich, MA

Ross Caputi – Marine veteran of the Iraq War (2003 – 2006)
President of Boston University Anti-War Coalition

Kevin & Joyce Lucey, parents of Corporal Jeffrey Lucey, U.S. M.C.

Melida & Carlos Arredondo, Gold Star Families for Peace, parents of Marine Lance Corporal Alex Arredondo U.S,M.C.

Oday Mahmood & Ayfer AbedAljibar– Iraqi Refugees – Will speak on behalf of the new Iraqi community here in Massachusetts.

James Vanloy – Poet

John Olivere – Singer Songwriter
***
Fritz, old battle-scarred and battle-weary purple-hearted Fritz Taylor, Vietnam, 1969-1971, Fritz John Taylor, RA048433691 to be exact, had to laugh as he made his way from Adamsville to the downtown Boston waterfront. To the green jut of land Christopher Columbus Park (and that name, causing further bemusement when he first heard the locale, could itself tell a big story about the old days European-centered military adventures to the Americas)for what he was not sure, exactly, was either the third or fourth annual Veterans For Peace counter-Memorial Day commemoration (really counter-traditional observance).

Fritz had not laughed a funny laugh as he was prone to do these days when something struck him as unusual, but laughed out loud at the thought of a no-go, not even boot camp as far as he knew, commander-in chief of all the American imperial armed forces , United States President Barack Obama, suddenly warming up to his post-Osama Bin Laden kill authorization (after having , vicariously, watched the SEAL action in “real time”) very consciously earlier this day placing himself at the center of the Memorial Day action in Arlington National Cemetery trying to draw succor from the ghost of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. Talking aimlessly, or maybe better superficially, about valor, about the good of the cause, about the last full measure of devotion, and lastly, what war in the end is all about, saving your buddy’s ass, or he yours.

But see, to Fritz’s way of thinking, Lincoln at least had the advantage, the very distinct advantage, of not only having said those kinds of words and those kinds of sentiments first and therefore in a more free-lance, free-wheeling eloquent way but said them at humankind's hallowed Gettysburg in the wake of what turned out to the decisive great Northern victory (along with Grant’s Vicksburg victory) in a war, that by hook or by crook, turned chattel slavery times out the door.

What could one imperial chief, Barack Obama, today draw on for succor? Leading a 50,000 troop wind-down in Iraq, a thoughtlessly unjust war if there ever was one, with more than its fair share of collateral damage, read American troop-driven civilian killings, and to call it by its right name murder. Yes, yes, by all means Fritz Taylor knew, knew chapter and verse, that when it did not really count one non-president Barack Obama opposed George’s Follies but that was then, and this, this was desperately now with the latest headlines out of Baghdad announcing a 200,000 mass march calling for an American withdrawal post-haste. And Fritz Taylor, Fritz Taylor who had gotten “religion” on the subject of war, on collateral damage, on don’t give a damn about spent soldiers’ lives since those lost Vietnam days, lost in some drug addiction time, some newspaper-strewn park bench time, some lost family connection time, took a moment to reflect on that fact, and to murmur softly to himself- Obama, Mr. President, since Fritz is putting things in a more kindly fashion now- get the hell out of Iraq, completely out, and stay out.

And Fritz had to laugh, and the nature of that laugh need not be repeated here, about how big bad Barrack Obama, whom almost every non-veteran of any battle, except maybe the battle for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008, or of the bar stool in some ill-lit barroom but those don’t count in real battle scars world, has been touting as some kind of Gandhian pacifist while constantly upping the ante in Afghanistan since about day one of his administration, the troop commitment ante, the one that really counts. And making that ill-conceived policy the lynch-pin for his whole world-wide war strategy, with no serious end date in sight (and no congressional oversight to stop him, according to a recent vote on the question of war budget authorizations-the real deal when it comes to war policy).

Fritz’s thoughts just then as well dwelled on the more recent, the more off-hand stuff, the several hundred drones attacks in Pakistan, the few thousand, give or take, cruise missiles (oops, that’s a NATO operation, he forgot, sorry) in Libya and the general policeman of the world carrying a big stick, a very big stick indeed, in the rest of the world. So he felt compelled to murmur under his breathe, no really curse under his breathe, Mr. President, Fritz still being the soul of politeness these days, these got anti-war “religion,” drug- free, alcohol-free, stable home under his feet days, get the hell out of Afghanistan and stay out. And while you are at it, Mr. Obama, keep American hands off, way off the rest of the world, as he then saw the first of several white dove on black background Veterans for Peace (VFP) flags flying in the wind down near the ferry docks adjacent to this Columbus honor park.

And while a moment ago he raged with grievous anger at the American imperial state and its two-bit sheriff (oops, sorry again, President) he felt calmer, as he always felt calmer, when he spied the white-doved, black-background flags because that meant kindred, mainly Vietnam-era kindred but sprinkles of others as well. Guys, mostly, and a few women as well, now graying guys, seriously graying guys, now walking a little more haltingly due to life’s toll, now maybe not in that tip-top shape that made them prime Grade A cannon fodder back in the days, who had been through battles, real battles and post-war battles, some of them anyway just like him, whom he always argued had more than enough “cred” when anti-war talk time came around. And others, other anti-warriors, who only credentials were some well-written papers, some well-spoken speech, or a safely-protected street march in some big or middle-sized American city or town who knew, knew deep in their hearts that Fritz’s point was true. And they were deferential, sometimes just a little too paternally or maternally deferential, when the big brassy white flag-draped veterans came marching their way.

Oh sure, this third (or was it fourth) commemoration was not well-attended, maybe a hundred, not the thousands standing on those big and mid-sized city and town street corners, or walking past those benighted American flag-bedecked blessed sweet good night grave sites with their complements of still-grieving kin, but this place, this momentarily hallowed anti-war place is not measured by numbers this day but by remembrance, hard-earned remembrance, hard-earned rage against the night cannon fodder-used and folly remembrance. And, oh sure, the speeches, the speeches by those graying activists, with just the barest sprinkle of newer Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans, were directed at that hundred angel choir of kindred. And Fritz, having heard every anti-war argument before, having heard every political prisoner Private Bradley Manning story before, having heard about the collateral damage, foreign division, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Palestine, civilian horror story before; and every collateral damage, domestic division, devastated military families story before still drank in the words. And said his fair share of old-time protest “right on,” brother, or sister. And yelled loudly and proudly, “Free Bradley Manning.” Yes, these days Bradley Manning’s fight is us, our younger fighting spirit us. The torch has now been passed to the new guys, and the couple of hours as well. Fritz Taylor just for that moment felt ten feet tall for having made this day’s journey. He was charged-up again.

On the way home, or rather on the way to meet, over near the Adamsville River, his better other, Lillian, his “sweet pea” he had named her for her sunny disposition, and her tough determination to give him a home to feel planted in and, early on, a little anti-war “religion” bump start too he passed, as thinking about it later he should have expected, a very different Memorial Day celebration sponsored by the Adamsville Veterans Of Foreign Wars (VFW). Before he got “religion” he had spent many a cheap drinks drinking hour at that same VFW hall, or the American Legion hall farther up the street, and had thought nothing of retelling many bar stool battle stories to anyone who would listen. And listen they did because Fritz had another kind of “cred” in those days, battle-tested credentials, as against the state-side duty and or rear area supply sergeants that populate these VFW and American Legion barrooms.

But right now he was chagrined at this tactless “celebration” going on before his eyes, complete with family-friendly barbecue, pony rides and merry-go-round for the kids, and more thoughtless, neglected and discarded American flags than one could shake a stick at. Those quickly passed scenes momentarily brought back to Fritz’s mind ancient unhealed, unheal-able, wounds, and ancient, also unheal-able, angers as well. What was not ancient, although also unheal-able, was when, as he quietly passed by, some long-in-the-tooth ex- supply sergeant VFW honcho noticed Fritz’s still shirt-pinned buttons calling for Obamian troop withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and freedom for Private Bradley Manning and called him a “commie”. Fritz thought, jesus, where has this guy been but he also reflected, especially seeing the kids unconsciously drink in the warrior atmospherics that went with this celebration, that charged-up or not, he still had a hell of a lot of work to do. A hell of a lot.

Discuss

Why I Will Be Standing In Solidarity With Private Bradley Manning On June 4th- A Personal Note From An Ex-Soldier Political Prisoner

This entry originated for the March 20th Manning support rally but the points still apply for the June 4th Fort Leavensworth rally.  

Markin comment:

Why I Will Be Standing In Solidarity With Private Bradley Manning At Quantico, Virginia On Sunday March 20th At 2:00 PM- A Personal Note From An Ex-Soldier Political Prisoner

Of course I will be standing at the front gate to the Quantico Marine Base on March 20th because I stand in solidarity with the actions of Private Bradley Manning in bringing to light, just a little light, some of the nefarious doings of this government, Bush-like or Obamian. If he did such acts. I sleep just a shade bit easier these days knowing that Private Manning (or someone) exposed what we all knew, or should have known- the Iraq war and the Afghan war justification rested on a house of card. American imperialism’s house of cards, but cards nevertheless.

Of course I will be standing at the front gate to the Quantico Marine Base on March 20th because I am outraged by the treatment of Private Manning meted to a presumably innocent man by a government who alleges itself to be some “beacon” of the civilized world. The military has gotten more devious although not smarted since I was soldier in their crosshairs over forty years ago. Allegedly Private Manning might become so distraught over his alleged actions that he requires extraordinary protections. He is assumed, in the Catch-22 logic of the military, to be something of a suicide risk on the basis of bringing some fresh air to the nefarious doings of the international imperialist order. Be serious. I, however, noticed no ‘spike” in suicide rates among the world’s diplomatic community once they were exposed, a place where such activities might have been expected once it was observed in public that most of these persons could barely tie their own shoes.

Now the two reasons above are more than sufficient reasons for my standing at the front gate to the Quantico Marine Base on March 20th although they, in themselves, are only the appropriate reasons that any progressive thinking person would need to show up and shout to the high heavens for Private Manning’s freedom. I have an addition reason though, a very pressing personal reason. As mentioned above I too was in the military’s crosshairs as a soldier during the height of the Vietnam War. I will not go into the details of that episode, this after all is about soldier Manning, other than that I spent my own time in an Army stockade for, let’s put it this way, working on the principle of “what if they gave a war and nobody came.” Forty years later I am still working off that principle, and gladly. But here is the real point. During that time I had outside support, outside civilian support, that rallied on several occasions outside the military base where I was confined. Believe me that knowledge helped me through the tough days inside. So on March 20th I am just, as I have been able to on too few other occasions over years, paying my dues for that long ago support. You, brother, are true winter soldier.

Private Manning I hope that you will hear us, or hear about our rally in your defense. Better yet, everybody who read this join us and make sure that he can hear us loud and clear. And let us shout to those high heavens mentioned above-Free Private Bradley Manning Now!

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The Class Lines Are Drawn- Solidarity With The Wisconsin Public Workers Unions- The Question Of A One Day General Strike Is Posed.

Markin comment:
 
The French workers (and others, like the volatile students, at times) have made an art form out of the one day political general strike (some, including this writer, would say too much of an art form to the exclusion of posing the struggle for power, as in May 1968, but that argument is for another day). The Greek workers are starting to get the hang of it, after the last year or so of episodic efforts. The Spanish, Portuguese and other working classes are not far behind. And, of course, the workers and students (well, better said, young people) of the Middle East have shown that even if it is not called a general strike they know how to use the form, and use it very effectively. So this is not some pipe dream proposition but reflects, or very soon will reflect, a felt need by the today’ front line class struggle fighters –the Wisconsin public workers unions- in order to survive.

Now what I propose is that every militant (proud leftist or just plain trade union proud, or both) go before their union executive boards, central labor councils, or whatever unified labor organizations are at hand and place the idea of a one day general strike before their memberships. For those not in unions start talking this idea up among your co-workers.  Students, the unemployed, the retired, and everyone else who is not in that two percent that controls ninety percent of the wealth of this country can go before their respective organizations as well. The lines are drawn, the class struggle is heating up whether we want it to or not, and there are many other states that are ready to emulate Wisconsin’s Governor Walker if he succeeds in his union-busting efforts. An injury to one is an injury to all. Fight for a one day general strike in support of Wisconsin’s (and other states’) public workers unions!          

More later.

Discuss

The wraps are off, the masks are off, and everyone to the left of Genghis Klan better get ready for a "street fight" to defend the public square.  

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Markin comment:

This is an easy one-Obama-Immediate, Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S./Allied Troops From Afghanistan And Iraq! Not One Penny, Not One Person For These Imperial Wars!

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The Streets Are Not For Dreaming - We Need An All Out Anti-War Push To Get Out Of Afghanistan- And We Need To Start Now

This entry is in response to the recent House approval of the Obama Afghan War supplemental budget request. That's extra dough on top of the "regular" Afghan war budget. We won't even mention the "regular" regular war budget-the 700 billion one.

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Here is a little different take on the "dust-up" between the civilan and military elites today. The "dust-up", unfortunately, has not changed the direction of Obamian Afghan policy.  

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Things are looking grim, very grim. Apparently the inside story all along was not whether to increase troop levels but rather by how much and from what sources. In any case this is now, without question and in plain view for all to see, Nobel 'Peace' Prize winner Barack Obama's war

Well, boys and girls, the time for Obamian illusions is over. It is time to settle up. The streets are not for dreaming now. Get the poster boards, the old bed sheets, magic markers, paint and cell phones ready. "Obama-Immediate Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S./Allied Troops From Afghanistan ((And Iraq And Pakistan Too!)"

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This Is Not Your Father’s War- But It May Be Your Children’s- Obama’s Afghan War-

Vote No With Both Hands On The War Budget

President withholds torture photos as national security measure. President revives military tribunals. Congress gets ready to pass President’s supplementary Afghan/Iraq war budgets. Correct me if I am wrong but is this May 15, 2008 or May 15, 2009. These are headlines formerly associated with the Cheney/Bush Administration. For those who are ready to shed a few dogmatic illusions the contours of the Age of Obama are starting to come into focus. And it isn’t pretty. The streets are not for dreaming now. Read on.    

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Tue May 12, 2009 at 03:31 PM PDT

The “Age Of Obama” Talkin’ Blues

by markin

I don’t know if the music of this message comes out the same on the page as the music in my head as I write it but I send my thanks to Mr. Woody Guthrie who made an art form out of the talking blues, and to Mr. Bob Dylan for continuing the tradition.

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