Andreas Broeckmann on Tue, 8 Feb 2000 09:57:48 +0100


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Re: Syndicate: MORAL OUTRAGE AND POLITICAL ACTION


From: Verdejost@aol.com
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 12:05:39 EST
Subject: Re: Syndicate: MORAL OUTRAGE AND POLITICAL ACTION


Dear Andreas:

Is there some good reason why my occasional comments aren't sent out??  Re
the Austrian matter I sent something some days ago, and you don't publish it?
 Because its politically incorrect??  The left in Austria setup this mess
with its own clubby greedy corruption, a corruption which is readily admitted
by about every Austrian I know (and I know a few), and with which I had some
direct in=person (an unhappy) experience.  This can't be said in the list
discussion??

Really?

[abroeck responds: Jon, I cannot say immediately why your messages don't
get through, but in general I can say that the list is completely *open*
for subscribers, messages don't get approved or censored which are sent by
list members, but they go through *automatically* (majordomo software has
no political ideology ;-); however, if people who are not on the list post
to the list address, or if you post from an account that is not subscribed,
the message bounces (this is to prevent all sorts of spam on the list) and
ends up in the mail boxes of Arthur Bueno and Inke Arns who regularly
forward these messages to the list without censoring anything, and with as
little delay as possible. I know of no exceptions to this system, but if
you are in doubt, the easiest is to write to <abueno@v2.nl>. greetings]

[Jon Jost continues:]

Here's one I thought I'd posted but maybe I didn't from a few months ago:

Mihajlo Acimovic wrote:

<<The story published in a press release, by Rastko Sejic, the next morning
was that around 40-50 policemen, with patrol cars and vans (and I don't know
if they mentioned an armored car or a helicopter hovering), charged into
Student Square from all directions, brutally forced them against the wall,
handcuffed them, took them into a van and drove away.
The story was a complete and utter lie....

The reason why neither of us did the symbol was because we didn't want to
advertise an organisation that is controlled by protest profiteurs and deeply
corrupt.
  >>

I thought another story along this line, from another place and another time,
might be appropo:

Chicago, 1968.  I was working with what was called The Mobe (The
Mobilization), an umbrella group of organisations and people coming together
to make a protest at the Chicago Democratic Convention.  The times were very
volatile, the major "problem" being the escalating Vietnam war, the "civil
rights" movement, all having become white-hot and naturally giving birth to
various radicalisms.  I had, from 1965 - 67 spent two years and a few months
in prison for refusing to go into the military (my actual charge was failure
to fill out some forms having to do with this).  In Chicago prison was still
a very recent and fresh memory.  I worked in a little office space with
something called Newsreel, a radical filmmaking outfit which had sprung up
across country in the previous year.  We were making a film about The Mobe.

In the offices were numerous rather well-known rabble-rousers, radicals,
politicos, among them Tom Hayden, future husband of Jane Fonda and liberal
democratic something of California; Rennie Davis, a radical politico who
later turned to guru Maharajee Jee, or something like that; Jerry Rubin,
supposed yippee theatrical stage-manager, dressed in all the trappings of PR,
who later transformed himself into a Wall Street advisor of some sort; Abbie
Hoffman, perhaps a genuine anarchist who later went underground some years,
and resurfaced a decade or two later, and later committed suicide; Dave
Dellinger, an old-line sincere pacifist, and I think another few.  They
intended a large comprehensive umbrella to represent and draw to Chicago
diverse and often not really compatible groups.

As it happened their organisational efforts failed, and not very many of the
predicted 100,000 protestors showed up.  Instead the local corrupt city
government of Mayor Daley, which worked by vote fraud and patronage (some
dubious votes swung the 1960 election to Kennedy later known for bedding down
with mafia girls) had a police department which fitting for the times was
hyper-paranoid, and confronted with a pathetic gathering of protestors who
did show up (maybe a thousand or so) went berserk, charging with batons and
crazed, hitting whomever crossed their path over the head, running in private
shops and homes.  This sparked a mainly local reaction of liberals, teenagers
looking for some rumbling, and other sorts, and suddenly Chicago and the
convention were BIG news.  I was intimately involved in it all, with a front
row seat in the Mobe office.  In fact I and a friend were the premature, two
weeks before the convention first busts of the whole affair: dressed in
scummy hippy garb we had gone to the convention site to take a Bolex shot of
the miniature White House Portico being built on the side of the convention
building.  6 police cars swooped on us as we left, we were arrested, and
interrogated by the precinct police, the Chicago "Red Squad" (an anti-left
political squad I was accustomed to seeing parked out my apartment), then the
FBI and finally the secret service.  The higher we went, the less they
thought we were potential assassins.  We were released a day later.

During the convention various big names came to lend support and I think
stroke their own egos:  French playwright and writer Jean Genet, America's
Norman Mailer.  They came to play radicals, giving hot speeches before the
collected mass of kids all shouting "hey hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill
today."  And so on.  It was major league theater, and thanks to the stupidity
of the Chicago cops a failed demo toppled the democrats and sent Nixon to the
White House.  So much for radical politics.

In the weeks before the convention Tom Hayden, hearing of my own story, said
to me he didn't think he could do two years in prison.

At the end of the convention a farmer out in Illinois, who had watched all
the excitement on TV and took pity on we poor demonstrators invited the Mobe
office crew, including the famous Big Wigs, out to his farm for a
post-convention barbeque and rest.  In the car I was in headed to the farm
Rennie Davis sat beside me.  A big deal had been made by the Mobe and the
press about an attack by the police on Rennie, who sported a white, bloodied
bandage wrapped around his head.  In the car, the show over, he lifted this
from his head like a hat, underneath of which there was no visible damage.

Ever since then I have had a deep suspicion of all politicians, especially
those who seemed to be the ones on "my side".  The future trajectories of
those in the office seemed only to underline the element of fashion,
opportunism, and, well, moral and I suppose other corruptions that went along
with most of these people.

By way of which to say such things change little - places, names,
particulars, yes; underlying human behaviours, no.

Just in case of interest.

Jon Jost
Roma


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