Friday, December 26, 2008

Slipping Past Hibernal Solstice



Slipping Past Hibernal Solstice

The quietude of winter mosses the soul
(a warm home in a hollow log). The low
wind in a velvet tone slides along the satin snow.

The cherry nose of our deity drops below the brink
of earth as he ducks away from us to drink
in darker lands, staining our white fields pink

as he goes. Bearing World Hearth away for a while,
he allows bright snow to fly and children to smile;
before spring’s warm kisses, this world without guile.

- James McColley Eilers (copyright 2008)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Solstice

As usual, Martha and Thom's Solstice Party was full of wonderful humans, ending with the beauty of Toby Blome playing this instrument (I forget its name -- somehow referring to keys protruding from it -- or its origin -- Swedish?)


Elisa Welsh, who plays a stringed instrument in her public gigs, accompanied Toby on her penny flute...


so that could not help dancing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Re Rick Warren



It is strange being a person who does not exist. For long stretches of time, I have thought that I do exist, but over a lifetime someone always knocks me back into nonexistence. I did not exist in childhood when I knew I was gay, but I sensed that I was not supposed to exist. There was the time when I confided to a close friend finally that I was gay, not prepared for the change in his face and his words, from friend to nothingness. I no longer existed for him; although I was sitting there before him, he no longer saw me as I did not exist.

There has been a lifetime of those reminders. In the latest reminder, I was not prepared when President-Elect Obama, for political expediency, to forge an alliance with the Christian Right, sacrificed gay people – literally “sacrificed,” as gay hate crimes have increased since the passage of California’s Prop 8, and now, with Obama honoring Rick Warren who teaches that gays are less than human, more bigoted nuts will attack more gay people. If Rick Warren revealed an anti-Semitic or Anti-African-American streak, he would not have been chosen, but Obama feels that hatred of gay people is acceptable. Obama and Warren cannot be considered bigots if they hate a people who exist, at best, as ghosts wearing clown suits -- right? Obama and Warren assume that the LGBT community does not experience feelings such as they experience (Oh – but then Obama and Warren do not have any sense of compassion, only a love of power or political gamesmanship).

Each time I am reminded that I do not exist, it is so difficult not to help the situation by killing myself. And that might be one solution: to stage a mass suicide before the Inauguration platform. A much healthier solution would be violent action as the U.S. does not see anything that is not clothed in violence.

But what I hope is that all of us in the LGBT community understand that we will never exist in the “U.S.A.” We exist in a larger place, not so trashy, corrupt and disgusting as the U.S.A. We are here, we exist, but we don’t seem to exist because we are always arriving from the just world of the future. We do exist, but those lacking a sense of justice and compassion cannot see us. They “lack eyes to see.”

In fact, what is the name of the country that the LGBT community and others in our situation live in? Not “America” – There are two American continents, and we only occupy a portion of one of them. It is arrogant for this country to co-opt the name of a continent. And we would not want that other country we live in to be called the “U.S.A.” – initials are meaningless, or, as with the “U.S.A..,” they stand for overthrowing democratically elected leaders, killing and torturing people, bigotry, accepting the population of the homeless in the streets, etc., etc. I wish the name of our country could be Compassion so that I could say “I live in Compassion,” but some politician would immediately make the word an insult. The name for many indigenous people was their word for “the people.” I hope we can come up with a good name for our true country as it is the only country in which I exist.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Free Muntather al-Zaidi

The “Free Muntather Al-Zaidi” petition (one of several?):

http://musliminsuffer.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/free-muntather-al-zaidi-the-50000-signatures-campaign-for-muntather-al-zaidi/

For the Calendar of Saints: 14 December (2008): Muntather Al-Zaidi

Drawn from the Oakland Tribune, 15 December 2008, and from the blog of the very angry Sunni Iraqi exile, Layla Anwar :

Oakland Trib: “On a whirlwind trip shrouded in secrecy and marred by dissent, President George W. Bush on Sunday [14 December 2008] hailed progress in the wars that define his presidency, and he got a size-10 reminder of his unpopularity when a man hurled two shoes at him during a news conference in Iraq.”

Layla Anwar: “Whilst Bush was pontificating from his ass, Muntather Al-Zaidi, a 28 years old journalist, a leftist, from the independent anti-occupation, anti-sectarian TV, Al-Baghdadia, stood up and threw not one shoe but TWO pair of shoes at Bush, calling him at the top of his voice YA KALB – “YOU DOG.”

Oakland Trib: “ ‘This is your farewell kiss, you dog!’ shouted the protester in Arabic, later identified as Muntadar Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt. ‘This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq.’ Bush ducked both shoes as they whizzed past his head….”



The shoes that flew from his hands actually were being thrown through him by most of the people on the planet earth!

Layla Anwar: “Let me tell you more about Muntather Al-Zaidi. Muntather was kidnapped, tortured and humiliated and when released he resumed his work as a journalist at the Baghdadia TV. He graduated from Baghdad University in Journalism and was active pre-2003 in the Iraqi Federation /Student Union and was/is known to be a vehement opposer to the dual occupation of my Beloved.

One of his colleagues confirmed that Muntather came to the press conference late, and his other colleagues from the same TV station had preceded him way before. This other colleague also confirmed that they had to stand for hours for stringent security checks before being allowed to enter the press hall.

Muntather as a dignified Iraqi, used the only weapon available to him - HIS SHOES.

He threw the first one with such dexterity, Bush ducked and within seconds he threw the second one and aimed right above that bastard's head and landed smash into the American flag … Amidst the stupor and shouts, I could hear his screams while he was being kicked, his hair pulled, and his face scratched...

We all watched it and Mom and I burst into tears, tears of happiness and tears of grief.

Happiness because Muntather filled us with hope, hope that there are still brave heroes left in Iraq. Mom even called him the Salah El-Deen Al Ayubi /the new Saladin.

A historical moment in the Iraqi tragedy indeed and during Bush's last visit !
… We were also filled with grief and recited the Fateeha, because we knew that Muntather Al-Zaidi signed his own death warrant. This guy is finished.

Mom added that he will be tortured first, most probably with shoes before his execution.

…
I therefore urge all people of conscience, in particular Journalists without Borders, any syndicate or union of journalists anywhere in the world, to mobilize themselves for the release of Muntather before he gets executed.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Virtual Holiday Card

Some holiday displays --
Happy holidays from someone who lives somewhere between the profane (lights descending out of the dome of Bloomingdale's Department Store)...


...and the sacred (lighted trees leading to the new cathedral in Oakland)...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sherrill Cheda Graduate Scholarship






The Sherrill Cheda Graduate Scholarship in Women's Studies at York University, Toronto, Canada, "honours Sherrill's contributions to feminism and her dedication to making a difference. The award will allow future students to share in her passion and understand the importance of social justice." For U.S. residents, donations can be made with the usual tax advantages through York University Foundation's sister organization,
Friends of York University, Inc.
c/o Roha & Faherty
Attention: T. Roha
1725 I Street N.W., Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20006-2423

Monday, December 01, 2008

Take a Breath

On 5 November 2008


Until the night when Barack Obama stood in the Chicago night and people shouted with joy, laughed and cried with joy, certain struggles always surged toward the future, a search as constant as breathing. The unexpected halt, for a night, in that single-minded intention, was like a slow, but powerful train engine coming to a sudden stop, all the cars it hauled clanging together behind it. All involved in the eternal journey toward the best that humanity can achieve might hestitate to pause, take an extra breath, and conceive that certain battles may have been won or may seem, for the moment, to have been won.


Before that moment, you did not stop to consider all the battles, reaching as far back into history as you like, the people involved, their patience and endurance, and then suddenly that crowd of dedicated humans is halted for a moment as Obama lifts a hand. All those millions in this particular wave of history, from FDR until now, stop for a moment to realize what seems to be victory.

You could not help but laugh and cry. Not used to such a moment, you take a breath, pay your respect to all who sacrificed so much, including their very lives, give credit to the millions who have walked thousands of miles in demonstrations, or countered reactionary forces in other ways, recalled the horrors of what was there to begin with, what demanded to be rectified, especially what was endured by African-Americans from the horrors of lynchings to the daily, hour-by-hour humiliations.


Such a surprise that a victory can come, or, to be more guarded about hope, that a certain plateau has been reached in the endless track of progressive people. It is all right, it is even necessary, to stop for a moment and scan the scene. Can we say that President Obama is on or near that mountaintop that Martin Luther King foresaw that he might not reach? To share this moment with others is part of the process. It is all right to say something has been accomplished and not fear that a moment’s relaxation, a moment of joy, is a dangerous indulgence. Rather, a moment of celebrating together, a celebration of rapport, is the heart and purpose of the process – the solidarity of humans involved with a loving purpose (not united in hatred), the end of the isolation and division that oppression imposes on people.

Now, to continue....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

At Jacquelyn's

Indicate "VIEW ALL IMAGES."
Then you might enjoy the kaleidoscopic version afterward.

Friday, November 28, 2008

In Autumn


The Oak

As always, come November, the leaves
of the oak turn yellow, fall through
a few golden days, leaving piles
of brown paper scrolls breaking apart.

Someone sweeps the drift of leaves away.
The oak tree stands with black wiry heart
exposed. I mind the winter less for what
I feel the oak must know from fall to spring.

"Pundits" and "Experts" = "Soothsayers"


"The mind of man depends for its health and growth upon studious investigation and the findings of the truth as revealed around him. But as society progressed, it developed soothsayers that filled the minds of men with imaginations and falsehoods. Even today these soothsayers occupy editorial chairs, public platforms, and pulpits. The minds of men have been so filled with their imaginations and falsehoods that the most pronounced of the soothsayers are chosen as rulers and governmental officials." -- Henry M. Tichenor, c. 1925

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Honoring the First Man to Refuse to Serve in Iraq...

...marine, Stephen Funk. I dedicate this verse to him (I keep rewriting it so I cannot guarantee that it is the final final version -- and, in fact, the version I first posted here has been changed about four times later on):



The Deserter

Walking away from the battle,
I left my former self behind.
I was silk shadow for a time.
I slid along walls. I did not mind

leaving the Honor that makes men cattle.
I hope now to be, and to have, a friend.
Wander on, warrior that I used to mime.
As you pass, you free me to be Kind.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Zodiac



A Henry M. Tichenor essay in early 20th century periodical, THE APPEAL TO REASON, had interesting history and comments on the Zodiac (which means “a little animal” – referring to those “little animals” early humans saw in the starry constellations prominent in the sky at different times of the year).

Chaldean doctors of divinity, as well as their doctors of medicine, relied upon these signs. “When the moon happened to be passing through the sign of the member of the body upon which a surgical operation seemed necessary, the operation was postponed.”

So much symbolism refers to the number 12 – the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 apostles of Jesus (often pictured in medieval art as each relating to one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac), and the day too is divided into two parts of 12 hours each.



(Somewhere I heard that when Odysseus shot an arrow through the holes in 13 axe heads, in Homer’s THE ODYSSEY, it was symbolic of the sun passing through the 13 moons of the year.)

Tichenor article quotes a French scientific writer, Charles Francois Dupuis (1742-1809), who interprets “the twelve labors of the ancient god and savior Hercules” as “astrological allegories, representing the passage of the sun through the twelve signs of the Zodiac.”



“In the older mythology, that preceded Christianity, Hercules, who fought the serpent, Python, became purified, and passed through a cycle of twelve labors. He became a sun-god, whose Easter was the Vernal equinox, the resurrection of the green earth. Hercules, like the Christ of a later period, was the son of a human mother and a divine father… Alemene and Zeus….”

Christian worship took from the ancient worship of the three constellations, Taurus, Aries, and Pisces. “The worship of Taurus – the bull of Egypt – gave way to the worship of Aries, the lamb of Palestine; and Pisces, the fishes.“

The signs of the Zodiac “were carried by the different tribes of the Israelites on their standards; and Taurus, Leo, Aquarius, and Scorpio [Dan replacing the scorpion with the eagle during that time] – the four signs of Reuben, Judah, Ephriam, and Dan – [were] placed at the four corners of their encampment, evidently in allusion to the cardinal points of the sphere, the equinoxes and solstices, when the equinox was in Taurus.”



“Among the early Christians was a sect called the Ophites, or Ophians [meaning “snake”] who worshiped the serpent.” It is fascinating that the one change made to the original Zodiac was that the scorpion replaced the serpent. So your Scorpio friends are actually your Snake friends.

“The Ophite system had its Trinity: (1) the Universal God, the First Man; (2) his conception, the Second Man; (3) a female Holy Spirit. From her, the Third Man, Christ, was begotten by the First and Second.” I leave it to you to define what process this attempts to describe, and the stages of the process. I know there is an old theme among poets and mystics: “The First Man Must Die.”

“Aries, the Ram: A northern constellation, usually named as the first sign in the Zodiac, into which, when the sun enters the vernal equinox in March, [and] the days and nights are of equal length. Dating back into ancient Egypt Aries has been represented as the lamb that takes away the sins of the world.” I suppose the spring lambs, sweet to see and delicious to eat, are a prominent part of the month of March.

“Taurus, the Bull: The second sign in the Zodiac, called by the Arabs ‘Ataur.’ Taurus represents the Egyptian god Osiris. In Greek mythology, Taurus is the bull into which Zeus transformed himself in order to carry Europa, the daughter of Agenor, king of Phoenicia, to the Island of Crete.” Also, it is in this season that “cows bring forth their calves.”


“Gemini, the Twins [are] seen in May, the stars Castor and Pollux, the fabled twins of Jupiter who, disguised as a swan, mated with the mortal, Leda.

“Doubtless the original meaning of the sign Cancer was to represent the apparent slow movement of the sun in June, similar to the movement of the crab.”

“Leon, the Lion: The fifth sign in the Zodiac, contains but one star of the first magnitude, known as Regulus, or Coeur Leonis, the Lion’s Heart. The intense heat of July is symbolized by the figure of an enraged lion. The feasts and sacrifices of the ancients celebrated in July – in honor of the sun (which was represented in the form of a lion) – were called ‘Leonitica,’ and the officiating priests were called ‘Leones.’ The numerous popes assuming the name of Leo still show the persistency of the ancient rites.”

“Virgo, the Virgin: The sixth sign of the Zodiac, is represented in the Greek Venus, the Egyptian Isis, and the Christian Virgin Mary. Holding in her right hand the ripened fruit, Virgo can also be seen in the Hebrew story of Eve and the apple [representing] the productive powers of nature as disclosed in the harvest time…”

“Libra, the Balance: The seventh sign of the Zodiac, opposite to Aries, is symbolized by a pair of scales. This signifies that when the sun enters the sign of Libra, about September 21, the days and nights are equal, as though weighed in a balance, [the balance point being] the Autumnal equinox…”



”Sagittarius, the Archer: The ninth sign of the Zodiac … In ancient mythology Sagittarius was pictured as a centaur …”

“Capricornus, the Goat: The tenth sign of the Zodiac, which the sun enters on December 21, called the winter solstice, and having the longest night in the year. In Greek legend, Capricornus was fabled as Pan, the son of Mercury and the nymph, Arcadia, woodland deity of shepherds. Pan was half man and half goat.” Or it could represent “the heavenly goat Amalthaea, who fed Zeus with her milk. In Norse mythology a similar legend presents the goat Heidrun, who furnished the gods of Asgard with mead, served in the skulls of slaughtered enemies.”



“Aquarius, the Water Bearer: The eleventh sign of the Zodiac, in which the sun enters in January, and so-called because of the rainfall during that period. Aquarius is the fabled Ganymede of Attic legends, who, on account of his rare beauty, was carried by the gods to Olympus to serve as cup-bearer.”

“Pisces, the Fishes: The twelfth sign of the Zodiac, is recognized in the twelve apostolic fisherman. … In the vestibule or approaches to Catholic churches is usually found a vase filled with water (called “Piscina’), and this water is considered holy. … In the worship of ‘Pisces’ may be found the true secret of the origin of the rite of baptism. The Fish-god, Oannes, is said to have come out of the Erythraean Sea and taught the Babylonians all kinds of useful knowledge. ‘Ionnes’ or “Jonas” went headlong into the sea and into a fish.”

Ads in THE APPEAL TO REASON (1895-1922)

Sanity in Sex

“Exhausted Nerve Force” -- Nuxated Iron

Birth Control -- 5 Great Books -- Only $1

Great Books -- 25 cents

Sex Fiction -- 6 Big Books ; de Maupassant, Balzaac, Boccaccio, Salome by Oscar Wilde, Carmen -- $1

Procaline – the Ideal Prophylactic, an ointment, 20 cents per tube

“Radium Cure Now Within Reach of All” Through the Application of a “Radio-Active Pad” -- Available from Salt Lake City

“Wipe out Every Rat and Mouse” through “a wonderful new scientific discovery called Imperial Virus”

Monday, November 17, 2008

15 Nov 2008 Civil Rights Rally (anti-Prop 8)

Once again modern technology has defeated me so there is a messy bunch of photos in the Flickr slot that I wish I could delete, but I guess they will continue to be on my blog, like flotsam. I had wanted to open up to a slide show.
You can also paste the following site in search and when it opens, click "slide show":

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24489107@N06/sets/72157609263152781/





Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Poet Valzhyna Mort

On 11 November 2008, I went to hear Belarusian poet, Valzhyna Mort, reading poems, both in English and in her native language, from her debut poetry collection, Factory of Tears, at The Center for the Art of Translation. Her poetry was as wonderful as her looks. Inevitably, San Francisco's poet laureate Jack Hirschman was there as he is a wonderful translator of Russian poetry and added his knowledge of Belarus history in the final question and answer period. Ms. Mort not only appreciates the art of translation, it has become part of her art: Writing from her first inspiration in her native language, she then translates the verse into English, to see how what she has written looks in a separate world, with a different mythos, which inspires her to return and deepen her own original language version.

In Obamaland


IN OBAMALAND


Life will be grand
In Obamaland.

Stay away from the fear.

Folks get a helping hand
In Obamaland.

Stay away from the sneer.

Jerks no longer demand
In Obamaland.

Greet the change coming near:

The just take a stand
In Obamaland.

Laugh at the smirk and the jeer.

Love’s in command
In Obamaland.

All, get ready to hear

Our happy band
In Obamaland.

If you want to join us, raise your hand.
Let's sing and dance in O, Obamaland.

Part Two, THE APPEAL TO REASON

I wanted to buzz through each roll of microfilm of the old socialist magazine, THE APPEAL TO REASON, on loan from the Kansas Historical Society. Then I realized I did not want to miss the weekly articles of a Henry M. Tichenor who seems to know all history in fascinating detail, leaping back and forth in time. And then there is also “The Book of Life,” the lengthy weekly columns by Upton Sinclair, that later becomes “The Book of Love.” Sinclair writes, in the 25 June 1921 column, “If you listen to the defenders of the present capitalist order, you may learn that it is an honest and beneficent order, ordained by nature and by God as well; a permanent order, and one which would be ruined by change. Those who persist in talking about changing it are described as dreamers and Utopians, theorists and cranks, long haired men and short haired women.” The title of another his columns is still the unresolved question in the U.S.: “Democracy or Empire?”

Unfortunately, I am not sure I have the time or patience to go through the many, many microfilms, and may have to take long breaks from that task.


The Appeal to Reason has an exhausting idealism, wonderful humans dreaming up the best resolutions for all issues, political and personal – all good, progressive ideas. It was a feverish period when the Wobblies won some of the basic human rights we have today, many clubbed, given long prison sentences; many shot down in the streets. Even the participants in these activities came to feel that want they wanted was “a dream” – or not something that could be accomplished in those decades – or in that century. The basic, unjust, anti-Democracy forces in the U.S. remain in control. In some ways, conditions are worse. I know that everything my father, president of a small town union, won for the workers of our hometown factory have been obliterated. One of my brothers worked in a factory where workers were not even paid a wage, only paid by the number of articles they could produce, and they are permitted only one week of vacation a year – and only on the one week designated by the factory. The work his wife was doing was taken over by workers in Mexico.


While I probably agree with the dream of socialism as defined by people like Eugene Debs, such terms as “socialism” and “capitalism” undoubtedly oversimplify on the one hand, creating deadlocks triggered simply by ill-defined words; and at the same time, they may overcomplicate with abstract explanations and proposed social structures, where it might be better to stick to basic touchstone ideas, such as “Is this a proposal that respects monetary values or humane values?” “Does this represent ‘collaboration and relationship’ over ‘competition and domination’? Of course, the greedy and power-hungry will always need to be regulated, and will never comprehend what is meant by “humane” and “inter-relationship.”

Jumping to the final issues of the Appeal, when the yearly subscription went up from 50 cents to $1.00 (at a time when the average annual salary was less than $600), the sense was creeping in that the magazine was dying from lack of support, and, as with the destruction of the power of the I.W.W., through government oppression and violence.
For the government has an army at its disposal, and the government represents those who are disciples of what can only be defined by some term like capitalism, and will use the Army to preserve that system that benefits a certain elite and a mesmerized middle class. I have failed to note that the great founder and champion of The Appeal to Reason, Julius Wayland, depressed by the death of his wife and the ongoing smear campaigns against him, committed suicide on 10 November 1912. Ideal aims frustrated, idealism can lead to a self-destructive disillusionment, as Wayland’s suicide message included, “The struggle under the competitive system is not worth the effort.”


Reading the magazine, one sees that little has changed from then until now - the same issues, the same intelligent people complaining about the same problems -- but there are good comments, analyses, descriptions, such as

“A Niagara of goods of all sorts is poured out, and we call it prosperity. We are so proud of it that we make it into a religion…. But then suddenly a strange and bewildering thing happens. All at once, and without warning, orders fall off, values begin to drop, business collapses, factories are shut down, and millions of men are thrown out of jobs…. Capitalist prosperity is a spasmodic thing,” and the best you can hope for, each time it fails, is some form of paternalistic pity.

Some of the conclusions in “Stop the Next War By Exposing the Last One!” will sound familiar to all of us in the shadow of the U.S. wars of 2008:
“Has America more or fewer friends abroad then it had in 1914 or 1916?
"Are we more ‘united,’ as we were informed that we would be?
“Is there less mutual fear and suspicion among us?
“Are our personal liberties more or less secure than they were?
“Is it easier for the masses to earn a living than before?
“Are the social poles nearer together or wider apart?
“Can you imagine a more colossal or vicious conspiracy than one in which the ‘leaders of the people’ in every walk of life are implicated as liars, and in which the dupe is a nation of one hundred million people – a nation which is constantly informed that it is the most intelligent on earth?”




It is fascinating to read in the magazine the events as they were happening at the time that became history or the subjects of fictional treatments: “Isadora Duncan is about to leave Paris to go to Moscow to establish a school for Russia children.” Margaret Sanger proposes that women learn about birth control, and the magazine offers many books geared to women. There is news of the trials of Italian immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartoleomeo Vanzetti, their wives and children wailing in the courtroom, as the innocent men are condemned.

After spending an hour with Bartoleomeo Vanzetti, on 7 June 1922, in the Charlestown in Boston, Upton Sinclair wrote about “this humble Italian working man….an idealist and an apostle of a new social order….He is simple and genuine, openminded as a child, sensitive and possessing that innate refinement which makes good manners without need of teaching. He has devoted his life to the service of his fellow wage workers and is still serving them and knows it well. [The government has] conspired to send such a man to the gallows….This brother of ours must be saved: warm-hearted, brave, and true, the precious life that is in him must not be strangled by the hangman’s noose!” In 1927, these innocents were executed. Given an architectural tour of Boston by Robert Minichiello I was in the Catholic Church which commemorates Sacco and Vanzetti in a stained glass window.























The Appeal seemed a place where intelligent people could debate. One of the ongoing debates, carried on in a civilized, almost light-hearted manner was “Has Life Any Meaning? A Debate Between Frank Harris and Percy Ward.” Ward remarks, “Has life any meaning? Judging from the size of this audience, there is evidently some doubt about the question.” Mr. Ward concludes that death, pain, and calamity trumps meaning. Harris quotes Goethe: “Keep your doubts, your fears, your pessimism to yourself. I have enough doubts and fears of my own. But, if you have any hopes, if you have any encouragements, to give men in this world, then give them and you will become a benefactor to your kind.” As Ward had relied on Prospero’s final speech in THE TEMPEST, that life is an illusion, Harris quotes the Shakespeare imperative: “Ripeness is all.”























The 13 November 1920 issue reported that in the national elections, SOCIALISTS POLLED OVER 2,000,000. In that election, Eugene V. Debs was the Presidential candidate of the Socialist Party while still in prison, and won a surprising percentage of the votes.

The 20 July 1921 issue reports that “Texas Now Holds U.S. Mob Record”:…Civil liberty in Texas is bleeding to death. Ten times within a short period have men been beaten, whipped, tarred and feathered, mutilated, branded with acid….Although mob madness has included with the rage of its terror eight whites to two negroes, it has dealt most savagely with the blacks, mutilating one and burning on the forehead of the other the initials of the Ku Klux Klan….One man in Bremman was mobbed for talking German … J.L. Cockrell, a negro dentist of Houston, was whipped, tarred, feathered and mutilated following charges that he had lived with a white woman who had mistaken him for a white man.” I guess you do not need me to suggest that “mutilated” probably means castrated, or the mutilation of his genitals, and that the woman, to save herself, may have felt she had to deny him.

The 4 March 1922 issue reports on U.S. savagery in the Dominican Republic: “The republic was absolutely quiet in November, 1916…Not an American dollar or an American life was even threatened when the fleet ordered to San Domingo City by Secretary Daniels, in agreement with Secretary of State Lansing, committed its act of war or piracy by seizing the capital city and suppressing the Dominican government. When the Dominican congress began proceedings for impeachment of President Jiminez, the American representative offered armed support to Jiminez against the congress. Jiminez resented the insult and resigned at once. Then the minister of war was escorted to the American legation and offered a ‘corrupt proposal’ if he would support for the presidency a man picked by the American representative. He refused, and the congress proceed to elect Francisco Henriquez y Carvajal as president, in the face of warnings that the American government had decided that he would not be ‘acceptable.’


“When the inevitable American-made treaty, identical with the one forced upon Haiti at the point of the bayonet, was presented to him, Henriquez spurned it. The American admiral landed marines – May, 1916 – and for six months used every pretext to increase his forces in the country, until the proclamation of the admiral that he had been made military governor was issued in November, 1916, some three weeks after the reelection of Woodrow Wilson on his “kept-us-out-of-war” platform.


“Thousands of marines were then spread over the country with unlimited authority over the natives,’ said Knowles. ‘Censorship of tongue, pen, press, mail and telegraph, of the severest kind, was established. Marines recruited in American cities and including ex-convicts were set in authority with the result that a reign of terror followed. Tortures, burning of homes, revival of Butcher Weyler’s concentration camps followed. Competent public employes by hundreds were dismissed to make room for foreign incompetents. Five years of this maladministration, repression, cruelty and provocation to conflict followed.

“They and all other nations of Latin American know today the new meaning of the Monroe Doctrine. That doctrine now means that when the Washington government shall choose to invade and destroy the liberty and independence of the next victim among the republics to the south, no European nation, no combination of European states, shall dare to protest or appeal against that deed of violence.”


The Appeal to Reason was affected, of course, by revolutionary events in Russia, which from the other side of the world seemed to be fulfilling their abstract ideas. The Appeal, admirably, published gruesome pictures and raised money for the victims of massive and horrific famine and starvation in Russia. In the 6 May 1922 issue, Upton Sinclair was uneasy about articles by long-time radical Emma Goldman: “Emma Goldman does not believe in force – at least not government force – and so she says that the Bolsheviks have betrayed the Revolution.”