One of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century, James Baldwin’s voice is utterly honest in his description of the reality, the horrible reality, of America. The horror inspired the best in him and Baldwin also speaks to the possibilities of black and human liberation. These talks include Baldwin’s reflections on the revolutionary abolitionist, John Brown as well as Baldwin thoughts on the century since emancipation and a stop in Los Angeles while touring the country in the aftermath of The Fire Next Time‘s publication.
Farrell Dobbs Speaks! Teamster Battles of the 1930s. Farrell Dobbs recounts the struggles of the 1930s, the founding of the Teamsters and the Minneapolis General Strike of 1934. Dobbs was a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party and secretary-treasurer of Teamster Local 574. He was jailed under the Smith Act for his revolutionary activities. In four parts.
A recent project if mine is getting available historic audio speeches more widely available. Here is the first of the series. Historic leader of US Trotskyism, early Socialist Party member, founding member of the I.W.W. as well as the Communist Party James P. Cannon had an eventful, long career in the American workers movement. And he was one helluva talker.
A remarkable historical record; a 1966 remembrance by Michigan’s own AJ Muste, leader of the 1930s American Workers Party, the Toledo Auto-Lite Strike and a leading radical pacifist whose legacy was carried on by the likes of Dave Dellinger and Bayard Rustin. Muste is a reminder in what is best in the American radical tradition, a voice that has echoes of the, reformers, abolitionists, labor agitators and egalitarians of his native Midwest. A must listen for all of those interested in the history of the American workers movement and the struggle for social justice.
Terrence Kellum was an unarmed, black twenty-year-old shot ten times by an Immigration officer serving a warrant with Detroit Police at his home. The march wound through the neighborhood around Chicago and Evergreen where the killing happened. Young, spirited, angry and aware.
James Baldwin in conversation with Fran Shatz while living in France,1973. In this portion, Baldwin discusses John Brown, historical memory, white guilt, and the institutional survival of white supremacy. A profound ten minutes.
It has been nearly ten years since the passing of legendary Irish republican and socialist, George Harrison in December, 2004. In October of that year, just two months before his death, I and a comrade visited George in his Prospect Park apartment for a lengthy interview. I had been in contact with George for some time trying to get the trip together to New York City for the discussion. Those phone calls set the basis for the recording we did that day.
George was an immensely humble and decent man, belying all the media images of an IRA gun runner. Immediately at ease as we had cake and coffee served to us, the 89 year-old gave us recollections of a long life well lived in a room full of manifestations of those memories. Pictures of hunger strikers, of Bernadette McAliskey and her children hung on the wall, posters and papers from the movement were on the tables. His nurse and friend Prissy was there, along with her daughter, and it is Prissy’s voice you will hear at the very end of the interviews describing the beautiful relationship the two of them had and his impact on her.
In this lengthy interview George talks about his early memories of the Republican movement in Ireland, his friends and comrades in the IRA who went to fight in the Spanish Civil War with the Connolly Column, racism in Irish-America, Mike Quill and the Transport Workers Union, the Cuban Revolution, the peace process and much, much more.
It was an honor to get to know George a little in the last period of his life and talk with him at length. I disagreed with George on all kinds of things, but had deep respect for him. He was a worker, a union member, and saw the world from that point of view. He was true to his calling all of his many years and stuck doggedly and unashamedly to the side of the oppressed and the working class.
I respected most his willingness to buck much of Irish America and support gays and lesbians, the Black Panthers, the Young Lords and Fidel Castro. He was a person of principle, and yet without the slightest hint of self-righteousness. A partisan of the left who had a long friendship with the Irish and US Communist Parties, George was also an unrepetent Irish republican, and Patron of Republican Sinn Fein. A republican and an internationalist who lived through some of the crucibles of the 20th century.
Unedited, the interview is missing the first few moments and hasn’t been public before, largely because I am horrified by the sound of my own voice. So here then, for posterity, is one of the last interviews of the old man who had seen, and quietly done, so much.
The Rustbelt Radical is a personal blog. It is revolutionary, socialist and internationalist. It comes straight from the ravaged middle of the post-industrial American Midwest and yearns for the refounding of the Marxist project. The landscapes of radical history are my main interest, but other topics might include politics, economy, work, culture, war, theory, travel, music and frequent tubthumping for the free association of producers. Let me know of needed or broken links.
"The realm of freedom...can only consist in socialized man, the associated producers rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind force of Nature, and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favorable to, and worthy of, their human nature..."
Karl Marx, Capital, Volume III, p. 820.
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