[Marxism] RE: The Snow Is Melting

Bill Mandel wmmmandel at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 21 13:46:05 MST 2004


Hunter:
       Two pieces of wonderful news.
       1) Your health is improving.
       2) Last night I attended a rally to raise funds for the 70,000
supermarket strikers in Los Angeles, who have been out for five months.
As someone who knows heroes, of whom you are one, and, to be frank, have
been called one myself, any worker who stays on strike for five months
is a genuine hero, and in Los Angeles there are now 70,000 of them. 
       The speakers who came up from there, five rank-and-file workers
accompanied by at least that many more on the trip, brought back a
feeling I never expected to have again: the spirit of 1935. That is the
wonderful news. So I did something I had not dreamed of before attending
that rally. I made the largest donation I have ever made in my life,
coming out of the money set aside for nursing care should my end not be
sudden, because I remember only too well what my wife went through in
one of the best nursing homes around here.
        I decided on the amount on two bases. One was that, although I
suffer no terminal illness, one single medicine I need, still
patent-protected, will cost me $700 a year if a friend succeeds in
getting it from Canada. Presently it costs substantially more. The other
is that I wanted to demonstrate numerically why the strikers need
solidarity, and $700 comes to one cent per striker. So that's how much I
gave.
        I got my reward. The women from Los Angeles, Latina and white,
hugged and kissed me. The men hugged me and shook my hand. It was
exactly like what happened a couple of years ago, when Pam Africa and I
appeared as guests on KPFA about Mumia, she was accompanied by local
supporters from the ghetto, and I had said on the air: "The problem is
not cop-killers, but killer cops."
                                        Bill (William) Mandel

========================================================
  
My autobiography, SAYING NO TO POWER (Introduction by Howard Zinn), is 
a history of how the American people fought to defend and expand its
rights since the 1920s (I'm 86) employing the form of the life of a 30s
AND 60s activist, one who was involved in most serious movements:
student, labor, 45 years of efforts to prevent war with the USSR, civil
rights South and North, women's liberation [my late wife appears on 50
pages], 37 years on Pacifica Radio [where I invented talk radio], civil
liberties. You may hear/see my testimony before different
McCarthy-Cold-War-Era witch-hunting committees [used in six films and a
play]) on my website, http://www.billmandel.net  I am the author of five
books in my academic field, and have taught at UC Berkeley and
elsewhere.  
The publisher has just gone out of business, but I have the remaining
130. For an autographed copy, send me $24 at 4466 View Pl.,#106,
Oakland, CA. 94611
========================================================


-----Original Message-----
From: Hunter Gray [mailto:hunterbadbear at earthlink.net] 
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 9:13 AM
To: socialistsunmoderated at yahoogroups.com; Red Youth; Marxism
Discussion; SNCC
Subject: The Snow Is Melting

The Sun is beating the Drum of  Spring.  And the snow, very heavy here
in
Eastern Idaho this long and challenging Winter, is finally melting fast.

Normally, this would be the point where, a long time ago, I'd be
getting my early Spring predator trapping outfit together, or looking
into where I might find work both challenging and meaningful. Much more
recently I'd be oiling my heavy [Size 15] boots in preparation
for going into the high, high country that rises sharply above
our house in this 'way up frontier
setting -- and greeting some of my many animals buddies -- lions and
bobcats
and coyotes and moose and deer and maybe even the wolf -- and the huge
gray owls as well.

That isn't, of course, in the cards now.  The worst and most  malicious
form
of systemic Lupus [Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE] which struck me
openly last July, has accomplished what cops and sheriffs and the state
police and injunctions and the Federal finks could never do:
imprisoned me for months on end in our home -- to say nothing
of a total month of hospital time.

"It's like Dad is doing House Arrest," my youngest son, Peter [Mack], a
key
editor for the Lincoln Journal Star said as early as last Fall.

The Lupus we are fighting here attacked my cardiovascular system,
savagely,
did a great deal of damage -- producing heavy anemia and extraordinarily
pervasive weakness.  It attacked my lungs in a predatory and hungry
fashion
--giving me a very dangerous form of pneumonia: pneumanitis.  We beat
back its several forays against my kidneys and liver -- but it attacked
my
heart [traditionally never a problem area with me.]  It took weeks to
effect a specific diagnosis -- and some doctors were thinking cancer.
As a result I had a colonoscopy [produced zero] during which my heart
stopped twice and, through the anesthesia, I could feel doctors
frantically
hitting my chest in such a fashion that my hazy perceptions saw me in
combat on a football field. Later, a fine cancer specialist eliminated
any cancer possibilities via a bone marrow test and a cat scan, and
finally,
with an excellent dermatologist, diagnosed the worst version of
pervasive
and "full-blown" SLE.

And later, with the SLE spearheading major diabetes, and my blood sugar
count close to 1,000, doctors did a cat scan on my unconscious head
which
eliminated the existence of any strokes.

There has been some improvement, slow but pretty steady.  My lungs
are clear, my cardiovascular system has improved, my heart now seems
OK.  Lupus has not gotten into my central nervous system.  My strength
is  returning at a glacial pace -- but it's coming back.  Whereas my
only
outings for months have been to be driven to doctor's offices, and
thrice
to the hospital, I have -- with another family member  always present --
driven my Jeep to get a tire fixed and then, on another occasion, for a
lube
job.  Big deal -- but it is a start.

While I am regularly taking many pills, the basic question developing is
whether to continue with Prednisone -- or, gradually phasing that out,
switch to moderate dosages of chemo drugs:  i.e., Methotrexate or
Imuran.  Until a few days ago, my many doctors supported the use
of Prednisone, in all probability for the rest of my life.  A newly on-
board rheumatologist, who had not initially disputed this, is now
pushing the chemo drugs. Some of the other doctors are beginning
to tilt in that direction.

Our family is definitely not interested in those chemo drugs.

While it's true that the Prednisone has several problematic side
effects -- the ostensibly rare one of joining Lupus in producing
diabetes [which I now have] and shrinking and eroding bones,
the suggested chemo drugs have been known to produce
cancer in their own right.  Thomas, moving into Medicine [and
also teaching a special Chemistry class at ISU], brought home
a dozen abstracts [Pub Med/National Library of Medicine] which,
joining perceptions and other material given us by good folks,
raise the possibility of cancer development via Methotrexate or
Imuran and a few discuss its actual emergence.

Our family tends to function as a collective body -- a horde. At
this point, all eight of us -- plus spouses of our two older sons,
special friends of our younger kids, etc -- have discussed this
at length, totally reject the chemo drugs, and believe we should
stick with Prednisone.  Many of them have been at the hospital
during my three strenuous incarcerations and have also been
present in office conferences with physicians.  [Josie, our
youngest daughter, has just become a fully licensed Social
Worker.]  Eldri has been present for everything.

I already have diabetes on top of everything else.  We can protect my
bones
from Prednisone via my heavy buttermilk drinking, heavy calcium and
vitamin
D supplements -- and, if necessary, special medicine such as Fosamax.

Lupus could strike me hard out of the Blue at any point.  But, even
with my immunity still shot to Hell, I'll have a fighting chance.
I am not interested in taking any chances with any kind of
Cancer.

But enough of disease, medics and medicines.  I'd much rather discuss
[as I've been writing] the union organization of contemporary Dixie --
and
what traditional and newly creative forms of militant and democratic and
sensibly radical industrial unionism can be developed to massively
enhance
grassroots organization, smash the bosses and capitalism, and achieve
genuine socialist democracy.

In addition to brooding and reflecting on my own experiences and
observations, and doing some writing -- much of this autobiographical
for
another book of mine,
I've been involved in productive reading:  HAMMER AND
HOE:  ALABAMA COMMUNISTS DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION
[Robin D.G. Kelly, 1990];  UNION STEWARD'S COMPLETE GUIDE: A
SURVIVAL MANUAL [Edited by David Prosten, 1997]; CONTRACT
BARGAINING HANDBOOK FOR LOCAL UNION LEADERS
[Maurice B. Better, 1993]; THE NEGOTIATION HANDBOOK
[Patrick J. Cleary, 2001].

And now, with a bit of prologue, an optimistic word -- despite the often
foreboding clouds of personal realism.

Our basic cultural ethos is essentially Iroquoian:

That ideal for a man is that he be autonomous; a good hunter and
provider; a
courageous warrior; loyal to friends and family; fearless;  and
oblivious to
hardship, pain and to death.

Women have much influence.  They caucus with frequency; cue and lobby
the
male speakers; can remove [for cause] a Life Chief -- of which there are
traditionally 49 in the great inter-tribal Iroquois  Confederacy; and
the
senior women in a family can nominate a  successor to a  deceased
Life Chief in that specific lineal line.

We hold to a form of organization that, once a particular framework
or forum is determined, wide discussion of diverse views can occur
but no change in that organizational structure can be permitted.
The ultimate decisional goal is a consensus which must be observed.

And, recognizing the conscious and unconscious dichotomy of the Mind, we
always place heavy stock in dreams -- see these as expressing the key to
the
desires of one's soul and providing the torchlight and the trail to
follow.

So here, in the best Iroquoian sense, is a possibly very significant
dream
that I had almost four years ago.  We will take it step by step:

Facts:

Frank Little,  Cherokee Indian, and a metal miner and a great IWW
organizer,
was lynched in the early morning hours of August 1, 1917, at Butte.  The
killers were thugs employed by the Anaconda Copper Corporation.
His funeral and funeral march were the largest ever held in Montana
to that date.

The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area has been extremely important to me
for
virtually all of my entire life.  Certain sections of the Canyon appear
either literally or symbolically to me in very meaningful dreams.  This
is
usually rare -- once or so every year or two.

Around Summer, 2000, I ordered a true copy of a photo of Frank Little's
funeral procession. [It was very similar, BTW, to that of Medgar Evers
at Jackson on June 15, 1963.]

About two or three days after it came, I had this dream:

1]  I saw the western Rim area of Sycamore in daylight -- cedar plains
in
contrast to the rough and sloping geographically diverse eastern Rim
[our
domain]. The fact that it was Sycamore was immediately established by
two white horses, dancing.  White Horse Lake is a large body of water
on that cedar plain, just west of the Canyon's western Rim.

2]  The scene immediately shifted at night to some sort of urban
setting.  A
black hearse, a Model T, appeared.  Initially, it seemed to have
something
to do with Frank Little.

3]  But then it came -- still at night -- and put-put-put, to the house
in
which we all lived.  It may very well have been this house, right here.
I
could look down from our large picture window and see it.  But, in any
case, it was able to circle our house which it proceeded to do three
times.
On the third, it stopped in front, with its
engine going -- as though it were waiting.  This wait lasted for --
dream-wise -- several long minutes.

4]  Then, suddenly, again put-put-put, it drove off and away.  I felt a
tremendous sense of relief.

5]  Still asleep and in my dream state, several of us in our family went
the
next morning to a local funeral home to see if we could see the
[archaic]
vehicle.  What we did see was a contemporary hearse, conventionally
parked
in the funeral home's lot.

6]  After I awakened, I told the dream to Eldri.  At that point, given
its
diversities, it was difficult to interpret.  But we have always
remembered
it clearly.

7]  I have almost died three times in the past several months.  Sycamore
Canyon has figured very heavily indeed in this context -- especially as
the
site for my Near Death Experience.  Frank Little's martyrdom is
explicitly
indicated in that NDE GHOSTS account.
http://www.hunterbear.org/ghosts.htm

8]  But I have not died.  Not yet.

And the snow is indeed melting.


The best of everything to all of you -

HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR]  Micmac/St Francis Abenaki/St Regis Mohawk;
and
CCDS, DSA, SPUSA, Solidarity -- and UAW and United Association for Labor
Education
www.hunterbear.org
In the mountains of Eastern Idaho

When you cut to the bone  and cut away the college degrees, academic and
other titles, published books and articles, ours is essentially a
working
class and Indian family.  We consistently join unions  -- and we always
support them with the greatest vigor.

It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if
one
lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.




























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