CCDS/Socialist Education Project fourth Monday discussion
Nov. 22, 9pm (eastern time) -- 

"Assessment of COP 26, US-China cooperation, and future prospects for change or ecosocialism" 

CCDS/Socialist Education Project fourth Monday discussion
Nov. 22, 9pm (eastern time) -- 

Duncan McFarland will provide background on China's environmental policies and the key US-China relationship for effective global action. 

David Schwartzman will assess the COP26 conference from the perspective of eco-socialism.

At the Paris Climate change conference in 2015, all 200 countries in the world signed the accord that urgent global action must be taken on this critical problem. While some progress has been made since then, it is very inadequate; the Glasgow conference needs to produce agreement on a practical agenda and robust implementation plan. The US and China are the world's biggest economies, consumers of energy and emitters of greenhouse gases; their cooperation will ensure a global framework and strategy. No cooperation will lead to fragmentation; the go-it-alone approach will be much less effective.

The presentations will be followed by discussion.
Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
In case you missed it:

The Left, Progressives and Social Media

Our 4th Monday in October
Fourth Monday in September, watch here: IDEOLOGICAL HEGEMONY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
Session 2 of a 4 part series
Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 @ 8:00pm EST, 7:00pm CST, 5:00pm PST

Please join Bill Fletcher, Jr. as he interviews Drs. Lisa Brock, Danielle Clealand and Sara Kozameh on their articles on Black Cuban Revolutionaries in a recent edition of Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society.

This 2019 volume was edited by Lisa Brock in commemoration of the 1999 volume of Souls in which the late Manning Marable centered African-American Perspectives on Cuba. 

These three scholars will address the reason why centering Black voices in the Cuban Revolutionary Experience is historically and contemporaneously important. From Victor Dreke and Norma Guillard to young Black Cubans: many are utilizing the intersectional lenz’ of race, gender, sexuality and class to examine the spirit of the Cuban Revolution and its significance today.
This is session 2 of a 4-part series on Race and the Cuban Revolution sponsored by the Peace & Solidarity Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) and the Committees of Correspondence Education Fund.
The following articles by the guest authors are recommended to read in advance of the November 15th webinar:

Editor’s Note: Black Cuban Revolutionaries,
Socialism, and the Afterlife of Slavery - Lisa Brock

El Comandante Victor Dreke: The Making of a
Cuban Revolutionary - Lisa Brock

Black, Radical, and Campesino in Revolutionary Cuba - Sara Kozameh

Who Are the Black Revolutionaries?: Resistance in
Cuba and the State Boundaries that Endure - Danielle Clealand

We hope you will join us on November 15th, 8 PM EST.

Planning Committee:
Lisa Brock, Otis Cunningham, Pat Fry, Anne Mitchell, Mary Louise Patterson
The third session will be in January. Date TBA
Timuel Black, Presente!

Many people know Black as an acclaimed historian, activist, and storyteller, who died recently at age 102. He was also a founder and on the advisory board of CCDS. His last work, with Susan Klonsky as a collaborator and editor, was Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black. It chronicles the life and times of this Chicago legend.

by Ira Grupper (October 21, 2021)

A 4-day gathering of veterans of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) occurred last week. It was held via zoom.

SNCC was formed in 1960. It led/participated in demonstrations opposed to racial segregation all across the South. Many of its members participated, additionally, in protests against the war the U.S. was then waging against the people of Vietnam, and in support of African liberation so many other struggles as well.

As “a band of brothers and sisters in a circle of trust,” SNCC created an interlinking of issues and causes. Our members were beaten severely (example: Congressman John Lewis), jailed (example: Chuck McDew). We had arguments with more conservative Civil Rights Movement groups over linking of issues.

Our 60th reunion will be our last: at age 77 I am among the youngest still living. I played a small part, in Georgia and Mississippi. As a white person I was privileged to accept the leadership of some of the best African American thinkers and strategists. Yes, I was jailed and beaten by the cops, but the Black activists played the leading role.

For more information, to arrange for possible speakers, for lists of amazing books on our history, and more—google the SNCC Legacy Project. A video of the conference will be edited and soon made available.


Presented at the Working Class Studies Association annual conference, June 1, 2017, Indiana University,
(A revised version was printed in Duncan McFarland ed. The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union: Seeds of 21st Century Socialism, Changemaker Publications.

Harry Targ, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Purdue UniversityUnderstanding Revolutions: Theoretical and Empirical Explorations
The phenomena of revolution has long been a subject of interest to scholars and activists. The original curiosity about revolution has its roots in histories and analyses of “the great revolutions,” the English Revolution, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the Chinese Revolution. Subsequent to early studies of the great revolutions scholars and activists have conceptualized historical transformations in Cuba, Vietnam, Algeria, Iran and other cases as possible candidates for studies of revolution.

Perhaps undergirding the study of societal changes in the twentieth century, interest and concern about the Russian Revolution stands out as a motivation for such research and speculation. A substantial hidden motivation for this concern has been an implicit bias against the consequences of the Russian Revolution for other societies: for order and stability, for “civilization,” for the future of humankind. This bias includes various defenders of traditional regimes and cultures and sectors of left opposition to them who have been as vociferous opponents of the Russian Revolution and its consequences as the avowed enemies of revolution.

This essay briefly surveys the social science study of revolution, identifies key moments in the history of the former Soviet Union (which was officially constituted in 1922, five years after the revolution) from the vantage point of the anti-Soviet left, and proposes ways in which the Russian Revolution and its aftermath has contributed to social change in the twentieth century and continues to make contributions for the building of a twenty-first century socialism. This is a difficult and controversial subject, but one that needs to be confronted if a socialist agenda for the twenty-first century is to be meaningful.

The Social Scientific Study of Revolution
The subject of revolution has intrigued modern social science research and theory. Jack Goldstone (“Toward a Fourth Generation of Revolutionary Theory,” Annual Review of Political Science, 2001:4, 139-187) provides a wide-ranging survey of the twentieth century literature on the subject. He addresses the definitions of revolution; types of revolutions: the causes of revolution; the role of states, elites, ideology, mobilizations for and against revolution, foreign influences and factors such as leadership and gender shaping revolutions. Each of these sets of factors have generated research, discussion, and debate about this thing called revolution.

The literature surveyed has several interesting general features that characterize the way the phenomena has been studied.  First, the concept of revolution, which was first derived from interest in a handful of cases has expanded to include all kinds of transfers of power; including Nicaragua, Iran, Afghanistan, and as some data sets suggest hundreds of cases of the transfer of power. Second, as Goldstone suggests, scholars have identified many “types” of revolutions: elite led power shifts, grassroots mobilizations, worker-led versus peasant-led forms, and unplanned disintegrations of political institutions. Third, the literature, Goldstone indicates, addresses the causes of revolutions. Here too there are a myriad of explanations from foreign intervention, the declining legitimacy of elites, intra-elite factionalism, crises in the distribution of resources among the population, unsustainable population growth, and stagnating economies.

An additional designation of revolution addresses various processes that generate the transformation that is being described. Some research on revolution concentrates on the formation of oppositional groups from unions to political parties, networking among opponents of regimes, leadership skills,  the building of identities, and ideologies. In addition, some perspectives include a discussion of culture, from value systems to popular manifestations of protest. Also attention is paid to leadership skills and style. In recent years, studies have addressed the role of gender in revolutionary processes. Further, “rational choice” models assess  the individual and group costs and benefits of participating in some effort at systemic transformation of the political and/or economic system.

As to the consequences of revolution, Goldstone suggests the research is sparser. “The outcomes of revolutions have generated far less scholarly inquiry than the causes, with the possible exception of outcomes regarding gender. This may be because the outcomes of revolutions are assumed to follow straightforwardly if the revolutionaries succeed. However, such research as we have on outcomes contradicts this assumption: revolutionary outcomes take unexpected twists and turns” (Goldstone, 167). The research that has been done, he said, shows little long-term economic development or democratization after revolutionary occurrences. While China and the Soviet Union experienced short-term industrialization neither “has succeeded in generating the broad-based economic innovation and entrepreneurship required to generate sustained rapid economic advance.”  He refers to an edited collection by D.Chirot, (The Crisis of Leninism and the Decline of the Left: the Revolutions of 1989, 1991, University of Washington Press) on this point.

After summarizing the myriad of studies of revolution, Goldstone does say that despite their failures to achieve sustained economic development and democratization revolutions have been “remarkably successful in mobilizing populations and utilizing the mobilization for political and military power.” And these results, he claims, are attributable to strong leadership. In terms of international relations, revolutions have had consequences: stimulating others to revolt, causing threatened states to engage in conflict with the new regimes, and stimulating new states to engage in aggressiveness (for example the warlike behavior resulting from the Nazi “revolution”).

This survey of the social scientific study of revolution suggests many weaknesses. First, what is called “revolution” is defined in so many ways that all different transfers of power from Russia, China, Germany, Iran, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, to Cuba are all contenders irrespective of their radically different aims and bases of support.

Second, the lack of definition affords social scientists the opportunity to disaggregate every conceivable variable that might be part of the phenomena such that the historical and dialectical character of the revolutionary process is totally excluded from the analysis. Mindless empiricism replaces subtle historically-grounded judgement.

Third, and as a result of the second, leadership, organization, ideology, class, economic and political context, the cultural backdrop, and the international dimensions are all disassembled in such a way as to mask the reality behind the process.

Fourth, the analyses tend to be “presentist,” that is the history that led up to the transfer of power and the long-term domestic and international impacts of the revolution are eliminated from the analysis. And to the contrary, commentators and activists who have been part of revolutionary struggles provide a lens on the process that is usually deeply embedded in the country’s history, the long-term prospects for organizing aggrieved groups, and a vision of a “better future” that takes account of various setbacks, patterns of resistance, and regime errors. Social scientists have little or no sensitivity to revolution as an historic project.
And it is for these reasons that assessments of the Russian Revolution, 100 years later, requires an historical and dialectical assessment that goes beyond conventional scholarship.

Historical Materialists Analyses of the Post-1917 Post Soviet Experience:
Left critics of the former Soviet Union (and by implication often the Russian Revolution) have historicized the revolutionary process as they have assessed its impacts. If there is an historical narrative it is “declension,” or a step-by-step set of decisions that led to a betrayal of the vision of the revolution. The categorization of experiences of decline include the bureaucratization of the state, the centralization of power, Stalinism, and the transition from socialism to Soviet Social Imperialism. Each of these critiques is the result of political disputes between key political actors and/or nation-states as they engage with or confront the former Soviet Union. For some, the emerging conflicts have their roots in the Russian Revolution itself, particularly after the death of Lenin.

Looking at critical historical junctures, left critics of the Russian Revolution identify at least six moments in the declension. First, the Soviet leadership debated the direction of economic planning in the post-Civil War period shifting from “war communism” to the New Economic Policy. The latter reflected the need to slow down the process of moving from a capitalist to a socialist economy, recognizing the ongoing role of markets, and protecting private property, central to the outlook of the peasantry. For some, the NEP adopted by Lenin, constituted a shift away from the socialist project. Pragmatism replaced principle.

Second, with the death of Lenin, Stalin emerged as the new leader of the Soviet Union. He moved to collectivize agriculture, shifted more in the direction of a command economy, isolated his enemies, and escalated repression of dissent. What became known as Stalinism was a metaphor for totalitarianism. Totalitarian societies, critics suggested, were those in which the minds and behaviors of its members were controlled by a top-down administrative apparatus.

Third, the Soviet/Nazi Pact of 1938 is presented as proof that the similarities between fascism and Soviet-style communism outweighed any differences that were claimed by each. It showed, the critics said, that Stalin was willing to make a pact with any regime to maintain himself in power. At the state level the construction of socialism was replaced by traditional conceptions of national interest.

Fourth, the consequences of Stalinism were proclaimed in Nikita Khrushchev’s famous Twentieth Party Congress speech in 1956. It condemned the loss of life during the collectivization of agriculture, the trial and execution of Stalin’s enemies in the late 1930s, and  criticized Stalin’s efforts to control the political life of allies in Eastern Europe. 
Fifth, the Soviet Union practiced “great power chauvinism,” intervening in other countries when the latter seemed to be pursuing an independent path of economic and political development. This was most visible as Soviet troops crushed rebellions in Budapest in 1956 and Prague Spring in 1968. In both cases, workers and students sought more political autonomy within the Socialist camp.

And finally, many Communists around the world embraced the Chinese evaluation of the Soviet Union as a case of Soviet Social Imperialism, that is socialist in name but capitalist and imperialist in reality. And the Chinese embraced Mao’s “theory of three worlds.” One of the world’s poles, consisted of the United States and the Soviet Union. This pole represented the pursuit of global hegemony at the expense of most countries in the international system. The vast majority of countries were from the “Third World.” European countries, east and west, constituted a Second World. Consequently, with China in the lead, the countries and peoples of the Third World needed to band together to challenge the domination of the two imperial powers and their client states.

The theorists who articulated one or many of these six moments came from the Communist or Socialist left. Contrary to the social scientists, these analysts derived their positions from historical analyses. Several of the theoretical positions on the Russian Revolution in decline came from the prioritizing of these historical moments; whether embracing the NEP, the rise of Stalinism, the Soviet-Nazi Pact, the revelations of Khrushchev, the invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, or the Sino/Soviet split. But while these analyses use history to make their case against the historic project of the Russian Revolution they do so in a one-sided and ultimately ahistorical way. Whereas the social scientists atomize their subject, the left critical theorists derive simplistic historical lessons from their analyses.

Contextualizing the Russian Revolutionary Project
In 1916, Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik party that would seize power in 1917 and establish a state commonly referred to as Communist, wrote an essay: “Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism.” In it he described the latest stage of capitalist development as consisting of an economic system in each developed country of industrial and financial monopolies increasingly pursuing investment and trade opportunities in other countries. Sometimes powerful capitalist countries cooperated with each other, accepting spheres of influence where each would dominate. Other times powerful capitalist states would compete with each other for access to land, labor, resources, and investment opportunities. These last circumstances could lead to war. And, for Lenin, World War One was a direct result of capitalist competition and conflict.

One year after Lenin published his essay Lenin’s political party seized state power in Russia and created the new Soviet Union, the first state generally defined as Communist. President Wilson of the United States and his Secretary of State began to speak of the new danger of Communism to the prospects for creating democracies and market-oriented economies across the globe. The animosity to the new regime in Russia was manifested in several ways. Armies from at least fifteen countries sent troops to support a counter-revolutionary campaign against the new Soviet government. The counter-revolution supported by the United States continued until 1933 as it refused to diplomatically recognize the Soviet regime.  When President Franklin Roosevelt assumed office in 1933, the Soviet Union was finally recognized.

During the 1930s, fascist movements gained power in Germany, Italy, Japan, and across central Europe. The Soviet Union, now led by Joseph Stalin, engaged in programs of rapid industrialization in part out of fear of the rise of German fascism. With the emergence of a fascist assault on democracy in Spain, relative isolationist policies in the United States, and acquiescence to fascism among European powers, the Soviet Union signed a controversial peace pact with Nazi Germany. The Germans also signed an agreement at Munich with Great Britain, France, and Italy promising non-aggression. This promise was short lived as their army invaded Poland in 1939. In 1941 they rescinded the Soviet/German agreement by invading the Soviet Union. The United States began to supply western nations fighting Germany with war material and after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on Japan and Germany. World War Two ensued.

During the war an “unnatural” but necessary alliance was formed between the United States and Great Britain, the new capitalist giant and the declining capitalist colonial power, and the Soviet Union, the center of the Communist political and ideological universe. After four years of devastating war in which 27 million Soviet citizens died and the Red army confronted 90 percent of Germany’s armies, the Nazi war machine was defeated in Europe. United States and British forces defeated Japanese militarism in Asia. The leaders of the wartime anti-fascist alliance, President Roosevelt, Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union met at Yalta on the Crimean Sea in February, 1945 and reached agreements on the establishment of a post-war world order. Just before the war ended in Europe, April, 1945, the new United Nations held its first meeting in San Francisco.

The “spirit of Yalta” was short-lived as escalating tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union developed over a variety of issues as when to hold Polish elections, Soviet support of a separatist movement in Iran, and the Greek Civil War, where an anti-communist government was trying to repress the former Greek resistance dominated by Greek Communists. The struggle was over what kind of post-war government should be created. The British, who had supported a repressive Greek government, urged the United States to step in, help the faltering Greek government, and save Greece from Communism. In a meeting held in February, 1947 to develop a recommendation for President Harry Truman, key diplomats and politicians endorsed the idea of United States financial and military support for the beleaguered Greek government. The Republican chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Arthur Vandenberg, advised President Truman that he better “scare hell out of the American people” if the President would want to build support for a global policy of opposition to the Soviet Union. Read more
Op-ed: Solitary confinement, says Angela Davis, is torture. Illinois has a chance to restrict its use.

By Angela Y. Davis
Chicago Tribune 
Nov 04, 2021 at 1:06 PM

Anthony Gay, shown March 9, 2020, was imprisoned after being involved in a fight and accused of stealing a hat and one dollar. He spent two decades in solitary. The Illinois legislature is considering a bill named after him that would forbid the Department of Corrections from holding an person in isolation for more than 10 days within a period of six months. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

Eastern State Penitentiary, which opened almost 200 years ago, is now one of Philadelphia’s major attractions, inviting tourists to reflect on what is assumed to be the historical obsolescence of its architecture and its prison regimes.

The pivotal innovation of this first penitentiary in the United States was solitary confinement, endorsed by religious leaders — including the pacifistic Quakers — as an alternative to the death penalty and other corporal punishments.

However, within the first few decades following Eastern State’s opening, this most dramatic exemplar of the penitentiary was subject to scathing criticisms, the most well-known of which was Charles Dickens’ description of solitary confinement there as “torture and agony.” After visiting Eastern State, he insisted that this “daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain” was “immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.”

Given the consistent denunciations of solitary confinement from the very first years of the history of the U.S. prison system, we are led to wonder how and why such a cruel form of official punishment has survived into the 21st century.

One might ask the same question about the death penalty, which has been outlawed in every other major industrialized country. In 2011, Illinois led the way for a wave of death penalty abolition through legislative action and gubernatorial moratoriums. The Illinois legislature is now in a position to pass H.B. 3564, the Anthony Gay Isolated Confinement Restriction Act, which would forbid the Department of Corrections from holding an imprisoned person in isolation for more than 10 days within a period of six months.

Anthony Gay should be lifted up by progressive-minded people in the state of Illinois, and by people throughout the country and the world. His story of being sent to prison after being involved in a fight and accused of stealing a hat and one dollar led to his spending 22 years in solitary. We should applaud him for doing everything possible to resist the constant assaults on his humanity, including self-injury and the use of his bodily excretions to fight back. It is a miracle that he survived — and is now alive, free and passionately working to save those he left behind.

Gay is intimately familiar with what Dickens called “the daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain” and wants to protect the more than 80,000 people who suffer confinement in isolation in state and federal prisons alone. He warns us not to be misled by efforts to employ euphemisms such as “restrictive housing,” “segregation” and “adjustment center” — terms designed to deter the public from understanding how such carceral strategies attempt to break the minds and spirits of those forced to endure long periods of isolation and sensory deprivation.

Others — including Albert Woodfox and George Jackson— who have done time under such conditions have helped us understand the abolitionist implications of campaigns against solitary confinement, against what Nelson Mandela called “the most forbidding aspect of prison life.”

The Mandela Rules — formerly known as the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners — were first adopted by the United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in 1955. These rules define extended periods of carceral isolation as torture and restrict the use of solitary confinement in all but exceptional circumstances — and never for extended or indefinite periods.

The Illinois legislature now has the opportunity to follow Mandela’s leadership by passing H.B. 3564, sponsored by Sen. Robert Peters of Chicago, which will not only significantly restrict the use of solitary confinement, but will also serve as an inspiration to others in this country and elsewhere to take similar steps in the battle to aid those who are struggling behind walls to save their humanity, and thereby also to save our own.

Angela Y. Davis is professor emerita at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Copyright © 2021, Chicago Tribune
Medicare for All Update

Dear activists, 

We will hold an Improved Medicare for All Update Group Zoom meeting on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17TH, 8pm Eastern Time, 7pm Central Time and 5pm Pacific Time. 

The proposed one hour agenda is:
  • Educational Talk on Medicare Privatization, including the new Direct Contracting Entities (not heard of those - you better attend our meeting!)
  • Overview of Medicare Expansion progress in Congress
  • Reports from states on state-based single payer efforts. 
  • Plenty of time for questions and discussion
If you wish to get the Zoom link in advance of the meeting, please email us at [email protected] and you will be sent the Zoom link a few days prior to the meeting.

Hope to see you there!

Marilyn Albert
Improved Medicare for All Update Group
CCDS National Coordinating Committee Meeting Report
Sunday, October17, 2021


Time of day discussion started with a report from Dona Dewitt from the Labor Committee
The committee is working on setting priorities. There is so much going on, they are trying to set priorities on what can be accomplished.

Stefan Engel of the International Autoworkers, a German Marxist-Leninist theorist, had been named a potential danger in 2018 by the Free State of Thuringia (Janet sent out a statement of solidarity on this). His lawsuit was in August and Stefan was completely vindicated. Frank Hammer organized the solidarity campaign in the US.

Frank and his wife are also focusing on the mega-Amazon warehouse in Detroit on the former site of the fairgrounds.

Also US labor organizations filed a labor rights petition under the new US/Mexico trade pact. Auto parts companies along the Mexican border denying workers the right to independent representation for the workers there. Most of those efforts were won by the workers, in a major victory.

In Massachusetts, the nurses pulled out of NNU some time back, now they have been on strike for a while, the hospital has hired permanent replacements. This could be another PATCO if the nurses lose.

Nabisco strike is another very important issue. Also was IATSE (The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts) and other unions and people were standing in solidarity with IATSE. Also discussed potential taxi drivers strike.

Mildred Williamson spoke on Texas ban on abortions

Latest developments. In 2021 a total of 19 states have enacted 106 restrictions, including 12 abortion bans. Abortions have always been happening, regardless of whether they have been legal, even before Roe v Wade. Women with sufficient resources could obtain relatively safe abortions. Abortion is the last point of deciding what will be done with your body.

An earlier human rights point is the availability of reproductive health education K-12. Very important for women to have reproductive health information – and yet this information was banned at K-12 level in many places long before the bans on critical race theory.

And what education has existed has been incomplete with regards to people who are gay, gender nonconforming, transgender. Hobby Lobby decision allows employers to not cover reproductive health if they have religious objections.

Calling the abortion ban as applying to pregnant “people” is a way of implying it is inclusive of people regardless of their sexuality and gender.

The Hyde Amendment forbids Medicaid from covering the cost of abortion services, since 1976. Of women age 15-49 enrolled in Medicaid, 29% of those women have been black and , 25% Latino, 12% Asian, 15% white. Only 14 states in the country allow Medicaid to provide abortions, and that’s only because they’re using state funds. In other states the impact shuts very poor women out of having access to such services. That includes all the former Confederate states
Reproductive rights are human rights, affirmed by the United Nations, but not accepted by US govt. People should have the right to decide to have children, not have children, and right to support for children they decide to have. (Includes medical care, paid family leave, end to dismantlement of public education.)

The abortion bans also give more opportunities for domestic violence to go unpunished and without recourse for women who are abused.

Harry Targ did the international report.

Since last NCC:
the US troops pulled out of Afghanistan, the Biden admin getting a lot of flak for that.
US Cold War against China is increasing.

Military budget growing.

Hybrid wars against Venezuela and Cuba.

US Space Force is trying to increase its share of the budget, penetrate into universities. And a new phenomenon: “Cognitive War”, which represents an ideological campaign to change the consciousness of people in the US and Europe and elsewhere, but also, may include research into changing brain function.

Finally: important to make the connection between the domestic issues we have been talking about and international issues. The Build Back Better proposal is only $3.5 trillion over 10 years time, while the military budget is a trillion dollars every year.

Steve Willett added cyberwar to the list.

Membership Report made by Steve Willett 237 people either paid up or no more than 1 year in arrears.

Janet Tucker reported CCDS has received Invitation from Left Roots and Organizing Upgrade to have a discussion. We accept these invitations happily. These are open for volunteers from our leadership.

Janet also reported is Inside-Outside project is starting to meet again. The Inside-Outside is made up of representatives of Liberation Road, Organizing Upgrade, DSA, CPUSA, and CCDS.

The DSA update by Carl Davidson

Carl said in the main the convention made good decisions, backed away from a more sectarian position on elections. New National Political Committee is fairly diverse in terms of representation, but in the last few months has made some stupid announcements. E.g., attack on AOC because of her abstention on the vote on Israel’s Iron Dome. Other things: bilingual version of the national publication, which was attacked by the Northstar group. Jerry Harris is running the internal education of the Chicago DSA, using Schweickart’s book. Carl is working with his local DSA chapter on education as well.

Finance Report by Meta Van Sickle

Bank balance is $6731.86

We have donated in various way to Syringes for Cuba campaign for a total of $370. We will donate to the Phyllis Willett Fund for a total of $100

We received a donation from the Mark Karkowski estate for a total of $1440.84
Expenses and income have been stable, and now with the bequest we are running ahead of expenses.

Meta contacted the Geopolitical Economy Research Group about advertising the China Reader. They are out of office at this time, Meta will try again.

HR 5124, bill to integrate advanced manufacturing and GND principles

Carl Davidson reported this project that started off with Carl, Alan Minsky of PDA, and Ann Sweeny from Chicago. It’s the enabling act for the Green New Deal. Starts with idea that the country needs to expand advanced manufacturing (not smokestack).

It should also involve “school-to-work” programs in high schools with graduates having jobs to move into. The GND also requires a lot of hardware, physical things that are made by people, so we need to build that in this country. It would set up state and national banks to distribute funds for this, and workers co-ops that would participate in this.
(“Manufacturing Renaissance Campaign”) . They have 10-15 Congressional cosponsors, aiming for 100. They’re working closely with the United Steelworkers, and some with SEIU. IBEW should be exceedingly interested.

Next plans involve a series of webinars. The organizers are pursuing foundation money to set up pilot projects. Task for us: Make the website and the bill known to our local Congresspersons, ask for their support.


Peace and Solidarity Committee/ Cuba campaign report made by Harry Targ
Pat Fry’s report was sent out prior to this meeting. Harry reported, among many other things, that there was a Zoom presentation at the last P&S meeting on Race and the Cuban Revolution – over 70 people attended out of 110 registrations. This is the first in a series: next will be November 15, which will be accompanied by a set of recommended readings.
Urgent that it be known that the US is continuing its attempts to undermine the Cuban government.
Last thing, the Cuban Medical school program, ELAM, video on this showing the qualitative differences between health care in Cuba vs the US.

Steve added that after the Cuba event, he sent out an invitation to all registrants, who were mostly already members, asking them if they are interested in being added to the Peace & Solidarity mailing list. This led to a suggestion to resurrect a national Organizing Committee (see “Outreach”).

Socialist Education Project (SEP), report given by Harry Targ Harry
Harry reported on the 4th Mondays; October will have a presentation on social media and the Facebook controversy; in November will be on the environment. For next year Duncan (seconded by Harry), that every other month the panel should involve some aspect of the 2022 election. Maybe Organizing Upgrade would like to work with the SEP on developing these programs.

Outreach for events by Marilyn Albert
We need an organizational approach to reaching out to non-members or inactive members, who attend our events. Marilyn suggested the fourth Mondays should be by registration so we can more easily reach out to them. With Facebook we can get a count of how many participated. For more outreach there are other Facebook pages. With registration, we can get names and emails of registrants.

Tom says in New York they get a tiny turnout when they just send out mass emails. Maybe ask for cell phone numbers; can be asked for in Zoom reg.
Too late to change the October 4th Monday to require registration, but going forward we can do that.

Move the Money, report given by Tom Gogan
Move the Money is still “Move the Money New York;” kind of stalled in April-May, when they were 3 shy of the number of council members needed to pass the resolution. In the meantime they were stymied by a heated city council/ mayoral/ public advocate primary election. New city council is more progressive, so they feel they are in a better starting position with this incoming council.
Carl reports that in Beaver County they are engaged in the “Stop banking on the Bomb” campaign, lobbying PNC bank to divest.

Medicare for All Update Group report by Marilyn Albert
The group meets for one hour on a quarterly basis. Reports, followed by a short educational. Attendance is light but growing, 18 people at the last one. Sandy Eaton wrote a report of the first meeting in the last Mobilizer. Marilyn, Sandy and Corinne Frugoni are organizing this group.

Nov. 17 is the next meeting, 5pm Pacific, 6pm Mountain, 7pm Central, 8pm Eastern. Topic will be Medicare Privatization.

Covid pill exists. It costs $18 to manufacture the 5 day treatment; but price of a prescription is $700 plus.

She also reported on the proceedings of the Healthy California for All Commission. There was a poll where 2/3 low income Californians said they preferred a government run (i.e. single payer) health system. This surprised the commissioners
Ira Grupper reported on plans by (GM?) to build a battery manufacturing plant which will create around 50,000 jobs; great opportunity for the UAW if they’ll take advantage of it. Also, reported on the 60th anniversary of SNCC. There’s a video, he’ll send the link.

Paul Krehbiel warned of GOP plans to get republican controlled legislatures to throw out the elected electors in 2024 and install “Trump” electors. This is a Trump/Republican organizing project getting underway now.

Erica Carter reported on the Jim Campbell memorial; the booklet is available and can be ordered through Carl Davidson.
Mildred warned that the two anti-voter-suppression bills have been back burner ed; this needs advocacy.

Scheduling Next NCC Meeting January 23, 2022.

Harry Targ

Smith, Alan, and Mike Seal. 2021. "The Contested Terrain of Critical Pedagogy and Teaching Informal Education in Higher Education" Education Sciences 11, no. 9: 476.

“The assault on academic freedom and autonomy by right-wing political forces has been escalating in recent months. At the University of North Carolina, the governing boards and a major donor interfered in the tenure case of Nikole Hannah-Jones. Vaccination and mask mandates have been suppressed at colleges in red states around the country. Presidential searches at the University of South CarolinaFayetteville State University, and elsewhere were hijacked to insert political allies of governing boards. Recent events at the University of Florida have raised those problems to a new level. The time for strategizing and threading needles is over. This is an all-out assault, and faculty members are now being enlisted in the effort to dismantle our representative democracy.” (Holden Thorp, The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 1, 2021

Political debates today increasingly involve the character of higher education. Current controversies have emerged over the teaching of critical aspects of American history, such as those dealing with race, class, gender, the environment, and the United States role in war and foreign intervention. These debates raise questions about higher education and the political agendas of the federal government, state governments, prominent universities themselves, the corporate sector, and particularly powerful economically driven interest groups, such as the Koch Foundation, which wish to restructure the role of faculty, students, and traditional curricula and research, in the 21st century.

Interests Served by Higher Education
In his presidential address to the Society for the Study of Social Problems in 2000, Robert Perrucci refers to "Galileo's crime." He argues that while most claim that Galileo was punished for proposing that the planets moved around the sun, others have pointed out that he was condemned because "he chose to communicate his findings about the earth and the sun, not in Latin, the medium of the educated elite, but in Italian, the public vernacular, parola del popolo," Robert Perrucci, “Inventing Social Justice: SSSP and the Twenty-First Century, Social Problems, May, 2001.

This thought, for me, constitutes a parable for the history of higher education as we know it. In my view it is not unfair to suggest that institutions of higher education have always been created and shaped by the interests of the ruling classes and elites in the societies in which they exist. This means they serve to reinforce the economic, political, ideological, and cultural interests of those who create them, fund them, and populate them.

In Robert Paul Wolff ‘s book, The Ideal of the University (1970), the author identifies the historical university as the training ground for theology, literature, and law. In each case, sacred or secular canonical texts were studied with a microscope. Their study was designed to reify and transmit the core knowledge claims, ethics, and laws across generations. Wolff's description, quoted below and written fifty years ago, about a reality hundreds of years earlier might still resonate with us today:
Thus, the activity of scholarship is in the first instance a religious and literary activity, directed toward a given corpus of texts, either divine or secular, around which a literature of commentary accumulated. The corpus is finite, clearly defined, growing slowly as each stage in the progress of Western civilization deposited its masterpieces in the Great Tradition. Though the tradition may contain pregnant, emotionally powerful commentaries upon life and men's affairs, the scholar's concern is with the textual world, not with the world about which the text speaks. (Wolff, 5)

Wolff (1970), James Berlin, Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures, Refiguring College English Studies, (1996), David N. Smith, Who Rules the Universities? An Essay on Class Analysis (1974) as well as others added to this discussion an analysis of how the university changed in the late nineteenth century to serve the needs of rising industrial capitalism in Europe and North America. The university shifted in the direction of serving new masters: from the clerics and judges to the capitalists. Plans were instituted in elite universities to develop "departments," compartmentalizing knowledge so it could be fashioned for use in research and development; human relations, making the modern corporation more efficient; developing communications, branding, and accounting skills; and developing good citizens. Elite universities initiated the changes that made higher education more compatible with and an instrumentality of modern capitalism. The model then "trickled down" to less prestigious universities, which in the end became even more effective developers and purveyors of knowledge for use in capitalist societies.

Wolff quoted Clark Kerr, the former president of the University of California system and the target of the student movement in that state in the 1960s, who hinted at this theme of connectedness between certain societal needs, power, and education, and a parallelism between the era of the industrial revolution and the quarter century after World War II:
The American University is currently undergoing its second great transformation. The first occurred during roughly the last quarter of the nineteenth century, when the land grant movement and German intellectualism were together bringing extraordinary change. The current transformation will cover roughly the quarter century after World War II. The university is being called upon to educate previously unimagined numbers of students; to respond to the expanding claims of national service; to merge its activities with industry as never before; to adapt to and rechannel new intellectual currents. By the end of this period, there will be a truly American university; an institution unique in world history, an institution not looking to other models but serving, itself, as a model for universities in other parts of the globe. (Wolff, 33-34)  

For Kerr, the modern "multiversity," responding to the needs of society as reflected in federal and corporate research funding, was obliged to produce scientists, engineers, and doctors, what we call today the STEM fields. This university, he said, was "a model" for higher education around the world.

During World War II and the Cold War, the modern university began to serve powerful new masters. As Charles Wilson, president of General Electric, advocated in 1944, there was a need to maintain the coalition of forces that defeated fascism in Europe and Japanese imperialism in Asia, to stave off new threats to U.S. and global capitalism, and to forestall a return to the grim Depression economy of the 1930s. To do that, Wilson said, we needed to increase collaboration between government, particularly the Defense Department, and corporations and universities. This constituted the partnership that did much to secure victory during the war. His vision was referred to as "a permanent war economy." 

Shortly after the war a rationale for this collaboration grew, the threat of international communism. The military, defense-related corporations, and research institutions had a reason to work together: to lobby for dollars, do the research, produce the technologies, train future scientists and engineers for the Cold War, and educate the broader non-technically trained population in and out of the university to accept the basic parameters of the Cold War struggle.

Henry Giroux paraphrased President Eisenhower's warning of a growing military/industrial complex: ". . . the conditions for production of violence, the amassing of huge profits by defense industries, and the corruption of government officials in the interest of making war the organizing principle of society had created a set of conditions in which the very idea of democracy, if not the possibility of politics itself, was at stake." Giroux, Henry, The University in ChainsParadigm, 2007, 14-15).

What kind of claims can be derived from these formative statements; the variety of literatures of more recent vintage, arguments of educational theorists such as Giroux; and our observations of universities, curricula, and academic professions?

First, higher education remains subject to, influenced by, and financially beholden to governments and corporations. These influences profoundly shape what professors and graduate students teach and research.

Second, as history shows, conceptions of disciplines, fields, bodies of knowledge, appropriate methods, fundamental truths pervasive in disciplines (rational choice in economics and the pursuit of power in political science) and the academic organization of universities are shaped by economic interests and politics.

Third, the structure of academic professions -- professional associations, journals, peer review, the validation of professional work, definitions of the substance of courses, dominant paradigms governing disciplines -- is largely shaped by economic and political interest.
Fourth, in the main, the university as an institution is, and has always been, designed to serve the  status quo, a status quo, again governed by economic and political interest.

Discourse and Contradiction in Higher Education: The University as “Contested Terrain”
It would be a mistake to leave the impression that all that the university does is negative, even as it is shaped by and serves the dominant economic and political interests in society. Within the confines of what Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, (1962) called "normal science," researchers and educators have made enormous contributions to society. But even this is not the whole story.

There emerged over the centuries and decades a view that this institution, the university, should have a special place in society. It should be, in a term Christopher Lasch used to refer to the family, "a haven in a heartless world." Through its seclusion, professors could reflect critically on their society and develop knowledge that could be productively used by it to solve human puzzles and problems. This view of higher education diametrically conflicts with the reality described above.

The Galileo case suggests he was punished for his theoretical and communications transgressions by the academic hierarchy of his day. More recently, scholars such as Scott Nearing were fired for opposing World War I, and over the years hundreds more for being communists, eccentrics, radicals of one sort or another, or for challenging accepted professional paradigms. Of particular virulence have been periods of "red scares," when faculty who taught and/or engaged in activism outside some mainstream were labeled "communists," which by definition meant they were traitors to the United States.

In response to the ideal of the free-thinking scholar who must have the freedom to pursue her/his work, professional organizations and unions embraced and defended the idea of "academic freedom." Academic freedom proclaimed that researchers and teachers had the right to pursue and disseminate knowledge in their field unencumbered by political constraints and various efforts to silence them and their work. To encourage young scholars to embrace occupations in higher education and to encourage diversity of views, most universities in the United States gave lip service to academic freedom and in the main have sought to protect the principle in the face of attacks on the university in general and controversial scholars in particular.

During periods of controversy and conflict in society at large, universities too become "contested terrain." That is, external pressures on universities lead administrators to act in ways to stifle controversy and dissent. The targets of that dissent and their supporters, and students and colleagues at large, raise their voices to protest efforts to squelch it. Interestingly enough, the university, which on the one hand serves outside interests, on the other hand, prizes independence from outside interests.

The University in the 21st Century
If the university is conceptualized as the site of “contested terrain”, as a place where ideas are debated and contested, and students and teachers alike connect these ideas to their activity in the world beyond the campus, then conceiving of its impacts only in terms of careers, job satisfaction, and vague references to well-being is too limited. The university should be a place where traditional and non-traditional students are stimulated to develop a deeper understanding of the world and some sense of how it can be changed for the better.
In addition, the model of the university as “contested terrain” is a communal one, involving teachers, students, and various communities in the ongoing collective struggle to better understand the world and conceptualize ways to engage in it. In a very profound sense, attacks on universities from within and without are attacks on democracy. And for that reason the university as contested terrain must be defended.
James Campbell: A Life To Remember


A tribute to James E. Campbell, a well-known and widely influential leader of the civil rights and socialist movements for the last seven decades. He worked as an actor, writer, and organizer, working with Jack O'Dell, Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz, Bayard Rustin, James Balwin, and many others. He served as an editor of Freedomways magazine and as national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. He passed away earlier this year in Charleston, NC.

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From the CCDS Socialist Education Project...
A China Reader

Edited by Duncan McFarland

A project of the CCDS Socialist Education Project and Online University of the Left

244 pages, $20 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

The book is a selection of essays offering keen insight into the nature of China and its social system, its internal debates, and its history. It includes several articles on the US and China and the growing efforts of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.

Click here for the Table of Contents

Taking Down White Supremacy 

A Reader on Multiracial and Multinational Unity 

Edited by the CCDS
Socialist Education Project

166 pages, $12.50 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

This collection of 20 essays brings together a variety of articles-theoretical, historical, and experiential-that address multi-racial, multi-national unity. The book provides examples theoretically and historically, of efforts to build multi-racial unity in the twentieth century.

      Click here for the Table of contents
Important Lessons from History
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To see NEW NARRITIVE 1-8 go to the October Mobilizer
The story of Plymouth Colony in the ‘New England’ sector of ‘Turtle Island’ is an odd case where history really gets weird. Not only does it move in switchbacks and spirals, but some parts also seem like the creations of Hollywood screenwriters of spy yarns, romances, and costumed adventure stories. Some of parts of the story we learned as children are even true, but at the expense of a context ‘for adults only.’

The story begins in 1600 with a young man, named Tisquantum of the Patuxet tribe, living near what is now Plymouth and Cape Cod. The Patuxet were a subset of the Wampanoag people, who covered a wider area in what is now Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If you think ‘Tisquantum’ sounds like ‘Squanto’ of our elementary school Thanksgiving tales, you’re right. It’s the same guy.

One tale has Tisquantum captured in 1605, along with four other young men, by an English adventurer, Captain George Weymouth. ‘Squanto’ is taken to Spain and traded off to Sir Ferdinando Gorge, where he works a short time, escapes to England, learns the language, at gets a job on a fishing ship headed for Newfoundland. Once there, he heads back to his people near Cape Cod. There is no hard evidence to prove this story, save for a claim by Gorge, who did hold several natives traded to him by Weymouth.

What is true is in 1614, an English ‘explorer,’ Captain Thomas Hunt, attacked the Patuxet tribe. He ravaged and looted them, taking several captives, including Tisquantum, back to Spain and selling them. Tisquantum managed to escape to England, where he did learn the language and some sailing skills, and in 1619, got on a crew headed back to the New England area.
When he did reach home, however, he found his Patuxet tribe entirely wiped out by diseases that followed Hunt’s attack. Tisquantum was a member of the priestly-warrior strata of his tribe, and mourned their loss as the ‘last of my people.’ He went to live with the nearby Wampanoags.

The story now flips back across the Atlantic to Holland. A large number of English religious dissenters, known as the “Brownists,” had taken refuge in Leiden, but given their intolerant and cantankerous ways--militant opposition to all things Catholic--they had worn out their welcome. They bought two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower, to take them to Virginia. The Speedwell proved unable to make the voyage, so ‘the Saints’ as they called themselves, gathered a smaller contingent, and joined a more secular grouping called ‘the Strangers,’ and took sail.

The trip was horrific. The Mayflower was designed for cargo, not people, and the hold became squalid and disease-ridden. Several died along the way, but one was born. Driven far off course by storms, they wound up far from the extreme northern reach of 'Virginia' (what is now New York harbor), and were required to disembark at Cape Cod and build shelters of the ruins of the old Patuxet village. They barely survived by finding and looting Indian cornfields near to them, as well as fish and game.

But the ‘Saints’ were still in a very bad way, and dying off. Just at this point, straight from central casting, entered Squanto, who proclaimed ‘Welcome, Englishmen!’ in a clear version of their own tongue. The saints and strangers were amazed and divided as to whether he was an angel or the devil, but what followed is partly well known. Squanto took pity and helped them to survive, and at very early spring, taught them how to use fish to grow the ‘three sisters’--corn, beans, and squash--along with other survival skills. The next year they held a ‘thanksgiving’ feast. So without this tangled tale, there would have been no Plymouth colony.
Squanto’s main role soon became interpreter and diplomat between the Saints and other Native tribes. There was mixed Native opinion as to what to do about the steady trickle of English settlers. Some wanted to wipe them out altogether, correctly assessing they would soon want everything. Others including Massasoit, a major sachem of the Wampanoag, were willing to consider coexistence and trade. The English kept pressing for more land after Squanto died of an illness, and by 1649, Massasoit agreed to a ‘last straw’ concession of some 14 square miles to Myles Standish.

Massasoit soon died, and by 1662, his second son, Metacom, took charge. Metacom either took or was given the name ‘King Phillip', and he eventually tired of English encroachments and began an all-round resistance, known as ‘King Phillip’s War.’ But by this time, the English numbers and resources were too great, and the Native peoples retreated to distant areas, Metacom set up camp and held out for a number of years in the great Assowamset Swamp in southern Massachusetts. He was finally killed by the English forces in 1676. His body was quartered and hung from the trees. More to come.

(Note: one 'source' used here was the National Geographic two-part film, 'Saints and Strangers.' Despite some bias and Hollywoodisms, it gets many things right, and is worth watching.)
The Mohicans, Henry Hudson, and New Netherlands

Around the turn of the millennial, 1600, the 'Muh-he-ka-neew' people (Or 'Mohican', which translates "people of the continually flowing waters"), had been living and thriving for centuries along the long river valley flowing into the Atlantic. They had a string of small settlements, comprised of small-to-medium-sized longhouses, each with gardens of corn, beans, and squash. Game and fish were plentiful, as were a wide variety of nuts and berries. They also knew how to tap the sap from Maple trees and render it into syrup and maple sugar. They traveled and traded along the river with canoes, which could hold up to 14 people, along with a cargo of goods.

They named the river 'Mahicanituck' after themselves, although it would soon become known as 'the Hudson' after Henry Hudson, an English navigator with a mixed crew working for the Dutch Republic and their Dutch West India Company. Living on the west side of the river were the Munsee, their close cousins and a subset of the Lepape, whose territory stretched down into what is now called the Delaware Valley. The Mohicans stretched northward to their main concentration, 'Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw,' or what is now called the Albany area. It was also a border zone where the Mohican bumped into the domains of the Mohawk to the West and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) to the North.

The Mohicans were a matrilineal society, with each village run by a council of female elders. The councils chose a male Sachem, both a spiritual and military leader, but whose position could be revoked if he didn't work out well. There had been conflicts with both the Mohawks and the Iroquois, but at this time, relations were peaceful.
The Mohicans knew about the 'Great Canoes' and bearded men from across the Ocean, men who were willing to trade goods with near-magical qualities--metal axes, knives and pots, fine cloth of bright colors--for provisions and animal skins they considered rather commonplace. They heard about one version, the French, from the Iroquois, and another, the English, from the peoples around Cape Cod. The French may even have had a small trading post near Albany, deserted at 1590.

In 1609 Henry Hudson encountered the Mohicans all along the river he was exploring. In his ship's log are numerous accounts of the natives paddling out to his ship, the Half Moon, eager to trade. They mainly brought Maize, called 'Indian Wheat' by Hudson, along with furs and other foods. Hudson gave them what he called 'trifles' and 'trinkets' for the food and provisions, but the harder goods of metal for the furs. Most of the exchanges went well, but Hudson noted that one armed boat he sent out came back with one dead Englishman with an arrow through his neck. They buried him ashore and had a few more clashes with canoes of Mohicans letting their arrows fly at the Half Moon. Hudson returned with gunfire and won those rounds. With a load of furs, he made his way back to Europe, landed in England, and immediately reported to his Dutch sponsors, the Dutch West India Company (DWI).

The DWI had been active in the New World for some time as slavers and traders in and around the Caribbean and had resources at hand. In 1614, they sent several ships back up the Hudson, and created Fort Nassau near present-day Albany, staking out the entire Hudson Valley, along with Long Island to the north and what is now New Jersey to the south, as 'New Netherland.' Thus the Dutch, too, took a slice of 'Turtle Island.'

Where the Hudson opened to the sea, the Dutch set up a fort on 'Nut Island,' what is today's Governor's Island. In 1625, however, Peter Minuit, the third governor, decided Manhattan (also the Lenape name for the island) was a better spot, and 'bought' it for the legendary $24 worth of trinkets. (Actually, it was 80 guilders, and worth several thousands of dollars in today's money).

The Dutch tried their hand at setting up feudal estates along the Hudson. As well as Hollanders, They dropped off shiploads of Walloons and French Huguenots to be the farmers and lower classes for wealthy landed 'patroons.' They also brought African slaves to Manhattan, both to sell them and put them to work building a walled encampment (where its northern edge, Wall Street, got its name). It's also how what is now New York City got a polyglot, mixed population from the beginning.

As the Dutch expanded, they pushed the Mohicans eastward into Connecticut, and some westward, to be killed or absorbed into the Mohawks, who then became the main fur traders. The battles and defeats are sketchily and romantically depicted in 'The Last of the Mohicans,' both the novel and ensuing films. The remnants of the tribe wound up in a reservation in Wisconsin, although new claims are being made in New York state in current times. In the end, the British took over and 'New Netherland' became New York. But that gets us ahead of the story. More to come.
New Narrative #11:

The Lenape, New Sweden, and a Socialist Experiment

'Poutaxat' is what the southernmost Lenape people called the large Mid-Atlantic estuary where they lived, and 'Lenape Wihittuck' is the name they gave the large river that flowed into it. They lived much as their northern cousins, the Mohicans. They were a largely settled agricultural and matrilineal society, with longhouses and gardens, but still gathered from the forests and hunted wild game.

The area, which we now call Delaware Bay, after Baron Del A Warr, aka Thomas West, a great-grandson of Mary Boleyn, sister to Ann, the consort of Henry VIII. West was assigned a number of posts in Turtle Island but didn't fare well in any of them. Sickness got the better of him, and he returned to England, not leaving behind much more than his royal name.

The English were far from the first visitors to the Lenape. In 1521, Francisco Gordillo and a slave trader Captain Pedro de Quejo (de Quexo), representing Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Fifth (King of Spain and Austria), toured the area but left little than a new name, 'St. Christopher's Bay.' They were followed by a Dutch explorer, Cornelius Jacobsen May, who left his name on Cape May, the seaward edge of the bay. He actually managed some trade with the Lenape there but moved north to New Amsterdam and the Hudson River.

Next, it's Sweden's turn. The Kingdom of Sweden, recently expanded after success in a few European wars, decided to try its hand in taking a piece of the New World. Two ships, Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip, set sail and landed in 1638 in Delaware Bay. They set up Fort Christiana, named for their Queen, near to what is now Wilmington, DE. They unloaded both Swedish and Finnish families in the area, and also further up the Jersey side to the river, staking out Fort Elfsborg.

Despite the forts, the settlers in New Sweden were far from militarized. In a way, it worked to their advantage. They were compelled simply to trade with the Lenape, and come to agreements about land use amicably. The Finns built their homes as log cabins, much as they had back in Finland, and it is sometimes claimed they were responsible for 'inventing' them for the New World. Perhaps a good many settlers copied them, but the Cherokee and other native peoples had log cabins far from New Sweden.

In any case, New Sweden was thriving and growing. But from the beginning, the Dutch were annoyed by the Swedish colony on land they assumed belonged to them. In 1655 Peter Stuyvesant sent several ships with militia to take them over. Given the settler's weakness and lack of powder, the skirmishing ended quickly, and New Sweden was absorbed into New Netherlands. On the ground, though, it meant little, as Swedes and Finns continued to arrive and settle all around the eastern edge of the bay and up the Delaware River. But Sweden decided to let it go, as not worth another war.

Our story wouldn't be complete, however, without a mention of Pieter Cornelisz Plockhoy, a Dutchman, some claim as 'the father of modern socialism.' Plockhoy had devised a plan for a cooperative settlement near Ft Christiana, where worker-members would divide their labor according to their skills, run the project themselves, establish a six-hour day, and equally divide the profits each year. It was set up at Hoorn Kill on the Delaware River, near Swannendaal (New Castle). It reportedly did rather well until 1664, when the English took over New Netherland, including the former New Sweden, changed the name to New York and New Jersey, plundered and looted the coop settlement, and sent Plockhoy off live with Quakers, in what is now Philadelphia. More to come.

The Lenape, William Penn and 'Culture Clashes'
The southern Lenni Lenape lived in the watershed of the large river flowing into a major bay, both now called the Delaware. Several other rivers, now called the Schuylkill and the Lehigh, were tributaries flowing into the Delaware river not far from the Bay. 'Lenni Lenape,' in their own language, had a double meaning, both 'common people' and 'original people.' It made sense since study has shown they had been there for a very long time, perhaps migrating there some 10,000 years ago, until they reached the end of the land and the Atlantic seacoast.

They called the entire area 'Lenapehoking' , or homeland of the Lenape, after themselves. They resided in small settled villages all along the main river and its tributaries. At the confluence of the Delaware and the Schuylkill were six villages, the two main ones named Pèmikpeka and Nitapèkunk, inside what is now Philadelphia. The villages were matrilineal, each with a male sachem. They cultivated gardens, but also hunted wild game, and gathered fish and other seafood.

Life was not always easy. The Lenape had traditional native rivals, mainly the Susquehannock, encompassing an area from the Chesapeake to the south up through what is now central Pennsylvania and New York to the west. The Susquehannock were related to the 'five nations' of the powerful Haudenosaunee. Our last installment mentioned the Lenape contact with 'New Sweden', but they had also been visited earlier by the 'great canoe' sailed by Henry Hudson, who also probed about Delaware Bay looking for the illusory 'Northwest Passage.' Several families of Swedes, Finns and Dutch had settled among them along the main river.

More trouble was brewing with the Europeans. The 'Zwaanendael Colony' founded by the Dutch West India Company, along the bay in what is now Delaware, simply staked out a claim and nailed a tin sign to a tree to assert ownership. Lenape who had come to trade, not knowing what it was, took it down and made pipes out of it to smoke tobacco. One of the Dutch settlers slew a Lenape chief as a punishment, and all hell broke loose. It ended with all the settlers dead, save for two small boys who lived to tell the tale.

Other troubles were connected with events far away. Charles II had been restored to King of England but found himself in great debt to Sir William Penn the Elder, who had died recently, but the debt was still due to his rebel son, William Penn, who had joined the radical 'Society of Friends,' the Quakers. Very tight for cash, the King took pen to paper and ceded a huge tract of land to settle the debt. It started with lower New Jersey and allegedly stretched all the way westward to the Pacific, but at least to the Appalachians and beyond. With Quaker simplicity, Penn wanted to call it 'Sylvania,' or 'land of the woods.' But the King insisted Penn's name be attached, hence 'Pennsylvania.' John Cabot's little 'Law of Discovery' ceremony in Newfoundland in 1497 had a long reach across space and time, the Lenape's 10,000 years notwithstanding.

The Quakers, as radical democrats with zero deference to hierarchy, even with their pacifism, were having a tough time in monarchist 'high church' England. Even before Penn, some had already sought relief on Turtle Island, but found themselves purged out of the Massachusetts theocracy as heretics, driven into Rhode Island and further southward. Others, in one of Lord Baltimore's more tolerant phases in Maryland, found some refuge along the Chesapeake Bay and even further into what is now North Carolina.

The young Penn, however, was determined to find a solution for the many Quakers still in England. He decided, in effect, to become a settler colonialist 'of a new type' on his benevolent principles. In 1682, Penn landed at an older Dutch settlement of New Castle on Delaware Bay. The area was also ceded to him by the Duke of York, even though York was challenged by Lord Baltimore for the turf. Penn left them the quarrel and headed further up the Bay to where the Schuylkill met the Delaware. He decided this was the spot, gathered up some Lenape, and proceeded to 'purchase' it from them.

It was a 'culture clash' that proved troublesome. Penn proceeded on English notions of private property and the laws of real estate. These were foreign to the Lenape, who saw Penn's 'payment' as traditional gift-giving to establish respect and allowance for joint access to the area and its bounty. They understood tribal boundaries, but permanent and personal private ownership of land made no sense to them.

In any case, Penn marked out the area between the rivers in a grid, named the streets with numbers and tree names, and called it Philadelphia, for 'brotherly love.' Thousands of Quakers made their way to it, along with German Anabaptists and others. The Quakers soon were thriving, and even more diverse Europeans came, pushing the Lenape further westward. And before long even a few Quakers had bought themselves African slaves, as did others with wealth, unleashing a new knot of contradictions. More to come
The Apalachee, DeSoto's Violent Slave Catching, and the Fate of Spanish Carolina.

The Apalachee were a native people who had made their home in the southern woodlands near the eastern edge of what is now called the Gulf of Mexico. They were mound-builders, erecting ceremonial earthworks in their major villages. This means they were also the southeasternmost part of what is now called the Mississippian culture of mound builders. This broader group covered the entire southern part of what is now the US, bordered by the Mississippi River on the west and the Ohio River to the north. Other native peoples lived there, too, but the mound-building made them unique.

The Apalachee had a warrior caste to be feared. As noted earlier, they first encountered the strange men of the ‘great canoes’ in an armed group headed by Ponce De Leon. The Spaniards were trying to seize the Apalachee and turn them into slave labor for Hispaniola, Cuba, and elsewhere, but as they learned the hard way during the DeSoto expedition, it was not so easy.

For thousands of years, the Apalachee lived in settled villages in homes made of palm branches and cypress moss. They grew several varieties of squash, maize and beans, and smoked fish and other game for long-term storage. (One Spanish raid of one of their stores provided several hundred of the Spanish marauders with supplies lasting nearly six months). With their surpluses and networks, the Apalachee were able to build their mounds and trade for goods reaching to the Great Lakes, the Great Plains, and down into Mexico.

The Apalachee were also known for a sport, a ball game with a small clay ball wrapped in animal skin, and a goal post. The ball had to be kicked to hit the post to score. Up to 40 or 50 men from rival villages took part, and the play could be as violent, or worse, than today’s hockey games.

Fierce as they might be, the Apalachee succumbed to the ‘invisible bullets’ of the Spaniards, as their villages after Desoto’s attacks and looting, were ravaged by smallpox and other diseases. Many of the tribal remnants moved northward to merge with their cousins, the Muscogee Creek Confederacy. Those remaining were absorbed into the Florida Spanish missions as forced labor while being ‘converted’ to Catholicism.

At the time, the turn into the 1600s, Spain’s ‘La Florida’ meant more than the name suggests today. It stretched from New Orleans in the west, to the Chesapeake Bay in the northeast, and to Tennessee to the north. The violent slave-raiding tour of Desoto around the Southeast is fairly well known, and continued until he died at the Mississippi. So is the Spanish founding of St Augustine on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Less known is the founding of St Elena at Parris Island, SC by the Spaniards,1566-1587, along with a string of forts reaching into the interior of the Carolinas, including one at Joara, a Cherokee town in what is now western North Carolina.

This was largely the work of Juan Pardo, a Spanish explorer. He was charged with the task of finding an overland route to the silver mines of Mexico from the Atlantic coast. The Spanish at the time thought the Appalachian Mountains (later named for the Apalachee) were a continuous chain reaching into the far southwest and Mexico.
Save for St Elena, Pardo’s forts quickly collapsed, once the native peoples around them discovered they were parasitic, and had no regular supply of trade goods. Their fate underscored a point: many European settlements survived or failed at the sufferance of the native peoples around them.

In 1586, Sir Francis Drake, the 'privateer' discussed earlier, attacked and burned St Augustine, a move that caused Spain to pull back from the Carolinas and defend what we today call Florida.

The geography of what was called Carolina, at least its coastal area, sharply divides the northern half from the southern. The north has large bays and sounds, protected by a long string of barrier islands, the Outer Banks. The sound area was home to one group of native peoples that included the Pamlico, while the inland piedmont was home to a larger grouping whose center was the Tuscarora. The arrival of English settlers was soon to reshape them all. More to come.
[A key source: New Voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina History, edited by Larry E. Ise and Jeffrey J. Crow]
The Tuscarora, Quakers, and Early Battles over Slavery
Long before Europeans and their 'great canoes' started to occupy and trade along the seacoast of Turtle Island, the Tuscarora people had migrated southward from the Great Lakes area and settled in the piedmont region of what was to be called 'the Carolinas.' They were 'Iroquoian' speakers, related to the five-nation confederacy living near the Niagara region and the mountains of what is now Pennsylvania. Just to their east, along the coastal bay and outer banks, lived a dozen or so Algonquin-speaking tribes. In the mountains far west of them lived the Cherokee.

Their name is pronounced 'tuh-skuh-roar-uh', which is close to their own name, 'Skarureh.' It means both 'the people who gather hemp' or 'the hemp-shirt wearers.' What we now call 'Indian hemp' is a very useful plant that produces strong fibers. The Tuscarora used hemp to make cloth for shirts, for rope and for ceremonial objects (some varieties of hemp contain cannabis). The hemp cloth, along with occasionally dying their hair red with bloodroot, made the Tuscarora stand out. Otherwise, they were like many of their neighbors. They lived in matrilineal villages with farms growing the usual 'three sisters', maize, beans, and squash. They had strong and skilled warriors, but they were known to be more peaceful and accommodating than warlike. They loved to play Lacrosse.

For several hundred years the Tuscarora thrived in their region. Their crops did well and the wild game was plentiful. They also made dugout canoes to fish the rivers and shallow coastal bays. They were especially fond of crayfish. Their homes were made of bent poles covered with layers of bark, but they tended to be smaller and more rounded than the 'long houses' of their cousins to the north. By the end of the 1500s, they were undoubtedly aware of Europeans--the Spanish failures in South Carolina and the failure of the 'lost colony' of Roanoke in the northern islets inside the Outer Banks. They would soon become aware of Jamestown and its early struggles.

What they didn't know was the deal-making going on across the ocean. In 1629, King Charles I handed out a land patent to Robert Heath, for all the lands north of Florida and below Virginia, stretching far to the west, at least to the Mississippi, even the Pacific. Naturally, he wanted it named after himself, 'Carolina.'

Unfortunately or not, he was beheaded and Cromwell ran the country for a decade or so, briefly unconcerned about colonies. The land grant was moot and put in the trash bin. But in 1660, the monarchy was restored with Charles II in charge. He came up with a new deal, a 'proprietary colony,' where he would name several 'lords proprietors' to take over Carolina, divide it up, and run it as they pleased.

"The Lords Proprietors named in the charter," says Wikipedia, "were Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon; George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle; William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven; John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton; Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury; Sir George Carteret; Sir William Berkeley (brother of John); and Sir John Colleton."

So with the stroke of his pen, Charles II had named new chieftains and overlords for the Tuscarora and dozens of other peoples as well. It mattered little whether any of high-born Englishmen had ever set foot on Turtle Island. But the Lords Proprietors quickly got to work, and in1670 sent 150 colonists to set up, naturally, 'Charles Town' near the old Spanish fort. Lord Shaftesbury, from London, planned the streets for the town and encouraged settlers from the sugar colony of Barbados to populate it. The same deal was made to William Sales, then governor of Bermuda, to round up a few boatloads of the residents of that colony to be removed to Carolina. In turn, Sales was named the first governor of the province.

The northern edge of Carolina bordered Virginia, and the border was ill-defined. A good number of Virginians, and people passing through Virginia, were suffering from the religious intolerance of Governor Berkeley, a High-Church cavalier, including many Quakers. There were also people feeling the edge of his crackdown on Bacon's Rebellion. Carolina had no churches to speak of then, and somewhat tolerant policies on religion. In 1672, George Fox, a founder of the Quakers, decided to explore the area himself, found it welcoming, and invited Quakers to move there in sizeable numbers. They did so, making a point of purchasing land from native leaders.
The coming clashes can be readily seen. The settlers from Barbados called themselves 'planters,' even though personally they never got their hands dirty. They owned and managed sugar plantations worked by slaves, and now on the mainland, they used slaves to grow rice and tobacco. They would buy bondservants and African slaves or they would have militias capture native peoples, including the Tuscarora, and work them as slaves. If they balked, they would trade the native slaves off to the Indies in exchange for Africans, or simply for the money. The Quakers, on the other hand, were developing into an anti-slavery force, and one that tried, as best as they could, to treat native peoples as equals as well. Contradictions were soon to explode. More to come.
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