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5.29.14

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Military Resistance 12E14

Lament For The Long Forgotten War Dead

“He Didn’t Shirk Any Of His Years”

Forgotten War Dead “He Didn’t Shirk Any Of His Years” High Peaks, Adirondacks, northern New York.

High Peaks, Adirondacks, northern New York.

May 24, 2014 by Robert Sharlet, The Rag Blog http://www.theragblog.com/robert- sharlet-lament-for-the-long-forgotten-war-dead/

Robert Sharlet, a long time academic, is co-authoring a memoir of his brother Jeff -- a Vietnam GI and, subsequently, a leader of GI protest against the war -- with his son and namesake, Jeff Sharlet, the writer.

In the interim, the author writes a biweekly blog, Searching for Jeff.

******************************************************************************************

Nearly a half century ago this season of remembering the fallen — just after sunset on a hillside along the border of New York and Canada — the sad sounds of taps echoed through the hills and valleys.

It was a warm evening summer of ‘67 when hundreds of townspeople — nearly everyone living in Ausable Forks, a tiny hamlet of 500 or so souls — came out to pay last respects to a local boy, James Saltmarsh, killed a week earlier in Vietnam.

An honor guard had fired 21 rifle volleys as yet another son of the North Country of upper New York State was laid to rest. Finally, the elegiac lament of the bugle was heard, closing the burial ceremony in the breathtaking High Peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains.

It was just an ordinary rural burial ground, not a hallowed place dedicated to those fallen in America’s wars.

Over the years I had become familiar with military cemeteries, having visited several abroad. I rarely came away unaffected by the magisterial simplicity of those solemn places that call to mind legions of eternal youth no longer walking the earth.

My first such experience was while passing through eastern Poland in the ‘60s. I was visiting a Polish colleague at a university near Lublin. He took me for a drive; he wanted to show me something.

We came to a small stately, fenced-in area. Entering, I realized it was a cemetery, but a very unusual one. There was just a single stone obelisk with Cyrillic script, standing guard so to speak, over rows of widely spaced, carefully landscaped low mounds, each with a bronze marker.

This was the burial place of hundreds of Soviet soldiers who fell liberating Poland in

1944.

Without a trace of individualization, a fast moving army had buried its dead quickly and collectively. The men of 8th Guards Army lay with their comrades, regiment by regiment. I was well aware of the staggering Soviet war losses, but still seeing them up close left me stunned.

An even more affecting sight greeted me years later in 1990 on the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Traveling by boat up the Volga, my companions and I went ashore at the place formerly called Stalingrad, the scene of one of history’s legendary battles, where well over a million Soviet and German soldiers met their deaths.

Our Russian guide, a young woman, led us to the Soviet victory memorial, a massive stone building on a bluff above the high banks of river. We entered the structure and were struck by its eight-story circular atrium accessed by an ascending walkway, every inch of the soaring walls carved with names of the dead.

Quietly, pointing up the wall, the guide told me her grandfather’s name was inscribed there. What could one say — I bowed my head. To this day recalling the moment still brings a tear.

What of the North Country dead for whom there was no victory.

They simply came home to local graveyards in the little towns and villages of the upper reaches of New York State where they grew up, played football, or marched in the band — places of several thousand residents with names like Cape Vincent, Hannibal, Phoenix, Rouses Point, Ticonderoga.

In the small town of Mexico on the shores of Lake Ontario in New York’s Oswego County — resonant with early American history of this part of the country — the local high school had lost three recent graduates in less than a year by fall of ‘67.

The great majority of the North Country dead were not drafted — they had enlisted. Impelling so many to volunteer for an increasingly unpopular war was a region long in economic decline. Prosperous in the late 18th/early 19th centuries, by the mid-20th the local industries had seen better times.

Logging was greatly restricted, sawmills shuttered, mining played out. Most of the

riverside mills were long shut down, their giant water wheels turning aimlessly, as most

of the pulp paper companies had moved South in pursuit of cheap labor and less

environmental concern.

By the ‘60s, the North Country had become a region of little economic opportunity for the boys coming out of the small town high schools. Sure, there were community colleges scattered throughout the region at which draft deferments awaited, but many of the local guys grew up on farms and had neither interest nor money for pursuing further education.

With Adirondack unemployment 50 percent above the state average, the military beckoned to the young men of the North Country, attracted by the combination of adventure, challenge, and, not least, a paycheck.

As one 20-year old enlisting at a local recruiting station put it, “There just isn’t much for a young guy to do.”*

Many of the volunteers had been athletes, opting for the Marines or airborne. Often they virtually went from the football field to distant battlegrounds with exotic names like Dak To, Quang Nam, Khe Sanh — for so many, places of no return.

The journey was all too frequently a short one. Vietnam tours were 12 and 13 months, and when a soldier was done, he could head home, “back to the world” as they called it. Some 58,000 never completed their tours.

They’d go off to war — Basic Training, Advanced Infantry Training, deployment to Nam, often cut down by enemy fire or a land mine early tour, mid-tour, and sometimes just weeks before return.

Next of kin notified.

During WWII, notification was by the dreaded telegram, the Western Union guy.

In modern wars with their “lighter” casualties, the bad news can arrive at warp speed, and is delivered by military personnel. Recently in Mechanicville, New York, just south of the Adirondacks — by area the smallest town in the state — a middle-aged mother awaited a call from her Marine son.

Since deployment to Afghanistan just weeks earlier, he rang home every Sunday morning at 6 a.m. His mother set the alarm, rose early, but no call.

A few hours later a knock at the door — two Marine officers broke the heartbreaking

news, her son had been killed 24 hours earlier — shot in the neck, just over a month in- country. She told the press he had wanted to serve in Afghanistan adding, “I’m extremely proud of my son.”**

For the fallen from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, it’s home in a box, family and neighbors gather, a sad requiem, the flag folded, presented to the mother — almost always the mother — the gravediggers at a respectful distance waiting to turn to the final task. What

then of the enduring casualties of war, of all wars, those left behind, parents, young wives, fatherless children.

left behind, parents, young wives, fatherless children. Mother of a Fallen Marine, Mechanicville, New York, 2012.

Mother of a Fallen Marine, Mechanicville, New York, 2012.

From the mother and father of a Russian soldier killed in the Soviet Afghan War, a final message carved on his tombstone, “Dearest Igor, You left this life without having known it.”***

The lost one is of course buried in the hearts of those who loved him, left now with just memories and photos.

Some years after Vietnam, in a documentary on the war, an older couple was filmed sitting quietly in their living room, a picture of a young man in uniform in a silver frame between them, their only child, a pilot shot down over North Vietnam.

Coping with loss, not for them the revisionism of defeat — we shouldn’t have been there, lives wasted — no, the war remained a just cause, their son died doing his duty, they were ever proud.

Or fighting back tears, the same sentiments expressed more recently by the mother of an Afghan GI, Sgt Orion Sparks: “He didn’t shirk any of his years…. I felt honored that he was my son and I was able to be part of his life.”****

Long after the guns go silent, time passes, rights and wrongs fade — the parents grow old, the young widow remarries, children grow up, move away, but the boy who went to war remains, forever young, in the silver frame on the mantle.

The strange poetry of war obits, the military fanfare at graveside, the heartrending notes of taps closing a life — all become distant memory. Pain dulls, never goes away.

The young men in those picture frames remain unchanged, the boy who went off to war looks as we last remember him.

PFC Charles Raver, Phoenix, New York. KIA – Quang Nam, 1968. And so it was

PFC Charles Raver, Phoenix, New York. KIA – Quang Nam, 1968.

And so it was with my brother Jeff Sharlet who served in Vietnam, was possibly exposed to something there — possibly Agent Purple, we don’t know — and died several years later at 27.

For our parents, now long gone, as for all those North Country families, Igor’s parents in Russia, and the mothers of those two Afghan GIs — in spite of reaffirming sentiments — nothing could have been worse than losing a child.

I remember the day we buried Jeff.

It was a beautiful sunny June day in ‘69. I sat between my parents as the limo sped along broad avenues toward the cemetery, the hearse flanked by two outriders — booted, helmeted motorcycle policemen in reflecting sunglasses astride big Harleys.

To my distraught mind, two images came to the fore — a scene from the 1950 French film Orpheus when death, a striking woman cloaked in black, arrives by limo, preceded by goggled motorcycle outriders, submachine guns slung, announcing her authority; and then as we approached the gates of the cemetery, the more gentle image from the lines of Emily Dickinson’s poem:

Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me …

Since then ‘tis centuries; but each Feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses’ heads Were toward eternity.

*New York Times, July 12, 1967 **Albany (NY) Times-Union, December 3, 2012 ***S Alexievich, Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War (1992) ****Military Resistance #10J11, October 21, 2012

MORE:

VIETNAM GI August 1969 Many good men never came back from Nam. Some came back
VIETNAM GI August 1969 Many good men never came back from Nam. Some came back

VIETNAM GI

August 1969

Many good men never came back from Nam. Some came back disabled in mind. Jeff Sharlet came back a pretty together cat--and he came back angry. Jeff started VGI, and for almost two years poured his life into it, in an endless succession of 18-hour days trying to organize men to fight for their own rights.

On Monday, June 16th, at 2:45 pm, Jeff died in the Miami VA Hospital. He died of a sudden heart failure, brought on by the uncontrollable growth of the cancer that had earlier destroyed his kidney. There was no way to save him. He was only 27 years old.

Rather than wait for the draft, like so many others Jeff went RA. With dreams of seeing Europe, he applied for “translator-interpreter”, and found himself at the US Army Language School at Monterey, California. But instead of French, Czech or German, he was assigned a strange language called “Vietnamese”--. spoken in a country he couldn’t even find on the map. For eleven months in 1962 he was drilled in Vietnamese.

In 1963 he was assigned to Army Security Agency, and left for his first tour in Nam. Stationed in Saigon awhile, Jeff witnessed the ARVN coup that overthrew Saigon dictator Ngo Diem. On his second tour his ASA unit was stationed near Phu Bai. Engaged in top-secret work monitoring, decoding and translating North Vietnamese radio messages, they wore AF uniforms and worked at a small air base. But every time they went into the bars, every bargirl could reel off all the facts about their mission.

Speaking the language well, Jeff could talk to many Vietnamese about what was happening to their country. He spent long hours questioning ex-Foreign Legion men, who’d settled in Vietnam after the French left, peasants, ARVN officers, students, and even suspected VC agents. By the time he ETSed in July, 1964 he’d put a lot of pieces together.

Jeff went back to school, and got his college degree (with honors) from Indiana University in 1967. During his “GI Bill years” he joined the peace movement, and became chairman of his local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. But he had become increasingly disillusioned about the student movement, and felt that its shallowness and snotty attitude towards other people made it ineffective.

That summer he went to New York City to work with Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and it was there that he decided to try to organize other GIs to fight the brass.

Jeff had won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for graduate study at the University of Chicago. He enrolled and” picked up his check. From then on all his time and money were sunk into starting a newspaper for servicemen.

After two years of endless traveling, fund-raising and writing, Jeff’s drive started to fade. That restless energy that had brought him countless miles to base after base wasn’t there. After his last trip to Ft. Hood in the Fall of 1968, Jeff complained that he was really beat, burnt out. We all agreed that he should go “on leave” and take a rest.

It was while visiting friends in Boston that the first really severe pains started. Jeff flew home to Florida, and entered the hospital. From there it was steadily downhill all the way. The removal of his left kidney, massive radiation treatments, drugs--nothing stopped the growth of his cancer. At the end he was weak and emaciated, without enough breath in his lungs to speak for more than a few sentences. He said that he had many new ideas for our fight, but was just too exhausted to talk about them.

Jeff was a truly rare man. He was our friend and comrade, and those of us who came together in this fight will never forget him. VGI, the paper that so many readers called “the truth paper,” will go on fighting.

AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS

Two Americans Hurt In Attack On US Consulate Vehicle In Afghanistan

May 28, 2014 By Laura Smith-Spark and Khushbu Shah, CNN [Excerpts]

Two Americans were injured Wednesday in Afghanistan when a U.S. Consulate vehicle was attacked while traveling through the western city of Herat, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said.

The Americans were “lightly injured” and are being treated in a hospital in the city, the embassy said.

The U.S. government is working with Afghan authorities to investigate the attack and bring those behind it to justice, it said.

Resistance Action

27/05/2014 WNA

KABUL: Two army personnel were killed and nine other wounded, when a bus carrying them was hit an explosive laden motorcycle in Qala-e-Zaman Khan area of the capital Kabul, an official said Monday.

A defense ministry official confirmed the incident and said at least two people were killed and nine others were injured in the blast, when a bomber detonated his explosives motorcycle near a vehicle carrying the defense ministry personnel in Kabul 16th police district at 3:15 pm.

Kabul police spokesman, Hashmatullah Stanekzai had earlier said some defense ministry personnel were killed or injured some of them critically during the heavy explosion left deadly incident.

However he said the exact number of casualties was not still clear.

****************************************************

May 26 Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A bomber riding a motorcycle on Monday killed two Afghan defense ministry staffers and wounded at least nine others after he rammed into a bus carrying soldiers and civilian employees who were returning home from work.

Gen. Kadam Shah Sheem, Kabul military commander, said the bombing took place in eastern Kabul city and targeted a bus full of officers, soldiers and defense ministry staff that had just left a nearby military base. He said one of the dead was an officer and the other a civilian.

The explosion took place in the eastern part of Kabul, capital but was powerful enough to be heard across town.

An eyewitness, shopkeeper Mohammad Shakor, said the attack took place on a bumpy dirt road near a grave yard. He said the bus had just unloaded four women passengers and was driving away when the explosion took place.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in text message to The Associated Press.

SOMALIA WAR REPORTS

Al Shabaab Militants Stormed Somalia’s Parliament On Saturday:

“Ten Government Forces Died And 14 Others Were Injured In The Attack

Today. Four Lawmakers Were Also Injured” “The Federal Government Is Exercising No Control”

May 24, 2014 By Feisal Omar and Abdirahman Hussein, Reuters [Excerpts]

Al Shabaab militants stormed Somalia’s parliament on Saturday, killing at least 10 security officers in a bomb and gun assault that the United States condemned as a “heinous act of terrorism.”

The attack started with a car bomb at a gate to the heavily fortified parliament compound, followed by a suicide bombing and then a gun battle that continued for hours.

“Ten government forces died and 14 others were injured in the attack today. Four lawmakers were also injured.

in the attack today. Four lawmakers were also injured. Somali government soldiers run to their positions

Somali government soldiers run to their positions during a clash with Al Shabaab militants outside the Parliament in the capital Mogadishu, May 24, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Omar Faruk

“Seven of the fighters who attacked the house were also killed as you see their bodies,” Kasim Ahmed Roble, a police spokesman, told reporters at the scene.

A spokesman for al Shabaab, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, said the group’s fighters had

killed 30 people. “We killed 30 from the AU (African Union) and from the various forces

of the so-called Somali government,” he said.

Reuters witnesses saw four bodies at the scene and a soldier fall from a rooftop after being shot. Reuters television pictures showed a large pool of blood near a blast site, and a man with his shirt drenched in blood running away from the scene.

The fighting continued for hours after the initial explosion, with gunfire and smaller blasts being heard around the parliament.

After the blast, Somalia’s security minister said on state radio he was resigning, while the president said on the same radio he was cutting short his trip to South Africa, where he had gone to attend President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration.

A Western diplomat who has worked with regional intelligence agencies said the attack

would add to pressure on President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud from about 100 parliamentarians who last month called for him to be impeached over worsening security.

“The federal government is exercising no control,” the diplomat said. “Those parliament will start asking questions: What is this guy achieving?”

in

The diplomat said the attack showed that a surge by the African Union peacekeeping troops had not weakened al Shabaab’s capacity to wage asymmetric warfare in the capital, where coordination between Somali and foreign intelligence agencies is poor.

“Because intelligence is fragmented, al Shabaab is slipping through the net,” said the diplomat.

“They are becoming more dangerous.”

FORWARD OBSERVATIONS

“They are becoming more dangerous.” FORWARD OBSERVATIONS “At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing

“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.

“For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.

“We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.”

Frederick Douglass, 1852

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it. -- Karl Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach”

In Memoriam:

May 24, 2014

Marx, “Theses on Feuerbach” In Memoriam: May 24, 2014 Tod Ensign Veteran’s rights lawyer, Director of

Tod Ensign

Veteran’s rights lawyer, Director of Citizen Soldier, a non-profit GI and veterans’ rights advocacy group based in New York City.

Wikipedia:

Veteran’s Rights Activism]

Ensign co-founded Citizen Soldier in 1969 to advocate on behalf of GIs and veterans who work to oppose command-tolerated racism, sexism, homophobia and militarism. Currently, the group has 7,500 members nationwide, who provide nearly all of its financial support.

As an attorney, Ensign participated in a broad range of legal cases involving GIs and veterans over the past 35 years. Two notable cases are the Agent Orange class action, which attempted to hold chemical manufacturers liable for the injuries their herbicide caused Vietnam veterans and their offspring and the Vietnam-Era Winter Soldier Investigation and National Veterans Inquiry.

Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Citizen Soldier attorneys, including Ensign, have counseled hundreds of GIs and reservists who are seeking alternatives to serving in what many regard as an illegal war.

The most celebrated case is Citizen Soldier’s defense of Sgt. Camilo Mejia, 28 of Miami, Florida. Mejia was the first US combat veteran to refuse further service in Iraq. He based his refusal on his duty, on international law, that it is illegal to obey military orders that violate international law. During his five months in Iraq, he said he witnessed command- sanctioned shooting of civilians, abuse of detainees and other violations. Mejia’s defense team has appealed the military judge’s refusal to allow any expert testimony at his court martial regarding illegal US military operations by his unit.

He founded The Different Drummer coffeehouse near Watertown, NY, which strove to connect and inform service members.

Since 2000, Ensign served on the executive board of the National Gulf War Resource Center, a coalition of Gulf War advocacy groups that advocates for research and health care for veterans from both Gulf wars. (He is the only non-veteran serving on this board).

Ensign held two law degrees, a Master of Laws (LLM) from NYU and Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Wayne State University and a BA from Michigan State University.

He was the author of Military Life and America’s Military Today (The New Press) and a co-author, with Michael Uhl, of GI Guinea Pigs.

and a co-author, with Michael Uhl, of GI Guinea Pigs . [Thanks to SSG N (ret’d)

[Thanks to SSG N (ret’d) who sent this in.]

In God We Trust

In God We Trust From: Mike Hastie To: Military Resistance Newsletter Sent: May 26, 2014 Subject:

From: Mike Hastie To: Military Resistance Newsletter Sent: May 26, 2014 Subject: In God We Trust

In God We Trust

Behind every war is the love of money.

Mike Hastie Army Medic Vietnam May 26, 2014

Photo and caption from the portfolio of Mike Hastie, US Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71. (For more of his outstanding work, contact at:

One day while I was in a bunker in Vietnam, a sniper round went over my head. The person who fired that weapon was not a terrorist, a rebel, an extremist, or a so-called insurgent. The Vietnamese individual who tried to kill me was a citizen of Vietnam, who did not want me in his country. This truth escapes millions.

Mike Hastie U.S. Army Medic Vietnam 1970-71 December 13, 2004

Platoon Leader Hospitalized After Horrific Car Accident, No One Notices

Hospitalized After Horrific Car Accident, No One Notices Photo Credit: W. Robert Hall May 12, 2014

Photo Credit: W. Robert Hall

May 12, 2014 By ArmyJ, The Duffle Blog

FORT DRUM, N.Y. — A platoon leader with 2nd Platoon Charlie Co., 2-22 Infantry Regiment was recently hospitalized for more than five days without a single person in his unit noticing he was missing, Duffel Blog has learned.

Having been sideswiped by a drunk driver on Thursday, Lt. Sherman Park, a motivated graduate of the United States Military Academy, suffered eight broken ribs, a fractured left orbital, and a punctured lung. His brain also incurred a significant amount of swelling.

“I was shocked as hell to find out,” said Specialist Jesus Montoya, Park’s Radio Telephone Operator (RTO). “The guy usually walks in and hands me some shitty notes scrawled on a piece of paper and tells me to turn it into a Power Point slide. I just figured that he finally decided to do his own work.”

As Park lingered in the hospital between life and death, his platoon executed both a live- fire range, as well as 24 hours of land navigation, all without receiving a single piece of misunderstood guidance, or contradictory instructions.

The unit was even released on time without another pointless meeting to discuss everything that had already been covered in the safety briefing.

Staff Sgt. Marvin Wallace, Park’s 1st Squad Leader, was equally surprised. “We did a platoon run this morning and I didn’t hear the PL shrieking for someone to call cadence ‘the West Point way.’ We just all hoped he realized how fucking lame it was.”

The only person not surprised was Park’s platoon sergeant, Sergeant First Class Victor Burns.

“Fuck yeah I knew he was gone. I realized it after I made it through an entire day without a stupid-ass question about a piece of equipment, or the best ways to earn the respect of his ‘men’. Best fucking day of my life,” he said, smiling before spitting a large wad of tobacco onto the floor underneath his platoon leader’s chair.

“There’s no way in hell I was going to tell anyone else about it. Too bad the CO wanted him to do the monthly inventory. That’s how they finally found out he was in the hospital.”

At press time, Park had returned to his unit with absolutely no fanfare, as most of his soldiers still had not realized he had been gone.

ANNIVERSARIES

May 29, 1932:

Betrayed Veterans March On Washington DC

May 29, 1932: Betrayed Veterans March On Washington DC The St. Louis contingent of the Bonus

The St. Louis contingent of the Bonus Expeditionary Force is pictured here as it starts for Washington, D.C., in May 1932.

In the depths of the Great Depression, the “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” a group of 1,000 World War I veterans seeking cash payments for their veterans’ bonus certificates, arrived in Washington, D.C.

By mid-June, they had set up a massive “Hooverville,” a contemporary term for an encampment of the homeless.

One month later, other veteran groups made their way to the nation’s capital, swelling the Bonus Marchers to nearly 20,000 strong, most of them unemployed veterans in difficult financial straits.

In direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, they were violently disbanded by the Army in July.

May 30, 1937:

The Memorial Day Massacre:

Chicago Police Cowards Murder Striking Steel Workers:

“All But Four Of The Fifty-Four Gunshot Wounds Were To The Side Or Back And One Victim Was Shot Four Times”

Gunshot Wounds Were To The Side Or Back And One Victim Was Shot Four Times” Carl

1000 striking steel workers (and members of their families), on their way to picket at the Republic Steel plant in south Chicago where they were organizing a union, were stopped by the Chicago Police.

In what became known as the “Memorial Day Massacre,” police shot and killed 10 fleeing workers, wounded 30 more, and beat 55 so badly they required hospitalization.

**********************************

The Memorial Day Massacre of 1937

uhigh.ilstu.edu [Excerpts]

The 1930s was a period of economic unrest for the United States. Following the prosperous “roaring twenties”, the Great Depression hit the general population hard. Many employees were fired and those who were not lost much of their former salary.

Then, in 1933, as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the National Recovery Act was passed. One of its most important concessions to laborers was the right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.

The number of strikes nationwide grew to the highest amount in American history.

When the National Recovery Act was declared unconstitutional in 1935, Congress was still sympathetic to the young labor unions that had been formed under it. They soon passed the Wagner Act, or National Labor Relations Act, to reassert the rights of the laborers.

By the 1930s the steel industry had survived much adversity, yet there were still changes to come.

The Committee for Industrial Organization, (CIO), was founded in November 1935.

Encouraged by the CIO, the steel industry became one of the first to begin organizing under the Wagner Act. Accordingly, on June 17, 1936 The Steel Workers Organizing Committee, (SWOC), was created. The industry itself did not accept this movement.

Many companies began to stock up on tear-gas, firearms, and ammunition as well as, refining their espionage and police systems.

After a long struggle for further organization and acceptance within the steel industry, the United States Steel Corporation, (the leading producer of steel, dubbed “Big Steel”), signed an agreement recognizing SWOC. This contract allowed for five dollar a day wages in addition to a 40-hour week with time-and-a-half for overtime. By May 1937, there were 110 firms under contract.

Still, some companies refused to sign. In response, SWOC called its first strike involving 25,000 workmen against Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation. Thirty-six hours later, the corporation agreed to a Labor Board election. The union won 17,028 to 7,207.

Despite this enormous victory, a combination of “Little Steel” companies including Bethlehem Steel, Republic Steel, Inland Steel, and Youngstown Sheet & Tube, refused to sign.

Their leaders had strong anti-union attitudes and felt that the U.S. steel decision to “surrender” to SWOC was a betrayal. Tom Girdler, chairman of the Board of Republic Steel, was one particularly influential anti-union spokesperson.

The company anticipated a strike so they placed a stockpile of industrial munitions at various plants of Republic Steel.

Then, on May 26, 1937, SWOC decided to strike three of the “Little Steel” companies:

Republic, Youngstown Sheet & Tube, and Inland. Most of the plants ceased production during the strike; they were willing to wait it out because the steelworkers’ union strike benefits were meager.

Picket lines were set up at these plants to prevent any attempt to reopen them.

However, Republic Steel remained defiant and refused to close all of its plants. They even housed non-union workers in the plant, so they could continue working without the hassle of picket lines outside.

One of these plants was the Republic Steel South Chicago Plant.

One half of this plant’s 2,200 employees had joined the strike. When the walkout began on May 26, the police interfered in an attempt to prevent other non-committed workers from joining the cause. The SWOC organizers attempted to form a picket line in front of the gate.

Police Captain James Mooney, despite the fact that the picketers were peaceful, broke up the line and arrested 23 people who refused to move. The rest were forced to 117th Street, 2 blocks from the plant.

Because of this action, the police no longer played an impartial role in the strike. Instead, they were clearly supportive of Republic.

Strike headquarters were established in Sam’s Place, at 113th and Green Bay Avenue.

Chicago mayor, Edward J. Kelley, announced in the Chicago Tribune that peaceful picketing would be permitted. In response to this article, the strikers attempted to establish pickets, but were turned away.

On the next day, at around 5:00 PM, another attempt was made to picket. The marchers marched from Sam’s Place to 117th Street. There were a few policemen present, but the marchers continued west towards Burley Avenue.

Once the marchers reached Buffalo the police line had strengthened a great deal. The workers continued and fighting broke out. The police used clubs to fight the workers back. A few had drawn revolvers without orders and discharged them in the air. No one was killed, but there were several bloody heads.

May 28 was a quiet day, but the marchers were upset with police actions.

Nick Fontecchio, a Union leader, called for a mass meeting at Sam’s Place the next day, Memorial Day Sunday. Captain Mooney received an anonymous report that on Sunday an attempt would be made to invade the plant to drive out the remaining non-union workers. He did not check the rumor, but proceeded to station 264 policemen on duty at the Republic Steel Mill.

By 3:00 p.m. on May 30, 1937, a crowd of around 1500 strikers had gathered. It was a sunny, warm day with the temperature at around 88 degrees.

Many of the union members and supporters had brought along their wives and

children to join in this almost festive gathering organized by SWOC leader Joe

Hunt.

right to organize and picket.

Several speakers addressed various labor issues most importantly, the

Some resolutions were approved to send to government officials concerning police conduct at the Republic plant. It was then moved to march to the plant and establish a mass picket.

When this was approved about 1000 people went into formation behind two American flags. Instead of marching south down Green Bay Avenue, they turned onto a dirt road across an open prairie chanting, “CIO, CIO!”

When the police, saw this they moved their position from 117th street between Green Bay and Burley Avenue to across the dirt road, just north of 117th on Burley.

The 200 police were in double file and watched the approaching marchers with their clubs drawn. The Republic mill had armed some of the officers with non-regulation clubs and tear gas.

The marchers met the police line and demanded that their rights to picket be recognized by the police letting them through.

They were “commanded in the name of the law to disperse”, but the picketers persisted. This continued for several minutes. While marchers armed themselves with rocks and branches, foul language was passed between the two parties. Tension was mounting.

Recording all of this was cameraman Orland Lippert. Unfortunately, he was changing lenses at the start of the actual violence. This has caused some dispute as to which side initiated the fighting. The following account, determined at the hearings under Senator Robert LaFollette, is generally accepted.

Police were trying to prevent marchers from outflanking their line.

As some strikers began to retreat a stick flew from the back of the line towards the police. Instantaneously, tear gas bombs were thrown at the marchers. The next few moments were total chaos.

More objects were thrown at the police by the marchers.

Acting without orders, several policemen in the front drew their revolvers and fired point blank at the marcher’s ranks, many of whom were beginning to retreat.

The actual shooting only continued for fifteen seconds, but the violence did not end there. Using their clubs, the police beat anyone in their paths, including women and children.

During this time, arrests were also made. Patrol wagons were filled to twice the mandated capacity of 8 prisoners. The injured were not even taken directly to local hospitals.

As a result of this atrocity, four marchers were fatally shot and six were mortally wounded. Thirty others suffered gunshot wounds.

Thirty-eight were hospitalized due to injuries from the beatings and still thirty more required other medical treatment.

It is noteworthy that all but four of the fifty-four gunshot wounds were to the side or back and one victim was shot four times.

There were minor police casualties with thirty-five reported injuries, (no gunshot wounds), but only three needed overnight hospital care.

After the riot, sympathetic strikers fervently protested the police brutality. On the other hand, the press, especially the Chicago Tribune, portrayed the marchers as communist conspirators who had essentially attacked the police and attempted to throw out non- union workers.

The LaFollette Committee investigated this tragedy and came to four conclusions.

First, the police had no right to limit the number of peaceful pickets and that the march was not aimed at freeing remaining plant workers.

Second, the police should have halted the march with limited violence, if this action is even justifiable.

Third, the force used by the police was excessive and the marcher’s only methods of provocation were abusive language and throwing of isolated missiles.

Fourth, the police could have avoided the bloodshed.

In addition to those killed in the Memorial Day Massacre, 6 other union members lost their lives in pickets of the “Little Steel” strike of 1937. In fact, the “Little Steel” strike is surpassed by few in the areas of viciousness, press distortion, suppression of rights, and police brutality.

The strike was called off when the many hardships suffered began to demoralize union workers. However, in August of 1941, under legal pressure, the Little Steel companies agreed to cease the committing of unfair labor practices. A year later, they signed their first contract recognizing the new union, United Steelworkers of America.

The massacre has been referred to as the “blackest day of modern labor history”, but the sacrifices of these workers were not in vain. Little Steel had only delayed the inevitable march of unionism in America.

CLASS WAR REPORTS

Ukrainian Miners Go On Indefinite Strike Against The Government:

‘Our Peaceful Citizens Are Being Killed, And We Cannot Simply Stand By And Watch”

Being Killed, And We Cannot Simply Stand By And Watch” Miners rally in Donetsk, Ukraine, May

Miners rally in Donetsk, Ukraine, May 28, 2014. Coalminers in the Donbass coalfields have gone on an open-ended strike to demand Ukrainian troops and other forces leave the Donetsk Region, the first deputy coal minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peopleâs Republic, Konstantin Kuzmin, has told ITAR-TASS. Poster reads “No to Fascism!’ (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

May 28, 2014 by Timur Dautov, Marxism [Excerpts]

Miners of the Donetsk region stopped work yesterday, starting an all-out strike in protest against the Ukrainian army’s continuing offensive and demanding an end to the “anti- terrorist operation” (ATO) in the region; several pits in the Donbas are taking part already and the strikes appears to be spreading to more mines.

More recently, Rinat Akhmetov, the richest oligarch in Ukraine and the owner of much of the South-East’s industry, has called for his workers’ to mobilise against the Peoples’ Republics who are threatening him with expropriation – a call which ended in complete failure.

Today, on the other hand, we see genuine strike action on the Donbas miners’ own initiative. This industrial action is in a similar vein to the Luhansk miners’ strike in April, which demanded wage increases as well as the reinstatement of workers who were sacked for taking part in protests in Luhansk.

Following the beginning of the strike on Tuesday 27 May, this morning (28 May) several hundred miners demonstrated in Donetsk, carrying Donetsk People’s Republic’s flags and chanting the slogan “No to fascism in the Donbas!”; one protester is reported as saying: “We do not want to see troops here. Our children are afraid to go on the streets. Our peaceful citizens are being killed, and we cannot simply stand by and watch”.

Another has stated: “I want peace and to be able to work and make money. I want the occupying soldiers to leave and return to their Kiev junta”.

Some officials from the “Independent Miners’ Trade Union”, such as Mykola Volynko, who is not only a trade union bureaucrat but also a former parliamentary candidate of the nationalist “Batkivshchyna” (Fatherland) party in the 2012 elections, attempt to distance themselves from the events and are very eager to point that they “did not organise this action”.

This shows how this “Independent” union has become an instrument of capitalist politics rather than working class representation, specifically linked to Tymoshenko’s “Fatherland” party.

These strikes have a clearly political nature, showing the workers’ rejection of the extreme nationalist and radically neo-liberal Kiev authorities which to them can only mean cuts, deteriorating living standards, and attacks of fascist gangs on workers’ organisations.

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Protesters Against Thai Military Dictatorship Swarm Army Humvee

Against Thai Military Dictatorship Swarm Army Humvee May 28, 2014 Bangkok. People confronted troops and police

May 28, 2014 Bangkok. People confronted troops and police at the Victory Monument. Protesters jeered and spray-painted “Get Out” and “No Coup” over an army Humvee. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

DANGER: CAPITALISTS AT WORK

spray-painted “Get Ou t” and “No Coup” over an army Humvee. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj) DANGER: CAPITALISTS AT

OCCUPATION PALESTINE

Israel Demolishes Negev Mosque As Ethnic Cleansing Continues:

“Part Of The Wider Ethnic Cleansing Of The Area By Which Israel Wants To Displace 60,000 Palestinian Arabs From Their Traditional Home In The Desert”

“The People In The Negev Have The Right To Live On Their Own Land”

23 May 2014 The Middle East Monitor

Israeli bulldozers guarded by a large force of police started to demolish the mosque in Wadi Al-Niam in the Negev on Thursday amid residents’ fears that authorities could also demolish homes in the village. A demolition order had been nailed to the mosque wall a few days earlier.

The Negev Foundation for Land and Man denounced the demolition, describing the Israeli act as a blatant assault on the sanctity of the mosque and on Arab rights to live in the Negev. It also noted that the demolition violates the right to freedom of worship as well as international laws and conventions.

The foundation also condemned the police attacks on the residents of Wadi Al-Niam, the demolition of their homes, the confiscation of their property and the destruction of their crops. It stressed that the indigenous people of the Negev Desert are determined to stay in their homes in the face of Israeli scheming and force. It appealed to Arabs in Israel and the Arabs of the Negev in particular to stand by the people of Wadi Al-Niam.

The Islamic movement in the Negev said that the demolition of the Wadi Al-Niam mosque is a criminal act by the Israelis. It is, the movement said in a statement, part of the wider ethnic cleansing of the area by which Israel wants to displace 60,000 Palestinian Arabs from their traditional home in the desert so that Jewish settlers and the Israeli army can move in.

“The people in the Negev have the right to live on their own land,” said the Islamic movement. “They have the right to build on it and live on it and worship on it.” The demolitions, the statement added, will only increase the people’s resolve to stay put on their land.

The movement called on all human rights organisations and institutions in the Negev to stand side by side with the people of Wadi Al Niam, defend their legitimate rights and confront Israel’s ethnic cleansing.

Two Unarmed Palestinians Killed By Occupation Troops During Nakba Day Demonstration:

“Nine Others Critically Wounded, According To Hospital Staff”

“Naser Carried Abu Nuwara Into An Ambulance After The Protesters Removed Him From The Street While Israeli Soldiers Continued To Fire”

From The Street While Israeli Soldiers Continued To Fire” Palestinian mourners in the plaza of Ramallah

Palestinian mourners in the plaza of Ramallah public hospital, after two youths were killed by Israeli soldiers during a Nakba Day demonstration. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Palestinians protesting the death of two youths killed outside of Ofer Prison during a Nakba

Palestinians protesting the death of two youths killed outside of Ofer Prison during a Nakba day demonstration. (Photo: Allison Deger)

May 15, 2014 by Allison Deger, Mondoweiss.net

Two Palestinians were killed and a third is in critical condition after being shot by the Israeli military outside of Ofer prison in the West Bank at an annual Nakba Day protest.

The youths were struck with live-fire and nine others critically wounded, according to hospital staff.

The Nakba (literally “catastrophe”) refers to the 1947-49 expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians who were forcibly evicted or fled from their villages, thus creating a refugee population that today has reached seven million.

Nadime Siam Abu Nuwara, 17, from Mazra’a Qabiya was shot by a single bullet to the heart at 12:30 pm. Mohammed Awad Salemeh Abu Thaher, 22, from Abu Khadem was killed just before 2:00 pm from a bullet to the lower abdomen.

Mohammed Azza, 22, from Sharaeh was taken to an intensive care unit after being shot in the chest.

“The bullet went in and out,” said Ahmad Naser, 27, an emergency medical responder with Physicians for Palestine, pointing to his heart and back.

Naser carried Abu Nuwara into an ambulance after the protesters removed him from the street while Israeli soldiers continued to fire, he said. He died in an ambulance en route to Ramallah.

During the demonstration the Israeli army also fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound grenades. The military also used a bulldozer to uproot seven old-growth olive trees to

create a pathway for army Jeeps. Emergency medical staff said the youths threw stones

at the Israeli forces.

At the hospital around 300 Palestinians poured into the plaza of Ramallah’s public hospital.

Two more injured Palestinians were rushed from stretchers into the emergency room. By 7:00 pm nine others had been shot with live-fire said a doctor, although Naser said the clashes with the Israeli army were still ongoing at the time of the publication of this article.

While I spoke to Naser, he leapt to treat a female relative of one of the youths killed as she lost consciousness in the hospital’s lobby.

In the rear of the medical complex, youths gathered outside the morgue to view the

bodies of the deceased. Tearful teens were with their parents.

The mother of Abu Thaher was brought over by two relatives that helped her walk in grief. Once inside she wailed until exasperated and then was carried out.

Following the viewing, Palestinians marched through central Ramallah, asking shop owners to give condolences by shuttering their stores.

A second main Nakba Day march took place earlier outside of Bethlehem in the rural

village of al-Walaja. Two hundred marched from the town’s edge towards an Israeli military road. The Israeli army fired tear gas and sound grenades. The youths also threw

stones at the army.

In 1948 all of al-Walaja’s residents were forcibly evicted from their original village, now inside of Israel. They resettled on their agricultural land two kilometers away, which is presently in the West Bank. Some became refugees in nearby camps around Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Since the 1948 Nakba, the village has suffered a series of additional expropriations for Israeli settlement growth and military outposts. The inhabitants now face a “secondary displacement,” characterized by post-Oslo planning that is under full Israeli control, said Lubnah Shomali with BADIL, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, a Nakba commemoration coordinator.

“Al-Walaja, it represents past displacement as well as current displacement so it’s a symbol of the on-going Nakba, a Nakba that is continuous—continuous forcible population transfer,” she explained.

Occupation Marks 66th Anniversary Of The Nakba By

Destroying More Palestinian Homes:

“Um Amin Shqirat Told The Local News Agency Quds Net That She Returned From The Clinic To Find The Israeli Bulldozers Razing Her 140m-House, Where A 12-Member Family Lived”

“In Sho’fat, The Occupation Authorities Destroyed A Commercial Shop Owned By Mohamed Awadallah, Who Said That The Walls Of His Shop Were More Than 80 Years Old”

That The Walls Of His Shop Were More Than 80 Years Old” ‘The workshop was built

‘The workshop was built 14 years ago,” Jaber said, “and the Israeli bulldozers razed it without providing any warning.’

15 May 2014 The Middle East Monitor

On the 66th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, or disaster, the Israeli occupation authorities destroyed a number of Palestinian properties in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

Palestinian resident Um Amin Shqirat told the local news agency Quds Net that she returned from the clinic to find the Israeli bulldozers razing her 140m-house, where a 12- member family lived.

Um Amin explained that they had lived in their house for only one year. During that year, the Israeli occupation authorities handed them a demolition order for erecting an unlicensed building.

While walking amongst the rubble searching for personal documents and lost money, she said: “The Israeli municipality has been attempting to expel us for a long time. We applied for a building licence several times, but the Israeli occupation authorities always denied our applications.”

Meanwhile, the occupation authorities destroyed the 55m-shop store belonging to Musa Al-Natsheh from Al-Ashqariyeh neighbourhood in Beit Hanina.

Al-Natsheh told Quds Net that the Israeli occupation authorities encircled his house and his store, which are adjacent to each other, and then started the demolition. He noted that they demolished the store under the pretext of it being built without permission.

In Sho’fat, the occupation authorities also destroyed a commercial shop owned by Mohamed Awadallah, who said that the walls of his shop were more than 80 years old.

Awadallah provided to Quds Net aerial images as well as documents issued by official Israeli departments proving the age of the building.

Four years ago, he installed an aluminium ceiling for his shop, which was deemed illegal and he was forced to pay a NIS 20,000 fine for violating the law.

He added that he had even dismantled the ceiling after a demand by the Israeli occupation authorities, but that was useless.

“The authorities violently broke into the neighbourhood, obliged my family to leave the house and started the demolition,” he said.

At the same time, the occupation authorities destroyed an aluminium workshop in the Rasul-Amoud neighbourhood. The 100m-workshop belonged to Sifyan Jaber.

“The workshop was built 14 years ago,” Jaber said, “and the Israeli bulldozers razed it without providing any warning.”

Jaber said that his losses were estimated to be more than NIS 110,000. He said that the workshop supported the livelihood of about 20 persons.

To check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation commanded by foreign terrorists, go to:

The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”

DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.” DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
The occupied nation is Palestine. The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.” DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK

Vietnam GI: Reprints Available

Vietnam GI: Reprints Available

Edited by Vietnam Veteran Jeff Sharlet from 1968 until his death, this newspaper rocked the world, attracting attention even from Time Magazine, and extremely hostile attention from the chain of command.

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Military Resistance has copied complete sets of Vietnam GI. The originals were a bit rough, but every page is there. Over 100 pages, full 11x17 size.

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