Skip to the index: it’s poetry and all the news you need.

In this last pre-pub gasp, I had the honor of working with an expert in crafting a book’s index. She asked me to brainstorm some possible categories, so I went to books that share mine’s DNA. Looking more closely than I usually do, I’m reminded that a good index constitutes poetry, commentary and relentless factContinue reading “Skip to the index: it’s poetry and all the news you need.”

Soldier-dissent in real time

!– wp:code –> I started this week staring at the #WallofVets. The video above bears re-watching: for its diversity of ages, for the military branches represented, for the solidarity among the protesters, the “walls” of mothers, dads and veterans converged to face federal agents sent to suppress their node of the George Floyd uprising. TheContinue reading “Soldier-dissent in real time”

Notes toward an introduction

  July 2020: As the book approaches publication WITHOUT an introduction, I decided to repost this from ten years ago, when it was still under the aegis of UC Press and Chelsea Manning was still imprisoned at Quantico. The book evolved as well, but the themes below whisper from between its pages. It’s been a long timeContinue reading “Notes toward an introduction”

Leo Tolstoy, Phil Ochs, Joan of Arc and other ghosts

On Twitter awhile back, I saw a challenge: “Describe your job in four words. I answered: “I talk to ghosts.” I mostly meant as a gonzo-historian, something I specialized in long before the Internet : the smell of microfilm rolls of decades-old newspapers still in my nose. Now, give a woman JSTOR ass and goodContinue reading “Leo Tolstoy, Phil Ochs, Joan of Arc and other ghosts”

Song, Struggle and Sorrow: Phil Ochs and Victor Jara

Originally posted on Occupied With Song:
On May 9th, 1974, Phil Ochs organised a concert at Madison Square Garden. “An Evening with Salvador Allende” was a tribute to Chile’s peacefully elected socialist president, and a protest against the brutal military coup that had instituted a dictatorship the previous September. Ochs had a personal reason for…

“Including the corpses, pal.” Notes from this week in soldier-dissent

A flyer/ad directed at troops concerned they’ll be deployed against protests in the wake of George Floyd. Of the 3 orgs in the caption, two are my former employers (sorta). Last year, I joined the board of the Center on Conscience And War, feeling the need to help the last org standing after the death ofContinue reading ““Including the corpses, pal.” Notes from this week in soldier-dissent”

the mother of all injustices

Apess became famous and/or notorious, in the now-classic role of civil-rights-organizer-as-outside-agitator. One issue of The Liberator swooned over Apess’ statement before the state House of Representatives. “He illustrated the manner in which extortions were made from the poor Indians, and plainly declared that they wanted their rights as men and as freemen,” Garrison wrote. The following year, with support from “Garrisonian” legislators, a far-reaching law gave the Mashpee more autonomy over their lands.