The soldier-dissenters at Oceti Sakowin.

How could I not be paying attention when #VetStand was happening?

It broke my heart not to trek to Cannonball, North Dakota, as did Col. Ann Wright, Vince Emanuele and so many others. But I did manage to report long-distance for Guernica Magazine: “We Are the Cavalry!” has many voices familiar to this page as well as many more.

That piece doesn’t include my first thoughts as the protests at Standing Rock evolved: that Bayard Rustin would be proud.

Luckily, I’m about to write for Philly’s NPR outlet about that.  A few opening quotes for me, if not the article:

We need in every community a group of angelic troublemakers. Our power is in our ability to make things unworkable. The only weapon we have is our bodies, and we need to tuck them in places so wheels don’t turn.”

The second quote is not from Rustin but from Daniel Berrigan, who with his brother Philip took those principles to heart.  NYTimes columnist Eric Martin cited these words in connection to Standing Rock:

Someone, as a strict requirement of sanity and logic, must be willing to say a simple thing: ‘The machine is working badly.’ And if the law of the machine, a law of military and economic profit, enacted by generals and tycoons, must be broken in favor of the needs of man, let the law be broken. Let the machine be turned around, taken apart, built over again.”

By the time this piece is done, Tolstoy. . Berriganand Silas Soule will be side by side.

News you can use – and a taste of how I write

With the book’s pub date at least a year away, I know it’s too early for excerpts. But when Michael Archer, who has built a giant of online publishing since he and I parted ways as Fred Tuten‘s students at CCNY, asked if I had something that might suit, what could I do but pull together this essay? It may end up being my book’s prologue. (Many thanks to Toward Freedom, a web site put together in honor of David Dellinger, for linking to the piece.) I still prefer my original title, “because you can’t live that way and keep anything inside you,” but I guess “Loyal Opposition” tells you much more immediately what it’s about.

Those of you who read my reporting on Winter Soldier 2008 will find the opening familiar, but before long the story, like me, is unstuck in time.

Clay MacCauley at extreme left.

Clay MacCauley at extreme left.

I particularly liked  being able to characterize Clay MacCauley, veteran of the Battle of Chancellorsville and a foe of the Philippine war in 1899, as a “sort of sepia Kerry.”

To see what I mean by that, click here. Tell me what you think, when you have the time. Who and what am I missing?