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”

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.

Groundhog Day for women in the military?

When anyone asks me how I got started with all this, I invariably mention CCCO and the G.I. Rights Hotline in the 1990s. But it’s not often that I wake up and feel such a strong echo of those years, as I did yesterday upon news of sexual assault of recruits at Fort Benning. BackContinue reading “Groundhog Day for women in the military?”

this is joe from gainesville

On a Joe Haldeman kick, for reasons perhaps obvious to some of you. After all, there’s that subtitle on my book, the next stop on my introduction exploration: From the French and Indian War to the Forever War. That section of the title has been a shape-shifter. When I first proposed it in 2007 itContinue reading “this is joe from gainesville”

Dissentire via souldine: notes toward a new introduction

I find myself wishing I could defer to Ochs’ elegant summations: “The young land started growing, the young blood started flowing” for the War of 1812, or “the final mission to the Japanese sky…I saw the cities burning” for World War Two.

For all this powerful poetry, Ochs knew there was much more inside that iconic dissenter’s story. He knew from his own dad, who’d come home broken and abusive after World War II; he knew from the Vietnam veterans who jammed his concerts. He had no idea, of course, of the wars to come, or that his own music would be sung by that iconic soldier in the 21st century.

Why Bradley Manning belongs here

 I’m already getting assailed for including in my title Bradley Manning, who so many have already branded a traitor — even some vets who are themselves in the book draw the line at what he’s done. But as mesmerized as I am by the case, I’m even more mesmerized by the way it’s galvanized soContinue reading “Why Bradley Manning belongs here”

It’s showtime, folks. Will you be part of it?

That’s the tagline from one of my favorite movies — one about a dynamic creator whose CV I’ll never match, but whose example somewhat weirdly inspires me. I wonder what Bob Fosse would have thought of crowd-sourcing. I like to think he’d have admired the moxie it takes to launch something like this. Please checkContinue reading “It’s showtime, folks. Will you be part of it?”

The real Happy New Year’s of 1863

This day 150 years ago was, of course, pivotal to many of the figures in Ain’t Marching- from Quaker CO’s like Jesse Macy to Lewis H. Douglass.

So for my Civil War chapter I couldn’t resist from painting the scene myself, including its immediate aftermath. We can go on for days about who therein counts as a dissenting soldier, triply on that New Years’ Day — but how not?

the singer of the song

I’m in final revisions on the AMA book, so my focus here is shifting for the next five weeks or so; expect to see some musings on the book’s themes, and new stories getting inserted at the last minute. But I’m unlikely to be following the news quite so closely, and there will be silences.Continue reading “the singer of the song”