Category: Off Topic

Chicago PS

Clara Bingham’s recently published oral history, “Witness to the Revolution,” includes a chapter on the trial of the “Chicago Eight” (reduced to seven after Black Panther leader Bobby Seale insisted that the court had no jurisdiction over him and he was bound, gagged, and hauled away). In a file cabinet unopened for years I found a folder marked 12/69 containing three teletyped Associated Press dispatches from the trial, and this droodle of Judge Julius Hoffman done when I was in his courtroom testifying.     Leonard Weinglass, a very good criminal defense lawyer, was trying to establish that police in Chicago had been intent on a riot occurring during Democratic Party convention. I testified that two cops had warned Tom Hayden, not in a friendly way, that the feds were planning an incitement-to-riot case against him. I could truthfully affirm that I’d never seen Hayden and Abbie Hoffman et al conspire in the months preceding the convention to incite a riot. Their hope was for a large demonstration.  I did see them plotting to lure “the kids” (Rennie Davis’s contemptuous term)  to Chicago with false promises of Credence Clearwater Revival. But the prosecution didn’t ask about that. This is from the AP dispatch by Tony Fuller: “Gardner said that during the convention he was the editor of the Ramparts Wall Poster, a one-page newspaper which was circulated among the...

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Me and Mr. Cohen

By Fred Gardner    Jack Newfield was a Village Voice reporter, a Brooklyn Dodger fan, and a friend of mine. When I was in Columbia, South Carolina in the winter of 1967/68, I received in the mail from Jack and his friend Paul Gorman, the first album by the singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, with a note that said “Isn’t this amazing?” When I saw Jack I asked him what was so amazing? He said the record reminded him of the songs I used to sing for friends in his living room. Jack meant the Leonard Cohen comparison as a compliment but...

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Trump was being sarcastic

August 2   We’ve seen stories buried before, but never so fast or successfully as “DNC Undercut Bernie,” which immediately got transmogrified into “Russian Hackers Defile Our Sacred Election.” Donald Trump was being sarcastic when he urged the Russians to find more emails in the wake of the DNC revelations! This chart by H.W. Fowler, which may be the greatest thing ever written, confirms it— Moreover, Trump was revealing about his self-image. He sees himself as an entertainer, a stand-up comic. And now he’s dying and he senses it. Painful to watch on every level. (BTW, my thing is invective. When people would say “you’re too sarcastic,” or “you’re so cynical,” I always knew they were way off.  It took Fowler to explain why.)...

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That Was Now, This is Then

By Fred Gardner:  Mischievous Hendrik Hertzberg emailed, “Have you seen my friend Clara Bingham’s oral history of 1969-70? Jane Fonda talks about you in it. Curious about your reaction.” It was too bad, he added, that Bingham hadn’t interviewed me. I replied that if sent a review copy, I’d write a piece called “Clara Didn’t Ask Me, But…”  And so they sent the book, in which Jane Fonda mentions that when she returned to the US from Europe at the end of the ’60s, intent on learning more about the antiwar movement, I suggested that she visit one of...

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The Working Class Stranger —Carl Oglesby

 By Fred Gardner “Carl Oglesby dies at 76; led Students for a Democratic Society,” was the headline on the obit in the LA Times. The description of SDS seems accurate, although nobody ever called it “the SDS”— “The SDS had been founded in 1960 at the University of Michigan, and its early declaration, the Port Huron Statement, helped embody the idealism of the early ‘60s. The SDS supported civil rights and opposed the nuclear arms race. It was strongly critical of the U.S. government, and called for greater efforts to fight poverty and big business. By the mid-’60s, when Oglesby...

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