Wednesday, January 27, 2016


My blog has gone silent over the last six weeks. My energy has been sapped by a succession of heavy colds. Nothing complicated, but giving into lethargy seems to help me keep more comfortable.

Of course, relaxation has its limits in this crazy world. I thrill to the great awakening that Bernie Sanders and the movement around him is bringing to the political scene.  In contrast, what happened to Flint tears at the heart of human decency; how can monsters like Governor Snyder escape just retribution? Then there is the rare piece of great news, the grand jury indictment of of the criminals who tried to frame Planned Parenthood.

In the primaries of the 2016 election, two things have already been proven beyond reasonable doubt: 1) the GOP has moved so far to the right that election of a Republican president could bring us to the threshold of an American style fascism; 2) there is a vast potential for a popular democratic left that can assure defeat of the GOP and shift the balance of power in favor of a new political generation bent on economic equality and full social justice.

The coming months of the electoral contest will produce many shifts and challenges. Tom Hayden has written a thoughtful analysis that's worth keeping in mind as the excitement rises. The crucial challenge is to stay bold in advancing the movement sparked by Sanders and inspired also by "Black Lives Matter", combined with commitment to unity and cooperation despite differences among all who seek to turn the tide against a GOP ultra-right takeover.

Before returning to hibernation with my lingering cold, a word about Times columnist, David Brooks. Along with many who have served the "old guard" GOP establishment, he's in a panic. He pleads Stay Sane America, Please! Worried that Trump and Cruz may be sinking the ship, he first uses the dishonest media ploy of lumping them as "extremists" with Bernie Sanders. That's like equating Flint's poisoned river with a fresh water spring. It's par for the course for "journalism" that uses "radical", "socialist" and sometimes even "liberal" as dirty words.

But, David. You own this GOP. You helped make it what it is. You wrote all those supportive words for Bush and Cheney and their wars. You had kind words for Newt Gingrich and even flirted with the notion of a Rick Perry presidency only days before his bid flamed out. And did you ever complain when the racists ganged up on Obama and openly pledged to undermine his presidency, or when "Black Lives Matter" and Planned Parenthood came under indecent assault? Were you alarmed by the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision, or by the money and actions of the Koch Brothers and the Adelsons?

Your desperate wish for Rubio to win the GOP nomination wouldn't change what the GOP has become. Rubio's hope is that he can pick up supporters from Trump and Cruz, carry their outrageous programs forward while making them seem less outrageous to people who follow David Brooks.

Note to Zinn Reader, Henry F. and other readers who may have tried to enter a comment: Because so many commercial bloggers use “Comments” to advertise their wares, I’ve  had to filter them out as spam. I regret loosing legitimate comments in the process.  Please send your comments directly to me, .


  1. Prof. Wofsy, I believe your late friend, VFP member Nathaniel Brooks, would have heartily endorsed and supported your comments about Fascism possibly coming to America (hell, aren't we already about 75% there)? Be well and thanks always for your incisive and succinct comments. Much appreciated.

  2. Dear Leon: I cannot read your e-mails without feeling a deep sense of pride over having
    attended the same college as you did, If I could write as well as you with the cold you
    complain of having, I would sign up to be afflicted by a similar cold. Anyway, get well
    soon. David Brooks needs you to keep him from going completely berserk.

    Incidentally, I am working on my autobiography, for which I have usurped the title, "Just for Fun." It happens that while I was in high school, a classmate of mine, who later went on to City College, was Kalman Siegel, who used to edit the "Letters to
    the Editor" page in the New York Times. When we went to Eastern District High School,
    his horizons were more limited. There he edited the school newspaper, "The Gold and White," and he wrote a humor column called "Just for Fun." Believe it or not, I have
    usurped that title for my autobiography. One of my assignments in the period ahead is to have my colleagues at "Labor Arts" send you a copy of a book of my poems and songs
    called "For Better or Verse," which bears a cover designed by Milton Glaaxer of "I Love New York" fame and warm words of praise from Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, of "Peter, Paul and Mary," and Vinie Burrows. I need your mailing address to have my colleagues send you a copy of the book. Meanwhile, I am sending you, under separate cover, a copy of the present status of my Autobiography. In it, I don't reprint most of the poems and songs that appear in "For Better or Verse." I hope to be meeting soon with Larry Bush,
    the editor of "Jewish Currents," on whose Editorial Board I have served for lo! these many years, to discuss prospects for publishing my Autobiography. Under separate cover, I shall also be sending you a copy of a letter I sent to Georgia Wever about my early activities in the labor movement. I think you know that I was the president of the Fur, Leather & Machine Workers Union for almost half a century. I was also president of the Paul Robeson Foundation and when you receive "For Better or Verse," you will have an opportunity to read a poem I wrote to him when we came to the Fur Workers Resort in White Lake to deliver a concert. He wrote on it, "Thanks a million, Paul," an inscription I still treasure.

    I think that will serve for the present. I am so happy to note that you have leveled
    your arrow at David Brooks. He really deserves it. Meanwhile, get well and stay in touch. It has been a genuine delight establishing contact with you. I just realized that I don't have a profile to enter. I hope it will not prevent me from sending off this letter.


  3. Please publish my Comment as "Anonymous"
    Henry Foner

  4. Thanks, Leon. I liked David Brook's column in today's NYT. He misses Obama:)