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COLUMN 108, AUGUST 1, 2004
(Copyright 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist) 

REMEMBERING DAVE DELLINGER

Subject: FW: Remembering Dave Dellinger
Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 19:10:29 +0000
From: "Dennis Formento" mesechabe@hotmail.com 
To: info@blacklistedjournalist.com 

I heard via Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz that Dave Dellinger, pacifist and one of the indicted "Chicago 7" (or 8, counting Bobby Seale) passed away yesterday. I take it the mass media have not noticed.

"Never cancel a rally or a meeting. That's the golden rule of the movement. If even one person has troubled to come carry on as if there are 1000. Every individual counts and bearing witness counts."-- Dave Dellinger

Read on for an excerpt from Roxanne's memoirs regarding Dellinger.

Peace.

Dennis Formento

From: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz rdunbaro@pacbell.net 
Subject: Remembering Dave Dellinger
Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 06:50:30 -0700

From Chapter 5 of Outlaw Woman: Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975. by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 2002

Learning to Bear Witness

In Springfield, Massachusetts, on a Saturday afternoon in April 1969, I was christened as a movement speaker. The occasion was the first anti-war rally organized by the Springfield chapter of the Movement
for a Democratic Society, a new national organization made up of SDS members who were trying to build a new organization free of factionalism. Homer had been invited to speak about his trip to Hanoi, but he insisted that I speak instead, on the need for women's liberation in order to eradicate militarism and imperialism. 

The organizers had expected a turnout of hundreds but Mother Nature had intervened and brought torrential rain that was expected to turn to snow in the evening. We were preaching to a small choir. I stood on the flatbed of a truck with icy rain pounding on my back. I gazed at the men and women who mingled, ankle deep in mud. I couldn't see their faces or forms as they were all draped in hooded rain gear or huddled under
umbrellas. Homer held an umbrella over my head. I was the next speaker.

David Dellinger, an old friend and mentor of Homer's, spoke about the Vietnam War. He was a veteran pacifist who strongly opposed U.S. involvement in Vietnam. He was also one of the Chicago Seven defendants 
charged with criminal conspiracy stemming from the Chicago police riot at the Democratic Convention the summer before. He had been in jail hundreds of times for civil disobedience, but this was the most serious of his lifetime of pacifism. I had heard him speak at one of the UCLA Vietnam teach-ins three years before, and although I did not share the pacifist philosophy, I admired Dellinger and found it hard to believe that I was now 
sharing the stage with him.

When we arrived and saw the small turnout, I assumed the rally would be canceled and we would all go some place warm to talk. But that option seemed not to have occurred to anyone. When I suggested it--partly having "cold feet? from more than the weather--Dave Dellinger said something I never forgot: "Never cancel a rally or a meeting. That's the golden rule of the movement. If even one person has troubled to come carry on as if there are 1000. Every individual counts and bearing witness counts."

As Dave spoke of his trip to Hanoi, I shook from the cold, but also in fear. I had never spoken about women's liberation in any context other than women's liberation. Dave's voice carried through the bullhorn, but I feared that mine would not. No wonder the status of a Wobbly had depended on volume in the days before loudspeakers--Mother Jones, Emma Goldman, Big Bill Haywood, my grandfather--all of them bellowed like
opera singers. I took the heavy megaphone and began to speak. The fear drained from my body.

The Vietnam War is our generation's Indian war. There's an Indian war every generation to validate and confirm the twin original sins of this country--genocide against the Indians and African slavery. It's a pattern 
buttressed by entrenched patriarchy in which every white man can feel he is a participant and a beneficiary. Patriotism is the public expression of patriarchy--the control of women, peasants, and nature. Women's Liberation is the most important, the most revolutionary social force to appear in the long history of resistance to oppression, exploitation, colonialism, racism, and imperialism. Always before, well-meaning, angry
and dedicated males have risen up to slay the fathers, but always they have merely replaced them. This time the chain of patriarchy will be broken. The Vietnamese resistance occurs within this new consciousness of the female principle of life. It is no accident. A Vietnamese victory against the temple of patriarchy, U.S. imperialism, will make of the empire a Humpty-Dumpty. Women's Liberation will determine the structures of the new society and the character of the new human being. 

I heard applause. Dave shook my hand and Homer hugged me.  That was the first occasion on which I attracted the attention of the FBI, or at least it's the first item contained in my bulky FBI file, with the notation: "ROXANNE DUNBAR: Dunbar represented the Female Liberation Movement (FLM) when she addressed a Rally for Peace on April 19, 1969, at Springfield, Massachusetts."  ##


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