Friday, July 28, 2006

Baseball throwbacks

I know that some of you enjoy my writing about local baseball and my adventures with the Twilight League. This year, I've limited my discussions about local baseball on this blog.

Some of you know that I also have a blog devoted mostly to writing, or writing-related topics. Since I'm writing a few articles about the Twilight League for The Forecaster again this summer, I took the liberty to post my most recent one over at Write in Maine.

The two men that I profile are very similar to the type of town team players that instilled in me my fascination for baseball, when I was seven, or eight-years-old. While these types of "throwbacks" are increasingly rare, they still exist and continue to fascinate me as a fan of the sport.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Middle East geopolitics 101

For the past week or so, I’ve been following Israel’s military incursion into Lebanon closely. Never a fan of the MSM, with their need to slant news and information towards their corporate viewpoint, regardless of the story, I still have been surprised at how pro-Israeli the coverage has been.

Like most Americans, even those who purport to be geopolitically astute, my understanding of Middle Eastern politics could be called perfunctory at best. Yet, understanding the roots of this escalating conflict isn’t as difficult to acquire as I am led to believe by the mantra, “the roots of this conflict are rooted in ancient times,” or some variation on the theme that “this issue is a complicated one, so just sit back and let us experts explain it to you.”

Actually, if you rely on the so-called experts, you’ll be woefully misinformed, at best and duped at worst.

As I mentioned, I’m no scholar of Palestinian history, but even in my previous state of ignorant bliss, I knew that AIPAC (pro-Israeli lobby) wielded a great deal of influence in Washington, as well as with media outlets. Coupled with a fear of being labeled anti-Semitic, the MSM tiptoes around issues regarding Israel, predominantly taking the position that whatever the IDF does is justified, as poor little Israel, swimming in a sea of Islamic terrorists and jihadists, are only protecting themselves and saving themselves from being pushed into the sea. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that much of the coverage in the American press could be classified as racist!

As with any subject that you are attempting to understand, it’s always helpful to put it into some historical context. The most recent invasion byIsrael didn’t begin two weeks ago, with the capture of two IDF soldiers by Hezbollah, despite the MSM’s historical amnesia. This goes back to 1982 and much further, if you take the time to do some research on Jewish settlement in the region.

Despite the evidence that exists for a Palestinian state (two-state solution), the need to spin things favorably for Israel continues unabated. I would challenge anyone to try to find any recent article in a mainstream publication that doesn’t frame Israel’s blatant and brazen attack on Lebanon as one of self-defense and security. You may run across the odd story here and there that attempts to show the Palestinian position, but it will be rare and require some serious sleuthing.

Since the Middle East is a region that will occupy our military’s attention (as well as a significant amount of tax dollars for the remainder of all our lifetimes), it would seem prudent to begin to expand one's knowledge-base of that region.

All of what’s happening between Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iran have clear implications for our own military and the ever-widening scope of the “war on terror,” as our linguistically-challenged president is fond of uttering.

The late Edward Said (interestingly, you'll find attempts by pro-Israeli "scholars" to discredit his work) is someone worth reading for the Palestinian side of the equation and a good starting point. Also, I find Counterpunch to be a provocative, progressive read. Interestingly, as you begin to see things in a new light, don’t be surprised if someone accuses you of being anti-Israel, or worse, anti-Semitic. In much the same way that right-wingers attempt to end debate on matters germane to American politics with the “anti-patriotic” lob, so will those who wish to deny the indigenous Palestinian people their right to co-exist in their homeland.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Clams away!

It’s summer in Maine and with the warm weather comes the opportunity to get out and experience some of the unique offerings the state has to offer. Being the sucker for festivals that I am, I’m looking forward to this weekend’s Yarmouth Clam Festival.

I’m sure the originators of this celebration of community and small town life in Maine never envisioned this festival being such a major event, when it started 41 years ago. Who would have thought that people could get so wound up over a tiny bivalve? But by Sunday night, over 120,000 folks will have experienced the wonders of the clam.

While the festival doesn’t officially kick off until tonight, with its annual parade, one of the state’s largest parades, those in the know got a sneak preview, last night, at the first ever "It’s Clamtastic Clam Cook-off." For a mere 5 clams (sorry, I couldn’t resist), samplers got to nibble on creations feting the clam, concocted by area restaurants and eateries. Attendees also got a wooden coin that they could deposit in the bucket of their favorite restaurant’s dish. I personally enjoyed the clam dip from Royal River Grillhouse. Chef, Brian Tebben, concocted what he considers “the world’s greatest clam dip.” The dip had a great texture and some secret addition giving it a spicy kick. Served warm on a nice sesame cracker, the creation was a nice accompaniment to the many chowders that other entrants were offering.

Yarmouth is one of Maine’s cuter towns, featuring a Main Street that should be the model of every small town in the land. With its town hall, library, shops and other businesses clustered within a ½ mile radius of one another, it is still a place that promotes the pedestrian. In fact, they have a great walking path that winds its way along the Royal River, before bringing walkers back to Main Street as they complete a comfortable circular route.

While the town has changed some over the years, a spirit of community and volunteerism remains. At one time, the community was ringed by working farms. Like many other areas of Maine, with an abundance of open space, farms have been sold and subdivisions have sprung up. Still, there are family farms nearby (like Toot's; take Rte 115 out of town towards North Yarmouth for some fabulous ice cream) and while the town has moved up the socio-economic ladder, the town has done a good job at keeping snobbishness and social-climbing at bay. Doctors, lawyers and other professionals serve on community boards and committees alongside blue-collar workers and farmers. The food booths that take over the town green, at the heart of downtown during the festival, are a veritable who’s who of the town’s volunteer organizations. For the week of the festival, many town folk take their vacations to work and participate, in order to make this the jewel of Maine’s summer festival circuit.

Whether you are an aficionado of the clam, or not, make a point to spend a day in idyllic Yarmouth, tasting Maine foods, watching the parade, or experiencing a fireman’s muster. With it’s proximity to Portland, there is no shortage of things to do and see.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fear factor

Americans are addicted to fear. We love to have someone—whether it is a journalist, government official, or our friends—scare us to death about some aspect of our daily lives.

Just today, I’m waiting for the start of The Jim Rome Show, while I’m preparing my lunch and on comes a commercial urging listeners to discuss what to do in the event of a terrorist attack—the announcer asked the question, “has your family discussed what to do in case of a terrorist attack?” Holy Christ! No, I haven’t discussed what I’d do if a terrorist attack happens because I’m not expecting one, at least in the near future. He ended the commercial by giving the following website, which scares me more, than the thought of a terrorist coming to my little corner of Maine.

Yet, there are crazy fuckers out there, many of them running our government, or controlling the airwaves, who derive great pleasure (and profit handsomely) from scaring the bejeezus out of the average American. Yesterday, while driving home from some appointments in Dover-Foxcroft, I was scanning the radio dial for something tolerable, or at least wouldn’t put me to sleep. For a five minute period, my better judgment took leave and I found myself listening to the demagoguery of Sean Hannity, during his afternoon exercise in right wing ideological indoctrination. This man is certifiably insane. His propaganda-laced tirades are lapped up eagerly by his brain-addled listeners, who subscribe to this kind of bigotry-infused and racist rhetoric. He was prattling on about the need for the U.S. to support their friends (in this case, Israel) in the battle against “Islamofascism,” a term invented by the haters on the right.

I don’t understand the need to be afraid. George Orwell’s protagonist in 1984, Winston Smith, lived in the type of world that Hannity and company would like to construct for us. A place where we live in fear of our neighbors, people of color and immigrants coming here for the type of life that Hannity has at his disposal. For Smith, his world was a place where every action and every word was being recorded by the telescreen. The populace lived with a palpable fear. Smith’s totalitarian government, kept perpetual surveillance over the citizenry. Certainly not the kind of place I want to spend the last 40 years of my life.

Fear is a paralyzing force and a killer of the spontaneity and interaction that communities require to remain vibrant and open. All of us need to fight the forces that want to force us inside, safe behind locked doors, or isolated within our gated fortresses. The right-wing doesn’t own the patent on inflicting fear and paranoia upon its followers, either. Progressives often can be just as craven to doom and gloom and the paralysis that comes from apocalyptic pronouncements.

Sometimes, simple acts are empowering. Tuning out the talking heads has been meaningful for me. Also, something as basic as growing some of one’s own food helps to develop a sense of self-sufficiency that we need more of. There are other things that all of us can do to reconnect with our communities, embracing the unique qualities that we all bring to the table. Pick something basic, and make it your own. You'll be happier and healthier as a result.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Geopolitical meltdown

I know I said that I am "dialing down" the politics, at least while the games are on this summer. Well, one of the beauties of blogging is that you are your own managing editor, when it comes to content selection.

Anyone who has made even a cursory perusal of international news the past few days will recognize that the Middle East, a virtual geopolitical powderkeg, just got even hotter. Israel, reacting to the kidnap of two of its soldiers (I wonder how many Lebanese, Palestinian and Arab soldiers are sitting in Israeli jails?) by Hezbollah, has launched their own Zionist-driven shock and awe campaign against Lebanon. Consequently, global markets, particularly oil, have reacted accordingly. Oil hit the $76.70/barrel mark yesterday, an all-time high, btw, on its march towards $80/barrel. According to the AP's Brad Foss, breaking the $80 barrier is inevitable. If that happens, those that track these things say that $100/barrel will follow soon thereafter.

Government, politics, or even sweet Jesus won't save us. Our government, which should have been working towards a two-state solution in Gaza, has been strangely silent about Israeli bombs raining down on the Lebanese. Bill Clinton wasn't a perfect president, by any means, but at least he recognized the importance of this for a viable future for the Middle East (as did Martin Sheen, my president [see West Wing]). The over-used trump card of global terrorism has just about run its course. The Guardian, always a place for interesting perspectives, has this one on how the definition of terror is motivated by the self-interest of the user. Big surprise there, eh?

If gas is $3.00/gallon at the current price of crude, where's it headed if we see oil at $100/barrel? Of course, Barack Obama and the Democrats are out on the highways, trying to drum up support for more E-85 (Ethanol), so we can continue to drive just as damn much as we always have, chasing down our cheap trinkets, made courtesy of Chinese slaves, at the local Wal-Mart. No problem--we'll just have to plow under the entire Midwestern corridor (flyover country to you folks in the east) and plant corn!

When I look at the seriousness of the big picture and see how little effect I am able to make, as well as the utter lunacy of those who should be doing more, because they have the power, I don't feel so bad about my little garden, riding my bike, or even listening to the Red Sox on the radio.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Spaceman

Last night, NESN premiered Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey, on former Red Sox player, Bill Lee’s barn-storming adventures in Cuba. The film chronicled Lee’s adventures as he took a rag-tag team of baseball castoffs to the impoverished island, where they toured the countryside, playing local Cuban teams.

The film was an interesting chronicle about Lee’s passion for the game, as well as highlighting the side of him that make him uniquely, Bill Lee. With quotes from former teammates, managers and others, it captured a portrait of a refreshing player and one that baseball desperately needs today, in an era of scripted interviews, clich├ęd soundbites and lack of any real characters. Corporatization will do that to any entity, even baseball.

Lee, who acquired the “Spaceman” moniker for his outspoken views and unique way of seeing the world, was a talented left-handed pitcher, whom the Red Sox drafted out of USC in 1969.

When Lee came to the major leagues, baseball was played by guys that made little more than a well-paid factory worker. Often, these elite athletes would staff a sporting goods store, stock shelves at the local grocery, or work the family farm during the off-season, to supplement their baseball-related salaries.

Bill Lee played most of his baseball career in the era before free agency changed the nature of baseball’s salary structure. For most of his big league career, which ran from 1969 until he was blackballed by baseball’s brass in 1982, he pitched for the Boston Red Sox. Never known as a hard-thrower, Lee was known as a “crafty” left-hander, relying on changing speeds and superior location to baffle opposition hitters.

Lee won 17 games, three consecutive seasons for the Red Sox, in 1973, 1974 and 1975. Fenway Park was considered a graveyard for lefties, as teams could load up on right-handed sluggers and pound the left field wall against southpaws. Lee demolished that myth, as he won 94 games and lost 68 over his 10 years with the Sox.

Playing in an era when pitchers were expected to finish their starts, Lee completed 51 of his starts from 73-75, his best years in Boston, which included a career high 37 starts in 73. Known as “the Yankee killer,” posting a 12-5 career mark vs. the evil empire, Lee typified the scorn that many of Red Sox Nation felt for the Yankees. Unlike today, when baseball mercenaries like Johnny Damon jump ship and go where the money is better, players like Lee would never have worn the pinstripes.

If you can’t beat ‘em, then beat ‘em up! That’s what happened to Lee, in the ill-fated incident on May 20, 1976. With the Sox in New York, to do battle with the Yankees, Lou Pinella ran over Sox catcher, Carlton Fisk, on a play at the plate. Both came up swinging. Lee, who was pitching for Boston, managed to get into the melee and somehow, ended up on the bottom of the pile, seperating his left shoulder. Initially, Lee blamed Graig Nettles for body slamming him. After seeing tapes, however, he recanted and apologized, instead, blaming Billy Martin, the Yankee skipper, for espousing a brawling brand of baseball. After the injury, Lee had very little velocity left and began relying almost exclusively on his curve ball to get by. What many fans remember about his waning years in Boston, was the famous feud that existed between him and Don Zimmer, the Red Sox manager at the time and who Lee dubbed, “the Gerbil.”

Boston fans heaped their scorn on Grady Little, for his ill-fated handling of Pedro during the 2003 playoff game vs. the Yankees. Well, Grady was an absolute master of pitchers, compared to Zimmer. Zimmer has no idea how to handle a major league pitching staff. Both fans and the media were critical of his style, which often resulted in his demotion of pitchers to the bullpen after one or two bad starts. Other times, he left pitchers in too long, before bringing in sub-standard relievers.

Lee began openly criticizing Zimmer to the press. Coupled with Lee’s counter-cultural leanings, which clashed with Zimmer’s staunch conservative values and old-school managerial philosophy, Boston became the scene of a public feud between these two.

Sadly, Lee ended up being traded to Montreal for some castoff named Stan Papi, in December of 1978. He won 16 games for the Expos in ’79, his high water mark for Montreal. While he followed this with only nine more victories in ’80 and ’81 and in May of ’82, Lee was released, never to pitch again in the big leagues, some speculate that this had less to do with his poor recent performances and more to do with his defense of former teammate, Rodney Scott, who Lee felt was released for reasons other than baseball. Apparently, former Sox skipper, Dick Williams, then managing the Padres in San Diego, wanted to sign Lee, but the powers-that-be nixed any whiff of Lee staying in the game.

While major league baseball was done with the tall lefty that didn’t stop the 35-year-old from continuing to play the game that he loved. In true old-school fashion, Lee began gathering former teammates and other players he knew from his playing days and started barnstorming the country as Bill Lee’s Grey Sox.

In 1993, I was still pitching in Maine’s only local baseball league, for 32-year-olds like me, Portland’s Twilight League. Lee contacted our commissioner to inquire about scheduling a weekend series of games between some of our clubs and his Grey Sox squad.

At the time, we were playing games in the resurrected Ballpark, in Old Orchard. The Ballpark had been built by entrepreneur, Jordan Kobritz, to bring a AAA team to Maine, the Maine Guides. Kobritz had acquired the old Charleston Charlies, of the International League in 1983. The Charlies were a Cleveland Indians farm club and he moved them to Old Orchard in 1984, where they drew close to 200,000 fans in their maiden season. By 1988, however, there were often more mosquitos, than fans, trekking to the outskirts of this seaside community. The club moved to Wilkes-Barre at the end of the summer and the town of Old Orchard was stuck with this baseball white elephant, which had one time been named by Sports Illustrated, as one of the top parks to watch a minor league game.

Overgrown with weeds, with the dugouts partially caved in, the Twilight League began playing some of our games there, in 1993. The infield had been brought back to life and somewhat resembled a professional playing surface, but the outfield was weed-filled and hard as a rock. Still, it held over 5,000 fans and was the scened of two memorable contests between Lee’s club and a group of college players, wannebes and has-beens.

On a Friday night in July, Lee’s club, replete with former slugger George Foster, attracted 4,500 fans to The Ballpark, where Lee and company edged the South Portland Merchants by a 5-2 count. Foster hit a mammoth home run and the fans went home happy. Because Foster requested a sizeable fee from Lee to play, he only played on Friday night.

On Saturday, another 3,500 fans turned out to watch Lee’s team, take on my club, Coastal Athletics. The Grey Sox, comprised of former Boston players, Rick Miller, Dalton Jones, Bernie Carbo, Mark Bomback and others, as well as Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, Ozzie Virgil and Rodney Scott, put on a pre-game skills clinic for young fans, before the game.

For me, who never had the opportunity to play the game professionally, I got a taste of what it might be like. Dressing under the stands, my Coastal Athletics teammates and I, came out to clamors for authographs from hundreds of young fans. Our club gave Lee’s team a battle. Trailing 4-1, my former high school teammate and catcher, Mike Sawyer, launched a bases clearing triple to right-center off Fidrych in the sixth and we were tied with the former big leaguers. However, Bernie Carbo gave the fans what they had come to see when he clouted a mammoth grand slam over the wall in right and we went down to defeat, 9-4. I had the privilege of pitching an inning of relief, unscathed, facing Ozzie Virgil, who had reached on an error. I struck out Lee (who was none too happy, having some washed up beer leaguer blowing a fastball by him), got a fly ball and induced Rick Miller to pop up on a splitter. After the game, Miller asked me what I had thrown him and complimented the pitch.

These former stars, graciously invited us over to their locker room, for lobster and beer. My son, then only 10, got autographs and the privilege of hanging out with these ex-big leaguers.

The professional game has dramatically changed. Yet, Bill Lee continues to be an ambassador for baseball’s purity, still playing it, even though he is in his late 50s. Men like Lee are a window back to a time when baseball was just a tad more enjoyable and less commercialized, or at least, least bastardized by so much of the current add-ons that do little, if nothing to improve on an already perfect sport.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Where was Manny?

Well, baseball’s snooze break, better-known as the annual all-star break for Major League baseball, is over. Actually, last night’s game wasn’t bad, as Michael Young was able to extend the junior circuit’s dominance over the so-called senior circuit, with his game winning-triple in the ninth inning.

In what might be the only recorded incidence of agreement between Bud Selig and me, the commissioner’s criticism of Manny Ramirez, for refusing to even show up in Pittsburgh, is warranted. While Manny may indeed be hurt, that doesn’t excuse him from at least acknowledging the fans who selected him to the all-star team. He didn’t have to suit up, but he could have been there. By not showing at all, he showed himself to be a pampered prima donna. While this may not come as a surprise, it is the fans who ultimately plunk down premium cake to watch Manny and his mates do battle at Fenway and elsewhere. The Boston faithful put up with alot from this supremely talented hitter. I don't understand why management didn't "encourage" him to make an appearance. The only explanation I have is that they take fan support for granted, just like #24. Manny being Manny? I don’t buy it—more like Manny being an asshole!

Random takes:

--My decision to dial down my intake of all things political is agreeing with me just fine. In fact, I’ve found a new guilty pleasure that more than makes up for my former intake of political talk radio.

--The Jim Rome Show, which airs daily from noon to three has become my summer replacement for the former political meanderings I used to imbibe. Rome’s show is smart, pertinent (at least to sports and often, other current events) and often makes me laugh my aaaasssss off! This beats elevated blood pressure and the constant Bush-bashing of Air America that I used to subject myself to.

--Perusing the morning sports section, I couldn’t help but notice that Maine’s stock car track of record, Oxford Plains Speedway, has none other than Allen’s Coffee Brandy as a sponsor of several of its racing series. Obviously, this local favorite furthers the stereotype of the typical racing fan. If you don’t know about Allen’s Coffee Brandy and certain segments of Maine’s populace, you can read about it here. Apparently the irony was lost on the folks who run the show at OPS. Maybe they can get a meth lab to sponsor a racing series next year?

--It looks like Barry Bonds may end up having to put off his pursuit of Hank Aaron, as he has some legal issues (can you say federal indictment?) that may prove more pressing. Too bad, Barry. I can't say I'm mustering much sympathy for your arrogant ways and tarnished assault on a record held by a man who personified class, as a player and an ambassador of the game.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Intolerance raises its head in Lewiston (again)

On January 11, 2003, the city of Lewiston, Maine held a rally and march of support for the Somali community. Close to 5,000 people attended the Many and One rally, which was held to show solidarity for the newest residents of this former manufacturing city along the banks of the Androscoggin River. They had come to Lewiston, fleeing other urban areas of the U.S., after leaving their homeland, to escape a bloody civil war. [Here's a good primer on the Somali settlement, from the Portland Press Herald, April, 2002]. Despite the city’s history and heritage as a center where immigrants were welcome (large numbers of French-Canadians had made Lewiston their new home in the 19th century, drawn by the textile mills and manufacturing of the city), Mayor Larry Raymond felt it necessary to release a letter, which basically told them to stop coming to Lewiston, as the city wasn’t prepared to handle their numbers (and color?). From there, Matthew Hale and his white hate group, the World Church of the Creator seized the opportunity to send delegates to the city to try to fan the flames of racial hatred and division that smoldered in this very-white enclave of one of the whitest states in the country.

The Somali community, currently numbering around 2,800, has tried to integrate and co-exist with a native population that has reluctantly received them. While other communities, like Portland, have received large numbers of refuges (the Vietnamese and Cambodian settlements of the late 70s and early 80s), the Somali resettlement hasn’t been a seamless one.

While there has been a three year lull since the January, 2003 rally, lately, some red flags have been popping up to indicate that there are still issues that haven’t been addressed.

One month ago, a Somalian man, died in police custody. This drew the ire of Somali leaders and they questioned the way that the local authorities had handled the situation. A rally was held across from the police station, questioning the actions of the local police force. Somali leaders asked about other incidents, which indicated that the Somali community was treated differently by the local police. Just like back in 2003, the local daily paper was filled with some angry and vitriolic letters to the editor, expressing outrage at the Somali community for daring to ask questions. Typically, writers expressed a common sentiment of, “if you don’t like our city, why don’t you just get out.” Once more, you heard the whispers about the Somalians being “lazy” and not being willing to work. Others expressed the theory that “they” didn’t try hard enough to adopt “our ways.”

Then, last Monday, during evening prayers, 33-year-old Brent Matthews rolled a pig's head into the mosque, at 123 Lisbon Street. Apparently Mr. Matthews didn’t understand the ramifications of pork and the Muslim faith. Saying it was “a joke,” it’s interesting that he chose the pig’s head for his practice of humor.

In addition to this, a new Somalian restaurant on Lisbon Street, had its plate glass store front damaged, as large scratches were etched in the glass. An upspike in vandalism targeting Somalis has occurred, of late.

There are obviously still issues smoldering in Lewiston in how the locals relate to a culture different than their own. While the incident at the mosque is being investigated by Federal authorities as a hate crime, today’s Lewiston Sun Journal indicates that police chief, William Welch, is concerned about this “spiraling into something more.” Implicit in this statement is that the seeds of hatred and intolerance that spawned this utterly moronic incident, should be ignored. Maybe it’s just me, but Welch reminds me of southern sheriffs, ala Bull Connor, in his inability, or unwillingness to understand the seriousness of incidents like this.

It was telling that during yesterday’s press conference, held at City Hall, no Somali leadership accompanied Deputy City Administrator, Phil Nadeau, and Police Chief Welch. Apparently city leaders such as Welch, didn’t feel it was necessary to invite them. According to Welch, he didn’t specifically invite them. Yet, the story said that he hoped their absence was an indication that “they feel confident in what we’re doing” to investigate the matter. Note to the chief—I think it’s pretty obvious that not inviting leaders of the group targeted by an incident that has hate crime ramifications, shows that you don’t get it, yourself! Don’t hope that things are ok with a group that already views you and your department with suspicion. Have you ever heard of getting out and proactively building some bridges with people different than yourself?

It’s hard for me to fathom the level of ignorance that perpetrates the highest levels of Lewiston city government. As much as Lewiston (and Auburn) trumpets their communities as progressive and places for businesses to come to, there is an undercurrent of ignorance and suspicion of outsiders that just won’t go away. My sense is that we haven’t heard the last of this story coming out of Lewiston.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Emma Goldman on Independence Day

I found this over at Infoshop:

A New Declaration of Independence
by Emma Goldman
(Published in Mother Earth, Vol. IV, no. 5, July 1909.)

When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions.

The mere fact that these forces--inimical to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--are legalized by statute laws, sanctified by divine rights, and enforced by political power, in no way justifies their continued existence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings, irrespective of race, color, or sex, are born with the equal right to share at the table of life; that to secure this right, there must be established among men economic, social, and political freedom; we hold further that government exists but to maintain special privilege and property rights; that it coerces man into submission and therefore robs him of dignity, self-respect, and life.

The history of the American kings of capital and authority is the history of repeated crimes, injustice, oppression, outrage, and abuse, all aiming at the suppression of individual liberties and the exploitation of the people. A vast country, rich enough to supply all her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and corrupt politicians. Sturdy sons of America are forced to tramp the country in a fruitless search for bread, and many of her daughters are driven into the street, while thousands of tender children are daily sacrificed on the altar of Mammon. The reign of these kings is holding mankind in slavery, perpetuating poverty and disease, maintaining crime and corruption; it is fettering the spirit of liberty, throttling the voice of justice, and degrading and oppressing humanity. It is engaged in continual war and slaughter, devastating the country and destroying the best and finest qualities of man; it nurtures superstition and ignorance, sows prejudice and strife, and turns the human family into a camp of Ishmaelites.

We, therefore, the liberty-loving men and women, realizing the great injustice and brutality of this state of affairs, earnestly and boldly do hereby declare, That each and every individual is and ought to be free to own himself and to enjoy the full fruit of his labor; that man is absolved from all allegiance to the kings of authority and capital; that he has, by the very fact of his being, free access to the land and all means of production, and entire liberty of disposing of the fruits of his efforts; that each and every individual has the unquestionable and unabridgeable right of free and voluntary association with other equally sovereign individuals for economic, political, social, and all other purposes, and that to achieve this end man must emancipate himself from the sacredness of property, the respect for man-made law, the fear of the Church, the cowardice of public opinion, the stupid arrogance of national, racial, religious, and sex superiority, and from the narrow puritanical conception of human life. And for the support of this Declaration, and with a firm reliance on the harmonious blending of man's social and individual tendencies, the lovers of liberty joyfully consecrate their uncompromising devotion, their energy and intelligence, their solidarity and their lives.

[This `Declaration' was written at the request of a certain newspaper, which subsequently refused to publish it, though the article was already in composition.]

**Here is a clip of Goldman, via YouTube.