Archive for April 2020

75 years ago today, the Red Army was fighting its way across Germany, heading towards Berlin.  On their way there, they liberated hundreds of former concentration camp prisoners while they were on a death march from Ravensbruck to Berlin.  When the international group of women who had just been liberated realized they were now free, they spontaneously began singing "The Internationale."

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It's a crazy world getting exponentially crazier, but it keeps spinning very reliably.

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1846: The San Patricios

At this time in 1846, two nations were at war. One, a massive, slave-based economy. The other, a free nation, where slavery had recently been abolished. Among the soldiers of the invading army, many deserted. Some went further than desertion. They were called the San Patricios -- the St Patrick Battalion.

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1943: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The doomed rebellion of the surviving fraction of Warsaw's once-massive Jewish population known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began on April 19th, 1943.  Over the course of the following four weeks, the uprising was only put down after the entire ghetto was burned to the ground by the Nazis.

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At least ten million renters in the US began the month of April, 2020 by withholding their rent -- for most of them, because it was either pay rent this month, or eat. Those among the now teeming ranks of the unemployed and housing insecure in the US who qualify for it are now anxiously awaiting the money the federal government says it will start disbursing in the coming week.

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I Turned 53 in Quarantine

I have had a lot of birthdays where I happily spent the day hanging out with my family at home. This one is a bit more than a slight variation on that theme.

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Our Imagination

"Those who lack imagination cannot imagine what is lacking." (Paris '68) These are times that call for thinking outside of the box -- or at least outside of the failed, broken, capitalist box.

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When I heard that John Prine had died (of COVID-19), I started messing around with this song, one of the first I ever played on a guitar, long ago. You could call this a very pared-down version. The original is probably better.

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PDX Rent Strike Song

There's a 90-day ban on evictions, late fees, and eviction proceedings in Portland that began on April 1st, 2020. That means we have 90 days to make this pretend rent strike a REAL rent strike. Spread the word. Spread the strike. This song has two chords and a four-word chorus. Please sing a version of it. Let's make a video.

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Jason Hargrove, a Detroit bus driver, is only one of so many needless deaths of workers the authorities call essential, by which they seem to mean expendable. The strikes are spreading. The future is unwritten. The time is now.

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