...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Thursday, May 27, 2004
      ( 4:11 PM )
A Hero Passes

Dave Dellinger died on Tuesday. This is very sad news to this Mama, and I know many others.

At the 1969 trial, just before Judge Julius Hoffman sentenced him, he was offered a chance to speak. But when the judge tried to cut him off, Mr. Dellinger said: "You want us to be like good Germans, supporting the evils of our decade, and then when we refused to be good Germans and came to Chicago and demonstrated, now you want us to be like good Jews, going quietly and politely to the concentration camps while you and this court suppress freedom and the truth. And the fact is, I am not prepared to do that. You want us to stay in our place like black people were supposed to stay in their place. . . . "

Thanks to Corrente, here is a rundown - just an overview, really, of Dellinger's impact on behalf of the people of this country:

*Labor organizer in the 1930s.
*Spent all of World War II in jail for refusing to register for the draft, despite a guaranteed deferrment as a divinity student. Kept getting sent to solitary for leading hunger strikes.
*Did the civil-rights thing in the '50s, before it was cool. Protested Korean War, nuclear testing.
*One of the Chicago Seven in '68, which is why that bell was ringing in your head. Find a picture; Dave's the bald-headed guy in the suit and tie in the midst of wild-assed long-haired loons like Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman.
*Antiwar stuff in the 70s.
*Spare time spent fighting for living-wage laws, prisoner's rights, reforming US foreign policy, frivolity like that.
*Three years ago, aged 85, he hitched to Quebec to lead a protest against the Western Hemisphere free-trade zone.
*Other free time spent staying married for 62 years and raising at least four children. Worked as a printer, writer and editor to pay the bills.

To me, not only was the defense of the Chicago Seven a major influence on me, but Dellinger's never-ending defense of and support for the activists of the American Indian Movement, and most especially Leonard Peltier. To baby activists like myself, the legend of Dave Dellinger is one to not only aspire to and to try to imitate, but one to remember when we think times are tough. He never gave up, he never bowed to false authorities and he never stopped telling the truth.

Rest in Peace, Teacher.

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