The Darker Truth of “Shithole-Gate”?

by Dick Flacks   SOME PEOPLE are defining “Shithole-Gate” as a minor scandal involving a president’s use of an exceedingly vulgar epithet. That would, however, hardly count as a scandal; we assume that all his predecessors used profanity. Even the seemingly prudish Richard Nixon — we know from his tapes — was freely profane, particularly […]

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Hootenannies vs. McCarthyism: Reading Pete Seeger

For Pete z’l Seeger’s Birthday, May 3rd From the Spring 2014 issue of Jewish Currents by Dick Flacks Reviewed in this essay: The Pete Seeger Reader, edited by Ronald Cohen and James Capaldi. Oxford University Press, 2014, 288 pages; Pete Seeger In His Own Words, selected and edited by Rob Rosenthal and Sam Rosenthal. Paradigm […]

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Remembering Yip Harburg

by Dick Flacks Watching the 2011 Academy Awards last January, I was mildly astonished when the finale turned out to be a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by a chorus of kids from P.S. 22 in Staten Island. I marveled that a song written some seventy-two years ago (it’s as old as I am!) […]

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Pete Seeger’s Project

by Dick Flacks Editor’s note: Pete Seeger died at 94 on January 27th, after a short hospitalization. We’re reposting this fine appreciation by our contributing writer Dick Flacks, originally published in Jewish Currents in 2009. When Pete Seeger turned 90 on May 3rd, providing the occasion for a huge celebratory concert in Madison Square Garden […]

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Why Surveillance Is a Big Deal

by Dick Flacks The FBI started tracking me when I was 10 years old. I was a subject of their surveillance for decades after — surveillance that included phone tapping, undercover informants and the collection of all kinds of information about my activities, whereabouts, associations. In 1968, J. Edgar Hoover authorized the sending of a […]

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Frameworks for Post-Election Activism

by Dick Flacks “Marvin, what do we do now?” That famous final line in Robert Redford’s 1972 film The Candidate was meant to sum up the ways that big time electioneering obliterates politicians’ purpose and vision. This is a very important moment to ask the question — understanding that the ‘we’ refers not so much […]

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Viewing Obama through a Marxist Lens

by Dick Flacks “The executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” — The Communist Manifesto I thought of this statement while listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address and the neighborly talk he gave shortly afterwards to the Chamber of Commerce […]

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