[Marxism] Re: Revolution in the Air

Waistline2 at aol.com Waistline2 at aol.com
Fri Apr 9 17:11:42 MDT 2004

In a message dated 4/9/2004 2:40:32 PM Central Standard Time, maxie at igc.org 

>I have set up a website - www.revolutionintheair.com - where I've posted 
published reviews of the book and some other book-related materials. I wonder if 
I could get your permission to post your review there as well? If you care to 
add a sentence or two bio/political ID of yourself, and use your full name (or 
not), that would be fine too.

I'm curious, did you by any chance send your comments to any of the comrades 
you worked with over the years, and if so, did they offer any reactions?

Last, my friend also sent me a second post of yours that had a reference to 
the 1979 Greensboro massacre in which five CWP members and supporters were 
murdered. That event is discussed on pages 235-236 of my book and photographs of 
two of the five people killed are on the last page of the photo section.

Thanks again for engaging with my effort to look at that history, and please 
let me know about posting your review when you get a chance.

All best regards, and peace,

Max Elbaum
maxie at igc.org
www.revolutionintheair.com <
I do apologize for the inaccurate statement concerning the 1979 Greensboro 
murders in my review. A retraction and correction on my part will be sent to the 
listserver and a copy forwarded to you. 
1. My review of "Revolution In the Air" can be reprinted and published 
anywhere without reservations, including this response. 
2. Revolution in the Air was a painful and difficult book for me because it 
summarizes a period of history I am familiar with. Perhaps it is this personal 
experience that blinded me to pages 235-236. 
3. My name is ---------------, but I write under the name Melvin P. or simply 
"Waistline." I was recruited into what would become the old League of 
Revolutionary Black Workers by General Baker, Jr at age 16. My work in the Civil 
Rights movement dates back to age 11, when Uncle Leroy - my father's brother, ran 
for Secretary of Treasure on the Freedom Now ballot in Michigan.  Leroy 
--------l was and is a Pan Africanists that moved his family to Ghana in the 
mid-1960s and is formerly of the Faculty of Art, Ust, Kumasi, Ghana, West Africa. 
Leroy currently resides in Detroit. 
- Leroy's daughter - A------------,  apparently dated General Baker Jr., 
their teen years or very early 20s. As a young man General disagreed with Uncle 
Leroy's point of view and deeply felt that our battle ground resided in America 
and not Africa. 
- My father - M---------------, Sr., worked at Ford Motor Company after a 
stint in the armed forces fighting in the Philippines (One moment fighting on the 
side of the Huks and the next under the barbaric leadership of imperialists) 
and became a skilled worker - electrician, Ford Rouge Local 600. Dad was what 
was called in that era a "race man," a semiprofessional boxer in the armed 
forces and an authentic bully boy. That is to say be believed in fighting the 
police. Dad's first cousin - Napoleon ------------, (yes, Napoleon) was arrested 
and jailed in the late 1950s for impersonating an FBI agent and sent to 
Jackson Penitentiary, where he won his release by winning the "Golden Gloves" boxing 
prize for the state of Michigan.  
Apparently the -------------- clan were destined to fight to the death. 
A ------------ ************, my mother, had a father named JD Jones. JD was 
an early follower of Elijah Poole who would later evolved into the Honorable 
Elijah Muhammad and found the "Lost-Found Nation of Islam" in the wilderness of 
North America. :-) Ardell's sister Leona, would later in life become the 
Financial Secretary of the old Bud Wheel Local for over a decade. 
********** had another sister, Johnnie Mae, whose daughter would decades 
later become the lead organizer of the Union - UAW, at the Casinos in Detroit - 
specifically the MGM. 
I have an older brother, Maurice. He is an International Representative of 
the UAW having first won the position of Committeeman at Sterling Stamping in 
1984. Sterling Stamping is a Chrysler Motors facility and the largest stamping 
plant in North America - if not the world. Committeeman is the highest elected 
union position in a UAW/Chrysler shop and at that time his district consisted 
of 1700 people. Today the same district consist of a little less than 500 
As I write this Maurice is in my home and we have been discussing the 
technological revolution and the revolution in the technological regime. This 
discussion is abstract but based on what is actually in front of us. I can only 
repeat this discussion in general terms as a law system. A new technological 
innovation is injected - grafted upon, an existing infrastructure and an incremental 
process of change begins. A qualitatively enchanted production process begs 
another and begins the reconfiguration of the existing infrastructure. The 
quantitative addition of new technological innovations no simply destroys the 
quantity of labor needed in the production process, but hits a barrier halting 
expansion on the same basis. 
"On the same basis" means that adding new technological innovation to an 
existing infrastructure or rather the pathways of an old infrastructure hits the 
wall or barrier of the old infrastructure - pathways, and requires the creation 
of new pathways for a qualitative expansion of the new quality. It is my 
brothers contention that this barrier has been hit in the stamping division.
Although the new stamping process have reduced the workforce from 1700 to 
five hundred people, the new equipment only process 75%-80% of what the old labor 
of human beings produced. The other side of the equation is the 70% rise in 
quality or consistency of product. 
In a word the apparent barrier being hit is the pathway of the industrial 
stamping process. Perhaps "liquid metal" or enhance plastics allows technique to 
supersede the industrial process and give rise to a qualitatively new process. 
The point is that the discussion continues as does the fight against capital. 
Pardon, but I needed to get these ideas down on paper. 
4. At age 51, I retired from Chrysler Motors October 2001 at age 49, having 
completed a 30 year tour. 
I am a founding member of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers and 
founding member of the following organizations: The Black Student United Front in 
Detroit, The Communist League, the Communist Labor Party, the Equal Rights 
Congress, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (Detroit) and former Executive 
Board Member and the American Writers Congress. 
A former editor of the Southern Advocate, and participant of the Detroit II 
Liberation Theology Conference in the Americas. Vice Chairman of the Unemployed 
Council of Local 51 and former Committeeman and Chairman of the Shop 
Committee at Mound Road Engine, Local 51. Committeeman automatically makes one a 
member of the Executive Board of the Local Union in the UAW/Chrysler system. 
I am also a communist and was won over to Marxism many years ago. 
Somewhere in my memory are the first several issues of "Line of March," a 
concept rejected by primarily the so-called Trotskyite leftists.  
Generally, the comrades who were a part of or fell under the influence of our 
political orbit, have maintained a very low profile for three decades. To my 
knowledge I am the first one to write publicly. I have my personal as well as 
political reasons for this. 
All the majors people mentioned in Revolution in the Air - in relations to 
the LRBW and the Communist League I have a personal relationship with. 
Revolution in the Air is a one of a kind book with vast source material and 
will stand the test of time, no matter what ones political and ideological 
I review this wonderful book on a listserver with a Trotskyite heritage and 
probably would have written the review differently if this was not the case. I 
have little patience for ideological Trotskyism and a substantial record to 
stand on to sustain my inclinations. Thus, I am afforded a certain latitude - 
freedom. others cannot maintain and sustain. 
I would suggest minor adjustments to the text concerning history I am 
familiar with. Page 104 states that the "CL published a newspaper, the Western 
Worker." It would be more accurate to state the "CL published the People's Tribune 
and the Western Worker." 
Before the LRBW split it was an article from the Peoples Tribune that altered 
by concepts of the national question called "Take Negro Nation Day to the 
It did disturb me that nothing was said of the "Vote Communist Campaigns" in 
Detroit during 1976 and 1978, but much of this is our fault for not making the 
literature historically retrievable. There was a 1978 article in our 
Theoretical Journal - Proletariat, called "Communist Work in the Trade Union," 
featuring an article by General Baker. 
"Revolution in the Air" is must reading for a new generation seeking its own 
passion and inspiration. It has taken me sometime to comment on this book 
because it was very personal. The more I read it the easier to distance myself 
from an old period of history that no longer exists. This is an excellent book. 
Will stay in touch. 
Melvin P./Darryl Mitchell. 

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