[Marxism] MONSTER SLAYER [And Organizing]

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Sun Jan 29 10:52:53 MST 2006

[The legendry of the Navajo, as with any tribal nation, is rich and
enduring.  It was in that context -- that of the Dine' [Dineh] -- that I was
privileged to largely grow up and our ties with that vast Nation remain
extremely close to this very moment.  It was Changing Woman who, impregnated
by the Sun and a waterfall, gave birth to the Hero Twins:  Monster Slayer
and Child of the Water.  In due course, the Twins traveled the Rainbow to
their Father the Sun -- killing many mortal adversaries along the trail.

But several monsters still remain:  Hunger, Poverty, Dirt and Old Age -- and
the Battle, with the Hero Twins much to the fore, continues.]


Time runs away [it often seems to me] like a jackrabbit -- leaping and
bounding across my native Northern Arizona sage, faster often than the
sometimes pursuing relay teams of young Hopi runners.  Early this morning I
received this note from Buddy [Joseph] Tieger whose address I had finally
retrieved a day or so ago and to whom I had written regarding the untimely
death of our old colleague-in-arms: J.V. Henry.  Buddy, J.V. and I had
initially met each other right at the end of 1963.

We met in a jail cell -- a Southern jail -- always a proper place for real
and aspiring Organizers.  And Buddy wrote today:

"Hi John [Hunter],

Thank you, John, for posting this sad and shocking news.

As it happens, I came across your [Hunterbear] post, seemingly quite by
chance, a few evenings ago, when I was googling people from the
movement years, more or less at random, and thought I'd try to see
what J.V. was up to these days.

I still picture him, of course, at age 23, in blue jeans, and denim
jacket with a SNCC button.

My love to you and Eldri,

Joseph [always Buddy to us]

As I am known to say, Real Organizing is the most challenging and toughest
work of all. My oldest son, John  [Beba], born in North Carolina, wrote in
part a couple of years ago in the very kind and generous Tribute to me from
a throng of friends over many decades:

"Except for his refusal to be walked on by any boss, my father was never
like Abner Snopes, but like that peculiar family in Faulkner's "Barn
Burning," we were always loading up the wagon with our battered furniture
and moving, moving, moving. We lived in North Carolina, we lived in Vermont;
we lived in Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Seattle, and Rochester, New
York. We lived on the Navajo Nation, we lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Our houses were never too grand, never too squalid. Not much survived the
moves but our family, and, of course, the steady parade of visitors, people
in rags and suits, people coming to see Hunter, people in need-in need of
money, advice, food, sanctuary from the feds, respite from self-destruction;
people with plans, problems, with energy that could benefit from focus."

Beba also recalls, and often, that he and the other children were
consistently warned not to be the ones to answer our home phones -- given
the frequency of hate calls spread over many, many years indeed.

To his apt account, I add only that we have all found the satisfactions of
this "Outlaw Trail" to be enormous.

And to be a Real Organizer is to be an Outlaw.  No other way to cut the pie
than that.  The Universe -- cyber and otherwise -- is full of pretenders
[who may or may not be aware that they are]: fussy and precious ideologues,
big talkers and pie-in-the-skyers, prissy hair-splitters, sometimes folks
who make our three pet rabbits look like a herd of Grizzlies.

And for those of that ilk who write voluminously about organizing with
little or no hard and tedious grassroots experience and thus no savvy, my
disdain for these Effetes is as massive as my literal [and truly
wonderful] Sycamore Canyon southwest of Flagstaff.  And for those writers
who seek ostensibly to produce books about dramatic movements but wind up
merely with things politically sanitized and "safe," I have feelings
bordering on -- if not embracing -- contempt.

If you want to know about Organizing, then go to the Organizers.  Stay away
from Arm Chairs -- and climb The Mountain.  When you top out, you will know
a lot -- and you will also see and then tackle the next great range beyond.

Two years ago, I put my Organizing experiences into a couple of guide-line
posts.  Not a gospel man by any means, I am pleased that they have now been
reprinted many times -- in print and web -- and much passed about.  It's one
of our huge Hunterbear website's most heavily visited pages

And, for J.V. Henry -- and another fine fighting soul who preceded him into
the Spirit World by only a few days, Clinton Jencks, we have this page:


I should add that, Deep in our Website, where much of our somewhat older
civil rights material is clustered, we have several pages of photos taken in
March 1965 in Bertie [Burr-Tee] County at our historic North Carolina Black
Belt Conference -- attended by over a thousand people from 14 counties and
some other locations in the region.  The photos were among many taken by
J.V. [who also conducted a workshop] -- though, regrettably, none were taken
there of him.  In one of those on our site, you can see Buddy and Ginny
Tieger visiting with our keynote speaker, Ms. Ella J. Baker.  You can also
see Clyde Appleton, now of Tucson and on two of our discussion lists,
leading the singing; we have tough and hardy local leaders, such as Ms.
Willa Johnson [Cofield] and the late Rev. W.M. Steele; we have Nigel Hampton
[with whom I am still in touch] who came from International Chemical Workers
Union to speak on Labor.  And other brave troopers.

Still on the Rainbow, still following the Trail of the Twins to the Sun --
and there are many of us, many indeed, and always many more.  The Monsters
remain and the choice for us all is, Serving our communities -- or Serving
ourselves: the Sun, or the Darkness.

As Ever,

Hunter [Hunter Bear]

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

See Hunter Gray in the Gem State

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

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