Letters Posted by Portside.org
by Leonard J. Lehrman

(in chronological order)

1. June 6, 2013 Re: Moral Imperative of Bradley Manning (comment on June 3, 2013 article by Ray McGovern):
This is one of the most beautiful and morally impressive articles I've read in quite a while, particularly as it includes references to the prophetic imperative, the warning of the Cain-Abel story, the historic significance of nude protest (a theme of my opera Hannah), my favorite quote from one of my favorite people - Howard Zinn, and the importance of whistle-blowing, speaking truth to power, and respect for Good Samaritans, and life.
Thank you, Ray McGovern, and thank you, Portside.
Leonard J. Lehrman

2. July 31, 2014 Re: Friday Nite Videos - Buffy Sainte-Marie - Universal Soldier
Thank you for posting the video of Buffy Sainte-Marie talking about and singing her "Universal Soldier."
One prosodic element of that song has always bothered me:
"Dachau" should be pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, but most renditions of the song stress the second syllable. In this version, she finesses it somewhat. But we changed the line "But without him how could Hitler have condemned them at Dachau" to "But without him how could Hitler have built Auschwitz-Birkenau"
You can watch and hear us here.
In solidarity -
Leonard J. Lehrman (& Helene Williams Spierman Lehrman)

3. December 4, 2014 Re: The Other America - A Riot is the Language of the Unheard
This is a great speech [by Dr. Martin Luther King, Grosse Pointe High School - March 14, 1968].
Source: http://iran-si.com/vdcf.jdyiw6dt07raw.html
I particularly like the passage:

on some positions cowardice ask the question is it safe? Expediency asks the question is it politics? Vanity asks the question is it popular? The conscience asks the question is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politics nor popular but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.

Perhaps I'll set it to music, as part of our "Songs of Conscience" next year. But Dear Portside, please take a good look at the transcription, which contains quite a few errors, I think. "succor" not "sucker"? "It's not to know" not "Ask not to know"? etc.
Leonard J. Lehrman

4. March 19, 2015 Re: The Most Dangerous Woman in America
That's what J. Edgar Hoover called Emma Goldman!
Leonard J. Lehrman

5. December 22, 2016
In an interview broadcast this past Monday on Pacifica's "Law & Disorder," Ray McGovern asserted that what the CIA has called a Russian hack appears from forensic evidence rather to have been a leak. Nonetheless, the points in this San Diego Union Tribune editorial are well taken, and dovetail with those expressed in my article, just posted, at Jewish Currents.
Please re-post, or share, as you see fit.
Leonard J. Lehrman

6. January 26, 2017
This is a comment I posted on the Jewish Currents website. I think it's directly relevant to the subject Mary Anne Trasciatti just wrote about: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

The most important leader in the founding of the ACLU was Roger Baldwin, who called Emma Goldman the greatest speaker he had ever heard, saying she had done more for civil liberties in this country than any organization, up to her deportation, Dec. 21, 1919. In 1940, Baldwin took a neutral stand when Ernst, Elmer Rice, and others attacked Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, defended by Corliss Lamont and others, re her dual membership on the boards of the ACLU and the American Communist Party. By a vote of 10-9 she was expelled from the ACLU board, later became one of the convicted Smith Act defendants, and exiled herself to Moscow, where she wrote her memoirs and died in 1964. (She is buried in Chicago's Waldheim Cemetery, right near Emma Goldman.)

In 1972, the ACLU retroactively rescinded her expulsion. She is memorialized in Joe Hill's song, "Rebel Girl," in Lamont's "The Trial of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn," Rosalyn Baxandall's biography of her, "Words on Fire," and my 7-song cycle based on her love poems, found in the Tamiment Library and dedicated to Baxandall and Lamont (who commissioned it). The recording by Helene Williams was re-released by Parma Records Jan. 13, 2017. The title of the album, "Harmonize Your Spirit With My Calm" comes from the first song in the cycle, which Helene will sing at Community Church Feb. 3 and Queens College Feb. 9. Here is a video of her performing it Jan. 13, 2017.

Leonard J. Lehrman  
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