Wednesday, March 17, 2010

U.S. White Lefty Jed Brandt on the need for Communism, the ineffectual agenda of Pres. Obama, and the failure of U.S. society to meet the needs of the vast majority of U.S. people

[image is from here]

Here's some cool info about Jed from Wikipedia. If you're wondering if he's white, here's how you know: they don't mention it.

Jed Brandt (b. Cleveland, Ohio) is an American communist.[1] His writing, photography, design and artistic work has appeared in the Indypendent, and other publications.[1] On March 1, 2010, Fox News television host Glenn Beck dedicated a segment to reporting on Brandt for a speech given at the Brecht Forum.[2][3] Brandt is a member of the Kasama Project and advocates for the formation of a new communist movement.[1]

Early life

Raised in West Virginia, Brandt relocated to Chicago. He was a founder of Youth Against Apathy, a high-school network with communists, anarchists and bohemian youth from across Northern Illinois.[1]

At age 15, he was tried on felony charges of aggravated battery (on a police officer) after "unarresting" someone from a squad of riot police in front of Chicago's main military recruiting station on the eve of a threatened US invasion of Nicaragua. Hospitalized in the arrest with multiple contusions. He was exonerated when the bite mark allegedly delivered by Brandt on the arresting officer's hand did not match his slightly crooked teeth.[1]

In 1996, Brandt, along with student leaders from across the city, formed the Student Liberation Action Movement. He was the editor of the radical CUNY-wide tabloid Spheric, and then the Hunter College Envoy, founded by the editor of the National Guardian, James Aronson. Both newspapers received awards from the Campus Alternative Journalism Project for reporting and graphic design.[1]

Jed was also briefly a member of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, where he burned an American flag of the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, an act he said was in solidarity with all humanity and for "a world without borders."[1]

Professional life

Brandt was a staff illustrator for Vibe Magazine, and has done publication design and reporting for LeftTurn, Political Affairs, Monthly Review online, and numerous other publications. His first investigative article was written on the police torture case involving Chicago's then-Commander of Detectives John Burge, for the now-defunct Revolutionary Worker newspaper.[1]

Brandt studied philosophy and history at the City University of New York, Hunter College, with an emphasis on legal and social systems theory. He is currently in Kathmandu, Nepal, reporting on the Himalayan revolution.[1][4]
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I am going to post two parts of one speech by Jed Brandt. I'd like you to listen carefully to him, which you are likely to do as he's white and a male who speaks English. And he's not gay. So you know, he speaks truth. And I like a lot of what he has to say. Especially about the invisibilisation of white Jewish Communist efforts in NYC that created things like rent controlled housing, co-operative housing, co-operative grocery stores, and decent living conditions for people who could not become homeless. Sound scary yet?

What I don't think is centralised sufficiently in his talk is this: the perspective and interests of Indigenous people, the place of patriarchal atrocity and male supremacy in what he's discussing, and the necessity of centralising heterosexism in his talk. He also doesn't address the fundamental problem with white male supremacist society, which is that it isn't sustainable at all. If you want to know more about that, read another white het guy, Derrick Jensen, who DOES place Indigenism, radical feminism, and "the problem of civilisation" centrally in his framework and understanding of what's fucked up about this society... the U.S. one.

But, you know, what do you expect: he is, after all, a white het guy. But he's engaging, dynamic, and radical. I like that about him. He also is not ignorant about radical feminism, although you'd never know it from what he says below. But I will post a quote of his, about Andrea Dworkin, so you get what intelligent white het men can say about their own ignorance, when they acknowledge and own it as that, and stop pretending they view the world accurately, always.

And one more thing: these two parts fly by: he talks fast and fierce and before you know it a few minutes have gone by. Listen quickly.
Part 1 of 2:

Part 2 of 2:

Now, the quote:
"All I knew about Dworkin was that she hated men, hated sex, wanted to help the government censor porn and hated my dick, which I so very much loved. In other words, I knew nothing of Andrea Dworkin except what others had said about her. That she was ugly and bitter, the personification of female resentment" -- Jed Brandt

That quote is from this short piece (below), reflecting on the work of Andrea Dworkin in the days following her death, almost five years ago now. Clicking on either the name, the date, the category, or "Email this article", just a few lines down, will link you back to the original source, The Indypendent.

‘I’m a Radical Feminist, Not the Fun Kind’: Andrea Dworkin, Philosopher, Dies at 58

By Jed Brandt
From the April 20, 2005 issue | Posted in Culture | Email this article
I only met Andrea Dworkin once, in passing, at a Brooklyn cafe where I was parsing the Village Voice job listings and halfreading a Don DeLillo book that caught her eye. She was a large woman, powerful in presence even when seated. She had the same wild, Jewish hair and piercing, yet gentle eyes as my mother. Two smart women of the generation that broke out with what they used to call Women’s Liberation, they had learned not to fear their own intelligence no matter who they scared. All I knew about Dworkin was that she hated men, hated sex, wanted to help the government censor porn and hated my dick, which I so very much loved. In other words, I knew nothing of Andrea Dworkin except what others had said about her. That she was ugly and bitter, the personification of female resentment.

“DeLillo always almost gets it, enough anyway to keep me hoping his next book will finally deliver,” she said. I was reading Mao II, and this was before DeLillo finally did bring it home with Underworld, and so I learned that whatever ‘70s time warp she was stuck in, she certainly knew how to read. And then, to my surprise, I learned that she had a male partner, a slight, blond-haired man she introduced as John, who finally joined her before I returned to looking at my book, thinking, “What a hypocrite! She hates men and then sits down to coffee with some guy.” They held hands across the little table, talking easy and light with each other on an average weeknight in Park Slope 12 years ago.

“I am a radical feminist,” she said of herself, “not the fun kind.” Still a man-child when I met her, I hadn’t learned of the real power even ordinary men have when it comes to women. I was born in the early ‘70s, a part of the first generation to come of age after the sexual revolution – used to it, taking it for granted. We were all friends, boys and girls, and without children of our own, or serious jobs and responsibilities, “the patriarchy” seemed little more than some boogieman that timid, out-of-step feminists used to justify their own existence. And then, one by one through our early 20s, I watched as my lovers and friends sold themselves. They stripped or whored to get through school or just to buy dope. They settled for baby-daddies not worth their time, got beaten and stayed with their abusers because, “That’s just how guys are, it’s more complicated than it looks,” as if a bruise could be anything but what it is. I watched my sisters become what men wanted them to be. Men just like me. Because men can. Because decades after women’s liberation, everyday equality is still just a specter. I came to see why Andrea Dworkin is so feared she has to be maligned. I had to become a man to really read her.

Dworkin never said that all sex was rape, even if she saw how the cock is a weapon. She never, no matter how easily her provocations could be misread, claimed that men and women could not love each other. Care for each other. Dream out loud of a world where we don’t know each other by how we hurt each other. She was a philosopher. She didn’t smile when she wrote how women are hurt, beaten, raped. By men who love them. By men who hate them. By men. She wrote of sex without the giggle or sly nod women so often use to put men, and themselves, at ease. She left no easy out for the decent man to say, “Yes, all this rape is terrible – but not me.”

Uninterested in pleasantries, she was intolerant of women’s pain. She did not hate the victims of oppression, but the acts so mundane that no one had seen fit to mention them. The breaking of wives, the training of boys to “become men,” the male right to buy women’s bodies and painted smiles, pornography as “men possessing women.” When Hannah Arendt generalized the banality of Nazi evil, she was applauded. Dworkin applied the same principle to our intimate lives and was spit on. For hating rape they said she hated sex.

Gloria Steinem said, “Every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve. Andrea is one of them.” Let that be her epitaph, for from her we can learn the measure of our own progress. Flawed, prone to over-extending simple truths, she was a giant.

For nine years, The Indypendent has printed truth in the face of power. With political and economic systems faltering, there is an opportunity for real change from the bottom up. But this means having a vibrant independent media. Consider supporting The Indypendent as a monthly sustainer, donating as little as $5 a month. Please visit

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