How Did I Get Here?
My friends know my political leanings but only a few know my background. My second book, in the works, will tell the story of my 1960s-1970s activism in detail. Until it is published, I though you'd be amused by this story.
I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on my Dad in 2016. I got a fairly quick response since the file was small. I was startled to find my name alongside my Dad! A "confidential source" told the FBI on April 22, 1967 that my father was on the mailing list of The Worker, the Communist newspaper published in New York. He found their articles on the war to be useful since they were sourced from outside the U.S.
Based on that information, supplied by some stool pigeon working for the CPUSA, the FBI did a little digging and decided we were "possibly connected with GI's Against the War in Vietnam" which was a group of Vietnam Vets (and some active duty) who organized protests and published newspapers.
The only possible connection I can make is our participation in the massive April 15, 1967 Spring Mobilization against the Vietnam War. Over 400,000 people marched from Central Park to the United Nations and heard speakers including Martin Luther King Jr., Harry Belafonte, and Dr. Benjamin Spock. The simultaneous march in San Francisco attracted 100,000 people and heard from Coretta Scott King.
By the way, I was age 14. Pretty young to be tracked by the FBI!
FBI "request for information" on sandy and norman feinberg
It is interesting to me that the New York City Police Department Bureau of Special Services apparently did the initial reporting to the FBI.
The Gotham Center website says:
"In 1971, sixteen New Yorkers filed a class-action lawsuit — Handschu v. Special Services Division — against the city, NYPD, and BOSSI, claiming routine and widespread violation of their civil rights by the secretive intelligence unit."
New York City Mobilization
Courtesy: WNYC New York.
New York March Poster.
Martin Luther King speaking at demonstration.
© Bob Adelman Estate
National Mobilization Poster.
San Francisco Mobilization
San Francisco © Paul Richards
San Francisco © Paul Richards
Speaker and Performance list.
More on the Mobilization and GIs against the Vietnam War
Firsthand account of participation in the NYC mobilization
Firsthand account of participation in the San Francisco mobilization
Short video of NYC mobilization [0:0:54]
Newsreel footage of NYC, San Francisco mobilization and Rome Italy protest [0:2:48]
Feature-length documentary focuses on the efforts by troops in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to oppose the war effort by peaceful demonstration and subversion. It speaks mainly to veterans, but serves as a ready reminder to civilians that soldiers may oppose war as stridently as any civilian, and at greater personal peril.
Manifesto of Ft. Bragg GIs. They put their careers and lives on the line to protest against the war.
This time was such an important part of our nations history…I too was fairly active at a young age, protesting the inhumane treatment of migrant farm workers, IE Mom and I marching alongside Ceasar Chavez, boycotting Safeway for selling grapes etc picked by scab labor. Good to start out young, builds fire in the Belly.
Thanks for all the sharing and documenting, reliving those times. We can feel inspired to bring it out again to keep this revolution alive and moving forward.
Thanks for sharing your experience. That is exciting you were marching with Chavez! There will be lots more stories in my book about those times.
Funny. I was down in the Valley helping Chavez, I hoped, bring some justice to the farm workers. What I saw there confirmed my understanding that some kind of organization, hopefully a union, was the only anwer. It always has been and always will be about power. Ultimately the IWW is right. In the end the workers can just put their hands in their pockets and they will achieve their goals.
I went to find out first hand what it was all about and I have been a union member ever since. Thanks Sander.
Thanks Jim. Your lifelong commitment to workers’ rights is inspirational!