Finally Got the News:
The Printed Legacy of the U.S. Radical Left, 1970–1979
edited by BRAD DUNCAN and INTERFERENCE ARCHIVE
Finally Got the News uncovers the hidden legacy of the radical Left of the 1970s, a decade when vibrant social movements challenged racism, imperialism, patriarchy and capitalism itself. It combines written contributions from movement participants with original printed materials—from pamphlets to posters, flyers to newspapers—to tell this politically rich and little-known story.
The dawn of the 1970s saw an absolute explosion of interest in revolutionary ideas and activism. Young people radicalized by the antiwar movement became anti-imperialists, veterans of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements increasingly identified with communism and Pan-Africanism, and women were organizing for autonomy and liberation. While these movements may have different roots, there was also an incredible overlapping and intermingling of activists and ideologies.
These diverse movements used printed materials as organizing tools in every political activity, creating a sprawling and remarkable array of printing styles, techniques, and formats. Through the lens of printed materials we can see the real nuts and bolts of revolutionary organizing in an era when thousands of young revolutionaries were attempting to put their beliefs into practice in workplaces and neighborhoods across the U.S.
ABOUT THE EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS
Silvia Federici is a leading scholar in the autonomous feminist Marxist tradition. She was involved with the Wages For Housework campaign and the Midnight Notes Collective. She is the author of Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia, 2004) and Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (Common Notions/PM, 2012).
Bill Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum, a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, and a veteran labor movement activist. He was a founding member of the Black Radical Congress.
Emily K. Hobson is Assistant Professor of History and of Gender, Race, and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of Lavender and Red: Liberation and Solidarity in the Gay and Lesbian Left (University of California Press, 2016).
Badili Ifadoyin Jones-Goodhope is a former member of the February 2nd Movement, Revolutionary Workers League (Marxist-Leninist), Communist Party (M-L) and the African Liberation Support Committee. He is a longtime labor, community and LGBTQ movement activist now living in Miami and member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization / Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad.
Dan La Botz was a founding member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union and is the author of many books on labor politics including Made in Indonesia: Indonesian Workers Since Suharto (South End Press, 2001), Cesar Chavez and La Causa (Pearson Longman, 2006), and What Went Wrong? The Nicaraguan Revolution: A Marxist Analysis (Brill, 2016). For twenty years he was the editor of Mexican Labor News and Analysis and is a coeditor of New Politics.
Elly Leary is former member of Proletarian Unity League and a longtime autoworker activist and union negotiator. She is a regular contributor to Monthly Review on labor politics and history and is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization / Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad.
Akinyele Umoja is a Professor and Department Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Georgia State University. He is a founding member of the New Afrikan People’s Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the author of We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (NYU Press, 2013).
Ethan Young is a former editor with CrossRoads magazine, Monthly Review Press, and Cuba Update (Center for Cuban Studies). He was a regular writer for the Guardian (NY) and Frontline (Oakland, newspaper of the group Line of March), and is a moderator of the listserv Portside.org.
The mission of Interference Archive is to explore the relationship between cultural production and social movements. This work manifests in an open stacks archival collection, publications, a study center, and public programs, all of which encourage critical and creative engagement with the rich history of social movements.
The archive contains many kinds of objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, tee shirts and buttons, moving images, audio recordings, and other materials. Through our programming, we use this cultural ephemera to animate histories of people mobilizing for social transformation. We consider the use of our collection to be a way of preserving and honoring histories and material culture that is often marginalized in mainstream institutions.
As an all-volunteer organization, all members of our community are welcome and encouraged to shape our collection and programming; we are a space for all volunteers to learn from each other and develop new skills. We work in collaboration with like-minded projects, and encourage critical as well as creative engagement with our own histories and current struggles. As an archive from below, we are a collectively run space that is people powered, with open stacks and accessibility for all. We are supported by the community that believes in what we’re doing.
Kazembe Balagun is the North American Project Manager for the Rosa Luxemberg Stiftung in New York. He contributed “We Be Reading Marx Where We From: Socialism and the Black Freedom Struggle” to the book Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA (Harper Perennial, 2014).
Dan Berger teaches Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington Bothell and is an antiprison activist. His most recent book is Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era (UNC Press, 2014).
Johanna Brenner is an Emeritus Professor of Women’s Studies/Sociology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of Women and the Politics of Class (Monthly Review Press, 2000) and is a contributor to various left publications, such as Against the Current, Jacobin, Socialist Register, and Socialist Studies.
Over the past thirty years, Stephanie Browner has worked as Director of the Test Kitchen for Vegetarian Times magazine, as well as Managing Director of the Man Ray Trust Archive, where she produced traveling exhibitions including “Unconcerned But Not Indifferent,” which toured nine museums in Europe and Japan.
Brad Duncan is an activist and a union library worker who has been collecting printed materials related to social protest for twenty years. His work as a collector focuses on the radical movements and liberation struggles of the sixties and seventies, some of which can be seen on his popular blog, The R. F. Kampfer Revolutionary Literature Archive. In 2014 his archive was the focus of an exhibition titled “Power to the Vanguard: Original Printed Materials from Revolutionary Movements Around the World, 1963–1987” at Trinosophes in Detroit, Michigan.
From the Book
"The anticolonial and anti-imperialist struggles in the global South opened up an entire world to activists in the U.S. It broke the Left and progressive forces from a U.S.-centered narrowness and introduced knowledge, experience and politics that had previously been blocked from these shores. It forced domestic movements to rethink their ideologies, strategies and tactics and to recognize how much could be learned from a variety of political movements and social experiments. In essence, these solidarity movements helped us to advance in a way that might have been thought impossible. Despite any and all problems with how these experiences were interpreted, their very existence was an inspiration to struggle, and an inspiration to win." —Bill Fletcher
"The radical activists of the Women’s Liberation movement (WLM) in the seventies fiercely defended women’s need to self organize, to theorize, and to act free from the patriarchal control of men. Many WLM activists, who had cut their political teeth in the New Left, remained committed to anticapitalist revolution. Their experiences in the revolutionary currents of the late sixties and early seventies—and the politics that defined those currents—deeply informed their choices about who to organize and around what issues to organize, as well as the political frameworks on which they drew to analyze the oppression of women. Revolutionary organizations could not long remain untouched by the huge and growing women’s movement. By the end of the seventies the broad range of feminist politics had moved from the margins to the center of the revolutionary left." —Johanna Brenner
"It wasn’t until rise of the New Left in the late sixties and especially the early seventies that May Day was revived in the United States, although it remained a vibrant left workers day in the rest of the world, where left movements had not been crushed. Revolutionary organizations organized annual May Day events in cities across the country, ranging from rallies to picnics. May Day events in the seventies generally stressed working class internationalism, and often got special coverage in the party newspapers and publications. But their impact and numbers were puny; two hundred people was considered a great turn out. Leave it to immigrant workers, mostly from Latin America, to bring May Day back to the American workforce with a vengeance. The May 1, 2006 nationwide march and strike—a 'day without immigrants'—for positive immigration reform and legalization did what many of us nonimmigrants had been working on for decades." —Elly Leary
"Finally Got the News gives documentation to the activity and perspective of the period. Much of what is exhibited here influenced activists like myself and gave us the inspiration to keep on pushing in the face of political repression and internal movement contradictions. It is imperative that contemporary activists study the work of their predecessors, our strengths and contributions, our errors and weaknesses. Hopefully lessons can be learned that will continue to inspire and enlighten new generations of freedom fighters. Finally Got the News allows us to 'look Back, so we can move forward.'" —Akinyele Umoja
Editors: Brad Duncan and Interference Archive
Publisher: Common Notions
Published: June 1 2017
Size: 7 X 10
Page count: 256 Pages
Subjects: Art and Politics / Revolutionary History / Design and Criticism