In my recent book, Surveillance in America: Critical Analysis of the FBI, 1920 to the Present (2012), I devote a whole chapter to top FBI official W. Mark Felt, who we now know acted as Deep Throat during the Watergate crisis of 1972-1974. I detail how Felt led a secret faction at the FBI consisting of several other officials to undermine President Richard Nixon after Watergate and eventually to remove him from power. The Felt faction worked with Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to break the Watergate story. However, if Felt had gone to Congress, instead of the press, to expose the Watergate break-in and associated crimes, the exposure would have occurred faster and probably would have led to Nixon losing the 1972 election. In sum, Democratic candidate George McGovern would have been elected President. By leaking slowly to the press, Felt helped Nixon win reelection. Beyond that dramatic story, in my book I refer to two unpublished manuscripts written by Felt which have not seen the light of day. In 1986, Felt submitted to the FBI for prepublication review and approval a book titled, An Unexpected Turn of Events. In 1990, the FBI reviewed a second Felt manuscript entitled,Thirteen True Stories About the FBI. The FBI reviewed both books and concluded that "no sensitive information" was revealed.
I have heard through the academic grapevine that scholars have made efforts to locate these unpublished manuscripts and have not been able to find them. These scholars have checked my sources in my Surveillance in America book to see how I know about them.
Information referring to these manuscripts are contained in the declassified FBI file on Felt. I was the first person to request and obtain this FBI file under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) after Felt's death. Soon after I received the Felt file, the FBI decided to put part of it on its own website (www.FBI.gov.) Let me repeat, they put only part of it online.
I emphasis this fact because the FBI memos referring to Felt's two unpublished manuscripts are not contained in the Felt file that is posted on the FBI website.
The FBI sent me a much larger file on Felt than they posted online -- about twice as large I already have referred to this fact in a public lecture I gave in the summer of 2012 at the HOPE 9 conference in New York City. My hour-long talk was video-taped and already has been posted on my blog. Here is a link to the lecture --- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQuuaDHiJWs.
The mystery of where Felt's two unpublished manuscripts are located never may be resolved. But there should be no doubt that he wrote them and they went through the prepublication review process at the FBI.
Update -- A fellow researcher in FBI files tells me the FBI may retain copies in their files of both of Felt's unpublished manuscripts since they underwent prepublication review. One strategy is to file FOIA record requests with the FBI on both manuscripts to see if they can be obtained through the declassification process.
For a couple of years, I
have been reluctant to comment in print on Noah Baumbach’s movie, Greenberg (2010), which loosely is based
on the relationship between my younger brother, Roger, and me. As you may recall, the major characters in the
film are Roger Greenberg, played by Ben Stiller, and Ivan Schrank, played by
Rhys Ifans. The movie is set in Los Angeles in the contemporary period and
follows their relationship as Roger recovers from a psychiatric condition and
wants to do “nothing” and Ivan is uncomfortably struggling with issues of love
and work. The two characters, who once
were close friends as musicians in a band, had not seen each other in a
Neither Roger nor Ivan in the film strictly is based on
the real-life Roger or Ivan. But, Noah has created composite characters,
drawing upon aspects of our personalities and life histories. I have an older brother Michael in real-life
and he, too, makes a cameo in the movie as the older brother of the Stiller
character who has left country with his family on a vacation. In fact, my older brother Michael often was absent
from the real-life Greenberg family and had left the country for an extended
period to study medicine overseas. The
real-life Michael never had close relationships with his two brothers, while
Roger and me had a very close relationship for a long period.
I have been reluctant to comment on the movie for a
number of reasons. First, I did not want
to draw attention to myself or my family for strictly personal reasons. It is highly unusual for a director to use
the names of living people in a fictional film, and to base the movie in part
on them. Second, I did not want to
interfere with Noah’s creation. That is,
I did not want to add a new layer of meaning to the film by exposing his
characters, and making an association, with living people and their lives. However, by now the movie is history, and no
longer is a subject of conversation, so the time seems ripe to offer some
comments on the ways the movie is true to real-life and also on the ways that
the movie has impacted my life. I offer some “behind the scenes” details as
well. I hope Noah does not take offense
at these comments, but it does not really matter since he never asked
permission to use the Greenberg names in the film. Nor did he tell the
Greenbergs about the film before it appeared.
But I got wind of it ahead of time. It was inadvertent, and something initially
of a shock. My girlfriend at the time, Nancy,
had spent a Friday night at my apartment in the Bronx. In the morning, she went
online on my computer to read the newspaper and several of her other favorite sites. As a guilty pleasure, she occasionally would
peruse the website of celebrity gossip columnist Perez Hilton. She called it her “escape.” Nancy is an American history professor, who
studies immigration and ethnicity. Her
following of celebrity news is very far afield from her usual interests.
“Hey Ivan,” she says to me. I am sitting in a lounge chair across from
her in my bedroom. “There is a movie coming
out named Greenberg.
you mean?” I respond.
“It is in
production. I am reading Perez Hilton,”
she says sheepishly.
What is it about?” I ask.
the director is Noah Baumbach.
surprised. “Noah Baumbach? I know him.”
begins to read the article out loud to me.
Perez reports the plans for the movie, which will star the actor Mark
Ruffalo in the main role.
a picture of Ruffalo,” she says. “He looks like you.”
over to the computer and peek at the screen.
“Oh shit,” I say. “There is an
obvious resemblance. I have seen some of
Ruffalo’s movies. I like the type of
off-beat characters he often plays.
is in it?” I ask.
tells me, “They haven’t chosen a co-star yet.
It is set in L.A.”
the plot?” I ask. “Is Noah making a movie about me?”
says, “There is a character named Ivan in the movie.” She is in shock. “Also Roger. Roger Greenberg.” She knows that my younger brother is named
Roger, although she has yet to meet him.
plays Ivan?” I ask. She tells me it is
Rhys Ifans. She relays his movie
credits. Apparently, he has a big fan following, but I do not know his work
sure the name of the movie is Greenberg?
“Yes. Greenberg. One word.
God,” I say. “This is news to me. I haven’t seen Noah in at least a decade.” I
then begin to describe how I know Noah.
“You know, the name Ivan appeared in one of his other movies, as did the
name Greenberg. It was his film, The Squid and the Whale.” Nancy, who I had been dating for about a
year, is excited. My emotions are mixed.
What is happening? What is the movie
about? What does the character Ivan say
and do? Roger and me? I wonder if my brother knows about it.
Noah’s parents and my parents used to be close friends
while I was growing up during the 1970s.
My mother, Dolores, met Noah’s father, Jonathan, while they were
undergraduates at Brooklyn College, CUNY, during the early 1950s. At the time, my mother was married and my
parents formed a lasting friendship with Jonathan that was solid for many
years. Noah’s father and my parents earned doctorates and became college
professors in the CUNY system. Jonathan
taught writing at Brooklyn College.
Dolores taught American history at Hunter College. My father, Robert, taught English literature
at Queens College. They moved in the
same intellectual circle in New York City.
When I was young, our families
often got together socially, and the children became friends. Noah was several
years younger than me and he was closer to my brother Roger. Still, we had many dinners together and I
must have impressed Noah in some way.
Over the years, Noah and I had very little contact,
although Roger remained in touch with him.
Apparently, Noah heard details of my life from a close friend of my
mother’s, Pat, who also remained close to Noah.
So my connection to Noah was made through Pat. My mother used to tell me about Noah as she
heard gossip from Pat.
So, after I hear that the Greenberg movie is in production, I call both Roger and my mother
to ask if they had heard about it. No,
they say. In fact, Roger, who had become a lawyer, was
startled that his full name was being used.
He soon emailed Noah to inquire about the content of the film. After Noah told him about the film, Roger
reluctantly went along without making a fuss.
In fact, Roger, in a nod to me, asked Noah a favor. My son, Andrew, was an undergraduate at UCLA
not far from where the movie was being produced. Could Noah let him visit the set or intern on
the movie? At first, Noah resisted this
interference but eventually let Andrew come to the set and put him in the film
as an extra, with some of his friends, in the long party scene at the end of
the movie. Actually, Noah asked Andrew if he could round up ten of his friends
to pose as party-goers in that scene. He
got paid $20 an hour and the long scene took a week to film. My son was thrilled to be in the movie.
When the movie premiered in New York, Noah asked Roger if
he wanted to attend a special screening.
My brother turned down this
invitation. Why I'm not sure. I have not spoken to Noah
since the film came out.
My mother asked me if I liked the film and how I felt
about my name and select details of my life being used. I told her, “As long as the movie is
first-rate, I don’t object. I don’t want to be associated with a mediocre
film. This is a first-rate movie.” My reaction made its way back to Noah,
probably via Pat, and I heard that Noah liked my response.
In American culture, Hollywood movies often become bigger
than real-life. While Greenberg resembles an indie film more than
a Hollywood film -- indie in content and sensibility, but Hollywood in its
casting – its impact on my life has been curiously substantial. I have been treated differently by friends,
lovers, and work peers because of the film. Now, I rarely discuss the film with people,
but word of mouth gets around and, when I do discuss it, there often is that
cliché of a reaction – “wow, you were in the movies…you are a star…are you more
like the Ben Stiller or Rhys Ifans character?...wow, someone made a movie about
In real-life, I earned a doctorate in American history,
taught college for a decade, and recently wrote two nonfiction books on civil
liberties in America. Among my professor-type work peers, I have tried to hide
any association with the film. High-minded scholars probably would frown on
such a film, and misunderstand me, since no character in Greenberg is an intellectual. Greenberg
is not a film about, or for, intellectuals, although it is a very smart
movie. Noah already addressed in a critical
way the intellectual world of writers and professors in The Squid and the Whale, which in large measure is a critique of
his parents. However, among my friends I
have mentioned Greenberg and was
interested in their reaction to the film.
I heard diverse responses. Some
friends liked the film and could not believe the movie explored the
relationship between my brother and me.
Again, it is the Hollywood syndrome. “Wow, you are mentioned in a movie
– how cool is that.” Some friends were
competitive or jealous and voiced negative reactions. They did not like the film and wondered if I
was angry that Noah had depicted Stiller as a former “mental patient.” Another common reaction was for people to
notice that my personality in real-life was a little bit of both Stiller and
Ifans in the film – how could it be both?
I would explain these are composite characters and if someone asked Noah
about them, he probably would deny they resembled either me or Roger in
real-life. There have been times when I
acted in some way and a person says -- “Yeah, that is exactly what Stiller
would have done.” People compare me to
the fictional creation. They seem to see
me as closer to the Stiller character because of Stiller’s practice of writing
angry complaint letters and his anti-corporate attitude.
Noah's focus on my relationship with my brother rings true
in some ways. For many years we were close – Roger and I used to drink
together, go to Knicks basketball games together, and socialize at times with
the same people. That was when we were
much younger. Today, Roger and I have
had a serious falling out – in much the same way the fictional characters have
a falling out at the end of the movie. But,
my break with Roger came after the movie and was unrelated to it. The tension between us got so bad that at one
point that Roger even told his two young children that I had died. What an extreme
response. When I told a close friend
what Roger had done -- and said that I had passed -- she commented, “Oh, that
is what Ben Stiller would have done.” I
Recently, the issue of personal privacy has come to the forefront in my scholarly studies and in the consideration of important issues facing my personal life. I have written two critical books on surveillance and civil liberties in America -- and privacy has been a subject I considered only in a secondary fashion. Now, I want to begin to address it in more depth.
To begin, advances in technology within the last 20 years have put enormous strain on the preservation of privacy because government intelligence agencies (FBI and NSA) have demonstrated little hesitancy to eradicate individual privacy. In their view, Americans have no inherent right to privacy. Privacy easily can be swept aside as government gathers vast amounts of information on the people.
I surprise many of my peers by not owning a smart phone. I never have purchased one. Why? In order to protect my privacy since smart phones can function too easily as a surveillance tool. Smart phones store so much information about people and their network of relations that it seems offensive to endorse this supporting apparatus of the Surveillance Society. I insist to stand outside the Surveillance Society. It is the same reason I never have used GPS technology in my car. I would rather get lost than give up data to government about my movements.
A few days ago, I was sitting at a table drinking coffee in Whole Foods in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, and took out my cell phone to answer a call. A person nearby noticed the phone was not smart, and remarked: "He must be a Fed." Consider that comment. Silver Spring shares the border with Washington, DC, and many people living there work for the federal government. I hear from good sources that workers in sensitive positions in the U.S. government are not allowed to own smart phones because it is deemed a security risk. I guess the person seated near me thought I was one of them. But if he looked more closely, he also would have noticed that I sport a tight beard on my face. No one who works for the federal government is allowed to have a beard. I guess beards are viewed as subversive to law and order and a Godly society.
Let me try to define Privacy so the dimensions of this inquiry are clear. Privacy can be defined as “acting without being observed in any way” or
the “right to be let alone.”It also involves
the individual’s control over their personal information and how it is
communicated to others.When government spies on people and groups,
it invades their private space and makes part of it visible. How much becomes
visible depends on how much surveillance is directed at subjects.FBI and NSA spying, due to dramatic
technological advances, can eradicate a great deal of
privacy. The government can snoop into many spheres
of people’s lives, including online spaces.
Individual freedom and autonomy is
at stake. When privacy is under attack,
liberty suffers as subjects of surveillance are forced to live in closed,
visible spaces with little place to hide from the outside world.
Of course, the problem of
surveillance and the loss of privacy and freedom is not new. In the past, totalitarian and authoritarian
governments imposed surveillance in order to maintain their power and
control. However, we do not expect democratic
governments also will impose surveillance in such a way as to threaten the
autonomy of the individual.
Why would constitutional
democracies, where government rule is based on the consent of the people, spy
on the public in massive ways?
Policymakers often say privacy is invaded in order to achieve
security. They argue that striking the
right “balance” between privacy and security is a legitimate goal. At the present moment, they say, the balance
is tilted toward security because of the high level of danger facing the
nation. This argument is insufficient because today’s Surveillance Society,
itself, is thoroughly unbalanced. In
fact, this balance metaphor has become a rhetorical device used by mainstream
political leaders to maintain and enhance their power. Today, many of America’s
elected politicians hold widespread suspicion of the people. This suspicion is based on fears the people
will rebel and kick them out of power; that is, the people will cast aside
existing power arrangements in favor of new ones. Government uses suspicion to maintain the
status quo, suppressing popular sovereignty.
The stated reason for official surveillance – to fight terrorism – is a
cover for these other control goals.
America is a class society with the
highest level of economic inequality in the world. There are very rich people and very poor
people and a shrinking middle class straddled in between. The Surveillance Society formed in America at
a time when the class divide was expanding. This is one reason the ruling
class, more than others, fears Edward Snowden.
His whistle blowing has the potential to unsettle the exercise power in
one wants their data to be showing. But
just as people with wealth have more free speech than others, the privileged
economic class, too, has more privacy.
While it is true that bulk "metadata" collection makes few distinctions
based on class because it conducts a broad sweep of everyone, the follow-up
security investigations that are subject-based, once authorities locate
“suspicious” patterns, are more likely to cast lower income people as suspects
for their political activity. The
struggle against surveillance, and to preserve privacy, should become an urgent
priority for everyone. How long before we all live in a dystopian world. Not just me, but you, too. .
A few years ago, I spend about two
hours with my girlfriend, Nancy, at the annual Italian American San Gennaro Feast
in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. The Feast or Festival used to anchor the
Little Italy neighborhood that now virtually is gone, a victim of
gentrification. I tell Nancy I always went to the Festival as a child living
nearby at 110 Bleecker St. in New York University (NYU) housing during the
early 1970s. The Festival
has been a yearly event since immigrants from Naples launched it in 1926.
I remember vividly a few things about
Halfway through we stop at the Spring
St.Tavern for a beer. I begin to tell stories of growing up near Little Italy
and my encounter with neighborhood kids from the hood. "They wanted to
fight us. We would run away." The rival Jewish and other kids from NYU
housing faced off against the young toughs from Thompson St. We were friends
with them in some ways. They wanted to play football and hockey against us.
They always challenged us. We never challenged them to a game. Once, we played
a street hockey game against the Little Italy crew and I played goalie. I must
have been about 12 years old. It was a close game but
they won: They had some excellent sharp shooters. As goalie, I testify that
their players shot the rubber puck harder than our guys. I was a little
scarred. But our guys were as fast or faster on their roller skates. I remember
a few people looked on to watch the game. I believe the final score was 5 to 4.
The game took place on an open paved lot that today houses a large gym facility
We also used to play touch football,
and sometimes tackle football without any pads, on a nearby green lawn at the
Silver Towers. Several times a week
after school, about eight of us would gather for some tossing of the ball. A few times, some of the Italian kids in the
hood would come by and challenge us to a football game. We always tried to wiggle our way out of that
game. Once or twice we ran away. Hockey
was one thing; football was another. In
hockey bodies collide in an impersonal manner.
In football, touching or tackling is more intimate. The bodies come too
close together. It seemed dangerous.
During the conversation with Nancy, I
hear a white woman sitting near me with a friend commenting on my discourse.
She says, "They all wondered what happened to those kids. They really
tortured you guys. Do you know what they became?" Nancy and I look at her
but remain silent. Nancy says to me, "Do you know what just
happened?" Yes, I am aware of it. This woman appeared to have grown up in
Little Italy and is familiar with my story. She knows of the conflict between
the youth of Little Italy and the youth of NYU housing nearby. What did these
Italian-American kids become? For that matter, what did the children of NYU
faculty and staff become?
After we left the bar, we walked down
Mott St. and encountered the Festival’s Clown, who eggs on the crowd to throw
at him and drop him into a container of water. The Clown's face is made up; it
is impossible to make out his skin color or other defining features. "This
is about male aggression," I say to Nancy, "Let's watch." A
young Latino man says next to me, "Oh, shit." Nancy notices the Clown
is race-baiting a Latino thrower to fuel his anger so he throws really hard.
The young Latino man hears Nancy refer to race and says, "Yes. Just wait
till later. We are going to fuck them up. You can't talk to us like that."
Nancy is horrified and begins to walk away. I mutter to her lowly,
"There's going to be a mini-race riot."
I also tell Nancy, who is an expert in
Italian-American history, of the occasion when a group of about 50 youth from
Little Italy are focused on my older brother Michael in front of my building.
They were mocking him. It looked like violence might break out. I ran inside my
building, nervously took the elevator to our apartment (#11B) and told my
father: "Hurry. You got to come down downstairs. Michael is about to get
beat up real bad." On the street, my father talks the crowd out of
violence and retrieves Michael and me from the situation. When the three of us
reenter our building, we breath a big sigh of relief. My father was in shock. I
believed I saved my brother from a group beating.
There are many other stories to tell.
In those years, ethnic tension was real in the neighborhood. There is an
affinity to what Jonathan Rieder found among Italian and Jewish youth in the mid-1970s
Brooklyn neighborhood of Canarsie: They generally did not mix. Some of the NYU kids were told by their parents not to stray too far into the
Italian hood. My parents made no such prohibitions. I had an Italian-American
friend despite the ethnic conflict. He once invited me to his apartment. I remember
the disapproval of the boy’s mother when she asked about me, realizing that an
outsider was inside her home. It was my only visit.
I heard rumors on more than a few
occasions that the Italian hood youth roughed up African Americans who strayed
into their turf. A friend tells me, “Did
you hear, two black guys were riding their bikes down Houston St. and got beat
up near Thompson St.? Their bikes were
youth lived in an area where the Gambino crime family had its roots. Of course, most residents were not in the
Mafia, but the crime family’s reach undoubtedly affected the culture and
politics of the neighborhood. It was the
era of Martin Scorsese’s magnificent movie Mean
Streets (1973), where small-time Italian American hoods, played expertly by
Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, struggle to survive in the same Little
Italy. Scorsese grew up in the
neighborhood and the film is drawn extensively from personal memories. Of
course, I did not know this inner world, but the depiction of gritty danger in
the film fits with how I remember interactions with my Italian American
neighbors. There is a very good
description of the film by Lucia Bozzola: “Scorsese's exceptional grasp of
the texture of day-to-day life, the rhythm and cadences of street talk, and
cinema's visual and aural possibilities makes Mean Streets one of the pivotal
films of the 1970s…” The reviewer Mark
Deming also evokes the cultural feeling of the neighborhood. “Charlie [Harvey Keitel] seems to have one foot in the
present and the other in turn-of-the-century Sicily, and the soundtrack, which
combines the rickety Italian folk melodies of the Feast of Gennaro with classic
jukebox rock-and-roll (drawn from records in Scorsese's own collection,
complete with scratches), plays this duality for all it's worth.”
experience race difference while I attend a “rough” junior high school, I.S.
70, located on 17th St. between 7th and 8th
Avenues. It was called “rough” because
more than half of the student body was working-class African American and
Puerto Rican. (They did not use the term
Latino back then.) Some other white
friends I knew went to private school to avoid the minorities. My parents were firm advocates of public
education. Private schooling was anathema to them.
It promoted the wrong values hanging around only privileged, rich, white
kids. In the schoolyard at I.S. 70, I ventured to play basketball with the
black and Puerto Rican kids. I was a
decent player. It helped that I was
tall. Entering those basketball games
was an assertion of toughness and coolness.
I could hold my own with the “rough” crowd. It was not only race difference but class
difference. The white kids at I.S. 70
had mostly middle-class backgrounds.
It is hard to imagine today that I.S. 70, in the
neighborhood known as Chelsea, was then a poor area. The extraordinarily expansive New York
housing stock of the 21 St. century had not touched such areas back in the
In later years, I strongly value my public
school education, as it opens my eyes as a child to black and Hispanic cultures
and nurtures a lasting multiculturalism.
One effect is that I start to do street graffiti with some friends in
Manhattan. We put our “tags” on
buildings and subway cars with magic markers.
I never graduated to spray paint.
My tag names were BJ 45 and Sweeney.
BJ were the initials for the middle names of Benjamin and Joseph that my
younger brother and I had been assigned at birth. The practicing of transgressing – keeping an
eye out to write your tag without a police cop seeing you – proved fun and
exciting. Traveling the subways in New
York City, I constantly was amazed at the colorful and elaborate spray-painted
words and images on passing trains.
My older brother used to call me “Chico” because he said
my skin was darker than most whites. He
had a strong racial sense of humor. He
would hold out his hand palm side up and say, “Slap me five.” Then he would turn his hand over so the palm
faced down and add in a rhyme, “On the Nigger side.” He would let out a big laugh. I did not approve of his use of the word
Nigger. It offended me. Still, the idea that white people are colored
in some ways is a current topic of interest thanks to DNA tests demonstrating
complex family backgrounds. The popular
television show hosted on PBS by Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates, African American Lives, traced the
genealogical backgrounds of well-known people using DNS testing documenting
diverse cross-race ancestries.
the about the age of 12, I began to be conflicted about my own Jewish
identity. My mother was an atheist,
although she hides this view from us. Rather,
she just expressed no religious enthusiasm whatsoever. My father, too, was secular in his
viewpoint. I don’t really know if he
believed in God as an adult. He did
attend synagogue as a child. The
conflict for me arose when my parents decided not to enroll me in Hebrew language
training in preparation for a Bar Mitzvah.
They did not want to deal with a Rabbi and institutional Judaism. I do not recall significant protest on my
part for not having a Bar Mitzvah. I still remained in Jewish subcultures, but
not to the exclusion of others. My parents had many close Jewish friends, and
so did I. But, still, at the age of 13 I
had rejected a critical component of religious faith.
Some of my Jewish peers joked I really was not
Jewish. This sentiment not only hurt my
feelings. It created some
confusion. When I attended other
children’s Bar Mitzvahs as a guest, I felt out of place. I tried to hide the fact that I did not have
a Bar Mitzvah of my own. With a name
like Greenberg, most people assumed my Jewish identity was strong. In fact, as one of my father’s professor
friends explained to me, I had roots as a Kohen – a priest in the religion
dating to ancient times, when this status was conferred on Aaron,
the brother of Moses, and his sons as an everlastingcovenant. The authority
of a Kohen included responsibility for teaching on the law. The Kohen line has been passed from father
to son for more than 100 generations.
I experienced very little anti-Semitism in New York City
during the 1970s. It was a very tolerant
setting for Jews. In fact, in 1974 the
city elected its first full Jewish mayor, Abe Beame. Beame was succeeded as Mayor by Ed Koch in
1977, who also was Jewish and had been my Congressman from Greenwich
Village. The very high level of race and
ethnic diversity in New York City certainly produced an urban setting that
might be marked by a high degree of intergroup conflict. Such conflict was probably worse during the
1980s than during the 1970s. At least, several big cases exposing intergroup
conflict erupted then. Koch was mayor at
the time. Progressives thought he had
not worked hard enough toward uniting the city’s many population groups. Indeed, to some extent he proved to be a
divisive figure in his response to these cases raising, rather than lowering, ethnic
and racial tension. But in my world of the
1970s, my Jewish peers were pleased “one of the tribe” (Beame, Koch) led the
city. It made one feel more included in
the life of the city, and the country as a whole.
There is a lot of buzz at the present moment about American Hustle, which has received ten Oscar nominations. While the film is characterized by excellent acting, it provides poor historical context to fully understand the FBI's ABSCAM investigation of the late 1970s. The viewer is led to believe the investigation of members of Congress on bribery charges inadvertently fell into the lap of the bureau, instead of being part of a major FBI program aimed at "public corruption." In 1978, President Jimmy Carter named a former federal judge, William Webster, to the FBI director's post and Webster made public corruption an early priority, doubling the number of cases in this area to about 1,000 within his first year in office. In addition to investigating members of Congress, the FBI went after other elected officials -- governors, state legislators, and mayors...
Impossible Unity: Adjuncts and Tenure-Track FacultyNew Labor Forum http://nlf.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/11/20/1095796013512623.full.pdf+html In 2005, an estimated 42.6 million Americans (about 31 percent of the U.S. workforce) toiled as contingent workers outside full-time, regular year-round employment. And the problem is getting worse. By 2020, more than 40 percent may work under insecure conditions: underpaid and without job protection as well as lacking many benefits such as health insurance, pensions, and vacations with pay. Unionizing this large segment of the workforce has proved difficult. Only about 6 percent of part-time employees are union members, compared to 12.5 percent for full-timers. As the labor movement increases efforts to reach these workers, questions remain about the best organizational forms to represent them. Should contingent workers join locals that enroll full-time employees in their industries or should part-timers form their own independent unions? Can solidarity exist between full-timers and part-timers within the same organization?...
In the history of American education, adult schools for social justice are a little-noticed, but important development that brings into focus ways education can promote social change. Since the early twentieth century, these schools created an alternative pedagogy to help “ordinary” people understand their subordinate place in society, the sources of their oppression, and to think about ways to become empowered in liberation struggles. Attention is focused on schools for immigrants, workers, radicals, civil rights activists, and women. Working-class adults often embraced collectivist traditions, stressing mutual aid. Visions of social transformation based on universalistic values and personal expression are most effective when combined with an approach that privileges solidarity in groups and identifies and confronts power structures.
I am a former college teacher who now devotes his full time to writing and the visual arts. My book, "The Dangers of Dissent: The FBI and Civil Liberties since 1965," was published by Rowman and Littlefield/Lexington Books (October 2010). A second volume, "Surveillance in America: Critical Analysis of the FBI, 1920 to the Present," was published by Lexington Books in June 2012. My mailing address is: 25 E. Wayne Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20901.