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Where are the other three of the nine, including the two women?

My waking thoughts were about Charlie Meconis’s book With Clumsy Grace: The American Catholic Left 1961-1975. It must have been a doctoral dissertation with all the citations, charts and references to court documents. He interviewed 46 people for the book (including me and other friends), so there are quotes from Joe O’Rourke throughout, also Neil, Phil, Dan, Liz, etc. I read more at the Y yesterday afternoon, then kept it up in the late afternoon and evening at home. So, it was fresh in my mind. Also, I worked on the Chicago jail/court chapter yesterday morning, so most hours of the day were given to my book – either writing or reading the Meconis version of events surrounding the subject of my book.

The Catholic Left was an amazing movement, and much credit for the energy, vision and organization goes to Phil Berrigan. But Meconis also brings out conflicts within the movement over religious motivation vs the humanitarian/political, between the women and men, between increasingly “violent” tactics and the philosophy of non-violence, paranoia and precaution against FBI infiltration.

Memory is so fluid. It seems affected by the present moment, by who I am now. I have elements of my past operating in my present: my nun self that likes schedule, routine, silence and my “wild woman” self that loves my sweet young husband, all my crazy friends and my criminal past. I discovered when I was writing about one important character in the book that I was writing more about the person I know today (compassionate, secure as a leader and teacher, open to exploring his own suffering) than what I really remember about him in 1969. Amazing that we have somehow maintained and worked through the difficulties of a 42 year old relationship!

I know that my particular story, my vision, my memories will contribute to the mosaic that is the tale of the Catholic Left, the broader anti-war movement and the women’s movement of the late sixties, early seventies.

One Comment

  1. keep up the good work

    the photo is cropped- the others cropped out- most photos have everybody

    Report from the Front

    from movie- “The Last Tree Standing” on ELF, the Earth Liberation Front

    Consumer America
    Is destroying the world
    And the planet!

    What part of that
    Don’t you

    Is for suckers!” *
    Stand up- fight back.

    A pollyannish view
    Of social change- that
    It can occur through
    Politics or by
    Working within the system?

    It won’t.
    You can watch police
    Clubbing protestors
    all day long

    And Daniel
    ELF hero-
    Is labeled a “terrorist”
    For burning SUVs?

    By the real terrorists-
    He gets to spend his sentence
    in what the BOP calls a
    Communications Management Unit;
    The real terrorists give him
    A Terrorism enhancement” sentence.
    Does our government speak English?

    If he’s a terrorist
    What about BP?
    What about Wall St.?

    And the snitch with a wire?
    He gets no time.

    But Daniel
    Is actually freer
    Than state’s attorney,
    Police detective,
    Lumber company ceo
    And/or snitches-
    Hope he knows it.

    * Call and response line from poet Ron Williams at the “Occupy DC” demo- 10/6

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