FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Love in a Cold (Political) Climate

Faced with a crummy time in the McCarthyite and Cold War 1950s here’s what some of us did.  The American mood  was apocalyptic.  LA was ringed with nuclear tipped Nike missiles.  We more or less expected a third World War  tomorrow morning.

The popular current was running venomously against liberals, lefties and progressives.  Guys accused of “tendencies”  were thrown out of factory second floor windows.  Newspapers, TV and radio ranted against us.  We felt fearful  and besieged by our own fellow citizens, even families.

It wasn’t just paranoia.  Informers ruled.  Brother ratted on sister, son on father.

In Hollywood, where days I worked as an agent, at night a few of us got together in what J. Edgar Hoover  called “Omega or The Cell Without A Name”.  Kid you not.  We were just clancysigalblacksix or seven unaffiliated young guys  and one woman (this was the Fifties!).  A dock worker, musician, middle school teacher, doctor in training,  handyman, undeclared-major student and a middleaged lawyer shouting “subversive” jokes to the wall  because my phone was tapped.

(I talk about us in my new book Black Sunset.)

We didn’t know what to do.  More politically sophisticated types urged us to have a “constructive agenda”  and stop horsing around.

But we enjoyed horsing around, drinking Johnny Walker Black Label, carousing and – in the absence of a  Serious Agenda – pranking the FBI and McCarthyites.  I flew in a rented Piper Cub with a friend to toss leaflets  over the movie studios.  Wearing masks, so as not to get fired from our day jobs, we picketed openings  of pro-war movies. Not exactly world shaking.

In the gloom and grim we had fun.  Sheer enjoyment of standing up was our only weapon against  overpowering sadness and fear.  We were committed to one another in what SNCC and Rev. King  would later call a “beloved community” though we’d have been embarrassed by the term.

But we did love each other in battle.

We lived it.

More articles by:

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail