The Mason Missile, October 20, 2022

Greetings, Americans!

I rejoice at the latest labor victory—after two years of being ignored by management at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and after a strike, museum employees, organized under Local 397 of AFSCME District Council 47, won a contract from the museum. (https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia/philadelphia-art-museum-strike-settlement-union-20221014.html) This is one victory among several, along with successful organizing drives among workers at Starbucks, Amazon, and the Home Depot on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia. (https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/23/business/home-depot-union-vote) Please remember that despots, whether political, military, or corporate, don’t give up their power easily; when their former subordinates organize and stand up to them, they make small concessions, but they plan to resume their former power later on, and punish those whose crime is fighting for their rights.

The old Peanuts comic strip—I loved it as a kid, and still do—had a lot of fun with the commercialization of holidays, whether it be Halloween, Christmas or Beethoven’s birthday. We see this in how soon stores are so quick to prepare for holidays, so they can sell the stuff for that holiday; I’ve seen Halloween candy and costumes when it wasn’t even Labor Day, Christmas lights up way before Halloween, and Valentine’s Day cards on New Year’s Eve. This season of holidays, from Halloween through New Year’s, is said to be the biggest season for retail sales, and thus one of the driving engines of the economy. I feel, though, that the rush to get from one holiday to the next takes the fun out of them.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has been running a series, “A More Perfect Union,” about how this nation deals with race, or else fails to do so. This series has looked at how institutional racism, and the abhorrent institution of slavery, have affected several venerable Philadelphia institutions. (https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/more-perfect-union-freedom-inequality-philadelphia-20210704.html) This is what is needed in our society—a full accounting of the racism still permeating our nation. This is the premise of Critical Race Theory, that this thorough-going racism prevails in every aspect of US society—academia, business, media, politics, etc. It’s an academic discipline in law schools, and NOT—do I HAVE to keep repeating myself?—NOT a means of brainwashing pre-K kids into hating being white. We must keep the discussion on race, racism, and combatting racism going, with or without any educational institution’s involvement. If an educational institution fails to do this, to bring about intelligent discussion about our past to the table, it has failed in its task; education should be a means of developing independent-thinking citizens, and not mindless inmates in the corporate asylum.

I can’t emphasize enough the need for voting in this election; all elections are important, both primaries and generals, from President to county row offices. But this election has dire consequences for this country, should Republicans retake the House, Senate, and state offices (God forbid!). It would mean the continued limiting of abortion rights for women, down to zero; the diminishment of rights for LGBTQ+ people, leaving them vulnerable to harassment and discrimination; the taking-away of rights for workers to organize; and further attacks on people of color, as we see in the whining about CRT. It’s grassroots organizing, in our worksites and our neighborhoods, which have, and continue to, make a difference in affecting change.

I have finished reading the book by Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution. (https://www.harpercollins.com/products/reconstruction-updated-edition-eric-foner?variant=32116709523490) Foner writes about how the federal government dealt with, or failed to deal with, efforts to bring the former slaves, who sacrificed so much to attain their freedom, into full citizenship in this “land of the free.” During this era, the Republicans were pulled between organizing state governments that would implement programs benefitting lower-class people of all colors, such as schools, and industrial development ideas that they hoped would bring prosperity to the war-battered southern states, such as land grants and tax breaks for railroads.

Then, as now, there were the complaints of “extravagant government spending” when talking about schools and hospitals, and this came along with the depression of 1873, the rising of genuine class warfare (culminating in the Great Strike of 1877, which spread from railyards in the east and moved through other classes of workers and to other regions in the country, https://www.history.com/news/1877-railroad-strike-trains). These labor conflicts welded governments at all levels to the rising industrial capitalist class, and has led to the severest repression of workers’ organizing efforts, with the courts issuing injunctions against strikes, and physical force from the national guard, police forces, and vigilante mobs of “respectable, upper-class people.”

In this, the federal government lost whatever real interest they had in protecting and advancing the freedmen, and after the horse-trading over electoral college votes after the election of 1876, the federal troops were reassigned to repress uprisings of workers and natives, and the freedmen were left on their own to face the not-so-tender mercies to “Reclamation” state governments that wore away, as much as they could, the gains the former slaves made to advance themselves—and, along the way, low-income whites suffered also, with such problems as high rates of illiteracy and poverty.

Is this going to happen again? Are we going to go through the erosion of whatever advancements we’ve made in social progress, such as abortion rights, workers’ safety and health, and civil rights for people of color and LGBTQ+s? The “reclamation” of state governments by white supremacists, and the resulting Jim Crow laws, have slowed much social and economic development in this country; but we have a legacy of freedom fighting in our past, with such events as John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, the Great Strike of 1877, the Lawrence strike of 1912, the Montgomery Bus Boycott—the list of precedents is endless; and as we make our own stand in 2022, let’s add our work to the list; our ancestors, and our progeny, are counting on us.

Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! Slava Ukraini! America will be free! Bye!

http://johnomson.com

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
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Family, What’s That?

Growing up, I had no choice but to accept the myth of the traditional nuclear family—father, mother, son, daughter, all living and loving together in joy. But in my experience, I see that wasn’t the case, and it’s not the case for everyone.

All through childhood and adolescence, my parents were, each in their own way, abusive people; they had a limited and bigoted worldview, frozen mentally somewhere between the World Wars, not realizing theirs was not the only way the world works. My father was racially prejudiced, often spouting the N word, and also insulting Italians and Poles—I won’t use the words he used. My mother was religiously prejudiced, always saying something insulting about Catholic and Jewish religious holidays and rituals; she even said that the Pope plotted to take over the country, and John and Bobby Kennedy were his advance men.

I could rarely if ever get a kind word out of them; they always found some stupid thing or another to complain about. Nothing I did pleased them, and, just like the kids in schools teased and harassed me, my own parents often made fun of me when I said something serious or intelligent; to them, I was to remain a little kid, to be seen and not heard, no know my (inferior) place—to be a nothing.

For three years, from 1969 through 1971, my parents didn’t speak to each other, except to yell at each other. My mother had some sort of nervous breakdown, and she often acted strangely—laughing and crying for no reason, complaining of hidden microphones in the walls, sitting in the bathroom for hours and not coming out (while I needed to pee!), talking about running away with someone else.

In this time, my father’s favorite topic was waiting to “pack his bags, take off, run away, not come back,” and take me with him on the road to—in the first year, it was Florida, then after that California and other locations. Each week he would badger me in to joining him on the road to nowhere. He was delusional; where would he find a place to live, and to work? What about my education? It had no reality to it.

For each of them, I wasn’t there, even when I was in the room; I was to stay out of their argument, except when I served their purpose, to convey messages between them, and to use as a tool in their argument; she would demand he purchase clothing for me, and he would gripe and complain about having to do so, and I would feel it was my fault somehow. If he wanted me to join him, she would demand I stay with her. Even when things got better between them, they acted like my interests weren’t important, like I wasn’t even in the room, or else they didn’t care.

NOW? After 40+ years living in the city of Philadelphia, I have several loving families: my union brothers and sisters, my coworkers at my job, my synagogue, my writing and poetry colleagues, and the people at the diner and the bars I frequent. They worry about me, talk to me, correct me when I get off course, and support me, and congratulate me in all my achievements. That to me is the real definition of a “family”—the people who have your back.

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My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
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The Mason Moment, October 17, 2022

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
hemperifficllc.com

The John Mason Talk-Walk, October 15, 2022

https://thejohnmasontalkwalk.buzzsprout.com/1937652/11505430

I speak about recent workers’ organizing campaigns, the failure of pro-corporate economic policies to benefit working people, and the necessity of voting on November 8.

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
hemperifficllc.com

Haiku, October 14, 2022

Here is a haiku I wrote in March of this year:

March comes to an end

The cold air hangs on our face

Will April save us?

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
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The Mason Moment, October 10, 2022

I speak about the corruption of the religious right movement, their tolerance for Hershel Walker and Donald Trump, and the need to vote on November 8.

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
hemperifficllc.com

 

The John Mason Talk-Walk, October 7, 2022

https://thejohnmasontalkwalk.buzzsprout.com/

I speak about the absurdity and danger of the right-wing “culture wars,” and the need to vote this November 8.

photo of person dropping a vote

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
hemperifficllc.com

 

Soldier Of The Cross Is On Kindle

I have just placed my novel, Soldier Of The Cross, on Kindle, and it’s now an e-book.

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
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The Mason Missile, September 29, 2022

Greetings, Americans!

The New Year 5783is upon us, and we celebrated Rosh Ha-Shona, the New Year, on September 25-27, and the Day of Atonement Yom Kippur October 4-5. I wish everyone all the best this new year.

The idea of the New Year is that you’re no longer bound by your past; you can learn from it, so you can plan better for the future, but you can’t continue to dwell there. That would require new ways of thinking, to challenge ideas in the air that would keep you helpless and powerless. Yes, reality can be pretty bad—I’ve had my share of bad news—and it HAS to be confronted, but by the very fact that you ARE confronting the bad news therefore changes the situation to your favor.

I proudly joined other Philadelphia area trade unionists for the Tri-State Labor Day Parade on September 5, which started with a rally at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall, 1301 South Columbus Boulevard; down Columbus Boulevard; and into Penn’s Landing for the Celebration. Our movement is something to celebrate, with its worthy goals and achievements (in spite of all opposition, and with its recent campaigns—the organizing drives for employees at Amazon and Starbucks, the organizing work of employees at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia-museum-of-art-strike-union-contract-20220916.html), and the tentative contract for railway workers, averting a strike (https://www.npr.org/2022/09/15/1123289508/a-look-at-the-tentative-deal-between-freight-railroads-and-rail-workers-unions) . but more work remains to be done, since we’re up against powerful corporate interests who would take back everything we’ve campaigned for over the decades.

From Reagan (curse his name!) to this day, the economic orthodoxy has been a warmed-over attempt to re-impose the classic liberal model of “free trade” and deregulation of industry practices (no matter how shady and dangerous to the public) with some corporate welfare, fully confident that prosperity would flow. but  the prosperity flowed all the way to the top, economically depressing the working class and narrowing the middle class (do these categories mean anything now?), so that we are, with all the “democratic” trappings, a fall-blown oligarchy. We don’t have to accept this as the only way for the nation to do; all of the Labor organizing activity shows that the system is under scrutiny, and under challenge.

Donald whatshisface went on Hugh Hewett’s program to complain about (what else?) the investigations he’s under, like for the documents he stole and stashed at Mar-A-Lago, and his role in the January 6 coup attempt. Believing he’s above the law (which he thinks is just another commodity), t—p bragged, “I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps you’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.” He also said, “I think they’d have problems. Big problems. I just don’t think they’d stand for it. They will not.” (https://www.alternet.org/2022/09/donald-trump-warns-big-problems/)

(https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-public-wont-stand-for-charges-mar-a-lago_n_6323a055e4b046aa023d6f90?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning%20Email%209-16-22&utm_term=us-morning-email)

 

This statement has been interpreted as a call to t—p’s followers to get violent in case he’s formally tried and convicted. Would that happen? Lately, there has been talk about another Civil war in this country, bandied about by the loonier elements of the right. You remember what t—p’s followers did on January 6, stampeding through the capitol, ready to kill members of congress, shouting “Hang Mike Pence!” and erecting a gallows to put him on.

 

This November 8, we have an opportunity to deal a blow to this rise of fascism in America, that has Donald t—p as their avatar. We CAN and MUST vote for pro-worker, pro-woman, pro-people of color, pro-education, pro-LGBTQ+ candidates—and vote out the republican Party, root and branch, as it is now. It is no longer the party of Lincoln, or TR, or Eisenhower, or event Nixon; it’s the roost of white nationalists, Christian chauvinists, conspiracy worshipers, willful ignoramuses who want everyone else to be unlearned, gun bullies, and plutocrats who want working and low-income people out of decision-making in society. The stakes are high, Americans, let’s get serious about this—as serious as the danger.

 

Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! Slava Ukraini! America WILL be free! Bye!

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
hemperifficllc.com

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The John Mason Talk-Walk, September 23, 2022

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1937652/11373545

I speak about Doug Mastriano, running for Governor of Pennsylvania; the legal troubles of trump; and the need to pull together, organize, and vote.

My Novel, “Soldier Of The Cross.”

Hemperiffic LLC
hemperifficllc.com