As the war in Iraq unfolded and our movement was growing around the state, we decided on a statewide meeting in Champaign-Urbana. It was vintage Hayden, even through the long Q and A session.
This brings me to my next way of knowing Tom, through black-and-white celluloid film. Tom was always laid back, non-domineering, but still serving as a catalyst, working toward united action. It seemed too soon, still too much to do, and too many things I would still like to hear him speak and write about, but now would be unspoken and unwritten.
Tom focused on writing about the danger of sectarian warfare breaking out between Sunni and Shia in Iraq and elsewhere. We both knew the fight was far from over. We met in, of all places, the famous round bar at the top of the Havana Libre Hotel, formerly the Hilton, made famous in pre-revolution days with the likes of George Raft, Humphrey Bogart, and others of their pack hanging out there.
One of the films, about 30 minutes long, was called Troublemakers. Both prose and poetry rolled off his tongue for over an hour, covering everything, and his audience was both spellbound and inspired.
I offered to arrange for Tom to be the keynote speaker — he had just written a book on Iraq — and he agreed, and did an excellent job. The website project was both controversial on the left and quite successful.
In fact, it changed his life, since on his return he shifted away from local organizing among the poor to the larger and more intense struggles that were developing around the escalating Vietnam war. By this time, I had moved from backing Kucinich to backing Obama, so I readily agreed.
At the national office, I learned more about Hayden, this time in regular print. By I finally got together with Tom directly. Even though I knew he was seriously ill, it still came as a shock.
Listen to the podcast here: We also got deeper messages about commitment and physical courage. I sat in in the back, taking in all in. Hayden knew about our antiwar work with Obama, and one day he called me up, inviting me to be webmaster for an independent media project, loosely connected to the Progressive Democrats of America, called Progressives for Obama.
I got the news as soon as I awoke Monday. We asked about the fate of Che Guevara and Regis DeBray, and Fidel wanted more of our opinions of various political figures in Congress.by Carole Rich | Read Reviews.
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