“Rock America”
Afrika Bambaataa
((( in the fight )))

sandy felsenthal

1982 Soulsonic Force and Afrika Bambaataa mixed elements of all musical styles: Funk, Hip-Hop, Rock, Rhythm, and Euro Pop, delivering a message of hope, understanding, and global harmony.

Popular songs included: “Planet Rock,” Looking for the Perfect Beat,” and “Renegades of Funk” (recognized as one of the earliest political-conscious raps, alongside Grandmaster Flash (Melle Mel) & the Furious Five‘s “The Message.

Lost In D.C.
By Bob Block / Robert Bartolotta
Alligator Staff Writers

april 28, 1980
volume 73 no 121

(WASHINGTON D.C.) — It was a worried voice that called out through the biting rain over the loudspeakers for little Omar, a small 6-year-old boy, lost amid the towering monuments and crowded avenues of America’s capital city.
For four hours the search proved futile. Omo apparently was lost in the sea of people who came to Washington with the intent of abolishing nuclear power and weaponry throughout the world. It was a large-scale rally that called national attention to the volatile question of nuclear energy, but could equally lose track of its youngest members as the gray skies hung low over the crowd of protesters.

The rain continued to fall steadily harder as thousands assembled on the Capitol lawn, shielding themselves from the torrents with signs that read “It’s Not Nice to Nuke Mother Nature,” and chanting “No Nukes. No Nukes.”

It was a gathering of protest that addressed the issues of the 1980s but borrowed the tactics of 60s campus organizers.

We are in the hands of very irresponsible men. Jimmy Carter and the men who run this country have the intellects of 3-year-old children.”  Australian author and keynote speaker Helen Caldicott shrieked excitedly to the crowd from the steps of the Capitol.

“I don’t think we will even survive to see the effects of long-term radiation. We constantly face impending nuclear annihilation, because of the irresponsibility of President Carter.” Caldicott continued, waving her arms over her head.

Protest organizers, the Coalition for a NonNuclear World, are composed of more than 200 grass-roots organizations from throughout the nation. But less than half of the 60,000 who attended last year’s rally showed up for the 1980 national anti-nuclear gathering.

Gainesville’s Catfish Alliance — one of the 200 grass-roots organizations — appeared to be unrepresented at the four-day rally, that featured frisbee-throwing in the mud and other activities reminiscent of a rainy rock concert.

Alliance members, plagued by mechanical failure of their recently purchased bus, arrived nearly 24 hours late. No Catfish Alliance banner was visible among the sea of banners and people in the shadow of the Washington Monument Saturday.

The non-nuclear world coalition sought participation from other grassroots groups they said also had a stake in abolishing nuclear power and weapons. The protesters included steelworkers from Indiana, coal miners from Pennsylvania, Lesbian Rights Task Force members and feminist organizers.

This year the coalition has five basic goals, two of which are an end to nuclear power and an end to nuclear weapons. The other three are full employment for all Americans, safe, clean and cheap renewable energy, and a commitment to honor the American Indian treaties.

The last three proposals, while not directly related to the nuclear energy question, are connected to associations participating in the broad-based coalition

“So much (of our economy) is tied to nuclear industry,” said Leslie Cagan, a staff member on the rally steering committee.

“If we shift the economy, especially the energy part of the economy, away from nuclear energy and into renewable resources, i.e. sun, wind, etc., it will create more jobs. Studies have proven this,” she said, taking shelter from the driving rain under a plastic canopy.

Although Cagan’s comments echoed the feelings of many of the staff associated with the coalition, the crowd voiced anti-nuclear sentiments of its own — more harsh than hers, and indicative of the intensity generated in the nation’s capital.

Some ralliers at times advocated taking over the Pentagon and abolishing the U.S. government. The atmosphere was charged with emotion when former Three Mile Island president Pat Smith “begged  the crowd to come to Harrisburg, Pa. “for the largest display of civil disobedience America has ever seen.

Throughout the rally there were frequent references to nuclear disaster through military nuclear weapons use. A commonly used example was Carter’s ill-fated rescue attempt of the American hostages in Iran.

“What we saw was another Bay of Pigs, a perfect failure, with Iran. We’ll look back on this as a blessing. Thank Cod Carter was stopped by the incompetence of his own devices, or we’d be involved in a nuclear war today,” said Daniel Ellsberg, former military adviser and the man who released to the press the top-secret Pentagon Papers.

Amid the screams and chants of the protesters along the muddy field by the Washington Monument — littered with anti-nuclear literature, discarded plastic bags and beer cans — little Omar’s parents still wandered about looking for him.

Omar and his parents were finally re-united, just as the protest rally ended. Oblivious to the anti-nuclear frenzy all around them, the family hugged each other thankfully and lovingly.

“Children have got much better awareness than adults.” said Dr. Benjamin Spock, the famous author whose books on child-rearing techniques revolutionized parental altitudes toward children. Spock said he was attending the rally as a private citizen.

“This awareness has been true since the advent of the first nuclear weapons,” Spock added. “Children have always been able to tell where their worries are while adults allow themselves to be lulled. Children are much more susceptible to radiation than adults are, but the government continues to go along on its insane course.”



sandy felsenthal

nuclear rain

A dreary downpour forced Matt Tanqui, a Pennsylvania resident, to seek protection under the United States flag during a “No Nukes” rally last weekend in Washington. The rally was organized by the Coalition for a Non-Nuclear World. More than 200 grass-roots organizations supporting the abolition of nuclear technology were represented.

Story by Bob Block and Robert Bartolotta
Alligator Staff Writers

It was a worried voice that called out through the biting rain over the loudspeakers for little Omo, a small 6-year-old boy, lost amid the towering monuments and crowded avenues of America’s capital city. >>>

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