One of the advantages of growing up in a multi-generation radical family is the way history inhabits our bones. During the last century, my family has openly defied the oppressive policies of the Russian Tsar, the Spanish crown, the U.S. government, the colonial government of Puerto Rico, the House Un-American Activities Committee, the FBI, and the Chicago police; resisted the US invasion of Puerto Rico, union busting, segregation, evictions, sexism, classism and racism in higher education, and police brutality; organized garment workers, unemployed women, rural coffee workers, hospital workers, women's consciousness raising groups, rebel radio shows, art collectives, radical theater groups, Jewish peace activists, tenant strikes and antiwar teach ins, for access to birth control and the right to unionize; agitated on behalf of the wrongly imprisoned, the exiled and the assassinated in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, from the Scottsboro Boys to Cece MacDonald, from Sacco and Vanzetti to Archbishop Romero, the Chicago Eight to the Cuban Five; supported people struggling to build just societies in Cuba, Viet Nam, Chile, Mozambique, Nicaragua, South Africa, and everywhere else, and opposed wars in Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America, the Persian Gulf, Southern Africa and the Middle East. We have inherited a broad, visceral experience of radicalism.
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