Ginger Katz?

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R Totale
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Sep 29 2020 15:38
Ginger Katz?

Just a minor historical query, but I was wondering if anyone knows anything about Ginger Katz? Apart from having a really fantastic name, Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin dedicated the second edition of Anarchism and the Black Revolution to her:
"I dedicate this second edition of Anarchism and the Black Revolution to Comrade Ginger Katz, one of the founders of the original North American Anarchist Black Cross almost 15 years ago. It was Ginger Katz who almost single-handedly arranged for the typesetting, publishing and printing of the first edition, and then she went out and sold them by the thousands. Without her, this second edition would not have been possible.

She had to fight to get the books published, and to get a hearing for myself and other Black Anarchists, who had things to say about the direction of the movement. The "Anarchist purists," who wanted to keep the movement all white and as an Individualist, counter-cultural phenomenon, fought her tooth and nail. Some of these criticisms and struggles were thinly veiled racism, and I am sure that they frustrated and exhausted Comrade Ginger. If so, she never relayed it to me, but I heard it from other sources. I remember my dealings with Anarchists in the movement during the 1970s, who denied the existence of racism as something we should fight entirely. But not Comrade Ginger. She was one of the few Anarchists who understood how the American state was organised, and how it used white skin privilege to split the working class, and to continue the dictatorship of Capitalism through such "divide and rule" tactics.

I still have some of the letters that Ginger wrote me 15 years ago when I was in prison. But I lost contact with her since the early 1980s. In 1983, I was released from prison, and became estranged from the Anarchist and prison movements, so I do not know where she is. But wherever she is, I hope she will know how much I appreciate what she did to make this project a reality, and how she laid the seeds for the growth of the present and future Libertarian Socialist movement on this continent, and hopefully around the world."

Which makes her sound like a relatively important figure, and someone who had a real impact on the development of the anarchist movement over the last few decades, but I've never seen even a brief biography of her or anything. It seems like she wrote at least two pamphlets, "Fascism/Syndicalism/Counter-Culture" and "Growing Up in Nazi Germany, which both sound quite interesting but I can't find scanned copies anywhere. Does anyone know any more, or is this a story that's lost to history beyond Ervin's dedication?

syndicalist
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Sep 29 2020 20:14

Let me come back to this. Read on a computer. I have some personal familiarity

syndicalist
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Sep 30 2020 16:52

I will need to sit down and try and write something thoughtful. In the meantime, I met Ginger at the Social Revolutionary Anarchist Federation (SRAF), Wildcat Mountain (WI) Summer 1977 conference.

Without any notes, etc in front of me, I don't recall if she came to the conference as part of the two person "Goat & Horse Anarchist Communist Affinity Group" or that was formed immediately afterwards. Her anarchist-communism was more (what later was to be called) "bookchinite"
then traditional anarchist-communist. Much more counter-cultural then class struggle. The "Goat & Horse" folks were not comrades were engaged with in NYC. We all simply did not share many views or approaches in common. And I believe they actually formed their group to advance a different form of anarchist-communism inside the SRAF than our "traditional" anarchist-comminst and anarcho-syndicalist "Anarchist-Communist Tendency".

I do not say this disrespectfully. I never really knew her to be an "important" figure, but she, obviously played a role in publishing Lorenzo's stuff. And obviously some other things (which I'd really like to find and read). There may a whole different dimension or side to her that our lack of interaction never allowed me to see.

I will try and find some of the "Goat & Horse Anarchist Communist Affinity Group" stuff, I know there are a couple of items on file.

The publication of Lorenzo's pamphlets and his compliments and gratitude is his thank you for her publishing his words as written. I will graciously and comradely say that there is back story to some of this, from my point of view. And is a tad different from how I read Lorenzo's introduction. Aside from Ginger, I know I had a copy of his texts, as we corresponded while he was in prison, and where the documents were written. Perhaps there may have been others who he sent the documents to as well. n return, II offered, in good faith, comradely and sincere suggestions, from an anarchist point of view. Perhaps other may have given their opinions as well, that I do not know. Ginger published the texts as they were written to which Lorenzo felt gratitude for.

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Sep 30 2020 18:24

Cheers for that, would also be interested if you have any memories of Carl Harp/Black Dragon? Also, I may have said this before, but I definitely think you should go on Final Straw.

syndicalist
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Sep 30 2020 18:49

Is this Final Straw?: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org

Yes, I have some memories of Carl. Not a whole lot of personal interaction. Mostly stuff in support of him, copies of the BD and so forth. I think a bunch of the communications was direct, the their support team. This I'd have to look up for memory purposes.

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Sep 30 2020 20:17

Yeah, that Final Straw - I know after Bob McGlynn died, they were regretting not getting to interview him about Neither East Nor West, so I'm sure they'd be interested in doing an interview on the movement in the 70s/80s if you'd be up for it?

I did find a bunch of copies of the BD online that I'll try to add to the library here when I get a chance, but that seemed like another interesting bit of history I don't know much about.

syndicalist
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Sep 30 2020 20:31

Bob was a trip. And a dedicated comrade

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Karetelnik
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Oct 1 2020 16:53

Carl Harp has a small archive in the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan.

Black Badger
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Oct 2 2020 00:50

i don't know if he originated the phrase, but Carl used to sign his letters "love and rage"; his activities with Black Dragon were light years ahead of the silly project that appropriated his sign-off

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Oct 2 2020 11:11

Huh, funny coincidence you mention that, archiving Black Dragon and L&R are the next two things on my to-do list.