If you missed last Friday’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers show on Lunpen Radio, 105.5fm, you can still listen to our talk with disability right’s activist and advocate Amber Smock here.
This coming Friday we are talking to 33rd Ward Democratic Party Committeeman Aaron Goldstein. Aaron is running for Illinois Attorney General against all odds. Aaron tends to do stuff like that. His last run was against Ward Boss Alderman Richard Mell. He beat the guy and sent Mell into retirement.
Against all odds.
Then on February 2nd we have invited back Rabbi Brant Rosen. This time with Jeff Balch and Isaac Brosilow to talk about the late Chicago veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the Spanish Civil War.
One of the 3,000 American “pre-mature anti-fascists” who volunteered to fight fascism in Spain from 1936 to 1939.
Rabbi Rosen is the Midwest Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee. In August 2015, he founded Tzedek, Chicago, a non-Zionist synagogue in Chicago.
Isaac Brosilow is a writer for Jewish Currents.
Jeff Balch wrote:
Ed was a first cousin to my paternal grandfather. They shared a grandfather, Baruch, who emigrated from German-speaking Jewish Eastern Europe to German-speaking non-Jewish Frankfort, Illinois, in the 19th century.
Great-great-grandfather Baruch’s story was told to my siblings and me from an early age — the story of the scrappy immigrant ancestor who made good in retail despite big challenges. Grandfather David’s story was also told — the story of another ancestor who continued making good in retail with lesser challenges. I think the aim was to build my vision of making good and having my kids make good with ever-shrinking challenges. The make-good life.
Ed’s story was not told: the story of the radical activist and artist who maybe did good, but did not make so good. My conservative parents did not favor such stories.
So when I moved to Chicago in mid-1989, I knew nothing of Ed, my first cousin twice removed. He died later that year and I never met him. Years later I stumbled on his story at the Frankfort Historical Society. That’s where I first heard of this cousin, a one-armed piano-playing drug-addicted fascist fighter. I had to dig deeper.
I discovered that this cousin, which whom I share only maybe 3% of my genes, bequeathed a political legacy closer to my heart than my father’s politics. Subsequently I learned he was buried in an unmarked grave. This made me lose sleep.
I met some of his activist friends, some of his music-making friends, some of his alleyway friends, and we held an event in late 2000 headlined by Utah Phillips. It pulled in a few thousand bucks, and in 2001 we set Ed’s pink granite stone that helps tell his story to passersby.
The inscription reads:
In Memory Of
1916 – 1989
Artist, Poet, Raconteur, One-Armed Pianist,
Veteran of the Spanish Civil War as a
Volunteer in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND FELLOW
“PREMATURE ANTI-FASCISTS” SALUTE YOU
You can listen live on Friday, February 2nd on 105.5fm in Chicago. Live on the internet at Lumpenradio.com. Podcast at hittingleft.libysn.com and iTunes and almost all other podcast sites.