I wrote the texts collected on this blog over the course of more than forty years of political activism in New York City and more than thirty years of work as an educator—mostly at the City University of New York.
For much of the 1970s, I was a member of the Taxi Rank and File Coalition in New York City. I wrote a fair amount during that time but our contributions were mostly anonymous. I’m not sure that I can even remember which things I wrote. In any case, it’s an important chapter of my political life and a link to the Coalition’s web page is also contained here.
I began my career in education as a tutor in an education program at the Brooklyn House of Detention for inmates who were waiting for trials–mostly because they couldn’t make bail. Students were enrolled in basic reading and writing, high school equivalency preparation, English as a Second Language and, occasionally, college preparation classes. Eventually, I became a teacher, counselor and director at the program–which also expanded to a jail on Rikers Island. Initially, I think that I learned more from my students than I taught them. But, over time, I had the great good fortune of learning a lot about literacy (broadly understood) and its social contexts, specifically including the relationship between underdeveloped literacy skills and criminal activity. Let me summarize the case–there is no one to one connection.
The texts are organized in two major categories—Education and Politics. The texts in the Education category are arranged by alphabetical order in three sections: Literacy, High School and College, and Miscellaneous.
The texts in the Politics category are arranged in reverse chronological order (the most recent ones appearing first)—in sections mostly corresponding to publications that I was involved in as an editor: Race Traitor (1993-2005); Insurgent Notes (2010-present), and Hard Crackers (2016-present). There are links to the full collections of articles in those publications on this web page. In addition, the Politics category includes an Other section that contains articles published elsewhere or not at all.
I’ve borrowed the title for the blog from an essay by C.L.R. James titled “Dialectical Materialism and the Fate of Humanity.” It’s available at https://www.marxists.org/archive/james-clr/works/diamat/diamat47.htm. The Future in the Present also served as the title for a collection of essays by James that was published in 1977. The full text of the collection is available at http://libcom.org/library/future-present-clr-james.
As you read through the various texts, you will often come across references to the ideas and works of James. Those ideas and works have been central and essential to my understanding of politics since I first read James in the early 1970s.