Q432 Transcript

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(Note: This tape was transcribed by Vicki Perry. The editors gratefully acknowledge her invaluable assistance.)

(First few minutes of tape include ghost from previous recording)

Male 1: –that’s all. A good family song. Okay? (hums)

(Sings song: adaptation of “A Simple Song of Freedom” by Bobby Darin)
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people everywhere
We the people here want war no more

Hey there, mister rich man, can you hear me?
We don’t want your diamonds or your gain, no
We just want to be someone known to you as communists
And if you’re honest, you will want to be the same
Hey, yeah
Come and sing a simple song of freedom
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Let it fill the air
Tell the people every– everywhere
We the people here want war no more.

Seven hundred million are in misery
And most of what we read is made of lies
So speak it one to one
Ain’t it everybody’s sun?
Wait till in the morning when we rise

(Calls out) Everybody now! Hey!

(Sings) Come and sing a simple song of freedom, ooh
Sing it like you’ve never sung before
Oh, hey! Let it fill the air
Tell the people– people everywhere
We the people here want war no more

(Calls out) Last verse

(Sings) No doubt some folks enjoy doing battle
Like presidents, prime ministers and kings
So let us build them shelves
So they might fight among themselves
And leave us be
We who want communism!
Hey, yeah!
Come and sing a simple song of freedom! Oh!
Sing it like you’ve never sung before!
Hey, hey!
Let it fill the air
Tell the people– people everywhere
We the people here want war no more!

(Calls out) Sing that chorus again! Ho!

(sings) Come and sing a simple song–

Crowd: (sings) –of freedom

Male 1: Yeah! Sing it like you never sung before! Hey, hey!

Let it fill the air
Tell the people, people everywhere
We the people here want war no more!

Crowd: (Applause)

Male 1: A song that’s important to all of us. Very basis of our education regarding how to live. Being true comrades in communist truth, we learn this song. Arise ye prisoners of starvation. Everyone join in and sing two verses of that song, remembering where we came from.

(Sings song: Adaptation of “The Internationale”)

Arise, ye prisoners of starvation
Arise, ye wretched of the earth
For justice thunders condemnation
A better world’s in birth
No more traditions’ chains shall bind you
Arise ye slaves, no more in thrall
The world’s rising on new foundations
You have been naught, you shall be all.
You have been naught, you shall be all.
You have been naught, you shall be all.

(Speaks) Thank you, comrades, I love you!

Crowd: (Applause)

Male 2: And now we’re going to go into our play, “The House That I Live In.”

Female 1: (Dramatic tone) More importantly, what is the house of your fellow man like? Is it a house filled with love, or hate? And is there food aplenty, or starvation? And what about the burdens? Are they light, or are they heavy? And is there caring and sensitivity, or apathy and indifference? I’m sure that at some time in our lives, each of us has lived in a house similar to the ones that we see portrayed here tonight. There’s still a lot of suffering in this world, many frustrations born of the unfulfilled promises of freedom. And too many people giving their lives as the result of the tortures that we are having in our prisons, mental institutions, nursing care homes for the aged and in places like South Africa, Chile, and the underdeveloped countries of the Third World. But through all this, there is a common cry, a cry of a people who want only to be free, with the assurance of the very, very bare necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter. Is this too much for the people to ask? I don’t think so.

(Sings) What does your house look like, Anna?
Describe it to us
So we can bring news
Of your husband, to your children.

Jose Simon: (speaks in native tongue)

Male 3: He said when (unintelligible word) the white oppressors comes to take his land away, he saw many of his people go down. And this makes for a heavy burden in all people who are oppressed. Now, he will sing one of his native songs.

Simon: (Sings song, while clapping beat. At least one other male singing with him)

Crowd: (Applause)

Female 2: (Sings) There’s a house over there
On the edge of nobody’s world
In South Africa, Rhodesia, Katanga.

Male 3: I came to this city for medical attention, having the fear of black lung disease that kills most miners in their mid-forties. It cost a lot of money for doctors, and us miners still can’t get insurance. I’ve worked in the mines all my life, some 20 odd years. My family lives in fear every day that when I would go to work in that dark, dirty, three-by-five foot mine that I might  never return home alive again. My dad didn’t one day. I still miss the old home place, because the city’s sure no easy place to earn a living. Especially when you’re like me, all I know to do is work in the mines and even that’s sure no easy job. Poor working conditions, why, I couldn’t– couldn’t even eat breakfast in the morning because I’d just vomit it up from laying on my back and crawling on my knees in that dark, dirty mine. We walked out on strike, protesting poor working conditions, no insurance benefits, and low pay, but with no help from the union and our families facing starvation, we were forced to return to the mines. I wonder where it will all end. When will people start caring for one another? I believe that’s the answer.

Crowd: (Applause)

Female 1: (sings) What does your house look like, Anna?
Describe it to us
So we can bring news
Of your husband, to your children

Male 4: (Sings adaptation of “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke)

I was born by the river in a little tent
And just like that river, I been running every since
You stand alone, a long time coming
But I know change is going to come

When I go to my brother
And say brother, help me please
And he wind up
My brother, he’d wind up knocking me
Till I fell on my knees
Ohh, there been times that I’ve thought I couldn’t last
I couldn’t last too long
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know change is gonna come

Male 5: A knock comes to the door, and I am given the command that I must go and kill the enemy, who turns out to be human like you and me, and I’m bitter. I am bitter as I search for answers to what we were really fighting for. Each day my bitterness grows deeper and deeper. I volunteered my life to fight a war that was supposed to guarantee freedom for my people here at home so that they could have a better life, and I’m bitter today. I’m bitter as I asked myself, who we were really fighting for. For you see, it was not the Vietnamese, it was not the Japanese, it was not the communists who pulled a gun on my mother because she was one minute late for work in the fields. Hell, she had a sick baby to care for, and I’m bitter today.

Crowd: (Applause)

Female 3: Oh, I got it!

Child: (unintelligible)

Female 3: Yep, the check is–

Child: (unintelligible)

Female 3: What?

Child: I don’t have to (unintelligible) school any more?

Female 3: No, baby. The check is here. Now we can take care of all of our bills, and see– let’s see how much is here. (Pause) No more worries now. (Pause) Oh. Dear– Dear Miss Hopeful. On the sixteenth of September, a man was seen coming from your house. Un– Under the act of thir– Proposition 13 (Pause) says that I’m not eligible– I’m not eligible to receive (cries) from the State of California– Oh! I don’t believe it. Not after this– (sobbing) after waiting so long. All my bills are due. I wish momma hadn’t died and left me. I don’t know what to do now. All I can do is think about momma, and how if– if momma hadn’t died, I could (unintelligible) school. (Unintelligible) my child. (Unintelligible). Life is nothing. (Unintelligible).

Child: Momma, I’m hungry.

Female 3: (Sings adaptation of “Yesterday” by Paul McCartney)

All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh I believe in yesterday

I’m not half the mom I used to be
There’s a shadow hanging over me
Oh I believe in yesterday

Why you had to go I don’t know
You didn’t say
I gave my life for yesterday
Oh, yesterday

Crowd: (Applause)

Female 2: (Sings) There’s a house over there
On the edge of nobody’s world
In South Africa, Rhodesia, Katanga.

Male 6: I never get well no more. Nobody cares about me. The children see me lying on the street. They just walk on over and keep on going. But you know, if they really knew me, they would think differently about me. Hey, dig, man, I got this degree in college (unintelligible) And what good did it do me? The only time like a businessman. So I had to work hard all my life. The odd jobs. Porter work, washing dishes, anything, to feed my family. Now my wife’s gone. Children left me. And I’m all alone, I’m on welfare. Yes, I take a nip every now and then. But think what you will, this is my house, and I guess I’m stuck with it.

Crowd: (Applause)

Females 4 and 5: (Sing, unintelligible)

Female 4: Oh! Hallelujah!

Female 5: Hey! Praise his name! Hey!

Female 4: Good morning, sister. Has the Lord touched you today?

Female 5: Oh, well, don’t worry. You can’t win them all for the Lord. Oh, Lordy, won’t you come by here?

Females 4 and 5: Oh, Lordy, won’t you come by here? Oh, Lordy, won’t you come by here? Oh, Lordy, won’t you come by here?

Male 7: Ah, you’ve got to obey the will of the Lord. The Lord says you got to render unto Caesar that which is of Caesar and uh, you’ve got to render under God that which is of God. Ah, uh, the book says, it’s in the book, and it says that uh, uh, Caesar is due respect and uh, if you don’t respect Caesar, uh, he’ll send down– he’ll send down dem all-American boys or the polices, and they got the liberty stick, and they’ll play the Star Spangled Banner across your (unintelligible word) head.

Female 6: (yells and screams in background)

Male 7: But you’ve got to render unto Caesar. Ah, Glory hallelujah, sister.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Female 6: What? Look here, uh, you– Look here, uh, preacher boy. I mean, you know, like, (laughs) hey man, I got a date coming and I, but (unintelligible) you and your Jesus (unintelligible word) gone blow my trip.

Male 7 and Female 6 speak over each other; unintelligible)

Female 6: What has he done for you? I mean you and this get up you’ve got on– I mean what (unintelligible) is come on over to my side. You understand me?

Male 7: Say what? No, Lord. Watch out! Watch out!

Female 6: I figured from the way it was gone here that your side (unintelligible).

Male 7: (Unintelligible) dry cleaning.

Male 8: (Unintelligible) dry cleaning. Yeah.

Crowd: (Laughter)

Female 6: Hold it, hold it. Let’s get to the serious point to this thing. I mean, look, you people, you sisters, like, I– I got five black babies here to feed. You understand? I mean, it’s not easy being out there. I mean, don’t look at me with great disappointment. I mean, it’s frightening out there. I mean, it (unintelligible) right? I mean, it goes on and on. It will continue until all our black and oppressed people are free. You know? I mean, it’s hard out there. I mean, (unintelligible). I mean, this is what you call survival. You have to go through this in America. It’s not easy. It’s not easy, sister. What do they do? You go for a job? They tell you, you don’t have any skills. No, I didn’t have the proper education but I’m still (unintelligible) and got to wait on the Lord!

Male 7: Yeah! (unintelligible) I got the minister– I got– I’ve got the administers, too. I– I believe in the laying on of hands!

Crowd: (Laughter and hubbub)

Female 1: (sings) What does your house look like, Anna?
Describe it to us
So we can bring news of your husband
To your children.

Male 9: The house I live in. It is barred with steel. It has learned to break my spirit and destroy my mind. But they only serve to make me stronger and more determined to defeat my enemies. The ruling fascist elite has branded me a political prisoner and has thrown me amongst the ranks of the forgotten, expecting never to hear from me again. But being here only gives me more time to plan my next move. Inside these walls is a whole different kind of world, a world where power is absolute, and the actions of the pigs that run this place are never questioned. No one on the outside can imagine, so it’s genocide in (unintelligible word) of our people that goes on in here. Remember George Jackson. Remember the Wilmington Ten.

Crowd: Right.

Male 9: Remember the Rosenbergs [Ethel and Julius Rosenberg].

Crowd: Right.

Male 9: And remember all our brothers and sisters that have been tortured and buried within these walls–

Crowd: Right.

Male 9: And remember, this house is only able to stand because you dare not speak out in the streets too. So speak out. It may be you the next time!

Crowd: Right.

Male in background: Okay. (Unintelligible). Let’s go.

(tape edit)

Crowd: (Applause)

(men in performance on stage yelling, chanting)

Female 7: You say you don’t want to die, because I don’t want to die? You say you don’t want to die because there’s no cause to die for? Just because you have a good job and a fine home in the suburbs? Just because you were a (unintelligible) and causing all the women to scream from a cause unknown, that’s no cause for you to forget who is the cause of our brothers and sisters who are being exploited and oppressed. Many of our brothers and sisters have died for many causes, and they are also dying for causes every day. People like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Patrice Lumumba, yours truly, last but not least, Harriet Tubman. (Pause) Just because you don’t believe that there is a cause to die for, what is the cause of the neutron bomb? What is the cause of mass genocide? What is the cause of the cause of the Wilmington Ten being in prison? What is the cause of your cause that makes you think that there is no cause to die for? Remember, my brothers and sisters, it is glorious to die for a cause and not because. I’d just like to say that you better find a cause to die for soon, ‘cause if you don’t, you gonna die anyway, and I don’t want to be the cause to die because you don’t believe that there is no cause to die for. Die because and not because.

Crowd: (Applause)

Male 10: Remember, a person is not fit to live, not unless you have a cause to die for. And that cause just happens to be freedom.


Male 10: And I mean free-e-e-dom. (Pause) (calls out) Remember! I want you to remember! Remember! Remember!

(Tape edit)

Female 2: (Sings) There’s a house over there
On the edge of nobody’s world
In South Africa, Rhodesia, Katanga.

Male 11 (likely Peter Wotherspoon): It was the year of 1973, when a beautiful leader of– in Chile was named Salvador Allende who was overthrown by the CIA, backed up by CIA. Nine million dollars put on it. (Pause, then sigh). He died bravely. He didn’t give his people up. He died along with them. So did Victor Jara. He died leaving this song for all the beautiful people that he loved. His song was all about freedom. (Song in Spanish composed by Chilean poet Victor Jara [Complete words and Music])

El derecho de vivir
El poeta Ho Chi Minh que golpea de Viethnam a toda la humanidad
Ningún cañón borrará
Cadena que harían triunfar el derecho de vivir en paz
Tío Ho, nuestra canción es puro fuego de amor
Es palomo palomar
Olivo de olivarEs el canto universal
Cadenas que harían triunfar el derecho de vivir en paz
El derecho de vivir en paz.

Crowd: (Applause)

Female 7: As you all know, Daniel Ellsberg worked for the Rand Corporation during the Johns– during the [Lyndon] Johnson administration, preparing reports and studies that served to justify the United States involvement. He did this until he reached a point where his conscience would no longer allow him to make reports that were misused by the United States government to deceive the American people. Mike Prokes will portray Daniel Ellsberg just after he reached his (unintelligible) of conscience.


Prokes: How can I do this thing that I’m doing now? What false figures and doctored statistics must I feed into this computer that it will give the generals the excuse they need to carry on a war that not only can’t be won but should not be won? What is the morality of trying to destroy a brave people, the Vietnamese, whose belief in their cause is so strong, that they fight back harder with firmer resolve each time that their land and their babies are blown up by America’s bombs. Beautiful land. Precious babies. I’ve seen them. Human beings so proud and so bold, and yet we call them “gooks” because it’s so much easier, don’t you know, to drop napalm on “gooks” than it is on human beings. (Pause) What kind of vicious inhumanity is this? What kind of sick and depraved minds would look at persons as if they were things? This is racism, like the world has never known before! And you want me to tell you that this war can be won? It’s already lost. It was lost long before it was started. It was lost, America, when you told that poor young black man whom you wouldn’t provide a job for that you would pay him to fight. You gave him no choice! And then you lied to him. You told him he was going to fight for someone’s freedom, when he did not have his own!

Scattered in crowd: Yeah.

Prokes: And now he’s dead. You killed him, America. And you don’t even care. God damn you, America! (Voice rises dramatically throughout) And God damn your system, your war, and your men who created it! God damn you, Secretary McNamara [Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense]! And Secretary Rusk [Dean Rusk, Secretary of State] for lying to the people to hide the death and destruction you’ve caused! God damn you, General [William] Westmoreland and General [Maxwell] Taylor! I charge you with the premeditated murder of innocent babies whose blood drips from your hands! And God damn you, President Johnson! You who could’ve stopped it all but kept it going because you didn’t want to look weak or admit you were wrong! You blinded yourself to the tortures and suffering, all so you could perpetuate your immoral and corrupt power! (voice drops dramatically) And you want me to feed your statistics into this computer? I’ll feed it all right, but I’ll feed it with the truth, and I’ll take the truth that comes out, the truth which reveals America’s committing one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind. I’ll take that truth, and expose it to the world!

Crowd: (Applause)

Female 7: Are you still satisfied with your house, or do you see the need for a change?

Woman in crowd: I do!

Crowd: (Sustained applause)

End of tape

Tape originally posted December 2009