September 19, 2007

Dave Cline Part 4: Good-Bye, Bro...

Dave Clines's remains get cremated tonight, after a viewing and brief memorial service in Jersey City. I'll probably wind up with a bunch of vets from all over sleeping on my floor afterwards. Seems like a lot of people want to come and show their respects

Today I am posting a video of a speech Dave gave during the historic Walkin' To New Orleans protest of veterans and Katrina survivors in the spring of 2006. There are a number of other speeches of Dave's up on YouTube, but this one makes it crystal clear just how much we have lost. Please watch it.

In this brief talk, his voice ravaged by days of chanting and cadences while we marched, Dave give a matter of fact recounting of how the March came to be. In a few short minutes, he shows the depth of political understanding and grasp of how a movement has to address everyday folks that he had developed oin decades of struggle. Watching, we can understand how he did so much to build the vets and military families component, the spearhead, of the anti-war movement. He shows in practical terms the real ties that exist between the anti-war movement and other struggles, like the Black movement in the South, and how those ties can be built on if people only show a willingness to do the work. And his delight at the end, where he shows what he learned in the meetings we held with Black churches every night along the march route--man, Dave never stopped learning...

Gordon Soderberg, a New Orleans-based vet who was on the March the whole way, shot this footage and quicly cut and posted it on YouTube at my request. Gordon pointed out to me in an email that this was the only speech Dave gave in the whole week of the March:

David did not do long speeches. He was always direct and to the point. This was his only speech in public during the March. I was at every stop except at the churches, Stan Goff and Ward Reilly would be able to confirm. During the planning of the march David stated the this was for IVAW members to lead and find their public voices. VVAW and VFP were there for support and transportation not the limelight.
And this highlights still another important role Walkin' to New Orleans played. It was, to that time, the largest gathering where Iraq War vets came together for more than a few hours at a demonstration or meeting. The bonding that went on as we moved through the shattered Gulf Coast was an important step in the evolution of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

[For those, like me, who are reading everything we can in order to, at one and the same time, come to grips with Dave's death and seal the lessons we learned from him in our brains, here are a couple of links you might want to track down.
  • One of IVAW's founders, Mike Hoffman, pays a moving tribute to Dave's role as midwife to the IVAW at the organization's website.
  • Dave's hometown paper, the Jersey Journal, published a respectful obituary.
And to learn more about Marchin' To New Orleans, and Dave's role in it, you could do worse than look at "Spearpoint," the summation by Stan Goff. Dave and Stan were the two who did the most to make it happen.
If you have other links to suggest, please post them in the comments.]

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