Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Lenni Brenner......was born into an Orthodox Jewish family. He became an atheist at 10, and a left political activist at 15, in 1952. His involvement with the Black civil rights movement began on his first day in the organized left, when he met James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality, later the organizer of the "freedom rides" of the early 60s. He was active in the mid 50s with Bayard Rustin, later the organizer of Martin Luther King's 1963 "I had a dream" March on Washington.
He was arrested 3 times during civil rights sit-ins in the San Francisco Bay Area. He spent 39 months in prison when a court revoked his probation for marijuana possession, because of his activities during the Berkeley Free Speech Movement at the University of California in 1964.
Immediately on imprisonment, he spent 4 days in intense discussion with Huey Newton, later founder of the Black Panther Party, who he encountered in the court holding tank. Subsequently, upon release, he worked with Kathy Cleaver. More recently, in the 90s, he and Panther cofounder Bobby Seale defended their activities during the 60s on Morton Downey's TV show.
He was an antiwar activist from the 1st days of the Vietnam war, speaking frequently at rallies in the Bay Area. In 1963 he organized the Committee for Narcotic Reform in Berkeley. In 1968 he co-founded the National Association for Irish Justice, the American affiliate of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.
He worked with Kwame Ture (AKA Stokely Carmichael), the legendary "Black Power" leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in the Committee against Zionism and Racism, from 1985 until Ture's death in 1998.
Brenner is the author of 4 books:
•Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
•The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir
•Jews in America Today
•The Lesser Evil, a study of the Democratic Party