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The War Racket
By Mike Burke
Start with a book published 75 years ago, by a two-star Marine general holding two Medals of Honor, add an original member of Chicago's 1970's Black Panther Party, a handful of "jail-hardened" but still sweet Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace, four VVAW members and a street-savvy trio of anti-war poets and what have you got?
You have some of the main ingredients that went into a free afternoon workshop on March 27 at Atlanta Friends Meeting House in Decatur, Georgia. Presented by Free Afternoon Workshop Productions, the 4-hour program produced a now whittled-down 110-minute version that is being edited for an upcoming program on June 26. From there The War Racket will be further edited, detailed and polished to near perfection, while it's transformed into a streamlined 70-minute synopsis of Smedley D. Butler's biting 1935 book, War Is A Racket-set for widespread presentation to teachers, taxpayers and taxi drivers alike--available live and on dvd.
This 2010 version of a highly decorated Marine's 1935 indictment of the war industry, going back to World War I, is an incredible awakening process, even before an audience of non-shrinking anti-war choir members. What reactions do you suppose will come from audiences comprised of PTA groups, board of education members, clergy and elected officials, parents, grandparents, students and even military recruiters?
The War Racket is a powerfully informative and educational work made possible by Free Afternoon Workshop Productions, under the wings of such organizations as American Friends Service Committee, Atlanta Friends Meeting, Veterans for Truth in Military Recruiting comprised of members and friends of VVAW, VVA, VFP, IAVA, IVAW and other organizations and individuals throughout Georgia's social justice community.
War Racket workshop doors are open at no cost to guests who would like to consider adapting localized versions or similar workshop-theater projects in their own locales. Invited guests are able to attend and record or film War Racket workshops without cost--there is no cost attached to participating in Free Afternoon workshops other than travel and self-sustenance. Look for follow-up reporting in upcoming issues of The Veteran.
Mike Burke is the VVAW Atlanta contact. For more information get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-517-6790.
Because They Were Happy and Free by Mark Lipman.