Jews and the Left

The Life and Times of Fay Stender, Radical Attorney for the Black Panthers, Part 4

Fay at Loose Ends: Feminism and Gay Rights

Fay was disenchanted and depressed. She had turned forty. She had lost her female lover, was losing her husband, and her most cherished political cause had blown up in her face. It was 1973, and the entire “Movement” had sputtered to a halt and was in the process of metamorphosing; the radicals had lost their faith in militant activism outside “the system” and began to enter that system in droves to work from within. The process was not smooth; many leftists spent years coming to terms with the collapse of the movement.

Since any facet of society could be turned into a “cause,” Fay would not be adrift for long. Soon she turned (along with many other radical Jews) to feminist and homosexual issues. She entered another relationship with a woman, called “Katherine” by Pearlman. One of the cases she became involved with helped push California law into accepting the “rights” of lesbians in custody cases.[i] Another gash in the fabric of Gentile society.

In 1978, Fay went on a tour of Europe with her old friend Hilde Stern. It was a soul-searching jaunt. She wanted to ponder her future direction, and whether to try to save her marriage. Once in Europe, her Jewish identity rose to dominate her consciousness. She visited the synagogues and places of Jewish interest wherever she went. In Athens, viewing the ancient structures on the Acropolis, she felt only “an overwhelming urge to reaffirm her own heritage” and peevishly wondered “why her professors had never credited ancient Jewish culture with any lasting influence on Western tradition.”[ii]

In Geneva she visited friends and gifted them, as if it were a priceless artifact, a letter she had kept from George Jackson. She went to Stockholm for a UN conference on children. There she began to do push-ups in imitation of the imprisoned Jackson, who had done hundreds every day, and worked on manuscripts about Jackson and feminism.[iii] She thought about living permanently in Sweden, but it troubled her that Sweden had continued its relations with Germany during World War II. She proceeded to Warsaw for another conference; she had read up on the Warsaw uprising of 1943, and was angered to find so little commemoration of the event in the city. She was well aware of the Jewish history in Poland and was in high dudgeon against Polish “Anti-Semitism.” At the Warsaw Symphony she was “anguished by the absence of any musicians who looked even faintly Jewish.”[iv] (Would she have any sympathy for Whites, who in the near future will look in vain for fellow White faces in their own nations? Would she see the contradiction if she did not?)

She also thought about her sexual identity. She decided to break up with Marvin for good and reunite with her lesbian lover. In early 1979, she returned to Berkeley. She and Marvin ended their marriage amicably, and Fay kept the house and the children, who lived at home in their young adulthood. Fay resumed her relationship with “Katherine.”

The End

May 28, 1979. The doorbell rang, well after midnight. Fay’s son Neal, used to unexpected visitors, opened the door. A Black man stuck a gun in his face and demanded Fay Stender. Neal led him upstairs and roused his mother from bed. The man demanded an answer to a chilling question: “Don’t you feel you betrayed George Jackson?” Fay calmly denied it. He ordered her to write a dictated note and sign it: “I, Fay Stender, admit I betrayed George Jackson and the prison movement when they needed me most.” She protested but finished writing. He pocketed the note then demanded money; Fay escorted him downstairs and gave him some from her kitchen drawer. He walked past her to the door as if to leave, then wheeled, crouched, and shot her five times with hollow-point .38 caliber bullets.[v]

Fay suffered terrible damage to her liver, chest and arms; she was paralyzed from the waist down. She would face months or years of rehabilitation and would never again lead a normal life. She didn’t leave the hospital until late July, going straight into a rehabilitation center.

The shooting shocked the radical community in the Bay Area. The police shared with reporters a purported “hit list” with the names of Fay and others on it. Fay’s family and friends were terrified; some of them asked for police protection. Marvin obtained a gun permit and sent their children into hiding. A few radicals began to suspect the truth about convicts.

Despite her depression and pain, she resolved to put her assailant away. To find justice, she would need the help of—exquisite irony—Lowell Jensen, still District Attorney. Jensen, incredibly, bore her no ill will, and assigned her case to a good prosecutor.

The police quickly apprehended a suspect, Edward Brooks. He was an ex-con and a member of a prison gang co-founded by George Jackson, the Black Guerrilla Family. He had shot Fay from a sense of loyalty to Jackson and other prisoners whom Fay had supposedly betrayed.[vi]

The shooting of Fay highlighted the hypocrisy in the radical community. Almost all of them now supported the police and district attorney and wanted the shooter prosecuted, even though they had “spent their professional lives denouncing the criminal justice system as an instrument of racial and class oppression and defending accused criminals as social victims.”[vii] The hypocrisy reached a greater poignancy when a former colleague of Fay’s, a member of the Prison Law Project, appeared on the shooter’s defense team, stating later, “I was just seething at the way the White Left reacted to Brooks’ arrest. It was racist. They had never taken this attitude . . . in the past. . . . And yet, when one of their own was shot, they immediately cooperated with the cops.”[viii]

Fay was plunged into despair, alternating between self-pity and bitter anger over how the Blacks had repaid her ministrations. She could barely play the piano and could not sit up for long; she found relief only by lying on her back. She sent her Sapphic lover away, unable to have (what amounted to) abnormal relations. She really wanted Marvin back for his steady strength, but he had a new woman and declined her hints. She resolved to commit suicide, but wanted to see Brooks put away first. She would have to summon the strength to testify against him, in the same courtroom she had defended Huey Newton so long before.

On January 18, 1979, Fay took the stand. Charles Garry was in attendance, but not a single Black recipient of her aid showed up to support her. The jury quickly found Brooks guilty, and a few weeks later he was sentenced to seventeen years.[ix]

Fay then burned all her papers, moved to Hong Kong, and after a good deal of hesitation and anguish, killed herself on May 19, 1980. She was forty-eight. Her body was brought back for a Jewish funeral, attended by 300. David Horowitz, former editor of Ramparts, was present; he was struck by how few Blacks attended. (He would write a long article on Fay, based on his conversations with Eve Pell, who had worked with Fay on the Prison Law Project.) Another radical in attendance observed, “no matter what you do, if you are White, it doesn’t matter if you spent your whole life working for Blacks.”[x]

Huey Newton did not attend the funeral; the next month he would earn a sham Ph.D. from UC-Santa Cruz (submitting—perhaps even writing— a paper entitled “War Against the Panthers: a Study in Repression in America”[xi]). He would be shot dead on an Oakland street in August 1989, also by a member of the Black Guerrilla Family. He was forty-seven, the same age as Fay when she was shot.[xii]

The saga of Fay Stender thus sputtered to an end.

Conclusion

Fay’s life perfectly illustrates the nature of radical Jewish activism and the immense harm that it can inflict upon society. Her work amounted to nothing more than “disruption of White society.” Her Jewish perspective could not register the rationales that underlay the compromises between perfect justice and practicality that form the myriad bonds of a Gentile culture. White society is not perfect; it is not perfect because man’s nature and the world are not perfect. However, it is on balance just, and, above all, workable. To strain mightily to “perfect” the solid patterns of a settled society is to create tensions that inevitably build to an explosion. The explosion in Fay’s case saw guards massacred in San Quentin and five bullets pierce her own body.

Fay Stender indicted the entire justice system as “racist” without bothering to regard the nature of Black social pathology, or the damage that her activism could cause to a society that had settled itself around a workable solution to pervasive Black crime, or the personal danger that she risked for herself and her family.

One last note on personality. I believe that Fay possessed a measure of charity; that is, a will to do good. No one is purely evil, of course, and somewhere in the thicket of ego, ambition, leftist ideology, and blind selfishness that was Fay Stender, there was at least a small core of good intentions. Unfortunately, her good will labored under defects greater than these failings. First, unhampered female emotion crimped her ability to see a reasonable approach to problems. (A Gentile spouse of that era would certainly have forced her to accept far tighter boundaries on her activity.) There was the contempt she felt—possibly amounting to hatred—for Whites and their society. Most importantly, the nature of her Jewish radicalism, as applied to a Gentile society, could be nothing but deleterious. If a mathematical formula could be found to represent the harm that an activist Jew can do to a White society, it would have to incorporate a special symbol representing “one Fay Stender.”


[i] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 313-14.

[ii] Ibid., 330.

[iii] Horowitz and Collier, 50-52.

[iv] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 342-43.

[v] The shooting is described by Pearlman in Call Me Phaedra, 355-58, and by Horowitz and Collier, 52-55.

[vi] Horowitz and Collier, 56.

[vii] Ibid., 56.

[viii] Ibid., 57-8.

[ix] Ibid., 62-3.

[x] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 430.

[xi] Pearson, 287.

[xii] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 440.

The Life and Times of Fay Stender, Radical Attorney for the Black Panthers, Part 3

George Jackson and the Soledad Brothers

Meanwhile, Fay met George Jackson.

Huey Newton had told Fay about George Jackson and asked if she could help him. Jackson (whose family had relocated to California) was serving a life sentence in Soledad Prison for a $70 robbery, according to his sympathizers. The truth is a bit otherwise. He had committed a long string of muggings and burglaries, and the State of California finally wised up and sentenced the teenager to one year to life.[i] He could have gotten out in a year or two, if he had behaved. He didn’t. He and a buddy formed a prison gang, ran a gambling ring, sold drugs and alcohol, and pimped homosexual prisoners.[ii] He fought with guards and beat other prisoners. The prison administration considered him a violent sociopath. Consequently, his sentenced was continually extended, and he spent years in solitary with his cell door welded shut.[iii]

Jackson was intelligent and could express himself well. Like Cleaver, he read revolutionary literature—Marx, Lenin, Mao, Fanon—and wrote feverishly. He believed that America’s Blacks were a “colonized” people (an idea picked up by the Weathermen); that “the country’s institutions depended on their continued enslavement and subjugation; and that this state of affairs could only be reversed by an armed, violent revolution.”[iv] While his yearning for violent revolution was genuine, he would admit that Marxism was his “hustle.”[v] Jackson was a leader and a good organizer, and formed a group of dedicated followers.

In mid-January 1970, shortly before Newton told Fay about him, Jackson had murdered a White prison guard in cold blood. It was his response to the killing (by White prison guards) of three Blacks who were engaged in a prison-yard fight with Whites. Jackson and two others were charged with the murder and became famous—the subversive publicity machine roared into action—as the “Soledad Brothers.”

Fay visited Jackson in Soledad in early February. He spoke to her with feigned diffidence and her “heart melted.”[vi] She immediately felt a strong attraction to him, and decided to take on his case. She assembled a legal team, the Soledad Brothers Defense Committee, and worked almost round the clock. Some of her friends smiled at her insistence that this undertaking was (now) the most important cause in the world.

George Jackson

She issued a leaflet: “Three young Black inmates . . . may soon be murdered by the State of California . . . They are innocent. Their right to a fair trial is being systematically and intentionally destroyed by the prison administration . . . They will be railroaded to the gas chamber unless we move to stop this injustice.”[vii] It was a typical effusion from Stender: literally hysterical.

Fay interviewed many Soledad inmates in connection with the Jackson case. Few of them had knowledge of the murder but all of them had grievances to share. Fay believed every word they said, and conceived a major effort at prison reform. This reform was firmly connected in her mind with revolution. Fay was convinced the prisoners were “going to be in the vanguard of the social revolution.”[viii] She “embraced the need for social revolution [and] recognized people might die,” flippantly justifying it all: “People are dying all the time. The important thing is that they die in the right cause.”[ix] She would come to regret these sentiments, but not before blood was spilled. Read more

The Life and Times of Fay Stender, Radical Attorney for the Black Panthers, Part 2

Go to Part 1

Legal Work for the Movement

When she returned to Berkeley, Fay “felt energized.”[i] So did other returnees. Mario Savio, fresh from Mississippi, launched the Free Speech Movement (FSM) at UC Berkeley that fall, kicking off the wider radical crusade of the 1960s. When the police began to clear Sproul Hall of protesting students in the early morning of December 3, Bob Treuhaft was the first one arrested; he had been called by Savio and arrived just in time for the bust.[ii] The Free Speech Movement—surprise—was every bit as Jewish as Freedom Summer. The occupiers of Sproul Hall held a Hanukkah service during the sit-in, and the biggest base of support for the radicals came from the Jews in the student body.[iii] Fay “relished seeing the Berkeley campus develop into a hotbed of Movement fervor.”[iv] The fact that it was a Jewish movement was presumably a source of pride for her, given her strong Jewish identity.

The arrestees called for legal help and Fay jumped into action. Her energy at times like this could be awe-inspiring, and the FSM members “secretly fell in love with her.”[v] Over the years, many people would describe Fay as attractive, intelligent, and generous, especially when she could immerse herself in a cause. She helped arrange for bail and performed other legal work in a blur of activity.

Shortly afterward, Fay held a Seder (a ceremonial Passover dinner) for SNCC personnel at her home. She “incorporated into it references to Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement.”[vi] This was fitting because the Jews had invested heavily in the movement; indeed, they had generally succeeded in guiding the direction of the civil rights campaign from the time they initiated the NAACP in 1909.[vii]

Fay had another reason to feel good in the spring of 1965. She and Marvin reunited and leased a house in the Berkeley flats. They made their home a haven for movement friends, who were excited by yet another looming cause: the Vietnam War. (No rest for the wicked.) They plunged into an effort to help young men resisting the draft and others demonstrating against the war.[viii] Fay, Marvin, and their lawyer friends Peter Franck and Aryay Lenske set up the Council for Justice (CFJ) to provide legal services for the entire range of leftist causes. The Executive Committee of the CFJ included Beverly Axelrod, who would soon make Eldridge Cleaver famous.[ix]

The CJF didn’t last long, but not to worry; there is always another cause, another front in the war against White society. Sure enough, one soon appeared, one that carried a menacing—murderous, even—revolutionary swagger, so calculated to set Jewish hearts aflutter. Better yet, this group was Black, and so would be entirely dependent upon Jewish brains and money.

Eldridge Cleaver and the Revolutionary Glorification of Black Criminality

In the wake of Freedom Summer and the racial rancor it generated within the civil rights movement, more pugnacious Blacks rose to ascendancy in SNCC and other civil rights organizations. Stokely Carmichael became chairman of SNCC in May 1966, and quickly repudiated civil disobedience. He embraced “Black Power” and Black separatism, and by the end of the year he expelled Whites from the SNCC. A position paper worked up to explain the move stated, “All White people are racists.”[x] Jewish revolutionaries were outraged; one cited Jewish support of civil rights organizations and their “strategic role in organizing and funding the struggle,” and concluded “it was clear to everyone that [Jews] were the primary target” of Carmichael’s new racial militancy.[xi] Jews can get awfully sensitive when their revolutionary proxies get it into their heads to steer their own way.

It was in this context that the Black Panthers appeared in the Bay Area in October 1966. The Black Panthers reviled the “White power structure” but were open to alliances with White radicals. Jewish leftists immediately connected with their movement. Advocacy for the Panthers would become the dramatic climax of Fay’s career. She would throw herself into the maelstrom of pro-Panther activism with total incomprehension of their true nature, just like many other Jewish revolutionaries.

We begin with Eldridge Cleaver, because his career was so largely a Jewish creation, and provides necessary background for Fay’s new endeavor. In1966 Cleaver was doing time for attempted rape and attempted murder. His infamous predilection for violating White women would soon be broadcast by Jewish publicists. He read politics and history in prison, but his ideas crystallized upon reading George Breitman’s book, Last Year of Malcolm X: The Evolution of a Revolutionary. Breitman, a Jew, depicted Malcolm at the end of his life as less a religious leader than a socialist revolutionary. “The Malcolm X of the Breitman book went far beyond seeing racism as a flaw in the hearts of the American people. It was endemic to the nation’s economic system, a necessary feature of capitalism. The whole structure had to go.”[xii] The book impacted Black inmates “like a lightning strike.” They now spurned mere reform or talk of civil rights; “[t]here was nothing to be gained by trying to fit in. The very structure of the society would have to be razed.” Cleaver was the inmate “who followed this line of thought most closely.”[xiii] A Jew thus lit yet another spark for Black revolution.

From prison, Cleaver managed to contact Beverly Axelrod, a Jewish lawyer and veteran radical. He hoped that he could pay her legal fees with his writing, and she could win his parole. Axelrod smuggled forbidden literature into prison for Cleaver, and he gave her his numerous tracts, which she sent to Norman Mailer, whose 1957 essay “The White Negro” reminded more than one critic of Cleaver’s scribblings. With Mailer’s enthusiastic approval, she was able to get Ramparts magazine, soon to become the most prominent publication of the New Left, to publish selections.[xiv] Robert Scheer, editor at Ramparts (son of a Russian Jewess and a German Gentile), also helped place Cleaver’s work in the magazine; his role would become big enough to earn the description of “perhaps the key person to launch the career of Eldridge Cleaver.”[xv] Eldridge Cleaver was a Jewish creation, and the Jews were on their way to replacing the SNCC as their controlled vehicle of social demolition.[xvi]

In August 1966, Ramparts published Eldridge’s “Letters from Prison,” which included this famous passage: “Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the White man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women.”[xvii] Whatever Beverly Axelrod thought of this passage, it didn’t stop her from falling in love with him. By the time she got him out on parole at the end of 1966, they were lovers and planned to marry. Cleaver’s book Soul on Ice came out in the spring of 1967. The book “whipped tough cultural observations in with a froth of sexual lore, and the result was a violence-steeped Maileresque Black sexual-political myth …”[xviii] It featured letters to and from Beverly and was dedicated to her, “with whom I share the ultimate of love.”[xix] Jewish media sources received it rapturously; the lefty Jewish critic Maxwell Geismar in his introduction to the book wrote that Cleaver was “simply one of the best cultural critics writing today.”[xx]

Cleaver could portray his crimes as politically motivated all he wanted, but without Jewish publicists, it would have amounted to nothing. Because he was able to gain the ear of radical Jews, the myth of the criminal-as-revolutionary was born: “crime . . . became a revolutionary challenge to the state.”[xxi] This idea—putting the final touch on a dangerous concoction—created “room for criminal male violence in the ideology of the New Left.”[xxii] A direct path was laid down to domestic revolutionary violence and terrorism. It led in a straight line from the Black Panthers, to the Weathermen, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and now, Antifa.

Huey Newton and Fay Stender

At a party celebrating the publication of Soul on Ice, Fay Stender met Cleaver and toasted his engagement to Axelrod.[xxiii] (The engagement would not last long; Cleaver soon abandoned her for a much younger woman. Cleaver later admitted that he used Axelrod, eleven years his senior, to get out of prison.) It was through Axelrod that Fay would become involved in the case that made her famous.

However, Fay was depressed again. She was no closer to a full partnership in the firm of Garry & Dreyfus; she mostly did research for the “name” partners. She was envious of Beverly Axelrod, the toast of the radical community, and Marvin had embarked upon yet another affair. She needed a new cause. As it happened, it wasn’t long in coming: in the early morning hours of October 28, 1967, the thuggish founder of the Black Panthers, Huey Newton, murdered John Frey.

Oakland police officer John Frey had pulled over a vehicle with Newton and a friend inside. Ten minutes later Frey was dying of five bullet wounds, two in the back from close range.[xxiv] An hour later Newton showed up at Kaiser Hospital with a gunshot wound in his abdomen. There the cops caught up to him; so did Charles Garry and Fay Stender. Eldridge Cleaver, who had joined the Panthers after his release from prison and now stepped up as leader, had called Axelrod for help and she called Garry.[xxv] Fay “would never forget the impact of seeing Huey Newton lying half-naked under armed guard. . . . At first sight, she felt a strong sexual attraction.”[xxvi] Her depression vanished; she “instantly realized this might be the career break she was looking for.” She would be at the center of the “hottest Movement case around”: a capital murder trial for a Black man “struggling” against the “racist” American system.[xxvii]

Huey Newton in Beverly Axelrod’s apartment, 1967. Props by Cleaver.

Fay wasn’t the only turned-on radical. Newton (who reportedly had a Jewish grandfather[xxviii]) and the Panthers had already gotten major press coverage; less than three months before Frey’s murder, Israeli-born Sol Stern had done a write-up on the Panthers for New York Times Magazine (August 6). This was the first exposure the Panthers had received in the mainstream press. “Stern had asked Newton if he was truly prepared to kill a police officer; Newton replied that he was.” Stern couldn’t help concluding that, for the Panthers, “the execution of a police officer would be as natural . . . as the execution of a German soldier by a member of the French Resistance.”[xxix] In the immediate aftermath of the killing of Frey, the underground newspaper Berkeley Barb (owned and run by the Jew Max Scherr[xxx]), which had been covering the Panthers steadily since early 1967, “hastily concluded” that the Newton case was a “clear case of police provocation” and declared him a political prisoner.[xxxi] The Barb would continue to cover Newton’s case full-blast.

Many radicals believed that Newton had killed Frey, and hoped it presaged a real revolution.

Fay would assist Garry in the case, along with Barney Dreyfus and another partner, Alex Hoffmann, a diminutive Viennese Jew. Garry planned a “super-aggressive defense . . . raising every possible factual and legal issue,” with a maximum of publicity to arouse sympathy for Newton.[xxxii] Fay, who had virtually no experience in criminal trials, would do research and write motions and briefs that challenged everything that might lead to plausible grounds for a subsequent appeal. Garry would conduct the trial in the courtroom. Nevertheless, the case looked very bad for the defense; everything pointed to Newton having an electrifying end to his career.

Garry planned to put the “racist” American system on trial and the prosecutor on the defensive. Lise Pearlman describes it as the first “Movement trial”; the Chicago Seven Trial was yet to come.[xxxiii] The Panthers and their White backers would mount large demonstrations around the courthouse at each pre-trial hearing and all through the trial, and the leftwing press and its Jewish scribes would provide fawning coverage.

The Panthers at the time of Frey’s death numbered only about a dozen people. With a cause célèbre like Newton imprisoned in a racially explosive murder case, Blacks flocked to the Party. Within eighteen months, there were over forty chapters around the country with 5,000 members. Their paper, The Black Panther, launched in Beverly Axelrod’s apartment, grew to a circulation of over 100,000.[xxxiv] Newton, many remarked, was more valuable in prison, a likely martyr, than free.

The prosecutor quickly obtained an indictment from a grand jury. Fay and Barney Dreyfus immediately prepared a constitutional challenge to the composition of the jury, because it was too White. It didn’t reflect a “cross-section of the community.”[xxxv] They invested immense effort and time on this angle. (Their argument would fail; they would appeal; again denied.[xxxvi]) This, together with their later agitation against the composition of the trial jury, would have the terrible effect of making juries and the judicial process subject to identity politics, and lead to rampant Black juror sabotage of criminal cases against Blacks.

In January 1968, Fay began visiting Newton regularly in the Alameda County Jail. She was “delighted at his warm reception,”[xxxvii] and began dressing more attractively, with makeup, on her visits. She was “but one of a growing number of his new female devotees.”[xxxviii] Newton was able to bamboozle her completely. He told her he learned to read after high school by repeatedly attempting Plato’s Republic. She in turn shared personal details with him, and was soon panting, “he is truly a great man. Huey is a loving, gentle, kind person . . . He has a righteous force, a fierce combination of moral outrage and anger.”[xxxix] What is this but pure female emotion, utterly duped by radical ideology and a dangerous but charming poseur?

In late February 1968, the government released the Kerner Report. It infamously blamed White racism for Black failure and the Black inner-city riots of the preceding few years, providing top-level government backing for the claim that Huey Newton’s actions were simply the result of frustration with oppression.

Five weeks later, after a night of whoring in Memphis, the Reverend Martin Luther King met God, unexpectedly.[xl] In protest, Blacks across the nation attacked and burned down their own communities.[xli] President Johnson had to call in 13,000 troops to quell the violence and arson in Washington, D.C. Amidst the excitement, Eldridge Cleaver gathered four carloads of heavily armed Panthers and set out to “off” some “pigs” and “stoke the image of [the Panthers] as the future revolutionary vanguard.”[xlii] A shootout ensued. Police killed one Panther and hauled Cleaver off to prison. Cleaver insisted he and the Panthers were innocently “preparing a picnic” for the morrow.[xliii] “To the Bastille!” brayed the Berkeley Barb at this “police outrage.” Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer, among others, demanded Cleaver’s release.[xliv]

Meanwhile, Fay worked round the clock on the case. She attended Panther meetings, read books that Huey assigned her, and prepared motions. When the state rejected her challenge of the grand jury, she assembled a panel of sociologists to help her strategize for the trial. This was “a novel concept. Today professional jury consultants are often used in high profile . . . cases . . . but back then the use of sociologists . . . was pioneering.”[xlv] They specifically sought ways to shape a jury to their liking, i.e., one with as many minorities as possible. Fay reached out to David Wellman, a friend and movement journalist who was working on a Ph.D. in “race relations” at Berkeley. He brought his colleagues Bob Blauner, a “confirmed Marxist,” Professor Jan Dizard, and Dr. Bernard Diamond to meet with Fay.[xlvi] Fay and her “experts” prepared hundreds of questions that Charles Garry could ask prospective jurors to root out racial “bias.” This is another example showing that outsiders or Jews will not play by the “gentleman’s rules” that bind together a homogeneous high-trust society. They literally act as a social corrosive.

Garry and Fay knew full well that their chances of winning an acquittal, or a hung jury, rested on whether they could seat Blacks on the jury. Did they really think that Blacks would judge the evidence with greater acumen and dispassion than middle-class Whites? Not bloody likely. They were well aware that minorities on juries were prone to siding with their racial brothers at the expense of facts.[xlvii] Garry wanted “to create the impression that every member of a minority group would understand his client’s perspective better than Whites, but he knew better” [emphasis added].[xlviii] He knew many Blacks in Oakland did not view the Panthers positively. He was banking on naked racial solidarity to spring a murderer and increase his own fame. Did Fay think of the implications of their strategy? Or did she simply accept the idea that Newton was justified in his actions because of White racism?

The Newton Trial     

The trial began with jury selection on July 15, 1968. Judge Monroe Friedman presided. The prosecutor was the tall, courtly, almost ridiculously decent Lowell Jensen. Even Pearlman points out the contrast in style and behavior between the prosecution and the defense; it was exactly what one might expect between a WASP and a group consisting mostly of Jews.[xlix]

Security for the trial was unprecedented. Outside, Panthers and thousands of supporters marched, chanted, and screamed. Some held signs reading, “The Nation Shall be Reduced to Ashes, the Sky’s the Limit if Anything Happens to Huey.”[l] It was blatant intimidation of the judge and jury, orchestrated by the radicals, and should never have been permitted.

For three days, Fay trotted out her experts to explain to Judge Friedman how biased Whites were: Jan Dizard, Bob Blauner, Alex Hoffmann, Dr. Sanford (one of the authors of The Authoritarian Personality), Dr. Diamond, and even Hans Zeisel from Chicago.[li] It is hard to see how the affair could have been more Jewish; only Dizard and Sanford were Gentiles. The judge denied most of the defense’s requests, but did permit a longer questioning period for possible jurors. Questioning of the jury pool then took nearly three excruciating weeks. One defense strategy ironically backfired; most Blacks stated under oath that they couldn’t impose the death penalty under any conditions, and Jensen logically proceeded to exclude them, greatly reducing the number of Blacks who could sit on the jury. Both Fay and Garry had actually hoped that minorities would lie about their feelings on the death penalty so they could be seated and vote against death, if it came to that.[lii] The fact that the defense assumed they would lie, and that they were eager to profit from it, says everything we need to know about their ethics. Such are the imperatives of tikkun olam.

The jury seated five minorities, including one Black man. Jensen, fair to a fault, didn’t strive to exclude minorities just because they were minorities.

The defense put Newton, a good speaker, on the stand. He denied shooting Frey. Then, with Garry prompting him, he “talked at length . . . about hundreds of years of oppression,” over the objections of Jensen, because Judge Friedman “was fascinated” by the history lesson.[liii] Newton, of course, had no direct knowledge of “hundreds of years” of oppression; his “testimony” was totally extraneous to the case. Newton swore that the Panthers were committed to nonviolence, at virtually the same moment protestors outside were chanting, “Revolution has come – Time to pick up your gun,” and “Off the pigs.”[liv]

The Black juror, David Harper, “found himself profoundly affected” when Newton testified about racism in American society.[lv]

When cross-examined by Jensen, Newton claimed that Officer Frey had been rough with him, called him “nigger,” and pushed him; he fell, Frey pulled his gun, and Newton felt a hot flash on his stomach. He claimed he remembered nothing more.[lvi] Garry brought Dr. Diamond to the stand to testify that soldiers shot in the stomach commonly experience amnesia and unconsciousness.[lvii]

Jensen’s final remarks included a “chilling” account of the killing. Only Newton could have fired the fatal shots, he concluded. Garry then closed. He compared Newton to Christ and invoked both the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide. With tears in his eyes, he embraced Newton and implored the jury to find him innocent.[lviii]

During jury deliberations, the lone Black man and a Cuban held out for acquittal. Finally they compromised by opting for a verdict of manslaughter. It was a “stunning” victory for the defense, but it left Fay and Alex Hoffmann devastated (Pearlman speculates that Hoffmann, a homosexual, may have been in love with Newton).[lix] Newton was sentenced to two to fifteen years, under the “indeterminate” sentencing law. It was an outrageous violation of justice, worked by Jews and non-Whites at the expense of a White policeman and White society. The demoralization of White society consequent upon such a violation of justice would be hard to calculate, but surely it would have serious and long-lasting effects.

Fay began working on the appeal the next morning. Garry was busy with other cases, and handed it over to her. She would read the 4,000-page trial transcript, and eventually write a near 200-page brief arguing for a reversal of the verdict, even though historically there was very little chance for success. She threw herself into fund-raising, recruiting celebrities to lend their names to the “Free Huey” campaign, and speaking at colleges, all with her customary full-bore intensity.[lx] She also reached out to rabbis involved in civil rights work: “Fay relished making connections between her religious heritage and her current mission. In her view, Newton’s freedom should be the rabbis’ cause as well.”[lxi]

She visited Newton in prison, along with Alex Hoffmann. As his attorney, they could meet in a small room with some privacy. She felt it her duty to keep Newton’s spirits up. “She seemed . . . to be almost in love with Newton. They looked deeply at each other during her visits, sometimes touching when the guards’ attention wandered.”[lxii] They did more than touch; once “a startled guard reported seeing Stender bent down apparently engaged in oral sex with Newton.”[lxiii] It was a combination Fay couldn’t resist: her own powerful sexual appetite, a poor victim of brutish White racism, an intimate moment with a real revolutionary. Did she think of her husband? Her children? Venereal disease?

In the summer of 1969, Fay and Marvin took time for a trip to Europe and Israel. They “marveled at the transformation in Israel wreaked by the collective blood, sweat and tears of so many Jews.” A relative with an Uzi on his back showed them around what Lise Pearlman calls the “newly liberated” West Bank.[lxiv] Fay would later become “distanced” from other leftists over the issue of Palestine (they often denounced Israeli imperialism); she acknowledged the Arabs had a right to the land, but so did “the survivors of the Holocaust.”[lxv]

When they returned, Fay left Garry & Dreyfus and joined with Peter Franck (her old friend from the Council for Justice) in a new radical law “collective” in Berkeley: Franck, Stender, Hendon, Hill, & Ziegler. All but Hill were Jewish. Collectives were the new thing; they would have no distinctions in status or pay. Naturally, they would devote themselves to “Movement” work.

She finished her brief for Newton’s appeal in January 1970. In what amounted to a grand fishing expedition, she claimed, among other things, that the grand jury and the trial jury did not reflect Newton’s “peer group,” despite the fact that the prosecutor had not excluded minorities per se. Fay and Garry presented oral arguments on February 11. The appellate decision would come down in late May.


[i] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 98.

[ii] When protestor Joe Blum reached Santa Rita prison after dawn, he heard a voice call out, “Hey Joe! How many of you motherfuckers are coming out here?” It was his friend from Merritt College, Huey Newton, in prison for assault. From Hugh Pearson, The Shadow of the Panther (Addison Wesley, 1994), 73.

[iii] Arthur Liebman, Jews and the Left (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1979), 68.

[iv] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 98.

[v] Ibid., 100.

[vi] Ibid., 100-01.

[vii] See Kevin MacDonald, “Jews, Blacks, and Race” here, and E. Michael Jones, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History, Chapter 16.

[viii] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 101-02.

[ix] Ibid., 102. Franck is Jewish; so was Axelrod.

[x] Heineman, 42.

[xi] David Horowitz, Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey (New York: The Free Press, 1997), 227.

[xii] Eric Cummins, The Rise and Fall of California’s Radical Prison Movement (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 97.

[xiii] All quotes from Cummins, 97.

[xiv] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 113.

[xv] Hugh Pearson, The Shadow of the Panther, 104.

[xvi] “Cleaver . . . would do more than anyone else to facilitate Huey Newton’s Black Panther Party replacing SNCC as the national symbol of Black disenchantment.” Pearson, 104.

[xvii] Peter Richardson, A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (New York: The New Press, 2009), 69-70.

[xviii] Cummins, California’s Radical Prison Movement, 100.

[xix] Richardson, A Bomb in Every Issue, 121.

[xx] Ibid., 122-23. Cleaver’s warden from San Quentin had a different view of his writing. He thought it was “racist as hell, talking about the White honkies and death to the White man and that sort of thing . . . I consider[ed] it garbage, the words of a diseased mind.” (from Cummins, 98.)

[xxi] Cummins, 103.

[xxii] Cummins, 103.

[xxiii] Lise Pearlman, American Justice, 110-11.

[xxiv] Horowitz and Collier, 29.

[xxv] Pearlman, American Justice, 133.

[xxvi] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 118.

[xxvii] Pearlman, American Justice, 110.

[xxviii] Pearson, 292.

[xxix] Richardson, 92-3. Stern probably knew the “French Resistance” was largely Jewish; see “Was the French Resistance Jewish?” in the Tablet: https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/201308/was-the-french-resistance-jewish

[xxx] See here for Scherr.

[xxxi] Cummins, 113-14.

[xxxii] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 119.

[xxxiii] Pearlman, American Justice, 112, 136.

[xxxiv] Ibid., 38.

[xxxv] Ibid., 117-18.

[xxxvi] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 121.

[xxxvii] Ibid., 122.

[xxxviii] Pearlman, American Justice, 151.

[xxxix] Ibid., 151.

[xl] In his book And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, Ralph Abernathy, close associate of Martin Luther King, testifies that King spent time with two women that night, neither one his wife, and beat up a third. See http://articles.latimes.com/1989-11-12/books/bk-1880_1_ralph-david-abernathy/2

[xli] After the Watts riots in August 1965, in which the Blacks of Los Angeles had destroyed much of their community, they nevertheless felt that they had “had chastised the White power structure.” Heineman, 41.

[xlii] Pearson, 154.

[xliii] Pearson, 155.

[xliv] Cummins, 121.

[xlv] Pearlman, American Justice, 161-62.

[xlvi] Ibid., 177.

[xlvii] Ibid., 217.

[xlviii] Ibid., 223.

[xlix] Ibid., 215.

[l] Pearson, 167.

[li] Pearlman, American Justice, 210-13.

[lii] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 126.

[liii] Pearlman, American Justice, 284-85.

[liv] Ibid., 286.

[lv] Ibid., 327.

[lvi] Ibid., 287-88.

[lvii] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 130-31.

[lviii] Pearlman, American Justice, 298-302.

[lix] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, xiv.

[lx] Pearlman, American Justice, 357-58.

[lxi] Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 143-44.

[lxii] Horowitz and Collier, 31.

[lxiii] Pearlman, American Justice, 358.

[lxiv] Both quotes from Pearlman, Call Me Phaedra, 150.

[lxv] Ibid., 336.

The Life and Times of Fay Stender, Radical Attorney for the Black Panthers, Part 1

Introduction

Fay Stender earned fame as a radical attorney in the 1960s and 1970s, defending two of the most prominent Black Panthers in highly publicized court cases. During the course of her career in left-wing activism, she embraced numerous “causes” with a passion as flamboyant as it was unbalanced. She worked strictly within the stream of Jewish anti-White activism, but inside that framework her aims were essentially random, a consequence of her peculiar personality. She displayed during the course of her work a toxic combination of Jewish radicalism, selfishness, ambition, egotism, and unrestrained female emotion. The blend eventually destabilized social institutions and got people killed.

Fay was the personification of psychological intensity, a classic marker of Jewish activism. Her personality traits were etched in bold lettering. People “who knew her intimately . . . regarded her as one of the most forceful persons they had ever met.”[i] Her sympathetic biographer mentions her “extraordinary” ego, and even her husband was appalled by her “analytic, calculating ambition.”[ii] She was “deeply typical” of the radical movement, says a fellow 1960s leftist, “the paradigmatic radical—relentlessly pushing at human limits; driven to a fine rage by perceived injustices; searching for personal authenticity in her revolutionary commitments.”[iii] Like many subversives of the 1960s, she was also a strongly identified Jew, and consciously linked the supposed values of her Jewish heritage with her social activism.

Her life story is a revealing case study in Jewish activism.

Early Life and Education

Fay Stender was born in San Francisco in 1932, into a middle-class Jewish family. Her grandparents hailed from the old country: Brest-Litovsk, Hungary, and Germany. Her father, Sam Abraham, was a chemical engineer; her mother, Ruby, was a teacher. They were a conventional family, not “political” or activist. Sam was Orthodox, but Fay and her only sibling, Lisie, were raised Reform, and they observed the Sabbath and other Jewish rites.[iv]

Fay began piano lessons at four years of age, and quickly showed real talent. By the time she entered her teen years she was on track to become a concert pianist. She earned the privilege of performing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony when she was just fourteen years old.

Not long afterward, she rebelled against her rigorous schedule. She wasn’t happy with her stunted social life (she was attending private school to maximize practice time); she demanded to be allowed to attend Berkeley High School with her friend Hilde Stern. She also wanted to reduce her practice time. Her parents submitted only after much argument. She did not fit in very well in high school, however, because Hilde’s circle of friends considered her arrogant. She was “a loner, restless and impatient with frivolity.”[v] She read much in her spare time and made the National Honor Society.

Fay and her family evinced a good deal of neurosis. Her mother was “controlling” and “tended toward hypochondria,” frequently dragging Fay around to doctors and imposing unnecessary therapies on her. Fay herself suffered periods of serious depression throughout her life, and may have suffered from bipolar disorder.[vi] She also enjoyed provoking authority. At public institutions, she would open doors marked “private” and, boldly entering, implicitly challenging the White social order.

At seventeen, Fay followed Hilde Stern to Portland, Oregon, to study English at Reed College. Reed had a reputation as left wing and iconoclastic. Fay reveled in her freedom from parental control, and began dating for the first time. She was, like many young people, almost painfully idealistic. A letter of advice to her younger sister featured this earnest impression: “The real meaning of life is in three things, love, beauty and pain. And these three are all really one which is God or Truth. And you will only come to know and understand this by giving, and giving too much.”[vii]

A young Fay Stender at Reed College

Jewish idealism does not frown upon unorthodox modes of sexual expression. Sex is also, of course, a well-known tool of revolutionaries. In her sophomore year she fell for a youthful professor, Stanley Moore, a womanizing Communist with a taste for bondage (Fay’s biographer Lise Pearlman describes the relationship as “sado-masochistic.”[viii]) Moore turned her strongly to the left and “convinced her to reject her cloistered upbringing and bourgeois Jewish values.”[ix] It began to dawn on Fay that “there was something wrong with this country, something I wanted to change.”[x] She quickly embraced radical ideas, a rare example of a Gentile converting a Jew to revolution.

In her junior year she transferred to the University of California at Berkeley. There she befriended a fellow student, Chinese immigrant Betty Lee, and, talking “a million miles a minute,” “passionately expounded on Communism, racism and imperialism.”[xi] Her knowledge of these issues must have been superficial, but her passion wasn’t. She was vocal enough with her new beliefs that the FBI opened a file on her and Betty as suspected Communists.[xii] The FBI would track Fay through much of her life. Read more

Jews and the Left by Philip Mendes: Review, Part 3

Go to Part 1.

Go to Part 2.

Herbert Marcuse addressing American students in 1968

Jewish involvement in the New Left

In Jews and the Left, Mendes recounts the disproportionate Jewish involvement in the New Left—a political movement that began in the early 1960s when students travelled to the southern states to support the emerging “civil rights” movement. In the mid-1960s, the movement switched to northern campuses to advocate student rights, free speech and opposition to the Vietnam War. This was the time when the ideas of Frankfurt School intellectuals like Erich Fromm and Herbert Marcuse began to displace orthodox Marxism in leftist movements throughout the West. Mendes notes that:

Jews contributed significantly to the theoretical underpinning of the New Left. From 30 to 50 per cent of the founders and editorial boards of such New Left journals as Studies on the Left, New University Thought, and Root and Branch (later Ramparts) were of Jewish origin. Radical academic bodies and think tanks such as the Caucus for a New Politics, the Union of Radical Political Economists and the Institute for Policy Studies were overwhelmingly Jewish. A number of the key intellectual gurus of the New Left such as Paul Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Herbert Marcuse were also Jewish.[i]

The Jews who flooded the ranks of the New Left in the early-to-mid 1960s “appear to have been largely assimilated third-generation Jews from Old Left backgrounds [i.e., “red diaper babies”], although some had participated in Labor Zionist Groups.” Studies of American Jewish New Left activists reveal many had grown up in highly politicized left-wing family environments. Jews made up around two-thirds of the White Freedom Riders who went south in 1961, and about one-third to one-half of committed New Left activists in the USA, including key leaders such as Abbie Hoffmann and Jerry Rubin. In 1964 they represented from one-half to two-thirds of the volunteers who flooded Mississippi to help register black voters. At Berkeley in 1964, around one-third of the leaders of the Free Speech Movement (FSM) demonstrators were Jewish, as were over half of the movement’s steering committee, including Bettina Aptheker, Suzanne Goldberg, Steve Weisman, and Jack Weinberg who coined the famous phrase “You can’t trust anyone over thirty.[ii] Moreover:

In 1965 at the University of Chicago, 45 per cent of the protestors against the university’s collaboration with the Selective Service System were Jews. At Columbia University in 1968 one-third of the protestors were of Jewish origin, and three of the four student demonstrators killed at Kent State in 1970 were Jewish. Jews comprised a large proportion of the leaders and activists within Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Some of the key leaders included the founder Al Haber, Todd Gitlin and Mark Rudd. Approximately 30 to 50 per cent of the SDS membership in the early–mid 1960s were Jewish.[iii] At one point in the late 1960s, SDS presidents on the campuses of Columbia University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Wisconsin (Madison), North Western University, and Michigan University were all Jews. Jewish participation in SDS was particularly high at Pennsylvania University and the State University of New York. There was also a number of Jews in the violent Weathermen group.[iv]

Read more

Jews and the Left by Philip Mendes: A Review — Part 2

Go to Part 1.

Denying the Jewish role in the Ukrainian famine

Mendes sees a revival of “the Judeo-Communist theory” in Australian author Helen Darville’s 1994 novel, The Hand That Signed the Paper, which posited that the collaboration of some Ukrainians with the Germans in World War II could be attributed to the role played by Jewish Bolsheviks in imposing the genocidal Ukrainian famine of the 1930s. For Darville’s central characters, anti-Jewish massacres were understandable revenge for earlier Jewish actions. For Mendes, Darville’s book provides a “classic example of the way in which the Judeo-Communist theory both reverses the cause and effect of anti-Semitism and communism, and acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy. … In short, it provides no explanation of the factors that drove many Jews to join the socialist movement. The historical context of anti-Semitism creating Jewish sympathy for Bolshevism is simply omitted.”[i] This is a disingenuous analysis given Mendes’ own gross misrepresentation of the context for Ukrainian anti-Jewish sentiment (i.e., casually dismissing centuries of economic predation).

In Jews and the Left, Mendes even asserts that “the argument that Jews as an ethnic group or even Jews as individual Bolsheviks played a significant role in the Ukrainian famine lacks any concrete evidence.”[ii] He evades discussion of the role of the Jewish Soviet leader in the Ukraine, Lazar Kaganovich, in overseeing the forced collectivization of 1932–33, conceived as part of an “assault on the Ukrainian nationalist intelligentsia.” The country was sealed off and all food supplies and livestock were confiscated, with Kaganovich leading “expeditions into the countryside with brigades of OGPU troopers” who used “the gun, the lynch mob and the Gulag system to break the villages.”[iii]

Similarly omitted is any mention of the role of the Jewish-dominated secret police in the Ukraine led by Genrikh Yagoda (also Jewish) in exterminating all “anti-party elements.” In his book The Jewish Century, Yuri Slezkine notes how “the Soviet Secret Police – the regime’s sacred center, known after 1934 as the NKVD – was one of the most Jewish of all Soviet Institutions.”[iv] Furious that insufficient Ukrainians were being shot, Kaganovich set quota of 10,000 executions a week for his secret police in Ukraine. Eighty percent of Ukrainian intellectuals were shot—the familiar pattern in which communist governments murdered the previously influential intelligentsia and other elites (see Tom Sunic’s “The Dysgenics of a Killing Field”; also a theme of Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century, see here, p. 69). During the winter of 1932–33, 25,000 Ukrainians per day were being shot or left to die of starvation.[v]

Genrikh Yagoda

Read more

Jews and the Left by Philip Mendes: Review — Part 1

Jews and the Left: The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance
Philip Mendes
Melbourne, Victoria: Palgrave MacMillian, 2014

Introduction

In 2018 I reviewed Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg’s Revolutionary Yiddishland: A History of Jewish Radicalism, a shameless apologia for (and indeed glorification of) Jewish involvement in radical political movements in the early- to mid-twentieth century. Jews and the Left: The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance by the Jewish Australian academic Philip Mendes covers much of the same ground, rehashing many of the same apologetic tropes.

Mendes, an Associate Professor at Monash University in Melbourne, describes his book, published in 2014, as “the first publication to provide a systematic historical and political overview of the relationship between Jews and the left.”[1] Largely ignoring scholarly literature on the subject emanating from non-Jewish and non-philo-Semitic sources, Mendes insists that “With the exception of Arthur Liebman’s outstanding 1979 text, Jews and the Left, there has been little systematic analysis of the Jewish—Left relationship.”[2] Such an ideologically-selective survey of the literature leads him to conclude that “the phenomenon of Jewish radicalism seems to have been seriously under-researched by both general students of sociology and history, and Jewish studies specialists.”[3]

Unlike some of the more egregious Jewish propagandists and apologists who have contributed to the topic, Mendes makes no attempt to deny disproportionate Jewish involvement in political radicalism, stating:

The disproportionate historical contribution of Jews to the political Left has been well documented. Both as individual theorists and activists of the stature of Marx, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Léon Blum and Emma Goldman, and as organized mass labor movements in, for example, revolutionary Russia and early—mid 20th century Warsaw, Amsterdam, Paris, Toronto, Buenos Aires, New York and London, Jews have been conspicuous for their socialist and communist affiliations.[4]

Indeed, Mendes points out that from around 1830 until 1970, an “informal political alliance existed between Jews and the political Left.”[5] Read more