rn:Tanya Mandel – a good life!


Jan Slakov

Dear Renaissance Network,

I never met Tanya Mandel and I will probably never meet Bill Mandel. But I
appreciate his presence on our list and am deeply moved by the message below.

It mentions how one of the Mandel's sons came to Canada at the time of the
Viet Nam war. If Canada is indeed a good place to live, I think it is in no
small part due to people such as him, many of whom I have had the pleasure
to work with. I hope we can give back to the US what it has (inadvertently)
given to us - maybe by helping with the "great turning" that hopefully will
come sooner rather than later.

all the best, Jan
Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 19:10:24 -0800
From: William Mandel <•••@••.•••>
Subject: [Fwd: A tribute to Tanya Mandel]

Laura X -G3- wrote:
> Berkeley Daily Planet
>                A tribute to Tanya Mandel
>                By Bill Mandel (12-21-01)
>                Tanya Mandel, editor, KPFA broadcaster and activist,
> died Tuesday.
>                She was 84.
>                Of herself, she wrote: ³I was born in 1917 in New York
> City.... My first
>                political memory was the execution of Sacco and
> Vanzetti² in 1927,
>                ³which shocked and angered my family and their
> friends. My second
>                recollection was collecting money on the street to support coal
>                miners on strike.²
>                This activity took place in her early teens.
>                In 1935, with Hitler in power for two years, the
> German liner, S.S.
>                Bremen, entered New York flying the Nazi flag. She and
> the man she
>                would marry that year and who would be her husband for the
>                remaining 66 years of her life, Bill Mandel, were in a massive
>                police-assaulted demonstration at the dock as Irish-American
>                seaman Bill Bailey, later a much-written-about figure
> in San Francisco,
>                managed to pull down the flag.
>                Mrs. Mandel and her husband-to-be had met picketing in
> support of
>                chiefly African-American and female laundry workers
> seeking union
>                recognition.
>                During a period in Akron, Ohio, Mrs. Mandel, then 20,
> organized the
>                movement that won the construction of that city¹s
> first public housing
>                project, at a time when such buildings were a major
> step forward in
>                replacing slum tenements as dwellings for the working poor.
>                Mrs. Mandel returned to New York during World War II, and now a
>                mother, she was instrumental in obtaining a government-funded
>                institution of a type until then essentially unknown
> in this country: a
>                child-care center.
>                Later, active in the Parent-Teachers Association, she and her
>                husband furthered their children¹s familiarization with other
>                ethnicities by sending them to the overwhelmingly
> black schools in
>                their neighborhood when other white parents would not.
>                During the McCarthy era Mrs. Mandel took part in a spontaneous
>                march through the Lower East Side when Ethel and
> Julius Rosenberg
>                were executed, a parade without a permit led by three
> generations
>                of the Mandel family including their then 13-year-old daughter.
>                The family moved to Berkeley in 1957, where Mrs.
> Mandel lived for
>                the next 40 years. In the Œ50s, she participated in
> the activities that
>                won racial integration of the Berkeley schools. She
> was a member of
>                the Boatrockers Democratic Club and, in the early 1960s, joined
>                Women for Peace, organized to stop atmospheric testing
> of nuclear
>                weapons when radioactive Strontium 90 began to be found in
>                mothers¹ milk. Just a week before her death, when that
> outcome was
>                not expected, members wrote her a get-well card with individual
>                comments such as these:
>                ³We miss you and your wisdom.²
>                Another: ³I miss you and your important suggestions at our
>                meetings.²
>                A third: ³We miss your forceful, uncompromising comments.²
>                Mrs. Mandel was an opponent of the Vietnam War from the outset.
>                She was in daily attendance during the 11-week trial
> of one of her
>                sons, a member of the so-called Oakland Seven who had organized
>                disruptive demonstrations in an attempt to prevent the
> Oakland Army
>                Induction Center from functioning. They were
> acquitted. Another son,
>                a total pacifist, went to Canada to, in her words,
> ³avoid fighting the
>                Vietnamese people.²
>                That same period saw the birth of second-wave feminism, and
>                Mandel, daughter Phyllis, and husband Bill were
> invited to join one of
>                the very earliest women¹s liberation groups.
>                In 1966, Mrs. Mandel visited the Soviet Union and did so
>                times thereafter with a particular eye to the status
> of women. She
>                was impressed by the advanced level of education for women and
>                the social services provided for mothers and children,
> but struck by
>                what she called the ³male domination of every facet of life.²
>                Mandel reported on her observations during a five-year
> stint, during
>                which she shared her husband¹s 37-year-long program on
> KPFA. Bill
>                Mandel, whose radio program focused on the former
> Soviet Union, is
>                the author of a number of books on the subject.
>                In 1984, now in her late 60s, Mrs. Mandel participated
> in yet another
>                demonstration with her entire family, this time at
> dawn on the San
>                Francisco docks. It was part of a successful effort to
> prevent the
>                unloading of a shipload of South African goods as part
> of the struggle
>                to end apartheid.
>                Jewish, and educated at home to speak Yiddish before learning
>                English, Mandel supported the founding of Israel,
> ³hoping at first for
>                a joint Jewish-Arab state,² she wrote. ³In 1967 and
> 1974 I was very
>                disturbed at the attitude of the majority of U.S. Jews toward
>                Palestinians and the idea of a Palestinian state.... I
> became involved
>                in campaigns on behalf of the Palestinians and a
> Palestinian state.²
>                Just before entering the operating room for the unavoidable
>                procedure that would terminate tragically, the risks
> of which she
>                knew, Mandel smiled broadly when told that the death
sentence of
>                Mumia Abu-Jamal had been set aside. (Mrs. Mandel made the
>                to have the risky hip replacement surgery, rather than live
in a
>                zombie-like state, as a result of the medications she
> would have had
>                to use to stave off severe pain.)
>                Her strength of character and devotion to principle to
> the contrary
>                notwithstanding, the term universally applied to
> describe Mandel by
>                mere acquaintances as well as by those who knew her well was
>                ³sweet.²
>                Tanya Mandel was a charter subscriber to the Berkeley Repertory
>                Theatre, earlier to A.C.T., an avid concert-goer and
> frequent visitor to
>                museums. Her last dinner-table conversation in the
> senior facility
>                where she and her husband resided was on Girardeau¹s play, ³The
>                Madwoman of Chaillot.²
>                In addition to her husband, Mrs. Mandel leaves behind her three
>                children, Phyllis, Bob and David, two grandchildren
> and one great
>                grandchild.
>                A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at
> the Claremont
>                House, 4500 Gilbert St., Oakland.
>                William Mandel¹s most recent book is an autobiography,
> ³Saying No
>                to Power,² (Creative Arts, Berkeley). In it, one can
> find references to
>                Mrs. Mandel on 50 pages.
> Laura X
> National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape
> Women's History Library
> (510) 524-1582  Berkeley, Ca.
> WEB SITE: http://ncmdr.org

  My autobiography, SAYING NO TO POWER (Creative Arts, Berkeley, 1999), 
is designed for the general reader. If you teach in the social sciences,
consider it for course use.  It was written as a social history of the 
U.S. for the past three-quarters of a century through the eyes of a 
participant observer in most progressive social movements (I'm 84), 
and of the USSR from the standpoint of a Sovietologist (five earlier 
books) knowing that country longer than any other in the profession.  
Therefore it is also a history of the Cold War.  Positive reviews 
in The Black Scholar, American Studies in Scandinavia, San Francisco 
Chronicle, etc. Introduction by Howard Zinn. Chapters are up at 
http://www.billmandel.net where you may also hear/see my defiant 
testimonies before Sen. Joe McCarthy in 1953 and the House Un-American
Activities Committee in 1960. Available through all normal channels. 
Autographed copies may be obtained from me for $23 postpaid at 4500 
Gilbert St. Apt. 426, Oakland, CA. 94611.
                                                William Mandel