Raw footage of a interview conducted for "The 90's" with John Rossen, a Spanish Civil War veteran, former Communist Party member, and now editor of The New Patriot, a left-wing newspaper published in Chicago.
00:00Copy video clip URL In a cab, producer Tom Weinberg talks about John Rossen, who is 83 years old. Weinberg is impressed by Rossen’s optimism. Videomaker Patrick Creadon and Weinberg go up to an office on State Street.
05:52Copy video clip URL Rossen welcomes the two into his office. They set up for the interview.
08:30Copy video clip URL Interview with Rossen, a Spanish Civil War veteran, former Communist Party member, and now editor of The New Patriot, a left-wing newspaper published in Chicago. Discussion begins with the topic of Vote Smart, a grass-roots political organization dedicated to creating an “informed electorate… problems with control of the media.” Rossen notes that humor is a big part of the struggle for democracy. “I used to be fond of Abby Hoffman. He knew how to use humor to defeat the opposition.”
11:05Copy video clip URL Rossen talks about a recent effort to support a project called Vote Smart, a group run by students at University of Oregon. The objective is to inform people on the stance of political figures regarding any issue so voters can vote accordingly, with accurate information.
13:40Copy video clip URL Rossen notes he’s been doing this kind of advocacy for 65 years. Part of the problem, he says, is that people aren’t informed. The media doesn’t do what they should. Too many in the media keep a politician’s stance on an issue suppressed. The New York Times and Washington Post are the exceptions.
16:39Copy video clip URL Rossen adds that the purpose of his newspaper, The New Patriot, is to restore democracy. He discusses the problems with “the American Left'” and the upcoming 1992 presidential election, specifically Bill Clinton, the Democratic base of voters, and Ross Perot. Rossen thinks the Democratic party needs to return to its base. He fears the greater part of the Democratic voters, minorities, will choose not to vote. He supports Jesse Jackson’s proposal to get minorities involved in the election process. Register to vote. He feels that since the Reagan years, the rich have gotten richer and the poor poorer.
25:50Copy video clip URL Rossen says that he doesn’t believe in Left and Right. You’re either a Patriot or a Traitor. He compares the ideals of the founding fathers to the current state, through the perspective of the New Patriot. He compares some current political tactics to Hitler’s. Rossen says that if laws were enforced, both Reagan and Bush would be in jail. He adds that the danger of Ross Perot is that he’s unstable. His ideas have nothing to do with democracy.
34:45Copy video clip URL Rossen notes that the American public wants change. They’re suffering and dissatisfied. Weinberg says he is shocked by the dedication of Perot supporters. Rossen talks about his involvement in 3rd party movements.
36:08Copy video clip URL Rossen says he’s participated in many new parties since 1932. The Farmer Party, The Peoples Party, The Citizens Party. He says third party movements are doomed to failure unless you have several billions of dollars. Rossen discusses the future of political conventions and environmentalism.
38:02Copy video clip URL Rossen notes that this is a critical moment for the world. If Bush or Perot get into office it will be disastrous. The best way for people to express their desires is through the Democratic party, their contingency is the poor, homeless, those who are suffering.
40:15Copy video clip URL Weinberg talks about being at the recent Democratic National Convention and how different the experience is in person as compared to watching it on TV.
40:56Copy video clip URL Stop/re-start digitizing. Four minutes of the tape are lost to tape degradation. Sounds cuts in and out. Video cuts in mid-discussion about Bush’s behavior that was not in the interest of the American people.
42:44Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks Rossen to repeat his statement. Rossen notes if Bill Clinton wins the presidential election he’ll have to bring into the fold the traditional base of the Democratic party: the minorities, the unemployed, the underemployed. He needs to move them to the front and make them part of the party. He must make his position clear on National Healthcare, the Canadian Plan — it’s what Americans need. He must take a stance one the question of provoking Saddam Hussein into war. He continues about how the deficit must be cut and defense budget reduced, structures to the UN Council, and a plan for restructuring the League of Nations so that third world nations can get a fair share of the planet’s wealth.
51:22Copy video clip URL Rossen notes that the environment was a problem even in the 1930s. Roosevelt believed in planting trees. Rossen adds that the environmental issue won’t be the decisive issue today, the economy will be.
53:50Copy video clip URL The videographer, Patrick Creadon, says it’s time to switch tapes.
54:15Copy video clip URL END. The footage continues on tape 10550.