Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
In The True Spirit Of Spartacus
In the true spirit of Spartacus, we present, against what may be called difficult odds, our second edition. Hal Muskat, the editor-in-chief of the first issue of SPARTACUS, was shipped out to Ft. Dix, NJ, in less than four days after the first issue was printed. Others who helped in puttibng out that first issue were intimidated enough that they dropped out of the staff. But still others of us have stepped forward to take their places. Hopefully, this tradition will continue as long as or whenever it is necessary...As long as there are men here at Fort Lee who are dedicated to the preservation of the free voice of the short-term enlisted men.
SPARTACUS began as an in-the-open, aboveground GI newspaper, but now have been forced underground, forced to act with the name of Spartacus as our one identity.
Hal Muskat, an activist at Fort Dix, was shipped out of that fort for his involvement in the distribution of underground newspapers on post. He was moved here to Ft. Lee, arriving on or about May 4. Determined not to be intimidated by the brass, Muskat found men here at Fort Lee that also wanted to “free their minds from the involuntary servitude of the military machine.” They began work on what was to become SPARTACUS, being careful to use off-post facilities in off-duty hoursz. It took a lot of work and more than a few nights of little or no sleep to put together the first edition, but the preset deadline was met. SPARTACUS was ready for distribution by the Memorial Day weekend.
Distribution of the paper was handled primarily by simply passing it out to the men leaving Fort Lee via the Petersburg bus station. It was here that Hal Muskat and a couple civilians, who were helping to distribute the paper, were interrupted by the local pigs. When the pigs found out that Muskat was in the army, they called the MPs and then brought him here to the station at Fort Lee. They could legally do nothing to him, because he had done nothing illegal, but the army is expert at hasassment and keeping things in tow (or so it thinks).
The following Monday, June 2, Muskat was given only a few hours to get off post (back to Fort Dix in less than a month). This order was issued by CID, which was - directed to issue the order by someone in the high-high-hierarchy here at Fort Lee.
The brass here at Lee are even more repressive than they are at the other army posts (in case you hadn't noticed). It is not uncommon for a man to go to jail for going awol for a few days from Fort Lee. Other Punishments for similarly small offenses are strict and out of proportion. Artcle 15s are a very common occurance. (The rate, for the third quarter, of Article 15s at Ft Lee is 17% higher than the rate for the entire 1st Army.) One is especially open to strict punishment and harassment here att Fort Lee if he is black (this is obvious te this writer, who has seen, in eleven monts at Fort Lee, the unequal, uncalled for punishment and harassment given to blacks).
Why are personnel singled out for suppression and harassment so much more here at Ft Lee than at other posts? The answer is overly suppressive, overly strict post regulations. The army has regulations and directives enough to govern disciplinary actions of all kinds, but a post commander (in this case, a major general) can choose to ignore many of these regulations and directives, and set himself up as a little god, making his own rules and regulations, handing out harsh punishments for minor offensives.
Its the lifer brass that make it hard on the short-term enlisted men. And they will target us just as badly as we let them. We must, in some way, threaten the power of their hideous dictatorship. SPARTACUS is a step in this direction. Your support for SPARTACUS is a step too. Support SPARTACUS by passing this paper on to another man after you’ve read it. Give us your support by writing us a letter--tell us your gripes; tell us about your harassment; write up an article for the next issue; just let us hear from you. If you’ve got some lying around, send us some money--any kind of financial contribution would be appreciated.
Spartacus, vol. 1, no. 2