Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
This is the third edition of Bulkhead. It's clear by now that we're here to stay. Each issue looks better then the one before, and unlike some GI papers, we haven't folded after the first issue. We're now long overdue for a critical look at ourselves.
What has happened to us in the first three months is that the writing, layout, printing, and distribution of this paper has virtually been forced underground. In fact, we have faced many of the same problems with this paper that the inmates of San Quentin faced putting out their underground paper, The Outlaw. Our civilian and Gl photographers have had their film and cameras taken from them. Our active duty writers have been court-martialled for trying to get the Navy's side of the story, and distributors have been harrassed and in some cases busted far passing out the paper. The compartment cleaner chief at NAS Alameda has even offered 24 hours liberty to anyone who turns in a brother he suspects of being associated with Bulkhead.
These conditions have forced us to do almost all of our newspaper work off-base. Articles are smuggled off-base, where they are typed, set on a page, and printed in secret by the people not intimidated by the military agents of the ruling class. The only way we’ll be able to make this paper more responsive to the needs of Bay Area sailors is if you work with us in putting it together. We people who put out Bulkhead are turning our hate of the military dinosaur and our love for the people it oppresses into energy. You see, we are bound by hate and love both. That's a bond that's hard to break. All we want now is for more of you to share this feeling with us. The clicks, buzzes, humms, and rustlings of shuffled papers are the music of production. Our machine is like no other. Why not join us at our next Bulkhead production meeting. Call 549-2172 for the time and place.
We'll be the first to admit our mistakes. They include the following: (l) the Bulkhead is not yet really a Navy paper. It's treatment off the news is still too general. (2) We have not gotten enough letters-to-the-editor. (3) Because we are forced to operate secretly we have not been in close enough contact with one or two particular bases here. (4) We have not really explaimed our twelve point program in detail.
We're sure that you're all on to many of our shortcomings. The only way we can recognize them and deal with them is if you tell us, either in person or through the mail. Remember, this is supposed to be your paper.
lf we were putting out a supplement to Navy Times, if we were putting out a sea scout monthly, we would be able to clear the paper through base authorities, sell it in the commissaries and cafetarias, and pass it out in barracks without any trouble. As long as we'd be putting out a paper which did not challenge the security, the authority, and the legitimacy of the US Navy, they would have no reason to stop us.
The Navy is not fighting us because we’re putting out a newspaper. They're trying to squash us because our paper and our organization are against everything they stand for.
We are armed with the truth, and we are not kidding around. Their organization and their lives are built on lies, and they aren't kidding around either. For these reasons we are partially underground. We expect no mercy from their laws, their courts, or their prisons. We do not believe in asking permission to make a human revolution. We know that those who try to openly exercise their ‘rights’ have always been bitterly disappointed to discover that they have all the rights in the world only until they try to exercise them.
But you ask, “If you are undergroround, how are we going to find you ?“ Our paper and our office are like the top one-tenth of an iceberg. But our strength lies underwater, in the unity of our organization both on and off base. And no seaman who has ever seen an iceberg ever forgets that it's the part of the iceberg you can't see which sinks the ship.
Up Against the Bulkhead, vol. 1, no. 3