Bill Arthrell

Bill Arthrell is a teacher, poet, activist and free lance human being. He taught in Cleveland Public Schools for most of his 31 year career. He was a history teacher and ardent member of the Cleveland Teacher's Union. Also a poet, he is the author of "Heart's Cargo--the poetry of Cleveland" (available on-line at He's been a peacenik and leftie since he went to the infamous Democratic Convention in 1968 in Chicago. Two years later he was an eyewitness to the Kent State Massacre. For his efforts he was indicted in the "Kent 25" and arrested 12 other times in the anti-war movement. Several years ago he went to Vietnam, alone, to apologize for the war and pay reparations to the Vietnamese. His slide show on his "Guilt Trip" about this journey down America's Heart of Darkness is a moving tribute to the forgiveness of the Vietnamese in the face of their nation still very much suffering from the "American War."

Growing up in a working class family from Lorain County he is very aware of the contributions workers have made on this planet and in this country and the tragic suppression of both the union and anti-war movements.

Guilt Trip

Bill Arthrell was an eyewitness to the Kent State murders 41 years ago. This would lead to 13 arrests in the anti-war movement and a lifetime of activism for peace and justice.

As a history teacher in Cleveland Schools he is very aware of the legacy of imperialism that has defined much of US history. From the Mexican-American War to bombing Libya our invasions, occupations and wars of political and economic domination seem endless (and they have been). But, the 10,000 day war in Southeast Asia, with the deaths of nearly 6 million people, was the most devastating and nefarious of all.

So, haunted by Kent State Massacre and the "American War" he took it upon himself to go to Vietnam and pay reparations and apologize directly to the Vietnamese people. In his slide show, "Guilt Trip", he passionately tells the story of that journey which demonstrated that the war for the Vietnamese has never ended. In the 1973 peace treaty signed by Henry Kissinger the US promised to rebuild Vietnam as we had Germany and Japan after WWII. We completely reneged on our promise; so Arthrell took it upon himself to, in a small way, to rectify the situation. Yet, 650,000 have died since the war from the Agent Orange we left behind. To understand the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq one needs to understand Vietnam.


"Labor can exist without Capital, but Capital could never have existed without Labor. Hence, Labor is greatly superior of Capital." -Abraham Lincoln

"Repression". If labor is superior to capital then why has it been so tenaciously opposed in US history? Today, why is there SB 5 in Ohio and many other stringent laws in Wisconsin and other states against the basic right to unionize and collectively bargain?

As Cleveland history teacher Bill Arthrell says,"Everything comes from history. Everything is the way it is today for one reason and one reason only: history."

So, let's explore the tumultuous history of Labor vs. Capital in the home of world capitalism: the USA. Life in the textile mills for women in the early years of the Industrial Revolution; organizing early unions like the Knights of Labor; communists, socialists and anarchists take the risk and repression to organize; such turbulent strikes as Homestead, Ludlow, Pullman, etc and their violent suppression by the agents of capitalism: the state, police and national guard. The executions of labor and leftist activists like Sacco and Vanzetti, Joe Hill and the Rosenbergs.

Although everyone in the working class and middle class has benefited from the labor struggle, the corporate media has been able to discredit unions and politicians demonize them. So, now more than ever they're under attack. What you need to know and what you can do.

















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