Mike Bardoff Interview

- BalTimOre, Maryland, USA

- May 15, 2003

[This interview is previously unpublished. I was planning to publish it in my magazine "Street Ratbag" issue 7/2 but issue 7/1 was the last issue - largely because my coeditor had lost interest in it. Mike was born in Baltimore, as was I. I lived in Baltimore City for the 1st 3 years of my life, then in Baltimore County for most of the next 19 & then in Baltimore City for most of the next 18 years.

From 1969 or 1970 on I've considered myself to be an anarchist (until if & when the context of anarchy becomes too oppressive). Anarchy is usually considered to be the 'extreme left' & I have identified with leftist political positions for most of my life. Nonetheless, I don't consider myself to be a 'leftist', I find it too limiting. I'm interested in whatever political analysis strikes me as the most fair & the most evenly balanced. I don't want to be restricted to always saying yes to whatever leftists (or anyone else) advocates. I prefer to be a Free Thinker.

As such, I've always felt that I had an uneasy alliance with the leftists of Baltimore. I have an imagination, many leftists don't. Hence my deliberately 'lunatic fringe' IMP(ish) ACTIVISM was frowned upon by the more humorless left.

When a bookstore I co-owned needed more space we were offered an additional rental by our landlord in the basement of another building across the street. The 1st floor was occupied by a leftist group that almost never used it. When the woman who ran the group found out that we were planning to rent the basement she came to our store & threatened to burn our store down if we did. I assume she was afraid we'd spy on her meetings or some such. Is that 'leftism' or NAZISM?! It seemed peculiarly close to the latter for me.

Mike Bardoff & his collaborators in BERN were (& probably still are) a refreshing variety of leftist activists that I could strongly identify with. Mike's a friendly dedicated guy with a great sense of humor who's honest & media-aware. Of all the activists I've known in Baltimore he's one of the ones I respect the most.

For the moment. at least, I'm presenting the article here as I originally laid it out for the Street Ratbag.]



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