I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and was educated in public schools, including California State University, Los Angeles, where I earned by B.A. and M.A. degrees. At an early stage in my life I developed an intense interest in the social sciences: history, international relations, sociology and biography. I left Los Angeles only after college, when I went into the U.S. Peace Corps to teach in Ethiopia for two years. Upon my return to the United States, I attended graduate school at Northwestern University near Chicago, receiving my PhD in U.S. history in 1974.
Another key focus of my life has been my love of the natural world, especially the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, which I began exploring when I was a teenager. Every summer and fall especially, I head out for hiking and camping trips to enjoy the intense beauty of our outdoor sanctuaries.
I have been a people’s movement activist for five decades, beginning with the 1960s anti-Vietnam war and civil rights struggles. I marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and participated in numerous protests against U.S. wars during that and subsequent decades. During that same period, I joined the union movement. I have actively participated as a member of three unions, most recently the National Writers Union, which I represented for several years on the Central Labor Council of Alameda County. I have been an educator, including teaching at the university level for several years, using as my inspiration Howard Zinn’s vision of an engaged scholar in solidarity with the people’s movements.
I have also been a historical consultant for over 30 years, authoring or co-authoring over 200 reports for a variety of clients I am the author of numerous magazine articles, mainly for Z Magazine, and five books. I have also run for political office as a Green Party candidate twice, for Oakland City Council (1996) and for California Secretary of State (2002).
My long experience in the people’s movements has taught me the centrality of full democracy/transparency, mutual respect, and the importance of building unity and consensus in organizations.
The books I have authored or co-authored include:
Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy (co-authored with William Minter). Monthly Review Press, New York, 1977. Reprinted by Authors Choice Press 2004.
The Carter Presidency and Beyond: Power and Politics in the 1980’s. Ramparts Press, Palo Alto, California, 1980.
Inigo of Rancho Posolmi: The Life and Times of a Mission Indian. (co-authored with Randall T. Milliken). Ballena Press, Novato, California, 1999.
Rulers and Rebels: A People’s History of Early California, 1769-1901. iUniverse, Bloomington, In. 2010.
Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics 1976-2014. Monthly Review Press, New York, 2015.