By Lewis B. Oliver Jr., Esq
Dear Save the Pine Bush Newsletter:
I was in Albany Med recovering from an operation on September 16 and was unable to participate in the remembrance for Reszin. (Also, I am not computer literate and could not have gone online!).
What always impressed me about Reszin was her deep world wide perspective that was the inner source of energy for her many local peace, social justice, and environmental commitments. Reszin was active with the US-China Peoples Friendship Committee for decades, and was an advocate for the United States to reach out to the people and government of China even during Chairman Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Reszin had visited China and met with Chinese government officials. She had an understanding of world history that drove her local activism.
Having recently been in China and Tibet for five weeks myself, Reszin’s foresight was remarkable. China now has a larger and more vigorous economy than our country, the Chinese people on the whole are more prosperous and happier with their government than we are with ours, the one party government gets things done more efficiently than we do. Yes, there is favoritism toward members of the Communist Party, but no more than the graft, corruption, and nepotism of both Democrat and Republican parties in local and national government here. In China’s urban cities there is not the kind of poverty and homelessness our form of capitalism thrives on. The high speed train network runs smoothly like riding in a Cadillac throughout the huge country, five times the size of the United States, at 200 miles an hour, and the airports, highways, bridges, and buildings have been constructed in the last 25 years and are more modern and attractive than our own infrastructure.
On the negative side, Tibet is an occupied country similar to East Germany when I visited in 1961, and the Muslim Uighurs are being forced to accept Han culture, but this does not seem very different to me than what we have done to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Marshall Islands, not to speak of the Native Americans. Surveillance in China is so intense it’s scary. In the major cities the roads have face recognition cameras overhead almost every third of a mile that can peer into vehicles and track people, and instead of receiving a paycheck workers are issued cards by the government with a different number of credits and all transactions are cashless, through computers that are operated by the government and completely traceable. Our country seems to be headed in this direction, but fortunately we are not anywhere near where China is yet.
Reszin had a tough side, and she leaned heavily on Ted for his humanness, poetic whimsy, good humor and kindness. I became involved with Save the Pine Bush because I was statewide litigation counsel to NYPIRG and attorney for the Student Association at UAlbany. Ted was a friend before I knew Reszin. I had helped one of Ted’s students, and when Friends of the Pine Bush, as it was then called, was looking for a lawyer Ted told Reszin about me.
One of my most fond and vivid memories of Reszin was seeing her climb into a convertible with Jerry Jennings near the Social Justice Center on the day he beat Harold Joyce for Albany mayor, and watching them drive off toward Lark Street with the car horn blasting away and Reszin and Jerry sitting up on the trunk with their feet on the back seat waiving joyously to everybody on the streets and sidewalks. Defeat of the old boss.
Meet the new boss. Don’t be fooled again!
Published in February/March 2021
Save the Pine Bush Newsletter