Why the name JackpineRadicals?

On our first JackpineRadicals.org, I wrote the following and asked people to give tribute to Jim Peterson.  This is that post.

"Why the name JackpineRadicals?"

I am supposed to write an "About the Name" I haven't been able to do Jim Peterson, aka JackpineRadical, justice.

I was honored to know him and work with him. We started planning this site even before Bernie announced.

Jim was an incredible man. A Vietnam war Veteran injured in the line of duty, fully disabled, he became a therapist for Veterans. He fought the good fight day in and day out. He was reasonable, funny, intelligent and as helpful as anyone can be. He posted on DU and Daily Kos for over a decade, had his own blog, was followed and loved by everyone who knew him.  And we did know him, even if only online.

He and I started this site together. We planned what we wanted, what would be allowed and not allowed, So we named it after him.

I've decided that the best way to do him honor is for everyone here that knew him to post something about Jim. Feel free to link to anything you found that explains your feelings.

So many knew him so much better and longer than I. Once we have this together, it will be our "About The Name"

The beautiful responses to this post:


He was always one of my favorite people to read over at Bizarro Site. I'm glad not only that he helped in the planning for this site, but, that it's named in his honor.

A wonderful - and fitting - tribute for a wonderful progressive.


Jackpine Radical was one of my favorite posters. He was special, several cuts above most of us in many ways.
He was gone much too soon. He left a void in the world and in the hearts of those who knew him, even those of us who knew him only through his wonderful words.

He was incredibly intelligent and sensible (as opposed to "merely" smart). I never realized that the war had left him totally disabled, so he could not have mentioned it much, which is in itself remarkable. On political message boards, tempers can be short, but I never saw him post sharply to anyone.

Whenever he saw me post something about cynicism, he would reply with this quote from Lily Tomlin: "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

Jackpine Radical was also very funny. Sometimes, he and I would post back and forth to each other, trading puns. His puns were always more clever than mine and I always ran out of on topic puns before he did. One time, he stopped replying with a pun before I ran out. Soon after, I learned he had passed away.

He had fashioned this image for Senator Sanders, which was his last message board avatar and which many posters who also supported Bernie Sanders for President adopted as their avatar.

The Fringe Candidate
The Fringe Candidate


I always loved reading him.

There are certain writers who truly inspire in so many different ways and JackPineRadical certainly did that and more. He lifted my spirits just at the moment when my perspective on humanity grew dismal, he articulated so skillfully and cogently summations of issues at hand which mattered deeply to me.

I didn't know however he was creator of the wonderful avatar which I had on occasions thought of adapting, but never got around to it. I didn't know he was disabled Vietnam Veteran (he and I would be about the same age) I hadn't realized you two engaged in pun exchanges, although I do have a vague memory of that kind of banter from time to time.

Interesting to learn you and he started working on this site before Bernie even tossed in the ring.

Pleased to be in the company of kindred spirits here and on the other side....,, (I don't mean other "site")

Thank you so much for all you do and sharing his memory here!


I didn't know the man. I read some stuff off the "Website over the Hill and Far Away" and liked it. I think this website does him honor, and lives up to his standards, and will only improve with time, as more refugees stream in from war zones.

And I dedicate my efforts to the task of building a community of JackpineRadicals. Ad victoriam!


"This pine often forms pure stands on sandy or rocky soil. It is fire-adapted to stand-replacing fires, with the cones remaining closed for many years, until a forest fire kills the mature trees and opens the cones, reseeding the burnt ground."
Jackpine Radical was my hero at the other place. I find courage in the Jack pine and wonder if he was inspired by this tree.


"Jackpine Radical" was a socialist of the Democratic variety -

Many of you may not know that Jim was a thoughtful poster in the Socialist Progressives Group at **A site which shall remain nameless** and I am thrilled to bring you what I posted at the time of his passing. It is mostly his words and I'm sure many of you will enjoy this:

Safe passage to our friend Jackpine Radical -
For anybody who checks in the socialist group and may have missed it out in GD -


Here is one of his posts that I particularly liked. I think Jackpine was a democratic socialist in the tradition of Bernie Sanders, and I know he was so excited about his candidacy. Some people ask the question "how do we replace capitalism" in a snarky way, but Jackpine actually had some very positive and original ideas about how society could be reordered to serve people as opposed to profit. We will miss you Jim.

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 04:31 PM

Star Member Jackpine Radical (45,274 posts)

Capitalism is toast. What will replace it?
(This thread disappeared from GD, so I'm reposting it here.)
The world economy as currently structured requires growth to sustain it. Capitalism has the same ethics as a cancer, and will just as surely kill its host if left unchecked. The host, of course, is the biosphere.

The species does NOT need growth to sustain it--either in population or in "productivity."

What we need is workable population control and a functional distribution system that ensures everyone has enough so they may live happy, self-fulfilling lives. If we have less attachment to useless, throwaway material possessions, we need to work less. If we have machines that absorb the work of production, then a major portion of the proceeds of that production ought to go to the people.

There is a path to a world in which everyone has the basics such as food, shelter, education and peace. People would not have to work as hard in this world. Everyone would have the time and opportunity to flourish as fully-functional humans. We just need wisdom to get there.

Unfortunately, the wise and fair-minded do not generally rise to power in this system, and perhaps not in any other.

The American Revolution was an attempt to build a more foolproof hierarchical system, based on a division of powers among 3 branches, those 3 branches themselves basing their authority on the consent of the governed.

But almost from the outset, the rich and powerful interests captured portions of the government and bent them to their own narrow purposes. Andrew Jackson & the smallpox blankets. Using cops & Guardsmen to bust strikes. Make up your own list. The point is that by now, the corruption is virtually complete.

So how can you build an incorruptible hierarchical system, one that is impervious to the toxic effects of money? The more I think about it, the more convinced become that you can't build such a system.

When I was a state employee, I used to say that the state's organizational chart consisted of a pyramid of boxes with names in them, each connected to the boxes below it by diodes. The system was designed to pass orders downward from the top, but not to allow any signals to arise into the system from below. It was a classic hierarchy. Shut up & do what you're told.

Nowhere was this hierarchical unidirectionality of communication made more clear than in the old Soviet Union. Right after the revolution, Lenin was faced with decisions about how to modernize his new nation in a hurry to elevate it from its quasi-feudal state. He thought about putting in a national telephone system. But he scrapped this plan. Instead, he wired the major cities for networks of loudspeakers--the ultimate one-way communication device.

Now, contrast any such hierarchical system with the system in place at an OWS General Assembly. In the GA, someone speaks and everybody gives immediate feedback on how they feel about what the speaker is saying.

Then there is the Human Mike. The "mic check" phenomenon is a very interesting one. One person's message is passed on to the crowd through the concerted, self-coordinated actions of those crowd members nearest the speaker. The speaker must have the consent of his "microphone" if he is to be heard. That's sure a bit different than Moscow, 1923. It's also different from any previous protest action in America. In the past, there were always defined leaders, whether Tom Hayden or MLK. Not this time. The power is distributed very differently.

The major difference between previous social actions and the present worldwide upheaval is the nearly universal access to the new social media. The 1% have their broadcast media, just as Lenin had his loudspeakers, and they have gotten very sophisticated in using these tools to shape public opinion. Classically, the public has had little capacity to respond. Oh, you could write a letter or make a phone call, but in general the public was limited to one-to-one communications, while the Mighty had one-to-many communication capability.

But the transpersonal environment is now very different than it has been at any time in the past. Each person has one-to-many capabilities. For example, I'm writing this in hopes that many more than one of my fellow-travelers will read it, and each of them will have the power to respond in kind, i.e. with one-to-many capabilities.

One way of looking at the massive one-to-many linkages among maybe 1 billion of us is that we have created a feedback mechanism unlike anything the world has yet seen. We are escaping the information filters that have always been imposed on us. We are making direct contact with each other around the world and sharing hour common humanity and our common concerns.

Learning occurs in the presence of feedback. Instant learning occurs in the presence of instant feedback. Learning means adaptability, constant change, constant updating of the information banks. No hierarchical system can coordinate an action as swift and graceful as a leaderless flock of birds suddenly executing a change in direction.

This is why I look to leaderless organizations such as OWS as experimental workshops for developing the new society.



So I went back to DU and dug around a bit. I wanted to see if I had ever exchanged words with the great Jackpine. I know I read his posts and found him very admirable.

But I went back to learn that he passed away the month right after I joined DU for the first time.

I had a month on DU where I might have had words with the man. But I can't see if I did or not. It feels weird, it's as if I lost a friend I didn't get to meet.


He was a guiding light Over There before he passed. One of my favorite people on the site, along with Octafish and Cal Peggy, present company excepted, of course.


Jackpine Radical Was among the best, his name is a tribute, he is also a cofounder

Jackpine Radical (45,274 posts)

We, the citizens, have to change the game.

One thing the Establishment (does that word date me? ) hasn't had to deal with in recent years is a mobilized and energized public.
In fact, I would argue that they have done their best to disengage us from activism.

Absent citizen involvement and action, a candidacy like Bernie's will go nowhere, and if that citizen participation wavers after the election, everything reverts to "normal." Unfortunately, "normal" is an ecological, cultural and physical death trip.

Can we make things go differently this time? I don't know. But I know I have to do my little part to help, and the people I know who are into Bernie are into him in a big way, seeming ready to put some major effort into it.

There's too much riding on the outcome this time to do less.
110 Recs


Also, a search of many OPs  (un-truncated back to 2011) remember he was a 2001 founding member