Free Radical Maine is written by Michael (Mike) Hasty, a lifelong activist, writer, musician and carpenter. He was (honorably) discharged by the US Air Force in 1972 for organizing an on-base strike, and has been a troublemaker ever since.
Having worked with anti-nuclear militants American Peace Test, and with Washington Peace Center’s then-coordinator Lisa Fithian, he served as inadvertent national spokesperson for the coalition of organizations protesting George Bush I’s inaugural dinner by feeding the homeless at Union Station.
Following his arrest for civil disobedience against the Reagan administration’s Central America policy, the DC Court of Appeals ruled in his favor in Hasty v. United States (1995), establishing the precedent that one has a right to pray in the US Capitol rotunda. He was the lead plaintiff in The Committee to Reform Hampshire County Government’s lawsuit against the Speaker of the West Virginia House of Representatives and the President of the West Virginia Senate (now-governor Earl Ray Tomblin)—which won four times at the circuit court level, but was overturned by the West Virginia Supreme Court, in an Orwellian 2008 decision written by the same justice the US Supreme Court overruled for his corrupt association with coal baron and convicted criminal Don Blankenship.
He was appointed by the late Mayor Marion Barry to the DC Nuclear Weapons Freeze Advisory Board, and by the late Mayor Steve del Giudice to the Nuclear Free Takoma Park (MD) Committee, both of which he served as secretary. He was appointed by the Hampshire County (WV) Commission and served as secretary to the Hampshire County Marcellus Committee, established by a resolution he drafted creating an official advisory body to the county commission on the subject of fracking. His unanimously-adopted resolution in opposition to the USA Patriot Act made Hampshire the only county in West Virginia to take a stand against that law.
He is currently secretary of the South Berwick (ME) Democratic Committee, and South Berwick precinct captain for the Bernie Sanders political revolution. He also co-represents the Alliance for Democracy on the board of the Maine Fair Trade Campaign, and organizes locally with Occupy Seacoast, Seacoast Peace Response, and Seacoast 9/11 Questions.
In 2000, the West Virginia Press Association named his regular column in the Hampshire Review “best column” in its category of large-circulation weeklies. His print publication history also includes the Charleston Gazette, Portsmouth Herald, Washington Post, Takoma Park Newsletter, Washington Peace Letter, Highlands Voice, Peace Talk (editor), Peace and Justice Crier, and Generational Justice (Germany), among others. In 1989, the national Pledge of Resistance published and distributed his pamphlet, “The War on Drugs is a War on People,” based on his 3-part series in the Washington Peace Letter.
His first online-only essay, “Paranoid Shift,” posted in 2004 at now-defunct Online Journal, where he went on to write a regular column, was linked or posted at hundreds of websites, including Pravda and Tikkun, translated into several languages, and is still at dozens of sites today. Among other sites that have posted his writing are Buzzflash, Common Dreams, Bartcop, Indymedia, Global Research, Smirking Chimp, Democratic Underground, Democrats.com, Information Clearinghouse, 911blogger and numerous others.
The descendant of musicians, he is an acoustic guitar and harmonica player and singer, as well as a rock drummer, and has always tried to use his music to support his activism, having played at numerous rallies and benefits. His original songs have been recorded and heard on radio and the Internet. In 1988, his band, “Michael & the Archangels,” played a fundraiser in Takoma Park MD for Bernie Sanders’ first successful run for the US House of Representatives. His most recent musical performance was opening up last fall’s Rally for Climate Justice at the historic South Church in Portsmouth NH.