Marcia Barrentine

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Marcia Barrentine is an Oregon graphic artist whose clients include writers, poets, artists, entrepreneurs, and non-profits.

Portland New American Movement

The Portland chapter of the New American Movement formed in 1977, four years after NAM held its inaugural meeting. It was a lively and nationally-renowned NAM chapter, and when the merger between NAM and the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee took place, a majority of its members remained active in the new organization, (Democratic Socialists of America) and, through it, successfully engaged in regional and national politics.

Five people — Rhys Scholes, Marcia Barrentine, Nancy Becker, Scott Bailey, and Beverly Stein — were central to the chapter’s life throughout its existence. They also worked together beyond the life of the organization.

The Trojan Decommissioning Alliance came about in response to the building of the Trojan Nuclear Plant, and there were a lot of different people involved with that effort, including all of the antiwar groups, and that’s how I got involved, coming out of the anti-Vietnam movement in high school and United Farmworkers-led grape boycott. I knew absolutely nothing about socialism or feminism. But when I got involved in the anti-nuclear power movement, I met all of these people.[1]

Gramsci influence

According to Barrentine, the writings of Antonio Gramsci were very influential in Portland NAM;[2]

I think, going back for a second to the Gramsci study group, for me what resonated was the whole concept of hegemony, that you don’t have to live in a totalitarian state in order for there to be oppression. There can be oppression everywhere because we all believe simply that what is normal is therefore what is right. It’s how we grew up, so who even thinks about it? When you have those experiences of really feeling you can make change, then you have to look both at yourself and at the society as a whole, and say, “Well, what obstacles are in the way of change, and what concepts have we bought into, to the point where nobody has to keep us down because we’ll do it for them?” Gramsci was fascinating to us, just fascinating.

Street theater/Lonesome Neutron Band

Portland NAM did a lot of street theater and music as well, through the People’s Power Players.[3]

The People’s Power Players came out of a grant Beverly Stein wrote out of Legal Aid. The federal government funded that one.

I was in this anti-nuke folk band called the Lonesome Neutron Band. [all laugh] It was the band for TDA Live. Part of what we did was fun. We found out how to poke fun of things and make political points in an entertaining way. We had elaborate costumes, songs, scripts, news shows—I mean ridiculous stuff.

New American Movement 10th convention

In 1981 Marcia Barrentine, Portland NAM and Jeff McCourt, Pitt NAM spoke on a mini-plenary entitled Energy and the Environment at the 10th Convention of the New American Movement. The convention was held in a union headquarters in Chicago and ran from July 29 - August 2, 1981.

Barrantine also spoke alongside Rhys Scholes, Portland NAM in a workshop entitled Experiences with Personal Life.[4]

Left unity attempts

Rhys Scholes, Marcia Barrentine, Nancy Becker, Scott Bailey, and Beverly Stein were all involved in the Alliance for Social Change, which was a failed effort at left unity, and that was followed by the Oregon Alliance for Progressive Policy, which was a second failed attempt at left unity.[5]

Portland DSA

In 1983 Marcia Barrentine was a member of Portland Democratic Socialists of America.[6]

References