M.P. - Tuli, you started out as a young anarchist; were you Kropotkinesque or Bakuninesque?
T.K. - Well, actually I was a Stalinist. In those days everybody was a Stalinist but very shortly I became a Trotskyite or demi-Trotskyite, and then I became very confused. All those terrible questions were being asked about the trials, though other people were asking them. I was very young, about thirteen; it was the Depression so there was a lot of motivation around.
M.P. - Why Stalinism? He was a Russian nationalist and
This is a strange tale at best. Back in the late 50s I discovered that there were two kinds of Americans blues singing guitar players, one from kind from the East with precise virtuoso technique who could play in all the keys, who often sang in a sardonic urbane style.
Then there was what one might cal Delta bluesmen, not armed with great facility on the guitar, nothing about them urbane, often with strange notions of how to pitch their voice, gritty soldiers of life who seemed to have lived at the very bottom of life, done a little
MP- Talking about Judaism as a unifying principal in theatre and life, I'm wondering what you think about the connection between tradition and change. If we are talking about a religion, about ritual practices, how do you satisfy on the one hand the need for continuity, the sense of a connection with history with the constant need to renew oneself to make a spiritual path relevant to contemporary life?
JM- I think the Jewish tradition here is no different than any other progressive movement in nature. Though
M.P.- You came from a family of writers; your father, brother and
older sister were authors. Could you tell me the kind of books
that your father wrote?
I.S.- Well, my father was a pious man, an orthodox rabbi and he
wrote religious books: commentaries on the Talmud. My older
brother was a writer of my kind. He was a novelist; he wrote
short stories. My sister wrote stories and novels in her own way.
M.P. - Did your father write on the mystical or legal aspects of
IS: (While having a magnificent lunch with his wife Marian, his son Adam, and M.P.) I think things are absolutely random. Look at physics; you can't predict the specific movement of the atoms. You can expect that certain things will probably happen, but you can't be certain. The same for human affairs. We can be fairly sure that we will do various things tomorrow, but until tomorrow comes all we can do is wait and see if we were right or wrong.
MP- Could you tell us how you came to Brooklyn College?
Gotbaum- I was a veteran and I had gotten out of the Army;
really, my education started with the Army. I began to do a lot
of reading and reappraisal, and I became intellectually
stimulated by myself in a sense, traveling abroad, leaving
Brooklyn, and discovering the tragedy of the world out there:
what the Nazis had committed and everything else.
It stimulated me into learning. I was in Europe- England,
France, Luxembourg, Austria, Czechoslovakia- we were the
first troops to occupy