Re: Re: Civil Rights Movement

Candida Ellis (
Thu, 11 Apr 1996 14:43:30 -0400

As a veteran of both the early 60's Civil Rights Movement and of the
later new left (which spearheaded most of the anti-war actions) I cannot
imagine that any knowledgeable individual could doubt that both ideology
and leadership for the anti-war struggle (and the many other political
struggles of the era) came from the civil rights struggle. Of course,
civil rights had been heating up for sometime before the sixties dawned.
Televised demonstrations (such as Bull Connor's assault on schoolchildren
with fire hoses) radicalized middle class white Americans, softening
their resistance to the mere idea of rebellion. Moreover, the
repressiveness of the 50s cannot be discounted as a significant catalyst
for the rebellions of the 60s. Anyone who grew up in the 50s, and
perhaps women in particular, can testify to the stultifying sameness of
dress, speech and behavior and the climate of fear, apart from the
horrors of McCarthyism, that attended all behavior not sanctioned by
fundamental "C hristian" values.

Finally, the disproportionate drafting of young black men who had been
given support for their own alienation from racist America by the public
displays of resistance to racism, created a climate of radicalism within
the armed forces. Such a climate enabled both the ideological struggles
back home and the direct resistance abroad. Fragging, for example, while
undoubtedly not new to military service, had never been openly
acknowledged prior to the dramatic increase in indefensibly young black
men of the service. (That was the genocide that preceded modern
slaughter of young black men; where there's a will to wipe out a race,
there's always a way.)

Speaking of which, the veritable ignorance of those who did not live
through the sixties about the nature of political thinking and actions
and their origins in the fertile soil of racism and resistance to racism
symptomizes another way of wiping out a race. The film "Birth of a
Nation" does not focus on racial oppression incientally; racists have
always understood the centrality of racism to the development of this nation.

Candi Ellis
UC Berkeley
On Wed, 10 Apr 1996, dh111 wrote: