Eide about 60s radicals...

Grover Furr (furrg@alpha.montclair.edu)
Fri, 26 Apr 1996 10:53:01 -0400

Eide writes:

> This discussion takes me back to two distinct memories: One,
>when Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the SLA and for a year or so
>this drama played out. At that time I was reading a good deal about
>the Russian revolution and it suddenly dawned on me, 'revolutionaries
>who are committed to their beliefs do exactly what the SLA has done.
>That is, rob banks, kidnap, kill people, shoot it out w/police and so
>forth. Stalin, in fact, was an excellent bank robber whose success
>brought him to the attention of Lenin.

Life would be simpler, and so would learning from the past, if it were
all this easy -- if one could paint a very diverse crowd with the same
broad brush.

In reality this is _nonsense_. "Revolutionaries who are committed
to their belief" do nothing of the kind! I knew NOONE who did this
kind of stuff, frankly. The Weathermen did, of course -- but I would
never call them "revolutionaries."

Kamo was the Caucasian revolutionary who robbed banks. Stalin and
he were in the same organization. Lenin didn't mind! Does this make
all communists guilty of unscrupulousness, or something? Only if all
capitalists are guilty of Hitler's crimes? Hitler was certainly a
capitalist, _nicht wahr_? a lifetime Catholic, too. Do all Catholics
thereby share the collective guilt of the Nazis?

This is the same logic that would suggest, as it IS suggested
here, that "all revolutionaries who are committed to their beliefs do
exactly what the SLA has done." Once again, we have the double
standard typical of anti-communism: ANY communist, at ANY time, is
guilty of ANYTHING that ANY OTHER communist has EVER done! Only, in
this case, the implication is not only that all communists are
bank-robbers like Kamo (not Stalin), but are crazed former police
informers like the SLA chief.

> These paper tigers reliving the '60's' are simply staving
>off the ravages of approaching retirement in their soft jobs at
>the university. In fact, if you look objectively at that time
>what was occuring on campus was only a fragment of activity. However,
>since most people in media and culture come from the campus there
>>is this false picture of the campus being the center. It was a
>center of exciting ideas and ferment but was burnt to the ground
>by the very people who now occupy positions of authority in it.
>It is very clear to me that their time will come; that they, too,
>will have to protect their unwritten manuscripts and careers as
>the irrationality comes spewing in from the other direction. That is
>none of my concern.

I don't know what this is _specifically_ about, and it's not my job to
defend all student activists. But the professors' papers destroyed
during the Columbia sit-in were destroyed by the police -- at least,
there were very credible claims to that effect in the press at the
time. As for the one fire I heard of, at (?) U. Michigan -- so what?
Are we all collectively guilty of that, too? Only if, e.g., all
American veterans are collectively "guilty" of My Lai, I guess...

> Soon after the Jonestown tragedy (another precursor of the fate
>of extremists) I was living w/ a good Berkeley woman who knew Angela
>Davis among others. She was manic-depressive and decided to stop
>taking her Lithium. She went nuts and for one day and one night
>I had to bring my full rational powers to try and convince her that
>(a) China had not fallen into the ocean to the very bottom, (b) that
>space beings were not coming down to earth and (c) that nuclear
>weapons were not blowing off all over the place. I used all my
>rational ability to try and convince her but I couldn't fight madness.
>And madness is one of the most powerful of intoxicants. When I
>left that night I realized it was over.

Jonestown shows the logic of authoritarian religious cults, no
doubt about it! If the Pope were a lunatic like Jim Jones, quite a few
people might run out to buy Kool-Aid.

I remember lots of serious discussions about the "Mao" cult by those
of us who were seriously impressed by the Chinese criticism of the
USSR, and the left, egalitarian, anti-imperialist tendencies in the
Cultural Revolution. True, some thought this cult "necessary," but
many, many others (myself among them, but that is not important)
thought it went against all Communist principles and, importantly,
against Democratic Centralism as classically defined. Were we wrong? I
think not!

> ---Good luck
> Eide

The mass anti-capitalist consciousness that rose up in the '60s
and has continued to this day is very troublesome to many. Naturally
so! But I think it is perhaps the _most positive_ aspect of the legacy
of that decade!


Grover Furr