Re: [sixties-l] Glad The L's Back

From: James T. Curran (
Date: Mon Jun 05 2000 - 20:39:24 CUT

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            While it is a convenient conceit that activism was a product of and the
    sole property of the mid-sixties on, the answer goes much deeper. Even
    smile-and-be-happy years of DDE, there was significant, if muted,
    agitation that centeed primarly on civil and human rights. Many of the
    later leaders were products of this era. Three that I am personally
    aware of that were leaders at the U of Mich, and graduated in 1962, were
    instrumental in starting SDS. Having graduated then makes them born
    circa 1940-41. They were involved in much less radical activities in
    the late 50s but blossomed in an environment that provided,at a minimum,
    the following events:
            a) the coming of Camelot which led us all to believe that we only had
    to put ourselves out on the line and all things would be possible,
            b) the first expansion of the "Vietnam experience" by Kennedy,
            c) what we perceived as at least a partial failure in the civil rights
    movement due to the horrendous reaction to the few minor advances, and
            c) the death of Kennedy which "proved" to us that things could not be
    changed by political-governmental actions and processes.

            These combined to produce the nihilism leading to radicalization of the
    young people of the era, led by those of a few years earlier who
    despaired of ever achieving
    anything worthwhile.

    Neil Friedman wrote:
    > I am increasingly interested in the role of World War 2 babies (not baby
    > boomers) in the sixties. Anyone with experiences, theories, evidence,
    > notions etc. about this - please reply. If it is so that they (we)
    > played a big role --- why? Why this cohort?
    > Many blessings,
    > Neil

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