Re: [sixties-l] another awakening story

From: Ted Morgan (epm2@lehigh.edu)
Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 - 19:53:45 CUT

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    Sigh... I'd like to respond to Jeff Apfel's post, which I think is very
    useful. Jeff puts his finger on a phenomenon that occurred with great
    frequency in the late 60s-early 70s: namely, the militant wing of the
    Movement (New Left/ antiwar) acted out their rage and a willfulness to
    either "force an end to the war" --or more likely, and less justifiably I
    think, "tear down the system." In the process, having exactly the kind of
    impact on the larger audience that that protest had on Jeff. I'm reminded
    of some of the responses to Stop the Draft Week (after the 'riot'), when
    some movement people felt that the group had lost sight of the larger
    objective of reaching people and pulling them into the movement. That is
    what we need to keep our eye on --whether in Seattle, D.C., or our own
    localities-- as we move forward. Vietnam, in a sense, was a kind of
    'special circumstance,' in that the enormous horror of what the United
    States was willfully doing, irrespective of any public opinion shift,
    Congressional opposition, etc. pushed people to escalate to doing
    "whatever it took." That had unfortunate side-effects for Movement growth
    (for which, in a sense, I think we're still paying), though it had, I
    think, a positive impact in helping to force the administration to accept
    terms for getting out from Vietnam far less than what they wanted (though
    they then proceeded to pursue them by other means).

    So, good post, Jeff. I would say to you that I hope you can distinguish
    between a radical critique of the system that argues it needs to be
    overhauled & transformed (into a real democracy) and a "radical"
    (militant) strategy of creating chaos against the police. [I will also
    say, that it is often the case that being on the receiving end of police
    brutality helped to push some over the edge towards a kind of mindless
    militance. Cf. Karl Armstrong.]

    Ted Morgan



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