Re: [sixties-l] Value of street demos

From: William M Mandel (
Date: Sat Aug 05 2000 - 17:38:03 CUT

  • Next message: doug norberg: "Re: [sixties-l] Value of street demos"

    I have very regretfully come to the conclusion, after a long lifetime of
    participating in virtually all people's movements in this country and some in the
    Soviet Union (during the Gorbachev years), and of studying revolutionary
    movements and events all over the world, that the electoral process, backed up in
    the streets, in the halls of academe and by every other channel of civil society,
    is the only way to go.

    William Mandel

    Marty Jezer wrote:

    > William is right in part. Street demonstrations were -- and are -- not the
    > road to power.
    > But they were and are a means of building a movement. Where the left has
    > always failed is translating protest energy into a means of vying for power
    > or of shaping public policy. Slogans aren't enough. And the best of
    > political theater is useless if there is no larger strategy to advance
    > specific programs or compete for power. In the sixties, there was little
    > faith in the electoral process. There still isn't and unless we have true
    > campaign finance reform -- i mean full public funding as in the clean money
    > reform -- the electoral process, as a means of gaining political power, is
    > pretty hollow. (But useful and necessary for minor reforms and as a means
    > of stopping bad stuff happening).
    > Marty Jezer
    > At 08:56 PM 8/4/2000 -0700, you wrote:
    > >The rapid decline of the Sixties left was due to its assumption that the
    > >capitalist
    > >state would yield to what were essentially street parades and a few broken
    > >windows and
    > >turned-over cars. When that state resorted to the guns of the National Guard
    > >at Kent
    > >State and Jackson State it became clear that street theater was not the road
    > >to power.
    > --
    > Marty Jezer * 22 Prospect St. * Brattleboro, VT 05301 * p/f 802 257-5644
    > Author:
    > Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words (Basic Books)
    > Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel (Rutgers University Press)
    > The Dark Ages: Life in the USA, 1945-1960 (South End Press)
    > Rachel Carson [American Women of Achievement Series] (Chelsea House)
    > Check out my web page:
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