It just isn't true, or, to be properly academic, it is simply a misapprehension that the Right was more active than the Left in the early 60s. It is becoming embarrassing for me to refer endlessly to my autobiography, Saying No To Power, but I simply know of no more specific and convincing source on the matter under discussion than two chapters in it, "'Honorable Beaters of Children'" and "Traveling Gadfly and Diplomat." The point is that the 60s among whites began with the San Francisco hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Its defeat there by the student demonstration of thousands and the vocal resistance of witnesses was responded to by a film, "Operation Abolition," put together from subpoenaed TV news footage, KPFA radio footage, and truly laughable interviews with HUAC members, one of whom chomped on his dentures as he accused the students of "toying with treason." A student committee, BASCAHUAC (Bay Area Student Committee Against HUAC), functioned nationally to combat the film, which was put out in 1,000 prints and seen, its promoters claimed, by 18,000,000. Students nationwide saw it, reacted in exactly the opposite way that its makers desired, and turned against the system. Bob Dylan is one on whom it had that effect. Its influence was such that the ACLU made a film titled, "Operation Correction," to demonstrate that "OpAb" was a fraud based on reversal of time sequences. In turn, a Hollywood indie, Robert Cohen, made yet another, in docudrama form, with the deliberately deadpan title, "House Committee on Un-American Activities." It is by far the best of the three, although "OpAb" is the best-known. All are still available in university film libraries. The reason my observations are meaningful is that people regarded my subpoenaed testimony at the San Francisco hearing as spectacular and I was invited by students all over the country to speak with and against "OpAb." Were the view of the early 60s as more Rightist than Leftist accurate, that would have been revealed in audience and outside behavior during my appearances. But picket lines against me were few and sparse (they produced some great signs, though: "Brainwashing -- By An Expert"), while audiences were huge. The John Birch Society, in that pre-desktop-publishing age, brought out a beautifully printed four-page leaflet detailing proofs of my Leftism, which audiences dutifully accepted, put in their pockets, and sat down to hear what I had to say. At the University of Chicago, students, unable to get a speaker against me, actually hired an actor to do that, not telling me or the audience. When I later learned of that, I demanded that the fact be made public so that I could not be accused of having been party to a fraud. At the University of Ohio, I was barred from the campus, spoke in the back yard of the brand-new Ph.D. in English who had invited me ("because you are in the classic tradition of English utterance"(!)), and students then literally hung into the windows of the Unitarian Church to the number of 800 to hear me there. My host's first teaching contract, at Nebraska's Wayne State, was cancelled because of his sponsorship of me, the AAUP investigated this for three years, and then formally censured that university. The incident got into Atlantic Monthly and a couple of books. For months thereafter the Ohio State student newspaper ran an endless number of letters about this matter. More remarkable than my experiences were those of Frank Wilkinson, a man of my generation, happily still alive in Los Angeles, who was sentenced to a jail term for taking the First Amendment at an earlier HUAC hearing. He lost his final appeal shortly after the San Francisco hearing. In consequence, his deliberately slow journey to Washington to surrender into custody was a triumphal procession of student rallies acorss the country, larger than mine. The point is that there was no significant opposition to those meetings, peaceful or violent. Young Americans for Freedom didn't amount to a hill of beans. When the Free Speech Movement developed at Cal. in 1964, it had sense enough to want off-campus support, and I was elected to its Executive Committee to represent that support, fundamentally on the basis of my reputation from 1960. In Berkeley, the Right never made any headway except among the gangster component of motorcycle outlaws. Genuine conservatives were part of the FSM. I am sure that others can contribute both reminiscences and documentation to reinforce this picture as the Left as being far stronger than the Right in the first half of the Sixties. That it was also in the latter half is, as far as I know, hardly a matter of debate. William Mandel John Andrew wrote: > Ted Morgan wrote, in part: > > > >John raises interesting points about the Right and the 60s.
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