[sixties-l] Re: student organizing . . .

From: Michael Rossman (mrossman@igc.org)
Date: 10/11/00

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    John McMillian writes: "I'd love to hear what others on this list think about
    the current
     possibilities for an even broader-based movement."
    I respond in perspective of my separate response to the historical context of
    his query -- in which I discuss, or at least allude to, the way a
    constellation of cultural influences shaped and enabled our vision of
    ourselves in action as a movement in the New Left. An analogous process may be
    empowering an emergent movement now, as John suggests, with at least onel
    difference worth noting. More clearly than the diverse influences on my
    generation that John cites, much of the present constellation influencing 
    youth derives from what may perhaps be thought of, at this distance, as a
    single source -- the conjoint youth-political/countercultural//ethnic/racial
    movement of the Sixties. Though all sorts of "splitters" may contest this
    taxonomic description on valid grounds and scold me for briing a lumpen
    "lumper," I believe there is equally deep and coherent ground for
    understanding these developments as an organic complex. Its presumptive
    integrity seemingly shattered into thirty independent vectors during the
    Seventies, which have since developed (or mutated, in a mutating era) into the
    fertile constellation of influences ---from  feminism, veganism, deep ecology,
    shallow environmentalism, pacifism, anarchism, "alternative" music, paganism,
    organic farming, gay/lesbianism, gender morphing, empathogenic drugs, "new
    age" entrepreneurship, Internet anarchy, resurgent and service unionism,
    consumer action, police control movements, every ethnic/racial stream, and so
    much else -- that impact the present environment of youth culture. This
    current array may seem merely as diverse,  if considerably more complex, than
    the array we encountered in my youth. But I think also that the nascent
    integrity of sense to be made from it may be more advanced for some youth now
    than it was for us at similar stage. For though the impulse of the Sixties
    split into independent vectors, there has ever since been among many of them a
    sense of implicit relation and of a  realizable harmony, lying somewhere
    beyond the engrossment of each vector's immediate affairs, in a direction  
    pointed vaguely but insistently by the piecemeal efforts, increasing noteably
    during the past decade, to bring together this stream and that one of
    progressive activism's development. What amalgam may be made of these together
    must (mecessarily) be left to those who will be shaped by integrating these
    influences in growing up. Despite all signs of the gathering "virtual tyranny"
    of corporate culture, I am hopeful; for  these kids have pep, and more
    sophistication in a more complex surround than we had at their age.
              Michael Rossman <mrossman@igc.org>

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