Re: [sixties-l] RE: Vietnam retrospective (Chicago 68)

From: Marty Jezer (
Date: 10/29/00

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    Jeff Blankfort wrote:
    >While I agree with most of the points raised by Lauter, particularly
    >with regard to the real reasons behind the country's swing to the right
    >in the post-Vietnam years, there are two that I do have problems with.
    >The 1968 protest in Chicago was primarily a protest against the war in
    >Vietnam.  Not only do I have my memories of that week but also
    >photographs to prove it.  I don't recall a single poster or placard that
    >didn't have some connection to the war.
    I was in Chicago, too, and helped publicize it before hand with articles in
    Liberation and WIN. I was also a minor figure in some of the Yippie planning
    sessions, and as Abbie Hoffman's biographer (or one of them) had the
    opportunity to review that period.
    While Jeff is almost right in terms of posters and slogans (the war was the
    central point of the demonstration), a much broader agenda was on the minds of
    most of the people there.
    The McCarthy kids who joined the protest were the most focused on the Vietnam
    For the Yippies, the SDSers and other new leftists, the freelance
    demonstrators, hippie and otherwise, the Chicago action had a much broader
    significance. It was a protest and rant against the system, the culture, the
    society, politics, everything.... The Yippies had their festival of life,
    counter-cultural orientation; the more left groups wanted revolution, the kids
    wanted drugs, sex, and rock n roll. It was also a protest against racism and an
    early expression of women's lib (i.e. second wave feminism)  Some of us even
    had signs protesting the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Whatever the signs
    and slogans, the broader message was what was picked up (accurately) by the
    public. This message was confirmed by the Conspiracy Trial in which the defense
    (i.e., the Chicago 7) made a deliberate decision to go beyond the war and put
    the society on trial.
    With regard to feminism, some of the first feminist activists in NYC (Robin
    Morgan in particular) were close to the Yippies. But they broke with the
    Yippies (before Chicago) cause the Yippies didn't take them seriously and
    because they felt that feminism, and not the vaguer counter-culture Yippie
    orientation, represented the real revolution.  But that's another thread.
    Marty Jezer
    My argument on these pages (and in my Hoffman book) has been that this was a
    strategic mistake cause had we focused entirely on ending the war the political
    situation was such that the goal could have been achieved. At the time, that
    kind of focus was impossible.
    The times they were a changing and it was very difficult to see that.
    We also 
    Marty Jezer . 22 Prospect Street . Brattleboro, VT 05301
    See the film "STEAL THIS MOVIE" and read the book
    Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel 
    on which it is based.
    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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