Re: [sixties-l] RE: Vietnam retrospective

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (
Date: 10/31/00

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    Robert Houriet wrote:
    Jeff Blankfort had written:
    > >Marty suggests or implies that had we not denigrated the anti-war forces
    > >within the Democratic Party, we would have been more successful?  In
    > >doing what? In stopping the war? Was it the movement's fault that these
    > >potential allies within the Democratic Party, whoever they might have
    > >been, were silent? Please.
    Robert Houriet wrote:
    >         Perhaps, the objective outcomes would not have been different, perhaps the
    > war covert or otherwise would have persisted as long as it did if we had
    > been politically more savy in recognizing rather than knocking potential
    > allies. Perhaps, we would have beem more "successful" from the standpoint
    > of internal cohesion within the movement itself, and would have done better
    > in transmitting organizational structures and experiences to the next
    > generation. That's my own take in retrospect on those "roads not taken" and
    > suspect that Marty might concur.
    Again, thirty years later the excitement and the energies that were
    given flesh in the 60s and that represented, as much as it political
    positions, a sharp break from the placidity of the preceding generation,
    seem to have been forgotten. This was a movement that was tired with the
    compromises that eventually led and still today lead to sell-outs (e.g.,
    the parade of folks from the progressive non-profits and shills like
    Jesse Jackson acting as surrogates for Gore in their bashing of Nader)
    to the establishment. Had the kind of movement that you. Marty, Todd
    Gitlin, and others, now wish had existed then, there would have been no
    anti-war movement of any significance in the first place. It was its
    clear unwillingness to play ball with the system that made it effective
    and attractive to that generation, well beyond its active numbers.
    The system counter-attacked in the post-Vietnam years, co-opting 60s
    spokespersons like Gitlin, Tom Hayden and Robert Scheer (all Gore
    supporters) and effectively rewriting the history of the period. At the
    same time, while the movement was broad within that generation, its
    commitment was not deep enough to sustain itself. One of the factors
    that marked its death knell was the emergence of the New Age movement,
    where getting one's personal karma in order, took on a higher priority
    than correcting the ills of society. Some day, if it hasn't already
    happened, someone will do the research that connects that movement with
    the demise of the 60s movement and the move to the right that followed.
    Jeff Blankfort

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