Re: [sixties-l] Todd Gitlin on the war (fwd)

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (
Date: Thu Nov 15 2001 - 01:24:53 EST

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    Marty, I appreciate that old friendships die hard, but Todd read himself
    out of the movement, by any reasonable criteria that one can use, not
    the least of which being that he has supported every US war for the past
    decade: the Gulf War, the war against Serbia and now the war of
    conquest in Central Asia. Beyond that, he has served the interests of
    the mainstream media by giving it the answers it wants to hear, a
    practice he shares with some other former movement members. His
    rejection of one of the more important aspects of the Sixties, the
    understanding that there was no fundamental difference between the two
    major political parties, puts himself in that section of the liberal
    pseudointelligencia where he is indistinguishable from Tom Friedman.

    I have been a critic of the American left long before Gitlin found that
    doing so advantageous to his career. It is the angle or angles that one
    arrives at that criticism, however, that determines whether one is
    inside or outside of the movement.

    What may have been the defining moment for the post-Sixties Gitlin was
    when he bought his first house in Berkeley. While home-owning is not
    necessarily the path to co-optation, it seemed to have that effect on
    Todd. When he told me that he had finally bought a house, he made it
    sound like a religious experience. I suppose, in retrospect, it was.

    Jeff Blankfort
    > Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 00:06:24 -0500
    > From: "Marty Jezer" <>
    > Subject: Re: [sixties-l] Todd Gitlin on the war (fwd)
    > What's this, the gang of two or the gang of four has read Gitlin out of the
    > movement; not that he'd care. But the movement never spoke with one voice,
    > despite the efforts of those who believed it only spoke properly in their
    > voice. Gitlin comes out of a similar experience as most veterans of the
    > sixties and has always, to my mind, been thoughtful even if sometimes right
    > or sometimes wrong. A movement that can't take criticism, much less read
    > it, is already brain dead; a cadaver rather than a movement.
    > Marty Jezer
    > - ----- Original Message -----
    > From: monkerud <>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Friday, November 09, 2001 9:00 PM
    > Subject: Re: [sixties-l] Todd Gitlin on the war (fwd)
    > > Mark,
    > > The whole point here was that Gitlin was criticizing the left in his
    > > article and evaluating what the left did or didn't do. Now we could
    > > take criticism from David Horowitz and his ilk too, but what's the
    > > point.
    > >
    > > My point was that he has no influence and is isolated, so whatever he
    > > has to say about the left comes from the outside and not really a
    > > fraternal debate...
    > >
    > > best, Don
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > >--- monkerud <> wrote:
    > > >> I have to agree with Jeff, particularily to the extent, "who cares?"
    > > >> Gitlin hasn't had any influence in the left since about 1971... I saw
    > > >> him around that time in San Francisco for an evening and he had had
    > > >> an emotional breakdown because he had become isolated from the
    > > >> movement. Does anyone take him seriously anymore, or did they ever?
    > > >>
    > > >> best, Don
    > > >
    > > >It seems odd to me that both Don and Jeff are more interested in
    > determining
    > > >whether Gitlin is a "part of the movement," than they are in evaluating
    > his
    > > >analysis. Does his "influence in the left" have any bearing on the
    > > >truth to his
    > > >arguments?
    > > >
    > > >M
    > > >
    > > >__________________________________________________

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