In 1965 a group of us centered around Valley State College (now Cal State
Northridge) were forming a radical grouping within the Los Angeles liberal
and progressive communities. Many had been involved in the Civil Rights
and Civil Liberties movements, (some had worked in the South).
We heard about the first national anti-war demonstration by a new group
Students for a Democratic Society in Washington D.C. and started to form an
We went on to have the first anti-war (Vietnam) actions in LA and the first
anti-war sit-in and arrests.
The core of the group was Mike Klonsky, Paul Shinoff and myself. We were
forming a New Left. We didn't hate the "old" left but they didn't like us
much. We were open, democratic to the core, would include hippies,
anarchist, artists and most anyone else who had the same core beliefs.
Paul was a tall, great looking charismatic guy. He became popular with the
ladies and might have been the first radical leader to have groupies.
One scene from the 1966
We had set up a table in Sierra Hall, an eight story campus classroom
building with a massive lobby, distributing anti-draft literature. We, in
SDS, never asked permission, never got permits, we just did what we felt
was the right thing to do.. Soon the cops and deans came by to throw us
out. Both campus and LA police started surrounding the building.
Classes broke and students filled the halls and lobby, in the
hundreds. Paul jumped up on the table and started to addresses the growing
crowd. At one point he turned to me and asked if I had anything to say.
I said my piece and we continued to urge the crowd to stay and support us.
They did, even though some might not have supported us
politically. The cops and deans backed down and we stayed, to loud cheers
from the crowd.
In the later Sixties Paul helped organize the first radical documentary
film collective "Newsreal" and would moved to the Bay area. In the
Seventies he became a journalist. He worked for the Washington Post and
San Francisco Examiner.
He died.September 21, 2002 at the age of 58 after a long battle with
As a reporter he covered labor issues at the Examiner which spanned from
1978 to 1990. Before joining the Examiner, Shinoff wrote for the Washington
Post, and in 1976, won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his
investigation of the deadly effect of asbestos on factory workers.
On a Sixties road trip around the world he took alone his son Joshua wrote.
"He was an incredibly adventurous person. he took a job as a deck hand on a
merchant marine ship bound for Australia. From there he made his way to New
Guinea . . . and then Singapore. There he bought a motorcycle, which he
rode all the way to Paris. In Paris, he sold the motorcycle for the money
he needed for a plane ticket back to the U.S."
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