Re: [sixties-l] response to Cox and Blankfort

From: John Johnson (
Date: Tue Feb 18 2003 - 17:32:52 EST

  • Next message: Carrol Cox: "Re: [sixties-l] The Weather Underground (film) (fwd)"

    >As for the Humphrey business. The anti-war movement didn't have to endorse
    >Humphrey or rejoin the Democratic Party; all we had to do was cut him a
    >little slack the last weeks of the campaign and then him. Instead, we
    >promoted the idea that a victory for Nixon would create a revolutionary
    >situation that would benefit us. We were wrong in terms of the analysis
    >that went into that position and in what ultimately happened. Sometimes
    >it's better to vote for the lesser of two evils when the other guy
    >represents true, rather than rhetorical, evil.

    Im sure there were some folks out there but there was never a movement,
    official line, etc.saying Nixon would be better because he would radicalize
    the movement.

    The Dems had been murdering 1000's of Vietnames a day and it would be a tad
    hypocritical for the left to come anywhere near them.
    And the Dems tried harder to hide their imperialism is liberal slogans.
    That had to be exposed.

    >Whatever the differences that Jeff, I and others share, we are, I believe,
    >in solidarity in opposing the Bush Administration and the coming war.
    >Marty Jezer
    >Stuttering: A Life Bound Up in Words
    >Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel
    >The Dark Ages: Life in the US 1945-1960
    >Rachel Carson (Women of Achievement Series)
    >Subscribe to my Friday commentary (by reply e-mail). It's free.
    >Visit my home page: <>
    >---- Original Message -----
    >>Sent: Friday, January 10, 2003 12:59 AM
    >>Subject: Re: [sixties-l] response to Cox and Blankfort
    >> > Despite our different interpretations of what was wrong and right
    >> about the anti-war movement, I do not put Marty Jezer in the same
    >> category as I do Tod Gitlin who seems to be edging his way into the
    >> current anti-war movement, if for nothing else than to get more material
    >> for another book, to become an expert on the current movement, and to
    >> smear anyone who suggests this war might also be "for Israel" as an
    >> antisemite or a self-hating
    >> > Jew. Probably, all three.
    >>Regarding the position vis a vis Humphrey and the movement, Marty did not
    >>deal with the apparent truth of what I had said, i.e., that, if the
    >>movement, which had broken away totally from the Democrats, had
    >>demonstrated anything close to a mindset that would have had it, or a
    >>major segment of it, endorsing Humphrey, that mindset would have been
    >>recognized by the Democrats and LBJ would not have dropped out of the
    >>race. That's the point
    >>that has been ignored.
    >>Jeff Blankfort
    >> > Marty Jezer wrote:
    >> > I don't know where Carroll Cox is coming from but he certainly turned =
    >> > what I wrote -- and what I consistently write and say -- totally around. =
    >> >
    >> > I've always stood for an inclusive movement -
    >> > Trotskyists, pacifists, Democrats, socialists, anarchists, even =
    >> > Republicans, as long as they are willing to accept the agreed upon =
    >> > discipline of any demonstration. (I do agree with Jeff Blankfort however =
    >> > that the sectarians in A.N.S.W.E.R. -- who deserve our thanks for =
    >> > organizing the first of the anti-Iraqi War demonstrations should not be =
    >> > allowed to control the planning of future demonstrations.)What's needed =
    >> > is a broader coalition that reflects the diverse politics of all the =
    >> > participants -- and that welcomes Jeff, Gitlin, and me.
    >> >
    >> > In the controversy that Cox is writing about, I was initially responding =
    >> > to Blankfort's sentiment of excluding Gitlin from the movement for his =
    >> > "incorrect" politics. In that vein Blankfort wrote:
    >> >
    >> > "I'm not surprised that Marty Jezer decides that the involvement of =
    >> > Gitlin or anyone else in the anti-war movement is not to be questioned. =
    >> > A couple of years back he joined Gitlin in criticizing the 60s anti-war =
    >> > movement for not having had the sense to endorse Humphrey for president =
    >> > in 1968, not being able to understand, apparently, that had the =
    >> > movement's consciousness been at that low level, Johnson would not have =
    >> > withdrawn his candidacy in the first place...."
    >> >
    >> > I would thus like to (sarcastically) apologize to Blankfort riding an =
    >> > all-night bus from Vermont to Washington,D.C. to protest the war. =
    >> > Obviously, because I hold positions that aren't those of Blankfort's, I =
    >> > have no right to be in his anti-war movement.=
    >> >
    >> > More to the point, Blankfort misrepresents my position on the 1968 =
    >> > election that I wrote in 1992, independent of Gitlin's position, in =
    >> > Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel, pp. 128,174-176.
    >> >
    >> > By the summer of 68, I wrote, the anti-war movement had "won the battle =
    >> > within the Democratic Party." I then go on to describe how we (I was one =
    >> > of those who was in the streets of Chicago and who opposed Humphrey's =
    >> > candidacy) were so infatuated with our own revolutionary image that we =
    >> > got the political analysis of 1968 all wrong. We believed a Nixon =
    >> > victory would, as the cliche goes, "heighten the contradictions." In =
    >> > repressing the movement he would revolutionize the country. At the time =
    >> > it looked like that was possible, but in retrospect it wasn't even =
    >> > close. Nixon took power, escalated the war, and we were helpless to stop =
    >> > him. I continue: Humphrey as President would have had to end the war =
    >> > (whether he wanted to or not) because to continue the war would have =
    >> > totally destroyed the Democratic Party (and his chance for re-election. =
    >> > The equation, which we didn't fully understand) was that Nixon, to =
    >> > appeal to his base, had to move right, which he did. HHH, to secure his =
    >> > base, i.e., to survive as President, would have had to move left; the =
    >> > political reality of the time was that he had no choice. Further more, =
    >> > the cultural aspects of the movement, feminism, gay lib, and many other =
    >> > parts of it would have prospered under the greater tolerance of a =
    >> > Humphrey presidency. In opposition to Jeff's critique, my analysis was =
    >> > based on the strength of the movement, not its weaknesses. We =
    >> > misunderstood our strength. We had rallied the country against the war =
    >> > and not towards our agenda of cultural and political revolution. At a =
    >> > time when we were strongest, we upped the ante and our demands. Instead =
    >> > of settling for reforms that would have ended the war, we decided to go =
    >> > for revolution, which was a fantasy based on, among other things, taking =
    >> > too much LSD and/or reading too much Mao and Fanon.
    >> >
    >> > Agree with that analysis or not, it's an attempt to think critically =
    >> > about that time. My take is that we blew it. That doesn't mean I'm =
    >> > trashing what I was part of. I just don't want to repeat those mistakes =
    >> > again.
    >> >
    >> > In the current situation, there is widespread opposition towards going =
    >> > to war in Iraq from the right as well as the left. We need to guard =
    >> > against the revolutionary illusions and exclusionary politics that, in =
    >> > the past, did us in.
    >> >
    >> > Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel -- which Martin Duberman called "by far =
    >> > the best account we have of Abbie Hoffman's remarkable life...deeply =
    >> > sympathetic and scrupulously detached -- a triumph of judicious =
    >> > empathy," and of which Anita Hoffman wrote "Here's the Abbie I knew and =
    >> > loved!" -- can be ordered from books stores or ordered direct from me =
    >> > <> for $15 postpaid.=20
    >> >
    >> > Marty Jezer
    >John Johnson
    >Change-Links Progressive Newspaper
    > or
    >Subscribe to our list server. Email
    >(818) 982-1412
    >Cell (818) 681-7448.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu Mar 27 2003 - 02:18:06 EST