Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Che Guevara in 1951 Argentina. He was then about 22. This photo from Wikipedia entry on Guevara. I did not want to use the more common photo of Guevara here because it's too familiar already, often used today for politically-charged material, outright political nonsense and various jokes.

He was just one of many radicals running around in those days, though. Most of them were intellectually-driven activists, in favor of violence and separatism in many cases, and personally conflicted at stages.

Lurene's email in 2014:


MAY 17, 1990
TERRORISM (The word “terrorism” in Hebrew, but no point in displaying here.)

Radicalization of the American New left: SNCC, SDS.

Between 62 – 64, both organizations moved toward “insurgent politics”.

Mississippi Freeedom and Democratic Party MFDP – created by SNCC after voter reg. drive. Worked through democrats. 1964: Democratic Convention. MFDP. Ask that official Dem. Party was racist and not valid. LB Johnson needed votes of states, but party remained the same. MFDP only offered 2 delegate seats. Senator Hubert Humphrey was no help, either. Activists blamed the entire system, not just the South.

Berkeley – between 9/64 – 1/65, student demonstrations shut down the University. Free speech issue. University issue. Greatly attached to a cultural revolution. Students wanted out of the “Authoritarian System”

War in Vietnam: Single most important radicalization event. Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed in ’64 by both houses. Bombing of North Vietnam started. Argument was that North Vietnamese were helping rebels in South Vietnam. Supposed to bomb factories , but at the high altitude, no precision. Large #’s of civilians killed. Television brought pictures to states. Not popular, so the general anti-war movement began. Teach-ins around universities. War could not be defended.

The hard-core of this war movement, the SDS, were already highly critical by end of ’64. The racism together with war convinced them imperialism, capitalism responsible. Draftees or political draftees flocked to university chapters of SDS. Became “Marxized”. Until ’65, wanted to restore democracy. After ’65, questioned democracy as a system. Began to identify with Vietnamese victims. Started marching with Vietnamese flags. Mao, Ho Chi Min, Che Gueverra popular symbols.

Became SYMBOLIC Marxists, to de-legitimize lousy, cruel system. Campuses became inflamed.

SNCC – Carried a bible and a constitution. Non-violent. But after radicalization, disappointments, Stokley Carmichall took leadership. Took the “non-violent” out of SNCC. All the whites kicked out of organization. “We do not need wishy-washy whites”. Black power. Great identification with African struggles. 1967, bigger confrontations began increasing in univ.

Spring of 1968 – Student rebellion at Columbia U., as well as Paris! For nearly 5 weeks, no activity in Paris.

Take-over of President’s office in Columbia. He called the New York Police. Everyone around was hit, so it was a good recruitment tool for the SDS. (SDS planned this)

In president’s office, students found IDA files. Research organization. Studied counter insurgency, defoliation (sp) techniques. Final proof that university was with the administration. Admin. Paid for these studies.

Big media event. Tet offensive began New Years in Vietnam. Mass suicide attack by underground communists. Direct attacks on American facilities. Seen as proof that war could not be won. Even though attackers were killed.

1968, Chicago – “The Vietnam Convention” Mayor Daley orders police to storm in and there was bloodshed, television cameras.

Black Panthers, extremist organization started in Oakland in 1966. From the beginning, it was known that it was not purely defensive. Much unrest in Black Ghettos at time. Black Panthers tried to counter police brutality. Tried to project self-pride. Gave themselves very official titles.

May Day ’67. Black Panthers appear in California legislature with guns. Also at Cornell. Cherished idols of new left.

Eldridge Cleaver wrote SOUL ON ICE, autobiography. Killed @ 20 cops. [?]

Liked Frantz Fanon.

Between ’68 – ’70, some shoot-outs. They were the purist revolutionaries. They smeared the white liberals. During trial, the BERNSTEINS raised $$ for defense.

The Weathermen – next time.


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