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Tom Hayden on Mark Rudd

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Posted on May 8, 2009
book cover

By Tom Hayden

(Page 3)

In Europe, formations like the Weathermen burst out in several countries. In Germany, at the time of the Columbia student strike, radical youth protesting civic apathy toward Vietnam set fire to a Frankfurt department store, on grounds that it was better to burn it down than to run one.  A well-known journalist, Ulrike Meinhoff, feeling that in her role as a columnist she was only a pressure relief valve, joined a violent underground group, was imprisoned with others and hung herself on May 8, 1976, the anniversary of the end of World War II. In its beginning phase, her Red Army Faction had the sympathy of one of every four Germans under 30, according to a 1971 survey. Her Red Army Faction, like Italy’s Red Brigades or Japan’s Red Army, was more violent by far than the Weather Underground, and would spiral into lethal destruction.

Another example is the Irish Republican Army, revived in the late 1960s, which fought a 30-year war against England before signing the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. And in Quebec, revolutionary nationalists carried out kidnappings and bombings. As with Latin America, many of the participants in these revolutionary currents evolved to hold political office or serve in prominent professions today.

 

book cover

 

Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen

 

By Mark Rudd

 

William Morrow, 336 pages

 

Buy the book

To my knowledge, no one has convincingly explained how all these events took place concurrently and with little coordination, or how so many middle-class young people chose violence as a moral and political necessity. The Paris revolutionaries of May 1968, for example, sent the striking Columbia students a telegram saying, “We’ve occupied a building in your honor. What do we do now?” In Rudd’s book, he typically writes that “I don’t remember our answer.” In Derry, Northern Ireland, the slogan “Free Derry” was adopted from “Free Berkeley.”

There is a logical sequence from protest to resistance in the late 1960s. Protest assumed the authorities were listening, while resistance meant their institutions had to be disrupted, forcing them to pay a price. Resistance at first meant street battles with police, occupying buildings, burning draft cards, attempts to stop business as usual, and then gradually the beginnings of destroying property. It seems clear that the resistance escalated as the authorities chose to escalate an unpopular Vietnam War, or continue supporting dictatorships like the Shah’s in Iran, in utter disregard for public opinion, petitions and peaceful protest.  People were dying every day, on television, making a moral mockery of appeals for gradual change. It is clear, however, that the moves from protest to resistance, and from there to underground revolutionary action, took place as necessary reforms were rejected by the authorities while wars like Vietnam and dictatorships like the Shah’s seemed to rage beyond democracy’s reach. For example, street violence escalated decisively in Germany after the shooting of student leader Rudi Dutschke. Perhaps the advent of a televised war, combined with repression by police and the impatient inexperience of youth, caused the rapid escalations toward violence. I often wonder whether the propensity toward violence was greatest in the Western countries or communities that suffered fascism in the previous generation, like Germany, Italy and Japan. Even in America,  Rudd, who was born two years after World War II ended, grew up wondering whether he would have bowed in the face of such evil. 

The sudden subsidence of this violence in the mid-1970s also points to a sociological, rather than a pathological, explanation of its nature. The end of the Vietnam War, the forced resignation of Richard Nixon from the Oval Office, the U.S. rapprochement with China, the new openings for voter participation inside the political system, all contributed to a sharp abatement of the revolutionary fevers of the 1968-73 period.

Ironically, the Justice Department dropped federal charges against Rudd and the Weather Underground for fear of revealing their undercover techniques, and in 1978 federal prosecutors actually brought charges against the FBI for their Weathermen probes. One might even say, as the rhetoricians of the Weather Underground might have put it, that white-skin privilege helped to exonerate Mark Rudd. Or, more importantly and fundamentally, to put it another way, public opinion caught up with the radicalism of the 1960s—on issues like Vietnam and Watergate—at the very moment that the revolutionaries had given up on public opinion in order to go underground.

As the research and writings of James Gilligan demonstrate, violence is more situational than innate. Violence and shame are closely connected. The acceleration to violent behavior can be breathtaking. The violence of the young signals a dysfunction of the elders, not a nihilist seed. As John F. Kennedy famously said, those who make peaceful change impossible make violent revolution inevitable.

Now we have chosen a president, Barack Obama, who has known some of the Weather Underground veterans in their later incarnations. If he had been born 20 years earlier, Obama too might have given up on community organizing and become a black militant. The question he and the rest of us face today is whether we as a nation are prepared to act rapidly and deeply enough to prevent the conditions that provoke avoidable violence in a new generation yearning for substantial change. That’s the question a reading of Rudd’s book should make us ponder. 

Tom Hayden, a founder of Students for Democratic Society (SDS) in 1962 and principal author of “The Port Huron Statement,” is a former longtime California legislator, serving in both the state Assembly and the state Senate. He is the author of many books, including the forthcoming “The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obama,” “The Newark Rebellion,” “The Trial,” “The Love of Possession Is a Disease With Them,” “Street Wars,” “The Lost Gospel of the Earth,” “Ending the War in Iraq,” and, most recently, “Writings for a Democratic Society: The Tom Hayden Reader.”


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By Art Toegemann, December 27, 2010 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Much as I admire Hayden, he is wrong to criticize Rudd as he does. Mark Rudd has responded at length to my emails to him personally; he communicates. Blame is to be placed only where it belongs: the US government(s) during the US war with Vietnam. Resurrect, not divide, the Mobe, for proper and official recognition of conscientious objection to the US war with Vietnam as national service. Please, please go to my myspace blog. There are ideas there I have seen nowhere else. The US war with Vietnam was even more perverse than even the most radical writers seem to know. The age old conflict of obedience with knowledge, the present day propaganda by the suppression of Johnson’s address to the nation of August 4, 1964, because he had to admit “There were no US losses.” in the Gulf of Tonkin; the drafting, the impressing into military combat in spite of the lack of cause, the above admission broadcast and published; in spite of Nixon’s promise to be out in 1970; in spite of “deescalation”, coined for the war; the bad order, known; the rabid flying of the MIA flag; all of these make it impossible to criticize the violence of Mark Rudd. At his worst, he doesn’t understand what compelled and misled him too. The tragic error of the Diane Oughton incident was not their fault. The blame, the responsibility belongs to the United States.

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By KDelphi, May 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

bobf—I learned that this wknd, when I played back my DVRd Mark Rudd on Book TV…interesting

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By bobf, May 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There were actually two SDSs in the 1960s: pre-1968 SDS, whose politics were reformist; and post-Columbia Student Revolt 1968-1970 SDS, whose politics were revolutionary and anti-imperialist. In addition, there was the post-1970 SDS group that the Progressive Labor Party controlled for a few years that didn’t grow much in the early 1970s.

What should not be forgotten is that during Mark Rudd’s “two good years” following the 1968 anti-war Columbia Student Revolt (in alliance with the politically African-American student group at Columbia and Barnard), SDS experienced a much greater period of numerical membership growth than pre-1968 SDS had ever experienced under the old guard reformist leadership. See Kirkpatrick Sale’s book, SDS, for some documentation of this fact.

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By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

ardee—That is why, in certain select cases, I am for retroactive abortion…everyone makes mistakes…

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By ardee, May 12, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

mandinka, May 11 at 9:52 pm #


artee, painful isn’t it that the sum value of your life is neighbor activism wow what an accomplishment?? SDS was the entry requirement again WOW, hopefully you didn’t step in the shit walking thru the doorway. You take a marginalized philosophy spouted by the dregs of the college society as a badge of enlightenment how tragic

..................

Have you no shame at all? Do you honestly believe a post like this one earns you anything but contempt or maybe pity if one is a compassionate sort? Do you think to add anything to a political discussion by acting like a simpleton or a testosterone overloaded little teenager? I blame your parents for raising a walking advertisement for abortion.

I am rather proud of my community service, just as I am rather certain that you have done nothing but smoke dope and act like one too….

Aboive all, you are a really, really boring little man.

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By garth, May 12, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

I have seen the end of the United States. 
Chalmers Johnson said that bankruptcy will end the United States of America, however, I think that bestial proclivity to violence to solve business problems will lead to its downfall.  This will lead to its downfall.
It begins with the War in Vietnam.
One theory about why the war didn’t ended in Amercan’s favor is that the military brass were losing control the army.  Fraggings (killing of officers by American troops) were up.  Conscientious objections were up.  Drug addiction report were up.  Incompetent miltary leadership was overlooked. William Westmoreland, however, was replaced.
Fast forward to the Invasion of Iraq.  US soldiers mainly National Guard were supported by US Special Forces, mainly career men trained in the skills to kill.  These part time soldiers were a large part of of the mission to seek revenge for 9/11.

They started coming home after performing horrendous acts of cruelty and depravity on other human beings and they started to react: suicide.

Recently, a soldier in Bahgdad killed 5 other soldiers.  This is just a sign of the beginning.

The tv show 60 minutes last Sunday highlghted the newest military wrinkle, the Predator Drone. 
The personnel who control the Predator, live at home with their families and drive to work and go through a day of missile attacks on images on a CRT screen, which amounts to killing.
The destruction will come when this clinical warfare activity meets its Nemesis, namely, itself.

We will destroy ourselves.  You can’t kiss your wife and kids goodbye and drive to a metal cocoon in the desert in Nevada and kill people half a world away, maybe some of those on your side.

And that is the end of the United States. They cannot do otherwise.

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By mandinka, May 11, 2009 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

artee, painful isn’t it that the sum value of your life is neighbor activism wow what an accomplishment?? SDS was the entry requirement again WOW, hopefully you didn’t step in the shit walking thru the doorway. You take a marginalized philosophy spouted by the dregs of the college society as a badge of enlightenment how tragic

Report this

By ardee, May 11, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

breadandwater, May 10 at 6:51 pm #

This is bullshit. Liberals really get on my nerves nowadays. They are racist and authoritarian without even realizing it. They think authoritarianism and oppression can be ended “the legal way”, the peaceful way. Naive, bourgeois crap.

Only privileged people content with hierarchy and domination can make such arguments, though they may want to change the system a little bit through these wishy-washy ways. So of course anyone who really wants revolutionary change will be completely demonized. History of full of true heroes completely demonized for taking a stand that has really meant something.

Pacifism is pathological, not extreme and militant action. Non-violence, though it has its strategical role, protects the state and its power structures.

“our objective is complete freedom, justice and equality, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.” -Malcolm X

Let the elites know that you want freedom and that you’ll do anything to get it.
......................................

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you murder the hater; but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King

If you think pacifism protects the state how to explain the successes of Gandhi?  If you think those who work for incremental change are on the wrong track then you only leave the option of violent revolution on the table. Do you honestly believe those of us who live in ‘the belly of the beast’ will choose violence when what we seek is an end to violence?

Perhaps you might cite examples of violent overthrow of governments that led to a peaceful and productive society…..

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By garth, May 11, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

breadandwater, May 11 at 3:56 pm #

I think you’re a panty-waste, a dupe or bought and paid for.

If none of above, then pull your head out of your ass and look around.

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By breadandwater, May 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

garth, I think you’re a little too sure of yourself.

“The revolutionaries that make sense to me these days are the people talking about “building the new in the shell of the old.”  The way to defeat the Empire is to have as little as possible to do with its consumer goods and its “jobs.” “

Are you referring to revolutionary groups such as the Zapatistas? I think in their context they have no other choice, but there are a lot of catch 22’s in this. We can either take this path, or not being extreme enough can lead to more of what happened with the brutal destruction of the Paris Commune.

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By garth, May 11, 2009 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

” From 1928 to 1932, the German National Socialist (Nazi) Party’s share of the vote skyrocketed from 2.6 percent to 37.3 percent. While many commentators have attributed the Nazis’ success to its appeal to the lower middle class ... the facts unequivocally reveal that it was the upper middle class that most strongly voted for Hitler… The Nazis were seen as patriotic, anti-communist, and religious. The people who voted Nazi were not so much people who had fallen economically, but people who feared falling and wanted to stay on top. “—from the book Rollback by Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould” He who recognizes no humanity in others, loses it in himself.”—author unknown

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By garth, May 11, 2009 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

Hear, hear! By tommy_slothrop, May 11 at 12:59 pm #


breadandwater,
Violence only feeds the fear that fuels the Empire.  I’m convinced that the violence instigated by COINTELPRO had a great deal to do with the defeat of the Democrats in 1972 and their embrace of militarism ever since.

The revolutionaries that make sense to me these days are the people talking about “building the new in the shell of the old.”  The way to defeat the Empire is to have as little as possible to do with its consumer goods and its “jobs.”

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By tommy_slothrop, May 11, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

breadandwater,
Violence only feeds the fear that fuels the Empire.  I’m convinced that the violence instigated by COINTELPRO had a great deal to do with the defeat of the Democrats in 1972 and their embrace of militarism ever since.

The revolutionaries that make sense to me these days are the people talking about “building the new in the shell of the old.”  The way to defeat the Empire is to have as little as possible to do with its consumer goods and its “jobs.”

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By Paracelsus, May 10, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

Only privileged people content with hierarchy and domination can make such arguments, though they may want to change the system a little bit through these wishy-washy ways. So of course anyone who really wants revolutionary change will be completely demonized. History of full of true heroes completely demonized for taking a stand that has really meant something.

How do you effect revolutionary change without being a tool of those who don’t have your interests at heart?

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By breadandwater, May 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

This is bullshit. Liberals really get on my nerves nowadays. They are racist and authoritarian without even realizing it. They think authoritarianism and oppression can be ended “the legal way”, the peaceful way. Naive, bourgeois crap.

Only privileged people content with hierarchy and domination can make such arguments, though they may want to change the system a little bit through these wishy-washy ways. So of course anyone who really wants revolutionary change will be completely demonized. History of full of true heroes completely demonized for taking a stand that has really meant something.

Pacifism is pathological, not extreme and militant action. Non-violence, though it has its strategical role, protects the state and its power structures.

“our objective is complete freedom, justice and equality, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.” -Malcolm X

Let the elites know that you want freedom and that you’ll do anything to get it.

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, May 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

I would take a militant, a revolutionary, a protester, a hippie, a panther, a radical,

Anything or Anyone!!!

other than the large-scale apathy we see today

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By breadandwater, May 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is bullshit. Liberals really get on my nerves nowadays. They are racist and authoritarian without even realizing it. They think authoritarianism and oppression can be ended “the legal way”, the peaceful way. Naive, bourgeois crap.

Only privileged people content with hierarchy and domination can make such arguments, though they may want to change the system a little bit through these wishy-washy ways. So of course anyone who really wants revolutionary change will be completely demonized. History of full of true heroes completely demonized for taking a stand that has really meant something. And just because many weren’t successful doesn’t mean they weren’t correct in what needs to be done.

Pacifism is pathological, not extreme and militant action. Non-violence, though it has its strategical role, protects the state and its power structures.

“our objective is complete freedom, justice and equality, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.” -Malcolm X

Let the elites know that you want freedom and that you’ll do anything to get it.

Report this

By paul bass, May 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

my question is how did some good educated american kids get the idea that violence is the solution to problems hmmmmmmm…......

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By Paracelsus, May 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

“Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state.” - James Jesus Angelton - Director of CIA Counter Intelligence (1954-74)

“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” - William Colby - Director of the CIA (1973-76)

The Jews may own Hollywood, but the Catholics totally own the CIA. wink What is with Catholics wanting to spy on people? LOL

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By blogdog, May 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

RE: “...YOu must not listen to much ...”

I have lived all over the world, know music from all over the world, have worked with musicians from all over the world, run a record label that produces and distributes music from all over the world…

And I too am tired! Tired of ethnocentric Americans who think their home-grown culture is the best in the world, but know little or nothing of the rest of it…

ardee, there are, also among those frequently posting here, upon whom I too have given up…I’m polite with this lot at the lecture or demonstration, but quietly leave as the “singer-songwriter” takes the stage.

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By ardee, May 10, 2009 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

For blogdog, May 10 at 12:56 pm # 

Perhaps you might choose your responses with more care and less sarcasm then. You posted:

“What I sense from you, however, ardee, is a fear the all this harsh analysis of the political action surrounding the SDS somehow threatens your cherished recollections of your “glory days” of political activism “

which is, after all, a childish treatment of a series of factual posts relating truth in the face of the idiocy and childishness of garth and her buddy mandingo. What they posted was neither analysis nor even remotely accurate, simply stupidity. As for my political works I am most proud of those accomplishments, achieved long after SDS had faded to a memory, as a community activist in the SF Bay Area.

If I was unfair to you in turn it was because of the assumption of the execrable company I believed you to keep, as well as the sarcasm of the remark cited. I took great pains to note that it was truth and only truth I defended from this juvenile rat pack, whose every response was neither temperate, accurate or fair.

I am, as long as we are on the subject, very well familiar with the phenomenon of provocateurs and infiltrators from my days in the antiwar movement. There were steady streams of folks who would appear, agitate for violence and disappear, so many at one point that no group planning an action of any kind would tolerate any not very well known within it.

As to “bitterness” I know of no real activist who would or could succumb to such. The hallmark of such an individual must perforce be an unflagging optimism in fact as what she works to achieve necessitates much time, patience, energy, and setbacks galore. Perhaps you mistake my absolute disgust with the two children for that bitterness of which you speak.

In summation, blogdog, if I have misjudged you future posts will tell the tale. I will no longer allow the callowness of the two principle shit disturbers to enter into my thoughts or actions. They have proven themselves to be that least of all individuals, commentators upon things they know nothing about.

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By KDelphi, May 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

blogdog—I am tired of hearing that ‘Merkins dont appreciate “good music”, especially from those that think only , what, Classical (?) music is worth listening to. The US has produced some of the finest musicians the world has ever known, in my estimation. It is one thing that I could consistently be proud of, no matter where I was…with all the cultural influences, I just find US music to be superior. It may be all we have, but…

YOu must not listen to much jazz. Or ethinic mountain music or blues, or maybe you just dont know how to appecreciate them. I am not talking about all music, of course.

Where, exactly, is this music that yo speak of, that is superior to all others? There is nowhere that it is more complex or varied, unless you are talking about US “radio”...

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By blogdog, May 10, 2009 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

ardee, I am not a LaRouche supporter.  I don’t like his cult of personality, but his analysis is insightful - in particular of the manipulative devastation of the nation’s industrial base and of the wasteland that is American Pop Culture. I have no personal enemies, probably because my four dedicated decades are as an artist. And, in this, the most philistine of all time, culture there is no need for artists, only celebrities. Nobody really cares what we do or say until that one in a million of us becomes a celebrity, who is then usually muzzled 24/7 by a publicist.

Whenever, in any public forum like this, one encounters ad hominem invective, it feels like it’s usually coming from a defensively resentful malcontent. That’s understandable, if you’ve dedicated so much time in the trenches of social-justice activism and have to face the fact that your hard work is so easily undermined by a global oligarchy, accountable to no citizenry and blatantly abusive of every citizen, the fruits of their labor, the blood and guts of their children… any and all at its disposal.

Unfortunately polemic discourse has been skewed to the point that dedicated folks like you end up attacking dedicated folks like me. Expand the compass and dozens of wedge issues have the lot of the working class at each another’s throats almost continually, while our common enemies’ operatives manipulate us into perdition.

Curiously, long-time activists readily accept COINTELPRO as a stark reality, vis-à-vis the African American Civil Rights and Black Power movements, but struggle with the notion of its influence within the largely middle class Peace and Justice movement. Why would such a successful program be retired? Look into recent cases of foiled of domestic “terrorist plots” and you usually find a handful of mentally compromised characters incited by a provocateur from the outside, even supplied with weapons, if/when even present. The most prominent of late: FBI provocateur and undercover informant, Brandon Michael Darby.

You may think otherwise, I don’t think I’m “looking” for enemies when I cite these quotes:

“Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state.” - James Jesus Angelton - Director of CIA Counter Intelligence (1954-74)

“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” - William Colby - Director of the CIA (1973-76)

And, there’s nothing to suggest it’s any different today. As for the POTUS, can you cite anything in his handling of the financial crisis that would suggest he’s not taking orders from Wall Street?

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By garth, May 10, 2009 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Ardee says to me,
“You, on the other hand, seem a bitter, lonely and rather agendised simpleton with no facts at your disposal and only the desire to tear down your betters. Just so you understand that someone is on to your crap.”

The phrase, “tear down your betters” is particularly telling.  Does Ardee want a US government of strata, a sort of western version of a caste system, or, one based on elitists education—betters and lessers?  She might be considered one who was educated beyond her intelligence.  To quote Bob Dylan, “You’ve gone to the finest shools, Miss Lonely, but you know you only used to get juiced in it.” 
As a manager of an investment house in Chicago said to an east coast job applicant’s sponsor when given the prospective employee’s pedigree and education, “We’re not breeding cattle here.”

What, pray tell, was Ardee “struggling” for in SDS, more imposed structure?  For Linda Sanchez’s law to punish the pushy on the Internet.  Bring back Hayden’s law to make it illegal for someone look at another cross-eyed?

Like a child too late to grow up she seems to resort to name calling rather fluidly.

As for Ayers’s credentials, you seem to be very knowedgeable on the little details of his life.  Hero worship?  Is that still “in” in the group of leftovers from 60s revolution?
An old friend of mine Dr. Anthony Athos of Harvard Business School (dec.) told me of his one day he spent at the Harvard School of Education.  A bumbling professor stumbled in and dropped a load of books on the desk and began his class.  After writing several lists on the blackboard, he stopped to ponder the relationship of these columns.  Tony saw the relationship immediately and suggested the answer.  The professor was stunned.  That’s when he knew that the college of Education had little value in his pursuits.  He walked bak across the river and told his advisor that he was never going back there.  I could relate to what he told me because I suffered though a few of those Education courses, too.

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By ardee, May 10, 2009 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

mandinka, May 9 at 10:22 pm #

A terrorist never changes his spots .. are you saying that because he taught for a few years he should be forgiven. HARDLY let him do his time and then I will be happy to discuss it.


.......This will be my last response to one I consider a dishonest poster, one who ignores facts he/she cannot refute and posts sophomoric and trivial garbage that adds nothing with any intellectual weight to the discourse.

You made a disparaging remark regarding Mr. Ayers teaching abilities; I posted the opinions of his peers which refute rather easily your childish stupidity. You return with nothing at all.

My suggestion to you is to concentrate on your High School efforts, and, once you graduate and possibly go to college even, your world view and your experiential level might be sufficient to adult discourse. It is certainly not that now…Bye kid.
......................................
blogdog, May 9 at 8:51 pm #

What I sense from you, however, ardee, is a fear the all this harsh analysis of the political action surrounding the SDS somehow threatens your cherished recollections of your “glory days” of political activism

......................................

I fear that you couldn’t “sense” your ass in a well lighted room! What I do here is defend something a deal more important than my memories or activities, the truth of things. I understand that truth to those like you is a relativistic thing, elastic when attempting justification of your wacko fringe political beliefs.

For your information, not that I expect it to impact your giant ego and tiny brain, I have spent over forty years in community activism, the membership in SDS being only the entrance to such. You, I imagine, being a typical LaRouche supporter, think activism means searching under your bed each evening for enemies.

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By Joe Bryak, May 9, 2009 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good to hear some refreshingly frank, humble comments from those who professed to know everything back then. Hmm, I just caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror, gulp. Yeah, it was catching back then, all right. But, ego or no, the times desperately called for change, if you pardon the expression, and we mostly meant well. We couldn’t just stand by while millions were being slaughtered overseas and the aftermath of chattel slavery played out at home. It wasn’t all ego; most of us were heartsick at what was going on and were motivated by the most natural ideals to do our desperate best to change things for the better.
    Anyhow, I wonder if anyone could give me a tip as to how to go about seeking publication of my own novel—sigh—set in a lefty newspaper that resembles the Weekly Guardian of 1968 where, coincidentally, I worked. My one-time agent, Fran Goldin (Mumia’s agent, if you pardon the name dropping), tried to place my novel but had to give up after a few good tries due to 1) time constraints, inc. being too busy working for Mumia and 2) the state of today’s market/political climate, etc. Any leads, advice would be appreciated. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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By CJ, May 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

I think Hayden concludes rightly, summed up in Kennedy’s statement, though I love that quote from Nietzsche by way of Erich Fromm. The Fromm I learned to love long ago. Yes sir, Fred. Little mind—individual or collective—remains near as I can tell. Stuck in or returned to infancy. Either way resultant in submission.

But power is far more now than it was then. Power by now could never be resisted as it was then. (There’ve been some claims that protests of the war on Iraq were more populated than those of war on Vietnam. Maybe in numbers, but not in strength. No thanks to sterilized, puréed media over the last 30 years or so. Media was in general more honest back then. We got pictures, and fewer ex-military officers explaining away to submissive anchors, print-people and audiences of both.)

No, no one’s quite nailed down how it all came to a point, though I personally think that—in the case of the US of America—suburban sprawl had a lot to do with it. That peculiarly isolating/alienating phenomenon in which the “greatest generation” fell in love. Suburbs were always nightmarish/freakish places, in particular for impressionable youth.

The 50s had more style than we’ll ever have again, but were also as collectively anally feardul—as also noted by Fromm—as it could ever get.

None of which entirely explains Bader-Meinhoff. Hayden’s right too, I think, about youth born in states that suffered something terrible by WWII, under the real terror that was Orwellian “National Socialism.” Most especially those born to perpetrators: Germany and Italy, and Japan too. (The truly brilliant Fassbinder also killed himself.)

(I do have to note—again—that New Left’s subsequent attachment to what become identity politics was seriously wrong right-turn.)

By now we ARE onto a new form of fascism, of a more insidious kind. For Americans and Europeans and a few other nationalities, if one not so different for ongoing victims. Ever since Cortez, right up here to Obama, including all perpetrators in between. All who regarded and still regard elsewhere only as opportunity for exploitation. 

The 60s were also era of declarations of independence from colonial power—on the parts of those who suffered the worst, and who mostly continue to suffer the worst. Brutalized before and still by colonial or, rather, ex- (officially) colonial powers, as well as by indigenous bought long ago.

There was also Che, as well as Franz. Absolutely real deals. As were followers who paid dearly in their thousands.

Romantic impulse cannot be denied, I don’t think. Though irrelevant until combined with isolation/alienation (the latter more prevalent in richer states, including war-torn European ones, than in those so-called “Third World” ones still under boot-heels) that was and still is product of a merciless (suburban) system aided and abetted by indoctrinated social attitudes/behaviors. “Bad Seed” theory is “theory” for the bereft of mental faculty.

I, for one, will never sit in judgment of those who did what they did back then, whether or not in total understanding. I would, as I have, judge those who manufactured what Hayden refers to as “the situational.” If out of ignorance, that no damn excuse for supposedly all-wise (actually mindless) “greatest” generation as they soaked it up, thinking it all just reward for glorious WWII sacrifice. Americans hardly so many as Russians and other Europeans. 

Those of you still extent forgot about your fuckin’ kids, some of whom came to consciousness on their own, or in collusion with a few other kids. If ever there were such a thing as innate evil, that belongs to you, not to your kids by now fast growing old.

So much for Truman’s famous “buck” stopping with him or any of ya’ll. Time was more occasion for ceaseless accumulation of bucks, even at the expense of children.

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By mandinka, May 9, 2009 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

A terrorist never changes his spots .. are you saying that because he taught for a few years he should be forgiven. HARDLY let him do his time and then I will be happy to discuss it.

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By ardee, May 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

For KDelphi, May 9 at 4:40 pm #

Thank you for reminding me that there are reasonable and thoughtful posters here. I had feared that I had fallen down the well of ignorance.

In order to understand SDS and the times, one must really have been there I guess. For most it was the initial jump into political activism and the hot topic, so to speak, was the war of course.

For Tom Hayden it was not however, having worked with the poor in Newark for four years ( 64-68 The Newark Union Community Project). He wrote a book about his experiences during that time as well,Rebellion in Newark: Official Violence and Ghetto Response (1967).

I kept running into Mr. Hayden, in Michigan at the formative meetings of SDS and in sixty eight at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. But we really never worked closely, I was at Berkeley by then working with the remnants of the Free Speech movement ( Mario Savio was the valedictorian of my High School graduating class and a close friend who had urged me to follow him out to Berkeley when he returned from working with the poor in Mexico in ‘63.

We both went to Mississippi for the Freedom Project in ‘64 and he went on to fund raise for SNCC in Berkeley, which led directly to that rather infamous movement on campus. My journey was sidetracked to New Orleans ( ahhh cajun food and one particular cajun lady).

My point in all this rather verbose narrative is that there were indeed many who were concerned and active in working with the poor and disenfranchised, it was just that the war was the mobilising and recruiting elephant in the room.

Hayden became a politician and a democrat of course, but to characterize all former SDS folks as such is an incorrect assumption. Many of us remained active in community work and led lives on the outside of typical politics.

Thank you for a normal post, it is a terrific change from the childish strutting and sophomoric ignorant assertions from some here.

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By blogdog, May 9, 2009 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

RE:Speaking of diminished capacities, it would seem that you display such in “forgetting” that Tarpley attempted to run for the Senate on the LaRouche slate in 1986, but failed because this “genius” couldnt fill out the necessary forms correctly. Further your model of sanity compared Barack Obama to the Manchurian Candidate when Obama ran for the Presidency. Some “niggling” character flaw that huh? Nope , typical LaRouchian insanity!

Yes, finding something wrong with ones paperwork is pretty easy to do if the intent is to railroad them, exactly as it was done by the Democratic Party. As well, LaRouche himself was imprisoned for fraud; his status as a convicted felon being something that Zbiniew Brzezinski himself has been heard to say in dismissing him. And, as you point out, Tarpley does indeed accuse the Obama organization of being controlled by Trilateralists, that very organization founded by Z-Big and David Rockefeller. Maybe you’d like to defend them.

What I sense from you, however, ardee, is a fear the all this harsh analysis of the political action surrounding the SDS somehow threatens your cherished recollections of your “glory days” of political activism - the same way it might do were I to point out that most of the music our generation “got down with” in those same “glory days” is a broadly pathetic, dismally drab faux art -  maybe what really bugs you about Trpley and LaRouche is their appreciation of fine art in the Western Classical tradition, especially music, that accompanies their solid grasp of history - something else in which Americans (our generation included) isn’t especially strong.

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By ardee, May 9, 2009 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

By mandinka, May 9 at 4:10 pm #

arnee I too was around when SDS was forming they were the scum of the University, spent all day drinking coffee and pretending that people cared what they thought or did. No one did, invariably on campus they were pissed on, rolled or walked on nothing about them was something to be emulated

...........................

I am sorry that your college days were so unhappy as to make you this bitter and stupid. But, like your republican agent buddy Garth, you will receive no further shrift from me.

blogdog, May 9 at 3:52 pm #

Now the fact that Webster Tarpley wrote an expansive expose on this in “Who Killed Aldo Maro” puts him at the heart of this research. And yes, he worked at the LaRouche-run Schiller Institute. Many have compared LaRouche’s ego to that of Wagner’s - appearantly Tarpley broke with LaRouche over the issue of the later’s ego. Tarpley too is brilliant and knows it. To dismiss brilliant minds for niggling character flaws displays diminished mental capacity.

>>>>>>>>>>

Speaking of diminished capacities, it would seem that you display such in “forgetting” that Tarpley attempted to run for the Senate on the LaRouche slate in 1986, but failed because this “genius” couldnt fill out the necessary forms correctly. Further your model of sanity compared Barack Obama to the Manchurian Candidate when Obama ran for the Presidency. Some “niggling” character flaw that huh? Nope , typical LaRouchian insanity!

garth, May 9 at 3:04 pm #
His ideas as a Professor of Education in Chicago are nothing more than pedestrian babble and hardly worthy of comment

..... Oh dear Garth it might seem your bullshit knows no end. You seem to overlook the fact that Ayers has been awarded numerous honors in the field of eduction:
2005-2006 - Randolph Distinguished Visiting Professor, Vassar College

2005 - Distinguished Scholar, McKissick Museum of Education, University of South Carolina

2003 - Visiting Scholar, Lesley University

1999 - Distinguished Professor of Education

1997 - Senior University Scholar

1996 - Doctor of Humane Letters (Honorary), Nazareth College

1996 - Champion of the Public Interest, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest

1993 - Book of the Year, Kappa Delta Pi, for “To Teach” (Teachers College Press)

In addition he has been also noted by the Mayor of Chicago on four separate occasions for his community service, activism and impact on the education of youth.

You, on the other hand, seem a bitter, lonely and rather agendised simpleton with no facts at your disposal and only the desire to tear down your betters. Just so you understand that someone is on to your crap.

I am not here to defend either Ayers, Dohrn or SDS, only the truth, and you and mandinka , LaRouchian fanatics both, crap all over that truth.

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By KDelphi, May 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

My “problem” with Tom Hayden, began with his article in The Nation mag., and, at Common Dreams, which was called, I believe, “Is Protest Relevant in the Age of Obama”...(I was not aware that we were “in the age of Obama”..)I cannot seem to google it now, and, I havent saved my old Nation mags., but, I believe it was June 2006. I also saw him speak at a Progressive Dems of America meeting during the Dem Convention, and, was gape-mouthed at his seemingly new conversion to run of the mill Democrat. He spoke there of Obama being the “culminatin of our years of work” and , that, he himself, had become an Obama delegate.

I have to say, I was mighty disappointed. My disagreements with some of SDS, come , not from their actions in the 60s and 70s (which my sister was heavily involved with), but, with some individuals’ actions since, which, if attitudes had remained unchanged, would certainly have been sween as “selling out”.

I agree that we need another SDS now—-but, it will probably not exist without a draft. Otherwise, it would just be poor guys, who would be quietly indicted and thrown in prison.

“..there is a long history from protest…to necessary reforms…” I didnt think that the SDS, at the time, was calling for “reforms”—I thought that they were calling for Revolution. That is why I grew up admiring them. Perhaps he had to do it to win, but the trashing of Bill Ayers (most notably, by himself) during the Obama campaign was unforgivable.

Not being old enough to be there, makes me a third party witness, but, I was mightily disappointed when I was censored from a chat at PDA, when I asked why they would support a pro-war candidate who was anti single payer heawtlh care, and, had not even mentioned poverty in his platform. But, then, US poverty was never high on SDS’s list, I dont think.

There were partipipants from many countries in the chat, notably, one from Ireland, who noted that my comment was quickly removed, and, then, noted that they were censoring the word “gay”...it all seemed a little silly to me. Anyone who brought up any objections to , (Sen) Obama was quickly hushed. The friend from Ireland said, “(Blank!) Are they censoring this???” I said, yep , unfortunately. “But only ‘curse’ words ,which produces stupid statements like ‘Olympic winner Mr. Homosexual’”.

Many were “out of there”.

So, SDS “rolls into the Dem Party” and “all is forgiven ” for Chicago and all else…I dont get it.

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By mandinka, May 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

arnee I too was around when SDS was forming they were the scum of the University, spent all day drinking coffee and pretending that people cared what they thought or did. No one did, invariably on campus they were pissed on, rolled or walked on nothing about them was something to be emulated

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By blogdog, May 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Again, Hayden and others here fail to acknowledge the pseudo-gang nature of the Weathermen. To cite “...Red Army Faction, like Italy’s Red Brigades or Japan’s Red Army…” without mentioning the Gladio “strategy of tension,” implies a severely limited hangout.

from: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=125x115151

In 2000 a parliamentary investigation into Gladio concluded the strategy of tension had been supported by the United States in order to “stop the PCI, and to a certain degree also the PSI, from reaching executive power in the country.” (Senato della Repubblica. Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sul terrorismo in Italia e sulle cause della mancataindividuazione dei responsabiliy delle stragi: Stragi e terrorismo in Italia dal dopoguerra al 1974. Relazione delGruppo Democratici di Sinistra l’Ulivo. Roma June 2000, 3)

“Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organised or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,33...

Now the fact that Webster Tarpley wrote an expansive expose on this in “Who Killed Aldo Maro” puts him at the heart of this research. And yes, he worked at the LaRouche-run Schiller Institute. Many have compared LaRouche’s ego to that of Wagner’s - appearantly Tarpley broke with LaRouche over the issue of the later’s ego. Tarpley too is brilliant and knows it. To dismiss brilliant minds for niggling character flaws displays diminished mental capacity.

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By garth, May 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Someone brought up Tom Hadyen’s reputation in this thread, and I remembered that Hayden once sponsored a bill in the CA legislature that would make ogling illegal. If a woman complained that someone was staring at her, purportedly lasciviously, then that person could be arrested and charged with ... I’m not sure what they’d call it.
I have no way to describe it.  Madness?

As for Ardee, what facts.  That SDS started in Flint MI and Ayers and Dorhn adopted the son of one their SDS members who went to jail, probably a dupe.

As for making something of himself, he came from a wealthy family in Chaicago.  His father was the president of some multinaltional company and a friend to a lot very powerful people.  He didn’t have far to reach to pull himself up by the bootstraps.

His ideas as a Professor of Education in Chicago are nothing more than pedestrian babble and hardly worthy of comment, but one of them that he is currently touting is that everyone in the classroom should be well rested, well fed and well dressed.  Eureka!  The old paradigm says that the teacher should be hung over, and the students should be starving and in rags.
Like all new ideas, his is going to take some time to catch on.
Like all cockeyed, agent provacateurs left over from the 60s, your wise cracks and insults miss the mark.  You’re a day late and a dollar short.

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By Yippie! Good Neighbor, May 9, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee, NABNYC - Excellent rebuttal of a poster whose original post seemed to me a veiled attempt to smear Mr. Churchill.

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By Lester Shepherd, May 9, 2009 at 10:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So Garth is exposed as a LaRouche disciple.  No wonder his posts were screwy.  I ran into a mole just like Garth the other day who publishes his opinions on CounterPunch.  His name is Paul Craig Roberts. An progressive republican?  He made a mistake tho when he announced that Milton Friedman was a good guy.  Hell, he was a natural born killer from the white priviledged class who adopted Pinochet as an okay dictator.  These free market guys are pitiful, arrogant, selfish, greedy and hateful.  Better know who you talk to.  If they sound good but not right they are government agents or sleaze bags or worse.

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By ardee, May 9, 2009 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

By garth, May 9 at 10:30 am #

Ardee, if you can pull yourself away from the mirror long enough to read something, you ought to try reading Webster Tarpleys’s book on Synthetic Terrorism, and the two on Barack Obama.

.......

Had I but known I was dealing with a LaRouche disciple I would not have wasted my time posting reasonable and factual responses to someone suddenly exposed as a nutjob..It will certainly not happen again.

What you project as self serving or mirror gazing is, in all probability, your own psyche screaming desperately for you to reassert control.

  Regardless of your apparent illness the truth is what it is, the facts are exactly as I represented them to be and it was I not you who knew the principles in question, the political stances they took as they took them,and who witnessed and experienced the same political evolution as all of us during that era.

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By garth, May 9, 2009 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Ardee, if you can pull yourself away from the mirror long enough to read something, you ought to try reading Webster Tarpleys’s book on Synthetic Terrorism, and the two on Barack Obama.


NABNYC
“Garth’s rather childish attacks on others seems designed to further the view that everything that was done to oppose the war was pointless, stupid, or done by FBI informants.  This trivializes and demeans the work of millions of Americans, young and not so much, who spent years involved in various activities to educate people, get others involved, and end that disastrous war.”

You ought to take an adult education course on reading for comprehension.  The goal of the Weatherman was to bring down the SDS, and that they did. 
There are so many explanations and excuses as to why the War in Vietnam ended that defy common sense.  What about the one that says we got our asses kicked by a third world country.


Try reading or re-reading tommy_slothrop’s post, May 8 at 6:20 pm and Blogdog. 

Also, Blogdog’s post contains some real pointers that will lead to some interesting information.


“I was a 17-year-old revolutionary in February of 1970.  Of course, as a 17-year-old my idea of revolution was to spend hours listening to the Jefferson Airplane’s “Volunteers” album and dreaming about joining the Weather Underground when I was old enough to leave the small Midwestern city I grew up in.”
====================================
My idea of revolution at the time was listening to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band played as directed, with the volume turned all the way up.

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By Van Gross, MD, May 9, 2009 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The new Rudd’s channeling of the old Rudd sounds like a real bummer.

And one wonders whether the old Rudd, more than anything else, was just “going through a phase”: Rebellion for its own sake.

Everybody sing together: “Meet your old boss, (Columbia administration 1968)same as your old boss” (the new Rudd crying mia culpa for the old Rudd as he decides that cashing in on being a repentant revolutionary is emblematic of his new establishment).

We won’t get fooled again. Up against the Happy Mother’s Day wall, Focker.

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By ardee, May 9, 2009 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

By mandinka, May 8 at 10:37 pm #

Ardee unfortunately both were scum bags and should have spent the rest of their lives in prison. Having attend the meeting in Flint isn’t anything to be proud of but an apology is certainly in order

..............................

Another poster choosing to insult the intellect of this forum with unsupported, or unsupportable, hyperbole and rash judgments based upon no discernible fact. In order to show why I am proud of my activism and my association with SDS I would have to give you a primer on the awakening of dissent in this nation, a subject too lengthy by far for this medium of expression.

Instead I would urge you to read up on the subject before pontificating so foolishly about matters you seem unwilling to give more than cursory and shallow negativism. Political activism and protest are important ingredients, very necessary indeed, in the protection of our democratic institutions which are suffering and in decline today because there are no groups to provide rallying points, education and centers of planning to determine effective strategies to combat the corporatism that is, every day,assuming greater control over our legislative processes.

Lastly, when a subject is political in nature, one expects different opinions to arise, it is a necessary part of the process in fact. But one has a right to expect more than lies or one line throwaways. If you have an opinion to share then by all means share it. But please take the time to explain the reason and proofs for judgments and statements, otherwise you only reflect badly upon yourself and not the side you oppose.

Many folks whose first political stirrings occurred because of the formation of SDS and other such groups went on to engage in long and important community actions, and, judging by the lethargy one notes on todays college campus, the ennui in regard to politics and government, perhaps we need another SDS now.

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By blogdog, May 9, 2009 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

The COTINTELPRO accusations are sprinkled throughout the comments and heatedly contested at turns, yet curiously, none question Hayden’s citing Italy’s Red Brigade as genuinely “revolutionary?!?”

Certainly everyone weighing in here knows of Gladio and the pseudo-gang “COINTELPO” black-ops at the heart of the acts attributed to Red Brigade and Bider Manhoff, leading ultimately to the assassination of Aldo Maro. Moreover that it was all extensively exposed in Italian Parliament hearings (ca. 1990) - Gladio and the NATO-funded-and-trained “stay behind” networks, responsible for Western Europe’s ‘70s-‘80s wave of terror. Clear analysis of the Middle East today reveals that a similar program is being pursued - counter-insurgency as detailed by British Brigadier General Frank Kitson.

I don’t know that I’d go so far as to suggest that Hayden is a “rich asset” with nothing specific to base it on - certainly some characters around Rudd were, maybe even Rudd, maybe Ayers too - but, Hayden is sure careful to keep his distance from the third-rail label of “conspiracy theorist.”

Amazingly, no matter how often provocateurs, double agents, patsies and moles are exposed, anyone with a media persona to protect treats it as an anomaly. Clearly, even suggesting that black-ops/psy-ops might actually be SOP, business as usual, means one thing for sure: no more lecture tours, panel seats, book deals or academic positions for you!

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By Paracelsus, May 8, 2009 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

This is the version of America started by that revisionist piece of trash Forrest Gump:  the good people joined the military and went to third world countries to slaughter people.  The anti-war folks, and the liberated women, stayed here, became junkies, died of Aids.  But the problem with this story is that it is complete fiction.  And it is the kind of fictional re-write of history that has allowed the likes of Newt Gingrich, the Bush Klan, Cheney, all those monsters, to assume leadership in this country.

Winston Groom’s book was so different from the movie. Hollywood has a way of doing bad things well.

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By rumblingspire, May 8, 2009 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

like some of the posters here, I too lived as a teenager through the 60’s and waited for the revolution.  A revolution to end the crime of war, to end the futile rat race I saw around me, to enact morality and simplicity.  anything that was more real than Coke-a-Cola.

Mr. Hayden has made me angry.  I want to call him a traitor. But I can’t because I to pay taxes and all that such emplies.  I too buy gas and drink Coke.

Yes I agree that peaceful protest is the way but yet I am proud of the French revolution despite how ugly it was.  It ended aristocracy forever.  Now we need to end the control of big comercial merchant criminals forever.

I am still waiting for the revolution Mr. Hayden.

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By mandinka, May 8, 2009 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

Ardee unfortunately both were scum bags and should have spent the rest of their lives in prison. Having attend the meeting in Flint isn’t anything to be proud of but an apology is certainly in order

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By NABNYC, May 8, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

Re, Ardee, Garth:  I agree with Ardee, but would go even further.  This whole tirade by Garth could come from the drug addict on the radio, or other similar right-wing fanatics who use every opportunity to trash the role of normal people in our history, just disappear it, slander and defame those who really made enormous sacrifices in the face of the horror of the U.S. War against Vietnam. 

Garth’s rather childish attacks on others seems designed to further the view that everything that was done to oppose the war was pointless, stupid, or done by FBI informants.  This trivializes and demeans the work of millions of Americans, young and not so much, who spent years involved in various activities to educate people, get others involved, and end that disastrous war.

Further, I would say the anti-war movement was remarkably successful in bringing down the last and least of the pro-Vietnam-war Presidents, Nixon, by leading him in his weasely efforts to hide, cover up, lie, distort (“mushroom cloud” anyone) to send burglars into a Democratic campaign office to try to steal information.  How pathetic.  To be brought down in that way—like getting caught stealing milk money from a five-year-old.  But the war was ended, Nixon was removed from office (I know, he left, but same difference) and everyone associated with him was disgraced.

After that, the right-wing reorganized, regrouped, and started up again, so the failure of the left is in not succeeding in organizing the public to oppose the horrors of the U.S. death squads and murders in South and Central America in the 1970s.  Because that same group of people are the ones who got us into Iraq, and who have bankrupt our country and much of the world.

But to trivialize the lives and work of millions of Americans, committed, dedicated, honest people, is exactly the type of childish rant I expect to hear from the drug addict on the radio.  Although I don’t listen to him, so I guess I won’t read Garth’s comments either.

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By ardee, May 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

By garth, May 8 at 8:26 pm #

Ardee quotes an FBI agent.

“Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant who was with the Weatherman from autumn 1969 through spring 1970, considered her one of the two top leaders of the organization, along with Bill Ayers”

What do you think he’s going to say?  Would you think he’d admit it that the whole Weatherman plot was born in the FBI and Ayers or Ayres, Dorhn or Dorhnbopper whatever you want to get uppity about, that they were part of the counterinsurgency of the 1960s and 1970s funded by the Ford Foundation.

As would-be jazz afficianados know all the little stories behind the great jazz musicians, you seem to be able to find the inconsequential minutiae behind these two frauds who are now trying to redeem some public acceptability.

All that information about Ayers, Churchill and Doonsenberry has been researched.

...............................................

Lets get one thing straight right off the bat; I do not despise or otherwise seek to put you down, I do , however, feel rather sorry for such a pitiful person as you appear by your own words to prove yourself to be.

People come to these sites to discuss issues, problems and potential solutions, why you come here is a question without an answer. You betray a trust by posting garbage as you have done and I believe you know it to be such.

As it happens I was present at the formative stages of the founding of SDS, I was at the Flint, Michigan meeting, along with a couple hundred others of course, and no boasting is meant by this only to show a certain knowledge of the subject, while you appear to know absolutely nothing at all! Why you think to perpetrate a fraud on this forum is a mystery, but you have been caught out in it and no amount of further stupidity is going to save your ass now. Just the fact that you refer to mythic research sans accreditation should show any reading your worthless words how much you despise truth.

As it happens both Dorhn and Ayers abetted the split in SDS that led to its demise precisely because they had come to believe that violence was not the solution to the problems facing this nation. Just as they walked away from those elements of the Weather Underground for precisely the same reason.Every action by the WU while both were in leadership roles was painstakingly undertaken to ensure no harm would come to anyone. Once that proviso was going to be eliminated both resigned from that group.

Both have gone on to very successful careers and a long history of community activism. I am proud as hell of my limited association with them both. If you lived in Chicago, or were at all interested enough in the truth of this matter to spend a few moments with a reputable search engine you might discover that I speak the absolute and unvarnished truth.

I do not post this to attempt to convince you, only to set the record straight with those folks here who are interested in truth and accuracy of reporting. You I have absolutely no interest in frankly, you have proven yourself a sham , a fraud and ,quite possibly, a disturbed little fellow in desperate need of acceptance.

To the rest of this forum:

I apologize for my intemperate phrasing to this person. I simply abhor lies and liars and it shows. Both individuals that this person besmirches faced trial and what govt informant would have to do that? I am certain that you folks are mostly decent and seek truth and fairness and I will generally offer far better that this in my posts. But this jerk has some sort of axe to grind and believes that by distorting the name of one of the objects of his sophomoric angst he accomplishes something instead of diminishing this place and dishonoring all who come here.

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By garth, May 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

Ardee quotes an FBI agent.

“Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant who was with the Weatherman from autumn 1969 through spring 1970, considered her one of the two top leaders of the organization, along with Bill Ayers”

What do you think he’s going to say?  Would you think he’d admit it that the whole Weatherman plot was born in the FBI and Ayers or Ayres, Dorhn or Dorhnbopper whatever you want to get uppity about, that they were part of the counterinsurgency of the 1960s and 1970s funded by the Ford Foundation.

As would-be jazz afficianados know all the little stories behind the great jazz musicians, you seem to be able to find the inconsequential minutiae behind these two frauds who are now trying to redeem some public acceptability.

All that information about Ayers, Churchill and Doonsenberry has been researched.

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By geronimo, May 8, 2009 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Doesn’t the lesson of the Weatherman have to do with the fallaciousness and the elitist nature of vanguardism?  Fallacious in that where has a so-called vanguard party delivered an egalitarian (let alone utopian) society and elitist because tossinga match and thinking that the masses will join you in pouring fuel on the fire isn’t exactly the all hands on the helm concept, is it?  What’ll do it for us?  Yes We Can.  Not the fake article that’s circulating now, but the real McCoy, capable of delivering us universal health care, peace on earth, free education (pre-school through graduate school) plus much, much more.  Why Yes We Can and not vanguardism?  Everyone’s a leader, not just a self-selected few, that’s why.

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By tommy_slothrop, May 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

I was a 17-year-old revolutionary in February of 1970.  Of course, as a 17-year-old my idea of revolution was to spend hours listening to the Jefferson Airplane’s “Volunteers” album and dreaming about joining the Weather Underground when I was old enough to leave the small Midwestern city I grew up in.

My chance to join the revolution came one Saturday afternoon when I went to the Post Office to mail something.  The place was pretty much empty but as I was leaving I heard a commotion by the other door.  Some long-hairs (sort of) were making some noise and since I thought I knew all of the hippies in town I walked over to investigate.

There were three guys that I had never met and one of them was stomping on something on the floor.  As I walked up he picked up a charred piece of paper and said, “My draft card.”  They said they were opening a radical coffee house in an abandoned building that had been condemned for urban renewal across the street and that I should spread the word.

I told some people and they told some people and pretty soon all kinds of people were hanging out at this place.  For the next several months there were heated political discussions, lectures on revoltionary techniques and performances by the local hippie bands.  People crashed in the basement.  The place was the counter nexus in town for a while.  Self-described revolutionaries from all over the country would pass through, spend a few days and move on.

I remember the night after the Kent State murders.  There was this beautiful older woman, about 21, from Berkeley wandering around looking angelic.  The air was electric.  We were saying things like, “This is it.  This is the start of the revolution.”

It wasn’t, of course.  In fact, the coffee house was a COINTELPRO front from start to finish.  The guy who said he was burning his draft card was a government agent.  The Post Office, as in many smaller cities, was also the Federal Building and all the local FBI agent had to do was to look out his window at the building across the street.

So was this other guy who was a chemist with a strong resemblance to Berthold Brecht who told us how to make home-made incediary devices.  He even offered to get me some white phosphorus for ignition devices.  I’m sure glad I din’t take him up on his offer.  I’d have ended up in prison for sure.  But even as a dumbass 17-year-old I suspected something was not right.

Those were some intensely heady days.  When I think about them now and the deception that was behind it all, I begin to understand how people who were molested by priests must feel.

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By richardbelldc, May 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

I know people who barely avoided being sucked down by the Weathermen whirlpool. Who wasn’t deeply frustrated by the lack of progress in ending the war despite the huge protests?

I have often felt that the government shootings of students at Kent State, and then Jackson State, played a major role in the demise of the anti-war movement. Is it possible for a movement to cause major structural changes unless that movement’s members are willing to die? When I think of the movements that Howard Zinn often highlights from American history (abolition, labor unions, civil rights), those protestors kept on despite state-sanctioned killing. But the anti-war movement went home long before the end of the Vietnam War. And without a draft, where was an enduring mass protest against Iraq?

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By raulmax, May 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

I find the latter part of this article by Tom Hayden very enlightening.  Enlightening because he makes no mention of any of the left minority organizations.

As if these organization did not exist at all during the time period he considers. I find this a common notion in the U.S. left.  It goes hand in hand with the denial by many that the US has colonies.

Yesterday members of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, a movement which has a long history of fighting colonialism going back to the early 1800, held a peaceful demonstration in the US House of Representatives.

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By ardee, May 8, 2009 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

Garth

Your post is simply tripe, there is no other word one can use to more aptly characterize it.

You miss even the accuracy of the woman’s name:

Bernardine Rae Dohrn (née Ohrnstein, born January 12, 1942)

Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant who was with the Weatherman from autumn 1969 through spring 1970, considered her one of the two top leaders of the organization, along with Bill Ayers

In the late 1970s, the Weatherman group split into two factions — the “May 19 Coalition” and the “Prairie Fire Collective” — with Dohrn and Ayers in the latter. The Prairie Fire Collective favored coming out of hiding, with members facing the criminal charges against them, while the May 19 Coalition continued in hiding. A decisive factor in Dohrn’s coming out of hiding were her concerns about her children.

The couple turned themselves in to authorities in 1980. While some charges relating to their activities with the Weathermen were dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct, Dohrn pled guilty to charges of aggravated battery and bail jumping, receiving probation.] She later served less than a year of jail time, after refusing to testify against ex-Weatherman Susan Rosenberg in an armed robbery case. Shortly after turning themselves in, Dohrn and Ayers became legal guardians of Chesa Boudin, the son of former members of the Weather Underground, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, after they were convicted of murder for their roles in a 1981 armored car robbery.
————
Why you would post such venomous and inaccurate rhetoric ( including the stupidity of getting her name wrong)about a person whose life you do not relate with any degree of accuracy, or a movement which underwent cataclysmic upheavals and eventually split and rent asunder I fail to understand. Especially when the truth is a search engine from your fingertips ( wiki for above). Perhaps you yourself fail as well, as you have failed the litmus test of honesty.

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By NABNYC, May 8, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

I should have added that one consistently-progressive and sane voice through all these decades has been that of Tom Hayden.  Based on his history of principled analysis of issues, I assume he struggles, as do we all, with an effort to put things into context, find an analysis of history that makes sense.  Communicate so maybe future generations can learn something of value. 

So I thank him for taking the time to give us his comments on this book.

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By garth, May 8, 2009 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

Correction:

Churchill went underground after the bomb blew up in NY, killing three of Churchill’s students.  That when he surfaced as a writer for “Soldier of Fortune.”  I garbled the writing.

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By garth, May 8, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

“Mark Rudd who went underground and supported a plan to bomb Fort Dix, which went awry and killed three of his friends—all by the time he was 22 years old.”

—The stuff 18th century novels are made of.


“Rudd struggles to reconcile these two selves,..”

—Oooh!  The existential angst.


In the first excerpt, the person responsible for teaching those three unlucky bombers was none other than Ward Churchill, most recently of Indian identity, University of Colorado fame for blurting out some unseeemly remark about those killed on 9/11.  Ward went underground after that and took up writing for the Soldier of Fortuen magazine, no doubt a safer means of earning a buck.  He then reinvented himself as a native American took up plagiarism to land his teaching post in Boulder.

Ayres and Dohrnberger were bought and paid for by the FBI and the Ford Foundation.  Their assignment was to destroy SDS by provoking them to do extraordinary for them terrorists acts.  Ayres comes from a very wealthy, well-connected Chicago family.

I assume Mark Rudd is from the same stripe.

They ruined SDS, which, as it turns out, could have been a powerful force for peace and democracy in the past 35 or years. 
I apply Obama’s words for the torturers to these people, “Let’s look forward.”  I’d add to hell with ‘em.  They don’t mean anyone any good.  They’re a bunch of low life shirkers who served their master by becoming traitors.

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By Russian Paul, May 8, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

They were very young and made some decisions they might not have made if they were older.  But what about Hank the Hatchet Kissinger, Nixon, most of Congress, Johnson, JFK, Eisenhower, McNamara:  what’s their excuse for initiating and participating in a war of aggression against the extremely poor nation of Vietnam, and slaughtering 2 million people?  What’s their excuse?

Exactly, and what was the purpose of this article? To warn us of the dangers of taking radical action? I am about the age Rudd was when he started, and I am pissed off , I feel like taking to the streets, but who will join me. Times have changed, people have become inured by war, brainwashed by right wing/zionist MSM, made sluggish and complacent by the entertainment and fast food industries, and those who run our college campuses have become craven maintainers of the status quo, including some of our most “liberal” schools. And of course our own military is now being deployed domestically to pontentially help with any “crowd control.”

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By ron kovic, May 8, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great piece Tom!

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By P. T., May 8, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

“The women who were actively involved in the anti-war movement were ... ignored then, got nothing out of it, and continue to be paid 2/3 of what men in this society are paid for doing the exact same work, their entire lives.”


Don’t confuse privileged women with their maids.

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By P. T., May 8, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

Mark Rudd has talked in the past about dumping the SDS membership lists in the river, saying what an error it was.  The mistake was in thinking the anarchist “propaganda of the deed” would work as a substitute for organizing.  (It rarely does.)

However, the Weather faction did seem to be striking back at such outfits as ITT (over things such as the Chilean coup) in the 1970s, when most everybody else had moved on.

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By NABNYC, May 8, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

The Black Panthers resisted “the establishment” and were arrested, imprisoned, murdered in their beds in their sleep.  The privileged white University student males resisted and were ... largely allowed to walk away, become members of the faculty of various colleges, live middle-class lives, write books, reap rewards.  The women who were actively involved in the anti-war movement were ... ignored then, got nothing out of it, and continue to be paid 2/3 of what men in this society are paid for doing the exact same work, their entire lives.

It seems to me that the better explanation of Rudd’s incoherence, lack of recollection, is that he will not take responsibility for his own thoughts and actions at the time.  He is a privileged white male, and doesn’t want to do anything now to endanger his privilege.  Plus there is the issue of wanting to sell books. 

I’m a little tired of the confessional approach to the 60s and 70s in any event.  Why should we apologize?  Who was it that refused to allow black people to vote, or to participate in society, or go to the movies, or drive while black?  It wasn’t us, not the left.  Who was it that decided women should be controlled in every aspect of their lives, from thoughts, to speech, to attire, to conduct, to sexuality, to birth control?  It wasn’t us.  Who was it that murdered 2 million Vietnamese and used chemical warfare against them and against our own soldiers?  Not the left.  Who was it who sponsored and trained death squads and funded a reign of terror and genocide in South and Central America in the 1970s and 1980s?  It wasn’t us.  It was the “establishment.”  They did it.  When do they confess?

In the context of the mass murder being committed by the U.S. government, by the “nice” people of our society, I really can’t get into this whole mea culpa brand of confessional book that is suddenly making the rounds:  “I voted for McGovern, but I’m really sorry.”  “I didn’t inhale.”  “I had sex before marriage but I’ve regretted it ever since.”

This is the version of America started by that revisionist piece of trash Forrest Gump:  the good people joined the military and went to third world countries to slaughter people.  The anti-war folks, and the liberated women, stayed here, became junkies, died of Aids.  But the problem with this story is that it is complete fiction.  And it is the kind of fictional re-write of history that has allowed the likes of Newt Gingrich, the Bush Klan, Cheney, all those monsters, to assume leadership in this country.

20 year old males have the maturity level of about a 14 year old.  That’s probably a good starting point for any review of the Weather Underground.  They were very young and made some decisions they might not have made if they were older.  But what about Hank the Hatchet Kissinger, Nixon, most of Congress, Johnson, JFK, Eisenhower, McNamara:  what’s their excuse for initiating and participating in a war of aggression against the extremely poor nation of Vietnam, and slaughtering 2 million people?  What’s their excuse?

Anyway, we need mass movements again.  The focus should not be on the few bad decisions that were made, but instead on what was done right.  We need people in the streets to shut down the two existing wars, and stop the pending U.S. war against Pakistan.  End the Wars.  Bring the Troops Home.  Then prosecute and imprison both the people who lied us into war, the torture-monsters, and all the financial criminals who have looted our country.

http://NABNYC.blogspot.com

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By Richard M. Abrams, May 8, 2009 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hayden lists a number of reasons for the collapse of the left after 1973, all of them relevant, but he omits probably the most important:  the end of military conscription.  Remember: the VN war was still killing thousands, but college men—the backbone of radical protest in the 60s—no longer had to fear the draft.  Protests on the campuses thereafter dwelt on (real but) relatively trivial issues, e.g., establishing departments of gay lesbian bi-sexual studies, demanding the hiring of a few more minority faculty members, and college admissions quotas for officially-designated-minorities.

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By Michael Kazin, May 8, 2009 at 6:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hayden makes an important point about the prevalence of would-be revolutionary guerillas in a variety of societies in the late 1960s and early 70s. But he really should have mentioned that he was also seduced by the possibility of making a violent revolution in the U.S.—or else why did he give one of the speeches to the Weathermen and Weatherwomen in Lincoln Park in Chicago on Oct. 8, 1969, just before they took off on their insane “National Action” which consisted of breaking lots of windows and being beaten up and arrested by the police?

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By ardee, May 8, 2009 at 3:07 am Link to this comment

I read this article twice in order to find some reason for its existence other than to sell books of course. I am still puzzled as to its intent. Does Mr.Hayden harbor some sort of resentment towards Mr.Rudd that manifests itself in what appears to be a cheap and tawdry attempt to paint Rudd as somehow different, or less than, the rest of those ( myself included) who struggled with revolutionary notions and political unrest from the early sixties well into the seventies?

I never knew Mark Rudd well, having left SDS almost simultaneous to his assuming a leadership role therein when I relocated to California in order to work more closely with a High School friend, Mario Savio. I did know Mr. Hayden however, as the author of the Port Huron statement that defined the identity of the new movement, SDS, which in turn grew from SLID as a reaction by an angry and restive youth to the exploitive nature of our nation’s actions , both domestically and abroad.

Along with Bernie Dohrn and Bill Ayers and many others, including Mr. Hayden,we struggled to understand this political awakening and tried most urgently to find some solution to what we considered an untenable situation in our nation that needed correcting. We still try to this day, though we do so without the naivety of youth.

I consider those days in Ann Arbor to have been some of the best of my life and understand now that we were doomed from the first by our belief that, if we lit a
match, the masses would assist us in throwing fuel upon the fire.

But to blame Rudd for the shutting down of SDS is simply nonsense, especially when he only assumed a leadership role at Columbia after returning from Cuba in ‘68, a trip I was privileged to have shared. The USA is a large and formidable edifice, and for those children who grew up in the somewhat idyllic fifties, who saw the life of the typical American as white, wealthy, religious and somehow above reproach, the struggle to understand , and, more importantly, to find an effective way of combating the corruption and inequity we could not tolerate was a difficult one, diminished, it would seem, by this unworthy bit by Hayden.

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