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Carol Brightman on the 1960s

Posted on Jan 3, 2008
sixties book covers

By Carol Brightman

(Page 4)

Leadership was an important tenet in SDS.  Organizational, regional and sometimes chapter leaders were endowed with extraordinary powers, which had less to do with the values they had picked up from the rank-and-file membership than the ideas they shared with each other.  The need for secrecy steadily grew out of this subtle distinction.  As the gap between members and leaders grew greater, the secrecy about decisions being made at the top became more pronounced.  Weatherman, for example, which arose from the collapse of SDS in 1969, didn’t hesitate to use secrecy about strategic planning to keep order in the ranks.  The original ideals of “participatory democracy” as announced in SDS’ founding Port Huron Statement of 1962 had, by this time, become a casualty of the sectarian strife that split the organization and the Leninist ambitions of some of its most zealous activists.  Oglesby, who refused to follow the Weatherman line, was, in this sense, no longer a leader of SDS.  The issue of whether or not to embrace violence was at the heart of his disaffection from his former comrades.

Oglesby gives both sides of the argument against violence after the 1970 townhouse explosion, quoting radical filmmaker Robert Kramer (whose apocalyptic movie “Ice” was a fevered depiction of a fascist America which a persecuted radical urban guerrilla resistance seeks to overthrow) as saying: “We have to realize that the rulers of the American empire are not going to roll over and play dead in the face of the kind of moralistic entreaties that you seem to go for.”  Oglesby retorts: “As a quick and dirty first estimate, I would say that [my view] is at least ten orders of magnitude more plausible than your pipe-bomb dreams.” 

Daily events, however, kept the issue of violence in the air.  Three days after the townhouse explosion came word that Ralph Featherstone and Che Payne, two field secretaries for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), were killed when a bomb exploded in their car.  Then, on March 11, a large bomb blew out the side of a Maryland courthouse.  And the next day, in the early morning hours, bombs exploded in three Manhattan skyscrapers housing the offices of Socony Mobil, IBM, and General Telephone and Electronics.  A previously unknown group called “Revolutionary Force 9” gave the police a half hour’s notice to clear the buildings.  Weatherman wasn’t responsible as it was still reeling from the self-inflicted disaster of the townhouse explosion.  But this spate of bombings made it clear that the Weathermen weren’t alone in their rage and despair.  Nor, clearly, were they alone in their willingness to violently resist the American imperium.

In the months that followed, the American public’s approval of Nixon’s handling of the war would drop from 64 to 46 percent; but Oglesby maintained his faith in the persuasive power of nonviolent tactics.  “We started from nowhere five years ago,” he told Kramer, “and now almost half the American people are against the war.”  They shared a commune in rural Vermont, where Kramer ran a firing range in the back fields.  “Nixon cares what people think?” Kramer exploded.  “Refusing to pick up the gun is the best possible way to make everything we’ve won so far meaningless.”  And on and on it went, until Oglesby felt he had to leave.  Even if the demonstrations against the war were attracting fewer and fewer people, he had faith in nothing else.

Oglesby’s view of the war’s ending is strange.  Not Weatherman, or the broader movement whose nonviolence Weatherman scorned, and not outrage in Congress either; it was Watergate that did it, he maintains, beginning with the arrest of the burglars at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington on June 17, 1972,  and ending with Nixon’s resignation on Aug. 8, 1974.  SDS, he writes, no doubt “helped” set the stage for the final act, “but by that time it [the war] had already long since been carried from the field in a body bag, dead for as long as it had been alive.”  This wording is unfortunate, as if Oglesby is standing centuries away from the war’s bitter carnage.


Susan Sherman’s “America’s Child” is a book in two parts.  The first, which begins in Berkeley in the 1950s, reads like a string of clichés, broken by lines such as “I can’t imagine those years without them.”  The second, which follows a trip to the Cultural Congress of Havana in 1967, reads very differently.  In the first part, love happens, “sudden, unexpected, sure ... a moment I knew instantly would remain recorded in my memory to the last detail.”  And you’re nearly asleep when a 1961 visit home to Los Angeles arouses you.  Sherman’s stepfather, who had once been the Hollywood agent for Abbott and Costello, is reading about a Berkeley demonstration against the HUAC hearings, drops his paper and announces that if she was involved in it (she was) he would be the first to turn her in to the FBI. 

Her brief account of the history of her family—poor Jews who left her mother with a hunger for lying to herself—is horrific.  The mother finds herself married to her second husband, the stepfather, fleeing the impoverished suffocations of Philadelphia to the beckoning glamour of Beverly Hills, hobnobbing with movie stars, and then, when it all goes south, sliding downhill, to a tiny run-down apartment on the wrong side of Sunset Boulevard, living with a now bitter old man, a box of cigars and a few pieces of silver.  The mother made a virtue of forgetfulness, and Sherman, to her credit, does not.

More love, this in the chapter called “Coming Out.”  “Touching Sylvia’s face, her arms, tentatively ... the passion growing from within, extending out through my fingers. ...”  We’re in New York now; it’s a humid July afternoon.  “... [T]he touch of her breasts, her legs, reaching slowly, hesitantly, the curve behind her ear ... as she reaches down, between my knees, my thighs, touching me as I touch her ... moist, probing inward, searching. ...”  You get the idea. 

In the early 1960s, when Sherman moves to the Lower East Side, she is unaware of the forces that drive her and the world around her.  “I moved in a state of grace,” she says.  She recalls the Deux Megots, the coffeehouse run by Mickey Ruskin, who later owned The Ninth Circle, then Max’s Kansas City, famous as a hangout for Andy Warhol.  It was at the Deux Megots where she learns to write poetry.  She is never sure how much she, or the others in her crowd, broke through “the cerebral fences that dictated even in that bohemian context what was expected in both our poems and our lives.”

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By Anthony Ristorcelli, April 21, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Borat says, “Vietnam is a great country! All other countries are run by little girls.”

MMQ - Monday Morning Quaterbacking

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By nick, February 19, 2008 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Carol Brightman’s article is sadly exemplifies how American progressives (sic) at base share the same disingenous tendencies to pimp for the American Empire as as any Right Winger.

In particular, Brightman’s piece reiterates the critical distortions made by Carl Oglesby’s _Ravens In the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960’s Anti-War Movement_ concerning the International Tribunal on U.S. War Crimes in Indochina.

As documented by Ralph Schoenman, Brightman uncritically follows Oglesby’s lead in promoting deceptions both small and large to effectively minimize the American genocide in Vietnam and misrepresent the work of the Tribunal and Mr. Schoenman.

Perhaps, should change its name to instead?

“US War Crimes in Indochina in the 1960s: Truth as Casualty
A Response to Carol Brightman and Carl Oglesby on the Sixties”

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By GrammaConcept, February 3, 2008 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment


As we think, so we become…...
The implications of this Truth are metamorphically infinite…

Be seein’ you…

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By Chris Herz, February 3, 2008 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Far as I am concerned we analysed the death-state system accurately in the sixties.  And its unceasing belligerency abroad and its enthusiasm for police state measures at home have since done nothing to persuade this writer that we were wrong. 

I’ve lived hand-to-mouth as a boat bum for years just so as not to be forced to pay the taxes which finance their guns, their bombs and their jails.

This country is so racist and so militarist that the best we can hope for is another Bush for another 8 years—the policies of all the front-runners are basically identical to his—and this is good:  Only the bankruptcy and territorial dissolution of the state a la the late unlamented USSR can make the rest of the world secure from our depredations.

Chris Herz

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By Peter Baldiga, February 2, 2008 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To me, the import of the 60’s and 70’s is that those decades represented a tremendous global outpouring of revolutionary fervor that took many different forms and operated on many different levels in many different places.
  The Third World was on fire with the project of throwing off the yoke of Western colonialism—and not just in Vietnam, but all over the world.
In the West itself, in the US and France in particular, it primarily took the form of a revolution in consciousness—though American and French elites were rightfully terrified that they might be facing an actual political revolution due to the burgeoning, widespread acts of dissent it spawned. Believe me, we’re not living in the same country or the same world we were living in at the dawn of that era, not even close.
  Chomsky’s right, the world has changed dramatically for the better, and many of us have played a part—however small—in making those changes a reality. We shouldn’t be discouraged because so much remains to be done, but, heartened by our accomplishments, we should be electrified by the rich possibilities the present crisis affords us.
  History is moving in our direction, however subtle that movement may seem to our currently befogged vision, and I sense that this generation of Americans is ripe and ready to bring a new revolution of consciousness to fruition.
  Ralph Schoenman and his distinguished contemporaries such as Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre, were the intellectual vanguard of a revolution interrupted—by a vicious right wing backlash, and, yes, by our own bad faith. It’s clearly time now for us to pick up the torch and carry it forward, to ask ourselves Nick Lowe’s famous question: “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?” And, finally, to realize that we are the answer, that we’ve always been the answer.

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By G.Anderson, January 31, 2008 at 12:42 am Link to this comment

I guess after all this time there are lots of people who can’t get over what happened then.

For them everyday, is the same.

I used to wonder why so many men from WWII, spent hours watching war movies and documentaries about what happened then. Now I think I understand.

For many, that was the only time in their life where they really lived, intensly, realy felt like their life meant something to them.

I wonder what happened in between then and now? What seems clear, though is that the same bunch who ran the country back then is in power again, and up to the same old things. Only this time it’s worse.

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By GrammaConcept, January 30, 2008 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Ralph Schoenman.

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By Ralph Schoenman, January 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Truth as Casualty - A Response to Carol Brightman and Carl Ogelsby on the Sixties By Ralph Schoenman, January 21, 2008 follows in seven parts.

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By Ralph Schoenman, January 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

part 1

In an article entitled “Carol Brightman on the Sixties” (Truth-Dig, January 3, 2008) Ms. Brightman reviews three books, including Ravens In the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960’s Anti-War Movement by Carl Oglesby.

The article is replete with falsehoods and disinformation concerning the work of the International Tribunal on U.S. War Crimes in Indo-China, of which I was Secretary-General, and of my role within it.

Ms. Brightman’s errors, large and small, embellish the pattern of distortion in Mr. Oglesby’s book. The most egregious of these fabrications concerns the views of Jean-Paul Sartre, Executive President of the Tribunal and of other Tribunal members on the question of genocide.

Ms. Brightman’s claims regarding her own role are instructive, not merely for their petty misrepresentations but for what she conceals. She writes, “Early in 1967, I had gone on the second of the tribunal’s two fact-finding teams to North Vietnam, the only American and only woman.”

In fact, not two but six investigative teams were sent to Cambodia and North Vietnam, with supplemental investigative work carried out in the liberated zones of South Vietnam. Ms. Brightman was not the sole American on the second team, but one of three.

She omits to mention that members of these teams had been briefed about the sensitivity of our work, notably in countries under agonizingly massive and continuous attack by overwhelming U.S. air and ground assault.

Each potential participant had been vetted for their qualifications to examine evidence pertaining to the issues at hand and, in particular, for responsible discretion with respect to U.S. intelligence efforts to obtain information about Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian logistics on the ground.

Visas for members of these teams were arranged with the authorities in these countries based upon such assurances. To our dismay, when we boarded the plane in Paris for Phnom Penh, accompanying Ms. Brightman was a man unknown to us who carried an ABC television camera.

Ms. Brightman stated that this was her boyfriend, whom she had invited to join our investigative team and participate in its work. We explained that this was not possible, that he was unknown to us, had not been placed on the team and had not been approved for visas by the governments of Cambodia and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. We advised her that he would not be admitted to Phnom Penh unless he had a visa arranged by ABC and that, regardless, he would have no part in our work.

On arrival, he gained entry by representing falsely that he was a late inclusion in our investigative team. He shared quarters with Ms. Brightman, who attempted daily to insinuate him in our work.

This was refused by the team collectively. Members of the investigative team met to decide how to deal with this situation. The abiding sentiment was to remove Ms. Brightman from the team and exclude her from its work; there were concerns that we were in the presence of a provocation intended to discredit the team itself.

It was agreed that I would consult the Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities and describe the situation fully. We learned that Ms. Brightman’s friend had attempted to interview officials and individuals, presenting himself as “Bertrand Russell’s representative.”

He was asked by the Cambodian authorities to leave. He showed up in Saigon where he conducted interviews with U.S. soldiers, later shown on U.S. television. These were interviews sympathetic to U.S. policy.

The Vietnamese representatives in Phom Penh alerted Hanoi to the situation and it was agreed that to avoid a public dispute deployed by U.S. media to undermine the work of the Tribunal, Ms. Brightman would continue with us to Hanoi, but that she would not be allowed access to any sensitive zone or area.

Truth as Casualty continues ... see part 2
For the full article see http//

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By Ralph Schoenman, January 30, 2008 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Part 2

In her article, Ms. Brightman, describes “drinking and swapping stories” at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi. “Schoenman, it was said, had stood up at a dinner with North Vietnamese leaders and rebuked them for thinking of peace. He raised his glass in a victory salute; no one responded.”

The story is risible. I had been meeting with Ho Chi Minh, Pham Van Dong and party and governmental figures over a period of four years to discuss how most effectively to wage resistance to the U.S. war internationally, including our preparations for the Tribunal that had been ongoing since 1963.

I was chair at the time of the Vietnamese Solidarity Campaign in Great Britain, with sixty member organizations. Our public view, and that of Bertrand Russell during those years, was that we must face U.S. rulers with the demand “Out Now,” not pressure the Vietnamese victims of onslaught to make concessions to U.S. imperial policy in the name of “peace.”

The occasion of these remarks by Ms. Brightman is an ostensible review of Carl Oglesby’s memoir. Ms. Brightman quotes extensively from “Oglesby’s account” which, she states, “gives a vivid portrait of Ralph Schoenman, the American expatriate and Russell’s representative.”

Mr. Oglesby writes as follows: “Schoenman was about thirty, a tall man with broad shoulders. He wore his black hair combed straight back and varnished down. His skin was pale, his dark eyes nervous and darkly shadowed. He was always in a black turtleneck sweater and dark blue blazer, always stiffly erect with his chest out ...”

Mr. Oglesby’s self-description to the Tribunal was as “a playwright and political essayist” and perhaps he thinks of himself as entitled to dramatic license.

My height is under 5’ 10” and I am of slender build. My shoulders are not broad nor does my chest protrude. My weight was in the 150’s in 1967. It is 145 today. My hair is not black, but medium brown. I have never combed it straight back nor plastered it to my scalp. My hair was combed loosely forward, Beatles style.

My color now as then is pretty good. I have never been accused of suffering from pallor. My eyes are light hazel with a touch of green, not black or even dark. I have never owned a black turtleneck sweater nor attempted to wear one. My standard dress was a suit or a jacket, dress shirt and necktie. My preference in pullovers, worn occasionally in less formal settings, has been those of light colors.

Mr. Oglesby may have someone else in mind. He writes, however, to Ms. Brightman’s delectation:

“In one closed meeting of the tribunal during our second session in late November in a town called Roskilde, about twenty miles from Copenhagen, Schoenman announced that Russell wanted the tribunal to take an affirmative position on the genocide question, one of several questions the tribunal was examining.

“The practical question was whether the United States was specifically targeting Vietnamese population centers. Attacks on civilians constituted a crime of war, technical genocide. Schoenman told us that Russell believed such attacks were happening and that the United States was therefore guilty of genocide.

“Sartre disagreed. He saw American attacks on population centers as a consequence of the fact that Viet Cong and North Vietnamese combat units often stationed themselves in cities and villages. As Sartre saw it, such attacks were deplorable but nonetheless did not constitute genocide. In Sartre’s view, one could not use that term without evoking memories of Hitler’s assault on the Jews. Compared to the Holocaust, what the United States was doing in Vietnam was just fighting an ugly war in an ugly way. If the United States was in the wrong, he felt, that was because its effort to subdue the Vietnamese resistance was in itself wrong, not because the United States was trying to exterminate the Vietnamese people.”

Truth as Casualty continues ... see part 3

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By Ralph Schoenman, January 30, 2008 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Part 3

The claim by Mr. Oglesby that U.S. saturation destruction of the civilian population of Vietnam only occurred as an ancillary consequence of the deliberate placement by the Vietnamese of their soldiers and armed forces inside population centers is not merely a deeply reactionary and dishonest claim. It was the lying rationale of the U.S. State Department and of the Pentagon.

Ms. Brightman writes that “Oglesby was a great admirer of Jean-Paul Sartre, who together with Simone de Beauvoir and Vlado (sic) Dedijer, a World War II adjutant of Tito’s and a hero of the Yugoslav anti-Nazi resistance, presided over the tribunal. Schoenman represented Lord Russell, who remained a ghostly figure in Wales.

Fathering this contemptible lie upon Jean-Paul Sartre is a strange form of admiration. Mr. Oglesby, cheered on by Ms. Brightman in her review, imputes to Sartre a defense of U.S. imperialism against the “baseless” charge of genocide.

He places in Sartre’s mouth the revolting rationale of U.S. rulers themselves that the mass death of civilians in Vietnam was really the fault of the callous Vietnamese communists who hid their armies within population centers to deploy massive civilian deaths (now called ‘collateral damage’) as cynical propaganda.

Mr. Oglesby elaborates upon these presumptive views of Sartre, which he claims Sartre set forth in indignant opposition to my assertions that genocidal attacks on the Vietnamese population were taking place.

“All day long Schoenman would say, on the one hand, things like, ‘Lord Russell says he expects the tribunal to find the United States guilty of genocide,’ where the subtext was that Russell was paying for this damned thing and did not want to be unhappy with its findings. And then on the other hand, when Sartre challenged him on the genocide issue, Schoenman would say, ” ‘Don’t expect me to defend Lord Russell’s positions because I would not think of speaking for him.’ “

This is bizarre. I had been speaking and writing for six years on the subject. The Student Peace Union in the United States had published Bertrand Russell’s writing on the genocidal war in Vietnam in 1963.

Bertrand Russell’s book War Crimes In Vietnam, written before the Tribunal took place, set forth evidence we had made public since 1962. The first chapter, entitled “The Press and Vietnam - March-July 1963” contains our exchanges with the New York Times regarding our documented evidence of U.S. saturation bombing of the civilian populace and of insidious chemical weapons, including gases that explode the pupil of the eye.

It cites our letter to the New York Times referencing “a year’s study ... of the chemicals sprayed in South Vietnam and their effect upon the health of human beings, animals and crops.” It sets forth data concerning the use of “white arsenic, various kinds of arsenite sodium and arsenite calcium, lead manganese arsenates, DNP and DNC (which inflame and eat into human flesh); and calcic cyanamide ... which has seriously affected thousands of the inhabitants of South Vietnam; with having spread these poisonous chemicals on large and densely populated areas of South Vietnam.

” ... The use of these weapons,” we stated, “napalm bombs and chemicals, constitutes and results in atrocities and points to the fact that this is a war of annihilation.”

This chapter describes how the New York Times published this letter, while excising the cited evidence and then accused Russell in an editorial of “spreading communist propaganda, as he in his heart must know.”

Truth as Casualty continues ... see part 4
For the full article see http//

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By Ralph Schoenman, January 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

Part 4

It is instructive to note that Mr. Oglesby imputes to Jean-Paul Sartre the view that Bertrand Russell and I were “following the line of North Vietnam” on the subject of genocide.

War Crimes in Vietnam was published in 1967 by Monthly Review Press and by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. It included a 48 page essay of mine containing a detailed eye-witness account of the weaponry used and the effects on the population of North Vietnam.

It lists the members of the Tribunal. (Mr. Oglesby was not among them.) It describes the planned convening of the Tribunal in London on November 13, 1966 “to announce its structure, statement of aims and time table.” It specified five areas of inquiry for which evidence would be assembled.

The fifth was “the pursuit of genocidal policies, including forced labor camps, mass burials and other techniques of extermination in the South.” This issue and the evidence pertaining to it was on the agenda in Roskilde, near Copenhagen.

As I described our work in Against The Crime of Silence, “We proclaimed our conviction that terrible crimes were occurring and that we were in possession of evidence of such magnitude that it was essential to investigate the charges of this accusation.

“Our evidence established that eight million people were placed in barbed wire internment camps by U.S. and South Vietnamese forces. It showed the systematic destruction of hospitals, schools, sanatoria, dams, dikes, churches and pagodas. It demonstrated that the cultural remains of a rich and complex civilization representing the legacy of generations had been smashed in a terror of five million pounds of high explosives daily.

“Every nine months, this destruction is roughly equivalent to the total bombardment of the Pacific theater in World War II. It is as if the Louvre and the cathedrals had been doused in napalm and pulverized by 1000 pound bombs.”

Mr. Oglesby does not rest at fathering upon Jean-Paul Sartre a rejection of my presumptive dogmatic insistence, allegedly without concern for evidence, that genocide was occurring in Vietnam. Mr. Oglesby attributes a fundamental division on these matters to the Tribunal members at large:

“Apart from the existential problems between Sartre and Schoenman, this split over the question of genocide was the one serious split among the members of the tribunal. In crudest terms, Russell wanted a guilty verdict on this question, but Sartre was determined to let the evidence speak for itself. And as Sartre saw it, the evidence did not prove genocide. He thought it essential that the tribunal demonstrate its independence by voting to satisfy its own conscience. And he had let it be known that he thought Russell in the wrong to push North Vietnam’s line.”

Ms. Brightman, typically, cannot resist embellishing this citation. The word “propaganda” is not Mr. Oglesby’s but Ms. Brightman’s, who slips it into her citation of his text, writing “North Vietnam’s propaganda line.”

Mr. Oglesby resumes his breathless account of a supposed envenomed exchange on the subject between Jean-Paul Sartre and myself:

“Schoenman didn’t seem to care terribly about the quality of the evidence. He had already harangued several closed sessions about this and was now doing it again.”

Truth as Casualty continues ... see part 5
For the full article see http//

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By Ralph Schoenman, January 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

Part 5

Ms. Brightman picks up the theme eagerly from Mr. Oglesby:
“Lord Russell was unhappy to hear of the recent attacks upon him by certain tribunal members,” Schoenman said, “He is all the more distressed by these attacks in that they are occasioned by large differences within the tribunal on the issue of genocide.’

” ‘No one has attacked Russell,’ said Dellinger, who acted as the tribunal’s secretary and occasional peacemaker. We simply disagree with him on this question. Why does he consider disagreement a personal attack?’

” ‘That is for Lord Russell to say,’ said Schoenman, ‘I would not presume to speak for him. I am here only to say that Lord Russell believes the United States guilty of genocide in Vietnam, and that he will be disappointed if the tribunal continues to attack him for this view. He believes it imperative that ...’

” ‘Premiere!’ thundered Sartre. ‘Our findings will be significant only if they are supported by facts. Deuxieme! It is you who are under attack, Schoenman, not Lord Russell! Troisieme! You cannot both stand behind Lord Russell and put him in your pocket!’ “

Ms. Brightman then writes as follows:

“Schoenman bowed his head slightly but kept his composure. ‘I will see that Lord Russell receives a faithful account of your statement.’ “It was not a ‘knockout’ as Oglesby puts it.”

Revealingly, Ms. Brightman tampers with a quotation once again. Mr. Oglesby had written actually, “It was not a knockout” with regard to the putative denunciation of my views by Jean Paul Sartre.

Ms. Brightman alters Oglesby’s text and places his “knockout” comment after my presumptive rejoinder!

Mr. Oglesby’s breathless, blow-by-blow dramatization of this imputed conflict between Jean-Paul Sartre and myself, unfolding as he recounts it in Roskilde, near Copenhagen during the second session of the International War Crimes Tribunal, has one fatal flaw to which your readers should be alerted.

I was never there!

The entire drama in Roskilde set forth by Mr. Oglesby never happened. Nor was my inability to enter Denmark for the session of the Tribunal that Mr. Oglesby purports to describe, something known only to insiders.

After my imprisonment in Bolivia immediately after the execution of Che Guevara during October 1967, and following upon a five months sojourn in Nuancahuazu during the time of Che Guevara’s Bolivia campaign, I had escaped, was recaptured and imprisoned again.

After being deported to Peru, Panama and the U.S., my passport was nullified. The State Department refused to issue another, despite legal intervention by Leonard Boudin, General Counsel of the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee.

I secured an international travel document from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in a vain attempt to get to Copenhagen and Roskilde to resume my duties as Secretary General of the Tribunal and to be present at the session.

My flight first landed in Amsterdam where I was taken into custody by airport police. My Swedish lawyer, Hans-Joran Franck, who was an active part of the preparatory team of the tribunal in Stockholm, arranged with the Swedish government to allow my entry into Stockholm, whose good offices it was assumed would be invoked to facilitate my admission into Denmark, albeit on a North Vietnamese travel document.

Instead, the Swedish police took me off the flight and into jail where I was roughed up, my sternum fractured. I was then placed on a plane bound for Hamburg. Swedish supporters called in a bomb threat to the plane and it was compelled to return to Stockholm, to much fanfare in the European press.

Truth as Casualty continues ... see part 6
For the full article see http//

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By Ralph Schoenman, January 30, 2008 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

Part 6

From there, I was placed on a flight that stopped in Helsinki, where the police took me into custody. The name of the interrogating officer was Kafka - a touch, one would think, that would suit the theater of the absurd that so tempts Mr. Oglesby.

For several days I was a “flying Dutchman,” unable to land in any European country, placed finally on a flight back to New York sandwiched between two U.S. federal agents.

All of this received ongoing notice in the media, particularly in Sweden and Denmark. I was not permitted to enter Denmark and did not attend the Danish session of the Tribunal nor engage in dialogue with any of its members.

Mr. Oglesby is not fazed. Describing further his “adventures” in Copenhagen, he writes:

“Also sitting on the tribunal was the Polish historian Isaac Deutscher, author of major biographies of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin…”

Unfortunately, my close friend, Isaac, died of a heart attack in Rome the previous August 18th and, like me, was absent from the tribunal session in Roskilde.

The second session of the Tribunal alone examined the sixth question, on which evidence was presented during that meeting, namely: “Whether the combination of the crimes imputed to the government of the United States met the general qualification of genocide.”

This issue was discussed in Copenhagen, but without me.
What then of the actual opinions of Jean-Paul Sartre on the subject of genocide and on the judgment appropriate to the Tribunal?

Did he espouse the views ascribed to him by Mr. Oglesby?

Fortunately, although Sartre is no longer with us, his views on the subject are memorialized in his presentation On Genocide, published in Against The Crime of Silence: Proceedings of the Russell International War Crimes Tribunal - Stockholm and Copenhagen (Ohare Books, 1968), pages 612 to 626 and expanded upon by tribunal member Lelio Basso in his Summation on Genocide, pages 626-643. They are entirely consonant with those of Russell and myself.

Sartre’s On Genocide states, “The Americans want to show others that guerrilla war does not pay: they want to show all the oppressed and the exploited nations that might be tempted to shake off the American yoke by launching a peoples’ war, at first against their own pseudo-governments, the compradors and the army, then against the U.S. Special Forces and finally against the G.I.s. ... To Che Guevara, who said ‘We need several Vietnams,’ the American government answers ‘They will all be crushed the way we are crushing the first.’”

He continues, “They do offer an alternative: Declare you are beaten or we will bomb you back into the stone age. The fact remains that the second term of this alternative is genocide. They have said: “genocide, yes, but conditional genocide.” Is this juridically valid? Is it even conceivable?

“.... An act of genocide, especially if it is carried out over a period of several years, is no less genocide for being blackmail. ... And this is all the more true when, as is the case here, a good part of the group has been annihilated to force the rest to give in.”

Sartre is clear, specific and passionate:

“In the South, the choice is the following: villages burned, the populace subjected to massive bombing, livestock shot, vegetation destroyed by defoliants, crops ruined by toxic aerosols and everywhere indiscriminate shooting, murder, rape and looting. This is genocide in the strictest sense: massive extermination. ... What are the Vietnamese people to do to escape this horrible death? Join the armed forces of Saigon or be enclosed in strategic or “New Life” hamlets, two names for the same concentration camps.”

Truth as Casualty continues ... see part 7
For the full article see http//

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By Ralph Schoenman, January 30, 2008 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

Part 7

Jean-Paul Sartre continues:

“As the armed forces of the United States entrench themselves firmly in Vietnam, as they intensify the bombing and the massacres, as they try to bring Laos under their control, as they plan the invasion of Cambodia, there is less and less doubt that the government of the United States, despite its hypocritical denials, has chosen genocide.”

Despite the claims by Ms. Brightman, pace Mr. Oglesby, that Sartre rejected the evidence of genocide marshaled at the International Tribunal, his actual words demonstrate where their half-truths lie.

Jean- Paul Sartre was unambiguous.

“The genocidal intent is implicit in the facts. It is necessarily pre-meditated. ... The anti-guerrilla genocide that our times have produced requires organization, military bases, a structure of accomplices and budget appropriations. Therefore, its authors must meditate and plan out their act.”

He continues as follows:

“When a peasant falls in his rice paddy, mowed down by a machine gun, every one of us is hit. The Vietnamese fight for all men and the American forces against all. Neither figuratively nor abstractly. And not only because genocide would be a crime universally condemned by international law, but because little by little the whole human race is being subjected to this genocidal blackmail piled on top of atomic blackmail, that is, to absolute total war.

“This crime, carried out every day before the eyes of the world, renders all who do not denounce it accomplices of those who commit it, so that we are degraded today for our future enslavement.”

Here is how Sartre concludes his exposition “On Genocide”:

“In this sense, imperialist genocide can only become more complete. The group that the United States wants to intimidate and terrorize by way of the Vietnamese nation is the human group in its entirety.”

Mr. Oglesby and Ms. Brightman have imputed to Sartre an embrace of the rationale of U.S. rulers for their genocidal war. In the process, they reinvent me as a catspaw in furthering this farrago.

Late in 1968, well after the conclusion of the Tribunal sessions, the Stalinist regime of Brezhnev invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the students and steel workers who fought to reclaim the socialist ideal during the Prague Spring.

I flew to Rome to meet Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at the Hotel Nazionale. We prepared a petition together to summon people to a defense of socialism with democratic control and content.

Together, with Bertrand Russell, Antonin Liehm, C.L.R James and prominent others, we prepared an international conference of socialists and anti-imperialists to defend the Czech worker and student resistance.

That conference also took place in Stockholm - in early Spring 1969.

It is not the evil that is new; nor is it the crisis that has changed.

Today, forty-one years later, Ms. Brightman and Mr. Oglesby, reprise their political role in these matters. In making truth a casualty to their predilections and petty ambition, they evince, now as then, the dishonest lengths to which they are prepared to go and, in the process, the limits of liberalism.

(c) Ralph Schoenman, January 21, 2008
Vallejo, California

For the full article see http//

Ralph Schoenman is co-producer of Taking Aim with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone, broadcast over WBAI-NY. See

Truth as Casualty continues ... see part 8
For the full article see http//

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By GrammaConcept, January 28, 2008 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

‘Some’ of the flower children also became..and I know for sure, still are:

midwives, organic or biodynamic farmers/gardeners, Waldorf teachers and educators, yoga teachers, cooks in real food restaurants, librarians, homeschooler families to this day, world travellers, buddhist monks, grandparents raising grandchildren, novelists, poets, musicians of all sorts, salsa dancers, and oh, so much more….
....Idealists still working on Ideals, the lot of them…

We certainly did not all just die of multiple causes, not just yet…


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By GrammaConcept, January 28, 2008 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

‘Some’ of the flower children also became..and I know for sure, still are,
midwives, organic or biodynamic farmers/gardeners, Waldorf teachers and educators, yoga teachers, cooks in real food restaurants, librarians, homeschooler families to this day, world travellers, buddhist monks, grandparents raising grandchildren, novelists, poets, musicians of all sorts, salsa dancers, and oh, so much more….
We certainly did not just die of multiple causes, not just yet…

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By JNagarya, January 25, 2008 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment
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Those who denounce those they have neither met nor interviewed, nor with whom conversed, as “sheep” are by definition both arrogant and elitist, all outward- appearance “credentials” notwithstanding.

And is rather typical of today’s pseudo-conservative right wingers.  Facts, let alone knowledge, are irrelevant, as they are simply trumped and trampled under the foot of yet another repetition of stale, overbearing ideological presumption which is impervious to modification by reality and learning.

I’ve seen the very same denunciations of “leftists” and the events of the ‘60s again and again from elitist-denouncing elitists on the right who weren’t there to begin with, yet somehow manage to smugly know more about those years and events than those who were there.

Such denunciations are by now knee-jerk cliches offering nothing more than yet another run-through of the concertedly uninformed reactionary ideological view from the right.  Which, to be expressed at all, must not only be uninformed, but also steadfastly remain so.

Last but not least, it does not surprise that your “response” would be an ego-tripper’s concern with identity, a detailed focus down to the very threads of the weave, in effort to pretend the exact opposite.  Does “clothing make the man”?  The superficial elitist, believing so, makes of that an issue in “response,” though in fact it says nothing of value whatsoever about the issues at hand.

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By John Borowski, January 12, 2008 at 5:16 am Link to this comment
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Jnagarya my dear friend, I know you will not believe this, but here goes: I have never worn a pair of jeans in my life. (No, I’m not a nudist) I have never paid any interest of any kind to any of the robber barons since 1964. I never owned a credit card. (Only a debit card) I didn’t even know who killed JR for years. (I thought it was a misspelling on the bumper for JFK) I have never had a T-shirt with any message on it. If the brand name is clearly visible on a garment I will not buy it. I am not a fantasy race car driver, a fantasy woods driver, a fantasy mud, flood, snow driver, so I only buy Echo or Yaris type cars. I have lived outside of the herd for as long as I can remember. I am as far from an elitist as one could get. (I have been scratching in the dirt for years to make a living)

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By JNagarya, January 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment
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“By John Borowski, January 9 at 1:35 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

“The Herd
I really can’t blame the sheep for the tragedy in 1970. The ocean of ignorance will be herded into anything that the right-wing wants them to be herded into using the media, especially TV. If the right-wing wants them to put their rears in jeans, put billboards on their T-shirts, or wear $200 dollar items that the companies using foreign slave labor can make for fifty cent a pop, they can easily do so.”

That reflects the same elitist arrogance it is intended to denounce.  It’s easy to mock—and mistate—than it is to act in accordance with something more substantive than smug apoliticism.

“So too the chaos, riots, and anarchy that the right-wing pseudo leftists leaders fomented can easily get the herd to emulate.”

They wer not “pseudo-leftist”; but many of the Neocon[artists] on the extreme right moved from extreme left to where the money is.

“About the worst thing that the sheep can experience is to be put out of the herd. If you are not rioting, causing chaos, and doing anarchy you did not belong with the herd in the late sixties.”

Your “rioting,” etc., is far from all that happened during the 1960s, on the left, and in the center.  Most who were active in opposition to US invovlement in Viet Nam acted in accordance with their awareness that violence begets violence, therefore they did noe of that with which you would smear them.

“When the British powers condoned the chaos, riots, and anarchy in this country it made it easy for the right wing to accomplish it. In the late sixties the goal was to get Johnson out and Nixon in.”

In the “late” 1960s, the goal was to get LBJ for war crimes; but when Nixon announced his candidacy for the presidency, we dropped LBJ and worked to get Nixon, who we recognized as being a gangster.

And we got him, without all the BS you sling as bing all that happened.

So much for being a member of the smug, elitist, know-it-all/above it all herd that has nothing to contribute but attacks upon “the herd” from which they exclude themselves based upon an fake ego-based superiority.

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By John Borowski, January 11, 2008 at 11:43 am Link to this comment
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In case you’re scratching your head about Nixon and the Congress loading up the Vietnamese pockets and simultaneously unloading the American farmers’ pockets, stand back. Back then the Government gave American farmers welfare if they didn’t plant crops on some of their land. It seems like an oxymoron but does have a reason. Too many crops reaching the market mean inversely lower prices for
Americans. Fewer crops inversely mean higher prices for Americans. To be fair it is not the farmer that gets most of the spoils, but rather the robber barons that are the purveyors of our food.

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By John Borowski, January 11, 2008 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
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Can you imagine if back in the sixties Mayor Daley or President Johnson shot down protesters in Chicago, Kent State or Jackson State. The right wing totally controlled media would have “souped” up the donkeys’ mind to hang Mayor Daley and President Johnson at sunrise without a trial. This right wing controlled media is referred to as the Liberal Oriented media by the right wing media. This right wing media is the same media that made the word Do Good Liberal worst than coitus. There are many intelligent people with good character and maturity in this country, but they are over whelmed by people in this country lacking these qualities. “Madison Avenue” (The avenue where the tub thumpers reside in New York City) would not orient their commercials for a 6 year old mind if this wasn’t true.

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By Juanito, January 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment
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Ironic that the war veterans who actually got spit on are Iraq Veterans Against the War. Witness their march and protest in Washington four months ago. And those who did the spitting were right wing zealots.

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By John Borowski, January 9, 2008 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
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I really can’t blame the sheep for the tragedy in 1970. The ocean of ignorance will be herded into anything that the right-wing wants them to be herded into using the media, especially TV. If the right-wing wants them to put their rears in jeans, put billboards on their T-shirts, or wear $200 dollar items that the companies using foreign slave labor can make for fifty cent a pop, they can easily do so. So too the chaos, riots, and anarchy that the right-wing pseudo leftists leaders fomented can easily get the herd to emulate. About the worst thing that the sheep can experience is to be put out of the herd. If you are not rioting, causing chaos, and doing anarchy you did not belong with the herd in the late sixties. When the British powers condoned the chaos, riots, and anarchy in this country it made it easy for the right wing to accomplish it. In the late sixties the goal was to get Johnson out and Nixon in.

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By John Borowski, January 8, 2008 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
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Folks, this is a fictional “make believe story”. A rich kid was supposed to be in college studying to be a Republican businessman. (Aka Conservative right-winger) Mommy and Daddy said, screw the college we will pay all the bills so you can go and protest in Chicago even though you might come home in a wooden box. The leftists will prevaricate that the National Guard shot you down, when the facts are the State Police did the dirty work ending your life during the blossom of your youth. Mommy and Daddy told the rich kid that he should go to Chicago because that is where all hell is breaking loose to disrupt the Democratic Convention. (The media is going to go all out to feed the donkeys’ mind on the evil Democrats) The Democrat, Mayor Daley can get his good name dragged in the mud when he forcefully tries to restore order in his city. (His obligation)  Mommy and daddy said, forget Miami (Where the Republican Convention is being held). There is no action down there. If we are lucky Nixon will defeat Humphrey by 17,995,488 votes in 1972. (There is a good chance that Massachusetts will be the only state in the country to go Democratic) because in 1968 he told the American people he will take care of Vietnam by covertly expanding the war in neighboring countries. (Didn’t the pseudo leftists create tragedy in this country because of the Vietnam War?) Another plus is he is violating our Bill of Rights and Constitution and despite this, the American people will ignore it. God must have loved the unwashed over the rich kids because he made so many of them. The rich kids always believed god loved them more than the unwashed and were amazed to find the opposite to be true. They were also amazed to find the American government in the 70s was partial to Vietnamese farmers, while screwing the American farmers. (Congress and Nixon probably gave the Vietnamese farmers mops and shovels to clean up the Agent Orange on their land) The contradiction is that the Republicans (Aka Conservatives right-wingers) are in full agreement to give rich folks welfare, but not the unwashed. Even the Democrats in the South (Republicans wearing Democratic clothing) supported George Wallace the segregationist. If you were alive and kicking in the sixties you probably notice a great deal of spit on airplanes, but very little spit on gangplanks in California. If you still want more fiction try Carol’s writing.

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By Joe, January 8, 2008 at 12:13 am Link to this comment
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Damn, this is like having a tea and crackers at an old folks home. There are so many wrong, false, dumb or drool-encased blatherings in this thread, I don’t know where to begin. I told you damn hippies at the time drugs will be your downfall. Shit, one poster here says something like…convictions against antiwar types couldn’t be had because no pro-war juries could be assembled. Fuck my grandma. You couldn’t write “end the war” on a wall with a red crayon without spending a week in jail. The “right-wing” being responsible for anti-Johnson, anti-war events?? There was no right-wing in today’s sense. There were a few courageous leaders, Democratic Sens. Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska being two, these branded as traitors by some of their fellow Democrats. These two US Senators were the only ones to oppose the fiction-based Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which ignited the Vietnam disaster. There was plenty of sowing of dissension in South America and elsewhere but it had little to do with Party politics in the US, lots to do with ruling-class miscreants who, a few years earlier, had nearly gotten us blown away in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Any right-wing I can remember which would resonate in today’s neocon terms involved figures as Henry Kissinger and C.Lemay and that little gnome they named a building after. As for Kissinger, Nixon’s darkside companion, he was the architect of the mining-by-air and high-altitude bombing campaigns against Laos and Cambodia; this incindiary hobby of his adding another million dead Asians to the 3-million Vietnamese killed. Nixon himself was hardly a right-winger. But he, almost as much as Lyndon Johnson, was selfish and prideful. What would Vonnegut say about all this?
Where is that quart I hid from my wife?

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By John Borowski, January 7, 2008 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
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What even historians don’t understand is that the Vietnamese didn’t win the war in Vietnam. The right wing in this country gave the Vietnamese the victory. In order to get Johnson out of the presidency the right made the Vietnam War so unpopular with the American people that the American soldiers became demoralized and lost the will to fight. They were looked upon as pariah and used marijuana and drugs to hide from reality. The Vietnamese seeing what was going on in the US gave them the motivation to win the war.

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By Conservative Yankee, January 7, 2008 at 7:24 am Link to this comment
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By John Borowski, January 5 at 11:42 am #

“This is what happened in the sixties”

Maybe in some “alternate reality

I try not to respond to your rabid propaganda, but this post is a monument to the “tall tale”

Nixon did NOT beat Humphrey by “by the biggest landslide since the country began.”  In fact, the race was one of the closest in history. Nixon beat Humphrey by fewer than 1 million votes in an election where over 80 million people voted. George Wallace (the segregationist candidate) took over 9 million votes, almost all of them from the Democrats in what was still the solidly Democratic South.

There is no documented proof that veterans were spat on. BTW ALL Vietnam vets were deplaned at military air bases, NOT at civilian “gangplanks in California.”

While it was the National Guard who shot the four students at Kent State, The Jackson State shootings were done by Mississippi State Police. Since Nixon was reviled in Mississippi (for not repealing the civil rights act) it is doubtful the police were acting at his behest.

I would suggest some historical reading, but I have a feeling you are not a person who wishes to have your opinion altered by facts.

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By Wendy Lundquist, January 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment
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And that is the truth! They have turned into the same people who look down their noses at those of us who still feel passionate and compelled to carry on - for peace and positive change. Very disappointing to see the true colours come out in people who, it seems, hopped on the bandwagon just because everyone else did. The thing to do. Obviously, a game for so many. Now the majority into war (profiteering), globalization (profiteering), torture, intolerance. Right-wing riders…for as long as it pays.

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By Conservative Yankee, January 6, 2008 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
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While I can not comment on the life experiences of others, beyond “wow”... I must say that my experience with the Sixties was somewhat between Great and awful.

I protested the war, at the Moratorium, May Day, and Chicago. Daddy and mommy paid all the bills, and while I was supposed to be in college learning how to be a businessman, I rarely attended classes.

Finally, seeing my own hypocrisies, (living off the “system” while deriding it) I took off on a cross country walk that lasted two years.  I worked washing dishes, cars, and parking lots. I hauled hay, wood and cow manure. I met great people who were kind and decent, but didn’t share my (East coast Westchester based) opinions. I slept in bunk houses, spare bedrooms, and on land belonging to people who put “foreign affairs” unrelated to farming or ranching on a back burner… These people were the folks who elected Nixon in ‘68… Not because he stated their view, but because he said in effect; Don’t worry about Vietnam, I’ll take care of it.

One thing that has always amazed me about my peers (East coast rich kids who thought of the sixties as their time)is they never realized they were outnumbered by the folks who needed to have another focus…

In the Seventies the government in Washington betrayed these people too. The family farm that I remember from my youth is almost vanished due to anti-US farm legislation. Our generation cared deeply about Vietnamese peasant farmers, but it appears we overlooked some folks closer to home.

As to the “sell-out” described by some writers above, I saw that as a leadership sell-out, and have never trusted “leaders” due to that… Many people who I protested with back-in-the-day spent their entire lives working with poor children, fighting the “system, or advocating for folks who are unable to fight for themselves.

I’ve learned that the extreme ends of the spectrum (right and left) end up in the same place….using violence to “convince” others. 

I’m not there now, BUT I was not there in the Sixties either.  Violence gets only more violence and therefore is usually a wasteful exercise.

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By xyzaffair, January 5, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
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There was, unfortunately, a down side to the ‘60s revolution.  There were drugs and unrestrained sex, perhaps a reaction to the stultified mores of the 1950s. But people began to question what their government was doing.  Demonstrations led to greater freedoms for racial minorities, women, and gays.  These freedoms may have occurred later on, and may not be complete, but change has taken place. 

As Marilyn Quayle said at the 1992 Republican Convention, “Not everybody dropped out in the ‘60s.”  She’s right.  Some went to Haight Ashbury, but some stayed in their 9-to-5 jobs but joined in anti-war protests on the weekends.  They wanted the world to be better for their children.  I can remember a protest outside a facility of Dow Chemical, who brought us napalm, on a Saturday in 1966.  I don’t recall the protesters looking like hippies.

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By Hammo, January 5, 2008 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

It seems that by the mid-70s, young people coming up didn’t really understand what had happened in the ‘60s and early ‘70s.

Certainly a lot of people who were adults during the ‘60s also did not get a full picture of the many different forces and perspectives in play.

Maybe the article noted below might fill in a blank or two ...

“Revisiting the Vietnam War era: The draft, casualties and the Kent State shootings

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By SlimJim, January 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
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You don’t need a Weatherman. Not yet anyway, for the Weathermen were committing rather violent acts of civil disobedience, and the only reason they were able to operate for as long as they did (aside from excellent “under the radar” mobility) was that they had a significant amount of public backing. I’m speaking about the years when war opposition was so high that people were gracefully being acquitted of breaking and entering solely because you couldn’t collect a jury in the nation that wouldn’t sympathize with the defendants’ motivation to halt the war by burning draft records. Civil disobedience on scope with the Weatherman needs a quota of disobedient acts that appropriates the need for violent alternatives. Example, we need at least one “Seattle ‘99 protest” a week.  Seattle will happen again, but the quota needs to be established once the tear gas has cleared.

P.S. take your eyes away from the election. This is a critical time when momentum for civil disobedience is moved toward stagnation. The monetary interest of the big dogs always creates a puppet administration…says history.

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By John Borowski, January 5, 2008 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment
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This is what happened in the sixties. After the oil drenched right killed Kennedy, Vice President Johnson became president. The oil drenched right didn’t want to wait out President Johnson’s term. To remove Johnson the right infested the leadership of the leftists in this country. With the help of the as seen on TV controlled media the as seen on sheep caused riots, chaos, and anarchy in this country using the Vietnam War as their focal point. It got so bad that armless and legless Vietnam veterans were spat upon when then came down the gangplank in California. The country got so out of control that President Johnson couldn’t take it any more and declared he would not seek a new term. This opened the door for Nixon to win the Presidential Election by the biggest landslide since the country began. Not only did he continue the Vietnam War (The main reason for the anarchy in this country), but he continued covertly to expand the war in neighboring countries. Unfortunately, Nixon inherited the riots, chaos, and anarchy that he and the rightist provoked. To get the sheep back on good behavior he had the National Guard in Ohio and Mississippi shoot down some student leftists peacefully protesting the Vietnam War. What happened as a result of this tragedy was that all the leftists got haircuts, suits, ties, and shiny shoes and became Republican Conservative “Yuppies”. The pseudo leftist leaders were rewarded with well-paying jobs on Wall Street. Normally folks, a leftist would have less chance of plush paying job on Wall Street than a snow man on the equator. To me folks, the above tells me there is no hope for this country.

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By jackpine savage, January 5, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

And then a great many boomers who drive their SUV’s home to their 4500 square foot homes resent the fact that their children consider them sellouts.

In their minds, they did a great service: they ended the Vietnam war (hardly) and freed black folks from oppression (not even close).  Their work is done.  Now it is time to build a fat portfolio and enjoy those financial services commercials that tell them how much they “deserve” to the strains of toned down Beatles songs.

You may well be right, blueshit, about the true meaning of the 60’s.  The problem is that some of us were born early enough to have the lofty ideals of that decade indoctrinated into our young minds.  What was a flirtation of youth rebellion for some is the foundation of a world view for their children.

Still, i’m heartened by people like you and Grappa.

And i get what Blackspeare is saying (though i think the quote uses 30 as the dividing line), but growing more conservative is not the same as selling out completely.  And the root of conservative is “conserve”; it makes sense to want to conserve the ideals that one fought for.  That is not what happened with the 60’s generation.  They turned their backs on those ideals, as blueshift points out…or never actually held them in the first place.

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By Douglas Chalmers, January 5, 2008 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

“The upheavals of the 1960s were the closest we came in the 20th century to radical change in the United States since the Great Depression….”

It might not be Weatherman in the 1970’s so much as the history of the 1770’s which people need to remember.

All of the things which brought the USA into being as a nation are now being questioned just as they were in the 1960’s-70’s when America fought a major war that was lost to an infinitely smaller power and a growing anti-war movement at home kept military recruiters off college campuses, supported draft resistance, opposed, step by step, the escalation of troops…, etc etc.

If not, then a Tea Act passed by the US Neocons might well soon be met with a contemporary Boston Tea Party held in some other country which is fed up with American global hegemony. I wonder what the equivalent of the “Indians” siding with the British will then be? The next Treaty of Paris will then most likely be an accord made with the Shanghai Group in China (SCO), uhh.

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By jackpine savage, January 5, 2008 at 9:05 am Link to this comment


I understand your fatigue, and i am old enough now to have empathy for it.  I’ve had long conversations with one of my uncles about growing older as it relates to the ideals of youth.

He is still active, and obviously you are too.  I appreciate that greatly.

My generation is not active enough; perhaps we are slackers after all.  My wish for the new year is that the old warriors stand up and show us how its done.  And that the young warriors stop their excessive navel gazing long enough to take the torch that their parents are offering.  I would stand with men like yourself any day and all day.

And i agree with you wholeheartedly about small mill shops, urban gardens, and the implications of your statement. 

Finally, sir, thank you for your service.

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By Carol Avigdor, January 5, 2008 at 8:55 am Link to this comment
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I read with great interest, Ms. Brightman’s reviews on the different memoirs written by activists who lived through the 1960’s.                          I am going to check them out as well. I do think that there is one important memoir of the 1960’s that she might want to check out and review as that it too is fascinating and relevant to today. That book is “From Ike to Mao and Beyond:My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist” by Bob Avakian.He is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party and he has been grappling with the problems and challenges of making revolution in a country like the U.S. and looking critically at the achievements and problems of the revolutions of the past and how can we do better in the future. He has also been grappling with the need for dissent and critical thinking in society, but particularly under socialism and how promoting and encouraging dissent is good for society as a whole, and helps move forward things into the future.Bob Avakian ‘s book has gotten very good reviews by Cornel West and Howard Zinn. The book is published by Insight Press and that website is Bob Avakian’s website is

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By Blackspeare, January 5, 2008 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

You know what happened closely follows the words of Winston Churchill that I paraphrase here:

If you are under 40 and a conservative then you have no heart.  If you are over 40 and a liberal then you have no brain!

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By Grappa, January 4, 2008 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment
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I’m one of the 0ld 60’s viet nam vets against the war members. I’m much older and a lot more tired now. But the rise of this class of elites who have robbed us of everything including our dignity, must be brought to justice. They believe that by suffocating the poor and working classes that we will some how capitulate, I say never: till I take my last breath will I stop fighting for justice and equality by any means necessary to protect my family and my country that I love. Many in the 60’s meant well but the bottom line is we didn’t realize the blow back that was coming. The reactionaries hit us with everything they had, the prisons are an example of that,but many of us our still standing. The right is weak now and the time to increase the pressure is now. We must move to take control of the means of production. Small mill shops ,urban gardens ect.
Thanks for letting me fill a few lines in this blog.

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By Gloria Picchetti, January 4, 2008 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
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My comment was edited out I guess. As I said before, I loved the 60s the way the old people then loved their eras. I hated the violence by thy SDS etc. Where have all the flower Children gone? Gone to walmart, gone to ignorance of the issues. Quite a few of us have passed away. Cause of death was plenty of diseases besides ODs.
I might read this book but I already had 3 books and received 3 more for Christmas.
I still go to protest the current war in Iraq.

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By blueshift, January 4, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Here’s what happened after all the protests, if I hada a hammers, and civil rights: Nixon was elected (twice) and the war ended in 1975….once the military decided to get itself out. Meanwhile, Abby Hoffman became a stockbroker, and all the folks I attended the first earth day events with now own SUV’s, live in 4200 square-foot homes, and voted for Cheney.

The 60’s were about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. period. Today, these hypocrites drive SUV’s, own 4500 square foot homes, and vote republikan (against the all the values the pretended to have espoused in 1968).

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By jackpine savage, January 4, 2008 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

As a child of sixties radicals, i enjoyed Ms. Brighton’s piece greatly.  It did, however, leave me with the same lingering question that i’ve been dealing with for years, “So what happened?”

Thanks, Expat, you answered that question brilliantly.

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By Gloria Picchetti, January 4, 2008 at 7:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The book review is wonderful. I might read it except for the 3 books I received for Christmas and the three other books waiting to be read.
I miss the 60s the same way the old people in the 60s missed their hay days. I loved the fun, hated the government, and hated worse the violence of the SDS et al. The SDS didn’t listen to the Beatles. However, where have all the flower children gone? They became lazy schmucks who shop at walmart. They are too self involved to stay current. When is the last time you protested the damned war?

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By Expat, January 4, 2008 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

Ms. Brightman,
Very illuminating review.  Thank you.  I was there and bemoan the loss of that passion, if not the violence.  Unfortunately we now face a far more daunting and sophisticated enemy who learned from the 60’s that which we didn’t.  We will and are paying a very high price for our lack of diligence, apathy and passion for the creature comforts.  Our naiveté exceeds our intelligence exponentially.  The government today is not weak and benefits from the lessons of the 60’s.  We have handed them the whole enchilada for a modicum of security; but only if we are on the right team.  I guess the outstanding accomplishment of the 60’s is the lack of follow through by “us” and the total commitment by “them”.

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