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Student Activism in the 1960s

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1 Student Activism in the 1960s

2 I. Intro Student movement existed before the escalation in Vietnam
Went through 3 phases: Early 1960s Mid-1960s Late 1960s

3 II. Origins of the New Left
First noticed by the mass media in SF in 1960: first mass demonstration in 20 years Triggered by HUAC special-hearing to investigate communism in Bay Area Film: Operation Abolition About 1,000 UCB students protested Police turned fire hoses on protestors

4 Signs of movement across the country
1962: come together to form Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Port Huron Statement: “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit. When we were kids the United States was the wealthiest and strongest country in the world; the only one with the atom bomb, the least scarred by modern war, an initiator of the United Nations that we thought would distribute Western influence throughout the world. Freedom and equality for each individual, government of, by, and for the people - these American values we found good, principles by which we could live as men. Many of us began maturing in complacency.”

5 In a participatory democracy, the political life would be based in several root principles: ...that politics be seen positively, as the art of collectively creating an acceptable pattern of social relations; ...that politics has the function of bringing people out of isolation and into community, thus being a necessary, though not sufficient, means of finding meaning in personal life… The economic sphere would have as its basis the principles: ...that work should involve incentives worthier than money or survival. It should be educative, not stultifying; creative, not mechanical; self-directed, not manipulated, encouraging independence, a respect for others, a sense of dignity, and a willingness to accept social responsibility, since it is this experience that has crucial influence on habits, perceptions and individual ethics…

6 New Left Self-identified as New Left
Liberals want to work within the system, implicitly accept system Leftists: work outside system; basic, radical change at root of system “New”: not communist/USSR

7 III. Impact of the CRM: Berkeley, 1964
1963: Mario Savio and others protest discrim. in Bay Area (hotel hiring) anger businesses (Oakland Tribune) pressure UCB admin. no discussion of “outside issues” on campus Free Speech Movement (FSM) to protest silencing: unified wide range of groups (anti-apartheid, feminist, civil rights, anti-war, Youth for Goldwater)

8 Some radical tactics (civil disobedience, sit-ins in buildings) but moderate goals
Gain support of faculty and force administration to give in to their demands

9 Attracted kooks to Berkeley who thought FSM was about violence, drugs, and a good time hippies and Reagan’s “the mess at Berkeley”

10 IV. Impact of Vietnam: Columbia, 1968
June 1965: threat of draft student movement primarily about war Columbia, 1968: war research on campus Two issues: 1) no more war research 2) racism of the university (property in Harlem) Saw two connected: racist imperialism

11 Kill the “brain” of the monster
How? Shut down the university seize buildings, strike, shut down classes Mark Rudd

12 Madison, WI (Berkeley of Mid West)
Sep. 7, 1970: “Okay pigs, now listen and listen good. There's a bomb in the Army Math Research Center—the university—set to go off in five minutes. Clear the building. Warn the hospital. This is no bull—, man.” OK City style: van w/fertilizer: kills Physics grad students + Madison anti-war movement Response to Kent State massacre

13 V. Delegitimizing Protest: Nixon’s “Silent Majority”
1968 Democratic National Convention, Chicago Anti-war Protestors sought to enter Convention beaten by police + National Guard Images most rabid, unruly protesters—inevitably focus television coverage—best possible Republican counter-spin (Pat Buchanan) race riots Nixon “law and order”/”silent majority” victory, demise mainstream Left, seriously scars Democratic Party to today (Solid South, Dems soft on defense)


15 Weather Underground SDS splinter

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