I was in Israel when the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed passed on August 7, 1964. Unlike the people at home I learned about it on the international press and was quickly convinced that it was a scam. As a result I cut my wonderful Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Weizmann Institute a year short ,got appointed to the Biophysics Faculty at SUNY Buffalo and came home for my second tour of duty in service of my country. The first was payback for my college education as a USMC officer from 1957 to 1960. When I got to Buffalo in 1965 things were unbelievable since I had been afforded the luxury of real news coverage while in Israel. The lies and rumors were the "news" and everything I had learned was either non-existent or buried in some underground sources. I was soon the leader of an umbrella anti-war/civil rights group that took in some 20 or more organizations in the area. Read on below for I learned a lot most of which has been lost, suppressed, or forgotten.
Much of it does remain available in a chronicle written by Mitchell GoodmanThe Movement Toward a New America: The Beginnings of a Long Revolution (A Collage) - A What? which I keep nearby almost like some religious people keep their Bible near. I was in the movement long before its death was insured by a huge influx of liberals who were going to save the country from the very people who worked hard and suffered, were beaten, imprisoned and even died to get it going. There were so many phases. The alliances with Martin Luther King were growing stronger and stronger. We really believed we would change the country. Our belief was widespread and I, for one, have never really lost that vision.
I'll tell you what my experience of that time tells me the decline of our movement was due to. You will not like it but the history of the times we are in backs me up. This is kind of a chicken and egg issue but let's see if we can sort it out.
I remember clearly the day we began to lose. It was not because of right wing opposition. That has grown significantly because we declined. On that particular day the New York Times ran an editorial on its front page by James Reston. The first paragraph condemned the war for the first time. The remaining paragraphs were devoted to condemning those of us who had sacrificed to build the movement while the liberals sat by and tried to make up their minds about which side they were on. They basically claimed that we were dangerous and needed to be controlled. Today you suffer the consequences of their ability to swindle people.
They brought things into "control". They ran Gene McCarthy and convinced the young that elections were the way to go. "Clean with Gene" was the slogan. The right wing thrived on that. The real opposition to the plutocracy was crushed. Now we suffer the consequences. Now we are forced to regain the momentum we had for changing the country.
My own way of dealing with this has been a confused attempt to find anything that can get us back on track. I worked for Obama very hard in both elections knowing that it would do little to restore what we have lost. I could easily write a book about why this is so.
This weekend people are again putting their bodies on the line. The occupy movement has been doing this for some time. The ground we are gaining back through their efforts is precious and we must never give it away again!
This time the stakes are much much higher for the plutocracy has gained so much relative to us. They are even higher because the rape of the earth has progressed so far as well.
There is another reason and it is even more pressing. The insanity of the right wing has not lessened. It has grown and its following has grown. The hopes that this election has changed them in any way are foolish at best. Once a web of lies and a world view that is totally out of touch with reality engulfs the minds of that many people all of humanity is in grave danger. This is not a joking matter. It is survival!
Those Union members and others who continue to do what has kept us from being swallowed up by the overpowering greed of the plutocracy have been too alone for too long. Yes we give lip service to them. We can lose all they have fought to win. This is real and it will be the show down this time. We can win and we must win! I do not think we will have another chance. Do you really still need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind is blowing?