Sorry, Virginia, But Humans DO Conspire.

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Thu Sep 20 11:35:35 MDT 2001

>>> lnp3 at 09/20/01 12:40PM >>>

Well, this was not my experience at all. When I was a sophomore at Bard
College in 1963, the assassination of JFK made no political impact on me
whatsoever. I remained a liberal and was hopeful that the LBJ presidency
would continue with all that was good about the previous administration.
For most of us, me included, LBJ was seen as strong on civil rights and
even stronger on peace. By voting for LBJ, we would be preventing war in
Vietnam. Needless to say, the escalation of the war in 1965, immediately
after he took office, was deeply disillusioning. On top of that, the
expectations that racial equality would be achieved vanished with the urban
uprisings of around the same time. By 1965 very few people were thinking
about Kennedy or speculating that the war in Vietnam or police brutality in
the ghetto were a function of having lost Camelot. There was a segment of
society that did have these sorts of beliefs and they rallied around Robert
Kennedy's nomination in 1968. But to characterize this segment as
"radicalized" would be wrong. They were simply well-meaning liberals who
wanted to turn the clock back to the New Deal. What they lacked was a class
analysis of why American society and politics had take the direction it had.


CB: "Having lost Camelot" is not an accurate description of the reaction to the obvious coverup of what actually happened in the assassination. It was consciousness that it was forces from within the establishment and government that had done the murder, thereby making it a coup d'etat. This consciousness did not arise immediately at the time of the assassination, actually, for many. But the assassination was such a historic symbol and  thereby unforgettable,  that over the years following it, there were various people ( Dick Gregory is one who comes to mind) who questioned the official explanation, Warren report and all that, keeping the issue alive. As other factors ( and note well, I did not say the assassination was the only factor) developed contributing to generalized disaffection and alienation from patriotism and Americanism, including importantly the Viet Nam war, the Kennedy assassination and the theories of  a government forces conspiracy started to be viewed in a n!
ew light by many, and became one part of a reciprocal cause and effect dynamic creating the radical and critical attitudes of many in the "60's".  Conspiracy theories of the assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, being also assassinations portrayed to the public as carried out by individuals , but with indications of larger conspiracies, and the generalized conspiring and use of undercover agents against the Black Panthers and other radical groups were premised on and reinforced conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination.

The general attitude shift I am trying to describe might be roughly said as those average Americans who went from thinking "my government would never do anything like that" to " my government is very capable of such spectacularly treacherous and criminal actions ". Nostalgia for "Camelot" or romanticizing JFK is not a necessary part of what I am talking about. The JFK assassination would be only one iconic event that contributed to such a shift in many people's thinking. Unfortunately, the American propaganda apparatus has succeeded in restoring kneejerk faith and patriotism in the mass population, as demonstrated by the mass flagwaving reaction to the current event.

The class analysis element of the JFK assassination is the level of conflict within the U.S. bourgeoisie that one section would order the murder of one its own. It is an indication of the level of crisis and conflict within the U.S. bourgeoisie at that time in history. Also, Kennedy had just signed a treaty with the Soviets banning nuclear testing, and allowed Cuba not to be invaded in the missile crisis. The whole Cold War was a big class battle, so that element is an important part of a class analysis of that period.

I am not inclined , from what I heard at this point, to analyze the current terrorist attack in terms of a CIA or other U.S. conspiracy, but I was responding to Carrol's general discouragement of left attention to government conspiracies, and his specific reference to the JFK assassination analysis. I think the main CIA element in the current events is the very well documented "blowback" from the substantial CIA support of the Islamic Fundamentalists fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.
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