[Marxism] Seymour/Ayers - rewriting history?

John Obrien causecollector at msn.com
Fri Dec 5 22:17:11 MST 2008

I do not agree with what you wrote below as to being accurate on SDS history.
The SDS did NOT oppose the Chicago August 1968 protests at the Democratic Party Convention.
Look at who were SDS members among the Chicago 8 Defendants - and see that SDS put out posters around that protest.  A number of SDSers may have politically opposed the National Mobilization Committee and some may have opposed YIP (Yippie) - but I do not remeber them urging their members to not protest the war and the other demands raised by SCLC the Black Panther PArty and other groups who were there to protest?
What is the source for this?
I also do not agree what was stated that PL was anti-China (meaning against the Chinese CP leadership).
PL at the 1969 SDS Split SUPPORTED Mao and the Chinese Communist Party leadership.  PL chanted Mao Mao Mao Tse Tung to respond to the RYM and others who chanted Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh!
Again what is the source for your stating PL in June 1969 was anti-China?
I also do not agree with what you wrote about the differences of RYM I and RYM II splitting.  It is not accurate in my opinion.  And what source can you give me about RYM II having a demonstration of a thousand people at a multi issue march at that period of time?  The RYM I demonstration in August 1969 on the First Anniversary of the Chicago 1968 Convention protests had less than a thousand and RYM II was not larger then in membership than RYM I.  RYM I lost supporters (such as myself) went it went underground and became the Weath Underground.
Please let us have the source of this history you list - since I do want to learn about that RYM II march and what date and where.  I will include in the historical text I have assembled on progressive world history - but I need the source and if any materials can be found to verify this - or people then involved who can verify this.  I know many people in RYM I and RYM II still, so just email me off the list if you do not want to state on this list the sources for this information you listed.
Finally RYM II did not dissolve into local groups.  The alrgest faction as I had wrote yesterday in my email - that you may want to more carefully read - said that the majority of RYM II (after Klonsky and what became the OL left) would become the RCP which still exists today and is NOT a local group!
Again, what is your source for this statement on RYM II just becoming local groups?
John O'Brien> Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 15:52:27 -0500> From: ethanyoung at earthlink.net> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Seymour/Ayers> To: causecollector at msn.com> > To add historical detail to this thread: > > By 1969 the transformation of SDS --from a > free-wheeling, left-reformist group closely > mirroring the development of [largely white] > student radicalization, especially in the > northeast, west and midwest, into a left-socialist > organization with organized factions strongly > identifying with one or another Leninism--> was complete. The three main factions [PL, RYM, > and the tiny third-camp ISC] all identified > with mass action strategies, including in the antiwar> movement. > > SDS played a big role in reviving mass demos> with the surprise success of their national> anti-Viet war rally in 1965. That success,> and the mass spread of antiwar sentiment [and SDS > growth] that followed, put a subjectivist kink in > the messianic mindset of SDS leadership. This > inhibited the group's ability to come to grips > with internal and external challenges:> > -The concerted and ultimately successful rule-or-ruin> campaign by PL [successful because they did effectively> out-organize other groups at the 1969 convention, > and then went on to ruin their own half of the split].> > -The post-King massification of black consciousness and > the mass ghetto uprisings, which led to new black-led> revolutionary formations, including but not limited to> the Panther Party, which in turn inspired similar groups> among Latino and Asian youth.> > -Intensified state repression against the entire left, > from infiltration to psy-ops to assassinations.> > In this setting, SDSers felt an increased responsibility> for more militance, which mainly took the form of > publicizing radical ideas and arguing how to incorporate> revolutionary concepts into working class organizing. > Impatience over the seeming inability of broad coalitions > to rein in the war turned into hostility toward the main > organizers of mass demos - the CP, SWP, ex-SDSers, > left/lib Democrats, and pacifists.> > The SDS national office opposed the 1968 National > Mobilization Cmte and YIP protests as distractions from > building a revolutionary movement, and as a trap that would > be met by police violence. But the success of the DP convention> protests--even with the violence--and the subsequent broadened> radicalization, convinced the leadership [by 1968 held by> the RYM faction] to turn, not back to coalition building,> but to calling their own, more militant, more all-sidedly> anti-imperialist national protest for Summer 1969.> > The 1969 SDS convention saw a split within the split as the > Weather faction formed within RYM, which rejected mass> organizing, advocating 'exemplary violence' that would> 'up the ante' for imperialism [actually for the movement]> and inspire a mass violent offensive against the war and state > repression. > > The rest of RYM strongly opposed this and split to > form RYM II, but agreed that a national protest was top > priority, and that the single-issue antiwar movement was passe. > Their goal was to link radicalized white youth with > the new revolutionary groups forming in color communities, > mostly outside the CP/SWP/PL Comintern tradition. They strongly> identified with the working class as the historic agent of> revolution, like PL, while embracing the NLF, the Panthers, > and Cuba as well as China, unlike PL.> > Two national actions converged on Chicago in October 1969.> The better-known Weather action was a silly putsch involving> about 200 full-timers, and a handful of sympathizers. RYM II> brought at least 1000 more to a militant, but non-confrontational,> multi-issue march. Both were tiny compared to any standard local> peace march of the time.> > It should be noted that until the RYMs failed to draw numbers to > Chicago, mass action strategy was taken for granted by all > concerned, though some were deluded into thinking, even in that > moment of ferment, that a multi-issue national action could be > rallied without a broad coalition. Weatherman went into hiding > and pulled off some harmless revenge bombings. RYM II dissolved > into local groups, leaving behind a nationwide layer of socialist > organizers--conscious, maturing, but scattered.> > ey

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