[Marxism] Moderator's note

Tom Cod tomcod3 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 3 13:51:25 MDT 2010


Jerry Rubin was a narcissistic asshole, way worse than even Abbie Hoffman.
 I remember him from the SMC steering committee meeting in NY in June of 68,
the first political meeting (v. demo) I attended where the Syd
Stapleton/Kipp Dawson imbroglio played out.  Rubin's contribution: to set
off a set of firecrackers towards the end of the meeting (before Workers
World came in with red flags and Cultural Revolution regalia from their
protests against the movie "Green Berets" down the street.

No, all kinds of people said all kinds of shit, that was part of the nature
of spontaneous mass movement.  The idea that the real leaders of this demo,
Dellinger, Hayden and others-and their political supporters like Phil Ochs
for example, the mainstream of the 60s radical movement, staged this event
to provoke a "riot" and were in fact the ones responsible for it, which was
at the heart of the scandalous Chicago 8 trial is completely meritless.
 Just look at the footage of these events, it shows a mass protest, not
isolated ultraleft antics (in this regard don't confuse this with the
Chicago "Days of Rage" Weathermen events of a year later that were a
provocation).   I remember earlier in the afternoon on the big day Phil Ochs
is playing before a crowd at the bandshell to thousands and the cops just
move in without any provocation and start breaking it up and bashing people
based on some permit bullshit as everyone was as completely passive as the
most "peaceful legal" way.  No, no one calculated anything except the police
who illegally and without provocation attacked people, not like say Selma in
65 where King did calculate that might happen but also counseled all who
participated about that in advance.  Having said that, what was calculated
was a protest of 100,000 people or more against the war that had been
planned and built for months previously.  Abandoning that under pressure
would have been a huge demoralizing political victory for the ruling class
that would have far outweighed what was a radicalizing political victory for
the movement, an historic event, like similar episodes in the history of
Labor, that exposed the nature of the Chicago cops and the ruling class for
all to see.

I mean how many situations like this did we have with the IWW and guys like
Heywood or in Lawrence in 1912?  or Ludlow, The Battle of the Overpass, oh
yeah the strikers started it, "outside agitators" it was their fault, C'mon.
 No, it was a mass action, and I regret that guys like Halstead and Camejo
did not close ranks with the others and then we would have had the Chicago
10 trial on an even more powerful political basis, but then again,
regardless of their personal feelings, they were under restraints from their
sect chain of command.  Based on speaking with Halstead in person briefly in
1986 I got the impression that he had become a little fed up with that part
of it long before based on his friendly attitude towards us independent
activists present and his hostile demeanor to those running the meeting.
Sadly he passed on shortly later.  Camejo's later evolution is also both
instructive and heartening.  I seriously doubt if he had had to do it over
it again, he would have stuck with the SWP Party line at all, but would have
been out there in the thick of it with the rank and file in the street.



> I think it was Jerry Rubin who later said that they planned to create
> exactly the kind of police reaction they got.  That makes some sense
> because nobody in their right mind actually expected Daley's cops to
> abide by the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights or anything, did they?
>
> Some of the big name corporate news figures saying, in effect, "ah,
> well.  The kids were asking for it."  They were assholes.  The people
> out there were not asking for it.
>
> But, if we take the statement on its face value, some of those who had
> called those kids out there were making a purely calculated political
> move to use their suffering.
>
> A single demonstration is a complex thing with many currents.
> Movements are even more so.
>
> ML
>
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