[Marxism] (no subject)

X Y whdgm66 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 23 20:40:36 MDT 2012

On Thu, 23 Aug 2012 22:14 Louis wrote:
>Could you be more specific? I keep hearing this and plan to deal with this charge in some depth but what exactly did Rosenfeld say that led you to this conclusion?
>For example, this is a long article by Rosenfeld but it makes no judgement about a "good" politics different from the Black Panthers.

Mostly from the book itself - the 95% of which does not deal with
Aoki. I have not read the book or any significant excerpts.  Diane
Fujino and Scott Kurashige have.

>From my third posting of Kurashige's commentary:


Here's the thesis (pp. 34-35 on ibooks): ""Each of these men [Reagan,
Berkeley president Clark Kerr, and Mario Savio] had a transforming
vision of America and exerted extraordinary and lasting influence on
the nation. By tracing the bureau's involvement with these iconic
figures, this book reveals a secret history of America in the sixties.
It shows how the FBI's dirty tricks at Berkeley helped fuel the
student movement, damage the Democratic Party, launch Ronald Reagan's
political career, and exacerbate the nation's continuing cultural
wars." So we know that he chose to advance excerpt the Aoki narrative
not because it's central to his book but because it was the most
sensational sound bite he could use to draw attention to himself ahead
of the book release (standard marketing practice of course). The
thesis stated is entirely consistent with the liberal narrative of the
60s that I discussed earlier. Savio--the white free speech activist
from the early 60s--is "brilliant"; Reagan--the right winger--makes a
pact with the devil (Hoover) to advance politically; Kerr is the
reasonable, underappreciated liberal who was trying to be a
responsible steward but was a casualty of the new social polarization.
Three white male protagonists represent the 60s and the transformation
of America--think that will hold up in 2042?
[/end excerpt]


>From the concluding paragraphs of Fujino's SF Chronicle piece (posted
in the root of this thread):

I was surprised that Aoki became the centerpiece of the chapter in
Rosenfeld's book on the 1969 Third World strike. While Aoki was an
important activist, he was largely unknown. Aoki and others agree that
the Third World strike promoted collective leadership. They believed,
as did African American civil rights activist Ella Baker, that the
charismatic leadership model encouraged hero worship, reinforced
individualism and narcissism, and diminished ordinary people's belief
in their own power to effect change. Rosenfeld elevates Aoki to "one
of the Bay Area's most prominent radical activists of the era," a
point that amplifies the drama of his own discovery.

Rosenfeld is particularly critical of activists' use of violence
without placing this violence in a larger context. He implies that
Aoki's guns, given to the Black Panther Party, triggered the police's,
FBI's and government's backlash. Yet he ignores the police brutality
that inspired the Black Panther's police patrols, and the violence of
racism and poverty that inspired the Panther's free breakfast
programs. Instead, Aoki used the symbolic power of violence to stop
the greater violence of the government's failing to actively counter
poverty and institutionalized racism at home and in imposing war in

In my book on Aoki, I write that instead of being the trigger, Aoki
acted as the "safety on the gun." He was careful to teach gun safety.
Neither the Panthers nor Aoki expected to win a military battle with
the government. Firing the gun wasn't their intended goal. Instead,
Aoki used the symbolic power of violence to stop the greater violence
of the state.

So why did Rosenfeld magnify Aoki when his book focuses more on Mario
Savio, Clark Kerr and the Free Speech Movement? What responsibility
does an author have to provide evidence beyond reasonable doubt before
broadcasting disparaging accusations? Rosenfeld's article, video and
book raise many questions, but fail to meet the burden of proof.
[/end excerpt]

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