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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?

Poll

The real battle for our future

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24%6 votes
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60%15 votes
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12%3 votes

| 25 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am here and ready to talk with you...n/t (9+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:02:53 PM PST

  •  Diary has been cross-posted at (8+ / 0-)

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:11:14 PM PST

  •  I enjoyed reading this, Don. (9+ / 0-)

    Since you were there, let me ask you a question (or put this up for a general discussion).

    There is a standard line that posits that Nixon ended the draft in 1973 in order to take the air out of the anti-war movement. My reading is that the Nixon landslide led to an increased apathy in the Movement and that the hard-left groups gradually splintered around this time.

    •  I was part of RESIST We ended the draft (13+ / 0-)

      I worked with Dr Spock and others  We staged draft resistance demonstrations all around the country.  The day before the Pentagon demonstration in 1968 we turned in thousands of draft cards to the Justice Department.  It was on that day that I turned in mine on National TV on the steps of the Justice Department.  When I walked down the steps the Black Panthers embraced me and declared me an honorary member.We were all committing civil disobediance.  As an honorably discharged USMC officer I was subject to 10 years in prison for what I did that day.

      I had spent hours and hours counselling young people about draft resistance.  I was arrested once out front of a draft resistance demonstration because I was keeping order and the cops wanted to bust heads.

      They prosecuted Spock and four others on a 1918 conspiracy law rather than let our efforts be acknowledged as a challenge to the draft laws.

      Yes Nixon finally gave in.  The plutocrats realized that the draft was not the way to go.  Mercinaries are much more controllable.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:24:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This has indeed been borne out: (6+ / 0-)
        Yes Nixon finally gave in.  The plutocrats realized that the draft was not the way to go.  Mercinaries are much more controllable.
        Don't show the caskets coming home.

        Don't show (or minimize or ridcule) domestic anti-war protests.

        Position your criminals as heroes (Oliver North, et al)

      •  This is a tricky question because I also fought (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky, Justina, mint julep

        against the draft and certainly don't wantY   to reinstate it.Yet Rangel has a point when he says that without the draft, people don't care if a few working class kids (the economic draft)get killed - and besides, we now have mercenaries (which the best solution for the oligarchy).  Personally I have become so adverse to the insanity of war that I will do anything to prevent someone from joining up - yet I still believe in the control of our defence by our citizens.  And if we don't have citizen soliders how do we have control? I have thought of some sort of national service, but given the way they are writing the dream act its just a way to funnel more bodies into the military. So i don't feel like i can trust a government that is run by the oil interests and plutocracy to try and find a way to democratically reengage our citizens in the question of our national interests (including at this stage of history, self defence.)  I AM AWARE THIS SOUNDS CONFUSED BECUSE I AM CONFUSED AND DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER.  ANY THOUGHTS?

    •  anecdotal evidence (7+ / 0-)

      I was around the DC area at the time and Nixon's reelection galvanised the left in my area. What took the wind out of the sails was Watergate. We felt that the corruption was being addressed. Bebe Rebozo went down, Agnew went down, Nixon went down, and the Pentagon Papers were published. A lot of people on the peripheral Left felt that, to use a somewhat dodgy metaphor, Glasnost had been accomplished and it was time for Perestroika.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:37:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The War Was Winding Down; There'd Been Gaps (4+ / 0-)

      in the draft which is how I inadvertently avoided it with a low number. My feeling from the time was that the true anti-war movement was always very tiny and that ending the draft would soon end the widespread opposition to the war.

      Anyway just 2 years later it was over. Civil Rights was passed, the war was over, we had an environmental protection agency, and a lot of the young leadership of movements in many places would be at the age of starting families.

      I don't think the public protests of the civil rights and vietnam war period indicate the level of interest then in truly fundamental change of political and economic systems. I don't see that those few who did then, and in our time do favor such radical change, have the means to inform and persuade the numbers of people needed to be reached.

      Merely describing a better solution, as necessary as it is, does nothing to make change. Ask any climate scientist about that.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:39:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suspect (3+ / 0-)

        demographics had a lot to do with it.

        ...and a lot of the young leadership of movements in many places would be at the age of starting families.
        Trying to make a living in a fairly vicious recession might have had an impact as well.

        "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

        by northsylvania on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:51:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  only 7-8% are actively or militantly involved in (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky, NY brit expat, Justina

        any revolutionary movement.  What I think happened to us was that we didn't hav ethe working class embedded in the movement and at that time they still had some worldwide power.  With globailzation, even tnis has dissipated on a national level.  Don't know how we're going to fight in the new global world relations.

        •  fight for survival...bad times are coming (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina

          resources are running out
          the soil and water are poisoned
          the climate change is accelerating
          and government is useless

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 06:35:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks so much for this Don! (6+ / 0-)

    I really think sharing your information and experience is essential for this discussion we are having in this group. I am really hoping that it will give us a chance to discuss, debate and bounce our own experiences off of each other!
     

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:16:36 PM PST

  •  One of my English profs (10+ / 0-)

    at UTA was in the forefront of trying to get equal representation for African Americans in The South back in the '50s and early '60s, to the extent that he had the occasional burning cross in his front yard. His family made a lot of sacrifices in terms of personal security to see that justice was done. He had a lot to say about the credulity of the later activists who supported people such as McCarthy as a form of lifestyle enhancement.
    However, he did make the point that real change can be achieved, even by a few people, if the majority understand the issues but have, in the past, been afraid to act themselves. I think the Occupy Sandy activists have proven their worth by working in places such as Red Hook, to make significant change in the lives of people who are ignored by our current government. Occupy Wall Street was marginalised by the same forces that subverted earlier social justice movements. I hope that others will pay attention to the difference they are making in people's lives and be encouraged to participate themselves.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:18:30 PM PST

  •  ACM series schedule (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, northsylvania, Justina

    December:
    2nd: Le Gauchiste on the Walmart strike and it potential influence
    9th: UnaSpenser and NY Brit Expat discuss fairness, justice and how capitalism impacts us beyond the economic
    16th:
    23rd:
    30th: Annieli

    New Year, 2013:

    January:
    6th:
    13th:
    20th:
    27th:

    We need your contributions to keep this group going; if you can do a piece on the 16th or the 23rd of December, please let us know here by replying to this comment. If you can do something in January or beyond, please respond here or send NY Brit Expat (I am coordinating the schedule) a private message on dkos, or send an email to the group email: dkanticapitalistgroup@gmail.com

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:23:08 PM PST

  •  I was also part of the 60s movement. (5+ / 0-)

    At the time I firmly believed that we were changing the world. Looking at the neoliberal global view of the 21st I wonder if we really accomplished anything at all.

    Jim Crow segregation did get shut down in the South, but racism and its economic disparities really haven't changed very much. The union movement is on life support. Just what lasting legacies did the 60s give us?

  •  Greed (14+ / 0-)

    You mentioned:

    the overpowering greed of the plutocracy
    In studying American Indian history, particularly the story of the boarding schools, it was a goal to instill in Indians the concept of greed in order to "free" them from tribalism and communal ownership of property.

    The American public has bought into the idea that "greed is good" and made heroes out of greedy business men (the sexist language is intentional). When I went to public schools back in the 40s and 50s (yep, I'm an old guy), there was no mention of Marx or of any viable alternatives to capitalistic greed.

  •  Consciously Resisting Diversion. (10+ / 0-)

    Good topic, Don, and a very important one, as it seems that the freedom movements have repeatedly gotten diverted into electoral politics which, even if successful, brings no real changes to our society.  We have only to look at last year's events in Wisconsin, where thousands of folks took to the streets and even took over the Capitol building, only to be diverted into a referendum which yielded little except the loss of the massive energy with which the movement started.

    It is not the first time in American history that the union leadership acted against the interest of their members by funneling their energy into electoral politics.  That has been a recurrent problem.  All too frequently, union leaders have acted as enforcers for the elites who wish to maintain the status quo.

    Fortunately, the Occupy Wall Street groups and their progeny seem to be consciously aware of the danger of diversion into electoral politics and actively resisting it.

    It is critical that the movement for a truly human society be alert to the dangers from within its own ranks, and analyze the differing interests represented by some who , having  different agendas, only appear to share the needs and aspirations of the mass movement.  All too frequently, the real danger is from within.

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:46:16 PM PST

    •  Agreed completely Justina! (5+ / 0-)

      Getting sucked into electoral politics is almost a perfect way to destroy a movement; it gets subsumed to the needs of the plutocracy, it time wasted on doing their bidding. One of the most irritating thing during the rise of Occupy was the attempt by many outsiders to link them to the democratic party either by supporting candidates or addressing issues that the dems wanted addressed. That would have done the work of those that wanted to destroy the movement in its infancy.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 04:04:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  well said!............................n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 04:08:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is definitely putting things in context - but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, Justina

      I have my problems with occupy too in that it sometimes idealizes an approach which is too loose and focuses mainly on communication and has been too easily dissipated. Although i loved the very democratic impulses and the way they(actually we - i work with OWS) got the old left to talk to each other!

  •  For a long time, I have been advocating (8+ / 0-)

    building a strong broad left movement. This movement can push for change both from a reformist and revolutionary perspective. That requires joining movements that exist and ensuring that they have are not only working class led, but are composed of people of colour, address ecosocialism and  are socialist feminist in perspective. There is some reform work that could possibly be achieved through pressure on elected officials, but only if we are strong enough to force them to the left. I would prefer to build an independent left movement and then push for a broad left party like SYRIZA; but the electoral system in the US is deliberately undemocratic and hard to crack. We could have success at local level, but that will be insufficient.

    What is also desperately needed is international solidarity across the advanced capitalist world and the periphery and emergent economies; our working classes are being kept impoverished because divide and rule has been so successful at keeping us divided. We know who the enemy is and it is not workers in the periphery and emergent economies.

    We are, as you stated quite correctly, seeing a withdrawal of the right back into their caves. In fact, I would say that the open misogyny and racism which we saw during the election period is an indication that they are growing. Even if they lost, there are still people that voted for them, they are united while we are divided and even more they are open in their misogyny and racism. Things that people would keep close to their chests are open and people are proud of their racism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia. Just because they lost does not mean that we have managed to get basic human rights accepted by all.

    Moreover, from an economic perspective, we have lost badly. Neoliberalism is all that is on offer on the table from both mainstream parties; there are a few more progressives that have been elected, but will they be enough to force a progressive agenda? Certainly not ...

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 03:46:29 PM PST

    •  Very true. (7+ / 0-)
      Neoliberalism is all that is on offer on the table from both mainstream parties; there are a few more progressives that have been elected, but will they be enough to force a progressive agenda? Certainly not ...
      This goes for almost every influential nation, no matter what form of government. One of the reasons I worry about Venezuela is that it seems to be an exception and, considering how the U.S, NATO, etc. tend to destabilise outliers, it's survival in its present form might be at risk.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 04:01:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Politics is useless at this point. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, tardis10

      As we make clear in our book the need now is to try to make future generations able to escape the extinction that we have brought about.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 04:03:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don, can I ask a favour? Can you explain (5+ / 0-)

        your point about what you mean by politics and what you mean by its being useless? I have a feeling that I am not understanding what you are saying and that may be why I am a bit less enthusiastic with the point.

        You are constantly engaging in politics and political discourse; so I am clearly misunderstanding you.

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 04:06:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Our book explains this. It is not easy to (3+ / 0-)

          reduce it here but I will try.  This is at least another book rather than a comment.

          Our book traces the failure of Western thought and its science directed towards capitalist growth through technology.  More than that we develop the essential realization of what systems are all about.

           Politics is a servant of the system and therefore can never change it.  The work of people like Lakoff and others is an important but small part of the story.  We deal with how Western civilization as a manifestation of the way the human brain functions is a total integrated system based on a myth.  Science has laid the groundwork for that myth since Descartes and those who followed.

          That myth has served capitalism totally.  It has led to the rape of the earth as well as to the rape of humans who labor to serve their slavemasters.

          It was what the conquerors used to suppress the Native people who knew how to live in harmony with the earth mother.

          Too many have now recognized the failure of this model.  It is too late.  The political system is a diversion. We need to survive and for our future generations to survive

          Let's get to the heart.  The political ideas of "left" and "right" and the words and the concepts are part of the problem not the solution.

          There is NO way the political system could be changed in time to help us if ever.

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 04:22:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  What you said, Ex Pat! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, Justina
  •  Death of the Liberal Class - by Chris Hedges (6+ / 0-)

    a book written a few years ago

    an update recently in a column

    Once Again—Death of the Liberal Class

    The presidential election exposed the liberal class as a corpse. It fights for nothing. It stands for nothing. It is a useless appendage to the corporate state. It exists not to make possible incremental or piecemeal reform, as it originally did in a functional capitalist democracy; instead it has devolved into an instrument of personal vanity, burnishing the hollow morality of its adherents. Liberals, by voting for Barack Obama, betrayed the core values they use to define themselves—the rule of law, the safeguarding of civil liberties, the protection of unions, the preservation of social welfare programs, environmental accords, financial regulation, a defiance of unjust war and torture, and the abolition of drone wars. The liberal class clung desperately during the long nightmare of this political campaign to one or two issues, such as protecting a woman’s right to choose and gender equality, to justify its complicity in a monstrous evil. This moral fragmentation—using an isolated act of justice to define one’s self while ignoring the vast corporate assault on the nation and the ecosystem along with the pre-emptive violence of the imperial state—is moral and political capitulation. It fails to confront the evil we have become.
    http://www.truthdig.com/...
  •  Hi, Doc. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm especially struck by the way that being outside the country gave you access to information that was virtually unknown inside the American media spin-machine, and how that might have influenced your beliefs for the rest of your life.  I remember how I used to sit at departmental parties at the table with the foreign grad students and postdocs, because just the three years I spent in Okinawa as a kid made me open to things they were trying to say that nobody else would listen to.  One postdoc in particular, an Italian, used to say that the American government didn't need to censor the news media, because they did that all themselves and saved the government the trouble.

    But more than that, it reminds me that this war isn't one we have to fight alone.   Occupy occupies houses against foreclosure, delivers meals to victims of Hurricane Sandy, plants gardens in the middle of cities, and sets  up free lending libraries and educational projects, and all of those are part of the fight, as are striking workers in Spain and Greece wearing Guy Fawkes masks.  The war is global, because the enemy is global and so are the consequences.  And even if we're outnumbered and overpowered here in the belly of the Beast, what we do might help someone, somewhere else to succeed, while their successes may fuel some of our own.

    Elections have so little to do with it.  Yes, I drove five hundred miles to cast my vote in Ohio because it was important to do what I could, and I was quite certain that my entire life would be screwed if the Republicans got the economy back in their hands.  But that's just barely holding a thin wall against the deluge.  The problem is so much bigger, and we need to do so much more.
     

    •  Yes the people in this country have a very (4+ / 0-)

      effective way of isolating themselves from the world.  It is part of their religious insanity but which is chicken and which is egg?

      I have lived and worked in Israel, France, Spain, Italy, Germany  and Holland.  The United States is a place I come back to only to have culture shock.  The sickness here can destroy the world.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 04:44:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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