January 1, 2010


(Clearing the hall of demonstrators in 1964 - someone's been watching old newsreels lately)

Watching the teabag protests of late, and the approximated "die ins" - those attempts at echoing the anti-war/civil rights protests of the 60s without any of the conviction or principles, I began to realize how completely unoriginal and uninspired the wingnut segment of our society is compared to the actual protest movements of the 1950s and 60s.

The Berkeley Free Speech Movement has been well examined by way of film documentaries (Berkeley In The 60s is must-viewing), as have many of the other movements of the time. I ran across this radio documentary, produced by Pacifica Radio shortly after the movement unfolded in 1964.

It's interesting to draw comparisons in many areas to what is happening now. The concept of co-opting and hi-jacking a movement became prevalent in the 60s. The Free Speech Movement offered ample proof of that - the core belief of the majority of protesters was supplanted by the influx of malcontents and "shit-stirrers"; people who had no other motive other than to create trouble for troubles sake. And those who actually infiltrated the movement in order to disrupt and fracture its solidarity. It continues to this day, which is why the Teabag movement and all the anti-Health care reform groups seem so transparent in their motives. Scaring people who are not informed. Misinforming people and creating diversion from the real issues. In this case, it's as easy as finding out who is on which payroll and which Insurance company is behind which "patriot group".

But in 1964 it was relatively free of that - for a time anyway.

The Berkeley Free Speech Movement was something of an anomaly. And like all anomalies, it didn't last very long. But it gave people ideas. But as is often the case with our friends in the right wing - they offer approximations without offering any real substance. And that is the biggest problem. Lifelike replicas don't really cut it when you can make something real of your own, if you just worked on it.

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