Derik Schneider Online

Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway
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Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ian Ramsley: Sixties Berkeley

This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Journal Plus

The emergence of the New-Left in America of leftist radicals who had socialist anarchist tendencies, that saw it as their duty to take on the conservative as well as liberal establishments in America. And to move America further to the Left politically and culturally and a lot of this happened at Berkley in the late 1960s.Groups like The Weather Underground and Students For a Democratic Society, Democratic Socialists USA, groups that were basically Occupy Wall Street of the 1960s, the parents and grandparents of OWS, all coming in the scene in America as Baby Boomers were starting and graduating from college. And deciding they didn’t like the America they grew up in. And were going to try to create a new America.

There was sort of a perfect political storm happening in the 1960s. The Baby Boom coming of age. A huge generation that was born in the 1940s and 50s that were growing up in both of those decades, as well as the 1960s. And then you have the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the Cultural Revolution in and outside of Hollywood. That the Boomers were part of, as well as their elders in the Silent Generation who were in their late twenties and thirties at this point. You have roughly 70-80 million Baby Boomers (depending on how you define that generation) who were coming of age in a very turbulent decade. And saw an America they didn’t like or wasn’t as good as they thought it should be. Who were much further left than the Progressives in Progressive Era. And wanted to remake the country.

That is how you get the New-Left in America and Berkley was the center of it. A very collectivist establishment era from the 1950s and before, going too far with the Cold War and the Vietnam War (as the New-Left would see it) and with millions of young adults just graduating high school, starting college, graduating college, wanting nothing to do with the military draft and the Vietnam War, other than to oppose it. Who had more in common with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, than they did Jack Kennedy, when it came to politics. Who wanted to live their own lives and not go with the party-line and lifestyle that they parents and grandparents lived. Who were now old enough and organized enough to make their politics well-known.