Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Roots of Radicalism

I was reading Roots of Radicalism and came across this discussion of the objectives and tactics of the New Left.

Quoting Mark Rudd (SDS president at Columbia):

"We manufactured the issues. The Institute of Defense Analysis is nothing at Columbia. And the gym issue is bull. It doesn't mean anything to anybody. I had never been to the gym site before the demonstration began. I didn't even know how to get there."

"Even Berkeley had a slogan that "the issue is not the issue," meaning that the real issue was not free speech on campus but thoroughgoing social change."

Mike Goldfield in New Left Notes (1966):

"You have to realize that the issue didn't matter. The issues were never the issues....It was the revolution that was everything. The only thing that mattered was what you were doing for the revolution. That is why dope was good. Anything that undermined the system contributed to the revolution and was therefore good."

This is one more reason why ANSWER's participation in the anti-war protests is a problem. They are using the protests to further their revolutionary aims; that the war is a mistake is secondary. One would think that moderate anti-war types would resent having their cause hijacked by Bolshevik wannabees.

Further, since "the issue is not the issue," non-revolutionaries (i.e. most of us) have every right to reject any and all ANSWER-led causes no matter what the ostensible merits of a particular case. They don't care about the merits, but only the utility of the protest to further their Stalinist aims. To be "fair-minded" is to be their patsy.

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