We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, May 4, 2015

Kent State 1970: We Need a Serious Look at What Happened and Why

Click here to access article by Murray Polner from AntiWar.

Today is the 45th anniversary when American activists against the Vietnam War woke up to the fact that (what they thought was) their government would kill middle class white American kids if they had to in order to stop opposition to the war in Vietnam. It was a very rude awakening for many of them, and caused a variety of reactions. 

Some went underground, joined a mini-guerrilla army (Weather Underground), declared war on the US government, and engaged in bombings of government buildings. Others engaged in acts of individual sabotage like the Armstrong brothers who bombed a U. of Wisconsin building that was involved in military weapons research. Many activists organized anti-war activities directly near military bases to increase political awareness among soldiers, and some became active in underground newspapers. Many of this activist generation were so traumatized or demoralized by the Kent State massacre that they dropped out of activism. Worst of all, most older Americans were so brainwashed by mainstream media that they became like "good Germans" and simply went along with ruling class views.
It was a time when the President called antiwar students “bums” and Ohio’s Republican Governor James Rhodes, in a tight and ultimately losing race, described students against the war as “worse than brown shirts and the communist element and also night riders and vigilantes. They are the worst type of people that we harbor in America.”

A majority of blinkered Americans agreed. Apprehensive and uncertain, yearning for a return to an allegedly untroubled era before the tumultuous sixties, and manipulated all their lives to believe that only an “exceptional” America protected them against Communist and Asian hordes, they supported the shootings, as a Gallup poll reported.