MIT’s Anti-War Protests 1967-1972

“The protests that erupted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the late 1960s were an important part of the wider student unrest that shook the US in this period. Noam Chomsky has often talked sympathetically about these protests, which focused on MIT’s development of both nuclear weapons and weapons used in the Vietnam war. However, Chomsky also has a strong loyalty to MIT – at one point describing the university as ‘the freest and the most honest and has the best relations between faculty and students than any other … [with] a good record on civil liberties’ – and it seems this loyalty has prevented him from giving a full account of these events. The following links show the remarkable story of what happened when students at the centre of the US’s university-based war research program decided to rebel. …

Science Revolution (Video)
MIT: Delivered at March 4, 1969 Protests at MIT by Noam Chomsky
Open Democracy – Why Chomsky felt ‘guilty most of the time’: war research and linguistics at MIT

Individuals gather in the offices of the MIT Science Action Coordinating Committee in 1969.
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Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson (born Creola Katherine Coleman; August 26, 1918 – February 24, 2020), also known as Katherine Goble, was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. The space agency noted her ‘historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist’. Johnson’s work included calculating trajectories, launch windows and emergency return paths for Project Mercury spaceflights, including those for astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American in orbit, and rendezvous paths for the Apollo Lunar Module and command module on flights to the Moon. Her calculations were also essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle program, and she worked on plans for a mission to Mars. In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2019, Johnson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. … From 1958 until her retirement in 1986, Johnson worked as an aerospace technologist, moving during her career to the Spacecraft Controls Branch. She calculated the trajectory for the May 5, 1961 space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space. She also calculated the launch window for his 1961 Mercury mission. She plotted backup navigation charts for astronauts in case of electronic failures. When NASA used electronic computers for the first time to calculate John Glenn‘s orbit around Earth, officials called on Johnson to verify the computer’s numbers; Glenn had asked for her specifically and had refused to fly unless Johnson verified the calculations. … Author Margot Lee Shetterly stated, ‘So the astronaut who became a hero, looked to this black woman in the still-segregated South at the time as one of the key parts of making sure his mission would be a success.’ She added that, in a time where computing was “women’s work” and engineering was left to men, ‘it really does have to do with us over the course of time sort of not valuing that work that was done by women, however necessary, as much as we might. And it has taken history to get a perspective on that.’ Johnson later worked directly with digital computers.  …”
Open Culture (Video)
NY Times: Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA
YouTube: Former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson dies

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British New Wave

“The British New Wave is a style of films released in Great Britain between 1959 and 1963. The label is a translation of Nouvelle Vague, the French term first applied to the films of François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard among others. The British New Wave was characterised by many of the same stylistic and thematic conventions as the French New Wave. Usually in black and white, these films had a spontaneous quality, often shot in a pseudo-documentary (or cinéma vérité) style on real locations and with real people rather than extras, apparently capturing life as it happens. There is considerable overlap between the New Wave and the angry young men, those artists in British theatre and film such as playwright John Osborne and director Tony Richardson, who challenged the social status quo. Their work drew attention to the reality of life for the working classes, especially in the North of England, often characterised as ‘It’s grim up north’. This particular type of drama, centred on class and the nitty-gritty of day-to-day life, was also known as kitchen sink realism. Like the French New Wave, where many of the filmmakers began as film critics and journalists, in Britain critical writing about the state of British cinema began in the 1950s and foreshadowed some of what was to come. Among this group of critic/documentary film makers was Lindsay Anderson who was a prominent critic writing for the influential Sequence magazine (1947–52), which he co-founded with Gavin Lambert and Karel Reisz (later a prominent director); writing for the British Film Institute‘s journal Sight and Sound and the left-wing political weekly the New Statesman. In one of his early and most well-known polemical pieces, Stand Up, Stand Up, he outlined his theories of what British cinema should become. Following a series of screenings which he organised at the National Film Theatre of independently produced short films including his own Every Day Except Christmas (about the Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market), Karel Reisz’s Momma Don’t Allow and others, he developed a philosophy of cinema which found expression in what became known as the Free Cinema Movement in Britain by the late 1950s. This was the belief that the cinema must break away from its class-bound attitudes and that the working classes ought to be seen on Britain’s screens. …”
THE BRITISH NEW WAVE 1958 – 1963 (Video)
The British New Wave: Social Realist film of the 1960s
Guardian: New wave, old problem

Rita Tushingham and Murray Melvin on location in Salford – A Taste of Honey
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The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. – Robert Coover (1968)

The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. is Robert Coover‘s second novel, published in 1968. J. Henry Waugh is an accountant, albeit an unhappy one. However, each night after he comes home from work, Henry immerses himself in a world of his choosing: a baseball league in which every action is ruled by the dice. The novel opens with the excitement of a perfect game in progress. Henry, as owner of every team in the league, is flush with pride in the young rookie, who is pitching this rarest of rare games: Damon Rutherford, ‘son’ of one of the league’s all-time greats. When the young hurler completes the miracle game, Henry’s life lights up. Giddy with happiness, Henry pushes himself and his league to the limits as he plays game after game so that he can see the young boy pitch again. As fate would have it, the rookie Rutherford is killed by a bean-ball, a rare play from ‘the Extraordinary Occurrences Chart’ in the game that Henry has invented and has used to see fifty-six ‘seasons’ to conclusion. That Henry is also fifty-six marks a turning point in Henry’s life. The ‘death’ of the young pitcher on the table-top affects the real-life Henry in ways unimaginable. As Henry’s personal life spirals out of control, he finally arrives at the solution that will save his league, his creation, and, ultimately, his sanity. The novel is aptly termed a ‘black comic‘ novel, as the book takes the reader back-and-forth between the real world we all live in, and the fantasy world that Henry has created. The parts of the book that show us the ‘Universal Baseball Association’ show us the fantasy world from the perspective, not of Henry, but of the players in the Association. Through these expositions, the players, managers, and league executives come to life. Robert Coover’s work here delves into deep philosophical issues, one of which most certainly is the notion of creationism. Henry, through his game, has become a ‘god’ of sorts. His game determines who lives and who dies, who fails and who succeeds. … John Sexton, president of New York University, called the book ‘the best book written about baseball by anyone’, a ‘Joycean world, where a character has on his kitchen table a game run by the roll of dice, in which he’s created an alternative baseball league that’s more real to him than his life and real baseball … And he has to decide whether he’s going to intervene to change that or not. Now, doesn’t that resonate to you about– free will, free destiny?’ …”
The Paris Review: Robert Coover’s Dark Baseball Fantasy
NY Times: A New Ballgame (July 7, 1968)

A miniature Woodstock Field, designed by longtime Strat-O-Matic gamer
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Home Is the Sailor – Jorge Amado (1964)

“Vasco Moscoso de Aragão makes port in Periperi, on the coast of Bahia. His sailor’s uniform, charts, pipe and telescope become attractions in the small town. Besides the nautical instruments that fascinate the locals, the townsfolk also fall for the long-distance captain’s storytelling. Tales of far-off lands and distant ports – Marseilles, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Calcutta – and admirable and adventurous deeds, braving storms and sharks on the Red Sea, shipwrecks on remote islands, tragic and sinful loves. Told in the tone of an old-mariner’s tale, Jorge Amado’s narrative paints a portrait of the customs of Bahian society in the early 20th Century as encapsulated by this sleepy coastal town, with its mix of illustrious doctors, rich traders, respectable ladies, retirees, civil servants and lay-abouts. In this setting, the captain and his extraordinary experiences stand out like a sore thumb. Life at sea has taught him things that go beyond navigation, instilling him with all the qualities of the honourable man, deft poker player, and romantic conquistador. As if overnight, Periperi has found itself a hero. But it does not take long before the captain’s presence incites envy and distrust. Convinced that the mariner is a fraud, the retired tax inspector Chico Pacheco sets about rummaging through Vasco Moscoso de Aragão’s past. In Home is the Sailor, Jorge Amado contrasts the rule-bound repetitiveness of common life with the adventurous world of the sailor, where all boundaries are blurred between truth and fantasy, dream and reality, the tension of the facts and the beauty of the narrative. …”
Jorge Amado
W – Home Is the Sailor

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John Barleycorn Must Die – Traffic (1970)

John Barleycorn Must Die is the fourth studio album by English rock band Traffic, released in 1970. … In late 1968, Traffic disbanded, with guitarist Dave Mason leaving the group for the second time prior to the completion of the Traffic album. In 1969, Steve Winwood joined the supergroup Blind Faith, while drummer and lyricist Jim Capaldi and woodwinds player Chris Wood turned to session work. Wood and Winwood also joined Blind Faith’s drummer Ginger Baker in his post-Blind Faith group Ginger Baker’s Air Force for their first album, Ginger Baker’s Air Force (1970). At the beginning of 1970, after the demise of Blind Faith, Winwood returned to the studio ostensibly to make his first solo album, originally to be titled Mad Shadows. He recorded two tracks with producer Guy Stevens, ‘Stranger to Himself’ and ‘Every Mother’s Son’, but yearned for like-minded musicians to accompany. Inviting Wood and Capaldi to join him, Winwood’s erstwhile solo album became the reunion of Traffic (minus Dave Mason), and a re-launch of the band’s career. Mad Shadows would go on to be the title of Mott the Hoople‘s second album, also produced by Guy Stevens. As did most of their albums, it featured influences from jazz and blues, but the version of the traditional English folk tune ‘John Barleycorn‘ also showed the musicians attending to the same strains of modern interpretations of traditional folk music as contemporary British bands Pentangle and Fairport Convention. … The original LP release of the album had the front cover design on a background consisting of a photograph of burlap. Later LP copies had the design on a grey background. The cover is displayed prominently during a party scene in the 1971 movie by Dario Argento, Four Flies on Grey Velvet. … AllMusic criticised the vocal sections as ‘excuses for Winwood to exercise his expressive voice as punctuation to the extended instrumental sections’, but made note of how the album took the band’s jazz/rock leanings beyond mere jamming. …”
Traffic Reborn With ‘John Barleycorn Must Die’ (Audio)
Discods (Video)
YouTube: “John Barleycorn Must Die” – Full Album

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Malcolm X: The Complexity Of a Man in the Jungle (Feb. 25, 1965)

“Malcolm X has three faces. One is turned toward Africa, one toward Harlem, and one toward Washington. His masks are more numerous. They are juggled by both the actor and his audience. He’s a charismatic leader. Then a cartoon figure waving a rifle. He’s a racist. Then a Black National gone white. A symbol of hope and Father Divine. An anti-semite and a preacher of brotherhood. An extremist and a man to move the Movement. In Harlem the people watch the performance. The black politicians mark the trickle of converts going through the glass doors of the Organization of Afro-American Unity he formed after the split with the Black Muslims in March, 1964. They wait to see if it signals a flood, now that the gates are open to non-Muslims, and now that a separate black state is no longer the destination. The politicians will not completely associate themselves with him. Nor will they disassociate themselves. The untested potential of Malcolm X keeps people like Adam Clayton Powell careful friends. A cross-section of Harlem comes to measure the man and his methods on Sunday nights at Audubon Ballroom. Seated on 500 wooden folding chairs are the disinherited people who never had any hope or answers and those, whether Nationalist or non-violent activist, who have run out of both. There are children looking for pride, and there are many older church-goers who, unlike Mahalia Jackson, can’t sing, ‘I found the answer, I learned to pray.’ In the bars and grills — Small’s and Jock’s and the Shalimar on Seventh Avenue, the Palm’s and Frank’s on 125th Street — the debate goes on. … Down the street from Jock’s in his Hotel Theresa headquarters, sat the subject of the debate. With his long frame hunched over a phone in his closet-like inner office, Malcolm made arrangements to speak at Harlem Hospital. He fumbled through the pockets of his dark three-button suit, through his vest and his attache case looking for his pen. Then, hanging up, he pressed his fingers against his eyes and rested. … Down the street from Jock’s in his Hotel Theresa headquarters, sat the subject of the debate. With his long frame hunched over a phone in his closet-like inner office, Malcolm made arrangements to speak at Harlem Hospital. He fumbled through the pockets of his dark three-button suit, through his vest and his attache case looking for his pen. Then, hanging up, he pressed his fingers against his eyes and rested. …”
Voice: Burying Malcolm X (March 4, 1965)

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