Training Teenagers for Guerrilla Warfare in the Wealthy Suburbs? Welcome to 1969


“In the last year of the 1960s, a political poster began showing up on dorm room walls. It showed a hand holding up two fingers in a peace symbol, captioned ‘1966.’ Below that, in a second image captioned ‘1967,’ the index finger was lowered, middle finger up. ‘1968’ was symbolized with a raised fist. The final image depicted an index finger extended horizontally, with the thumb pointed upward like the hammer of a pistol. That was 1969 — a year when a taste for political violence had even spread to high schools in high-income New York suburbs. By then, formerly pacifist antiwar activists had begun drilling with M1 rifles — part of what the newly formed Weathermen called ‘bringing the war home.’ The cutting edge of the civil rights movement was game-planning military sorties as much as marches. And even a review in The New York Times praised a book titled ‘Look Out, Whitey! Black Power’s Gon’ Get Your Mama! as an account that ‘arcs over the rotting outposts of the Republic like a mortar shell shedding its sulphurous glare, and lands plump in the heartland to detonate the conclusion that it is clear that America as it now exists must be destroyed.’  The spring of 1969 had brought a wave of student takeovers of university buildings. The most dramatic ended when members of Cornell University’s Afro-American Society exited the student union building armed with rifles supplied to them by members of Students for a Democratic Society — one with a bandoleer of shotgun shells across his chest. Then, hundreds of students eagerly fell into line behind the militants as they led a procession through the center of campus. The coming 1969-70 school year was anticipated with fear and trembling. It was one of the reasons Woodstock was greeted so rapturously that August — and not just by the young people Abbie Hoffman immediately christened ‘Woodstock Nation’: It hadn’t descended into ‘Lord of the Flies,’ as many people had fully expected. Instead, ‘Bethel produced a feeling of friendship, camaraderie, and — an overused phrase — a sense of love among those present,’ as Time magazine put it. A suggestion of how well-placed that paranoia was could be found in an astonishing item of the front page of The Times, the morning of Woodstock’s first day, Aug. 15. ‘Guerrilla War Tactics Taught at Scarsdale High,’ it was headlined. …”
NY Times


About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Black Power, Draft board, Jerry Rubin, LSD, Marijuana, Pacifist, SDS, Vietnam War, Weather Underground and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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