The Battle of Chicago, 1968


A protester being led away by police outside the Democratic National Convention, Chicago, 1968.

“In the late summer of 1968 the sense of anticipation was palpable at Ramparts magazine’s offices in San Francisco. The Democratic National Convention was about to convene in Chicago and we planned to be there bearing witness to the battle between the ruling war party and the brigades of youthful protesters we thought might still save our battered and bloodied country. Like the protesters, the Ramparts crew was young in age and spirit. Warren Hinckle III, the hard-driving, hard-drinking genius behind many of the magazine’s exposés and political stunts, hadn’t yet turned 30. A third-generation San Franciscan from a middle-class, Catholic family, Hinckle honed his brash journalist’s skills during a two-year stint as a city reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. He dressed like a dandy yet enjoyed drinking in dowdy looking bars favored by the city’s cops. He was no intellectual and disdained all political ideologies, but he could see where the 1960s counterculture was headed. After Hinckle gained control of what was launched in 1962 as a staid, liberal Catholic quarterly, he began recruiting writers and editors from among a cadre of radical Berkeley graduate students. I was one of those grad school dropouts. As I’ve relayed in City Journal and elsewhere, Hinckle transformed Ramparts into a slick, four-color monthly, and it soared meteorically in the publishing world. The magazine’s paid circulation reached 250,000, unheard-of numbers for a self-proclaimed leftist journal. Even Time, our fiercest critic amongst the mainstream media, conceded that the ‘commie influenced’ Ramparts editors managed to deliver ‘a bomb in every issue.’ Our biggest bombshell was a February 1967 exposé of the secret relationship between the CIA and the U.S. National Student Association. For that scoop Ramparts won the prestigious George Polk award for investigative journalism. It also led to a front-page feature in The New York Times titled ‘Ramparts: Gadfly to the Establishment.’ The celebratory profile was topped by a picture of Hinckle, managing editor Robert Scheer and myself (I was the lead writer on the CIA article) conferring in our San Francisco office. The caption on the photograph: ‘Planning the Next Exposé.’ …”
Tablet
The Ramparts I Watched
Chicago Magazine: Witness to a Revolution


August: Anti-war protesters confront federal troops during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in 1968 DNC, Bill Ayers, Black Power, CIA, Hippie, SDS, Tom Hayden, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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