April 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm #67610
Interview with former 60’s radicals. Weather Underground members.
“…”Perhaps even more than our revulsion for the atrocities, we were propelled by the sense of possibility, that revolution was in the air … and advancing on many fronts on the ground,” Gilbert continued. “If I had to put the differen[ce] between the 1960s and today into one word it would be HOPE … hope that the world could be changed, was being changed, fundamentally, by and for the vast majority on Earth.”
In our interviews, the Weather Underground’s leaders emphasized the…”
……..Then and Now
Many people now feel a sense of urgency for deep change. But Jaffe wonders why folks haven’t felt that same urgency for decades “particularly in relation to the destruction of the Earth and US aggression and slaughter around the world.”
While she is finding hope and solace in the increasing political awareness the Trump administration has generated, along with the Black Lives Matter Movement, which has challenged “the culture of normalization of contempt for Black lives,” she remains horrified by what has become “normalized” in the US.
“2.3 million people, mostly of color, in prison; a dozen countries destroyed and their populations exposed to monumental suffering; the extinction of species,” she said. “How do we challenge this normalization now and prevent it from overcoming the anti-Trump outrage?”
Jaffe said the biggest difference between what we are facing today and what the world faced in the ’60s and ’70s is not in the magnitude of white supremacy and brutality. “Remember that the Black Panthers and other liberation forces arose in response to police killings similar to those being exposed today,” she said. Instead, the difference is the level of global resistance.
“Our generation saw resistance and liberation movements around the world that had a vision of global justice, a common enemy in US imperialism and racism, and a chance of success,” she said. “Those movements were largely crushed by US and European military and economic power; even the liberation movements that won militarily and politically, like Vietnam and South Africa, were more often than not overwhelmed afterward by the force of Western economic dominance.”
Jaffe sees the convergence of three massive events in this moment as a trenchant history lesson for us: the election of Trump; the death of Fidel Castro, at 90 years old — about 60 years after the Cuban revolution; and one of the largest and most defiant Native American resistance movements in this country’s history, which occurred at Standing Rock.
“Win or lose, every resistance redefines the moment, carries the torch forward for the next generation, and keeps alive the possibility of a better world,” Jaffe said.
Ayers sees many parallels between the 1960s and today.
“In 1965 I felt that the terms of the struggle were stark: a humane future versus annihilation, love versus hate, humanity versus the machine, balance and peace versus chaos and war,” he explained. “I was driven by the ‘fierce urgency of now’ and the palpable choice between barbarity and community. That sense only intensified by 1968 and 1969.”
Today, he sees the stakes as being both higher and more transparent, with “the furnaces of war more intense and the chaos rising, the waters rising, the world on fire.”
“Look at the country today: a trillion dollars a year on war, invasion and occupation, a tiny group of over-privileged — under 5 percent of the world’s people — on the wrong side of any hope for a world in balance and gobbling up the common and collective resources in a drunken frenzy of consumerism, acting as if large swaths of humanity and the earth itself are entirely disposable … and more.”
Despite that bleak analysis of our current predicament, Ayers still finds hope, and feels the “fierce urgency” even more strongly than he did five decades ago.
“I have enormous hope and confidence that the current generation, all of us, can and will find new ways to resist the madness and to build toward a world at peace and in balance, powered by love, joy, and justice,” Ayers said.
Dorhn, too, pointed to the political currents that have persisted across the decades, and noted that the election of Donald Trump reminds us of the kind of country we live in: a place rife with “naked white supremacy, armed neo-fascist forces becoming united with each other at the border, in statehouses, in rural areas from Oregon to Oklahoma to North Dakota.”
She believes the Trump election serves as a wake-up call for everyone to realize that the progress we’ve made is not nearly enough, and yet is at risk of being dramatically reversed. Those reversals have already become apparent: the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the restriction of voting rights, the proliferation of lying media sources driven solely by profit, the unraveling of the US/Iranian/European agreement on reducing nuclear weapons, and intensifying US hostility toward Cuba, to name a few examples.
Dohrn emphasizes that today is a time for telling the truth and being reliable as individuals, acting on those truths, and organizing among those who disagree. Her prescription for moving forward? “Resistance, counter-offensives, poetry, art, music, dance and more organizing.”
“We Have a Chance to Win” see link
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