Chronology of Political Events, 1954-1992

Part One, 1954-1966

Part Two, 1967-1970

Part Three, 1971-1974

Part Four, 1975-1980

Part Five, 1981-1992

Part Six, Source Reference Guide

 

Chronology Part Two, 1967-1970

 

1967-

            February 11: A.J. Muste dies. (Spoke)

            February: Ramparts breaks the story that the CIA had been funding the National Student Association since its beginning in 1950. (Spoke)

            February: Volume 1, Number 1 of the NACLA newsletter published by the just-formed North American Congress on Latin America; the publication is transformed in 1970-72 to NACLA’s Latin America & Empire Report and in September-October 1977 the NACLA Report on the Americas.  (NACLA Vol. 1, No. 1, Sept-Dec. 1986 and various other issues)

            March: Land takeover by “Naxalite” rebels in West Bengal India, followed by several years of armed struggle, the Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) is officially formed by most factions of these rebels on April 22, 1969. Major defeats for the rebels in 1970-71, especially in wake of India’s intervention into East Bengal; many splits in the ranks. Shift in strategy away from armed struggle in 1975, a much smaller and ideologically different CPI-ML survives into the 1990s, as do the CPI and CPIM. (MR October 1971; Links No. 5; MR September 1975; NLR #159)

            March 21: General Lewis. Hershey, head of the Selective Service System, is prevented from speaking at Howard University by protesters chanting “America is the Black man’s battleground.” (Freedom; Ahmad in Black Scholar May-June 1978)

            April 4: Martin Luther King “breaks silence” and gives a major public address for the specific purpose of condemning the Vietnam War at Riverside Church in New York, sponsored by Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam (of which he becomes co-chair the following week). (Spoke)

            April 5: Diggers, Straight Theater, Oracle, Church of One and the Family Dog hold press conference announcing the formation of a “Council for a Summer of Love” (Goines chron; SF Chron August 17, 1997 in BREV-1)

            April 15: Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam - formed out of a process begun in summer 1966 by the Cleveland Area Peace Action Council and essentially the successor to the NCCEWV (A.J. Muste was the initial chair) - holds large marches in New York and San Francisco with a policy of non-exclusion. Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael both speak at the U.N. rally. At a conference following the march the sponsoring group changes its name to the National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, which became known as “the Mobe.” Following the Mobilization in New York, six Vietnam veterans who had met on the march formed Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). The same day on the West Coast “The Resistance” is launched and takes up draft resistance work. (Spoke; Ramparts July 1971; Sale; Franklin)

            April 21: “Colonels Coup” in Greece, backed by the CIA, later the subject of the movie Z. (MR December 1972)

April: First issue of Radical America appears; initially subtitled “An SDS Journal of American Radicalism.” (Sale; RA Vol. II No. 6))

Spring: “New Working Class” analysis presented to SDS in paper titled The Port Authority Statement, gains influence within SDS and via SDS begins to gain currency on the broader U.S. left. (Sale)

            April 28: Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the U.S. Army, saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Congs.” Six days earlier he had spoken to 4,500 at Howard University and in the next while he spoke frequently against the war across the country. His conviction was overturned in 1970 but he was stripped of his heavyweight championship title, regaining it in 1974. (Freedom)

April 29: James Aronson resigns as editor of the Guardian and turns over his half ownership to the staff (which already owns the other half) after a series of political struggles that had gone on since 1964; this marks the transition at the paper from “Old Left” to “New Left,”  and the masthead is changed from “progressive newsweekly” to “radical newsweekly” and later (the February 10, 1968 issue) from National Guardian to simply Guardian. With Aronson’s departure the paper loses significant Old Left financial support, and then further support when it upholds the national rights of the Palestinian people after the 1967 war. The paper develops stronger links with SDS and SNCC and New Left activists, survives, and by the end of 1969 doubled its number of pages from 12 to 24 and increased its paid readership to 24,000, the highest since the aftermath of the Wallace campaign in 1948. (Smith in Underground; Guardian May 6, 1967 and February 10, 1968)

May 2 & 3: Black Panthers armed lobbying trip to Sacramento, Bobby Seale leads; Panthers come to national attention. The first issue of The Black Panther Black Community News Service, which began as a four-page mimeographed sheet, had been issued on April 25, after Eldridge Cleaver had joined the party as “Minister of Information.” (Sale; Abron in Underground; Freedom)

May: SNCC elects H. Rap Brown (“Violence is as American as apple pie”) its new chair, declares itself a “Human Rights Organization,” announces it will “encourage and support the liberation struggles against colonialism, racism and economic exploitation” around the world, authorize an application for NGO status and set up an International Affairs Commission headed by James Forman.  Shortly thereafter (June) SNCC is savagely attacked (not just by most of the established Jewish and Zionist organizations, but by Whitney Young, A Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin) for publication of an article (not an official SNCC position at the time) supporting the Palestinian side in the Arab-Israeli six-day war. (Carson; Reunion; Marable)

May: Eastern area of Nigeria declares itself the independent state of Biafra; the area is oil-rich and the secessionists had some support from Western oil companies, South Africa, Israel, Portugal and China. After a long civil war, Biafra surrendered to the central government in January 1970. (Fage; Woodford in Underground; Guardian, January 24, 1970)

May-July: Height of the Cultural Revolution, China verges on anarchy and civil war; Red Guards seize weapons being shipped across China to Vietnam to use in internal battles. On September 5 Mao sends message mobilizing the PLA to begin curbing power of the Red Guards. (Trial; Revolution Rescued)

June 5: Reies López Tijerina leads members of a Alianza Federal de Mercedes in an armed takeover of the county courthouse in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico as part of a drive to recapture lands stolen from the “Hispano people,” descendants of the first Spanish colonizers of New Mexico. “the first militant armed action taken by Mexican Americans anywhere in the Southwest for over a hundred years.” Tijerina is acquitted of kidnapping and other charges stemming from the raid in December 1968. (Muñoz; Chicano; Guardian December 21, 1968)

June 5-11: Six day war in the Middle East, Israel seizes and occupies the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.. On November 22 the U.N. passes Resolution 242 calling for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict,” but still treating the Palestinians as “refugees.” In the ensuing years the struggle to end the Israeli occupation and for Palestinian national rights steadily gains international recognition: 1n 1969 the U.N. recognized the Palestinian right to national self-determination and endorsed their armed struggle to attain that right; in 1974 the U.N. recognized Palestinian right to independence and recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people (see below). (Palestine; Roots)

Late June: Summit between Johnson and Kosygin at Glassboro, Maryland is a failure; Johnson wants to focus only on limitations on offensive strategic weapons - the Soviets had made a decision after Khrushchev’s fall in 1964 to build up their ICBM capability, and it began to show results in 1966-67 - but Kosygin insists on discussing both offensive and defensive systems (anti-ballistic missile systems), and also Vietnam and the Middle East. (Schurmann)

June: “Back to the Drawing Boards” conference of the SDS “old guard,” disrupted by Diggers who show up from San Francisco. (Gitlin; Sale)

July 12: Uprising begins in Newark (26 dead), the next week rebellion begins in Detroit (41 dead, bloodiest uprising in U.S. in half a century and most costly to that point in U.S. history). Also this month there are rebellions in Spanish Harlem, Rochester, Birmingham Alabama and New Britain; a total of 128 (Haywood;  Allen also says 128.) While the Detroit rebellion is underway (July 25), Stokely Carmichael of SNCC arrives in Havana to attend the first conference of the Organization of Latin American Solidarity/OLAS (see below); his comments there calling for armed revolution in the U.S., among other things, are widely reported in the U.S. and leading politicians call for his imprisonment. After going to Cuba Carmichael spends four months visiting China, North Vietnam and Africa. In Newark, after the uprising, increased cooperation among Black community groups results in the formation of the Committee for a Unified Newark in 1967-68 with Amiri Baraka as a central figure (Carson; Reunion; Forward No. 3)

July 19: Congress passes “anti-riot” bill making crossing state lines to incite riots a federal crime. (Carson)

July: Nationwide Black Power Conference convened in Newark just after the rebellion, planning a year earlier had been initiated by Adam Clayton Powell. A third Black Power conference was held in Philadelphia August 29-September 1, 1968, drawing 3,000.  (Allen, SalesJr.; Guardian, September 7, 1968) (Note: Freedom says that there were four Black Power Conferences held between 1966 and 1969)

July: “Radicals in the Professions” conference (another is held the next year); this is also the period of efforts to organize the “Movement for a Democratic Society” (the first MDS was organized in fall 1965 in New York) and other groups for radical architects, city planners, etc. among SDS veterans now out of school. (Gitlin; Sale)

August 1-10: First Conference of the Organization of Latin American Solidarity (OLAS) in Havana brings together revolutionary groups from throughout Latin America with the Cubans taking the lead in promoting a perspective of armed struggle. Che is now in Bolivia attempting to implement this view though this is not public knowledge. The 1966-68 period marks the greatest distance between the Cubans and Soviets, with the Cubans advocating a much more “left” perspective on Latin American struggles at the Tricontinental Congress (January 1966, see entry) and this OLAS Conference; they publish Regis Debray’s Revolution in the Revolution? and (in 1967) Che’s “Message to the Tricontinental” with its famous formulation of “two, three, many Vietnams”; and they openly criticize orthodox Latin American CPs. And January 27, 1968, the Cuban party purges the pro-Soviet “microfaction,” who are criticized explicitly by Fidel in his closing speech to the OLAS Conference. The Cuban and Soviet parties move back closer together in late 1968. Chinese-Cuban relations had deteriorated earlier, especially with the January 1966 cut off of Chinese trade-aid in rice, which the Cubans denounce as a “rice bomb.” During summer 1967, Fidel Castro says in an interview with the New York Times that “true Marxism-Leninism is not communism as it is practiced in Russia, Eastern Europe or China.” (Szymanski; Leviathan Vol. 1 No. 9; Mesa-Lago; Barnet; Gerassi and Fidel Castro in Latin American Radicalism; Guardian, February 3, 1968 & December 13, 1969)

August: Formal Founding Convention of the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), organizing has been underway since spring 1966 when on May 23, 1966 Dr. George Wiley, formerly of CORE who will become executive director of NWRO, opened the Poverty/Rights Action Center in D.C. Johnnie Tillmon, founder of ANC (Aid to Needy Children) Mothers Anonymous in L.A., is chosen chair of the NWRO Board. By 1969 NWRO has 22,500 dues paying members in 523 groups across the country and besides welfare benefits campaigns joins in antiwar and other coalitions  NWRO is in decline by late 1970 as the main campaigns of its most active chapters in New York and Massachusetts lose momentum. In December 1972 Wiley resigns from the group to form the Movement for Economic Justice as a fundraising and resource center; he died at age 42 August 8, 1973, drowning while boating with his children in Chesapeake Bay.  (Piven/Cloward; Boyte; CrossRoads No. 58; Southern Patriot, September 1973)

Summer: Founding of Liberation News Service (LNS), which undergoes a bitter split in summer 1968 and folds up in the late 1970s. The less radical Underground Press Syndicate, which was later renamed the Alternative Press Syndicate in 1973, had been formed in 1966. (Wasserman, Young and Berlet in Underground; Sale; Guardian August 24, 1968; see also Ray Mungo’s Famous Long Ago)

Summer: “Vietnam Summer”; up to 700 people work more or less full-time and 20,000 part-time to bring an antiwar message to middle class America, without much visible result. (Sale; Gitlin)

August 25: Memo from J. Edgar Hoover instructing FBI offices to launch COINTELPRO activities against Black Liberation organizations; this is revealed only years later, after the Media, Pennsylvania break-in (March 8, 1971) and then the Senate “Church Committee” report in April 1976. (Abron in Underground)

September 14: Federal judge orders release of Al and Margaret McSurely, Carl and Anne Braden and Joe Mulloy who had been arrested and charged with violating Kentucky’s sedition law. There is a long struggle over documents seized by the McClellan Committee, with repression focusing on Al McSurely and Margaret McSurely as an attack on the southern anti-racist movement overall. Decades later the McSurely’s win a large suit against Sen John McClellan’s estate. (Guardian, February 8, 1969; many issues of Southern Patriot; Guardian, January 24, 1973; personal recollection)

September: National Conference for a New Politics (NCNP), held over Labor Day Weekend in Chicago, and which at least some of the organizers hoped to see as the launching pad for a Martin Luther King/Benjamin Spock presidential ticket in 1968, is polarized especially around issues of race and racism and ends in failure (Carson; Spoke; Sale; Gitlin; Echols)

October 2: Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first Black Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court after being nominated by President Johnson and confirmed by the Senate. (Almanac)

October 7: Che Guevara is captured and executed in Bolivia (Spoke)

October 16: Stop the Draft Week begins in Oakland; this is also the day of a mass turn-in of draft cards organized by The Resistance. On “Bloody Tuesday” the 17th police brutally beat demonstrators. On Friday the 20th there are large-scale confrontations with police as the protesters use “mobile tactics” and fight back. Seven activists - the Oakland Seven - are charged with conspiracy following the demonstration, they are all acquitted on March 28, 1969. (Rorabaugh; Gitlin; Guardian, April 5, 1969; Franklin)

October 18: At a protest against Dow Chemical company recruiters at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, police beat protesters and - for the first time - use tear gas on a college campus. (Spoke; Rads)

October 21: Antiwar rally at the Pentagon sponsored by the Mobe; all-night gathering on the steps includes many direct interactions/confrontations between troops and demonstrators. The demonstration is the basis for Norman Mailer’s The Armies of the Night: Mailer and other notables were arrested at the action. Shortly before the march, there had been a meeting of 40 or so U.S. leftists with a Vietnamese delegation in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Tom Hayden testifies before the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence in fall 1968 that after the Pentagon rally and the other events of October 1967,  “resistance became the official watchword of the antiwar movement.”(Sale; Gitlin)

October 28: Shoot out in Oakland leaves police officer dead and Huey Newton wounded; Newton is arrested for murder and “Free Huey” campaign begins. (Freedom)

October: Late in this month, Eugene McCarthy tells Allard Lowenstein - who had spearheaded the search for a candidate to oppose Johnson in the Democratic primaries - that he will enter the race, and soon the “Clean for Gene” movement takes off. (Spoke; Gitlin)

Fall: Battle of Khe Sanh in Vietnam begins, U.S. considers the use of nuclear weapons. Battle here continues through and after the Tet Offensive in 1968, and ends when U.S. withdraws from the area (without publicity, since Washington had previously promoted the site as a “strategic gateway between north and south”) in summer 1968. (Coates in NLR #145; Karnow; details are in Ellsberg, “Call to Mutiny” article in END papers I, winter 1981-1982, reprinted as the introduction to Protest and Survive)

Fall: Series of articles in the Chinese press asserts publicly for the first time that capitalism has been restored in the USSR (according to Myth; Trial says this assertion is first made in November 1965 with the publication of Refutation of the Leaders of the CPSU on United Action). The articles are published in a 1968 collection How the Soviet Revisionists Carry Out All-Round Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR. About this same time, Chinese public statements begin to refer to China as the “rear area” for Vietnam, and eventually that designation is featured in People’s Daily as a quotation from Mao every time Vietnam is discussed - but the phrase had first been used in July 1966 by Liu Shaoqi who, in his last public act before being purged in the Cultural Revolution, had signed a decree in the name of the Chinese government saying that China was the “rear area” for Vietnam. But the phrase disappeared from view under Mao until late 1967. (Myth; Schurmann)

November 30: Independence of South Yemen from Britain. (MR May 1973; Second Cold War)

November: Lyndon LaRouche (sometimes using the alias “Lyn Marcus”), after being expelled from the SWP in 1966 and teaching several classes in radical politics to New York SDS members, forms the SDS Transit Committee which soon becomes the SDS Labor Committee or Labor Caucus and after SDS’s 1969 explosion, the National Caucus of Labor Committees/NCLC. (LaRouche; Berlet)

December: U.S. forces in Vietnam reach 535,000, not including nearby  naval fleet and troops in Thailand, the Philippines, etc. (Fact Sheet)

December 31: Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Paul Krassner, Dick Gregory and friends announce the formation of the Yippies (Youth International Party). (Gitlin)

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            Through 1967-‘68-‘69 PL takes a major turn: attacking the Vietnamese and saying “all nationalism is reactionary.” By summer 1968 it uses the phrase “Washington-Moscow-Hanoi anti-revolutionary axis” in a leaflet. By January ’69, attack on demands of SF State Strike and by summer 1969 headlines like “Panthers Shot - Nationalism Guilty” and fistfight at “United Front Against Fascism” conference July 18-20, 1969 (see below). In June 1970 Bill Epton is expelled. (Hamilton, Sale, Five Retreats)

            Studies on the Left ceases publication amid major differences within its board on the role of the journal and strategy for the left. (Aronowitz)

            United League of Mississippi is formed in Marshall County (Black Scholar March-April 1979; League Fact Sheet in BMOV-2)

            The Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in Ohio is launched. (Chicano)

            Khmer Rouge launches armed struggle against the Sihanouk regime; the Vietnamese Party regards the step as ultra-left (SF Chronicle June 14, 1997 in BMOV-5; Revolution Rescued)

Publication of Regis Debray Revolution in the Revolution? (Grove Press, New York, Distributed by Random House) - the book first appeared as the summer special double issue of Monthly Review; Who Rules America? by G. William Domhoff (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1967), carefully documented study of the governing class. Also The Last Year of Malcolm X by George Breitman (New York: Merit Publishers); Bernard B. Fall, Ho Chi Minh on Revolution (New York: New American Library); Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America (New York: Random House); Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: From Its Origins to the Present (William Morrow, New York); Rebellion in Newark by Tom Hayden (New York: Vintage). Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (Beacon Press, Boston) - King’s work is far more radical than his “reputation” was for a long period, this is an important and too-much-neglected book. Further:  Rodolfo “Corky” González epic poem, I Am Joaquín, distributed by La Causa Publications (Oakland) and published in book form in 1972 (see Muñoz); James Weinstein, The Decline of Socialism in America: 1912-1925 (New York; Monthly Review Press); Carl Oglesby and Richard Schaull, Containment and Change (New York, The Macmillan Company); David Horowitz (Editor), Containment and Revolution (Boston, Beacon Press); Howard Zinn, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal (Boston, Beacon Press); The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise, by R.D. Laing (London, Penguin); Death at an Early Age, by Jonathan Kozol (Boston, Houghton Mifflin);

            The Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth is a pop chart hit: “What a field day for the heat...” (Gitlin)

 

1968-

            January 5: Dr. Benjamin Spock, Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr. - chaplain of Yale - Michael Ferber, Harvard graduate student, Mitchell Goodman, a writer, and Marcus Raskin, co-director of the Institute for Policy Studies, are indicted on charges of conspiring to counsel draft resistance. On June 22 Raskin is acquitted and the other four are convicted; their convictions are overturned on appeal in July 1969. (Guardian, January 13 & June 22, 1968; July 19, 1969)

January 15: Jeanette Rankin Brigade antiwar protest in Washington, D.C. mobilizes 5,000 in the first specifically women’s action against the Vietnam War. The demonstration organized mainly by a coalition of women’s peace groups sparks controversy among activists in the emerging radical women’s liberation movement (see August 1968 entry below). (Gitlin-World; Echols)

January 23: North Korea seizes USS Pueblo, holds 83 who were on board as spies (Almanac)

January 30-February: Tet Offensive in Vietnam, a nationwide uprising by the NLF,

attacking 120 cities, 36 of 44 provincial capitals, and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Insurgents hold part of the South Vietnamese Army General Staff’s headquarters for two days. Hue was captured and held for four weeks. The offensive exposes the weakness of the South Vietnamese regime and the failure of U.S. policy. In the aftermath of Tet major figures in the U.S. begin to openly express doubts about the war: most publicly, Walter Cronkite in a February 27 CBS report declares that the U.S. is “mired in stalemate” and must negotiate a way out. (Sale; Spoke; Fact Sheet; Gitlin; Reunion; RA Winter 1977-78/Vol. 11/6&12/1 double issue; Guardian February 10, 1968 and subsequent issues)

January: First GI coffeehouse of the anti-Vietnam War movement, the UFO in Columbia South Carolina near Fort Jackson, founded by United States Servicemen’s Fund activist Fred Gardner. Soon there are many such coffeehouses, and also an explosion of antiwar newspapers aimed at armed services personnel; 227 such papers have been identified as publishing at least one issue between 1968 and 1972. Antiwar G.I. Andrew Stapp, meanwhile, launched the American Serviceman’s Union in November 1967.  (Haines in Underground; Guardian, February 10, April 27, November 2 & November 16, 1968; Guardian, April 19, 1969)

January: Founding of the Newsreel radical film collective. (Movement July 1968; Guardian, April 20, 1968)

February 8: Police fire on Black students protesting a segregated bowling alley in Orangeburg, South Carolina, killing three and wounding 30 more. (Carson; Freedom; Guardian, February 17, 1968)

February 17: At a Free Huey rally in Oakland that drew 5,000, Eldridge Cleaver announces a “merger” of the Panthers and SNCC (to the surprise of many in SNCC). After many complex maneuvers, and dirty trick efforts by the FBI exploiting differences between the organizations, the abortive merger is officially ended with considerable tension in July 1968. (Carson; Abron in Underground; Guardian February 24 & August 24, 1968)

February: 1,300 sanitation workers, nearly all of them Black, go on strike in Memphis demanding recognition of their union. Martin Luther King, then in the midst of preparations for the “Poor People’s Campaign” is invited to Memphis to speak in support of the strikers,  and he does so to an audience of 15,000 on March 18. (Freedom)

March 2: First Galaxy C-5A supertransport plane rolls off the assembly line with President Johnson on hand; the plane is promoted as giving the U.S. military a whole new capacity for long distance intervention. The first C-5A becomes operational June 6, 1970. (Klare)

March 2: Release of the “Kerner Commission” report (officially, the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders: “two societies, one black and one white, separate and unequal.” The report’s recommendations for massive social programs to attack racism are rejected on the grounds that they will cost too much money. (Spoke; Guardian, March 9, 1968)

March 3: Over 1,000 Mexican American students walk out of Lincoln High School in L.A. and later in the day some 9,000 more students join the strike at five other high schools. “The first major mass protest explicitly against racism ever undertaken by Mexican Americans,” according to Carlos Muñoz. Chicano students walk out of high schools in Denver and other cities as well. The period after the strike is the formative period of the Brown Berets, the largest non-student radical youth organization in the Mexican American community, initiated by David Sanchez in December 1967 according to the 1970 Guardian. (Muñoz; Chicano; Guardian, March 9 & 16, 1968 & November 14, 1970)

March 12: Eugene McCarthy finishes only 230 votes short of Lyndon Johnson in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. Four days later, Robert Kennedy - who had given a major speech in the Senate March 2 opposing the war - announces his candidacy for the presidency. About this time Lyndon Johnson summons an informal blue ribbon advisory group of Washington powerhouses - the “Wise Men” - to study the Vietnam situation and give him their conclusions. They report in late March that the war cannot be won, the domestic cost is too high, Washington must begin to de-escalate and move toward getting out. (Gitlin; Reunion)

March 15-17: Official founding convention of the Peace and Freedom Party, which runs an energetic 1968 campaign in many states with Eldridge Cleaver as candidate for President. Cleaver is on the ballot in over 19 states and gets 200,000 votes. In some other states, Dick Gregory, who had lost the P&F nomination to Cleaver, was on the ballot as an independent and he received nearly 150,000 votes.  P&F retains ballot status in California to this day. (Mime; Guardian, March 30, 1968; Marable; Sale; NLR #149/Jan-Feb 1985; Black Scholar October 1975)

March 19: Sit-in becomes a building takeover (the first on a college campus) at Howard University; after 102 hours the students win most of their demands. The rebellion of Black students is becoming a nationwide phenomenon, by 1969 the revolt calling for Black Studies Departments and other demands had hit at least 50 colleges. (Freedom; Ahmad in Black Scholar May-June 1978; Guardian, March 30, 1968)

March 24-26: Formation of the New University Conference (NUC) at a conference attended by 350 radical academics in Chicago (Sale; Guardian, April 6, 1968)

March 31: Two days before the Wisconsin primary, facing defeat by Gene McCarthy, and having been given the verdict of the “Wise Men” that the U.S. should begin trying to get out of Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson withdraws from the presidential race. He announces a “partial” bombing halt and invites the North Vietnamese to negotiations. North Vietnam announces acceptance on April 3, discussions about how to get talks started drag on for almost a year. The first day of the actual “Paris Peace Talks” is January 18, 1969, after the final dispute about the “shape of the table.” (Spoke; Fact Sheet; Reunion; Gitlin; Almanac)

March: Republic of New Africa (RNA) holds its founding convention in Detroit with nearly 200 delegates. (Katsiaficas)

Spring: Founding of the Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA) at UC Berkeley, the first organized Asian American political formation. The organization later becomes the Asian component of Berkeley’s Third World Liberation Front. In summer an AAPA group is formed at San Francisco State, and also in summer 1968 the first nationwide Asian student conference takes place, and through fall of 1968 and spring 1969 the Asian American student movement takes shape with a number of AAPA organizations being formed at various campuses and a series of “Yellow Identity” conferences held on the West Coast. Nine hundred attend the first, “Asian American Experience in America - Yellow Identity” on January 11, 1969 at Berkeley. (Louie; Wei; Interview with Bob Wing, February 1998)

            Spring: Formation of the Wisconsin Alliance in Madison, Wisconsin, initially a united front radical party, by 1970 a socialist organization; splits apart in different directions after 1976. (Strategy; self-published material of Milwaukee Alliance in BTr-2)

            Spring: Pulpwood cutters and landowners in South Alabama organize the Gulfcoast Pulpwood Association, which builds unity between Black and white workers, conducts a general strike and survives harassment and repression. The Association also leads a successful strike in Mississippi in 1971 and expands throughout the Gulf region. (Southern Patriot, June & December 1971)

April 4: After returning again to Memphis to support the striking sanitation workers, Martin Luther King is assassinated. Uprisings follow in over 100 cities, largest rebellions are in Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. - where flames reach within six blocks of the White House and machine guns are mounted on the Capital balcony and the White House lawn - and Cincinnati. Forty-six people are killed, 2,500 injured, 70,000 troops are called out across the country to restore order. Altogether, there are 131 urban rebellions in the first six months of 1968 according to both Haywood and Allen. (Haywood; Allen; Reunion; SDS; Gitlin; Guardian, April 13, 1968; Katsiaficas)

April 6: Li'l Bobby Hutton killed by Oakland police ("the first Panther to fall"); Eldridge Cleaver wounded and returned to prison. (Rorabaugh)

Easter weekend: Seven hundred Black antiwar activists meet at a New York conference called by the recently organized National Black Anti-War Anti-Draft Union, which began as a coalition of antiwar and freedom organizations and is making the transition to build its own constituency. (Guardian, April 20, 1968)

April 11: West German left student leader Rudi Dutschke is shot by a right-winger, setting off large-scale protests. Dutschke survives the head wound, but dies in 1980 of epilepsy caused by the bullet. (Guardian, April 20, 1968; Katsiaficas; Street Fighting Years)

April 16: Mao ZeDong issues “Statement in Support of the Afro-American Struggle Against Violent Repression,” widely publicized by New Communist Movement groups as they develop; the statement includes a quote from his 1963 statement. Robert F. Williams, then in exile in China, is sometimes credited with persuading Mao to issue the declaration. (Black Scholar September 1977; text in Red Papers No. 5, partial text in OL Resolution “The Struggle for Black Liberation and Socialist Revolution” in BNCM-6)

April 23: Columbia University building takeovers begin, against the University’s plans to build a gym in the adjoining Black community and displace the people currently living on the proposed site, as well as its ties to the Institute for Defense Analysis and more generally Columbia’s role in perpetuating racism and war. Five buildings are soon occupied by 1,000 students, Black students holding one building, white students are in the others. After eight days the administration calls in the police and there are mass arrests and police beatings of protesters. A month-long student strike follows. “Columbia” becomes a reference point for the increasing militancy of SDS; and is considered at the time “the most significant student rebellion to date, surpassing even Berkeley 1964.” (Sale; Gitlin; Reunion; Guardian, May 4, 1968)

April 26: Up to one million college and high school students stay away from classes in a nationwide student strike against the war, though the broad protest gets little publicity and is overshadowed especially by media coverage of events at Columbia. There are antiwar marches in a dozen cities the next day. (Sale; Gitlin; Guardian, May 4, 1968)

May 2: First wildcat strike at Dodge Main in Detroit in 14 years shuts the plant; driving force is the newly formed Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM), which quickly gains prominence and strongly influences the new generation of student radicals; for example, see interview with John Watson in the July-August 1968 Radical America.and special supplement on the Black worker insurgency focusing on DRUM and then the League for Revolutionary Black Workers in Guardian, March 8, 1969. (Georgakas; Guardian, March 8, 1969)

May: France explodes, “the apogee of the student 1968 and all it represented”: “All Power to the Imagination.” On May 3, police are called into the Sorbonne because left-wing students are rallying to protest right-wing threats. Police at the university is unprecedented (it hadn’t happen even during the height of student protests against France’s war in Algeria) and, after they arrest student leaders, are attacked by other students. Strike and demonstration called for May 6 leads to large-scale street fighting and polls show 80% of Parisians supported the students. Police still occupy Sorbonne, protests continue and the height is May 10/11, “night of the barricades” as street battles fill Paris and are broadcast live over the radio to the whole country. Monday May 13 there is a one-day general strike and demonstration of a million people. Militancy breaks out at other schools and workplaces, and three days later there is spontaneous general strike with two million workers out, three days later, 9 million are out in a “massive refusal to continue to live and work under the authoritarian conditions of the Gaullist regime.” In several areas organization of services and general administration passes into the hands of self-organized committees. On May 24 De Gaulle speaks to the nation, it is a weak effort and he offers no concessions, the next day the government loses control of several cities. Prime Minister Pompidou holds talks with the unions May 25-27 and makes huge wage (but not other) concessions. His proposals (recommended by the leadership) are rejected by the rank and file. Huge anti-government demonstration on May 29, power seems to be slipping from the government. But De Gaulle had flown to Germany, assured himself of loyalty of the military, speaks to the nation May 30, dissolves parliament, calls for new elections, mobilizes armed forces. De Gaulle’s supporters then take to the streets and the regime begins its re-capture of power. As the dust settles, the role of the CP in narrowing the mass movement’s focus, in particular to wage demands, is harshly criticized by “the radical generation of 1968” and is a constant reference point (in the U.S. as well as Europe) for efforts to build new revolutionary formations over the next 5-10 years. (Student Generation)

May 13: Marchers arrive in D.C. to set up Resurrection City as the culmination of the Poor Peoples Campaign. The encampment is in LaFayette Square just across the street from the White House; Jesse Jackson serves as unofficial mayor. The Encampment is torn down by authorities on June 24, with the Campaign ending in failure. (Freedom)

May: Walter Reuther takes the United Autoworkers (UAW) out of the AFL-CIO citing its leadership’s “lack of social vision.” The effort to form a new federation with the Teamsters and others - the Alliance for Labor Action (ALA) - does not get off the ground.  The UAW rejoins the AFL-CIO in 1981. (Green; Davis in NLR #143 & in NLR #155; Guardian, June 15, 1968 & May 3, 1969)

June 5: Robert Kennedy is assassinated on the night he wins the California primary; dies June 6 (Freedom).

June 9-15: SDS National Convention at East Lansing, Michigan. The framework for discussion is “the revolution.” Bernardine Dohrn is nominated for Inter-organizational secretary by a broad anti-PL caucus (the first time an explicit anti-PL caucus takes shape in SDS, and also the first time a slate for election of officers is presented. This group was frequently referred to as the NO Caucus, for National Office). Asked if she considers herself a socialist she replies “I consider myself a revolutionary communist.” Jack Smith writes in the Guardian that “the new left in the United States has developed in the last several years from liberalism to anti-capitalism, from reformism to revolution.” (Sale; Guardian, June 22, 1968)

June 21-23: Black Political Convention in Newark aimed at building a local Black United Front that can win local power, with Amiri Baraka prominent in the effort. Similar attempts to build local united fronts during this period take place in D.C. (Black United Front), Philadelphia (North City Congress), Boston (United Front), Denver (Black United Conference), Los Angeles (Black Congress) and other cities. (Allen)

June: Valerie Solanas, author of the 1967 SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto shoots and badly injures Pop artist Andy Warhol in New York City. (Echols)

July 4: CPUSA holds a special Convention in New York to nominate candidates for president and vice-president for the first time in 25 years. Though the party leadership comes into the convention intending to nominate Gus Hall, the convention chooses Charlene Mitchell for President, the first time in U.S. history a party had nominated an African American woman for that post, and Mike Zagarell for vice-president, the first time a youth had been so nominated. (Myerson)

July 27: Former chair Stokely Carmichael is expelled from SNCC “with regret and no pleasure.” The organization is increasingly factionalized and in decline; by the time of its December 1968 staff meeting, almost all veterans of pre-1966 SNCC are gone. James Forman resigns in June 1969; at that time the organization changes its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee, dropping the word nonviolent. (Carson; Guardian, August 2, 1969)

July: China’s Red Guards are dissolved after another round of fighting and looming civil war in China. In October, Deng Xiaoping is dismissed from all posts and sent to a labor camp. (Trial; Deng; NYT 2/20/97; SF Chron 2/25/97)

July: Afro-American Patrolmen’s Association formed in Chicago; similar groups are formed in many cities reflecting the “dual role” of Black police officers. (Guardian, October 5, 1968)

July-September: murder trial of Huey Newton; opens July 15, 1968 with 3,000 protesters marching to Alameda County Courthouse; convicted of voluntary manslaughter on September 8; Appeals court reverses conviction in 1970. (Rorabaugh, Sale)

Early August: Conference in Sandy Springs Maryland on the 120th anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls New York Women’s Rights Convention. With 20 participants this is the “first national conference of the fledgling women’s movement,” whose initial constituent local groups had begun to take shape in fall 1967 when the Westside Group in Chicago started as the first second wave women’s liberation group in the U.S. A much larger conference of 200 women (all white; an explicit decision had been made earlier not to invite Black women!) takes place in Lake Villa, Illinois, outside Chicago, over Thanksgiving. Major figures in shaping the radical wing of the burgeoning women’s movement attend one of both meetings: Shulamith Firestone, Marilyn Webb, Judith Brown, Charlotte Bunch, Roxanne Dunbar, Kathie Sarachild (originator of the phrase “consciousness- raising”) Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kate Millet and others. This is the period of the explosive growth in women’s consciousness-raising groups across the country, with their framework that “the personal is political.” There is tension in the movement and at these conferences between “politicos” and “feminists”, that is, between the emerging radical feminist current and activists who see the women’s liberation movement more closely linked to other forces on the left. The pathbreaking. if short-lived, radical feminist organizations were also formed during this year and 1969: Redstockings (initiated in February 1969 by Ellen Willis and Shulamith Firestone, lasting until fall 1970); The Feminists (formed officially in June 1969, with origins in Ti-Grace Atkinson’s resignation from NOW in October 17, 1968, lasting until late 1973); Cell 16 (formed in summer 1968 by Roxanne Dunbar, lasting until 1973); and New York Radical Feminists (launched in fall 1969 by Shulamith Firestone - who had left Redstockings - and Anne Koedt, lasted until 1972 with remnants sponsoring conferences until 1974). Many papers from this phase of the women’s movement (for example, “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm,” by Anne Koedt or “The Politics of Housework,” by Pat Mainardi) are circulated and gathered in the influential collections Notes from the First Year. (1968) and, later, Notes from the Second Year (1970) and Notes from the Third Year (1971); they are also and reprinted widely in anthologies and as pamphlets. (Webb in Underground; Echols; Durbin in Sixties Papers; Line of March No. 17; Gitlin)

August 20-21: Soviets invade Czechoslovakia ending the Czech Party’s Dubcek-led experiment with “socialism with a human face.” Major impact on international politics, the world communist movement, the New Left. Brezhnev invokes his theoretical defense of the invasion - the theory of “Limited Sovereignty,” also known as the “Brezhnev Doctrine,” in a speech to the Fifth Congress of the Polish United Workers Party in November. In the U.S. left, virtually alone, the CPUSA defends the invasion, though there is some dissent within the party: Al Richmond resigns as editor of the People’s World Dorothy Healey resigns as head of the Southern California district. Cuba backs the Soviet intervention; China blasts it while also terming the Dubcek leadership revisionists out for capitalist restoration. (Guardian, August 31, September 7 & September 14, 1968; Almanac; Viewpoint Vol. 3 No. 1; Richmond; Dennis; Myerson - see these latter especially for impact on CPUSA)

August 25-30: Democratic National Convention in Chicago: “The Whole World Is Watching” - literally - as police riot and batter demonstrators,  reporters and McCarthy delegates day after day. Protests by some McCarthy and other delegates reach inside the hall, as the convention majority nominates Hubert Humphrey and rejects a peace platform. The polarization and nationally televised repression is a watershed experience for the antiwar movement and the country. While polls show a majority backing the police, the  confrontation (along with the other events of 1968 of course) spurs the growth of the new left; that fall, 100 of 350-400 SDS chapters are new ones. (Sale; Gitlin)

September 7: Protest at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City initiated by New York Radical Women, an umbrella group with many ideological strands. The action receives widespread publicity and is widely characterized as a “bra burning,” though no such burning actually took place. After the action, on Halloween, one of the main organizers, Robin Morgan, along with others, forms the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (WITCH) and undertake various Yippie-style, media-oriented actions, including disruption of a bridal fair at Madison Square Garden in February 1969. (Echols)

Labor Day through Thanksgiving: Height of Ocean-Hill Brownsville struggle in New York, demands for Black community control of the schools mobilizes overwhelming support among New York’s African American population and also among most sectors of the left. The United Federation of Teachers led by president Albert Shanker opposes the community’s demands and holds an eight-week city-wide walkout. The schools in Ocean-Hill-Brownsville remain open where the local governing board hires alternative teachers. In summer 1969 the New York State legislature passes a new law on decentralizing school authority but the compromise does not grant the level of power to local boards that the Ocean Hill-Brownsville community had fought for and their pioneering experiment in community control ends. (Freedom; Guardian September 14, 1968)

September 18-23: Conference billed as the first international gathering of the New Left - officially titled “An International Assembly of Revolutionary Student Movements” - draws delegations from the U.S., France, England, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Canada and the U.S. to Columbia University but is chaotic and unsuccessful. (Guardian, September 28, 1968)

September 23: Tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans march into the mountains to the city of Lares to celebrate the 100th anniversary of El Grito de Lares, the 1868 uprising that first proclaimed the independent republic of Puerto Rico. (Guardian, October 5, 1968; Puerto Rico)

September 28: J. Edgar Hoover proclaims in the New York Times that the Black Panther Party is “the greatest [single] threat to the internal security of the country." Shortly thereafter FBI internal memo’s call for accelerating already-existing COINTELPRO programs targeting the Panthers. At their height the Panthers are estimated to have anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 members. In 1969, 27 Panthers are killed by police, 749 are arrested or jailed. (COINTELPRO; Abron in Black Scholar Nov-Dec 1986; Hanlon re: Geronimo Pratt in Bay Guardian June 4, 1977, in D-3; Boyd; CrossRoads No. 53)

October 2: The Mexican government, faced with a rising student protest movement and with international attention turning to the country because of the upcoming Olympic Games, turns to naked repression. Protests had been accelerating especially since July, when police attacked two rival student groups on July 23, the students united and mounted a protest against police brutality July 26, at which riot squads killed seven and wounded over 500. On July 29 all schools in Mexico City are ordered closed when 150,000 students began as general strike. Protests continued to mount and on September 18 police occupied the National University and the Polytechnic Institute. A rally is called for October 2, at which troops fire upon and massacre students at Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Mexico City, at least 300 are killed. (CrossRoads Nos. 38 & 47; Katsiaficas)

October 5: Police attack civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland, sparking large-scale student movement; formation of “Peoples Democracy” group within a week, “long march” demonstration in January 1969, police rampage through Bogside Catholic neighborhood, population throws up barricades and declare “Free Derry.” On April 17, 1969, Bernadette Devlin is elected to the British parliament in a by-election in Northern Ireland’s largest constituency, at 21 the youngest MP in 200 years. (Student Generation; MR June 1978; Katsiaficas)

October 12: Largest antiwar march to date organized by active duty G.I.’s and veterans draws 10,000 in San Francisco, with several hundred active-duty personnel participating. And the first five days in November are declared “National G.I. Week” by the National Mobilization Committee with the support of SDS and other groups. (Guardian, October 19, 1968)

October 18: Tommie Smith and John Carlos give Black Power salute while receiving their Olympic medals, fruit of the “Olympic Project for Human Rights” launched in November 1967 by Harry Edwards and others. (Edwards in Black Scholar March-April 1979)

October: Black Power Riots in Jamaica set off by the dismissal of Walter Rodney from the University there. (NLR #128)

October: Mao delivers a speech at CPC Central Committee plenum for the first time terming the USSR “social-imperialist.” Seemingly, Mao considers USSR the greater danger of the two superpowers, Lin Biao considers the U.S. the main danger. Official communiqué summarizing the meeting terms them equal dangers. Tension over “main danger” continues, with the forces seeing Soviets as main danger steadily gaining the upper hand, through the CPC’s Ninth Congress in April 1969 and after. The fall of Lin in September 1971 during preparations for Nixon’s visit to China (see below) apparently settles the matter in favor of the faction around Mao who target the USSR, although the formal statement of the Tenth Party Congress in August 1973 still targets opposition to the “hegemonism” of both superpowers. The “Theory of the Three Worlds” is promulgated in 1974 - see entries below. (Trial; LSM News No. 13; Peck on China)

November 5: Nixon defeats Humphrey in a close election; the George Wallace/Curtis LeMay ticket gets 46 electoral and 9,906,000 popular votes. There is a lot of discussion of Nixon and the Republicans pursuing a race-centered “southern strategy”(Almanac; Guardian, August 20, 1970)

November 6: Beginning of strike at San Francisco State; lasts four-and-a-half months, anchored by students of color, teachers union walks out in January, alliances with community groups and other unions, especially the alliance with oil workers, members of OCAW, on a two-month strike at Richmond Chevron Oil facility, ending with a victory in early March 1969; the alliance is widely publicized on the left. The faculty settles in April and strike is effectively over, losing most of its demands but eventually giving rise to the first-ever ethnic studies program in the country. S.I. Hayakawa leads the repressive reaction. (Five Retreats; Sale; Student Generation; Wei; Guardian, March 15, 1969)

November: The Rolling Stones, widely proclaimed “the world’s greatest rock & roll band,” release the Beggars Banquet album, with several cuts especially resonating with the protest movements including “Salt of the Earth,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Street Fighting Man.” (Rock & Roll)

November: The White Panther Party is founded by John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair and a few others. (Plamondon in Sixties Papers)

December 19: Norman Thomas dies at age 84. (Guardian, December 28, 1968)

December 26-31: All-out battle between anti-PL and PL factions at SDS national council meeting in Ann Arbor attended by up to 1,200 people. The ideological manifesto of the anti-PL grouping was the paper “Toward a Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM)” by National Secretary Mike Klonsky, published in the December 23 issue of New Left Notes. This paper, revised several times, became a central document in the development of the “NO Caucus” into the RYM and Weatherman factions, and in the debates with PL and others which shape SDS’ final year. At this meeting, the RYM proposal was approved by a very narrow margin. (Sale; Weather)

December 26: “Congress of Re-establishment” founds of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as a Marxist-Leninist-Mao ZeDong Thought alternative to the “old” Partidong Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) after a period of “rectification and re-establishment” work. There are less than 100 members. Three months later - March 29, 1969 - the CPP establishes the New People’s Army (NPA) with about 60 fighters. (Toribio; Rectify/Rebuild)

December: Black Women’s Liberation Committee of SNCC is formally established, which soon becomes the independent Black Women’s Alliance and in 1970 expands to include Puerto Rican and other Third World women and becomes the Third World Women’s Alliance. (TWWA; Carson; AAWO)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bay Area Revolutionary Union (BARU) is founded, building on ties that began to be forged among activists in 1967; Bob Avakian is the central figure. (Hamilton).

California Communist League (changed name to Communist League in 1970) is founded by a split-off faction of the POC led by Nelson Peery and a small group of folks in or around SDS. (Hamilton; Chart; Ignatin; O’Brien).

Founding of C.A.S.A.-Hermandad General de Trabajadores/Center for Autonomous Social Action - General Brotherhood of Workers, in response to attacks on Mexicans and Mexican-Americans by the INS (self-published material in BREV-4)

United Black Brothers (later, United Black Workers) formed by a group of Black auto workers at the Ford assembly plant in Mahwah, New Jersey, they come to prominence after leading a 10-day demonstration against racism and job discrimination in April 1969, which is supported by student radicals and others. (Haddock in Black Scholar November 1973; Guardian, May 3 & May 10, 1969)

“Hundreds of small, locally written newspapers are appearing in Black communities across the country.” (Guardian, November 9, 1968)

Stokely Carmichael resettles in Guinea, develops a close relationship with President Sekou Toure and former President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah, joins the All African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP) Nkrumah had founded, changes his name to Kwame Ture, and returns to the U.S. for periods of time beginning in 1969 where he organizes the AAPRP in the U.S., which announces its presence publicly in 1972. (Nationalism; Carson; Ture; Black Scholar Fall-Winter 1997)

The American Indian Movement (AIM) is founded as a “Red Power” advocacy and community defense organization in Minneapolis by urban-experienced Indian youth. (Hurricane; Dunbar)

Liberation Support Movement (LSM) formed with perspective based on articles published by Don Barnett in Pensamiento Critico (Havana) in September 1967 and Monthly Review (April 1968, under pseudonym) (LSM News and other self-published material in BREV-3)

National Lawyers Guild convention decides the group should serve as the legal arm of the radical movement. The Guild was originally founded in 1937 as a more professional organization, was a target of McCarthyism and suffered severe losses, revived itself in the early 1960s with many new young lawyers joining and supporting the Civil Rights Movement. By 1970 it had 2,000 members and offices in New York, Detroit, San Francisco and L.A. and was heavily involved in Panther defense among other projects. In 197o it decided to admit law students and in 1971 legal workers. By 1974 it had 4,500 members and was an important site of New communist activity. (Guardian, March 7, 1970 & September 4, 1974)

Richard Hatcher becomes the first Black mayor of a major northern city winning election in Gary Indiana. (Black Scholar October 1975)

Overall sum of urban rebellions (according to Allen): 1964: 15; 1965: 9; 1966: 38; 1967: 128; 1968: 131. Allen also reports that a survey by the National Advisory Committee on Civil Disorders finds that about 18% of Black residents in the effected areas participated.  (Allen)

Akwesasne Notes is launched as the newspaper of the Mohawk Nation reporting on Indian struggles in upstate New York and Canada; it begins as a mimeographed sheet and by the mid-1970s is a newspaper with a circulation of 75,000. (Osawatomie Vol. 2, No. 1)

Antiwar business leaders organize Business Executives Move for Peace in Vietnam (Guardian, March 16, 1968)

The every-ten-year Conference of Latin American Catholic Bishops (CELAM), meeting in Medellin, Columbia under the leadership of Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara, calls for social justice under the banner of Liberation Theology, giving a tremendous boost to grassroots movements throughout the continent. (Hobsbawm; MR July-August 1984; Katsiaficas; for the widespread impact, see among other things reference in Borge in NLR #164)

Publication of How the Soviet Revisionists Carry Out All-Round Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR by the Communist Party of China - a collection of articles from fall 1967 (see above) which first argue the case that the USSR has fully restored capitalism (according to Myth; Trial says this assertion is first made in November 1965 with the publication of Refutation of the Leaders of the CPSU on United Action)

Publication also of Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice (New York, Dell); Julius Lester, Look Out Whitey! Black Power’s Gon’ Get Your Mama! (New York, Dial Press); Wilfred Burchett, Vietnam Will Win! (published by the Guardian and distributed by Monthly Review Press); Abbie Hoffman, Revolution for the Hell of It (New York, Dial Press); Norman Mailer, The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, The Novel as History and Miami and Siege of Chicago (both are New York, New American Library-Signet); “Kerner Commission” report - officially, the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (New York, Bantam Books); Bantam Book paperback edition of Vo Nguyen Giap, People’s War, People’s Army published in October, with a profile of Giap by Bernard B. Fall. the hardcover Praeger edition has first appeared in 1962 and was reprinted in 1965, 1967 and 1968; Richard J. Barnet, Intervention and Revolution: The United States in the Third World (New York, New American Library - revised and updated edition published in 1972); Jerry L. Avorn et al., Up Against the Ivy Wall: A History of the Columbia Crisis (New York, Atheneum); Andre Gorz, Strategy for Labor, U.S. English-translated edition; originally published in French in 1964 (Beacon Press, Boston);  Carlos Castenada, The Teachings of Don Juan - A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (Berkeley, University of California Press) - an early work in what will later become the widespread 1970s fascination - among former activists as well as much more broadly - with spirituality, Eastern and indigenous religions, meditation, human potential, “new age,” personal growth etc.

 

1969-

January 14: Morton Sobell, convicted of espionage with the Rosenbergs and sentenced to 30 years in prison, is released after 18-and-a-half years, credited with time served awaiting trial and time off for good behavior. (Guardian, January 25, 1969)

January 18: Governor-elect Ronald Peterson in Du Pont-dominated Delaware announces that he will pull National Guard out of Wilmington after taking office; the Guard has occupied the Black community there for nine months. (Guardian, February 1, 1969)

January 19: At a protest to mark Nixon’s inauguration sponsored by the Mobe, SDS veteran Marilyn Salzman Webb speaks on women’s liberation and many men in the crowd are infuriated, there is yelling (“take her off the stage and fuck her”) and shoving, she is threatened and accused of being divisive afterwards. The incident is a major spur to a decision by many women’s groups across the country with links to the antiwar movement and New Left to “begin organizing for our own interests on our own” and specifically provoked the formation of Redstockings by Shulamith Firestone and Ellen Willis. (Webb in Underground; Echols; Gitlin)

January 22: Third World Liberation Front begins student strike at Berkeley demanding an autonomous Third World college; eventually they win a compromise Ethnic Studies Division at UC, the strike ends March 14. On February 13 a Black Student Strike at Wisconsin brings out the National Guard; the Guard is also called out at University of North Carolina. Students occupy a building at the University of Chicago for 16 days beginning January 30 to protest denial of tenure to Marlene Dixon - they lose and many are expelled. There were major strikes and occupations in spring 1969 at City College and Brooklyn College in New York, led by Black and Puerto Rican students and especially important in the emergence of a large radical movement among Puerto Rican students. In March 1971 there was a three-day takeover of a building at City College led by Asian American students. Over the next 18 months confrontations and increasing violence grip the nation’s campuses, as well as society in general. And the mass demonstrations and repression is accompanied by a rise in small-group actions: from January 1969 to April 1970 there are an estimated 5,000 bombings in the U.S., an unprecedented phenomenon. (Goines chron; Rorabaugh; Reunion; Louie; Torres; Wei; Guardian, February 8, 1969)

January: Nixon takes office with a new, Kissinger-anchored foreign policy team that tries to implement a comprehensive strategy to deal with the pressing international problems facing Washington, which include “Vietnamization” of the war in Vietnam, detente with the USSR (in the Kissinger version emphasizing “linkage” of steps toward peace with Soviet “good behavior” in the Third World) and the attempt to woo China to the U.S. side vs. the Soviet Union. (Second Cold War)

January: January issue of Political Affairs contains an article by Albert J. (Mickie) Lima opening up a debate in the CPUSA on the labor aristocracy and the extent of opportunism within the U.S. labor movement; the inner party struggle is in the context of the pro-war stance of important sections of the labor movement on the one hand, and widespread tendencies toward “writing off” the radical potential of the working class within sections of the New Left. (Line of March No.13/14)

January: Bloody three-day battle between police and Zengakuren students in Japan ends a months-long occupation of the medical school at the Todai University in Tokyo. Throughout the 1965-70 period Japanese students and the Japanese left mobilized against the U.S. war in Vietnam. In 1968 the decade-long battle began to save the land on which the huge Narita airport is eventually built. (Katsiaficas; Apology; Guardian, August 3, 1968)

February 3: Eduardo Mondlane, first president of FRELIMO, is assassinated by Portuguese agents. (Return; Guardian, February 15, 1969)

February: Red Guard Party is founded in San Francisco; this same year the I Wor Kuen organization is formed in New York, it publishes Getting Together newspaper beginning in January 1970. (IWK Journal No. 2; Louie; Costello; Asians Unite! No. 2; Guardian, December 19, 1970; Wei)

February: Miners form the Black Lung Association and thousands march on the West Virginia State Capitol demanding passage of the State’s first law to pay compensation to the victims of the “coal dust plague.” there is also a three-week wildcat opposed by the UMW leadership for this demand (which is partially won). The same year a disaster at Consolidation Coal’s Farmington West Virginia mine kills 78 miners. This fuels the reform candidacy of “Jock” Yablonski against UMW President Tony Boyle, but Yablonski and his daughter are murdered on New Year’s Eve, the last day of 1969 by gunmen later proved to be acting on Boyle’s orders. Yablonski’s sons and others form Miners for Democracy (MFD) and in 1972 reform candidate Arnold Miller beats Boyle for the UMW presidency, after which the Black Lung Association and MFD disband. Later Miller is also confronted with a dissatisfied and rebellions rank and file - see 1977 below. (Green; Fighting; Guardian, March 22, 1969)

February: Palestinian resistance forces led by Fatah assume control of the PLO, and the organization adopts the goal of a democratic secular state in all of Palestine. (Roots)

Spring: Red Papers No. 1 published by BARU; the document is circulated nationally and has a major impact on the new generation of revolutionary-minded activists produced by the ‘60s upheavals, especially veterans of SDS. By 1970 it has been reprinted five times and 20,000 copies are in circulation. (Hamilton; Red Papers No. 1, & Red Papers “Selections from Red Papers 1, 2 & 3”)

Spring: Founding of Chinese for Affirmative Action, one of the most important progressive community-based organizations in the Chinese American community. (Wei)

March 2: Soviets report serious clashes between Soviet and Chinese troops in disputed areas along the Ussuri River; “open secret” Soviet nuclear deployment targeting China and reports (which cannot be independently confirmed) surface later from top U.S. leaders including Nixon that the Soviets broached the idea of U.S. participation in or support of a possible strike against Chinese nuclear facilities. Soviet forces in the far East put on alert March 8, the two powers are close to war; clashes continue at least through March 18 but then die down. (Hobsbawm, Coates in NLR #145/May-June 1984; Century; Viewpoint Vol. 3 No. 1)

March 27: Opening of the first-ever National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference in Denver sponsored by the Crusade for Justice. The gathering adopts El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán as its manifesto. The following month, Mexican American student leaders from across California meet at UC-Santa Barbara and found El Movimiento Estudiantil de Aztlán (MEChA) publishing the manifesto El Plan de Santa Barbara. (Muñoz; Chicano)

March: First issue of Leviathan, an independent revolutionary magazine/tabloid. By May 1970 it has 4,000 subscribers and distributes 15,000 copies. (Leviathan Vol. 2. No. 1)

April 6: First meeting of Asian Americans for Action, an anti-imperialist and intergenerational group in New York City focusing initially on opposition to the Vietnam War. It also opposed the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty and in November 1969 organized a rally of 300 in Washington, D.C. against the pact on the occasion of Japanese Prime Minister Eisaku Sato’s visit to the U.S. (Wei)

April 1-14: Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party meets in Beijing, first Congress since 1956. Minister of Defense Lin Biao, who had emerged as Mao’s heir apparent earlier and reads the main report to the meeting, is officially anointed Mao’s “close-comrade-in-arms” and “successor.” The official Congress position as stated in Lin’s report is opposition to both superpowers, “U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionist social-imperialism,” which allegedly collude and contend to oppose revolution; and all the “four major contradictions in the world” are listed (oppressed nations vs. imperialism and social-imperialism; proletariat vs. bourgeoisie in imperialist and revisionist countries; contradictions between imperialism vs. social-imperialism and between the different imperialist countries; socialist countries vs. imperialism and social imperialism), none are picked out as principal, a clear shift from the 1965 line of Long Live the Victory of People’s War where the “principal contradiction” was identified as that between the revolutionary peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America vs. imperialism headed by the U.S. Underneath these official formulations, an internal CPC struggle and shift is underway toward seeing USSR as the main danger. (Trial; Tenth; Second Cold War; Lin’s Report to the Ninth Congress in BICM-5)

April 2: The Black Panther “New York 21,” including Dhoruba Moore and Afeni Shakur, are arrested and charged with plotting to blow up New York department stores and arson, conspiracy and attempted murder. After a long trial in which no less than 6 undercover agents testify they are all (all 13 in this trial - the other defendants were underground or otherwise had their cases severed from these defendants) acquitted May 13, 1971. The New York 21 generally align with the “Cleaver faction” in the internal Panther struggle which is at its height in late 1970/spring 1971 (see spring 1971 entry below), and this group and its supporters make up the roots of the Black Liberation Army (BLA). (Boyd; WUO; PFOC & May 19 material in BREV-3; Guardian May 26, 1971)

April 5: Large antiwar protests in New York and 50 other cities; 100,000 march in New York in a militant demonstration with many making the connection between the war and the indictment of the New York Panthers three days before. (Sale; Guardian, April 12, 1969)

April 19: Cornell Black students seize the student union for one day; some are armed. (Sale; Guardian, May 3, 1969)

April 20: First gathering to plant flowers etc. at “People’s Park”; on May 15, the day before the regents are scheduled to meet, UC fences the park and riots ensue. James Rector and dozens of others are shot that day, Rector dies four days later. Military occupation of Berkeley for the next two weeks.  (Rorabaugh; Gitlin; Guardian, May 24 & June 7, 1969)

April: Black Economic Development Conference (BED-C), develops Black Manifesto calling for reparations which James Forman reads in disruption of Riverside church service on May 11. Important conference in building links between League of Revolutionary Black Workers and Forman and other Black activists nationally. (Georgakas)

April: First issue of Gidra, the first radical Asian American newspaper and considered by some the journalistic arm of the Asian American movement, is published in Los Angeles. It lasts until 1974. (Wei)

April: U.S. forces in Vietnam reach a peak of 543,400. Simultaneously, soldiers in Vietnam begin to rebel with refusals to follow orders, mutinies, sabotage and fraggings. Between 1969 and July 1972 army records showed 551 incidents of assaults with explosive weapons (fragging), with 86 men (mostly officers and NCOs) killed and more than 700 injured; between August 1969 and April 1972 ten “major” incidents of mutiny occurred and an untold unrecorded “minor” incidents; sabotage hits the Navy, by the end of 1971 it had conducted 488 investigations on damage or attempted damage during that year alone. Also see June 7, 1971 entry below. Meanwhile, protests among antiwar G.I.’s at home mount as well, for instance the case of the “nonviolent mutiny” of 27 soldiers at the San Francisco Presidio. (Spoke; Goines chron; MR October 1988; Fact Sheet; Reunion; Gitlin; Guardian, March 1, 1969)

April: Black community in racially polarized Cairo, Illinois forms United Front to defend itself from racist attacks and fight for equality. A multi-year boycott of white businesses is conducted; the struggle attracts nationwide attention and COINTELPRO effort to smear United Front leader Rev. Charles Koen. (Triple Jeopardy July-August 1972; COINTELPRO; Guardian, January 12, 1971 & December 20, 1972)

April: CBS cancels the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour after repeated blue penciling of its content for antiwar, anti-racist and radical content. (Guardian, April 19, 1969)

May 1: After a San Francisco police officer dies in a run-in with some Mission District teenagers, a major manhunt is launched for seven youths who become known as Los Siete de la Raza. Six are eventually apprehended, tried for murder and acquitted (in November 1970), though they are rearrested on other charges and several forced underground. The defense of Los Siete unfolds into a major local and national campaign (Fire Vol. 1 No. 1; Ramparts July 1971; Heins)

May: Workers Action Committee in Cleveland, formed in 1968, reconstitutes itself as the American Communist Workers Movement (ML) (Chart; Refutation)

May: Monthly Review marks its 20th anniversary - first issue had appeared in May 1949, same era as the Guardian’s founding - ; Volume 21 is first without co-editor Leo Huberman, who died November 9, 1968; Harry Magdoff joins Paul Sweezy as co-editor. Editorial “The Old Left and the New” is interesting for its analysis of the Old Left as “reformist” and proclamation of the New Left “or at least the more advanced elements within it,” as revolutionary. (MR May 1969)

June 5-17: After many preparatory meetings, an International Conference of Communist and Workers Parties brings together 75 parties in Moscow. The CPSU’s aims for the gathering are widely believed to be gaining support for its 1968 intervention in Czechoslovakia and to formally expel the Chinese party from the international movement which does not occur. The Chinese, Albanian and Yugoslav parties are not present and the Korean and North Vietnamese parties also do not attend; the Cubans and Swedes only send “observers.” (Guardian July 10, 1974 reports that 12 of 86 parties then existing refuse to attend.) There is opposition to Soviet positions re: Czechoslovakia and China to varying degrees from among at least 14 of the parties that do attend. This gathering turns out to be the last international meeting of the communist parties descended from the Third International. (Century; Dennis; Mesa-Lago; Political Affairs August 1969; Guardian, February 23, 1971)

June 6-9: Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) is formed in South Vietnam at a conference in an NLF-liberated zone. (Guardian, June 21, 1969)

June 18-22: SDS splits and explodes at Chicago Convention. The Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) faction, while probably not holding a majority of delegates, “expels” the PL-led faction. RYM itself is an alliance of the Weatherman (RYM I) and RYM II factions, which falls apart over the next several months. RYM II is the main seedbed for several of the early formations of the New Communist Movement. The polemics surrounding the SDS explosion - in particular the controversies over “You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows,” published in New Left Notes June 18 issue - become a major pivot and reference point for left debate in 1969-70. The PL-SDS faction survives another year or so and then disintegrates. (Sale; self-published SDS & RYM material in BREV-3; Aronowitz; Weather; Guardian, June 28, 1969)

June 22:, The left wing of South Yemen’s National Liberation Front seizes power in a bloodless coup and begins the “national and democratic revolution” in the Peoples Democratic Republic of South Yemen. Both China and the USSR aid the new government, which is opposed by hostile Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and North Yemen. (MR May 1973; Second Cold War)

June 27 (1:20 a.m. in the early morning of June 28): Stonewall riots begin, an uprising marking the beginning of the modern Gay Liberation Movement. Within a few months Gay Liberation Fronts have formed in numerous cities: New York GLF has a contingent at the fall 1969 moratorium, a GLF representative spoke at the May 1970 rally for Bobby Seale in New Haven, etc. By 1973 there are more than 800 gay rights organizations (compared to 50 “homophile” organizations in 1969 pre-Stonewall), by the end of the 1970s there are thousands. GLF’s Statement of Purpose “we are a revolutionary group of men and women...” is published in the August 12, 1969 issue of RAT.  (D’Emilio; Stonewall)

June: Formal legal incorporation of League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW) in Detroit, office opened four months later. (Georgakas)

June: Puerto Rican activists from New York visit the recently formed Chicago Young Lords Organization and gain authorization to organize a Lords group in New York City. Three New York groups come together - July 22 becomes the official Young Lords Party anniversary date - and begin organizing as Young Lords, largely modeled on the Black Panthers. Their first office is opened in September and in May 1970 they start publishing Palante as a full-sized tabloid newspaper. At the end of 1970 they have roughly 1,000 members, their height of influence and activity is 1970-1972. The New York-centered group expands, splits with the Chicago Lords in April-May 1970, and changes its name to the Young Lords Party in June 1970. (Guzman in Underground; Franklin; Torres)

July 4-5: Cleveland conference reconstitutes the Mobe as the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, an uneasy but broad coalition. (Spoke)

July 18-20: United Front Against Fascism Conference in Oakland called by the Panthers; there are fist fights between PL members and other factions of the former SDS outside the gathering. (Sale)

July: Speaking in Guam the President articulates the “Nixon Doctrine” of “delegation” - delegating the troops of U.S. allies and puppets to do the actual fighting in counter-revolutionary wars, with U.S. arms and logistical support. (Second Cold War)

August 15-17: Woodstock Music and Arts Fair and Aquarian Exposition draws upwards of 400,000 people to Max Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York, while police estimated that one million people had been on the road trying to get there. (Rolling Stone; Spoke)

August 19: Bobby Seale is arrested and charged with giving orders for the murder of a suspected informant, Luther Rackley. Rackley had been found dead in May and on May 22 eight New Haven Panthers including Ericka Huggins and Lonnie McLucas were arrested and charged with the killing. Seale is driven to Chicago for the Conspiracy trial while these other charges are pending. (Reunion; Boyd; Mitchell in Triple Jeopardy March-April 1973; Weather; Freed)

August: Northern Ireland is immersed in virtual civil war; for over a month the Catholic ghettos in Derry and Belfast are barricaded and “no-go” areas for British Troops who arrive August 14 - sent by a Labour Government - as well as the Protestant armed units. Republican Party - successor to the traditional IRA - fails to provide any defense to Catholic areas and is pilloried in graffiti (“I Ran Away”); party soon splits into “Official” wing, arguing constitutional action, and military-oriented Provisional Wing (provos). (Student Generation; MR June 1978)

Fall: Hot Autumn in Italy; third largest strike in Western Europe in the 20th century, behind the French May and the British General Strike of 1926. “Over 302 million work hours were lost to strikes in 1969, a figure far above the previous high of 181 million in 1962... It was a period of enormous mass radicalization.” Links between students and workers had been developing since 1968. July 3, 1969 there is a pitched battle around the Fiat plant in Turin, that fall unions take the offensive and in a series of strikes involving five-and-a-half million workers make many gains, both in contracts and “the most pro-union industrial relations act in Western Europe” passed in May 1970. Organizations to the left of the PCI - Lotta Continua, Avanguardia Operaio - take shape and play important roles and gain strength. In November the Manifesto group is expelled from the PCI and forms an independent organization, later merging in 1973 with the PDUP split-off from the Socialist Party to form Manifesto-PDUP or PDUP. These three currents, with about 15,000 members each, form the largest and most developed far left of any West European country, they are a mix of “soft” Maoism and “autonomism/workerism.” (2-3-Many; Anderson/Europe; Student Generation; MR January 1976; NLR #131/Jan-Feb 1982 & #153/Sept-Oct 1985; Guardian, September 19, 1973)

September 3: Ho Chi Minh dies; his testament includes: “the more proud I am of the growth of the international communist and workers’ movement, the more pained I am by the current discord among the fraternal parties. Our Party will do its best to contribute effectively to the restoration of unity among the fraternal parties on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, in a way which conforms to both reason and sentiment.” This was the stance of the Vietnam Workers Party until the late 1970s when a decisive break with China occurred. (History-Vietnam)

September 15: Committee of Returned Volunteers - former members of the Peace Corps and other voluntary service organizations - holds its first nationwide General Assembly and calls for abolition of the Peace Corps. CRV is active in antiwar activity and adopts an anti-imperialist perspective, in 1970 beginning publication of a short-lived magazine titled 2, 3, Many. (CRV folders in BREV)

September 19: Regents of the University of California vote to fire Angela Davis from UCLA solely because she is a member of the CPUSA. A federal judge rules the firing unconstitutional October 20. She is fired again on another excuse June 19, 1970. (Guardian, October 4 & November 1, 1969, July 18, 1970)

September 24: The “Conspiracy” trial opens in Chicago. On October 29 Judge Julius Hoffman orders Bobby Seale bound and gagged in his chair. His case is separated from that of the other 7 defendants on November 4. (Hayden; Reunion)

September 29: 1,000 people led by welfare mothers and Father James Groppi occupy the Wisconsin State Capitol Assembly Chamber for 11 hours after a march from Milwaukee to Madison to protest cuts in welfare programs. (Guardian, October 18, 1969)

Fall: Puerto Rican Student Union is organized in New York City, publishes Maceta, over the next year develops ties with PSP, El Comité and the Young Lords as well as links with radical student groups in Puerto Rico. (Torres)

October 8-11: Weatherman Days of Rage to “Bring the War Home” in Chicago.  Criticized by Fred Hampton, leader of Chicago Panthers and the Chicago “Rainbow Coalition” - the first formation to use that term. The Rainbow included the Panthers, Young Patriots (who later split and produce an offshoot, the Patriot Party, which organizes nationwide), and the Young Lords Organization. The RYM II faction, which had split with Weatherman (RYM I) over the summer, holds a larger but peaceful action over the same four days in Chicago. (Sale; Guzman in Underground; self-published RYM material in BREV-3; Guardian, February 14, 1970)

October 12: 5,000 march onto the Army base at Fort Dix, New Jersey to defend the rights of G.I.’s and oppose the war in Vietnam - the largest antiwar action ever held at a military base in the U.S. The march is organized by the Committee to Free the Fort Dix 38, who were being persecuted for participating in a spontaneous stockade rebellion at the base the previous June. (Guardian, October 18, 1969)

October 15: Vietnam Moratorium Day, millions participate in diverse local activities, some say it was “the largest public protest against government policy ever seen in the United States” (Spoke; quote is from page 245; Reunion; Guardian, October 25, 1969)

October 21: Jack Kerouac dies at 47. (Guardian, November 1, 1969)

October 25: After months of organizing and statewide preparation meetings, Malcolm X Liberation University-African People’s Ideological and Technical Institute opens at a renovated warehouse in Durham, North Carolina. MXLU moves to a new headquarters in Greensboro on its first anniversary, October 25, 1970. In this period its ideology is Pan-Africanist; Owusu Sadaukai is a central figure. (Southern Patriot, September 1971)

November 3: Nixon’s “silent majority” speech to the country; promising “Vietnamization” of the war and appealing for support by attacking “internal” enemies: “let us unite against defeat.” Vietnamization was the prime but not the only example of the “Nixon Doctrine” articulated in July (see above) The speech fuels antiwar sentiment in many quarters and serves to build rather than shrink the upcoming November antiwar actions. (Spoke; Second Cold War; Guardian, November 8, 1969)

November 4: Brazilian police ambush and kill Carlos Marighella, a leader of the Brazilian armed left and known in North America as author of the Mini-Manual of Urban Guerrilla Warfare. (Red Papers No. 2; Leviathan Vol. 1 No. 9, which says killing is in October)

November 12: Sam Melville, David Hughey and Jane Alpert are captured by the FBI, accused of bombing a number of military and war-related buildings in Manhattan between July and November 1969; their group had been infiltrated by informer George Dimmerle. Melville is imprisoned and in 1971 is one of those killed at Attica; Alpert goes underground before being sentenced. (Echols)

November 15: Huge antiwar protest in DC sponsored by the New Mobe draws anywhere from half a million to 800,000, it is the largest march against government policy to that point in U.S. history. 100,00 to 250,000 march in San Francisco is the largest West Coast antiwar march in history. Moratorium actions had taken place on the local level on the 13th and 14th; Moratorium folks are hesitant to endorse but especially after Nixon’s speech they get on board. Also, it is just before the demonstration - November 13 - that Seymour Hersh’s reports on the March 1968 My Lai massacre begin to be published in U.S. newspapers. Some 15,000 people follow up the march with a protest against the Justice Department, tear gas is used and there is some “trashing.” (Sale; Spoke; Guardian, November 22, 1969)

November 20: Seventy-eight Indian activists under the name Indians of All Tribes (IAT) land on Alcatraz and occupy the island for the next 19 months, until June 11, 1971. The occupation, which receives a great deal of mostly positive initial media attention, is a watershed for the contemporary Indian resistance movement. (Dunbar; COINTELPRO; Goines chron; Guardian, January 10, 1970; Hurricane)

November 27-30: Revolutionary Youth Movement formally founded as an anti-imperialist youth organization at a RYM II conference in Atlanta where women activists play a central role. But the organization never actually gets off the ground, and this is its first and last conference. (Dowling in CW#3; Guardian, November 8 & December 20, 1969)

November: First Venceremos Brigade to Cuba, with 216 Brigadistas; idea originated with Carl Oglesby after trip to Cuba at the end of 1968. The Brigadistas of the first (and larger second Brigade, which goes in March-April 1970) help with the effort to harvest “ten million tons,” (the 1970 goal, to be complete by July 26, 1970) which does not succeed, with the harvest yielding only 8.5 million tons. The Brigade (VB) becomes an ongoing nationwide organization, conducting political education and sending regular contingents to Cuba (the Sixth Contingent, for example, leaves in spring 1973); and also becomes one of the key sites of networking and interaction among a section of the NCM and broader revolutionary left, especially among activists of color. In this capacity the VB is one of the counter-pulls to orthodox Maoism and complete support of China’s foreign policy among those turning to Marxism-Leninism. (Sale; Spoke; Leviathan June 1970; Blackburn in NLR 185; Triple Jeopardy November-December 1972; various TWWA reports in DTW-1; CrossRoads No. 35; Guardian, December 20, 1969)

November: The Black Scholar magazine and Black World Foundation are founded, The Black Scholar begins publication, locating itself within the Black Liberation Movement. A telling example of its orientation and the currents it reflects in the Black intelligentsia: Volume 1 No. 7 in May 1970 is titled “Black Revolution.”  (Black Scholar Vol.16, No. 1l and May-June 1987

December 4: Fred Hampton and Mark Clark assassinated by police in Chicago. (Sale)

December: Charles Manson and followers are arrested outside Los Angeles and charged with the (Sharon) Tate- (Leno & Rosemary) LaBianca murders of July 1969. Manson is referred to positively in several counter-culture publications, and in her speech at the Flint War Council (see below) Bernardine Dohrn glamorizes them with the “pick up the fork” image. (Gitlin - who says the arrest is in October; Rolling Stone; Acid)

December: Rock Concert at the Altamont Speedway near the Bay Area in California features the Rolling Stones and draws 250,000. Bad drugs abound, the Hell’s Angels doing “security” kill a young Black man, many regard the event as the symbolic end of “the Age of Aquarius” and “Woodstock Nation” counter-culture period. (Gitlin; Acid)

December 26-31: Weatherman “War Council” in Flint, Michigan. Soon afterwards the organization goes underground and all members are underground by February 1970. The home of the Judge presiding over the trial of the New York Panther 21 is firebombed in February and, after a lull following the Townhouse explosion (see March 6, 1970 below) Weatherman conducts a number of bombings. By the time of the self-critical “New Morning” communiqué on December 6, 1970 it signs its name as Weather Underground (rather than Weatherman), and also becomes known as the Weather Underground Organization (WUO). At the end of 1970 six Weather people were on the FBI’s Ten-Most-Wanted list, which was then increased to 16 to include additional activists. Meanwhile, at the same time, December 27-30, the PL Worker-Student Alliance Caucus, now claiming to be the only authentic SDS, draws 700 to its national meeting at Yale; the group lasts about another year. (O’Brien; Sale; Weather; self-published material in BREV-3; Chicago Seed Vol. 4, No. 10 in BREV-1; Guardian, January 10, 1970)

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October League Collective founded Los Angeles, Mike Klonsky is the central figure. (Costello, Hamilton; O’Brien says 1970)

The International Socialists (IS) is founded as a national organization through a merger of the different Independent Socialist Clubs patterned on the one started in Berkeley in 1964. (O’Brien)

            La Raza Unida Party begins to take shape in Texas and in Crystal City it wins control of the school board in elections. In the next two years it also emerges in Colorado and California. (Muñoz; Chicano)

            Twenty-five movement newspapers aimed at Mexican-Americans and Chicanos join together to form the Chicano Press Association, whose statement of goals calls for a new social order. (Guardian, January 24, 1970)

            C.L.R. James, now allowed back in the U.S., speaks frequently on U.S. campuses. (James)

            Pacific News Service (and also the short-lived Dispatch New Service International) founded in the Bay Area initially as outlets for writers and reporters of accurate stories about the Vietnam War and Southeast Asia. (Berlet in Underground)

Chicago Women’s Liberation Union is founded, the first organization to call itself “socialist-feminist.” The influential manifesto written by CWLU’s Hyde Park chapter, Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women’s Movement,” is published in 1972. Bread and Roses, a “socialist women’s liberation organization” in Boston, is formed about the same time, in summer 1969. These groups are joined in the next few years by autonomous women’s unions in Berkeley-Oakland, New York, Boston and many other cities Within the radical wing of the women’s movement, differences take clearer shape between the radical feminist and newly emerging socialist feminist tendencies. (Echols; Red Apple in SR No. 38 - which says CWLU is formed in 1970; Line of March No. 17)

Rising Up Angry (RUA) group is started in Chicago to organize white working class youth. Begins publication of Rising Up Angry newspaper. Survives until about 1975. (Rising Up Angry Vol. 5, No. 7 in BREV-1; Guardian, November 13, 1974; Franklin)

            Chicago-area High School Independent Press formed, publishes a widely distributed pamphlet How to Start a High School Underground Newspaper; the group soon drops “Chicago” from its name, moves its office to Houston in July 1970 and starts publishing FPS, a young peoples news service. In 1971-72 it moves to Ann Arbor, merges with a project called Youth Liberation, and FPS soon becomes a “Magazine of Young People’s Liberation” which includes reprints from the high school underground press. (Berlet in Underground)

            Black hospital workers in Charleston, South Carolina, organized by the National Organizing Committee just established by New York City’s Hospital Workers Union 1199, strike for 110 days and win most of their demands. 1199 rapidly expands nationally and reorganizes to form the National Union of Hospital and Nursing Home Employees, a division of the RWDSU, AFL-CIO. (Green; Hard Times No. 87l Guardian, May 17, 1969)

            Union of Radical Sociologists (initial sponsor of The Insurgent Sociologist, launched in 1970) founded at the American Sociologists Association Convention. (Leviathan June 1970)

A protest against a U.S. underwater nuclear test sets in motion the formation of Greenpeace, a militant new group which by September 1971 has launched its own ship to the Aleutians to try to prevent U.S. nuclear testing. In 1975 Greenpeace expands its work beyond the issue of nuclear weapons, and by the late 1970s and ‘80s is taking on a broad range of issues mainly from a radical perspective, including issues of environmental racism. (Radicalism; Radical America Vol. 17, Nos. 2 & 3; CrossRoads No. 20)

            Accuracy in Media, the right-wing press lobby organization, is founded. (Second Cold War)

            German Social Democratic Party (SPD)  leader Willy Brandt is elected chancellor (serving from 1969-1974) and initiates his Ostpolitik (Eastern policy) of trying to establish detente with the Communist government of Eastern Europe. Brandt visits the GDR and signs a Soviet-West German treaty in 1970. (Second Cold War; CrossRoads No. 27)

            General William Westmoreland in a speech to the Association of the United States Army touts the idea of an “electronic battlefield” or “automated battlefield”; the U.S. has been spending billions and will spend billions more on research, testing and deployment in Vietnam of various components of this high-tech project including sensors, infrared detectors, etc. (Klare).

Publication of Black Awakening in Capitalist America by Robert L. Allen, (Doubleday & Company, Inc.; Anchor Books paperback edition issued the next year) - widely read and influential (see glowing review in the Guardian January 31, 1970)  “analytic history” putting forward the “internal colony” (“dispersed semi-colony) thesis and arguing for a national liberation, anti-capitalist revolution, See reflection of this kind of formulation in Red Papers 1. Also The Black Panther, by Gene Marine (New York, New American Library); Manifesto for a Black Revolutionary Party by James Boggs (Philadelphia, Pacesetters Publishing House); White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro 1550-1812, Winthrop D. Jordan (Baltimore, Penguin Books); The Revolt of the Black Athlete, with the Tommie Smith and John Carlos picture on the cover, by Harry Edwards (The Free Press, New York); Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a leader of the French May uprising, Obsolete Communism: The Left-Wing Alternative, English translation ( Andre Deutsch, London); Vine Deloria, Custer Died for Your Sins (Macmillan, New York); The New Left Reader, edited by Carl Oglesby (New York, Grove Press); Stuart R. Schram, The Political Thought of Mao ZeDong (Praeger, New York, Washington and London); Vietnam: A Thousand Years of Struggle, by Terry Cannon, (pamphlet from Peoples Press, San Francisco); Zapata and the Mexican Revolution, by John Womack, Jr. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf); Horowitz, Irving Louis, Josué de Castro and John Gerassi (Editors), Latin American Radicalism: A Documentary Report on Left and Nationalist Movements (Alfred A. Knopf, New York); The Making of a Counter Culture by Theodore Roszak (New York, Anchor Books); Abbie Hoffman, Woodstock Nation, (New York, Vintage); Firearms and Self-Defense: A Handbook for Radicals, Revolutionaries and Easy Riders, by the “International Liberation School” (Berkeley); American Power and the New Mandarins, by Noam Chomsky (New York, Pantheon Books); Empire and Revolution by David Horowitz; Carl Oglesby, “Notes on a Decade Ready for the Dustbin,” in Liberation, August-September 1969; Gabriel Kolko, The Politics of War, The World, and United States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945 (New York, Random House); Gabriel Kolko, The Roots of American Foreign Policy (Beacon Press, Boston); Paul Mattick, Marx and Keynes: The Limits of the Mixed Economy (Boston, Porter Sargent); Ralph Miliband, The State in Capitalist Society (New York, Basic Books); Maxim Rodinson, Israel and the Arabs (Pantheon books, New York); The New Left: A Documentary History, edited by Massimo Teodori (Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill); The New Left: A Collection of Essays, Priscilla Long, Editor (Porter Sargent, Boston); Christopher Lasch, The Agony of the American Left (New York, Random House); Reveille for Radicals, by Saul Alinsky (New York, Random House);

Also: Kevin Phillips, The Emerging Republican Majority (Arlington House, New Rochelle) - a key manifesto in how to use racism and “status resentment” to realign white northern ethnics and white southerners behind a “neo-populist” GOP.

Release of Constantin Costa Gavras film Z, and Easy Rider directed by Dennis Hopper. Also In the Year of the Pig by Emile de Antonio, called by Guardian critic Irwin Silber “the best English language film on Vietnam to date.” (Guardian, May 10, 1969)

 

1970-

            January 1: In the early morning hours “The New Year’s Gang” steals an airplane and drop three small bombs which fail to explode on an army munitions plant in Baraboo near Madison, Wisconsin. (Rads; Gitlin)

            January 31-February 1: 250 activists attend a Bay Area conference on “The working class and the political insurgency in America” sponsored by the Bay Area Radical Education Project and the Pacific Studies Center. (Guardian, February 21, 1970)

January-March: “First Quarter Storm” in the Philippines; large-scale mass protests against the U.S.-backed Marcos regime. The CPP and its youth organizations are rapidly growing in influence within the protest movement. (Toribio)

            January-February: First issue of Socialist Revolution magazine, which one of the editors, James Weinstein, sees as a continuation of the direction he had argued for in the new-defunct Studies on the Left (the need to build a new mass socialist party) and which he would continue in 1976 with the launching, under his leadership, of In These Times newspaper. (Unfinished; Also see Epstein p. 289 for brief assessment of the magazine’s initial articles and basic project; Aronowitz; Guardian, March 7, 1970)

            February 9: Robin Morgan’s “Goodbye to All That” is printed in an all-women’s issue of New York’s underground Rat. (Gitlin; Weather)

Early February: Young Workers Liberation League, CP-initiated youth group is formed; of 400 registered for the founding conference, over 40% were people of color, over half were blue collar workers and only a quarter were college or high school students. (Fighting; O’Brien)

            February 14-15: 3.400 activists - called the largest gathering of student activists in the history of the antiwar movement - meet at the Student Mobilization Committee (SMC) conference at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, issue a call for nationwide campus strikes and rallies April 15. (Guardian, February 26, 1970)

            February 19: Five of the seven Conspiracy defendants are convicted on one count of incitement (but acquitted on the conspiracy count), John Froines and Lee Weiner are acquitted on all counts. Even before the verdict, over the weekend of February 14-15 while the jury was deliberating, the defendants are sentenced to jail on contempt charges, though they are granted bail on these later. The five who were convicted are sentenced to long periods in jail on the main charges by Judge Julius Hoffman on February 20.  “TDA” - The Day After - actions take place in many cities across the country on February 20-21.. The convictions were overturned November 21, 1972 (Sale; Spoke; Reunion, which erroneously says the convictions are overturned November 1, 1972; Guardian, February 28, 1970 & November 29, 1972)

            February 24-27: Fierce clashes pit students and young people vs. police in Isla Vista near UC Santa Cruz after the arrest of a Black former student; protesters burn the Bank of America on February 25 and one student - who was trying to defend the bank - was killed by police bullets. The National Guard is called in to quell the rebellion. Conspiracy lawyer William Kunstler spoke to a crowd of 3,000 on the campus February 25 and refused to condemn the student violence, and he was accused by Governor Reagan of a conspiracy to cause riots. (Gitlin - who erroneously says the confrontation is February 4; Guardian, March 7, 1970; Katsiaficas)

            February 27: First issue of off our backs “a women’s news journal” is published in Washington, D.C. It is the “first national feminist newspaper to emerge on the East Coast during the Vietnam era.” (Douglas and Moira, and Webb, in Underground; Gitlin)

            March 6: Townhouse explosion in New York kills Weathermen members Diana Oughton, Ted Gold and Terry Robbins; Cathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin escape. (Sale)

            March 8: International Women’s Day actions in scores of cities organized by the women’s liberation movement and some groups from the mixed revolutionary left; according to the Guardian “For the first time in recent history, the annual March 8 celebration of International Women’s Day received its due in the U.S. (Guardian, March 14, 1970)

            March 9: SNCC members Ralph Featherstone and William H. (Che) Payne are killed by a bomb in their car the day before the trial of Rap Brown on federal charges is due to start in Bel Air, Maryland. Brown does not appear for his trial, and is in exile in Canada and in hiding until October 16, 1971 when he was wounded in the shoot-out with New York police after allegedly robbing a Manhattan cocktail lounge. Brown is convicted or armed robbery and sentenced to five to ten years in prison in March 1973. (Carson; Gitlin; Guardian, October 27, 1971 & March 21, 1970)

            March 18: Women’s liberation activists, mainly radical feminists, sit in at the offices of the Ladies Home Journal; after negotiations the agreement reached (on only one of 14 original demands) to publish a special women’s liberation supplement is regarded as a sell-out by many activists. (Echols)

            March 18: Right-wing coup by Lon Nol, backed by the U.S., topples Sihanouk regime in Cambodia, the country is then immersed in full-scale war. The Soviets recognize the Lon Nol regime, which costs them a great deal politically especially vis-à-vis China among aspiring revolutionaries and in particular in the U.S. New Communist Movement. (SF Chron June 14, 1997 in BMOV-5; Revolution Rescued; Second Cold War; Szymanski; Schurmann)

            March 28: Anna Louise Strong dies in China at 84. (Guardian, April 4, 1970)

            April 7: California governor Ronald Reagan speaking to the Council of California Growers says “If the students want a bloodbath, let’s get it over with.” (Reunion)

            April 12: Failed physical takeover attempt at the Guardian by supporters of “Weatherpolitics” (loosely speaking) after the paper becomes more explicitly critical of small group violence. Staff majority maintains control of the paper, continues uninterrupted publication, and reaffirms its commitment to Marxism-Leninism and its intention to contribute to building a mass, working class-based revolutionary movement. Dissidents go on to publish the Liberated Guardian for roughly a year, after which it becomes the New York City Star. (Guardian April 18, 1970, in BTr-3, & Guardian April 25, 1970; Smith in Underground; Bennion; Outlaws of Amerika pamphlet in BREV-3)

            April 13: Famed composer Mikis Theodorakis is released to the custody of French Radical Party leader Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, he had been arrested a few months after the Greek Colonel’s coup in April 1967. (Guardian, May 9, 1970)

            April 22: Rallies for the country’s first Earth Day. (Spoke; Gitlin; Sale; Weather; Freed)

April: Polls taken before the invasion of Cambodia show the number of students terming themselves “radical or far left” has grown to 11%, from 8% in spring 1969 and 4% in spring 1968. On the statement “the war in Vietnam is pure imperialism” 41% of students agree - up from only 16% in spring 1969 - and only 21% strongly disagree - down from 44% the year before. And note a June 5 poll of African Americans about the war conducted by Muhammad Speaks, showing 90% opposed to the invasion of Cambodia, 10% favoring immediate withdrawal and 73% favoring withdrawal as soon as possible; 81% consider the Vietnam war racist. (Gitlin; Guardian, June 13, 1970)

            April 22-30: Week of protests to Free Bobby Seale, Ericka Huggins and other Panthers in New Haven kicked off by a student strike at Yale April 22, culminates in 20,000-strong demonstration Sunday May 3. Yale President Kingman Brewster says in a widely quoted statement that he doubts that a Black revolutionary “could get a fair trial anywhere in the U.S.” Lonnie McLucas pleads to charges in August 1970, other New Haven Panthers are freed, the charges against Seale and Huggins are eventually dismissed (May 25, 1971) after a trial results in a hung jury in May 1971. (Reunion; Boyd; Mitchell in Triple Jeopardy March-April 1973; Weather; Freed; Guardian June 2, 1971)

            April 24-25: Leaders of North Vietnam, the NLF, the Pathet Lao and the National United Front of Kampuchea meet in southern China and announce the formation of a united Indochinese front to resist U.S. imperialism. Zhou Enlai goes to the meeting on April 25 to express China’s support and announces that on April 24 China had launched its first earth-orbiting satellite, giving China the equivalent of an ICBM delivery system. Immediately following the Chinese achievement, the Soviets launched a satellite that let loose eight other satellites, worrying Washington that the Soviets had mastered MIRV (Multiple Independently Targeted Re-entry Vehicle) technology. And at the same time it is reported widely in the press that Soviets are flying Egyptian planes in the Middle East, threatening to upset the heavily pro-Israel and pro-U.S. balance of power in the region. (Schurmann)]

            April: Takeover of Lincoln Hospital in New York by activists led by the Health Revolutionary Union Movement (HRUM) and the Young Lords; the long fight over conditions at Lincoln wins the establishment of the Lincoln detox program to treat heroin addicts and, in 1976, a newly rebuild hospital. (Torres; in another essay in the book the date of the takeover is given as July)

            April 30-May: Nixon announces Cambodia Invasion on April 30; immediate protests, especially on campuses; a call for national student strike comes from a mass meeting of students at the Panther protest in New Haven at Yale, from student newspaper editors and from the National Student Association, and also from the (now defunct, having announced that it would disband on April 19) Moratorium. The next weeks saw the largest and most violent campus/student protests in U.S. history. Four killed at Kent State on May 4, 2 killed at Jackson State on May 14. (Six African Americans are also killed May 11 in Augusta, Georgia when police fire on a protest-riot against the beating death of a Black man in prison.) On May 10 a National Strike Information Center at Brandeis announced that 448 campuses were either striking or shut down. Reagan had closed the entire California university system for a week. During the first week in May 30 ROTC buildings were burned or bombed and National Guard units were mobilized on 21 campuses in 16 states. A hastily called national lobbying and demonstration action brings tens of thousands to Washington for a May 9-11; the march of 130,000 is held May 9. Katsiaficas estimates that some four million students and 350,000 faculty take part in the campus May strike, which he terms a “general strike” against the war. The day before the May 9 march in Washington, Nixon fires Lewis Hershey as head of the Selective Service system and agrees to withdraw U.S. troops from Cambodia within 30 days. The invasion, meanwhile, was a military farce, failing to accomplish any of its stated goals, such destroying the NLF’s headquarters or “sanctuaries” in Cambodia. In the U.S. there is a massive explosion of “work-through-the-system” peace organizations tapping student energy to work to elect peace candidates in the fall 1970 elections. There is also a visible split in labor on the war, with opposition now going beyond a handful of leftish unions and (mainly local) individual leaders. On May 7 AFSCME endorsed a statement calling for immediate withdrawal; the same day Walter Reuther (killed in a plane crash two days later) sends an antiwar telegram to Nixon endorsed by the UAW leadership; on May 24 the president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers denounced the war at the union’s national convention. 451 labor leaders also sign an antiwar ad in the SF Examiner on May 18. On the other hand, construction workers in New York (later revealed to have been paid) assault antiwar demonstrators on May 8 and there are confrontations and pro-war demonstrations sponsored by the NY Building and Construction Trades Council (whose head later became Secretary of Labor under Nixon) over the next two weeks. One hundred art galleries and several museums closed to protest the war, and 43 Nobel Prize winners (75% of all U.S. winners) sent a joint letter to Nixon urging an immediate end to the war. In the military, according to the Wall Street Journal, at least 500 GI’s deserted every day of May. The “establishment” is split as 250 State Department employees sign a statement against administration policy and Henry Kissinger is quoted as saying later “The very fabric of government was falling apart.” In the wake of the Cambodia crisis, the Senate repeals the 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution and passes the Cooper-Church Amendment on June 30 barring aid to Lon Nol without congressional approval (but it dies in House-Senate conference). (Spoke; Sale; Reunion; Gitlin; Guardian, April 25, May 2, May 9, May 23 & May 30, 1970; Katsiaficas)

            June 27-28: 850 union members and sympathizers form the National Coordinating Committee for Trade Union Action and Democracy at a Chicago “National Rank-and-File Action Conference” initiated by Labor Today, a CP-linked publication. (Guardian, July 4, 1970)

            June: The New Mobe suffers a final split, largely over “single-issue/single-tactic” vs. “multi-issue/multi-tactic,” with the SWP-led forces forming the Peace Action Coalition (later National Peace Action Coalition, NPAC) June 19-21 in Cleveland and a looser grouping including radical pacifists, independents, NWRO and CP-oriented people meeting at a “Strategy Action Conference” June 26-27 in Milwaukee, soon forming the National Coalition Against War, Racism and Repression, renamed the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ) in late February 1971. The Mobe technically exists for a time but is never revived as such. (Spoke; Guardian, December 19, 1970)

            June 30: Penn Central, largest railroad in the country, goes bankrupt. (Guardian, July 11, 1970)

            July 26: Carl Hampton, 21-year-old chair of Houston’s People’s Party II is killed by police firing from ambush; seven others are wounded, including white activist Bartee Haile a leader of the John Brown Revolutionary League. (Southern Patriot, September 1970)

July 29: César Chávez of the UFW signs contracts with 26 grape growers, concluding the long and bitter strike and boycott that began in September 1965. (Goines chron)

July 31: Uruguay’s Tupamaros “the most sophisticated guerrilla movement in Latin America” kidnap CIA agent Dan Mitrione; before he is executed he reveals a wealth of detail about the extent of U.S. interference in Uruguay’s government and affairs. The Tupamaros - technically, the Movement for National Liberation/MLN - had been founded in 1962 and engaged in extensive mass political organizing as well as armed activities. The period from 1967 until they are devastated by military repression at the end of 1972 is one of intense struggle in the country. (MR Feb. 1972; Frontline March 18, 1985; NACLA Nov-Dec 1984 & Sept-Dec 1986; Moss; Guardian, August 15 & August 22, 1970)

Summer: Formation of El Comité in New York City, originated as a group of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos on the upper West side fighting urban renewal and taking part in a squatters movement. El Comité will later becomes M.I.N.P.-El Comité (MINP; Torres)

Summer: Four persons are killed and hundreds wounded by police fire during street battles in ten cities over two weeks in the end of July and beginning of August. (Guardian, August 8, 1970)

August 5: Huey Newton released on bail, 10,000 people greet him as he stands on a car with his shirt off. He offers to send the entire BPP to fight alongside the Vietnamese, who graciously decline. (Brown; CrossRoads No. 53)

August 7: At the Marin County Courthouse, Jonathan Jackson takes hostages in an attempt to win freedom for the Soledad Brothers (his brother George. Jackson,  Fleeta Drumgo and John Cluchette). Jackson, prisoner James McClain and a judge are killed when State Troopers open fire. Angela Davis is charged with supplying the guns, she cannot be found and nationwide police search for her gets underway. (Fighting; Weather; Guardian, August 22, 1970)

August 24: The Army Mathematics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison - target of a long campaign by antiwar activists - is destroyed by a large bomb placed by The New Years Gang (three of whose members are later caught and serve time, one is never found); a graduate student is accidentally killed. (Rads; Gitlin)

August 26: Women’s Strike for Equality, on the 50th anniversary of woman suffrage, turns out the largest demonstration for female equality to that point in U.S. history, with 35-50,000 women marching in New York City alone. (Echols; Guardian, September 5, 1970)

August 29: Chicano Moratorium against the war in Vietnam, drawing over 20,000 to Laguna Park in East Los Angeles, the largest antiwar march ever held in this city. L.A. county sheriffs attack the demonstration and kill three people, including journalist Rubén Salazar who is sitting quietly in the Silver Dollar Bar. Protesters respond by fighting back against the police and burning businesses on Whittier Blvd. (Muñoz; Chicano; CrossRoads No. 55; Guardian September 5, 1970)

August: Atlanta becomes the first U.S. city to license a fight by Muhammad Ali since 1967. (Marqusee)

September 3: Eldridge Cleaver, who had gone underground and fled the U.S., surfaces in Algeria opening the “International Office” of the Black Panther Party. (Boyd; Brown)

September 4: Electoral victory of the Popular Unity (UP) coalition of the Socialist and Communist Parties in Chile in a three-way contest with the Christian Democrats and the far right, UP candidate Salvador Allende wins a plurality of votes and, after considerable tensions, is selected President by the Congress. The MIR is not part of the UP coalition but takes independent initiative on the left sometimes in informal alliance with UP forces and sometimes not. (MIR History; Guardian, September 19, 1970)

September 6-9: Founding Congress of the Congress of Afrikan Peoples (Congress of African People) in Atlanta draws 3,500 people. The same weekend in Washington, D.C. the Black Panther Party-initiated Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention is held, drawing 6,000 people. (Forward No. 3; Guardian, September 19, 1970)

September 8: Opening of Third Non-Aligned Summit in Lusaka, Zambia, with 53 nations participating (up from 25 in Belgrade in 1961 and 42 in Cairo in 1964); the Movement expresses solidarity with liberation movements. (Black Scholar December 1976; Century)

September 15: Jordanian army attacks PLO militants, there is heavy fighting as well as a number of massacres by the Jordanian army in what comes to be called “Black September.” The attack is a corollary to Jordan accepting a U.S. plan (the “Rogers Plan”) for “peace” in the region. King Hussein continued his military pressures after a cease-fire period and by July 1971 he drives the PLO out of the country. The period before the fighting was one of rising Palestinian activity, both within Israel and in a number of airline hijacking by the PFLP through 1968-1970. (Roots; MR May 1975; Century)

September 28: Nasser dies, the more moderate, Western-oriented vice-president Anwar Sadat becomes president of Egypt, consolidating his power in May 1971. (MR May 1975; Century; Storm)

September: Weather Underground plans and carries out the escape of Timothy Leary from a minimum-security prison in San Luis Obispo, California, where he was serving time on drug charges, and helps him flee to Algeria. (Sale; Gitlin; Weather)

October 1: Rebellions break out in four New York City jails involving thousands of Black, Puerto Rican and a few white prisoners, the rebellions take on an explicitly political character and one demand raised is freedom on bail for Afeni Shakur. (Guardian, October 10, 1970)

October 13: Angela Davis is arrested in New York City. (Guardian, October 24, 1970)

October 16: Faced with rising socialist and pro-independence activism in Quebec the Canadian government uses the pretext of a kidnapping by the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) to apply its War Measures Act, partially suspend democratic liberties, send in the army to occupy the province and repress the FLQ and other radical groups. Trials for sedition follow in 1971 and a broad movement against the trials takes shape throughout Canada. The FLQ is dissolved at the end of 1971 and key leader Pierre Vallieres calls for people to support the non-socialist but pro-independence Parti Quebecois (PQ), which had been founded in 1968, and wins a majority in the Quebec provincial parliament in 1976 and from then on the relationship between Quebec and English-speaking Canada is a front-burner controversy in the country. On the far left, many revolutionary organizations form in Canada during 1970-1972, including Maoist groups with various relations to U.S. New Communist Movement. The largest, In Struggle, begins to form in 1972, holds what becomes known as its founding congress in November 1974, and dissolved at its Fourth Congress in May 1982. (Jxxx; IS-Bulletin No. 3; Guardian, October 24, 1970 &  January 12, 1972)

October 30: March to the U.N. to demand Puerto Rican independence on the 20th anniversary of the Nationalist uprising on the island. Spearheaded by the Young Lords, the demonstrations brings together the full breadth of the Puerto Rican movement with 10,000 marching. (Torres)

Fall: Harris Poll reports first drop since 1965 in the percentage of students calling themselves “radical or far left”: from spring’s 11% to 7%. But, a Yankelovitch poll just after the spring Cambodia protests found that, in the universities alone, more than a million people considered themselves revolutionaries; and also a New York Times story in early 1971 said that four out of ten students (nearly three million people) think that a revolution is needed in the U.S. (Gitlin; Katsiaficas)

December 6: Self-critical “New Morning” communiqué from the Weather Underground saying it had been mistaken to view armed struggle as the only legitimate form of revolutionary action, but not altering basic contours of the group’s strategic line. (Weather; self-published material in BREV-3; Guardian, December 26, 1970)

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BARU expands nationally to become RU; it also becomes a multinational (inter-racial) organization after Panthers make a big ultra-left turn under Cleaver’s influence and RU no longer advises Black contacts to join Panthers but rather to join RU; Red Papers 2 and 3 published (dates from internal evidence; Hamilton implies 1969 publication). RU’s line at this time is that party building is not yet the central task; the central task is “building the struggle, consciousness and revolutionary unity of the working class and developing its leadership in the anti-imperialist struggle.” The Venceremos group, whose most prominent figure is Bruce Franklin, splits from RU at the end of  the year; Venceremos dissolves in late summer 1973. (Hamilton; May 1974 issue of Revolution reprinted in Red Papers 6; review of Red Papers 1-5 in PBRANDOM R53; Burning; Franklin)

IS moves its national headquarters to Detroit, renames its newspaper Workers Power and pushes its members to “industrialize.” (O’Brien)

Release of the film Finally Got the News about the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. (Georgakas)

Formation (possibly in 1969) of the Motor City Labor League (at first, Motor City Labor Coalition), prodded by leaders of the LRBW. (Georgakas)

Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU), which later becomes Youth Organization for Black Unity (YOBU), publisher of The African World newspaper and a key organization of the early ‘70s Black Liberation Movement in the South, is formed. Nelson Johnson, later a leader of the WVO/CWP, served as YOBU chair. (Ahmad in Black Scholar May-June 1978)

Paredon Records is founded by Irwin Silber and Barbara Dane; first releases are FTA! Songs of the G.I. Resistance, sung by Barbara Dane with active duty G.I.s; Cancion Protesta: Protest Songs of Latin America; Huey Newton Speaks; and Angola: A Vitoria e Certa. (Southern Patriot January 1971)

Most of the SP’s “Debs Caucus” - which supported traditional SP positions against working with the Democrats, and included members more inclined to oppose the war in Vietnam - leave the SP or become inactive after the 1970 convention, and with them gone a split soon develops between a Harrington-led group (taking the name Coalition Caucus) and the Schachtman-led Realignment Caucus; the Coalitionists are anti-Vietnam War (to an extent anyway) and want to work with the emerging McGovern wing of the Democrats rather than the Realignment-, AFL-CIO-leadership-backed Henry Jackson wing. (SDHx)

Rebirth of worker militancy: after a high pitch in 1969, when there were more work stoppages than any year since 1945 (Guardian, July 18, 1970), 1970 was even hotter: more workers went on strike in 1970 than in any year since 1952, with the highlights being a long General Electric (GE) strike stretching over the winter of 1969-70 (it began in October 27, 1969 and ended January 30, 1970, and there were support actions on many campuses); a Post Office walkout in late March which included the calling out of U.S. troops allegedly to sort the mail in New York City - more a publicity stunt and attempt at intimidation than a reality (again, there were solidarity actions on campuses), Teamster wildcats (including a seven week wildcat in L.A. ending June 2 supported by students, see Guardian June 6 & June 13, 1970) forcing renegotiation of the master freight agreement, a miners wildcat involving 60,000 workers in June (Guardian, July 4, 1970), a one-day railroad strike in December (Guardian, December 26, 1970), and a two-month strike against General Motors (the longest auto strike since 1946) beginning September 14 (Guardian, September 26, 1970). There are 381 work stoppages involving more than 1,000 workers, for a total number of workers involved of 2,468,000. This number has not been equaled since 1970 (a year which also saw a mild recession). In fact, no year since has come even close, 1970 was the “crescendo” - Mike Davis’ word - in almost every respect; Stanley Aronowitz even wrote in the Guardian April 11 that “the smell of a general strike is in the air.” The percentage of the workforce organized in unions is also in steady decline: In 1953, 32% of the eligible workforce were union members; in 1958, 24.2%; in 1974, 21.7%; in 1984, 18.8% and by 1992 the number is down to 16.1%, and even this figure is reached only because of the gains in public sector unionization. (O’Brien; Almanac; Davis in NLR #143; Weather; CrossRoads No. 24; Taft-Hartley; Guardian, November 8, 1969 & February 7, 1970 & April 4, 1970)

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is established. (Green)

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) begins in Arkansas as an experimental project of the National Welfare Rights Organization. Expands to three states by 1975 and 20 by December 1979. The “citizen’s movement” (including neighborhood, senior, consumer and farmers groups - including organizations of Black farmers, aided by the Sharecroppers Fund, the Southern Cooperative Development Fund, and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives - among others) becomes a prominent feature in the 1970s, with 20 million people belonging to some form of neighborhood group and several million taking part in some kind of picket or protest on behalf of their neighborhood. There are local groups (see entry on San Antonio’s COPS in 1974 below), Statewide groups, such as Massachusetts Fair Share formed in 1975 or California’s Citizens Action League founded in 1974, and nationwide networks: ACORN in the ‘80s is one of the four major national community organizing networks, the other three being the Industrial Areas Foundation (the oldest, founded by Saul Alinsky in 1940), National People’s Action (formed in March, 1972), and Citizen’s Action. A number of organizer-training institutes are linked with these networks, including the National Training and Information Center (linked to National People’s Action), the Mid American Institute and the Midwest Academy. (Delgado in Unfinished; Boyte; CrossRoads No. 55; Radicals)

The Gray Panthers - formally “The Consultation of Older and Younger Adults for Social Change” - are founded in Philadelphia by activist Maggie Kuhn a few months after being forced to retire at age 65 from her job with the United Presbyterian Church. During the 1970s the “mainstream” senior groups - the National Council of Senior Citizens and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) - grew rapidly and more aggressively press their interests through lobbying and other political action. (SF Chronicle September 26, 1997 and Bay Guardian September 24, 1997 in BMOV-3; Boyte)

U.S. begins construction of a major communications facility on British-owned Diego Garcia island near the center of the Indian Ocean; the project is part of preparations to secure U.S. military capacity to intervene in this part of the world. (Klare)

CPC publishes the pamphlet “Leninism or Social Imperialism?” in which Mao ZeDong is quoted as saying the “Soviet Union today is under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, a dictatorship of the big bourgeoisie, a dictatorship of the German fascist type, a dictatorship of the Hitler type.” Formulations about the CPSU being a fascist party and the Soviet system being “fascism of the Hitler type” appear in CPC statements and articles through the 1970s. (Disney)

Formation of the Organization of Iranian People’s Fedaii Guerrillas and also the Organization of the People’s Mojahedin (Islamic-Marxist). (NLR #166)

Progressive elements split off from ELF and form Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, after some years of fighting between ELF and EPLF they declare a cease-fire in 1974 (MR June 1978)

            Another decade of major demographic and social changes: world population is now 3.6 billion (up 18% since 1960; U.S. is 203.3 million (up 12%) and California is 19.9 million (up 22%). (Goines chron)

            Publication of Philippine Society and Revolution by Amado Guerrero (in mimeograph form; book form reaching the U.S. follows in 1971).

Also published: a number of important books in the rise of the women’s liberation movement (the first three listed here for the radical feminist current in particular): Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement, edited by Robin Morgan (Vintage Books Edition, September 1970, Random House, New York); Sexual Politics, by Kate Millet (Doubleday edition published 1970, Avon Books/New York edition in 1971); and Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex (New York, William Morrow and Co. - Bantam Books paperback in 1971); and The Black Woman, by Toni Cade (New York, Signet);

Also: Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson, by George Jackson (New York, Coward-McCann); The Black Panthers Speak, Philip Foner, Ed. (Philadelphia, Lippencott); Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton (Random House, New York); David Dellinger, Revolutionary Nonviolence (Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis); Harold Jacobs ed., Weatherman (Berkeley, Ramparts Press); Jerry Rubin, Do It! (New York, Ballantine Books, and/or Simon and Schuster); Racism and the Class Struggle by James Boggs (Monthly Review Press, New York); Conversations with Eldridge Cleaver-Algeria, by Lee Lockwood (McGraw-Hill, New York); Monthly Review Press re-issue of China Shakes the World by Jack Belden, originally published in 1949; The Myth of Black Capitalism, by Earl Ofari (Monthly Review Press, New York); Labor Radical: From the Wobblies to the CIO, by Len De Caux (Beacon Press, Boston); The Military Art of People’s War: Selected Writings of General Vo Nguyen Giap, edited by Russell Stetler (Monthly Review Press, New York); Vietnam: The Endless War, essays by Sweezy, Huberman and Magdoff from MR (Monthly Review Press); The Second Indochina War, by Wilfred Burchett (International Publishers, New York); Edgar Snow, Red China Today: The Other Side of the River (Harmondsworth); Kim Il Sung: A Political Biography, published by the Guardian, New York, by special agreement with the DPRK; Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An American Indian History of the American West, by Dee Brown (Holt, Rinehart and Winston);  The Price of My Soul, by Bernadette Devlin (Alfred A. Knopf, New York);  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn (University of Chicago Press, Chicago); Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York, Herder and Herder); Class Struggle in Africa, by Kwame Nkrumah (International Publishers, New York); Charles Reich, The Greening of America (New York, Random House) - in the vein of Theodore Roscak’s Making of a Counterculture from the previous year; Todd Gitlin and Nanci Hollander, Uptown: Poor Whites in Chicago (New York, Harper and Row); Standing Fast, novel by Harvey Swados (Doubleday, New York); Editors of Fortune Magazine, Challenges for Business in the 1970s (Boston, Little Brown); How People Get Power: Organizing Oppressed Communities for Action, by Si Kahn (New York, McGraw-Hill); and Labor’s Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, originally published in 1955, is republished.

Also: American translation of The Society of the Spectacle, published in French in 1967 by “situationist” Guy Debord, appears in Radical America July 1970, and has a significant impact on the (fading but still alive) New Left and the Underground Press. (Buhle in NLR #180/March-April 1990)

            Also: The major works of Louis Althusser, written in the ‘60s (For Marx, Reading Capital, written with Etienne Balibar), begin to appear in English. (see MR January 1979); his polemic against social democratic/humanist/rightist versions of Marxism and also against Stalinism finds an audience.

Release of Constantin Costa Gavras film The Confession and also Burn! starring Marlon Brando and directed by Gillo Pontecorvo.

 

End of Part Two

Part One, 1967-1970

Part Three, 1971-1974

Part Four, 1975-1980

Part Five, 1981-1992

Part Six, Source Reference Guide

  

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