American Civilization

April 26, 2009

The Long 60s

Filed under: 60s — equiano @ 1:23 pm


“the long 60s”



“revolution in the revolution”

cultural revolution


re-spatio-temporalization (spatio-temporal practices)

prefigurative politics

alienation vs. oppression



“smash monogamy”

“Days of Rage” (Oct. 8-11, 1969)

“Bring the War Home”




“Revolutions are festivals of the oppressed and the exploited. At no other time are the mass of the people in a position to come forward so actively as creators of a new social order, as at a time of revolution. At such times the people are capable of performing miracles, if judged by the limited, philistine yardsticks of gradualist progress” 

— Lenin (1905)

“If you allow a lot of young people to do nothing for a few years but read books and talk to each other then it is possible that given certain wider historical circumstances, they will not only begin to question some of the values transmitted to them but begin to interrogate the authority by which they are transmitted.”

— Terry Eagleton 

“ I suppose, if Malcolm X were alive today, they would kill him.”

–Kevin Alexander Gray (2004)

“Doing nothing in a period of repressive violence is itself a form of violence.”

–Naomi Jaffee

“Nothing’s more important than stopping fascism because fascism will stop us all.”

–Fred Hampton

“The first stage of the black freedom movement in the 60s– the civil rights struggle– began as a black response to white violent attacks and took the form of a critique of everyday life in the American South. The critique primariliy consisted of attacking everyday cultural folkways that insulted black dignity.  It was generated, in part, from the mulitfarious effects of economic transformation of dispossessed southern rural peasants into downtrodden industrial workers, maids, and unemployed city dwellers within the racist American South. In this regard, the civil rights movment prefigured the fundamental concerns of the American New Left: linking private troubles, accenting the relation of cultural hegemony to political control and economic exploitation.”

–Cornel West

“The duty of every revolutionary is to make revolution. We know that in America and throughout the world the revolution will be victorious. But revolutionaries cannot sit in the doorways of their homes to watch the corpse of imperialism pass by. The role of Job does not behoove a revolutionary. Each year by which America’s liberation may be hastened will mean millions of children rescued from death, millions of minds, freed for learning, infinitudes of sorrow spared the peoples.”

–Castro (1962)

“I experienced my oppression as the inability to grasp anything real beyond my own subjectivity. I was in revolt against the experience of unreality.”

— Osha Neumann (NYC Motherfuckers)

“No Frozen Moments For Tomorrow’s Fantasy Revolution!”

— Slogan of the Free City Diggers (1968)

The nihilist

He wore his pants


hip. He dug Hemingway

too. But his father

said glumly

“Son, your taste


is un-Russian…”

Thus he saddened

his family



boosters of output—

all the time


arguing with them

about weird


—Yevgeni Yevtushenko (1960)

“ The student is a stoic slave: the more chains authority heaps upon him, the freer he is in phantasy. He shares with his new family, the University, a belief in a curious kind of autonomy. Real independence, apparently, lies in a direct subservience to the two most powerful systems of social control: the family and the State. He is their well-behaved and grateful child, and like the submissive child he is overeager to please. He celebrates all the values and mystifications of the system, devouring them with all the anxiety of the infant at the breast.”

–Situationist International

“A little less conversation, a little more action.”

— Elvis Presley

“The acid experience is so concrete. It draws a line right across your life– before and after LSD– in the same way you felt that your step into radical politics drew a sharp division. People talked about that, the change you go through, how fast the change could happen on an individual level and how liberating and glorious it was. Change was seen as survival, as the strategy of health. Nothing could stand for that overall sense of going through profound change so well as the immediate, powerful and explicit transformation that you went through when you dropped acid. In the same way, bursting through the barricades redefined you as a new person. It’s not necessarily that the actual content of the LSD experience contributed to politically radical or revolutionary consciousness– it was just that the experience shared the structural characteristics of political rebellion, and resonated those changes so that the two became interdependent prongs of an over-arching transcending rebellion that took in the person and the State at the same time.”

— Carl Oglesby, “On Revolution”

“Finally you just split if you couldn’t cope.”

— former Love Child/ Acid Freak (now a roofer and parent living in california)

“What is a revolutionary? Someone who says no, but whose refusal does not imply a renunciation.”

–Albert Camus

“If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”

–Ronald Reagan, 4/7/70

“They felt it’s just, ‘they’re assholes and we’re the heroes.'”

Anthony Bonza, NYPD

“Fuck ‘em.”

— Abbie Hoffman

“Democracy is in the streets.”

— SDS slogan

“I come all over the pavement.”

— grafitti on Paris wall, May 1968

The Long 60s Timeline


Independence of Ghana

Little Rock 9

Civil Rights Act (gives Justice dept. greater authority in elections)

Battle of Algiers

EEC (Rome).

“The Cat in the Hat”, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)


SCLC founded (Atlanta, GA)

Jailhouse Rock”, Elvis Presley/ “Haitian Fight Song”, Charles Mingus

The White Negro”, Norman Mailer


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater founded.

Howl”, Allen Ginsberg.

Good Golly Miss Molly“, Little Richard/ “Johnny B. Goode”, Chuck Berry.

Charlie Starkweather/ Caril Ann Fugate.

Revolution in Iraq.

Lolita”, Vladimir Nabokov.

US Army fieldtests an experimental weapon: soldiers at Ft. Bragg, NC engage in wargames under the influence of LSD.


Raisin in the Sun (Lorraine Hansberry) appears on Broadway.

Motown Records (Detroit)/ Stax Records (Memphis).

Cuban Revolution.

The 400 Blows”, Francois Truffaut.

“Starship Troopers”, Robert Heinlein.

Urban Renewal in New Haven displaces thousands.

Production and distribution of the Barbie Doll begins.


What’d I Say”, Ray Charles/ “Kind of Blue”, Miles Davis.


Fool in Love”, Tina Turner/ “Gee Whiz”, Carla Thomas

First widely known sit-ins (Greensboro, SC)

Anti-HUAC demonstrations in SF.

SNCC founded.

African Decolonization : French Cameroon, Togo, the Malagasy Republic (Madagascar), the Independent Congo Republic, Somalia, Dahomey, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, Chad, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

Freedom Riders challenge segregation of interstate travel.


69 anti-apartheid demonstrators killed in the Sharpeville massacre (South Africa).


Lumumba murdered. (Congo)

Bay of Pigs

First man in space, Yuri Gagarin (USSR)


Berlin Wall.


Last Night”, The Mar-Keys/ “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, William Bell


Port Huron Statement (SDS)

Algerian independence.

Cuban Missile Crisis.

James Meridith becomes the first black student to attend Ole Miss.


First American to orbit the earth, John Glenn.

“The Fire Next Time”, James Baldwin.


Green Onions”, Booker T and the MG’s/ “These Arms of Mine”, Otis Redding/ “Be Your Own Judge”, Joe Tex


“Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Assassination of Medgar Evers (Mississippi)

March on Washington.

Black rebellion in Birmingham, Alabama after a church bombing kills four young girls.

Fall of Diem in Saigon.

Liberation Front of Quebec (FLQ).

Live at the Apollo”, James Brown/ “Wipe Out”, Surfaris/ “We Shall Overcome”, Joan Baez.

Assassination of JFK (Dallas, TX)

The Outsiders,” Howard Becker.

First woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova (USSR).

“Wretched of the Earth”, Frantz Fanon.


Malcolm X leaves the Nation of Islam.

Free Speech Movement (Berkeley, CA)

Freedom Summer (Mississippi). 3 anti-racism activists murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.


US-backed right-wing coup overthrows Brazilian president and establishes a dictatorship.

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party crashes the Democratic National Convention.

Gulf of Tonkin “incident” provides a pretext for the acceleration of the Vietnam War.

“This Little Light of Mine”, Fannie Lou Hamer/ “A Love Supreme”, John Coltrane/ “The Times They Are A-Changing”, Bob Dylan.

1964 Civil Rights Act, which Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) deems a “threat to the very essence of our basic system”.

MLK, Jr. receives Nobel Peace Prize

“One Dimensional Man”, Herbert Marcuse (Los Angeles, CA)

GI Joe doll introduced. In 1969, Joe– newly available in black and white colors– demilitarized and became an “adventurer” who battled the elements rather than killing other dolls. Even so, the toy was discontinued in 1976, only to be re-introduced in the Reagan 80s (1982) with a new (“Real American Hero” series) look.



The 1st Marine Division lands in Da Nang (Vietnam).

Sustained bombing campaign (“Rolling Thunder”) of North Vietnam.


US invades Dominican Republic with 20,000 troops.

Man and Socialism in Cuba”, Ernesto Guevara.

First teach-ins at U of Michigan (Ann Arbor).

Augustus Stanley Owsley III completes his first batch of LSD.


Dancing in the Street”, Martha and the Vandellas/ “A Change is Gonna Come”, Sam Cooke/ “Satisfaction”, Rolling Stones

Watts explosion (Los Angeles)


Voting Rights Act

The Colonizer and the Colonized”, Albert Memmi.

LBJ’s Great Society Program

Malcolm X assassinated.


After a series of long and arduous strikes, California farm workers (UFW) organize an international grape boycott that lasts five years (“La Causa”).


Sukarno is overthrown in Indonesia; hundreds of thousands of communists are murdered in the aftermath.

Cultural Revolution begins (China)


TV premiere of “Get Smart”, a series that satirized cold war espionage, pitting the evil KAOS against Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, of  CONTROL

“Bloody Sunday” in Selma.

Amiri Baraka and others form the Black Arts Repertory Theater/School.

Drop City commune founded “on six acres of scraggly goat pasture outside Trinidad, CO”.


Black Panther Party for Self Defense (Oakland)

James Meredith’s “March Against Fear” from Memphis to Jackson

The Little Red Book,” Mao Zedong.

Chicago Surrealist Group.

Stokely Carmichael’s Black Power speech

For Marx”, Louis Althusser

Formation of the Underground Press Syndicate.

Star Trek and The Monkees first air.

First celebration of Kwanzaa.

The Ballad of the Green Beret”, Barry Sadler/ “Crosscut Saw”, Albert King/ “River Deep, Mountain High”, Tina Turner.

Miranda v. Arizona.

The sustained bombing of Hanoi causes massive civillian casualties.

Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” is anybody “25 and under”.

Mastercard and Bankamericard intitiate the credit card revolution.



Respect”, Aretha Franklin

MLK, Jr. condemns the American War in Vietnam and calls the US “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world”.

Muhammed Ali stripped of title for refusing induction in the army.


The CIA launches Operation Chaos, spying on US activists.

Revolution in the Revolution”, Regis Debray.

Black uprisings throughout the United States.

Monterey Pop Festival.

Message to the Tricontinental”. Within the year Che Guevara murdered in Bolivia.

Left Coast: Summer of Love, First Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, The Diggers celebrate “The Death of Hippie”.

Seige/levitation of Pentagon.

Battle of Algiers”, Gillo Pontecorvo.


“The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual”, Harold Cruse.

Tiger Force”, a 45 member Army reconaissance platoon, roams the Central Highlands of Vietnam from May to November, killing hundreds of unarmed civillians.

 Edward Brooke (R-Mass) becomes the first African-American senator since Reconstruction, almost 100 years before.

Society of the Spectacle”, Guy Debord.


Tet Offensive

Shirley Chisolm elected to Congress.

Prague Spring


Student uprisings in Warsaw, Mexico City, Tokyo, Delhi, New York, Paris, Berlin, etc.

Police riot” at the Democratic National Convention.

RFK assassinated.

American Indian Movement (AIM).

MLK, Jr. assassinated. Black rebellions in cities throughout the US.

“Soul on Ice”, Eldridge Cleaver


May ‘68: France comes the closest to revolution of any western democracy in the 20th century. Workers and students unite.


Tommie Smith and John Carlos make Black Power salutes while receiving their medals at the Mexico City Olympics. (Their medals are revoked).


Lincoln High School “Blowouts” (Los Angeles).


Marijuana arrests in California rise 324%

My Lai massacre.

First ATM.

“Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing”, Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka.


League of Revolutionary Black Workers (Detroit)

SFSC student strike.

Liberation of Alcatraz Island.

Young Lords (NYC), Weatherman (Flint, Michigan), SF Red Guards, MEChA, Brown Berets (Los Angeles), Bread and Roses (Boston), Redstockings (NYC).

End of the Cultural Revolution

Murder of Fred Hampton and others.

First human on the moon (US)


Days of Rage in Chicago.


Minimanual of the Urban Guerilla”, Carlos Marighella (Brazil).

Trial of the Chicago 8 (later 7 when Bobby Seale’s trial is separated from the other defendants’)

After campaigning on a “law and order” platform, Nixon narrowly defeats Hubert Humphrey and takes office.

The Wild Bunch”, Sam Peckinpah.

Liberation of People’s Park followed by the occupation of Berkeley.  Gov. Reagan: “If they want a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”

Panther 21 indicted.

“Homecoming”, Sonia Sanchez.

US begins secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos.

The internet.

Okie from Muskogee”, Merle Haggard/ “This is Madness”, Last Poets.



Kent State/ Jackson State murders.


Jonathan Jackson killed.

“Soledad Brother”, George Jackson

What’s Goin On”, Marvin Gaye/ “Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow”, Funkadelic.

First Earth Day.

Baader-Meinhof Group (Red Army Fraction)

Salvador Allende becomes the first democratically elected marxist leader in the western hemisphere (Chile).

US invades Cambodia.

THX-1138”, George Lucas.


Attica Prison Rebellion


George Jackson killed.

US voting age lowered to 18.

US goes off the gold standard (effectively ending the Treaty of Bretton Woods).

“There’s a Riot Goin On”, Sly and the Family Stone/ “Shaft”, Isaac Hayes/ “What’s Goin On“, Marvin Gaye

Weatherman launches a string of attacks on government and corporate targets.

In D.C., 500,000 people demonstrate against the war in Vietnam.

School desegregation leads to racist violence.

Winter Soldier Investigation (Detroit).

Christiania founded when Danes take possession of a former miliary base in the center of  Copenhagen.



Equal Rights Amendment falls 3 votes short of ratification.

“Mumbo Jumbo”, Ishmael Reed.

England occupies Northern Ireland. ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre in Londonderry.

US continues a devastating bombing campaign in North Vietnam as it withdraws its ‘last combat troops’.

Watergate burlaries.

Military takeover in Uruguay.

Gloria Steinem founds Ms. magazine.

Superfly”, Curtis Mayfield/ “I’ll Take You There”, Staples Singers.


Seige of Wounded Knee (Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota)

Affirmative action.

Raw Power”, The Stooges/ “Love Train”, O’Jays.

Roe v. Wade.

Return to the Source“, Amilcar Cabral.

Overthrow, with extensive US support, of Chile’s Popular Unity Government.

War Powers Resolution passed over Nixon’s veto.

The Open Veins of Latin America”, Eduardo Galleano.

Ferdinand Marcos becomes “President for Life” of the Philippines.

“Energy Crisis” in western nations leads to “stagflation”.

Henry Kissinger/ Le Duc Tho awarded the Nobel peace prize. 



You Haven’t Done Nothing”, Stevie Wonder/  “Jungle Boogie,” by Kool and the Gang/ “Tangled Up in Blue,” by Bob Dylan

Carnation Revolution” in Portugal.

SLA kidnaps Patricia Hearst (Berkeley).

Nixon resigns.

Oreo”, Fran Ross.

Top-rated TV shows: All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man, The Jeffersons.

Angela Davis: An Autobiography”


Liberation of Saigon.

Independence of Angola and Mozambique.


Microsoft founded.

Mothership Connection”, Parliament/ “Low Rider”, War/ “Born to Run”, Bruce Springsteen.

“Prairie Fire: The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism”, Weather Underground Organization (WUO)

The Weather Underground

February 22, 2009


Filed under: 60s,American rhetoric,prolepsis — equiano @ 10:43 am

Here’s a look forward in history and the semester: Mario Savio’s famed “gears and levers” speech made during the days of the Free Speech Movement.

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