[lbo-talk] Sects and vanguards - SDS, Weatherman, etc.

Mike Ballard mbbtraven5 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 8 16:59:11 PST 2014

Shag asked:

BTW, in the history of SDS, does anyone know which faction pushed this idea? The book I'm reading now narrows in on the discussions over racism, imperialism, and sexism so sidesteps this particular focus which, IIRC,*did* emerge right after SNCC/the BPP asked SDS to butt out. Was it a generalized SDS response 1966-1968? Or was is associated with RYMII?

Althought perhaps a PL initiative?

******************************************** The Worker/Student Alliance was full of PL but not exclusively PL. Others in SDS supported it over the RYM factions direction, which was to condemn the working class (which was thought to be Imperialist) to the ash heap of history. At least, that was my experience at Michigan State University '67-'71.

********************** Shag also asked:

> Not bad. The author's argument is that SDS fell apart because they were
> riven by what came to be called white skin privilege or white chauvinism,
> which was central to and bound up with their "traditional American notions"
> of gender and nation which they were unable to overcome in spite of
> political struggle.
> Reading the book reminded me of how, when I was first introduced to marxist
> analysis - in the context of political struggle - not in a classroom, the
> common term was "political motion"
> Question: does anyone know who was most responsible for promulgating that
> term? A particular author?
************ I'm assuming you're referring to 'white skin privilege'. That term first came to my attention in 1969 via people associated with RYMI or as it became know, Weatherman. SDS was always focussed on the question of racism as many of its members had been heavily involved with the civil rights movement e.g. taking buses from the North and going South on them to break the segregation laws. However, by 1969 the racism argument began taking on a new turn (partially, I think inspired by people in the Black Power movement which emerged out of SNCC. As you'll remember, SNCC purged all the 'white people' from its ranks in the mid-60s under Stokley Carmichael's leadership. The black race/white race politically correct segregation reached absurd levels, especially by members of Weatherman who (as I recall having hung out with some of them) began seeing themselves as the 'white, revolutionary youth' shock troops of the on going Communist revolution being undertaken by non-white 'races' of Third World, a tide which would eventually wash over U.S. imperialism and their running dogs, the 'white' working class.

Mike B)

-- Wobbly times http://wobblytimes.blogspot.com.au/

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