Free Press House Party, media, weakness of left in U.S. (with after-commentary by Dad)

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Only two people showed up, out of a possible 8 (or maybe 80 if I hadn't set a guest limit), but Free Press' system was so bad that one person who had signed up had written at the time that they only wanted to be put in touch with others, because they couldn't make it. A woman bringing a guest (her husband) canceled because she had to go to a union meeting. And at the last minute another woman canceled.

Two I wasn't able to e-mail because of goddamn SPF policy on their end rejecting my e-mail. This is the stupidest attempt to stop spam ever. So for the people I wasn't able to contact directly myself, zero communication.

Alan Frankel is into Independent World Television and bringing back progressive talk radio to Boston.

He was the only one for a while because my directions were bad enough that Dorothy wasn't able to follow them from the turnpike, or whatever she tried.

It was pretty fun to dial up a 3 minute excerpt of Bill Moyers on Internet equal access in response to a question from Dorothy Burlage.

It was good talking to both of them. She was in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and on its revival the original founders, who are involved in the revival, contacted her. Since being a '60s radical she's gotten a Harvard degree and become a child psychologist.

She asked us why we thought the left was so weak in the United States.

Alan talked about the failure of an emergent property in this country, something that isn't any present in any individual that comes out in groups, that just hasn't happened in this country.

I said it was the weakness of organized labor (guaranteed by the Taft-Hartley Act which I think was accepted by some established union executives as a truce that preserved their current domain while effectively ending further organizing), which historically and everywhere tends to be the most important pillar of left-wing organizing.

Dorothy gave her two reasons:

  1. The failure to address economic issues, to have an answer for economic problems, following the civil rights and antiwar victories while the conservatives went on the offensive.
  2. Israel. SNCC [I think she said] took a public stance on supporting the Palestinian struggle. From then on, established Jewish organization support, which had been reliable and relied on throughout the civil rights struggle, dried up.

Talking to Dad

Dad:

I said it at the time, there's nothing but fluff here.

You're thinking ahead of time I might get killed, and people around me are going to get killed doing this stuff. And I knew that in my heart. And I remember at the time saying, there were no real radicals

The few that were were Jews, they got themselves killed, some of them.

The minute there's a price to pay it's going to stop.

And sure enough, when the attorney general declared they have halt these people, and the national guard shot people in Kent State in Ohio.

Me: but there were anti-war protests into the '70s.

Dad:

But that's when it stopped, the steam went out.

Me: Yeah, she mentioned the draft.

Dad's thing: "Those were the people who voted for Reagan."

Which I rather doubt, on the whole. The most politically active may have stopped being politically active, but most probably didn't flip entirely. But other Democrat voters did.