“To know your history, and act accordingly is to be revolutionary”
The political climate of the 50s and 60s
The USA came out of World War Two as the one nation in the world that was most able to rip off all the other nations. These super-profits from imperialist exploitation enabled the U.S. ruling class to temporarily solve the sticky problem they had gotten into during the depression: a working class that was getting increasingly organized and disillusioned with the capitalist system. The ruling class used their super-profits to selectively raise the standard of living of certain segments of the US working class… and particularly to buy off the leadership of the big labor unions.
This is when we get the purges of the subversives and the revolutionaries in the unions and then the McCarthy era. It is the death of the US communist Party and of revolutionary organization In the white working class. The U.S. Communists have never really succeeded in organizing the most oppressed American workers: the national minorities and women. And so as some white workers living standards are lifted at the expense of those other groups, the CP is left without a revolutionary base.
Into this political vacuum rises the Black Liberation Movement in the South. This powerful upsurge in one way or another kicks off, spurs on, and influences all the subsequent political and social movements of the 50s sixties and 70s
White youth in particular are affected. Fear and phony prosperity have created an atmosphere of deadness and hypocrisy in the white nation that is intolerably stifling to young energy.
White kids pick up on black culture: music, language, drugs, and black political energy.
The Black Liberation Movement exposes the contradiction between the pretense of freedom and democracy and the reality of exploitation and oppression.
Many northern white kids go south to try and join the Black Liberation Movement. Especially this happens in the early 60s when groups of white students are sent down south by churches and other liberal elements of the white upper classes. Marvin from the coops was one of these students and we will look at his experience in a minute. But first we must ask ourselves why the white liberal bourgeoisie sent these students down south.