The University of Wisconsin at Madison was a hotbed of student radicalism in the 1960s. Unlike some other centers of campus opposition to the Vietnam War, left-wing activists there were among the first of their generation to organize around issues related to their own mistreatment as workers. In 1963, undergraduates employed in campus jobs formed a Wisconsin Student Employees Union to force the administration to raise their wages to the federal minimum (a 50 cent per hour increase). Seven years later, the UW Teaching Assistants Association organized the first TA strike in U.S. history, a 24-day walk-out that won union recognition. UW graduates shaped by that experience went on to play key roles in the labor movement, locally, state-wide, and in others states.
The 1960s live on in U.S. memory as an era of counterculture rebellions and the civil rights movement that changed the course of the nation’s history. The mass uprisings that took place from coast to coast have been immortalized in myriad films and books, but these often focus on well known figures rather than the everyday Black and Chicano youths that fueled the movement. In their new book, Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the 1960s, renowned historians Mike Davis and Jon Wiener set out to capture the complete history of the city’s revolutionary political scene by focusing on the working class Americans who are so often left out of the story.
By G. Pascal Zachary for Alternet. The Port Huron statement, named after the city in Michigan where SDS leaders met in June 1962, presented a sharp break with political dissent in America. For the entire 20th century, leading up to the 1960s, radical politics in America was chiefly derived from European formulations. Left-wing Americans were deeply shaped by European socialism and Soviet (i.e., Russian) communism. As in 1962, our moment doesn’t seem auspicious. Again, the words from Port Huron ring true today: humanity “desperately needs revolutionary leadership,” and “America rests in national stalemate, its goals ambiguous and tradition-bound instead of informed and clear, its democratic system apathetic and manipulated….”
By Allen Barra for Truth Dig - C. Robert “Bob” Paul Jr. was one of the most interesting sports figures you probably never heard of. He was born in 1918 and died near his home on Long Island in 2011. For much of his life, he was a publicist, first for his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and later for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). In an obit for Paul released by the USOC, longtime spokesman Mike Moran wrote: “With his death goes an important cornerstone of a long ago USOC and its remarkable history.” Mr. Moran was right. There was a book in Paul, and it’s a terrible shame that he never got around to writing it.
President Lyndon Johnson formed an 11-member National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in July 1967 to explain the riots that plagued cities each summer since 1964 and to provide recommendations for the future. The Commission’s 1968 report, informally known as the Kerner Report, concluded that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Unless conditions were remedied, the Commission warned, the country faced a “system of ’apartheid’” in its major cities. The Kerner report delivered an indictment of “white society” for isolating and neglecting African Americans and urged legislation to promote racial integration and to enrich slums—primarily through the creation of jobs, job training programs, and decent housing.