"22 By 1971, identity-based movements were fixtures of the radical landscape, whose very existence challenged the idea of an overarching capital-"m" Movement that could speak with one voice. Fred Halstead, Out Now! "There was a pretense made of contributions from everyone, but there was really a final yes or no from the top leadership. Click here for the guide. The largest and most audacious civil disobedience action in American history is also the least remembered, a protest that has slipped into almost complete historical obscurity. Above is the date 5-27-1971 converted into roman numerals. The Yippies, however, were more interested in gestures for their own sake-like throwing dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, as an arch commentary on capitalist greed-than in targeted actions with concrete goals. "16, The Mayday organizers hoped to tap into the revulsion many felt toward the tactics of the Weather Underground and other violent groups, while steering clear of the submissiveness and sanctimony radicals associated with nonviolence. 237-41. This undated broadsheet is also from the Hedemann collection. The Brooklyn civil-rights group-younger and more radical than CORE as a whole-announced the planned disruptions as a way of pressuring the city government to take action on housing, education, police brutality, and other issues of urgent concern to New York City's black population. The antidote to mass society, the pamphlet declared, was a decentralized movement based on small, self-organized collectives.20. guide to using ebook readers with libcom.org, New covid-denial single from Eric Clapton and Van Morrison, The Gift That Keeps on Giving…Hatred for the Ruling Classes, Gas Abuses In Indiana Prisons: The Cases Of Marshawn Weems, International Statement for the liberation of the political prisoners, arrested during the 2019 social revolt in Chile, The One Big Union Monthly (November 1937), The imaginary institution of society - Cornelius Castoriadis, How it all began: the personal account of a West German urban guerrilla - Bommi Baumann, US coal miners' strikes, 1894 - Jeremy Brecher. By the early 1970s, the small group was the predominant radical feminist form, characterized by "a conscious lack of formal structure, [and] an emphasis on participation by everyone." They came to feel that authentic radicalism must grow out of involvement in local or small-group activity, that it cannot flourish within a national organization." In this climate of grim frustration, the national antiwar movement split, as long-standing tensions about the political value of civil disobedience divided activists who were planning the antiwar mobilization for spring 1971. The breakaway group named itself the National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC), and called for a massive legal march and rally on 24 April. Jeff Jones, one of the founders of Weatherman, explains that as early as 1967, militant members of SDS began debating whether to adopt more violent tactics during street protests. On Mother-fucker actions, see Osha Neumann, "Mother-fuckers Then and Now: My Sixties Problem," in Cultural Politics and Social Movements, ed. There was more order to the protest chaos than there seemed to be, thanks to the affinity groups and a sophisticated communications system. GLFers very much viewed themselves as part of the broader radical landscape of the time. And the straight men automatically assume that they're going to cure us-which is bullshit. What are the important events that happened on May 3, 1971? 45. Brass interview; Scagliotti interview. Brother across street with black spray paint can wrote "F**k N" on Just . And indeed, after the protest, Newsweek reported that "[t]he government's most serious problem was faulty intelligence. Any time you stood still you'd be arrested, so you had to keep moving." But the more emblematic GLF slogan was, "No revolution without us! 49. "53, The Mayday Tribe ceased to exist soon afterwards. Helicopters chopping overhead made us aware that the ground troops had surveillance of all of our movements. 26. This means no 'movement generals' making tactical decisions you have to carry out. Each group sticks together, protects each of its members, acts as a fighting unit in case of confrontation, and functions as a work team. The government initially prosecuted eight organizers, including Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin. Scagliotti interview; "The Biggest Bust," Newsweek (17 May 1971). ... Was there (Dupont Circle , #8) , Day 1 . 27. But on the whole, affinity groups were coming to be seen as more expedient and sociable than paramilitary or insurrectionary. The turnout was a fraction of what the Weather organizers had expected; the street fighting left most participants injured or jailed or both, with little or nothing to show for their bravado. There are left before your next birthday. Judith Clavir Albert and Stewart Edward Albert (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1984), p. 258; Motor City SDS, "Break on Through to the Other Side," in Weatherman, ed. The history of this practice, though, is little known. 34. Blank May calendar and May holidays 1971 are also available. May 29, 1971 (Saturday) The 1971 Indianapolis 500 was won by Al Unser the second year in a row. We felt, well, this is our sign that we've been accepted as radicals....We've just got to prove that we are willing to go in there, get our heads clobbered and arrested and beaten up, prove that we can do this. The Mayday protest was to entail "action rather than congregation, disruption rather than display." Lawrence Roberts brilliantly takes us back to that day in May 1971 when the protests movements of the 60's culminated in the arrests of 12,000 people in the nation's capital. ")44, "Small battles raged all over the city as demonstrators would build crude barricades, disperse when the police came and then regroup to rebuild the dismantled obstructions," one underground paper reported. Avery, who was working with the Quaker Project on Community Conflict at the time and ran some of the training sessions in nonviolence for the Mayday protest, "The kind of nonviolent direct action that we had always been talking about was the very classic, traditional Gandhian sort, where you did your action and then you stayed there and you took your consequences. "Sources of private troubles" is a quote from SDS's founding document, the Port Huron Statement, which is reprinted in numerous Sixties anthologies and in James Miller, "Democracy Is in the Streets": From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), pp. That year, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the totemic organization of the New Left, had disintegrated into dogmatic and squabbling factions, one of which-Weatherman-took up street-fighting and bombings to pursue its chimerical program of revolutionary change. (Women's Health Action and Mobilization), would be inspired by the innovative tactics and techniques that GAA developed to pursue its goals. This coalition boasted a long and impressive list of endorsers, but was centrally controlled by the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and its offshoots. Mitchell Goodman (Philadelphia and New York: Pilgrim Press and Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), p. 470. Anything that does that can help our people. Quicksilver Times (30 April-13 May 1971). Browse historical events, famous birthdays and notable deaths from May 19, 1971 or search by date, day or keyword. The Mayday Tribe might not have literally succeeded in its stated goal: "If the government won't stop the war, the people will stop the government." These identity-based movements were also, of course, concerned with representations-that is to say, portrayals-in the media, popular culture, school textbooks and curricula, and so on. The protesters' nonviolence pledge did not preclude building barricades; nobody felt "that because we will be nonviolent that we could not also be militant and creative." More than 200,000 protesters and veterans converged on the US capital to demand an end to the war in Vietnam forty years ago on May 3, 1971. The Indian Occupation of 1969-1971 (Berkeley: Heyday Books, 1992). As the war ground to a close, did we all drift off to drugs, sex, and religious cults? "This form of struggle, no matter how radical its demands, never threatens the basic structure-the mass itself." Key Bridge covered by airborne troops who were very friendly to us. I was in the park the night before May Day, when a double line of riot police walked through pushing the campers out (while i was one of several walking backward between the police and the campers coaching non-violent resistance and encouraging those who were not ready to be arrested peacefully to back away slowly but steadily. 33. undated leaflet, International Gay Information Center Archives, Ephemera Collection, New York Public Library; Donn Teal, The Gay Militants (New York: Stein and Day, 1971), p. 55; Edward Sagarin, "Behind the Gay Liberation Front," The Realist (6 May 1970); Brass interview. Early in May 1971, after nearly two weeks of intense antiwar protest in Washington, D.C.-from a half-million-person march to large-scale sit-ins outside the Selective Service Agency, Justice Department, and other government agencies-upwards of 25,000 young radicals set out to do something brash and extraordinary: shut down the federal government through nonviolent direct action. "46, Perry Brass recalls, "There were people just running through the streets, there were cops running after them. It was elitistly organized, mostly by males. I am deeply grateful to Eileen Clancy for tracking down some of the surviving video footage from Mayday, and to Parry D. Teasdale for allowing me to view it. The image is an auction find. Building upon the New Left project of countering personal alienation by uncovering "the political, social, and economic sources of [one's] private troubles" (to quote from the 1963 Port Huron Statement, the founding document of SDS), radical feminists made consciousness-raising a centerpiece of their politics. ("Gays dominate Mayday meeting in Atlanta," the left-wing paper The Guardian disapprovingly headlined its postconference report. 32. If you have an ebook reader or a Kindle, check out our guide to using ebook readers with libcom.org. Mayday 1971 deserves rediscovery, for it occupies a pivotal place in American radical history. "9 PCPJ didn't openly discourage people from attending the April 24 NPAC march, but focused its efforts on a multiday "People's Lobby," which consisted of sit-ins outside major government buildings. "Mayday in Atlanta," Space City! This is assuming you are not interested in the dates for Easter and other irregular holidays that are based on a lunisolar calendar. 43. As one Mayday leaflet circulated in advance of the 1971 event declared, in a clear allusion to the 24 April NPAC event, "Nobody gives a damn how many dumb sheep can flock to Washington demonstrations, which are dull ceremonies of dissent that won't stop the war." At a time when government surveillance and disruption of radical movements was both routine and highly damaging, the exuberant eroticism of the Gay Mayday Tribe doubled as a form of protection. "Freaky people": Mark Goff, "Washington D.C. -Spring 1971," The Bugle-American (13-19 May 1971). A whole evening featuring culture and music. Your region makes the tactical decisions within the discipline of nonviolent civil disobedience. The Beach Boys Manley Field House, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY - May 1, 1971 May 01 1971 Following concerts The Beach Boys Capitol Theatre, Worcester, MA - May 2, 1971 May 02 1971 The overflow crowd was estimated to be about 10,000 and included a large number of Vietnam war protesters and … (Attorney General John Mitchell explained to Nixon, during a White House meeting to plan the government's response to the protests, "I know they want to be arrested but, Mr. President, I don't think that's any reason for not arresting them. It was the 22 nd Friday of that year. People wanted to keep it nonviolent, but I think a lot of people went down there thinking it was going to be pretty much guerrilla action. "Most everyone I know is tired of demonstrations," wrote New Left leader David Dellinger. 23. That type of action, the tactical manual explained, usually "involved a very small group of people engaging in 'moral witness' or action that involved them breaking a specific law, almost always with advance notice to authorities." All rights Reserved. Another account of Weather-style affinity-group organizing during that period similarly emphasized a paramilitary command structure: "The tactical leadership explains the plans using maps which they have drawn up, and our forces are divided into affinity groups. Everyone was responsible. It wasn't the last antiwar protest by a long shot, but it was the last big national one, and the last major one with ties to the fading New Left. In fact, more protesters were arrested on the first day of the action than in any other single event in U.S. history. As samples of the rhetoric and activism of the other "power" and "liberation" movements, see the following: PUERTO RICAN POWER MOVEMENT: Frank Browning, "From Rumble to Revolution: The Young Lords," Ramparts (October 1970), and The Young Lords Party and Michael Abramson, Palante: Young Lords Party (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971). For all the efforts to create a decentralized action without "movement generals," Mayday was criticized as too centralized and dominated by Davis and his circle. My emphasis on the continuity between the New Left and women's liberation owes much to Alice Echols, "We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Notes Toward a Remapping of the Sixties," Socialist Review 92/2 (April-June 1992). 3. There are left before your next birthday. ... 200,000 at Washington Peace march (circa 1971 John Kerry speaks and John Denver sings) - Duration: 5:47. WOMEN'S LIBERATION MOVEMENT: Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women's Liberation Movement (New York: Vintage Books, 1970). The large number that gathered caused concern at the White House which quickly mobilized thousands of troops to assist police in suppressing the demonstrations. The lack of formal organization, however, tended to undermine the ideal of decentralization, as a result of what one radical feminist famously called "the tyranny of structurelessness. I've not read it yet. 12. The immediate goal was to snarl traffic so completely that government employees could not get to their jobs. Mayday took place a year after the Nixon administration invaded Cambodia, an escalation of the Vietnam War that had provoked angry walkouts on more than a hundred college and university campuses. Frank Hammer, "The Impact of Mayday," Liberated Guardian (July 1971). White House aide Jeb Magruder said that the protest had "shaken" Nixon and his staff, while CIA director Richard Helms called Mayday "a very damaging kind of event," noting that it was "one of the things that was putting increasing pressure on the administration to try and find some way to get out of the war."4. "25, To pull that off well, you needed some kind of agile, streetwise organization-something, perhaps, like "a street gang with an analysis." Clark Kerr, quoted in Kirkpatrick Sale, SDS (New York: Vintage Books, 1973), p. 636. 6. Waves of helicopters landed alongside the Washington Monument, ferrying Marines into the city. By 1971, though, direct action had become an almost exclusively white affair. If you prefer the European way of writing dates (Which is day-month-year) the roman numerals would be written XXVII • V • MCMLXXI. Yet Mayday has no place in our collective memory, thanks in part to the pop culture habit of shoe-horning protest history into "the Sixties." The organizers of Mayday had a somewhat difficult sell to make, and the tactical manual emphatically distinguished their disruptive direct-action scenario from conventional nonviolence: "We need to be clear that we are not talking about an exercise in martyrdom; we are not talking about negotiated arrests; we are talking about using a tactic to attain an objective." "You do the organizing. Birth chart on this day Discover the planets positions on May 07, 1971 as well as what the sky looked like at your place Two of their chants made light of these linkages: "Ho, ho, homosexual, the ruling class is ineffectual!" Ben Morea, the founder of the Motherfuckers, had learned about affinity groups from conversations and debates with Murray Bookchin, who did extensive research on the Spanish Civil War during the 1960s. Protesters blocked the New York State Thruway and Chicago's Eisenhower Expressway; others shut down Santa Barbara's airport, by occupying its runways. 36. Says Scagliotti, "I remember being woken up by the FBI one morning and the guy saying, 'And what's her name? About the Photographer:This photograph is part of the collection at Getty Images, a worldwide provider of visual content materials to such communications groups as advertisers, broadcasters, designers, magazines, new media organizations, newspapers, and producers. This process of self-examination and collective discussion was best suited for small groups, which facilitated intimacy and internal democracy. 22. Free food! Learn about 717 famous, scandalous and important events that happened in 1971 or search by date or keyword. As one participant observed in the protest's immediate aftermath, "Twenty thousand freaks carry the seeds now, and they've been blown to every corner of the land."55. Kauffman, L A. MAYDAY. Another participant declared, "There were a lot of things about Mayday that were totally wrong. 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