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Chicago 1968

A group of young activists and artists is planning to stage a reenactment of  Chicago’s 1968 Democratic National Convention demonstrations — minus the violence — tonight, Thursday, August 28, at 5 p.m.

Organizers have located transcripts of speeches and performances by the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Tom Hayden, William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Abbie Hoffman, and Bobby Seale, and participants will deliver them, with musicians recreating Chicago ’68 performances by the MC5, Phil Ochs, and Peter, Paul and Mary.  Veterans of ’68 including Don Rose and Tom Palazollo will give remarks.

In their own reenactment of 40 years ago, the city has declined to give the event a permit; they’ll gather anyway at Balbo and Columbus.

Elsewhere, Monroe Anderson recalls being the one of the first journalists attacked by police in 1968, and Laura Washington interviews Don Rose and Marilyn Katz for In These Times; she asks if there’s anything they would have done differently:

Rose:  “The only thing in retrospect is, it would have been better to have teased out some of the police spies in our own organization.  As it turned out…much of the violence [by demonstrators] was perpetrated by police moles.  I suppose if we’d been more vigilant about who might be the moles and traitors among us, it might have been different.”

Katz:  “I regret nothing…. If there was a mistake in 1968, it was by the Democratic Party.  If they had embraced the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, they would have won.  It was not the demonstrators that caused the failure of the Democratic Party to win, it was the failure of the Democratic Party to look at the emerging movements and know that was where their future was.  That failure…has hamstrung the Democratic Party from that moment until today.”

Meanwhile, Rick Perlstein‘s new book “Nixonland” has a couple chapters on the ’68 convention — particularly good on the abuse of antiwar delegates inside the convention (their signs and literature weren’t allowed in; at one point Chicago police actually entered the convention to eject an antiwar delegate) and how the whole thing looked to television viewers in their homes.

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