29 July 2009

Didier Mainguy: Letter to The Rag

From Freakence Sixties:
A Letter to The Rag

By Didier Mainguy / The Rag Blog / July 29, 2009

It’s difficult to express some feelings and concepts in a foreign language. When writing in English, I’m feeling like an idiot. (I mean more idiot than I am really)

I’m proud and honored to see a link with Freakence Sixties on The Rag home page. For about 10 years, I’m collecting information and documents about the so-called sixties in the US. My story is your story is History, you know.

Eric Noble, the digger archivist, wrote "To assure that our history survives the inevitable tendency of revisionism, it's critically important that we grow our own versions of what happened and why."

Nicolas Sarkozy, a few day before being elected, expressed the will to eradicate the spirit of 1968.

We do not cope only with a "tendency to revisionism" but with an attempt to erase the very memory of a decade of revolt. The message is "no alternative."

I do agree with Marcus Del Greco when he says "Digitization of Thought is Preservation of Thought," The Mind Mined Public Library.

Here is our first task, I think - Struggles are ahead.

Our second task. I’ve no definitive belief about this decade in the US and I will probably never have. I’m more interested in learning some lessons for the future.

I’ve been in touch with many people in the US and I’m surprised that rivalries and resentments still exist after all these years.

Two main points make me uneasy about the sixties:

Think Globally, Act Locally. Robert Pardun wrote "The movement was, after all, the combination of thousands of local movements each made up of individuals ... It was on the local level that the strategy and tactics for reaching new people were developed and where the connections between the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the women’s and other liberation movements, and the counter-culture were forged."

First, I’m unable to see any significant connection between the local movements during the sixties, except for the underground press (UPS and LNS).

Second, the blue collars seem to be absent from the decade, with some occasional exceptions (e.g., The Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement). I’ve read a lot about the so called generation gap but what about the class gap? Or to quote David Farber’s The Sixties From Memory To History:

Protesters paid little to no mind to the history of white working people in the United States — conceding little to their struggle to make ends meet and to create meaningful lives in fast changing times. They seemed to give no respect to the hard work it had taken and still took most Americans to earn the modestly pleasant life-styles they had chosen for themselves.

What protesters seemed to offer in the place of the rewards of hard work, in the minds of many Americans, was talk — the free speech movement, the filthy speech movement, participatory democracy, chanting, singing, dancing, protesting.

I’d like to hear from you about these points. I don’t know if this blog is the right place. You’ll decide.

Keep on keepin' on.

Didier Mainguy
Freakence Sixties

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