Monday, May 11, 2009

Megaphone Mark

"Slowly it began to dawn on me that we had created the perfect structure for failure. Part of the problem was passivity,especially blind acquiescence to leadership."

Mark Rudd,Underground: My Life With SDS And The Weatherman.

What started out as participatory democracy of a sort ended up with a Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist-Che cult separated from the real world and feeding upon itself. Rudd's partner of the time, Sue LeGrand, called it living in a "bell jar," an especially unpleasant context for an iconic SDSer caste out from leadership central for having doubts.

Rudd's book shows many loyalties. His parents stuck with him, always seeing the strengths (or obligations to) their boy, Megaphone Mark. Rudd remains loyal to the fallen Weather people who blew themselves up. And Rudd remains loyal to core beliefs about peace and justice -- leaving his Weather impulses beind.

"The destruction of SDS was probably the single greatest mistake I've made in my life (and I've made quite a few). It was a historical crime."

I would have to agree with NYT book reviewer Paul M. Barrett,"Despite its laughable and at times infuriating aspects, Rudd's book has value...,even if he doesn't make much sense of his chaotic brush with celebrity."

Paul M. Barrett, "Years of Rage," New York times Book Review, May 3, 2009.

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