By Anthony Ashbolt
The San Francisco Bay zone used to be a gathering element for radical politics and counterculture within the Nineteen Sixties. earlier there was little figuring out of what made political tradition the following special. This paintings explores the improvement of a neighborhood tradition of radicalism within the Bay sector, one who underpinned either political protest and the counterculture.
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Extra info for A Cultural History of the Radical Sixties in the San Francisco Bay Area
46A version of ‘the God that failed’ thesis is being recycled and, as before, there are significant gaps, failures of memory, twistings of the truth. They condemn a past that never existed in precisely the way it is being painted. Such historical reconstruction serves present ideological commit- The Culture Wars and the Sixties 17 ments, thus memory is automatically distorted or selective. 48 He paid homage to the student activists who, more than any other student grouping in the United States, had been responsible for generating a ‘new politics’.
89 Critics of Sixties radicalism tend to ignore, slide past or reconstruct the actual histories of political and cultural dissent, and end up providing a caricature. This is easy to do. Certain forms of cultural radicalism, in particular, were susceptible to distorted characterization partly because they revealed occasionally contradictory tendencies. 90 This does not, however, negate the positive aspects of Sixties radicalism. Struggles for The Culture Wars and the Sixties 23 democracy and community, as well as those against the war and racism, deserve and have achieved positive rites of remembrance.
91 The radical movements of that decade never really fitted into Howe’s mildly reformist programmatic politics, so his memory would produce such a response. And, in one sense, he is right. Yet there is another sense in which his words flowed too easily and captured too neatly the complexities of Sixties radicalism. He was trying to convey a sense of disillusionment and decay as the Movement shifted further and further away from the liberal-left to which he belonged. This is part of the story but other parts are floating around unattended.