I’m reading Destructive Generation by David Horowitz and Peter Collier. It is a collection of mini-biographies of the people who made up 1960’s radicalism. It was published in 1989 so it was around when he was going public with his move out of radical politics. His Wiki entry, surprisingly, does a good job summarizing his life as a public intellectual. I say it is surprising as Wiki is populated with liberal crazies, who often assault the pages of people they deem enemies of the faith. Somehow, he has escaped their wrath.
It’s funny how White and Jewish Baby Boomers have cast these long shadows over subsequent generations, but blacks have cast no shadow. The same can be said for Hispanic activists or American Indian activists. Not only have their causes been forgotten, but the people have been forgotten in many cases. Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and George Jackson have left no imprint on black Americans. Even old warhorses like Alcee Hastings and Eleanor Holmes don’t mention them, despite having known them.
Jewish and white radicals from the 60’s and 70’s had no problem going mainstream after they had grown tired of radical politics. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn landed in the academy, despite living a life of crime. They were the principle backers of Barak Obama’s political career. Of course, David Horowitz stayed in radical politics through the 1970’s and then changed teams. Lots of Jewish radicals made the same journey, either through neoconservatism or some other avenue.
Anyway, the first chapter is on Fay Stender. Her Wiki is here. As you can see, she was in no small part responsible for giving us prisoner rights, a madness that remains with us to this day. She also helped create the prison gang, The Black Guerilla Family. They have probably killed thousands by this point as their reason to exist is to sell drugs and control the prison system. Stender and her cult of radicals set free dozens of these psychopaths, who went onto murder innocent people once they were released.
What jumps out to me in the 60-page description of Stender’s life is just how much sex drove radical politics. Stender was mostly driven to the prison movement because she wanted to have sex with black guys. The milquetoast Jewish boys at college could not light the fire like a black street thug. Women are wired to seek out high status males, which often leads to lusting for the bad boys. Still, the Jewish obsession with blacks, particularly in this way, is something that gets ignored for obvious reasons.
The weird part of these legal radicals like Fay Stender is they seem to act from an odd combination of self-absorption and detachment. On the one hand, they did sacrifice to help these black criminals. On the other hand, they lived lives a million miles away from the results of their work. Stender and her ilk operated as if they were never going to be touched by any of this stuff. They were visitors, experimenting on the host population for personal glory among their people. It turned into a suicide mission.
Finally, the conventional wisdom is the New Left radicals were Boomers. The truth is they were not. Stender and her crowd were born in the 1930’s. In fact, all of the leading radicals of the 1960’s were born in the thirties and early forties. Generally, we think of the boomer as having been born between 1945 and 1964, with the real end point being much earlier for the “60’s generation.” By the time of the Summer of Love, Fay Stender was a middle-aged woman. That’s something that probably bears further examination.