Tag Archives: 1968

Space time capsule December 21, 1968

Earth seen by ApolloWhat does it mean that the stars we see in the sky represent light coming at us from millions of years before? The images we have of Earth, of ourselves from space, reflect a distant past too actually. Although we’re accustomed now to visualizing our planet from above, as a quilt of satellite photos wrapped around a globe, viewable from any distance on Google Earth, the actual vision they mimic is a single thoroughly ubiquitous NASA photo called “The Blue Marble.”

We have only a handful of actual pictures of our planet, taken during the lunar expeditions Apollo 8-17, between 1968 and 1972. Together they allow our minds to conjure our blue globe selves floating against the continuum of space, but they’re also snapshots of the past, of home forty or so years ago.

That’s not just our planet set against the dark universe, that’s you, spinning along. Were you looking up toward the astronauts on their mission as these pictures were taken? You might have watched the launch at Cape Canaveral and hours later thought about the first men to leave Earth’s orbit.

The above photo isn’t the “Blue Marble.” The image above differs from the photo taken by Apollo 17 on Pear Harbor Day, December 7, 1972. That photograph was the first to capture the Earth in full sunlight, but it showed only the Southern Hemisphere. I wanted to chose one where you’re in the picture.

The above image is the first photograph of Earth taken from space, snapped by Apollo 8 as it left for the moon, Saturday, December 21st, 1968. If you were in North America at the time, you’re at the lower right.

If you don’t remember where you were around noon on the winter solstice in 1968, here’s a subsequent photograph they took on their eighth orbit around the moon. It’s the first “Earthrise” seen by man. That was December 24, 1968, a date for which you probably have additional family snapshots.

NASA Apollo 8 orbits the moon

Lt. Calley finally apologizes for My Lai

antiwar poster by haeberle and brandtLt. William Calley has expressed remorse for the first time for leading the 1968 My Lai Massacre. Although he still maintains he was only following orders. Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role, but President Nixon commuted his punishment to three years of house arrest. Who should have been accountable for the 500 civilians executed in My Lai?

To Recreate 68 at the Denver DNC is not a call to incite a Rumble in the Jungle

Free the Conspiracy EightContrary to the hype it is encouraging, RECREATE-68 does not want to recreate the violent clashes of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. That would have to be up to the police. While we know the Chicago Seven (+1) and their cohorts did not go quietly, it is now also well admitted that the violence in 1968 was perpetrated by the Chicago police without provocation.

I don’t think anyone wants to relive that brutality again, especially as riot police today have much more debilitating and potentially lethal weaponry. Recent demonstrations, as in Seattle against the WTO and in Miami against the FTAA, have seen militarized police force used against a well intended, if obviously outraged, outcry.

Last week at a public debate against Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown, Recreate-68 event coordinator Glen Spagnuolo made clear that they are not interested in receiving a beating or permanent injury at the hands of overzealous police. Of course the catch-phrase “recreate 68” does titillate with accompanying slogans like “Do It in Denver,” but this is done to pique people’s interest, and it has accomplished that.

Recreate-68 is determined to get people engaged with the DNC, in the streets, instead of in front of their televisions as passive spectators to the usurping of their power. The Democrats are party to continued funding of the war, raiding the US treasury for the rich, denying Americans universal health care, taking away our civil liberties with the Patriot Act, and colluding with murder, torture and profiteering. If the American people go along with these crimes, they are accomplices. Too bad they are also the victims. Official channels do not permit people to raise their voices above a silent consent. The DNC in August, in Denver, is opportunity knocking in the streets.

When party organizations admonish you to work through the system, they perpetuate their power to deny progressive reforms. The will of the people has only ever expressed itself through protest. Democracy, Human Rights, Abolition, Suffrage, Child Labor, Civil Rights, Pacifism. We have only made these gains by collective action. A redress of grievances is what it’s called in the constitution. I can just hear Democratic representatives saying, “oh we can’t go that that far, we could never get elected if we advocated for such extremist reforms.” They are undoubtedly right, because real reform is always up to you. But as much as Obama can urge you to feel hopeful, “you” doesn’t mean you voting for a representative who is promising you in actuality nothing.

Recreate 68 is about recreating the sense of connectivity Americans held in 1968, when young and old put their bodies into the line of fire desperate to bring an end to the disastrous Vietnam War. The people’s movement of the sixties had been growing, led by men soon assassinated. Students were rioting in London and Paris, and Cassius Clay was suspended from boxing for having declared himself a conscientious objector. By 1968 people understood that nothing would change unless they did it themselves.

Today we are into the sixth year of the Iraq War and there is no American antiwar momentum to speak of. There are diverse projects on the internet and in sporadic protests, but the US effort is a pitiable movement compared to the public outcry overseas.

Particularly lacking are young people. You may say it is because there is no draft, but enough are still volunteering to fight. I rather think that the youthful opposition is absent because of No Child Left Behind. Our children are being educated to be uncritical thinkers, in particular, narcissists and apolitical bubble babies with no immunity to corporate misinformation. They may be cynical, and clever by half, to the extent that they lack a social conscience. As a result, their forever adolescent thinking that nothing can touch them keeps them civically disengaged until it is too late and they are indebted to the machine.

The youthful cynicism which the slick corporate media celebrates as hip irreverence keeps kids from caring for their fellow people, and certainly holds them from believing that anything they do can make a difference. Look at the average age of the typical social activists. They’re past middle age. Is this a coincidence?

Young Americans, even up to age thirty something, are so jaded to have become tragically ineffectual. Electoral politics might be the extreme of their participation, and look where it will get them, against fraudulent pollsters and rigged voting systems.

I’m curious about what will happen in Denver if Recreate-68 is able to mobilize the youth. Perhaps kids will only be able to express themselves as Grand-Theft-Auto and Half-Life have taught them, as our soldiers are doing, cast adrift in Iraq. In that case, the disembodied violence to which we carelessly expose them will have come home to roost. If Denver becomes a riot, it is a development I think we will need to face.

For my part, I hope we can recreate 68. Let’s break through the media moratorium on the social issues important to us. Let’s remind the TV populace that we want to hold at least our Democratic Party politicians accountable to listen to our needs. If the candidates will not, and we’ve already learned that someone like Dennis Kucinich cannot get the nomination, perhaps the party system is too phony to matter.

What if the Democrats are only shills for the Republicans in charge? I believe the Democratic convention might only be setting up a candidate to lose to John McCain. For example, do you think Americans are ready to elect a woman or a black man to the presidency? I’d like to think so too, but I have a feeling the media is prepared to inform us in November, “oh, so close but no cigar!” Who is suggesting that Americans are past the gender or race card? Is it the corporate media, tool of the rich white man? Since when did the average American TV viewer wise up? George W. Bush’s approval rating was already at a dismal low when Americans reelected him in 2004. This, even after televised debates showed unequivocally that Bush was the dunce everyone remembered from the back of their classroom. Even if Bush didn’t really win in 2004, as in 2000, at least there were enough dumb white voters to make it look legitimate. Are those constituents going to vote for an unexperienced, non-veteran non-white Obama? Those errant voters are still out there, you see them, they still have W-04 stickers on their cars. And the the black box vote counting, voter registration and poll both gate-keeping are still in the hands of Republicans.

If the Democratic Party really hopes to represent the people, it has to do much better. If the Democratic Party is not prepared to offer Americans a real alternative to the corrupt misrepresentation in Washington, we can find better entertainment with the charades of the WWWF. Should the Dems hear this from you? Is your representative listening or still asking you to show patience? Take him or her to the mat, in Denver, in August.

Recreate-68 versus the City of Denver

Preparing for police brutality
DENVER- Glenn Spagnuolo of RECREATE-68 held his own against Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown at a symposium held today at the University of Denver about the upcoming DNC in August. Asked whether providing instruction for the use of shields truly constitutes advocating non-violent protest, Spagnuolo told of the permanent injuries which Police inflicted at previous demonstrations like the FTAA, and he described Denver’s newly requisitioned equipment such as shotguns which fire long distance tasers (XREP) and ear-piercing weapons systems (LRAD). Councilman Brown stressed the importance of protecting the upcoming DNC, its delegates, its protestors, the people of Denver, and the reputation of Denver, from the threat of terrorism.

The City of Denver refuses to release its security plan, to preempt a timely legal challenge. According to Spagnuolo, the city is considering a mile wide perimeter around Pepsi Stadium. Spagnuolo also clarified that Recreate-68 is not calling for repeating the violence of the 1968 Chicago convention, but instead hopes to re-activate the public to the level of engagement it exhibited in 1968, when the same Democratic Party refused to heed the will of the people to stop funding the illegal war in Vietnam. As history repeats itself forty years later, the anti-war movement has yet to summon the courage of the American people.

A couple of Recreate-68 innovations: Doc’s Place, a 24-hour people’s health clinic, to provide free conventional and alternative medical care for all for the duration of the DNC, “to deliver the promise no candidate has: Healthcare for all.” AS WELL, Recreate-68 is planning large FOOD NOT BOMBS events, to feed the homeless of Denver, to counter the efforts of the city to sweep its streets of the homeless in advance of the convention.

There did appear to be a conflict about how best to secure Denver’s image with the eyes of the world upon it.

Glenn Spagnuolo comes to Recreate-68 with experience leading to arrest and acquittal in demonstrations in 2005 and 2007 against the Columbus Day parade. He’s worked with the South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, ACT-UP, and against the FTAA in Florida.

Most recently, Denver held a lottery to allocate the choice protest venues for the duration of the DNC. Recreate-68 received some locations and time slots, but lost the prime spot and prime time to another candidate: the Democratic Party! Oddly, although the Democrats are going to be center-stage at the convention hall, they applied, and won, the right to occupy the main protest stage adjacent the Pepsi Center on the first evening of the convention.

The Beatles were counter-revolutionary

It sounds sexy, like “counter-culture.” But counter-revolutionaries were the Tsarist forces, or Loyalists in our hemisphere, who countered the revolutionary surges of the masses. The Beatles expressed themselves as being against the war, and Lennon ultimately gave the peace movement its anthem. But in 1968, when the Beatles were preaching peace and non-violence, Mick Jaggar was marching at the front of the student riots in London. Which actions ultimately closed down the Vietnam War? Was it Haight-Ashbury or the Left Bank? Was it Woodstock or American GIs finally fragging their officers? If you wonder why today’s pop icons say only what’s approved . . .
FLIP YOUR WIG game pieces George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr