Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The Other American: The Life of Michael Harrington

by Maurice Isserman

In articles for the Weekly in the fall of 1964, I.F. Stone had helped discredit the government's account of the Gulk of Tonkin incident. In December of that year he had spoken at the SDS National Council meeting, arguing the case for a U.S. pullout from Vietnam; his speech was one of the factors leading SDS to call for its march on Washington. Thus, Stone was a natural choice for SDS to invite to speak at the rally in April. His turn at the podium came immediately after folksinger Phil Ochs had sung a musical parody mocking liberals as sellouts and hypocrites. Stone was annoyed and blasted Ochs: He was a liberal himself, he told the crowd, and he had seen "snot-nosed Marxist Leninists" come and go, and he wasn't impressed by their pretensions. In the years that followed, Stone repeatedly criticized "stunt-mongers and suicide tactics" in the antiwar movement--but because his commitment to ending the war was so clearly established, he also continued to get a respectful hearing in the antiwar movement and the New Left.

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