Waddya Say 'Bout This, Walt?

After reading Mark Worth's review of Walt Crowley's book on Seattle in the Sixties (see WFP issue 21), I wondered if he had actually read the book. It seems a fair question - after reading a couple chapters, I was too disgusted to continue. The reviewer appreciates the principled activism of that era. But unfortunately, Crowley cloaks himself in the glory of the Sixties while trashing those who acted out of principle.
I still remember the day I first met Walt Crowley. It was the summer of 1966, and I was handing out leaflets at the Safeway on Brooklyn, in support of striking farm workers in California. He walked up to me and said, "I'm an anarchist. I support any strike." Unfortunately, the clarity of his political thinking has not improved since those days. Now, he counts the likes of Jim Ellis and Phyllis Lamphere as the "real radicals."
His book on the Sixties provides many interesting anecdotes, some of them accurate. But he misrepresents himself as well as the nature of the progressive movements of those times.
After the Ave. riots of 1969, the city created the University District Center as a buy-off. Crowley parlayed his visibility into the directorship of the UDC. Meanwhile, precious little was done by the city to deal with police harassment and other real problems that had instigated people to riot.
While Crowley was on the sidelines making snide remarks, Students for a Democratic Society was organizing a solid anti-Vietnam War movement at the University of Washington. A core group of several dozen organized campus anti-war demonstrations of up to 10,000 people. When SDS faltered, other organizers founded the Seattle Liberation Front, which brought in even larger numbers of activists and mobilized thousands against the war, Nixon's invasion of Cambodia, and the Kent State shootings, and in support of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial defendants.
The SLF ran its course also, victim of its own internal contradictions. Most movements have these. But the various anti-war organizations in Seattle had a powerful impact as part of a national movement that restrained LBJ and Nixon in their war on Indo-China. In addition, many activists developed a lasting commitment to making this country live up to ideals of equality and justice.
In the manner that is currently fashionable, Walt Crowley distorts the accomplishments of the anti-war movement. A lot of Sixties veterans have better ways of continuing to supporting progressive causes.

Roger Lippman

[Editor's Note: The writer was an anti-war organizer in the '60s and a defendant in the Seattle 7 Conspiracy Trial. He now works in energy conservation.]

Good Job

The Executive Committee of the Seattle Community Council Federation wishes to express our appreciation to you for your very fine articles,
"Unhappy Landings" and "Good Health Takes Flight in Airport Communities" that appeared in the February/March issue (WFP issue 20). They were very insightful, presented information that the public ought to know, and reflected careful in-depth research. They showed the importance to our community of reading the alternative press in order to understand different perspectives on a major issue.

Jorgen Bader
President, Seattle Community Council Federation

Good Job II

I recently came across a copy of the Free Press and was very excited about the type of news coverage, stories, events and ideas expressed in the paper. I really enjoyed the Special Report on
"The Brave New Economy" (WFP issue 21). It was an excellent, in-depth report on our current global economy and how it affects the common worker. I have worked for the Seattle Times in the P&A department for about seven years and always assumed that we had a great newspaper serving the people. But radical ideas and issues were always ignored by our press. The Free Press is more truthful and reveals the real facts which big newspapers refuse to cover. I remember the radical newspaper movement back in the late '60s. Living in the Los Angeles area back then was an exciting time to witness. There were more small radical newspapers then than now. It is good to see this movement alive in the '90s. Most people want to hear the truth concerning an important issue affecting them. The Free Press is on target. Keep up the good job.
A new reader -

Patrick Rodriguez

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