3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2009
Yeah, there were lots of aspects of the S.D.S., and student protest organisations like of like orientation, that earnestly ideology-driven scholars examining the 1960s and 1970s ignore when they concentrate too unduly and solely on ideological aspects (those of the groups and of the authors themselves writing about them).
As an undergraduate student at U. Mass. Boston, I joined one of the Marxist-Leninist groups, Students Against War and Fascism, that differed in some obscure way from the S.D.S. itself; there were lots of splinter groups, which differed in their "take" on Marx, Engels, and Lenin, or which were latter-day votaries of Trotsky, Che Guevarra, and/or Mao, and they were every bit as "devoted to the cause" as the S.D.S. itself, and manifested many of the same traits.
I was then and largely remain rather liberal in my socio-political convictions (although later, and I hope wiser, in life I reverted to Catholic Christian belief), but at the time I never completely grasped what these organisations really were about, or perhaps rather I did not feel the need to assert their Marxist dogmas in full or according to the same interpretations. I was interested in Marx, Che, et alia in a broader and more general way than the genuine zealots of the organisations, but I went along, more or less, with the rest of the members, even if I lacked their rather narrow zeal for Marxist-Leninist doctrine as they interpreted it.
Initially, I got involved in S.A.W.F., that very S.D.S.-like group, because my gay boyfriend was so active in it! My Christian convictions during those university years were at a low ebb and my hormones were in ever higher gear, something that was the case with so many other students during those effervescent years! Also, there were two enticingly good-looking male junior professors who shepherded us most agreeably! At Kent State University, too, the Marxist groups were often a good source for "gay boyfriend material", though, of course, these organisations were not "gay fronts" per se. In Boston, I bailed my boyfriend out of jail when he got caught trying to bomb a building at another university in Boston. It was fun and rather dramatic, and students do have a lot of energy to burn off ideologically and sexually.
Pekar grasps the mixed emotions and motivations of those who got caught up in the S.D.S. or organisations like it. We who were students during those times had lots of ancillary reasons, conscious or unexpressed, that drove us and the sometimes serious, occasionally silly, antics of the S.D.S. and of groups like it. It is about time that someone depicted the S.D.S. with an eye for what they did and how much exuberance there was in doing it!