Thursday, April 2, 2009

Riots at 1968 Democratic Convention

At the 1968 Democratic Party Convention in Chicago, Illinois, the politically radical Yippie group was posed to start trouble. The Yippies were an off shoot of the anti-war movement and free speech movement yet were much more politically radical than the former groups. The Democratic convention was where the group's antics reached a climax. The riots and violence that ensued were captured by the newspapers and the reactions were varied amongst them. 
Joseph Kraft of the Washington Post wrote in an August 27, 1968 about the riots and how the divide within the party ran deep in a way that was not anticipated, it ran through the generation lines. Something that would define the politics of the '60s. However, what Kraft did not take into account was that there could be political movements and philosophies that did not fit into the standard Republican/Democrat. Kraft vaguely focused on class lines, generation gaps and geographical location. The Yippie movement did not follow a hierarchy therefore that should not be a part of their political ideology that they would follow. Many news paper writers fail to research enough into the reason why different political groups struggle. They seem to believe that they all follow the mainstream two party system and that it simply not the case. The lack of research does a disservice to the community by not providing them with enough correct  information to asses the situation. This inability to get information about progressive politics, although I would not say necessarily the Yippies were that, keeps people isolated from themselves in the community.
In a August 26,1968, New York Times article Adam Clayton Powell criticized Mayor Richard Daley for calling the National Guard on the "anti-war protesters." The article is extremely short which is disheartening when the subject matter would be greatly debating in the trial of The Chicago Eight after the convention. The police brutality from accounts was excessive yet Kraft never mentions that in his Washington Post article. The NYT article is the first step to a discussion as to why this group acted the way it did. However, enough coverage was not given in order to follow explore this issue. 
When politics get radical in America our society either immediately crucifies it or says nothing which in turn kills it. Movements in America for this reason are extremely difficult because the public is not informed and therefore isolated by the people who are there to keep them informed: the media. 


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