Our era, when racist police gun down Black men, women and youth, continues a history as old as the U.S. The piece excerpted here shows some of that history and how racism can be spurred on by this country’s leaders and would-be leaders, out for power. It takes up how Left movements respond to racism and the attempt to answer the question by funneling liberatory impulses into the dead end of electoral politics. The relationships between the Black freedom movement, anti-war youth, workers, and philosophy of revolution remain as critical today as when this article was written.
In acquainting readers with coverage of the forces of revolution in News & Letters over its first 60 years, we present “Continuing Magnolia Jungle terror exposes reality of ‘Great Society,’” written by Charles Denby in February 1965, in the midst of the bloody campaign for voter registration in Selma, Alabama.
Detroit—Instead of holding an election of rank-and-file workers at the Mercedes-Benz auto plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the United Auto Workers union (UAW) in October simply declared that Local Union 112 was in existence to represent workers at the plant. UAW officials said they hoped to convince a majority of the 3,400 full-time workers there to join the union, and are seeking to persuade Mercedes-Benz management to accept the union as the sole representative of the workers….