As a former "New Student Left" activist who took part in both civil Rights and Anti-War demonstrations throughout the '60s, I have a few observations worth mulling over.
1) Demonstrations can become, for some people, like masturbation. You have no contact with anyone but yourself, the crowd being a mirror, you have a high momentary sense of satisfaction and walk away feeling you've accomplished something, emotionally seeing it as the end of activism not the beginning. I see too many peple now who seem to fit that mold. They only show up for street demonstrations and rarely get involved in the real nitty-gritty of political base building and organization. They can holler and yell on the street corner but disapear when a candidate who agrees with them asks for $35.
2) lack of focus. Participatory Democracy should not mean anarchy. At a huge Washington demonstraton we attended, the stage was dominated by tiny groups like the pro-Castro contingent. This is red blood for the Right. The Communist party of Vietnam is a member of United for Peace and Justice. Does the Right need Richard Mellon Scaife when they have this ? God damn anyway haven't we learned anything in 45 years. Do we have to go out of our way to marginalize ourselves !
There were organized demonstrations in the 60's that had internal self-control and they always worked better. I know, I was there.
In the 60's we didn't have the forms of mass communications we have now. That makes all the difference. If you wanted to reach people you had to find a phone booth. Now I go from hotspot to hotspot. That impacts on the necessity of large scale demonstrations.
I see above some comments that " ageing baby boomers(want) to pat each other in the back and reminisce about the good ol' days to show how "relevant" and "pure" they still are." First, this is nonsense. Any large demonstrations I have been at have had an equal number of those in their teens and twenties. 2nd. This is exactly the kind of division that aids the Right wing. They never, never, never, allow this to happen in their movement. And they cultivate everyone.
5). Us "ageing baby boomers" have largely moved to the net. I think that this blog as well a skillion others are critical to current political organization. although this one along with dailykos, tpm are more critical than others. The new iphone is yet another tool. We should only use the tools that work. Anything else is sentiment.
"The End of the 1960's--scarcely. Obama represents everything that much of the 60's was aiming for: an emphasis on real morality versus the faux moraity of bourgeois America of the 60's or the 21st century as a basis of foreign and domestic policy; personal commitment, personal fullfilment versus just corporate rise, the latter leading to higher education, of seeing life in some ways as non stop graduate school all leading from Freakdom to the Creative Class. Obama is a perfect fit for my generation and will be clearly seen by them as a fullfilment of the 60's. Will we see him as one of us. Oh, yeah.
As for "In my generation most of these controversial social issues have already been resolved." Ah, if it were only so...
When my wife and I were out as part of the DFA net-based GOTV knocking doors election day trying to get people out, who were are large percentage of those who we were trying to dislodge from their TV's and gameboys? --yeah those in their 20's and 30's.
I just turned 64. I trust a quarter of a century from now I will still be dragging people out of their holes to vote. I hope you will too.
Were you in the N.Y. 20th Congressional District when you got the push-poll about the Gillibrand-Sweeney race ? Who do you think was doing it ? Has anyone any knowledge of any polls going on in the 20th New York ?