Mark Rudd

Rudd speaks out about the tumultuous 60's, the role he played in its crucial events, and its aftermath, revealing the drama and tension, as well as the naiveté of young activists, fighting in the name of peace and social justice, who believed that their actions mattered.
“I’ve spoken and answered questions at scores of colleges, high schools, community centers, and theatres about why my friends and I opted for violent revolution, and how I’ve changed my thinking and how I haven’t, and most of all, about the parallels between then and now,” Rudd writes
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he Strand Book Store, NYC, Mark Rudd (right) with Tom Hayden, 2007

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Peace demonstrationWhat It Take to Build

a Movement


By Mark Rudd

Since the summer of 2003, I’ve crisscrossed the country speaking at colleges and theaters and bookstores, first with The Weather Underground documentary and, starting in March of this year, with my book: Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen (William Morrow, 2009). In discussions with young people, they often tell me, “Nothing anyone does can ever make a difference.”

The words still sound strange: it’s a phrase I never once heard forty years ago, a sentiment obviously false on its surface. Growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, I and the rest of the country knew about the civil rights movement in the South, and what was most evident was that individuals, joining with others, actually were making a difference. The labor movement of the Thirties to the Sixties had improved the lives of millions; the anti-war movement had brought down a sitting president, LBJ, March 1968 and was actively engaged in stopping the Vietnam War. In the forty years since, the women’s movement, gay rights, disability rights, animal rights, and environmental movements have all registered enormous social and political gains. To old new lefties, such as myself, this is all self-evident.

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