“We created a liberated space that stayed with us for our whole lives. That’s the legacy of Columbia.”
– Juan Gonzales, April 27, 2018
Youth makes revolutions. Thomas Jefferson was 33 in 1776 at the start of the American independence movement. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the same age at the Seneca Falls Convention that launched the women’s rights movement in the U.S. in 1848. Che was 31 when the Cuban guerrillas seized power in Havana.
Young people also made the cultural revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s when they rebelled against parents, teachers, cops and the established order of things.
Once again young people are in revolt, from Indiana and Florida to New York and California.
Teenagers and 20-something-year-old activists are finding friends and allies among the baby boomers who are now in their sixties, and who once demonstrated against the war in Vietnam, racial injustice and patriarchal authority.
The boomer insurgents are not going gently into old age and retirement, though many of the protesters at Columbia in 1968, including Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Robert Kramer, John Jacobs, Barry Willdorf and Gus Reichbach are no longer alive. Melvin Margolis and Lynn Phillips, two young radicals who filmed and edited the 1968 Newsreel documentary “The Columbia Revolt,” died shortly before the 50th anniversary of their work and the protests they memorialized.
Still, the surviving 68ers, along with dozens of young rebels were present at Columbia University…