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John Bevilaqua

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There were actually 4 references in The Manchurian Candidate to members or founders of YAF, The Young Americans for Freedom started

by Larrie Schmidt a close ally of Robert J. Morris and Charles A. Willoughby in the Dallas John Birch Society. They were both linked to

the Bernard Weismann, Wanted For Treason Poster circulated in Dallas on the weekend JFK died. The 4 persons from YAF referred to

in The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon were Senator Strom Thurmond, William F. Buckley, Jr., Robert J. Morris and Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby. Richard Condon knew who was going to be behind the murder of JFK. He just could not do anything about it.


YAF's founding statement of principles, the Sharon Statement, was written on September 11, 1960, by M. Stanton Evans with the assistance of Annette Kirk, wife of the late Russell Kirk. [1]

Since its founding, YAF has continuously identified itself as "conservative." Indeed, the founders were among those who helped to define the modern meaning of this term in American politics.

However, the term "conservative" has changed in meaning over several generations. Before World War II, most American conservatives were isolationist. But as the Cold War began to dominate American foreign policy, the old conservatism disintegrated. After Robert Taft was defeated for the Republican nomination in 1952, isolationist conservatism mostly vanished. In the 1950s, a new kind of conservatism arose. This new ideology was formulated in large part by the newspaper Human Events, the magazine National Review, and National Review's editor William F. Buckley, Jr. This new conservatism welded together four different strains: free-market economics, respect for traditional values, orderly society and anti-communism.

In the late 1960s, the term libertarianism began to be used for a political philosophy. Many of those who popularized this term were initially part of the conservative movement, but came to separate themselves from the conservatives on certain issues. Libertarians within YAF believed, for example, the military draft was a violation of the individual freedom the organization claimed to embrace. The conservatives (or traditionalists as they were sometimes called) supported the draft as being necessary to defeat communism.

After 1969, the relationship between conservatives and libertarians in YAF was often rocky.[2] A majority of members identified themselves simply as conservative, but some identified as both conservative and libertarian, and still others identified themselves simply as libertarian. From time to time, power struggles broke out; when this happened, the libertarians almost always ended up losing.

In later years, new viewpoints would be amalgamated by the conservative movement, including neoconservatism in the early 1970s, the New Right in the late 1970s and the Religious Right in the 1980s. Some YAF members identified with some of these philosophies, others opposed them and still others were content to simply identify themselves as conservative without further specificity.

Since its founding, YAF members on college campuses focused primarily on national and international politics, rather than on-campus politics. Thus members were much more likely to pass out handbills for a candidate for congress than for student body president.

[edit] History

YAF's history can be broken into six periods.

[edit] National conservative activism, 1960–1965

In September 1960, YAF was founded at a meeting held at Buckley's estate in Sharon, Connecticut.

In the first four years of its existence, YAF grew rapidly on college campuses. On March 7, 1962, a YAF-sponsored conservative rally filled Madison Square Garden in New York City.

In the 1960s, the Republican Party was divided between its conservative wing, led by Barry Goldwater, and its more liberal wing, led by Nelson Rockefeller. YAF members fell squarely on Goldwater's side. However, some members had sympathy with the conservative Southern Democrats known as Dixiecrats, and thus from its inception YAF was deliberately non-partisan. By 1964, YAF was a major force in the campaign to nominate Goldwater, and then after his nomination, to elect him president. Goldwater's massive defeat in the presidential election of 1964 demoralized many members.

One of the organization's major achievements during this period was their defeat of Firestone's plans to open a rubber plant in communist Romania. A large YAF public relations campaign, capped with a threat to spread "Boycott Firestone" handbills at the Indianapolis 500, resulted in Firestone canceling their Romanian plans in April 1965.

YAF faced opposition from groups like the American Nazi Party because of the presence of Jews in the organization and its close relationship with Marvin Liebman. Most members also kept their distance from segregationists such as George Wallace and conspiracy theorists such as the John Birch Society. However, YAF did honor staunch segregationist and Senator from South Carolina Strom Thurmond with its Freedom Award in 1962.[3]

[edit] Reaction to radical activism, 1965–1971

Liberalism and radicalism dominated campuses from the mid-1960s until the early 1970s, primarily as a result of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. During this era, members felt outnumbered by the left on campuses, and spent their energy challenging and rebutting left-wing groups such as Students for a Democratic Society.

YAF members tended to hold similar opinions to their older compatriots within the conservative movement. Members vocally supported an aggressive policy of seeking victory in the Vietnam War, but opposed how the war was being conducted, such as the use of conscription and allowing the enemy sanctuary in the Laos, Cambodia, and the North Vietnam.

A smaller fraction philosophically extended the traditional support of limited government in economic issues to social, and defense-related issues. This group came to be known as libertarians. Members of this faction were among the founding members of the Libertarian Party in 1971.

The majority of members during this era supported Ronald Reagan's successful bid for governor of California in 1966, as well as his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968.

[edit] Advocacy politics, 1971–1985

In the 1970s, YAF became much older, demographically speaking. Rather than merely staging campus demonstrations, they focused on influencing national politics by lobbying and occasionally staging and publicizing small demonstrations. When the Nixon administration enacted wage controls and price controls, abandoned the gold standard and improved relations with mainland China, YAF felt he was abandoning conservative principles. They publicly denounced the administration for these moves, becoming the first conservative organization to do so. They supported Reagan's almost-successful bid to win the Republican presidential nomination in 1976 and his victorious race for the presidency in 1980.

On college campuses, YAF was a large political group, more conservative and less partisan than the College Republicans. Members were willing to oppose liberal Republicans and support conservative Democrats and third-party candidates. During many local and national races throughout this era, YAF members were divided about whether to support a moderately conservative electable candidate or to support a staunchly conservative long-shot candidate.

In 1980, Young Conservatives of Texas was formed by a group of YAF members in Texas that broke off to found their own organization. Since that time, YAF itself has never had a major presence in the state.

By the mid-1980s, many of YAF's leaders were in their thirties and long out of college. Some of them held positions in government while continuing to run the organization as a lobbying and fund-raising group for conservative causes.

[edit] Campus activism, 1985–1990

As YAF grew older, most of the original members went on to other things, while younger members dominated YAF. During this era, a new generation of liberal and radical activism was growing on college campuses, and members began focusing on opposing these movements. This growth was strongest in California, where members staged protests in favor of aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, in favor of Reagan's anti-communist policies and in opposition to the United Nations.

At the same time, internal problems paralyzed the YAF hierarchy. The national board was still controlled by lawyers and lobbyists who remembered the glory days of YAF fund-raising in the early 1980s. The new activist element resented and distrusted the old guard, and began to gradually whittle away at their power. In 1989, an alliance of Californian and New York activists ousted most of the old guard from national leadership positions.

[edit] Advocacy politics, 1991–present

Members of the University of Michigan YAF Chapter protest affirmative action in Ann Arbor, Michigan.By 1991, the national board of YAF contained a majority of Californians -- the first time a single state had had a majority in the governing council. However, this new régime found itself unable to effectively run YAF as a financial and organizational entity.

The strength of its activism was shattered by the Gulf War that begin in January 1991. Most members considered President George H. W. Bush to be insufficiently conservative, and his rhetoric justifying the war -- "a new world order" -- to be dangerously utopian.

Later in the 1990s, YAF returned to national advocacy politics. The national office organized petition drives and staged a variety of events to promote the conservative viewpoint on a variety of public issues. Some of these events would have an attention-grabbing theme such as "Pardon Oliver North" and "Impeach Janet Reno."

[edit] Today's YAF

YAF continues to exist today and continues to advocate conservative issues. In recent years, a number of chapters have been formed or revived across the country.[4] While a majority of chapters are found on college campuses, the California organization is statewide and includes a political action committee -- which endorses candidates and assists conservative candidates.[5]

Its most recent activities have included rallies proclaiming support of the troops, advocacy for strict control of illegal immigration, demonstrations against affirmative action and protesting left-wing campus speakers.[6][7] YAF has also organized protests against legislation enacting anti-discrimination protection for transsexuals.[8][9]

Notable YAF chapters exist at Pennsylvania State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. In fact, a movement to revive YAF has achieved a degree of success with various chapters across the United States.

The Central Michigan University chapter participated in the celebration of Freedom Week 2006, which includes World Freedom Day. Freedom Week "celebrates victory over communism" and is one of many conservative events advocated by the Young America's Foundation, an organization that has been closely linked with YAF.[10][11] CMU's chapter also hosted a "peaceful rally and ceremony" before the Rev. Jesse Jackson's visit in January 2007.[12][13][14]

With the growing comeback of YAF on college campuses, chapters are taking the lead by organizing educational events, and partnering with like-minded student organizations to combat the opposition -- which has often united both liberals and conservatives in taking on the university's administration. Most recently, the CMU chapter hosted a forum on Belarus,[15][16] which has been called "Europe's last dictatorship" by President George W. Bush and others.[17][18]

[edit] Michigan State University

On November 20, 2006, around one dozen YAF members from MSU and Olivet College were involved in a protest outside the Lansing City Council. They were protesting a proposed ordinance prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals and transsexuals. Some of the protestors held signs reading "Straight Power." [19][20]

The Southern Poverty Law Center took objection to the MSU chapter's actions and has included the organization on its hate group list for 2006 under the "general hate" category.[21] In an interview with the Lansing State Journal, a spokeswoman said the YAF chapter went overboard for advocating "a lot of anti-gay beliefs" on the MSU campus. [22]

[edit] YAF's national status

While many YAF chapters have formed and revived on campuses across the country, it is unclear if the national organization still exists. The website [23] has not been updated since President Reagan's death.

Some recent claims suggest that the organization still maintains an advisory board. According to a blog maintained by MSU-YAF chairman Kyle Bristow, it includes people such as M. Stanton Evans; Ron Robinson; Vice President Dick Cheney; Senators Charles Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott; former Senator George Allen; former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. [24].

[edit] Lasting influence

YAF had a great deal of influence in the 1960s and 1970s when activism on college campuses was at its peak because of the Vietnam War. [25]

Its indirect influence is felt through the great numbers of conservative political figures who began their careers as members in college.

These alumni include former President Reagan; former national chairman and former U.S. Representative Robert Bauman; former California chairman and former California legislator Pat Nolan; U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher; former Vice President Dan Quayle; Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox; U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo, a 2008 presidential candidate; American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene and a great number of other national and state politicians.

[edit] Footnotes

^ http://www.kirkcenter.org/documents/ayk-speech-2004-05.html

^ http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/BruceBa...n_gop_defection

^ Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! An American History Volume 2, Norton Seagull Edition 2006, 890.

^ http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/edito...rkam-usat_x.htm

^ http://www.calyaf.org/

^ http://www.ourmidland.com/site/index.cfm?n...78054&rfi=8

^ http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/11/07/cnn...rmative.action/

^ http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A.../611210331/1382

^ http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=38845

^ http://www.cm-life.com/vnews/display.v/ART...7/455d2c0886947

^ http://students.yaf.org/activists/freedom_week/index.cfm

^ http://media.www.cm-life.com/media/storage...gepublisher.com

^ http://media.www.cm-life.com/media/storage...gepublisher.com

^ http://9and10news.com/category/story/?id=111951

^ http://www.ourmidland.com/site/news.cfm?ne...72542&rfi=6

^ http://www.mlive.com/news/sanews/index.ssf....xml&coll=9

^ http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2.../5/214450.shtml

^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1721135,00.html

^ http://www.pridesource.com/article.shtml?article=21542

^ http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=38845

^ http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/hate.jsp?S=MI&m=5

^ http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A...50387/1001/news

^ http://www.yaf.com

^ http://spartanspectator.blogspot.com/2007/...state-news.html

^ http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_11_06/cover.html

[edit] External links

Young Americans for Freedom

Buena Vista University Chapter

California Young Americans for Freedom

Florida International University Chapter

Michigan State University Chapter

Minnesota Young Americans for Freedom

Pennsylvania State University Chapter

University of Michigan Chapter

Western Michigan University Chapter

[edit] Further reading

Andrew, John A., III. The Other Side of the Sixties: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of Conservative Politics. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press (1997), 286 pages, ISBN 0-8135-2400-8 (paper). Covers the history of YAF from 1960 to 1964.

Crawford, Alan. Thunder on the Right: The "New Right" and the Politics of Resentment. New York: Pantheon Books (1980), 381 pages, ISBN 0-394-74862-X (paper). A negative portrayal of 1970s and 1980s conservatism, including much material on YAF.

Nash, George H. The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. Wilmington, Delaware: Intercollegiate Studies Institute (1996), 467 pages, ISBN 1-882926-12-9 (hardcover). A history of the different strains of conservative ideology from 1945 until 1976, updated to 1996 in the second edition.

Rusher, William A. The Rise of the Right. New York: National Review Books (1993), 261 pages, ISBN 0-9627841-2-5 (paper). A history of American political conservatism from 1953 until 1981, updated to 1993 in the second edition. Includes much material on YAF.

Schneider, Gregory L. Cadres for Conservatism: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of the Contemporary Right. New York: New York University Press (1999), 263 pages, ISBN 0-8147-8108-X (hardcover). Covers the history of YAF from 1960 to 1985.

Klatch, Rebecca E "A Generation Divided" Berkeley, University of California Press (1999), 334 pages, ISBN 0-520-21713-6 (paper). A scholarly and academic work with many references to Young Americans for Freedom, SDS, and campus activism of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Americans_for_Freedom"

Edited by John Bevilaqua
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