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Carl Oglesby


Dawn Meredith
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I was deeply saddened to learn earlier today that one of my dearest friends, Carl Oglesby, is very close to death. He and his family only learned on Friday. We spoke just a few weeks ago and he was upbeat and thinking of writing a novel.

Many years back John had begun to scan his masterpiece The Yankee and Cowboy War onto this forum. I can't seem to find it now...

Carl's had an amazing life and is in good spirits in spite of this sad news.

I will miss him greatly.

Dawn

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Guest Tom Scully

Thanks for finding this Tom. His companion, Barbara, is telling his kids to get there this week if they want to talk with him. I just listened (youtube) to one of his songs, Suburbs of Eden and it made me so sad. He's only seventy six. I know he was very happy to have Y/C being scanned online.

Dawn

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Very sad news. My best to Carl and his family.

Carl passed out of this life peacefully early this morning. I got the call as I was leaving for court. One of the original members of the Assassination Information Bureau, Bob Katz has sent me and others a draft of an obit that will be placed inthe NY Times, Boston Globe and other media. Below is the proposed obit.

Carl Oglesby, one of the most influential figures of the 1960's counter-culture died on Tuesday at home Montclair, N.J after a short illness.

An acclaimed political theorist, orator, playwright, musician, and writer, Oglesby served as president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) from 1965-1966 and played a leading role in the opposition to the Vietnam war. A self-defined "radical centrist" and defense industry technical writer living in suburban Michigan with his wife and children when the war began, he soon became one of its most eloquent foes.

On November 27, 1965, Oglesby gave a speech before tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators in Washington, which became one of the most important documents to come out of the anti-war movement. According to historian Kirkpatrick Sale: "It was a devastating performance: skilled, moderate, learned, and compassionate, but uncompromising, angry, radical, and above all persuasive. It drew the only standing ovation of the afternoon."

Following the demise of SDS, Oglesby taught politics at Antioch, Dartmouth College and M.I.T, and wrote a column for the Boston Phoenix that merged geopolitical theory with his keen interest in the hidden dimensions of the Watergate scandal, the John F. Kennedy assassination, and the C.I.A.

He was the author of several books, including Containment and Change, The Yankee and Cowboy War: Conspiracies from Dallas to Watergate, and most recently the memoir, Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960's Antiwar Movement.

He is survived by his children Aron DiBacco, Shay Ogelsby-Smith, and Caleb, and Carl's partner, Barbara Webster.

Also, this excerpt from the end of his most famous DC speech:

"Let me then speak directly to humanist liberals. If my facts are wrong, I will soon be corrected. But if they are right, then you may face a crisis of conscience. Corporatism or humanism: which? For it has come to that. Will you let your dreams be used? Will you be a grudging apologist for the corporate state? Or will you help try to change it - not in the name of this or that blueprint or ism, but in the name of simple human decency and democracy and the vision that wise and brave men saw in the time of our own Revolution?

And if your commitment to human values is unconditional, then disabuse yourselves of the notion that statements will bring change, if only the right statements can be written, or that interviews with the mighty will bring change if only the mighty can be reached, or that marches will bring change if only we can make them massive enough, or that policy proposals will bring change if only we can make them responsible enough.

We are dealing now with a colossus that does not want to be changed. It will not change itself. It will not cooperate with those who want to change it. Those allies of ours in the Government - are they really our allies? If they are, then they don't need advice, they need constituencies; they don't need study groups, they need a movement. And it they are not, then all the more reason for building that movement with the most relentless conviction.

There are people in this country today who are trying to build that movement, who aim at nothing less than a humanist reformation. And the humanist liberals must understand that it is this movement with which their own best hopes are most in tune. We radicals know the same history that you liberals know, and we can understand your occasional cynicism, exasperation, and even distrust. But we ask you to put these aside and help us risk a leap. Help us find enough time for the enormous work that needs doing here. Help us build. Help us shape the future in the name of plain human hope."

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September 14, 2011

Man on Fire

Remembering Carl Oglesby

by MIKE DAVIS

www.counterpunch.org

In my lifetime I’ve heard two speakers whose unadorned eloquence and moral clarity pulled my heart right out of my chest.

One was Bernadette Devlin (nee McAlliskey), speaking from the roof of the Busy Bee Market in Andersonstown in Belfast the apocalyptic day that Bobby Sands died.

The other was Carl Oglesby, president of SDS in 1965. He was ten years older than most of us, had just resigned from Bendix corporation where he had worked as a technical writer, and wore a beard because his face was cratered from a poor-white childhood. His father was a rubber worker in Akron and his people came from the mountains.

I’m not capable of accurately describing the kindness, intensity and melancholy that were alloyed in Carl’s character, or the profound role he played in deepening our commitment to the anti-war movement. He literally moved the hearts of thousands of people.

He was also for many young SDSers – like myself and the wonderful Ross Altman (original UCLA SDSer and Carl’s close friend, whom I salute) – both a beloved mentor but also leader of the wild bunch. At a crucial moment in the tragic history of this desert country, he precisely and unwaveringly defined our duty. He was a man on fire.

To those who knew him, I send my deepest love and solidarity – as I do to those yet to discover this great, tormented and most-old-fashionedly American radical.

Mike Davis is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside.

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I am saddened to hear the news of Carl Oglesby. I read The Yankee And Cowboy War about 5 times, starting in 1992, I think. This is the first I've read of Carl's background and I'm fascinated. By the way, that Yankee and Cowboy war continues in America. Might not ever end.

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This is considered to be one of the best speeches Carl Oglesby ever made (Washington, 27th November, 1965)

We are here again to protest a growing war. Since it is a very bad war, we acquire the habit of thinking it must be caused by very bad men. But we only conceal reality, I think, to denounce on such grounds the menacing coalition of industrial and military power, or the brutality of the blitzkrieg we are waging against Vietnam, or the ominous signs around us that heresy may soon no longer be permitted. We must simply observe, and quite plainly say, that this coalition, this blitzkrieg, and this demand for acquiescence are creatures, all of them, of a Government that since 1932 has considered itself to he fundamentally liberal.

The original commitment in Vietnam was made by President Truman, a mainstream liberal. It was seconded by President Eisenhower, a moderate liberal. It was intensified by the late President Kennedy, a flaming liberal. Think of the men who now engineer that war — those who study the maps, give the commands, push the buttons, and tally the dead: Bundy, McNamara, Rusk, Lodge, Goldberg, the President himself. They are not moral monsters. They are all honorable men. They are all liberals.

But so, I'm sure, are many of us who are here today in protest. To understand the war, then, it seems necessary to take a closer look at this American liberalism. Maybe we are in for some surprises. Maybe we have here two quite different liberalisms: one authentically humanist; the other not so human at all.

Not long ago I considered myself a liberal and if, someone had asked me what I meant by that, I'd perhaps have quoted Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine, who first made plain our nation's unprovisional commitment to human rights. But what do you think would happen if these two heroes could sit down now for a chat with President Johnson and McGeorge Bundy?

They would surely talk of the Vietnam war. Our dead revolutionaries would soon wonder why their country was fighting against what appeared to be a revolution. The living liberals would hotly deny that it is one: there are troops coming in from outside, the rebels get arms from other countries, most of the people are not on their side, and they practice terror against their own. Therefore: not a revolution.

What would our dead revolutionaries answer? They might say: "What fools and bandits, sirs, you make then of us. Outside help? Do you remember Lafayette? Or the three thousand British freighters the French navy sunk for our side? Or the arms and men, we got from France and Spain? And what's this about terror? Did you never hear what we did to our own Loyalists? Or about the thousands of rich American Tories who fled for their lives to Canada? And as for popular support, do you not know that we had less than one-third of our people with us? That, in fact, the colony of New York recruited more troops for the British than for the revolution? Should we give it all back?"

Revolutions do not take place in velvet boxes. They never have. It is only the poets who make them lovely. What the National Liberation Front is fighting in Vietnam is a complex and vicious war. This war is also a revolution, as honest a revolution as you can find anywhere in history. And this is a fact which all our intricate official denials will never change.

But it doesn't make any difference to our leaders anyway. Their aim in Vietnam is really much simpler than this implies. It is to safeguard what they take to be American interests around the world against revolution or revolutionary change, which they always call Communism - as if that were that. In the case of Vietnam, this interest is, first, the principle that revolution shall not be tolerated anywhere, and second, that South Vietnam shall never sell its rice to China - or even to North Vietnam.

There is simply no such thing now, for us, as a just revolution - never mind that for two-thirds of the world's people the Twentieth Century might as well be the Stone Age; never mind the melting poverty and hopelessness that are the basic facts of life for most modern men; and never mind that for these millions there is now an increasingly perceptible relationship between their sorrow and our contentment.

Can we understand why the Negroes of Watts rebelled? Then why do we need a devil theory to explain the rebellion of the South Vietnamese? Can we understand the oppression in Mississippi, or the anguish that our Northern ghettoes makes epidemic? Then why can't we see that our proper human struggle is not with Communism or revolutionaries, but with the social desperation that drives good men to violence, both here and abroad?

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Carl Oglesby was also good friends with Hillary Clinton, which means she knows "the truth" about the JFK assassination, if you define truth as a coup d'etat.

http://www.google.com/search?q=carl+oglesby+hillary+clinton&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=

This post makes no sense. Carl and Hillary were not "good friends". His work changed her politically thinking in the 60's and he may have met her once in passing when she was at Wellesley college. She visited him ONCE in Camdridge in 1994. Period.

What the hell does "if you define truth as a coup d'edat" mean?

Dawn

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Carl Oglesby was also good friends with Hillary Clinton, which means she knows "the truth" about the JFK assassination, if you define truth as a coup d'etat.

http://www.google.com/search?q=carl+oglesby+hillary+clinton&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=

This post makes no sense. Carl and Hillary were not "good friends". His work changed her politically thinking in the 60's and he may have met her once in passing when she was at Wellesley college. She visited him ONCE in Camdridge in 1994. Period.

What the hell does "if you define truth as a coup d'edat" mean?

Dawn

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/18/AR2008051802101.html

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Carl Oglesby was also good friends with Hillary Clinton, which means she knows "the truth" about the JFK assassination, if you define truth as a coup d'etat.

http://www.google.com/search?q=carl+oglesby+hillary+clinton&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=

This post makes no sense. Carl and Hillary were not "good friends". His work changed her politically thinking in the 60's and he may have met her once in passing when she was at Wellesley college. She visited him ONCE in Camdridge in 1994. Period.

What the hell does "if you define truth as a coup d'edat" mean?

Dawn

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/18/AR2008051802101.html

I saw this article ages ago. Seeing someone give a speech does not a "good friend" make. Nor does one visit decades later. Of course Hillary knows the truth about the assassination of JFK, but not from Carl. When she visited him the subject did not come up. (Of course I asked him). But the Clinton's had an aid who was so JFK assassination aware that his name in the White House was "GK" (for Grassy Knoll). Sid Blumenthal was that aid.

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