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Lefties in the 1960s


John Simkin
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This was a contribution to the history forum recently:

Also recall watching the series a few months back about 'the lefties' was it called? various episodes about the greenham common women and those streets of squatters communes in an area of London that tried to set up an alternative society.

Must be my age but i just thought all these people were incredibly niave. Of course that's easy to say with hindsight, but even in the 80's growing up i was astonished at some of the far left's claims and desires.

Is it just my age? (Stephen Daughton)

http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/forum/index...c=7492&st=0

I tried to reply but it seems I am still banned from the website. However, this is what I said.

I was one of those who was very active in left-wing politics in the 1960s. We were indeed called naïve and idealistic. It is a good job we did not take any notice of those conservatives who described us in this way. Our campaigns led to legislation that attempted to give equality to women, racial minorities, and homosexuals. We helped to keep the UK from sending troops to Vietnam and forced the Labour government to take action against the racist governments in South Africa and Rhodesia. We also campaigned for comprehensive education and a more progressive rate of income-tax (both measures introduced by the Wilson government between 1964-70, although these gains were largely lost under Thatcher-Blair).

Our main failure was to persuade the government to stop producing nuclear weapons. However, our arguments are still relevant. As we argued at the time, if nuclear weapons kept us safe, how can we persuade other nations attempting to develop nuclear weapons? The same is true today.

The problem is not with the idealistic young people in the 1960s, but with the apathetic and self-centred youngsters in the 1980s. Hopefully, young people today will not let us down. Society constantly needs a large number of young people to campaign for a better world to help us old folks who have never forgotten our dreams.

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"Our main failure was to persuade the government to stop producing nuclear weapons. However, our arguments are still relevant. As we argued at the time, if nuclear weapons kept us safe, how can we persuade other nations attempting to develop nuclear weapons? The same is true today.

The problem is not with the idealistic young people in the 1960s, but with the apathetic and self-centred youngsters in the 1980s. Hopefully, young people today will not let us down. Society constantly needs a large number of young people to campaign for a better world to help us old folks who have never forgotten our dreams."

Not a complete failure in the sense that inspiration is given to others in the world, I remember in the 70's and 80's we followed the struggle in the UK (and elsewhere) and the marches, direct actions on bases and mines probably contributed to the limiting of uranium mining. Young people have their own networking across countries through travel and what they see in the media and identify readily. Communal living, imagining a world without boundaries etc.

Edited by John Dolva
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  • 2 weeks later...
I see that my posting still has not appeared on this Forum.

I was banned form the schoolhistoryforum at the same time as John. However I decided I no longer wanted anything to do with such a right wing and uptight organisation and and insisted that they delete my membership, all links to my website and all my posts.

Having said that more than one of the administrators of that forum are members here and one even works in a partner school of our common European Project.

Either they are very lazy as administrators or perhaps they don't like the contents of John's post.

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