Thursday, October 23, 2008

Writers Guild Office Boy 1970 (v)

Between the time I escaped the draft, stopped working for Newsreel and moved to the Bronx in April 1970 and the time I went down to the Newsreel office again in November 1970 to pick up the film on the 1968 Chicago antiwar protests that I was screening at Lehman College, over 7 months had passed. But, coincidentally, when I stopped by the Newsreel office, I noticed that two of the women Newsreel members in their 20s with whom I had worked in its high school organizing caucus, Karen and Sara, were each working with the films in the Newsreel office loft.

Both Sara and Karen smiled, said hello to me and seemed friendly. But neither seemed to have yet concluded, like I had concluded 7 months before, that Newsreel’s lack of an effective mass distribution network meant that its films were not going to be able to change mass political consciousness dramatically during the 1970s.

Sara was dressed more mannishly than she had dressed 7 months before and seemed to be both more radical politically and more of a radical feminist than she had been in March 1970. And Karen of Newsreel still looked as beautiful and revolutionary as she had ever been.

Stopping by the Newsreel office again and bumping into Sara and Karen again reminded me that I still admired Movement people--and the alternative media work they were doing (despite it being politically ineffective)--more than the plastic upper-middle-class, predominantly white male liberal radio and television writers and plastic corporate liberal mass media people I was meeting in my 9-to-5 straight job as a Writers Guild office boy in the Fall of 1970. And despite having dropped out of Newsreel over 7 months before, meeting Sara and Karen again reminded me that I still generally felt attracted more to U.S. women who were involved in doing Movement work than to U.S. women who weren’t as politically conscious or as politically active in the Movement.

So in late 1970 and in the early months of 1971, I attempted to show some moral support for Newsreel’s work again by donating some of the wages I was earning as the Writers Guild office boy to help fund Newsreel’s early 1970s work. In addition, I began to write a political analysis of Newsreel, from a male feminist antii-imperialist left perspective, which attempted to clarify why Newsreel didn’t seem to be making as much political progress between 1968 and 1971 as the SDS chapter at Columbia had made between 1966 and 1968.