Remembering Vietnam War Foe Carl Oglesby

After a speech in early 1966 Carl Oglesby signed my membership card in Students for a Democratic Society.

I was honored that he did so and I worked hard to help bring SDS to my campus.

By the end of 1967 his positions seemed reactionary because those of us in the Action Faction of SDS had become far more radical than we were even months prior. Carl became irrelevant as the internal struggle between Progressive Labor Party and the faction that would become Weatherman  clashed through out 1968.

Yet Carl deserves to be honored for his often forgotten role in building SDS into the major movement it became.

From Truth Dig:

By Bob Katz
Posted on Sep 13, 2011

Editor’s note: Author and journalist Bob Katz was a friend and colleague of Carl Oglesby and sent this remembrance, which has been edited for style.

Carl Oglesby, one of the most influential figures of the 1960s counterculture, died Tuesday at his home in 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 to 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 Nov. 27, 1965, Oglesby gave a speech before tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators in Washington, D.C., that 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.”

After the demise of SDS, Oglesby taught politics at Antioch, Dartmouth College and MIT, 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 CIA.

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 1960s Antiwar Movement.”

Oglesby is survived by his children, Aron DiBacco, Shay Oglesby-Smith and Caleb, and his partner, Barbara Webster.

Below is an excerpt from the end of his most famous D.C. speech:

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