The protests and shootings at Kent State in May 1970 can offer us a view into a successful mass movement, the internal opposition to our war against Vietnam. Millions of students protested both leading up to May 4 and even more after.
It’s a chance to ask some good questions, such as, who were these students and why so many of them?; What was the nature of the war they were trying to stop? Why was the National Guard ordered to fire on the students? How did the anti-war movement succeed?
As a result of the pandemic, we’ll need a new mass movement to remake government. So we’d best figure out how mass movement work, how they rise and fall, succeed and are resisted. Change won’t come only by getting rid of Trump. We’ve got to get rid of the system that got us into this mess. And that will take a mass movement.
From 1965 t0 1968, Mark Rudd was a student activist and organizer in the Students for a Democratic Society chapter at Columbia University. Wanted on federal charges of bombing and conspiracy, he was a fugitive from 1970 to 1977. All of the charges were dropped, and he became a math instructor at a community college in Albuquerque. Since retiring in 2007, he has devoted himself to organizing and writing and speaking on the history in which he was involved.