Tags: Greider | Woodstock | culture | party

Journalist William Greider Remembers Woodstock

By    |   Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 07:43 AM

William Greider, longtime national affairs correspondent for The Nation, former national politics editor for Rolling Stone and a prominent voice of the "progressive" wing of the Democratic party, appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal on Aug. 15 to reminisce about the legendary festival that took place 45 years ago in Woodstock, N.Y., and to comment on the historical and cultural significance of this event.

This writer has no connection whatsoever to Woodstock, but has been fortunate enough to encounter Greider a few times while walking in the vicinity of Farragut Square in downtown Washington. On one of these occasions, shortly after the 2006 midterm elections that gave the Democrats a big victory in Congress, this writer kidded Greider that he would have to give credit to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., now mayor of Chicago, and to the Wall Street crowd for engineering this marvelous triumph, but he would have none of it. The exchange exemplifies the depth of feeling that the left wing of the party will bring to the battle for the 2016 nomination, with the winner the presumptive favorite to win the White House.

This article will introduce some in the audience to this prolific writer and to one of the leading books critical of the Federal Reserve as an institution, Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country, a book that would make fine reading during the centennial year of the founding of the Fed.

Asked to characterize Woodstock, Greider responded that he and his wife had already started their family, but beyond a concert in muddy fields, he associates it with turmoil in the broader society the previous year, marked by the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy and the "police riot" that occurred in Chicago during the Democratic convention that nominated Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-Minn.

In spite of all that, the kids of that time proclaimed their anthem of "sex, drugs and rock and roll," rebuking their parents and challenging authority. (This writer settled for a relatively subdued version of the latter.) Greider concluded, "This was more than a tantrum; it was a statement of different political and cultural values." Further, he stated bluntly that the message was, "We don't think much of a political system that others call Democracy."

The host asked Greider to describe the ultimate result of the movement on political and social affairs. He replied, "I think the general understanding is, 'not much.'" He pointed to Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D., "getting trashed badly" by Nixon in 1972. Greider recalled that as a reporter for The Washington Post who covered the campaign, he felt "great sorrow." From his perspective, this began "a generation of descent into a period of conservative government."

Ironically, from a conservative point of view, the "Reagan Revolution" was cancelled, although not everyone got the memo, and the country witnessed a restoration of the "imperial presidency" that was supposed to have ended once and for all with Watergate. The stage is set for the struggle to resume once again in 2016 as progressives and the Tea Party battle party regulars for control.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
William Greider, longtime national affairs correspondent for The Nation, appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal on Aug. 15 to reminisce about the legendary festival that took place 45 years ago in Woodstock, N.Y., and to comment on the historical and cultural significance of this event.
Greider, Woodstock, culture, party
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2014-43-27
Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 07:43 AM
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