By Staughton Lynd
This number of unpublished talks and hard-to-find essays from mythical activist-historian Staughton Lynd blends themes that encourage the rejection of capitalist imperialism, whereas additionally looking a transition to a newly organized world. The dynamic assortment offers memory and research of the Sixties and a imaginative and prescient of the way historians may immerse themselves in renowned routine whereas conserving their legal responsibility to inform the truth. A ultimate crew of shows, entitled “Possibilities,” explores nonviolence, resistance to empire as a life-style, and what a working-class self-activity could suggest within the twenty first century.
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On the latter occasion, indeed, he threatened to issue a public statement dissociating the United States from any such agreement reached between Britain and the Soviet Union. The American objective, for Roosevelt and Hull as for Woodrow Wilson years before, was to prevent dictation to small nations so that they might determine their own destinies through democratic processes; and to substitute for the balance-of-power arrangements which seemed inevitable and natural to America’s European partners, an international organization to keep the peace.
Love of nature and rebellion against society were very practically blended in Thoreau because he made his living by manual labor. It was his occupation by choice, and he continued it throughout his adult life: I do not believe this can be said of any other man of letters in American history. His preference of silence to words, his insistence (which we shall come to in a moment) on action, his feeling for tangible realities—“hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake; and then begin”—are bound up with these years of manual labor.
When the Red Army, to the surprise of the highest military personnel in both England and America, survived into the winter of 1941-1942, serious negotiations as to postwar goals began. Then as later Stalin underscored the fact that twice in thirty years Russia had been invaded through Poland, and insisted on a more westerly frontier (incorporation of the Baltic nations and the Curzon Line in Poland) The Sixties 47 and a friendly postwar Polish government. Then as later Churchill, also thinking in terms of his nation’s security, showed himself ready to bargain with the Soviet Union on a quid pro quo basis but equally ready to invoke the threat of force if negotiation seemed inadequate; it was at this time that Churchill, having just signed the Atlantic Charter with its promise of democracy for “all the men in all the lands,” told Parliament that the phrase was not meant to apply to the British Empire.
From Here to There: The Staughton Lynd Reader by Staughton Lynd