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Youth Culture and the New Left of the 1960s

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Youth Culture and the New Left of the 1960s A Rebellion of Youth Many historians describe youth culture of the unturbulent 1950s as a precursor of the openly turbulent 1960s. In this view, the cultural contradictions of the 1950s,and the struggles that grew out of them,were the first shock waves of the countercultural earthquake that shook mainstream American society in the 1960s. Teen films(like James Dean�s "Rebel without a cause") and rock'n'roll musicians (like Elvis Presley) served as oppositional benchmarks for the emerging counterculture. The rebelliousness in Presley�s music and in several teen films attracted the restless youth of the 50s. The more adults condemned rock'n'roll music, the more teenagers loved it. The teens elevated the characters played by James Dean("Rebel Without a Course") or Marlon Barndo("The Wild One") to cult status, because for their overturning of respectable society�s morels. The Beats (Beatnik Society) A group of nonconformist writers known as the Beats expressed a more fundamental revolt against middleclass society. In such works as Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956) ...read more.


They critizised his "Great Society ", his coarse personal style and above all his escalation of the Vietnam War. The initial momentum for the "New Left" was contributed by the so-called "red-diaper babys", the descendants of old-time socialists. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) elvolved from the League for Industrial Democracy. In 1962 Tom Hayden wrote its founding document, the Port Huron Statement, which issued a call for "participatory democracy" based on non-violent civil disobedience. The New Left opposed the prevailing authority structures in society, which it termed "The Establishment," and those who rejected this authority became known as "anti-Establishment." Loosely associated with the New Left was the Berkeley Free Speech Movement which began in 1964 as a coalition of student groups at the University of California, Berkeley which opposed restrictions to political activity on campus.By the end of 1966 the SDS became a leading organization of the antiwar movement on college campuses during the Vietnam War.The most popular of SDS's rallying cries, "Make Love Not War!" ...read more.


whose parents used nicotine and alcoholic beverages to make it through the day and depended on amphetamines and tranquilizers, society's acceptable "uppers" and "downers." The high priest of LSD was Timothy Leary, a former Harvard psychologist fired in 1963 for encouraging students to experiment with drugs-to "tune in, turn on, drop out." Influenced by LSD's reality-bending effects, the counterculture sought a world without rules, one in which magic and mysticism replaced science and reason.Bands like The Doors of Perception and the Grateful Dead, launched the San Francisco sound of "acid rock"-the perfect marriage of "sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll." The counterculture celebrated its vision of a life of freedom and harmony for all on 3 days in August 1969, when nearly four hundred thousand young people gathered on farmland in New York's Catskill Mountains for the Woodstock festival. They reveled for three days and nights in the music of dozens of rock stars, swam nude in the lake, and openly shared drugs, sexual partners, and their-contempt for the Establishment. The counterculture heralded the festival as the dawning of an era of love and peace, the Age of Aquarius. ...read more.

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