What Happened To The Anti War Movement Of The 1960's?

By Ibrahim Turner

29 July, 2008

Are we now trying to change things in the wrong way?
What could be the right way to change things?

Millions demonstrated in the 1960's against the Vietnam War all around the world but more so in America. It eventually stopped the war in Vietnam but did it change the American psyche supported by the usual suspects in Europe and the Industrial Military complex? Did it stop the interference of the CIA 'Blackwater types' overthrowing governments with death squads in many Latin American countries and elsewhere since then? And now the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and soon to be in Iran? Where is it all leading? What is the real purpose behind all this? Is there a purpose other than greed and domination over weaker poorly defended countries by military and financial means under the (benign) care for people and the resources, by the World Bank and the IMF? What could be a higher purpose than that?

Written in 1973, what he saw coming - the predictions of this man are frighteningly accurate. And remember this was before the rise of the Neocons, before the 'Islamofacist axis of evil' doctrine pushed by them to 'pre-emptive war 'in seven countries outlined in their documents blatantly published for all to see. For the Neocons it has not panned out as they wished, with no throwing of bouquets of flowers greeting the 'coalition of the willing' in Iraq, (did anyone with common sense seriously believe that?) and no oil revenues from Iraq oil paying for the war as Wolfowitz cavalierly predicted.

Where do they go from here? The current propaganda is in full swing for an attack on Iran, with the same lies as when Saddam was supposed to be able to have WMDS and could ready his biological weapons in 45 minutes.

Extracts from "Needs of a New Age Community", J.G.Bennett, 1973.

The World Situation

It is highly improbable that the world will get through the next thirty years without some very dramatic events, particularly events to do with the working of our society. Our society is not adapted to withstand the strains that will come; it can only cope with changes that are slow. It is based on complex institutions such as those that deal with the production and distribution of goods. The institutions have very large bodies and very small brains, like the dinosaurs that are now long extinct. They work from a primitive instinct of self-preservation according to traditional patterns of behaviour and response. They do not work even with the intelligence of an individual human being. When inevitable shortage of necessities comes about they will not be able to adapt.

There are many people who have already lost confidence in institutions and the way of life they now dominate. Their first reaction was to put all their attention on what was wrong all the stupidity and destructiveness and we had that period in the 1960's, the period of political activism. People tried to stop the development of destructive weapons, to stop wars, to promote social justice and to combat racialism. This ended in a very wide disillusionment. People saw, without understanding it, that something worked to make things become their own opposite. They saw that the people who tried to work for peace played into the hands of those who created war; that those who tried to liberalize institutions played into the hands of the hard-liners and that those who worked for decentralization provided weapons for those who wanted to concentrate military or industrial power in the hands of the few, whether management or labour, or of whatever political ideology.

Now in the 1970's, there is already a different climate. People are tending to look for a way of life that ignores or even discards institutions. There are two important trends that are apparent in heavily industrialized countries such as Japan, Europe and North America: one is the tendency to group together in small communities, so that now there are tens of thousands all over the world; the other is to look for quick ways of transformation, of arriving at a new kind of life independent of the outer world forces (there are large scale spiritual movements which many millions of people are experimenting with).

In my view there will be a general disillusionment with all of this by the 1980's. That will be the time of the onset of panic. Visible loss of trust in the institutions could come about explosively if there were a sudden shortage of foodstuffs, and just a few years of bad harvest would be enough. But even without that there will be panics. This does not mean a time of revolution and sudden collapse. Governments and institutions will try to adapt to the changing climate of thought and feeling in the world. It will then become evident that what is needed is a change in attitude that today very few are able to accept; a change from the tendency of the last two or three thousands years to regard expansion as good in itself, to a different life attitude which even regards contractual concentrations as good in itself.

Such a change of attitude is so much against things as they are now that it will truly be a revolution. Every one of us in spite of what we think remains geared for all practical purposes, to expansion. There are very few of us who are really prepared to look for a way of life in which we would live with less instead of more. The lesson cannot be learned by common sense because people close their minds to it. It can only be learned by bitter experience. That bitter experience will come in the period of time from the 1980's to the early part of the next century. By then, either we shall have got through or we will have collapsed.

This period is the greatest opportunity that has existed for many thousands of years for the spiritual. Not for thousands of years has there been such a need for people who are able to work. The reason for this is that the transition from one system to another can only come through the third force. It cannot come from the passive majority or the active minority, from the governed or the power possessors.

If we talk of the role of the spiritual we must understand that this is not the usual perspective. Everyone, in some way or other, recognizes that we are in a moment of great transition; but for the most part the predictions made by people are entirely humanistic. People look at the human situation and what man can achieve. By and large, they ignore the defects of human nature and take it that man will behave fairly, if not very rationally, and will make use of his intelligence and creative powers to build a world in which the achievements of man's intelligence will play a dominating role. The picture is of man increasing his domination over the material world and of even achieving mastery over forces, which at present are too strong for him, such as the forces of disease and old age, to create a future that is secure for the human race. There is no regard for the consequences to the natural order and there is no attempt to answer, or even ask, the question; "What is it all for? What really will have been achieved by all this?"

The climate of thought of the last epoch has been based on the sacredness of every human life and the right of every human being to his own fulfilment. This has worked itself out and brought us to the point of saturation in the desire for more, to fulfil oneself by 'being' more even at the expense of others, or at the expense of nature.

What is in front of us is the need to change to a cosmic purpose, that every life serves for something, not just for its own satisfaction, and not for some otherworldly purpose either.

"What is the sense and significance of life on the earth and in particular of human life?"

Our lives are not our own.

"Why do you take such care of your sheep and cows; is it because you want their lives to be happy and successful; or is it because you want their meat and wool and hides? Don't you see that it may be the same with you? Why shouldn't there be some superhuman farmer who feeds you and takes care of you because he needs something from you?"

I was always sure that we must exist to serve some purpose. The mutton and wool doctrine means that the higher powers are not so much interested in our lives as in our deaths. A sheep becomes a saleable asset when it has been slaughtered. He went on to suggest that wars occur on earth when more human deaths are required.

Our lives must serve some better purpose than the satisfaction of our personal desires and ambitions. The idea that the aim of life is the 'pursuit of happiness' has got the world into its present trouble. But this does not mean that human life on earth need be as meaningless and frustrating as most lives are today.

Man is not merely a domestic animal serving the needs of the higher powers. He has a very high destiny, but he can attain it only if he earns it.

We see around us suffering and injustice. Virtue is not rewarded, wickedness is not punished. We see mankind helplessly drifting towards a wretched state of overpopulation, depletion of resources and wholesale pollution of our Mother Earth. There is real danger of total disaster by way of an atomic war. A new horror is on the horizon in the shape of new diseases to plants, animals and man. An era of fresh plagues that chemotherapy will be powerless to cure has been predicted. Altogether, the prospects for the next fifty years are pretty terrifying.

True happiness is the aim of all life; but happiness is not achieved by pursuing it. Real happiness is spontaneous and comes when one is living according to one's nature. The trouble is that few people know their own nature or what real happiness is.

Real happiness comes from the secure feeling that one is doing the right thing in the right way. People crave for security and do not see that there is no security unless one is doing the right thing.