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The Crack Magazine

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Conspiracy in the Streets (The Extraordinary Trial of the Chicago Seven) by Jon Weiner

Trump isn’t an aberration. He’s an American classic. A dangerous racist and demagogue who’s been part of American life since 1776. A man infused with the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George Bush. American presidents prepared to do anything to keep rich white men in power. In this book about the Chicago Seven, the full force of the American state was deployed against protesters to the Vietnam War during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, whose seven leaders were then put on trial in 1969. This book, through court transcripts and a very good introduction and afterword which contextualises the trial, shows how this ultimately failed and ultimately taught the American state lessons which it would use at various anti-war, anti-nuke, Occupy and BLM protests ever since. The American state which represents the worst aspects of white capital. The American state which protects and empowers people like Nixon (and Trump) because it understands that the interests of white kleptocrats are best served by American exceptionalism. The Chicago Seven recognised this very early on, that they were the scapegoats, representatives of that Other America, who needed to be slandered and permanently removed from public life. Their spirit lives on though, as Tom Hayden, one of the Chicago Seven writes in the afterword, “The system is more flexible and cushioned than it was. What was confined to the outside is now permitted on the inside. The media, as stenographers to the powerful, underplay or ignore those in the streets. But this new cycle of protest is not over, and - who knows - new movements may come to far exceed those of my generation”.

Conspiracy in the Streets (The Extraordinary Trial of the Chicago Seven – by Jon Weiner, Tom Hayden, Jules Feffer - publ. The New Press @second-hand price

Steven Long