John McMillian, “Notes From Underground: The Rise and Fall of the 1960s Underground Press in America"
This lecture will assess the cultural work that was accomplished by the New Left's printed materials – especially its underground newspapers. I argue that New Leftists created an ethos surrounding their publications that socialized people into the Movement, fostered a spirit of mutuality among them, and raised their democratic expectations. Given the obstacles confronting those who have attempted to build mass democratic movements in the United States, this was no small thing. Additionally, I'll discuss the degree to which the political energy that fueled the New Left arose from the grassroots, as opposed to the national office of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) or the pageantry and intellectual ferment that accompanied the New Left rebellion in large cities. In this way, my work is part of a larger revisionist effort to reassess the New Left through the techniques and methodologies of social and cultural history.