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Kerry Bolton’s Generation ’68: The Elite Revolution And Its Legacy: A Review

It seems just as common today as it was 60 years ago for us to view the left wing agenda as a subversive communist plot intent on supplanting liberal capitalism. This is definitely how it is marketed and what many of its proponents view as the intention. In all fairness it is an understandable conclusion to come to when viewing political matters from a very wide angle, particularly when it comes to the intricacies of communism with its differing variations from theory to practice during the many stages of the Soviet Union, carrying over into common views on modern Russia and even modern China. The majority of these views can find their immediate cultural root in the Cold War-era and culture war that transpired during that time period. Many on the conservative section of the right wing are quite taken with the concept of capitalism vs communism, and we hear different narratives but common themes. Sometimes the counter-culture of the 1960s will be viewed as a communist agitation spurred on and funded by foreign powers, as was promoted by the likes of the Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov, although in our current year I feel this is becoming an outdated narrative. 

What has become a much more trendy take on the cultural “rebellion” of the 1960s is that it was somehow inherently noble and just (even somehow conservative?), Martin Luther King and other famous leftists of the day have become favourites of the kosher-right in their quote mining and desperate attempts to prove they aren’t fascists. The anti-lockdown/mandate rallies of 2020-2022 also had a certain flavour of 60s throwback with plenty of references made to the so-called civil rights era, which makes the characterization of them as overwhelmingly far-right all the more funny in hindsight. I wish they had been, but the fact is that the anti-government populism created by covid mandates really had no coherent or consistent political ideology. This may seem off topic, but it really does all relate.

Whether frequently acknowledged or not, the era and subculture of the 1960s in America continues to have a major influence on the mentality of those engaged in any level of modern politics in the West in general. I don’t just mean the policies and agendas that were set in motion during that time period that are showing increasingly rotten fruit in our day, I moreso mean the perspective and varied interpretation that the general public has of this era. The music is still widely embraced, the vague values conflictingly accepted by opposite positions. More often than not there is a great deal of double think involved, and opinions and views on the matters and events are shaped more by a sort of mythology than by a coherent understanding of the subject. 

In trying to make sense of all this, Kerry Bolton’s new book Generation ’68: The Elite Revolution And Its Legacy answers a lot of questions and clears up many common misconceptions. Far from being either the result of communist infiltration or, on the flip-side, an organically occurring movement of the people for “equality” or “freedom”, the social and political unrest of the 1960s was generally speaking a false rebellion that was orchestrated and funded by the American establishment itself. Throughout his book Bolton shatters all the cliche illusions with convincing arguments and ample evidence supporting his claims that all the major organizations and top players of the New Left in 1960s America were largely supported and sponsored by the CIA and its various proxies. The underlying, if not always explicit, intention of these movements was to promote Western-liberal internationalism both at home and abroad, with an anti-Soviet brand of “anti-communism” that still embraced all the class warfare and liberation theory of communist ideology while manufacturing an opposition to the more nationalistic post-war Soviet Union. The full subject of this book cannot be summarized in a short article, so as usual I will attempt to highlight and expand on a few aspects that jumped out at me in order to draw some attention to this new and very informative work by Kerry R. Bolton. 

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Something that Bolton does very well throughout the book is provide clarity on convoluted and sometimes contradicting ideologies that are all somehow working towards the same ends. This can be one of the more confusing aspects of understanding any era of the 20th century, and attempts to classify a group or collective intention strictly by what is outwardly professed to be the goal is one of the more common errors that will keep a person stuck on “Level 1” perpetually. Rather than present his information and his narrative of the time period as capitalism vs. communism, left vs. right, or East vs. West, Bolton manages to display the subtle nuance while at the same time not coming off as a relativist or presenting his information as an inconclusive mess. This is not easy, and his ability to pull it off in such an understandable way speaks to his knowledge of the subject matter. Regarding some misconceptions common in both the past and present on the right, Bolton quotes from Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope discussing the confusion of liberalism with communism:

It is a power structure (referring to a Wall Street Network) which the Radical Right in the United States has been attacking for years in the belief that they were attacking the Communists.

That quote is from Quigley himself, quoted by Bolton within the book, and though short, blunt and somewhat of a broad stroke, it is an observably true pattern. This isn’t something that is just common nowadays with the conservative right (the dissident right has become more wise to this wrinkle over the years), this was the predominant view of George Lincoln Rockwell back in the 1960s, one of the more prominent figures of the “Radical Right”  to whom Quigley would probably be referring to some degree.  

Bolton does an excellent job explaining the different shades of “anti-communism”, the kind supported by the establishment and the kind most feared. The anti-communism that was promoted was one that would undermine the power and influence of the Soviet Union’s Cold War-era flavor of communism, promoting instead liberal principles of free-expression, hyper-individualism, and above all an ever expanding international consumerism. The anti-communism that was seen as the great threat was basically anything that was anti-communist for the right reasons. Defense of a country and society based on Christian morality, strong familes, patriotic nationalism and any sense of tradition has been and will always be the greatest threat to both communism and liberalism. This is why fascism is historically the ultimate villain of both systems. The anti-communist action of Senator Joseph McCarthy was seen as a grave danger that could lead to a resurgence of fascism:

Senator Joseph McCarthy was even coming close to the actual source, with his intention to investigate the CIA and the tax-exempt foundations. Dentzer, when president of the NSA (National Students Association) wrote of the ‘Challenge and Test of McCarthyism’. McCarthyism was to be combatted as vigorously as the USSR. Dentzer equated Sovietism, ‘flag waving Americanism’, McCarthyism, and fascism as all of a piece in threatening the US as citadel of liberal-democratic internationalism. The whole premise of the Cold War strategy was to outflank the USSR from the left in showing the world, especially the decolonized developing nations, that liberal internationalism under US auspices could provide more freedom, equality, and consumer trinkets than the USSR.

Very enlightening, and this all seems quite obvious when you simply consider the narratives, trends, and talking points of the “counter-cultural” left in the 1960s, coming from both political figures and activists as well as the most popular music icons of the era. Though the principles and anti-values of the left could be quite easily viewed as part of a revolutionary tradition that included the communist revolutions of the early 20th century, there was not much (if anything) about it that was pro-Soviet or that can be convincingly argued as a foreign subversive tactic. 

A very interesting point that is highlighted early on is the somewhat conflicting nature of the CIA and the FBI in America at the time. To the untrained eye it would seem as if the left really was an anti-establishment movement considering the amount of monitoring, surveillance and file-keeping being done on prominent figures of the New Left in both politics and culture. The National Students Association (NSA) is covered at length throughout the book with its nature as a CIA front group outlined and proven without a doubt. Bolton quotes former NSA vice president Janet Welsh Brown discussing decades later how it was inconceivable to her at the time that the NSA could be simultaneously under investigation by the FBI while also being covertly funded by the CIA.

Ms. Brown’s recollections lead us to several notable points:

  • The left claims martyr status while under FBI surveillance, but being the subject of this does not give leftists any unique anti-establishment credentials. Tom Hayden cited FBI documents on him throughout his memoirs. While the FBI ran the COINTELPRO operation to disrupt both the extreme left and extreme right, it also kept moderate conservative organizations – the John Birch Society in particular – under surveillance, indicating that the left has no special status to martyrdom.
  • The NSA provided the training and ideology for the emergence of the New Left.

  • The CIA had sponsored a network of left-liberal student organizations throughout the world to counter Soviet influence. An important element of this was to propagandize the students of decolonized nations, who would become future leaders of their countries.

Janet Brown is also quoted referring to an interview she had conducted with a former NSA colleague who subsequently worked for the CIA. To offer an explanation of seemingly conflicting natures of the FBI and CIA he claimed “that the FBI was anticommunist, conservative, and antidemocratic, whereas the CIA was anticommunist, liberal, and prodemocracy.” This would make sense simply given the separate appointments and objectives of the two organizations, with the CIA funding and amplifying a wide variety of far-left liberal organizations for national and international purposes and the FBI monitoring everything on a domestic scale.

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Much attention is drawn to the profits made by a supposedly rebellious counterculture, not unlike the trends of the left today. While the low level participants and passive observers see themselves as a sort of resistance against an oppressive establishment, the reality is that they were (and are today) not much more than useful idiots who assist the establishment in breaking down social barriers and healthy norms that cause restrictions in the fields of capital gain. Far from actually opposing capitalism, these movements serve to tear down any restrictions to what may be profited from, with no limit on obscenity. It has certainly become clear in our day that the goal behind “the liberation of women” was always intended to double the amount of consumers in the marketplace while simultaneously damaging the family unit at its most crucial component. Bolton provides many examples of this:

The counterculture served as a technique for mass marketing. Analogous to the manner by which Edward Bernays’ promotion of cigarettes as a symbol of the “liberated woman” had expanded the market for tobacco, the undermining of tradition by lavishly funded psychologists and sociologists opened the way for new directions in marketing in the name of ‘freedom’.

Bolton also highlights how the music festival at Woodstock in 1969, viewed to this day by many as a sort of defining moment of a generation, was simply a successful promotional stunt by the music industry. Woodstock is definitely at the centre of the mythology of 1960s, the culmination of a new generation of youth shedding their chains and the repressive societal norms of their parents in an expression of true rebellion, free love, and supposedly anti-establishment music. The reality is much funnier, these events that are presented as culturally organic throughout the era are just capitalizations on evolving trends. These trends were always spurred on prior by the same groups and individuals, funded by the CIA, led and directed by Jews, serving multiple aims at once that all culminate with the spreading of decadence in order to expand the marketplace of consumerism. Its worth noting how many Jewish names appear in this book, and though Bolton doesn’t specifically emphasis their Jewishness, anyone who is remotely aware of what Jews get up to in culture and politics will not be surprised in the least.

Woodstock capitalized on the hippie phenomenon, whose most notable manifestation up to this point had been the Human Be-In festival at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Polo Fields on January 14th, 1967, attended by thirty thousand hippies and New Left activists. Here many iconic figures of the epoch appeared, including Richard Alpert (who soon transformed himself into New Age guru Ram Dass), LSD prophet and CIA asset Timothy Leary (who here coined the famous slogan of the ‘68ers, “Turn on, tune in, drop out”), Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Yippie clown and future Wall Street broker Jerry Rubin, and rock bands such as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. The “gathering of the tribes”, as it was also called, made Haight-Ashbury area the centre of the emerging counterculture.

The above passage sort of demonstrates how these movements progress, each stage or chain of events building off what came before with the momentum carefully orchestrated and guided by the establishment itself. The process has undeniably been a success on their part, it has succeeded on basically every level. On a social level it has succeeded to such an extent that the more moderate left of the 60s are what make up a large portion of the centre-right today, particularly obvious when it comes to the feminist position and how quickly the borders of discussion shifted regarding what the traditional and natural roles are of men and women. A good example would be conservative figures thinking they are “owning the libs” by wishing women a “Happy International Womens Day” while specifically excluding the trannies. “International Womens Day” was of course invented by Jewish communists.

On a political level we can observe the same thing, and I would restate the point that many conservatives of the modern day are as liberal and left-leaning as the leftists of the past. The rhetoric from modern conservatism on unavoidable racial politics as well as a quickly evaporating opposition to homosexuality is the best proof that the agenda has been successful. I heard Joel Davis talking about Glenn Greenwald a few months ago which pretty much sums up the point: “…who is a homosexual Jew and a sort of anti-deep-state-leftist that we now call a conservative.” 

From a financial and capitalist perspective we see their success demonstrated most of all, with the amount of products to push and identities available to exploit expanding more and more as the years go on. Bolton even mentions how the Woodstock grift is still being run to this day, by the very same people:

Dell Furano, CEO of Live Nation Merchandise, working with Target and Woodstock Ventures, expected Woodstock related merchandise in 2009 to reach sales of $50 to $100 million. With Target’s exclusive rights of marketing merchandise expiring that year Furano expected department stores like Macy’s, JCPenny, and Kohl’s, along with specialty stores like Hot Topic, Gap, Spencer’s, and Urban Outfitters to add to the Woodstock lines. Sony’s Woodstock.com is dedicated to “community as well as commerce.” The original Woodstock organizers, who continue to run Woodstock Ventures, insist that they only partner with those who put the Woodstock ideals before money.

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We have barely even touched on the amount of facts and history contained in Bolton’s 450 page book outlining the era. It covers so much ground that, in my experience, the book should be boring and hard to read. Quite the opposite. He has broken the book up into 31 chapters with multiple sub-headings also further dividing the chapters, which I always find makes for an easier read as it compartmentalizes in the mind the way it is formatted on the page. One of many titles made available recently at Antelope Hill Publishing, this is a kind of book that is not generally in my direct line of interest, but one that has provided a good amount of clarity on some perspectives I had but couldn’t quite articulate. Something Kerry Bolton is clearly aware of: nobody wants to read a book of plain facts, you have to tell a story with them. He does just that. One more valuable thing that can be taken away from it is that by highlighting the falsity of this cultural movement and its figures, Bolton, intentionally or unintentionally, really lands a good blow on idol-worship and the modern obsession with musicians and pop culture icons. One could argue that this existed before the 1960s but was really pushed to the next level in generation of ’68. Its important to remember that no matter what side of politics they pretend to be on, the majority of cultural influencers are fake and gay. Bolton proves without a doubt they always have been.

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