Street Fighting Years: The 1960s British Student Protests

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Tariq Ali’s Street Fighting Years depicts the 1960s British student protests regarding the struggles in Vietnam and was one-sided when it comes to violence during the protests (that one side being the police). However, historians and scholars have different perceptions of what was happening in regards to both violence and the real take-away from the 60s British protests.. Gerard DeGroot’s “Street Fighting Men” is probably the most contrasting of the sources I’ve read. DeGroot writes about protests all around Europe in 1968 and seems to have the belief that the protests were mainly to fight the cultural norms of their parents. When reading the article, DeGroot sounds like an old man complaining about the ‘rebellious youth.’ When discussing the anti-Vietnam war protests in Britain in March and October of that year, he claims any idea of …show more content…

He wrote, “The VSC wanted a wholesale transformation of society and… believed wholeheartedly in the revelatory powers of violence.” DeGroot claims the protesters threw sticks and stones at the police, which are never mentioned in Street Fighting Years so it’s unclear if that happened or if it was an idea spread by media. DeGroot throws a jab at Mick Jagger before explaining his point in this section of his article. He says that the violence of the radicals did the opposite of what they wanted. Instead of gaining support for their cause, people looking in horror at the violence. However, Tariq Ali says that a poll conducted after the March protests revealed that the majority of people were opposed to US policies in Vietnam and 20% wanted a victory for North Vietnam. Even more contrasting statistics is brought up in Nick Thomas’ “Challenging Myths of the 1960s: The Case of Student Protest in Britain.” In May 1968 a Gallup

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