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Interview with Ted Glick

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McKiernan Interviews
Interview with: Ted Glick
Interviewed by: Stephen McKiernan
Transcriber: Eden Lowinger
Date of interview: 2 December 2021

(Start of Interview)

SM: 00:01
All right.

TG: 00:03
Yes. So, I have retired, started working in the, towards the end of (20)15, started working on what became eventually the "Burglar for Peace" book. I have finished the manuscript for that at the end of (20)16, I started looking for a publisher, it took two years until I found somebody willing to publish it. It took another year and a half from that point, until it finally was published. So, there was like a three-and-a-half-year period after I finished that first book. And, you know, I ended up writing, eventually, I, actually the story is that I, after I finished doing that "Burglar for Peace," when I finished that manuscript, one of the next things I did, I happened to find a bible of my father who had died about a year before. And I have never been able to read the Bible. I have been in and out of the church since I was, you know, a little kid. I have never been able to read the Bible, really, very much of it at any one time. But I decided after I looked at his Bible with like, all the markings and the underlining, maybe I should read this Bible, and I did. So, I spent four or five months reading his 2000-page Bible. And that basically got me going on further reading, eventually further writing, what eventually became another book that the title is "The 21st Century Revolution: Through Higher Love, Racial Justice and Democratic Cooperation," which that, almost half though it actually does deal with issues related to religion and spirituality, and the kind of the relationship of, you know, people coming from that perspective or perspectives with those who are essentially not religious or spiritual, or even or are even anti-religious but who also think that the world is in need of a lot of change- kind of the historical inter-relationship between kind of believers and, you know, kind of particularly people coming out of the Marxist tradition, going back to the (18)48 Communist Manifesto, and so on. So anyway, so about half the book is about that, in general terms, and the rest of it is ideas about how we can bring about changes in the world, along the lines of higher love, racial justice, democratic cooperation–

SM: 02:44

TG: 02:45
-action on climate, etc. So, so I am now the author of two books published one year after the other [laughs], which is not something I would have ever thought when I retired would ever be the case, but it just kind of happened that that is the way it worked out. I actually self-published the second book, because I just did not want to spend two more years–

SM: 03:07

TG: 03:07
-or whatever finding a publisher. So anyway, that is a new development.

SM: 03:12
Well, when would that book be in the bookstores?

TG: 03:15
Well, I do not know about bookstores, it is probably, you know, in some bookstores right now. It is definitely available via the internet. It is the I, they did not publish it, but the same company that published burglar for peace agreed to distribute this book. So, it is available at It is right there, if you just put in my name, it will come up. You can order either of my two books right there. That is the really the easiest way. And again, it may be in some bookstores, but I do not know if it is I do not know how many, probably not a lot at this point.

SM: 03:57
Well you mentioned your life, you never thought you would be writing two books. But when you look at your entire life, what a life it is.

TG: 04:04

SM: 04:05
And-and I want to start out by asking this very important for first question is, what is the meaning of an activist? And-and in this definition, who are you with respect to the definition of an activist? And when you look at some of the other greats that you have mentioned in your book, like Dr. King and Gandhi and the Berrigan Brothers, what did they possess as activists that you were always aspiring to?

TG: 04:36
Well, I do think, I define myself as an activist, but also as an organizer, and of course, as a person with kind of progressive political views. And so, you know, somebody who is an activist could be, you know, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, right. So, to me it is important to be clear, where, where the activism is going, what is the purpose of it, you know, what is the reason for it. So that is important. The, but also there is, to me, there is a difference between an activist and an organizer. An activist, could be somebody, and there certainly are people I know like this, who, you know, they like to do things that are, you know, that are reflective of their belief. They like to work in a soup kitchen feeding people, they maybe want to, they clean up parks, you know, whenever there is a park cleanup, trying to get garbage, try to clean up parks, there is that that to me, that is activism. And that is all good. But we need also organizers, people who really, and this definitely in terms of that Dr. King, and Ghandi, and Phil Berrigan, they were all people who knew how to bring other people together, how to inspire other people, how to give leadership, how to help other people find their own leadership qualities and to develop them develop, their-their other people's abilities to lead, you know, an organizer is somebody who really, really sees the bigger picture and understands that change does not happen because of individuals that do things, or even individual ideas, those are all, that is all very important. Ultimately, change happens when, when large numbers of people join together in movements, in social movements, political movements, movements for change of some kind, and, and are able to impact society, because they have joined together and because they have been able to, to bring to bring about change accordingly. In whatever way it happens.

SM: 07:03
You bring up throughout your book in many different examples, the importance of community. That and bringing people together of like minds for a particular cause. But by having community you also find people who are, may disagree with you, but will create a dialogue with you. And-and I think that was very important to say, because when you think of the country we live in today, and what the (19)60s was all about, there was a lot of division going on. But that division was necessary in order to get the dialogue going to try to and some of the bad things that were happening.

TG: 07:46
Yeah, no, that is a big issue of the question. I have actually been thinking about that for the last month or so as far as something I want to write a little bit more about. Because you are right, that there is a lot of similarities between the (19)60s and today in terms of the-the division that exists, and the divisions. But you know, not-not all divisions are bad things, right. When you, uniting a people who have the ideology, you know, of Donald Trump. I mean, their really deep ideology and who worship the guy- uniting people like that with, you know, people like me, people who believe that, you know, Black lives do matter, etc. You know, that is not really likely. People do change. I mean, there are examples of Ku Klux Klan leaders who literally have torn up their Ku Klux Klan cards and have kind of gone over to the other side, as they have come to realize what they were believing and doing was wrong. That does happen. But-but you know, in general, when-when you have that much of a gulf between what people believe in and what they do and what their-their vision of society is, it is, it is important actually for the things it for it to be clear about the differences that exists. Very important. You know, one of the things that I have experienced working politically in the United States is that a lot of other countries allow for multiple political parties. They use systems of proportional representation, where you when you are voting, or a parliament or Congress, you can vote for X individuals, but you also get to vote for a party. And parties that get a certain percentage of the vote, usually it is 5 percent. You know, if you if you show that you are organized enough and have enough of a social base that you can get 5 percent of the vote, then you then you will end up. Yeah, thing 5 percent of the seats in the parliament, which, you know, we call the Congress. That is a much more democratic system. And that, I think, is something that, you know, we need to strive for in this country. In this country, when you have only two parties, there is always this, this tendency to try to mishmash you just, to get anything done there is, there is a tendency for things to kind of be pushed towards the more-more lowest common denominator, when what is really needed is much more significant change than just kind of the lowest common denominator. And having a political system that really reflected the-the different political perspectives that do exist in this country, I think would be helpful. I mean, I do believe, again from experience, that compromise, when you are talking about legislation, certainly, but even when you are talking about building a movement, compromise is something that is real. The key the trick is that, you know, you cannot compromise principles. You can compromise on tactics- -you can compromise on, you know, the particularly, particularities of a solution to a problem. But you cannot compromise on principles. And there is, without question, a long history among people who are on the left, people who are about a different kind of society that is more just, more fair, more peaceful- getting into power, and essentially compromising principles, compromising so much that they essentially become corrupt. They become corrupt leaders. And that is a real problem. That is a real major issue that the second book that I wrote, in many ways, I wrote that book, trying to address that issue, what-what is it that leads to, you know, good causes really good causes going bad, and a lot of it has to do with-with that happening, leaders are getting divorced from the people that they are representing or trying to represent. And leaders just getting caught up in their own individual power, and losing sight of what it was that got them involved in the first place. And in this in this second book, 21st century revolution, I do put forward ideas on how we can build a very different kind of a movement today that I actually think is happening, I do not think it is something in the future. I think it actually is going on right now, a different kind of a movement that that has the kind of internal culture and goes about its whole processes of decision making, and the way it structures itself, to kind of minimize the possibilities of that, that kind of thing happening going forward. It is a huge issue. I mean, anybody who has studied history knows that this is just, you know, a lot of what history is about. Good causes going bad, good people going bad, personal corruption. That is, that is part of the human condition. And but it does not have to be that way. I really do not think it has to be that way. Right. That, it is excellent because you mentioned several times in your book, how movements for gr- for very noble causes can sometimes fall apart because of disagreements within the community. And the community I talk about, the examples you talk about is the Students for Democratic Society. Right.

SM: 13:48
And the and then the, going away from non-violence toward violence, really kind of ended that particular group and turned people off. And, and you know, and that also happened somewhat in the American Indian Movement where great causes, but then all of a sudden violence took over and because of this AIM, which started in (19)68, did not live as long, although it still exists for very good causes. But you know, that when you start going from non-violence to violence, that can just ruin it right away.

TG: 14:24
Yeah. Yeah. No, no question about it. I-I yeah, I mean, actually, your what you said is just-just right. I guess, the what I would deepen it though a little bit. It is definitely the issue of a commitment to a nonviolent approach versus an openness to violence. But I am actually not a pacifist. I do not own a gun, I have actually never fired a gun with the exception of a camp that I went to when I was a teenager and I would shoot a 22 at targets. And also, when I was in the boy scouts, I think I did a little bit of that then. So, I am not into guns, I am not into violence, I am very much into-into non-violence on a personal level and in terms of the movement that that I am building. But I definitely, for example, I and I referenced this person in my, definitely, in this latest book, I am not sure about Burglars for Peace. But Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Germany was a, he was a pacifist, you know, Lutheran minister, a leader in the German Lutheran Church. And because Hitler was so evil, and because of everything that was happening in Germany, eventually became part of a plot to assassinate Hitler, working with disaffected people in the military and the universities and so on. So, I am not, so in that sense, it is it, it is not necessarily in every single case, violence versus non-violence, I think, to me, it is, it is deeper, it really does have to do with this issue of, of, of personal values, and whether you are going to stick to your personal values and have. I mean, really, for some people, for religious people, it is whether you believe in God and whether you follow, whether you put God and what he, what he stands for what-what or she, this, this thing that we call God, this, this greater force in the universe- whether that is the priority, right? If that is what if that is the number one thing that you are trying every day, to live your life by, by that standard, right, that you trying to, you know, love your neighbor as yourself in a very literal way, and in the way that you interact with other people, in the way that you talk to people, in the way that you communicate, in the way that you work together in an organization to make decisions. Right, you do not, you know, you are not coming from added from an individualistic standpoint that, you know, I want to get my get things my way I want to kind of get, manipulate somebody to get them to go along with me or something along those lines, that it really is a genuine understanding of connections, right. That there are human connections, connections to the natural world, connections to people, you know, who have come before us and people who are coming after us- that those, all of those connections are really what make us, can make us the kind of people that we can be, I mean, that I know we can be, from my own experience. That there is, there are many people who do take those values seriously, whether they are religious or spiritual or-or not at all, they take values of concern for others, of trying to love other people, of trying to be just in your dealings and fair and honest. That is, that is, to me, that is, that is, that is the deeper need, that we have all of us who want to change the world that we need to, you know, not just be-be that way on an individual basis. But we need to talk about this, you know, in this book that, the second book that I wrote, in the research I did, I came across some really good stuff from Albert Einstein. I am kind of looking up right now, what I am hoping for here. You know, Einstein, what, he was not an atheist. He said he was not an atheist. But he also said he did not believe in some, in the conception of God that many people believed in. His was more what he called a kind of a cosmic religion. But one of the things he said, a great quote, it is very short here. That, here it is. And he, you know, he kind of writes more about this, but kind of, here is, here is kind of, to me, the punch line. He is talking about the necessity of a human societies having a, an ethical and a moral approach to-to, you know, to the development of society. And he, he relates that to the just the dominance of the scientific method and science as being you know, what was, back when he was alive was very much, much more of a dominant current, that science is kind of everything. That is the key on understanding being scientific. So here, this is like this couple sentences here. He said this in (19)51. He said quote, "A positive aspiration and effort for an ethical, moral configuration of our common life is of overriding importance. Here, no science can save us." And I have had definitely experience over, you know, the years that I have been active, with people who have essentially seen themselves as very scientific, everything needs to be just objective scientific, etc. But there is a dimension to life that is more than science. You know, again, Einstein talks about that. He talks about the-the mysterious, the sense of awe and grandeur that you can get when you are out in nature. That that that to him is kind of like a way that we, you know, sense this greater force that people call God that there is this greater power, greater force in the universe. And it is important that people do not lose that, do not lose that that sense of wonder, that is the I mean, Jesus talked about to enter into heaven, you need to be like a child, right. A child who is just kind of, you know, amazed at everything that he or she, you know, experiences as they are growing up. And it is just a whole, a joy, and an interest, and so on.

SM: 21:34
This is what, some of those comments, there just, it can link up to your life. In the early part of your book, you talk about those early years when you were growing up with your parents. And then of course, going off to college, I looked at, you know, for any young person or trying to find his or her way in life, it is a great book, because you are a perfect example, and a role model of a person whose evolving is ongoing, yet you had a lot of uncertainties at times, but you found your way. And in life's journey, in the end, even with some of the discussions you had with your parents, it was your way, it was not their way, it was your way, you found your way. And if you could talk a little bit about those early years, growing up in Lancaster and, you know, your upbringing with your parents, and then going off to college and, and in particular, discuss what was going through your mind at college with respect to what was become- what was happening at the time on college campuses and linkage with the society in the United States and the world, linked to the Vietnam War. And of course, in our country, Civil Rights, the draft, the multiple movements that were evolving for gay and lesbian, Chicano, African American, women's movement. You know, those kinds of things. They were all happening when you were in college, and they were obviously, you were going to things, hearing speakers, talking to your peers, but you were trying to find yourself. Could you kind of describe that a little more in detail?

TG: 23:18
Yeah, sure. Well, you know, growing up before I went to college, I did have the benefit of being part of a family, which was, of course, primarily my parents. It also did include aunts and uncles and grandparents. I again, I have, had the real privilege of on both sides of my family, having those connections, family reunions, that went on a lot and visits to, to, you know, my aunts and uncles and my getting to know my cousins and so on. And within that family, the two the two families, the-the Glicks on my father's side, and the Zieglers on my mother's side, you know, the things I am talking about were generally the way people viewed the world, there was a real strong strain of the importance of an ethical, and a moral life of a lot of the best of Christian principles. So that that was, I was not an activist at all, when I was in, in high school. You know, I was just, you know, doing sports, that was my big thing. You know, pretty good students. things here and there, I had my friends. But I was following things. My-my, my parents, particularly my father, was active, to some extent in the local civil rights movement in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, although for some reason he never talked very much with either me or my two sisters about it that I remember. He just, I think he had a view that essentially, I had to make my own way. And he really did not talk to me much at all about what he was doing or why he was doing it even although, again, I the values I understood were, that was what was underlining it. And I do have memories of my father explicitly saying things to me about it, there-there was one time in I think Chicago when I was maybe four or five, and we were at the at a at the beach, I guess it must have been Lake Michigan and somebody must have used the N word close to where we were. And I think I asked him, "What does that mean?" He says, "well, Ted, I do not ever want to hear you use that word." And then he kind of explained what, what, what it meant and why it was the wrong thing to say, and so on. So certainly, those-those things happen. I remember another time, my dad and I had gone up to a hockey game, I was maybe 15 or 16. And we were in Lancaster, we went to Hershey, Pennsylvania, there was a minor league hockey team there. And every once in a while, we did that. And I just remember one time, we were driving in the car, listening to the radio, and there is some story about like, you know, poverty in you know, in the world, how many people were in poverty, and so on. And my dad just made this very short comment about Ted, there is something that you could maybe do with your life. And I, that is that, that is stuck with me all these years, which has to mean that it had an impact on me. So, there were things, so there are things like that that happened that again, it was not so much politics, it was values. That, that is what I got more than anything from my parents and from my bigger family. So that then when I went off to college, and you know, there I am, you know, the whole, I mean, I had been following the Civil Rights Movement as I was kind of growing up and becoming a teenager, and I certainly was supportive of the Civil Rights Movement in a general sense, without doing anything. My dad did take me to hear Martin Luther King once, when he came to speak at a at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster. So, you know, I had some exposure to that, and was definitely sympathetic and supportive of, you know, Black people being treated equally, and having equal rights and voting rights and everything else that was not, it was not hard to support that, again, based upon how I was raised. When I have got to college, because of the Selective Service system and the necessity to register, that brought the issue of war and militarism much more, you know, it came home to me. I did decide to register. At that point, I did not even know that there was such a thing as a draft resistance movement, that was urging young men not to register as a way to protest the war. I did not know that when I when I registered in (19)67. But I did learn about it at college in my freshman year, and I increasingly, as I was learning more about the war and studying more about, you know, the history of, you know, African Americans in this country, I was definitely becoming more and more upset about all of that. Definitely upset when the TV news literally seemed like almost every day would give the body count, number of killed and it was in the hundreds every day, hundreds of people being killed. And I had done the study to realize that the United States was just wrong in what it was doing. It essentially had gone in right after French colonial colonialism in Indochina had been defeated. And the people there were in the process of trying to run their own country from, or countries. And the US had gone in to basically replace France as this colonial power in it. And everything had just gotten totally out of hand with the escalation and so many people being killed and just the devastation. So, I was torn up about that, I was really torn up. Eventually, that led me to turning in my draft card, led me to leaving college to work full time against the war primarily and that eventually led the course to the Catholic left and going into draft boards and storing draft files into prison and so on. So that was, that was kind of the that was, that was the, that was a trajec- trajectory very much based in how I was raised. Things I experienced, you know, growing up and then being exposed when I got to college to issues that I, you know, and people there in college who had views that I had had very little contact with. And that is how I changed.

SM: 29:56
Well, one of the- one line in in your book that really stood out- and there are many lines- but it is this one sentence. And it is when you describe that the-the event that changed your life was the event on April 4 (19)68.

TG: 30:15
Yeah, that was it. That was one of them. You know, Martin Luther King was killed. That was what finally pushed me. That turned me into an activist. That literally was the day I became an activist. And I have been going ever since I just, I was going in that direction, moving towards it. My thoughts were more and more along those lines, but I was not doing anything. I was, I guess, afraid. It was like a step into the unknown. Maybe I knew, I maybe I had some sense that if I did this, you know, who knows what would, I would become, but it just all built up that that that was the point at which I said, "Well, maybe they killed him. But you know, I can maybe do what I can." And I had, I felt I had to do something, it was like I was driven, I had to do something. So, I put up this little petition on the wall of the mail room where everybody got their mail, all the students got their mail, this was of course before the age of the internet. And about half the students signed it within a couple of days. And I sent it off to the to like Mike Mansfield, I believe, who was the Speaker of the House, and I forget who the person was in the Senate, I sent it off to them. Basically, calling upon-upon them to take action to change the conditions that Dr. King was trying to change. And then I you know, at that it just continued from there. And you-you know, I have never, I have never regretted the way for doing all of this. I have I have met people just recently, actually. Earlier this year, I was visiting my son and daughter in law and our, at that point, like three-month-old grandson. And I was talking with somebody, a friend of my son and daughter in law about, you know, my life and what I have been doing. And he, he was, you know, he had read my book, he had read my "Burglar for Peace “book. And he, you know, his, his feeling was that, you know, I had just made all these sacrifices, and I was probably alone, a lot of the time and etc. And my wife who has a kind of similar background to mine in terms of being an activist and an organizer for a long time. We said, "Well, not-not really." I mean, I said "we, when we embarked on the life that we did, we found there were other people who saw things the same way. And over time, you know, we developed friendships and connections that were very helpful and gave us support. And we joined organizations and networks." And that has been true ever since it is not, it is not as if it is not like there has not been really difficult times, times when I have had doubts, no question about that. I mean, that continues today. But in general, I feel really lucky to have had the experiences that I have that I did. And to come to this kind of a life. I I am very lucky.

SM: 33:20
I know that when the funeral was on TV for Dr. King, they showed the audience and Bobby Kennedy was sitting there. And the sun was coming through at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and it was landing right on him. And when he was killed a coupl- two months later on June 5 of (19)68, you know, I thought of that. Yeah, and I know you are working for him and so that must have shocked you too.

TG: 33:53
Yeah, that was definitely another big turning point that that was, you know, after Dr. King was killed. Yeah, I went to work for Bobby Kennedy. I was very much, you know, into activism. After, you know, and, and working for Bobby Kennedy was the main way that I was doing it. After he was killed two months later, I felt hopeless. I felt like, geez you cannot even like get somebody elected president who you support? I mean, what is happening to this country? You know, you had Richard Nixon spouting off all that he was spouting off, Spiro Agnew, all these really right winger, George Wallace. I mean, it was very similar to the dynamics today, it really was. The atmosphere was very similar to what is happening now with Trump and all the Trump followers and so I-I kind of look upon that as my, my summer of being radicalized. It was when I, as I said and say in my book, it was when I-I discovered Bob Dylan and I started listening to, you know, all his protest songs. And the one that I just stuck on was "Masters of War." That was someone that just really was so just right there in terms of my mood, you know. I actually, just a week or two ago, I was out riding my bike, I ride my bike kind of long-distance biking, I do that a few times a week. And, and every once in a while, something happens when I am riding my bike, something comes to mind. I mean, actually, a lot of times things come to my mind that I are kind of helpful in terms of just either my work, or just-just appreciating more about life or who I am. So, one, so one of the things that came to mind was that song Masters of War is that there was something that had happened I forget which-which particular outrage it was, it made me feel like, "Oh, my God, is there, what is happening to this country, is there any real hope?" So, you know, that next morning, I, that song just kind of reappeared it kind of came up from within me. And I just started while I am on my bike, trying to remember that versus just the anger and outrage, and they have kind of the agony of that song. And yeah, and it is, and it is, and it is still through the day, but-but the things are different today, there is, there are definitely differences between-between back then and today, and in a good way. It remains to be seen, who is going to win out right now, the forces of evil and the forces of try, trying to do things in a just way. I mean, that remains to be seen, but there are differences that are much more I would say in the favor of the good guys. That was true back then. And actually, what you said about what happened with SDS is a good example. You know, you have a you have a very strong movement among young people here, not just in the United States, but worldwide, you know, young people, particularly around the issue of a climate crisis, but not just that. They are, they are definitely in motion, they definitely see that need to take action, the need to speak out, to get organized. And there is nothing that I have seen that comes anywhere close as far as you know, the-the dynamics within that youth movement, to what happened back there, 50, 50 years ago–

SM: 37:31

TG: 37:31
-particular, particularly with SDS, there is nothing like it, nothing close to it. There is a more maturity, I would say among these young people, they understand the importance of community. They are not into kind of nihilistic adventuristic violent actions, because they are feeling so terrible and hopeless. You know, that is, that is, that is very important. That is very important.

SM: 37:54
You know, you lost two people that were probably heroes to you in Dr. King, and Bobby, and of course, many, you know, we are the same age and the front edge boomers are certainly affected by this. But they were also affected by the assassination of the President, United States in (19)63.

TG: 38:13

SM: 38:14
And I have often wondered, and I do not know if you thought of this a lot, I have- what that assas- assassination did in (19)63, and the two in (19)68. And I also put in there, Malcolm X and (19)65. And there is Medgar Evers, and the list goes on and on. It, what does this say about America?

TG: 38:39
Well, there is a very deep strain of white supremacy, racism, violence. You know, kind of a libertarianism kind of individualism, actually more than a libertarianism, very much individualism. There is a lot of that, for sure. And again, we see it in what exists right now. You know, this, this country has, the history of the US is a history in many ways of struggle between those who, you know, want to keep it, you know, something dominated by white men, white, rich, white men of property, right. And we see that today. The whole Republican Party. It is astounding, you know, in terms of the who is in Congress, virtually the whole Republican Party, that is their agenda. How do we maintain the rule of rich white man, [inaudible] straight men, right? That is, that is, that is what they are about. It is all about power. Principle is just in short supply. And then, you know, you have those on the left side of things who are in various different ways- there is all kinds of differences- but in various kinds of ways are trying to make a, quote, "more perfect union," trying to change the society. I mean, that is what the history of the US has been about starting with the Bill of Rights and the struggle over, you know, the Bill of Rights right after the revolution. And then, of course, the Civil War, the slavery and the women's suffrage movement and the labor movement of the (19)30s. You know, peace movements along the way, and the whole emergence of the LGBTQ movement in the late (19)60s on a on a mass scale and disability rights. I mean, just that, that is, that is the struggle in this country. And there really are, I do believe, and I think generally polls show this, there is a lot, there is definitely more people who want to move things forward, than there are people who want to basically go back to the old way of Jim Crow, and segregation And women being essentially second class citizens and gay people, you know, be trying to push them back into the closet and all those, that that whole social cultural dynamics, women not having the right to make decisions about their own bodies, in terms of children [inaudible], having children, all those things. I definitely believe that there is many more of us than there are of them. But you know, that does not necessarily mean as we can see right now with the laws that are being passed, they it is all over the country to suppress the vote when you look at the-the who is on the Supreme Court because of the machinations of Mitch McConnell–

SM: 41:41

TG: 41:42
-to prevent people from being nominated who should have been or who should not have been, you know, when it comes to what is, what is her name? Amy, Amy Coney Barrett, what one month before the election, all of a sudden, you know, she is put forward things like that.

SM: 42:00

TG: 42:01
So yeah, that is the history. And, you know, it is maybe that is the history of the world. I mean, if you look at what is happening in the world, it is just this constant battle between the forces of progress and moving forward.

SM: 42:14
Yep, I agree.

TG: 42:14
And those who just-just want to want to stay stuck in basically backwardness, you know, cultural and political backwardness.

SM: 42:23
I always thought that in the (19)60s when we were young, and this whole kind of utopian idea that-that the future would all be steps going forward. And now we hear so many times people saying we are taking two steps forward, and then we have to take one step backward. It you know, it is amazing. I like to talk to you about the on Ultra Resistance, the Catholic left and–

TG: 42:23

SM: 42:25
-certainly, in your book, you talk about the two important qualities that they that united them. First off, they were, they were believed in the Catholic Church's principles. But number two, is their- their reluctance and their protests against events like the Vietnam War and the draft, that it was the draft that united them. And could you talk a little bit about your experience with your draft card? And number two, you mentioned David Harris. I have interviewed him and-and I have interviewed some other people like David [inaudible], who was in that group in New York City that burned his draft card. Could you talk about the importance of the draft in really inciting people to the activists? Come–

TG: 43:39
Yeah no, no question back there in the (19)60s, the draft and the movement against the draft was-was a huge thing, in terms of eventually ending the war. And in terms of more and more people, you know, seeing, you know, the faults, and the deep-seated faults and problems of the society. And all the other movements, really the kind of, kind of emerged out of the Civil Rights Movement first, and then the peace movement and then everything else. I mean, the thing about a draft is that, you know, if you are a, back then if you are a young man, does not matter your color, your income, where you live, you have to register that to be part of the Selective Service system, and you are liable to be drafted. Of course, there, there were ways that you know, richer people like what happened with Trump and Bush, they were able to get into the either the National Guard in Bush's case or in Trump's case, you know, get a doctor to say that if he had, what was it, fallen arches or something with his feet. So, you know, there is definitely that is, that is all it was kind of part of the dynamic but in general, everybody was affected. The vast majority of people were affected by this and when there is a hot war with hundreds of people dying every day and people coming back in body bags and without arms and legs and with their minds really messed up and PTSD and everything else. You know, that can have big impacts upon a society and upon, you know, a whole generation of young people. So that is what happened. That is what happened when it came to the Vietnam War. I mean, this the Vietnam War was not World War Two, we were not fighting against Hitler and fascism. You know, we were kind of the opposite. We were fighting on behalf, on the side of really the some of the most dictatorial elements in the southern part of Vietnam, that, that is the ones who had actually collaborated with the French when it came to colonialism. So as-as the truth kind of eventually comes out, and people realize that this is an unjust war that we should not be in, and yet here is, here is so many young men who are liable to have to go and fight it. Yeah, over time, that-that, that it was, it was, it was, it was a context, it was a set of realities that definitely impacted your ability to build a big strong movement.

SM: 46:15
How did you feel? How did you feel inside when you yourself were [inaudible] going in front of people, regarding your card?

TG: 46:25
I am sorry, what was that about going before people?

SM: 46:28
Yeah, when people saw it, when you, you, you know, if you are on stage, or mailing your card in or whatever it was, what was going through your mind?

TG: 46:38
I was just so angry, and so upset. That was the dynamic that was driving me. I-I was a shy kid growing up. I mean, I really was. I mean, I was actually really shy in a lot of ways. When I was no longer a kid, for quite a while. I am less shy now, finally. But you know, I, it is like, the war consumed my life. I mean, it just consumed me, it was something that I could not forget. And it was just such a monstrous evil. That, you know, I know, I knew some people who, you know, were going to Vietnam, who were threatened with it, you know, it was just this all-consuming thing. And I was not the only one that-that was true for. Again, that is, that is why you had a direct Resistance Movement develop and why you eventually have a Catholic left develop with more militant actions. Yeah, I think- thinking. I mean, the thinking was, you know, what you did when you were trying to understand, you know, reading books and trying to write what it is all about. But then at a certain point, you know, I mean, you obviously had to keep thinking about what-what should you do, what you should do. But, you know, Bonhoeffer had a really, really good, good statement, he said, something about he was like, he was writing to a young person from prison, he said something like, "your generation..." No, it sounds like we have "We have spent too much time in thought, and, and debate, believing that, that is the way we should be about living our lives for you." He is saying, to this young person, "Your thinking will be much more related to your responsibilities in action."

SM: 48:42

TG: 48:43
There was like a connection between thinking and action that he made. And that is all that stuck with me, that that quote always stuck with me. I think that is the way I am. I think I continue to be like that. I do a lot of thinking, that is for sure. But I eventually do feel it is really important for us to go somewhere and not just kind of be out there.

SM: 49:04
It is the importance of deeds over dreaming.

TG: 49:07

SM: 49:08

Of what could be, let us make it by doing it through deeds.

TG: 49:11 Yeah.

SM: 49:11
I, your discussion of prison, and all those experiences in prison, I think are important too. Because I can remember and you, your- you really loved Dr. King, he often talked about if you are not willing to go to jail for your beliefs, then maybe you do not really have beliefs. And, and of course, the letter from Birmingham jail is one of the greatest things ever to read. And I am, I am a firm believer in that. And so, you have to take that risk. And there are too many people in this world who are indifferent and silent, fearful of losing their security and so forth. And all of that goes away when you create a deed like you have done in your life and other activists have done. Your thoughts about, you know, Dr. King, and that whole philosophy about, you must be willing to go to jail for your beliefs.

TG: 49:31
Right. Yeah. I have to think where to begin. You know, jail is certainly not a fun place to be. The reality is, of course, that overwhelmingly, the people who are in jail are people who come from low income, low wealth backgrounds who are Black or indigenous or Latino. That is, that is certainly the reality in the United States. So, you know, jail can be romanticized, it is not, it is, it is, it is a hard place to be day to day for sure. But if you are unwilling to take risks of going to jail, if you are unwilling to basically voluntarily suffer. You know, fasting is another example, you know, you are, you are, you are almost taking away a very important weapon, you know, a nonviolent weapon that we need to have. There is a, there is a lot of history that shows that when people are willing to take risks, when they are willing to step out of kind of their usual kind of roles in society, when they are, when they are willing to, you know, to go to jail if necessary, for an important cause, that, that is, that is definitely a component of building a successful movement for change. If you do not, if the people who believe in something are only willing to go so far, you know, it kind of gets picked up on by others that well, yeah, your ideas are good, but it is not that important, or probably not going to happen et. cetera, you know, there is this need for, it is almost like a disruption of the routine. There is a need for something to be introduced into a dynamic that is new and different, that makes people think, you know, make people think, "Why would they, why would they do that? Why would they be willing to go to jail? Why would they get- why would they be willing to get arrested or not eat for days or weeks?" So that, that, that is, that is, it is an important component of societal change. I mean, probably the best example would be Jesus really, or one of the best examples. I mean, if he had been unwilling to, you know, stick with it, and he knew what he was getting into when he was going there to Jerusalem. He knew what the risks were, were, he may have known exactly what was going to happen if you believe certain things about Jesus, but you are cert- there is no question just historically that he was he was very smart man and he knew what he was risking, and, but he stuck with it. And he did not run. He was willing to face it. And look what has happened because of his courage.

SM: 53:20

TG: 53:20
His willingness to do that.

SM: 53:21

TG: 53:22
Look, what-what, what exists worldwide. You know, there is a lot of corruption. There is or there is certainly been a lot of corruption, a lot of bad dynamics within organized religion, certainly Christianity with both Catholic and Protestantism. And you have like, right wing conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists who just really distort the truth, the really certainly what Jesus was all about, the Old Testaments kind of another story, it is much more of a mixed bag. But certainly, when it comes to Jesus and his life, there is a lot of distortion of what he really was about that goes on. But-but you know, another person like that, that has been important to me is that James Connolly, who was a leader of the Irish Freedom Movement, he was also a socialist and a labor organizer in the, I guess, the late (18)00s, early (19)00s. He was part of the Easter Uprising in (19)60s, in Ireland, and he-he was not, he was captured with others, when that uprising failed, and, you know, I-I read a biography of his and, you know, he was he was a socialist, but he also was a Christian. He did have religious beliefs. He was also a feminist very interestingly, he got, in many ways he was he was kind of ahead of his time, in terms of a lot of man, a lot of people, a lot of men on the left actually. And, and he would write about and he-he felt that there, there that in terms of again, moving the process forward of social change- in his case, trying to get independence for Ireland from Britain and for a more just society- that was much more respectful of working-class people and so on, that some people were going to have to take risks and maybe die. And he ended up, he ended up being killed because of those beliefs and his willingness to act on them. You know, there is a saying, I am not sure I am going to get it quite right. But it is something like, if you do not, if you are not, if you are not willing to, if your beliefs are such that you are not willing to die for them, your beliefs, beliefs are probably not very deep. That is not quite right. But I think that is true.

SM: 54:19
Oh, okay. Yeah. I know that you have talked in depth about the trials that the ultra-resistance went through, particularly the Harrisburg Nine and the Catonsville Trials, could you describe the lessons that you learned from these trials, and how important they are when trying to, you know, let the world know that the issues that you are trying to reach out to the world to get to know better?

TG: 56:25
Yeah, well you know, it is really, really interesting that you are raising that now. I was just part of a trial. A one-one week ago, today, November 12, in Wilmington, Delaware, I was part of a grandparents' walk, walk for our grandchildren. We went from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Wilmington, this was late June of this year. And you know, calling upon, you know, President Biden to be a strong leader on issue of climate and social justice. And at the end of the of this, it was like eight days of a walk and sometimes driving in between Scranton and Wilmington, 15 of us got ourselves arrested in front of a major complex of Chase Bank, at the credit card headquarters for Chase Bank and the United States. And Chase Bank happens to be the number one financer of the fossil fuel industry in the world. And they have been they have been that for the last five years, there has been reports that have come out analyzing banks and their role in financing, you know, new gas, new oil, new coal, and so on. And so, we-we had this action. And we were offered, paying 10, a $10 fine, and then that would be the end of it. And most of us decided not to take that offer we decided we wanted to have a trial, insist on our right to a trial. So, we had, we had one a week ago. And the thing that we did in that trial, that is the same as that I and others did in, in my first trial in Roches- Rochester, New York. This was in (19)70, one of the draft board raids was in Rochester, New York, and in (19)70, and seven of the eight of us defended ourselves. We were our own lawyers, and what we found during that trial, and then what we found just a week ago, was that our doing that, you know, and we were prepared, we did have a lawyer who was an advisor who was involved with us but, you know, we were our own lawyers, essentially. And in both cases, the use of that tactic of being a defendant defending themselves, really, really opened up the courtroom, it made it possible to bring in the information and kind of backed, stuff that backed up our claim that what we were doing, what we did may have broken the law but it was not a crime, or that there was or that there was a much greater crime that we were addressing. In the case of the Rochester trial, it was the Vietnam War in particular. In the case of this trial a week ago, it was climate change, climate disruption and the role of Chase Bank being a major enabler of the expansion of fossil fuels, which of course is the driver of climate change.

SM: 59:34

TG: 59:34
And you know, we were really very effective at getting stuff in, the judge, this kind of justice of the peace judge was a woman. We were surprised really how much we got in and it was because we were organized. We actually were respectful. We were not going in there to disrupt the courtroom. We really wanted to make our case. So, so my less- you know, it was kind of driven home again to me this lesson that the court, the court can be a place where you can, again, really have impacts, have real impacts on people where you can show, you know, really-really, it can be a platform for speaking and for putting forward your beliefs and articulating, articulating them. And that and-and that there is something behind them, you are not just kind of talking. You are there because you took an action, you were willing to do something with your belief and risk, you know, time in jail. And so, yeah, I definitely in terms of a life lesson, I do believe that people, people being willing to do a nonviolent civil disobedience, and being willing to then go to trial, and, and defend the action and get at the "why" of why the actions happened to the extent that, that is done well, that that can be a very, very effective technique and a tactic in building a movement for the kind of change we need.

SM: 1:01:15
That was brilliantly said, very- I want to ask also about the sections on your prison life. What did you learn in prison?

TG: 1:01:27
Well, the- you know, the number one thing I would say is, I, you know, when you are in prison, you know, you are a prisoner. Generally, you do not have a lot to do during the day, you know, most cases the jobs that are available that you are assigned to, is really not a lot of work to do, they kind of make work. So you have a lot of time just to observe. And one of the things that I observed in the prisons that I was in over the, just about a year that I was going to prison was the kind of the structure of things, how they work that you had this whole hierarchy of, you know, you had the warden at the top on the top, then you had kind of the guards with their officers, they were kind of a next level. Then, of course, you had some other staff there at the prison. But then even among the prisoners, like I particularly saw this at Danbury prison. Danbury, you had a setup where they were, the best, most of the people at Danbury, including me, lived in dormitories where there was like 50 to 100 people in one big room, with your, with your bed and your locker. Essentially, that was what you had, where you could keep stuff in your locker. And, but there were there were individual rooms, that you could say were kind of like cells, but they tend to be more like rooms, you know, they were locked at night, that kind of thing. But I noticed that those rooms which were, the better, better housing accommodations went to primarily the more white collar white, you know, people who have broken the law, the criminals, the people who were there for white collar crime, those were primarily who got those. So I saw that. And then I saw basically, the rest of the kind of the prison society of course, which was the prisoners, who in the case, of Danbury, again, you know, many Black and Latino, many work working class whites, low income, whites, in vast majority of cases. So just-just the kind of the class dynamics the kind of the structure of how the prison society worked. I just realized that it was pretty similar to how society is structured here. And in the outside world, it is different, you know, it is not as stark, of course, because you are in, you are not in prison, can tend to be hidden. But you-you, you have a similar a similar dynamic here in terms of kind of various classes. So that was, that was one that was one big thing that, for me, came out of prison. On a personal level, I would say it was very valuable in terms of particularly my interactions with-with Black people, you know, I had-had very little contact before going to prison with, you know, individuals, you know, Black-Black people where I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it was overwhelmingly white, very, very few, very, very few Black or you know, Latino people were where I lived and where I went to school, but in prison it was different. And so I developed friendships. And, you know, I just basically came to learn that, you know, basically we are all the same ultimately you know, there are differences in culture, there is certainly differences in the way society structures things in terms of poverty and classes and so on. But underneath it all, we all are really the same in terms of our desires, our fears, our anxieties, etc. I just, I just learned that by interacting on a daily basis with people who, you know, I had not interacted with. And I guess it was kind of true also, with kind of more lower income working class whites when I, the first prison I went to in Ashland, Kentucky was a youth prison. Because I was 21 at the time, and a lot of the of the people who were there were from Appalachia, or Appalachia, and they were there for stealing a car and they had been prison, they had been sentenced to up to six years in prison for stealing a car. And they would get out, the sooner they would get out would be when they kind of became less rebellious, and basically more adjusted and so on. But, you know, I just had more day to day interactions with kind of, you know, Appalachian, you know, young white men, and kind of a similar thing, right. So that-that was, that was definitely a really very big, positive thing for me just being exposed to people from different races, different classes or cultures. And again, seeing that whatever their views, whatever their idiosyncrasies, whatever, in some cases, they are, you know, the fact that they were really kind of messed up emotionally, acted out, things like that-that, you know, there but for fortune go I, right that, that, that anyone, I could have been any one of those people if I had been just born to, you know, different parents and a different, you know, reality. It was just luck that I ended up the way I did ultimately, and that I really needed to never forget that-that underneath it all, each of us we are pretty similar, and we want many of the same things.

SM: 1:07:18
For people that will be listening to this interview now and 50 years from now, who if you could describe these three individuals in your own words, who was Philip Berrigan, who was Daniel Berrigan and who was Eliza- Elizabeth McAllister?

TG: 1:07:40
Well, Phil Berrigan, is pretty easy. Phil was one of the best organizers I think I have ever met. You know, he was a really, he was a tough guy in a good way. He was very strong, very determined. He knew how to talk to people in a respectful way. He knew how to build community, how to bring people together, I just experienced that particularly at Danbury prison when I was there with him and with Dan Berrigan for about six months. He you know, he had his rough edges, he talks about them in his, in his own autobiography, you know, he sometimes could definitely get impatient and try to impose really, his views. But I would not say that was the main thing about Phil at all. And, you know, he really, he really took the teachings of Christianity seriously, the best of Christianity seriously and he tried to live them out in his life, particularly, I guess, after World War Two, he was exposed to a lot in World War Two. That certainly sobered him and made him realize how war is just a such a terrible thing. Yeah, that is what I say about Phil. I actually, I would also say he was somebody I learned eventually, who, even when you did have big disagreements with them that, you know, ultimately, he was able to, as I learned and I hope that I have continued to be, was that that, that differences between people in general should not be a reason why there cannot be some connection, some relationships, some way of continuing to talk and be in contact. So that was something I think, ultimately learned from Phil and kind of my own interactions with him. As far as Dan, Dan was not so much a good organizer, I mean, he did do it. He was much more of a you know, very creative, really very brilliant big picture guy. He saw things, he saw kind of a bigger picture he, I think, had a sense of history, a sense of I do not know, just-just kind of the what, the vicissitudes of life, kind of the angst, the good things, the bad things. Either roll with it. I do not know, there was kind of a depth, a depth to Dan, I would say that was not quite the same with Phil. Dan was just really wise, very wise. Very wise person. And as far as Elizabeth-Elizabeth, she was also a very determined person, she really definitely had an inner strength. She-she got involved, I think into political activity later in life. And perhaps getting into the Cath- Catholic left what she did, it was it was not I do not think it was so much her thing at that point in time. I think I would say that, she was, she was a good organizer, but not as good as, as Phil. I do not know, I honestly, I had run ins with-with Elizabeth in a way I really did not generally with Phil and Dan and ultimately, I did have run in with Dan actually. But I had more difficulty with Liz and kind of the work that we did together. So, but the thing about her is that she is stuck with it, you know. She not doing very well right now as we are speaking. I am not sure how many more years she has. But she has just been a warrior. She has like not, she has continued to take action. She was there and prisoner for what, a year and a half I believe it was for, you know, an action against nuclear weapons in Georgia. She has refused to, to give up and has stuck with it. And her perseverance is definitely an example to learn from. She was the mother as Phil was the father of three young people. I know one of them, Frida Berrigan pretty well and Frida is great. Yeah, that those-those have been my experiences and how I would see them.

SM: 1:12:51
Let me I want to, for the record, just have to Daniel Berrigan quotes here. And then I have got one quote from you. And then I will come back with another question. But this is from page 44 of your book. And this is Daniel: "A Christian can confront the law of the land. That law which protects the war makers even as it prosecutes the peacemakers. The Christians can refuse to pay taxes. They can aid and abet and harbor people like myself who are in legal jeopardy for resistance, along with AWO Wells. They can work with GIS on bases helping those young men to awaken to the truth of their condition and their society. In coffee houses or with hospitality in their homes, they can organize within their professions and neighborhoods and churches, so that a solid wall of conscience confronts the deaths makers, they can make it increasingly difficult for local draft boards to function. There are a hundred nonviolent means of resistance up to now untried, or half tried or badly tried. But the peace will not be one without such serious and constant sacrificial courageous actions on the part of large numbers of good men and women. The peace will not be won without the moral equivalent of the loss and suffering and separation, that the war itself is exacting." And then the other quote, and then I am going to have your quote as well, on page 27, and 28 here. So yeah, this is Dan again, speaking: "We say killing is disorder, life and gentleness and community and unselfishness is the only order we recognize. For the sake of that order, we risk our liberty, our good name. The time has passed when good people can remain silent, when obedience can segregate them from public risk, when the poor can die without defense. We ask our fellow Christians to consider in their hearts a question, which has tortured us night and day since the war began." The Vietnam War, "How many must die before our voices are heard? How many must be torn-tortured, dislocated, starved, maddened? How long was the world's resources be raped in the service of legalized murder? When at what point will we say no to this war? We have chosen to say, with the gift of our liberty, if necessary, our lives, the violence stops here, the death stops here, the suppression of truth stops here, this war stops here." Those are powerful words. And then, and then here is a very powerful words from you, Ted, and this is on page 21. And here it is, here: "As I as I read, and thought, the more I became first confused, then sad, then angry, and now moved to the point where I must take a stand against what I feel is ruining the lives of many young people in this country, as well as the lives of millions of people in the third world. I make this protest against death, I make this affirmation of life because I deeply believe the United States actions have caused and are causing such a high degree of suffering, and have destroyed so many lives that I must cry out against these actions, by this break, age and non-compliance with the selective service system. I do so with a feeling of inward peace now that I am no longer tied to what I consider wrong." I just want to quote these because I thought they were great thoughts from your book. Any thoughts on any of them?

TG: 1:16:49
Well, yeah, you know there really is an inward piece to living out your belief, as much as possible. I mean, the reality for a lot of people in this world is they need to survive, they need to do things to, you know, put bread on the table, pay the rent, you know, clothes for your kids and yourself, etc. That definitely means sometimes you just have to do that. And you take what you can get, if you cannot get the kind of job you would really like. So, I know that reality, and I have, I have dealt with that myself over the years in terms of, you know, finding ways of paying those bills. But-but there is an inner peace that comes from your doing as much as you can, as best as you can to change the world in whatever way that you are trying to do it. You know, whatever issue or issues with whatever perspective you have on it, you know, and that can change over time, people evolve and change as they learn more. So that, yeah, in terms of the inward peace thing, I resonate with that, that is still true. You know, I sleep pretty well at night. Like I think I, my conscience is pretty, pretty clear. I feel like I have done what I could, and that does make my life better. And I have met so many people, so many good people as a result of this work. That, you know, I never would have met otherwise. In terms of what Dan said, I really was, I was saying, yeah, that is, that is kind of a good example of what I was trying to say in terms of the kind of person Dan was. Dan, he saw the bigger picture, he understood that people come in to, in this case, the peace movement against the Vietnam War at different points in their life in terms of what they are able to do or what they are willing to do. And-and it all counts, right, all of it counts. You know, that that was very reflected in, you know, in some of what was that Dan was saying there as well as obviously, the, the kind of what I was saying in terms of how if you are willing to risk something that you believe in. That is, that is really the way of the world when it comes to how it changes, you know, good things do not happen you know, without risk, they really do not. And heart risk and hard work, no question about it. You know, the thing. Just going back to your other question, Phil, pretty much from my experience when I was with him, and working with him, and afterwards when I was not working with him for many years. That was, he was not like that so much for certainly during the Vietnam War, Phil was like, you know, "You should do more. You should, you should, you should get involved with what we were doing, that if you are really serious about stopping this war, you should go into a draft board and help us destroy draft files or remove them and burn them somewhere away from the draft board, so people do not get sent to Vietnam." He was he was, he challenged people, you know, I experienced that there in Danbury prison when he organized, what was for me my first long hunger strike, he organized a group of [inaudible] to go on a hunger strike that ended up going 34 days in connection with issues there in the prison, as well as, as the war. He kind of brought him the tiger cages in Vietnam where and then I guess women were tortured in the way they were just kept in these cells and so on, it was a big issue at the time. And he-he organized this fast around prison issues and connected to the tiger cages. Yeah, he was he was the he was a really determined leader to push as much as could be pushed and willing to take these kinds of risks. Dan took risks too, no question about it. He definitely was a risk taker, but he had that big, broader perspective. And, you know, the two of them together, were a team in a lot of ways, they brought their different strengths. And they, they, they have they did a lot back then then and it is still going on in terms of the impact that they have.

SM: 1:21:26
You also [inaudible] put in here, just briefly, the-the fact that when the anti-war [inaudible] Ultra resistance was really happening, the connection between the Catholic Church and Pope John, because, you know, anybody who studied the Catholic Church, about the Second Vatican Council remembers Pope John and I, and of course he, you know, so-so they were deep religious Catholics, which both Americans were. They are living the Bible, they are living what the Pope is saying, as well, which is, and I can remember a quote here and yours, "Make the church relevant to 20th century consciousness," and written with respect to the war, racism and poverty.

TG: 1:22:10

SM: 1:22:10
And I mean, it is so you know, and of course, the drafting, you know the draft was the other reason because of connection and the greater crime and everything, but your book is, is brilliant in so many ways, because anyone who wants to learn about the (19)60s, the anti-war movement, the Catholic Church's involvement, you put everything together, and it makes you think. And it is just tremendous. I-I just, I am, my final questions are just a few general questions. What are your thoughts on the boomer generation, the generation you belong to? These are just commentaries? So, were you positive or negative about the generation?

TG: 1:22:53
Well, you know, there was variation, it is not like you can say it is one thing, I mean, you had all kinds of, different kinds of people. I mean, I think in the sweep of history, that we, we played a very important role in trying, in helping to, to move this country in the world forward, you know, the (19)60s and into the 19)70s, that whole period was a key period in terms of-of, of changing this country. And, and it was, it was what was started then is continuing today. Take the women's movement, the women's movement, kind of the, I guess, it was called the third wave, the women's, the women's movement emerged in a lot of ways at first out of the Civil Rights Movement. You know, women who went south and risked their lives, fighting for the rights for Black people and equality for Black people. You know, eventually they came back to where they lived, their communities that were, you know, white, basically white and, and they had had their consciousness raised, and their willingness to speak up and take action, and they started doing it around sexism, and, you know, male dominance and disrespect and abuse and violence against women. And that movement, continu- that-that, you know, things have just continued since that time, there is always again these efforts that are made to move, go backwards and to strip away many of those gains that have been won. But there, there are a lot of them that are here to stay. I mean, there is clearly major changes in this country. So, you know, if you just take that issue, and then you can look at other issues, and it is similar. I think that our generation that I was part of and you were part of, we had an impact that continues. I really do believe that

SM: 1:24:51
In your view, when did the (19)60s begin, and when did it end if it did end?

TG: 1:24:58
Well, I mean for me, that began around (19)68. But that is really just for me personally. From my reading of history, it seems like it really began. I mean, you had the Civil Rights Movement, which started in the (19)50s, right? That that was really the, really the movement that got things going. That because so much came out of the Civil Rights Movement, including the peace movement, the women's movement, and so on. I guess if you are talking about a movement of the (19)60s, mid (19)60s, I would say after Johnson was elected as the peace candidate, and then within a few months, he basically becomes the war president. That that really, in terms of the antiwar movement, I would say that is when that began. That really, it did not really exist too much. There was some people, some of the some groups that like the War Resisters League and the Fellowship of Reconciliation that had been around for a long time, and they existed, but in terms of a mass movement that really was began to change society as a whole, I would say it was not until (19)65.

SM: 1:26:13
All right, one of the things that you probably heard, too, that really, of the generation, the boomer generation of 74 million, only approximately 7 percent of that group was involved in any sort of activism. I think sometimes when people mention that they, it is kind of a negative on the boomer generation, but and in respect-

TG: 1:26:38

SM: 1:26:38
-I think it is a positive because if 7 percent and do what-what they did, that is pretty good.

TG: 1:26:44
Yeah well, you know, I have read, there are people who have studied social movements very closely. And they I am forgetting some, some of the names of the people who, who did these studies, but what has kind of come out of that is that the that if 3 percent, or maybe if three and a half percent, but three, if three to three and a half percent of a population are willing to be active, to take action, to go to demonstrations, you know, to do various other things these days, it would have to do with the internet and, you know, social media, as well as demonstrations and actions, that if you have 3 percent of a society that is, that is really out there an active, that is what you need for significant social change to happen. So, if indeed, it was 7 percent, that is double that number.

SM: 1:27:37

TG: 1:27:37
So that is not so bad.

SM: 1:27:39
No, I agree. There is so many reasons why the Vietnam War ended, but what the what, in your opinion, what was the number one reason why the war ended?

TG: 1:27:49
Well, if you had, the number one reason. I would say, the GIS turning against the war, who were in Vietnam. I think that was the breaking point, you know, clearly the resistance of the Vietnamese to try to keep control of their own country. Without that, of course, things would have ended up very different, but-but certainly from the standpoint of, of the United States, it was the GI resistance that made a huge difference. Everything began to change when-when that happened. Yeah, that is what I would say.

SM: 1:28:34
The Vietnam memorial. Have you been there?

TG: 1:28:37
I have been yeah.

SM: 1:28:38
Yeah, well I know I moved back from California in (19)83. The first place I went to was the memorial, took the train down from Philly but Jan Scruggs founded the, along with some other major Vietnam veterans, the heal- and the Vietnam Memorial, and he wrote a book called The Healing of a Nation. And what role do you think that wall has done to heal the nation? I know it is healed a lot of the veterans and the families of those who died. I mean, I see it every year when I go down there. [inaudible] tremendous job, because Vietnam veterans are treated so poorly when they return home. And in (19)82, that was a mark, demarcation right there because that now there was a good feeling that they had served. Your thoughts on the importance of the wall and healing this nation from this war?

TG: 1:29:36
I honestly could not really answer that with any real knowledge. I know about the wall. You know, my sense is that the way it was done with listing all of the names of everybody who died, rather than, you know, what can often be done for these kinds of things, you know, putting a general on a horse or a general, you know, in a military vehicle or just a general up on a on a statue and, you know, that kind of a memorial or a monument. That is, that is, you know, that is a very different kind of a monument. So having all the names of everybody who died, is- was-was a was a good thing to bring home, helped to bring home the reality of war and what it does, what it does for people, [inaudible] has really major impacts on lots and lots of [inaudible]. [crosstalk] I would think that has something to do with it to the extent what you are saying is true, which I just do not know. I would think that is why.

SM: 1:30:51
Right. I, this is a criticism I heard from those who were against the anti-war movement in any of the activists in that era. How would you respond to the- this person's opinion, they are troublemakers who only care about their but their beliefs, not the beliefs of others? They are selfish and not selfless. Again, they only see a crisis from their own point of view. And these are critics of those people who are activists who challenge the system. And I quote this as well, that many times when people are hiring people today in the world of work, they want predictable people as opposed to unpredictable people. I feel activists are unpredictable, and they are the best people. Your thoughts on that? Yeah, the people that are a little different than are willing to challenge the system. And this mentality that is still out there. I mean, when Governor Rhodes was in charge of the people in at Kent State back in (19)70, you heard what he talked about, the brown shirts, the worst of our society. And of course, he you know, it was ridiculous. But just your thoughts on that?

TG: 1:32:13
Well, there were, they were definitely a minority. There were people in, I mean, it is like this for any movement, really. There were people in the peace movement, who were more frankly into it, for not the best reasons. And who, as a result, eventually, they dropped out of it, because they really should not have been there in the first place maybe or they realized that they should move on. But that, for the vast majority of people, certainly my experiences, involvement came from, from a really good place. It came out of, I mean in some cases it came just out of real personal fear of being killed or losing your leg or your eyes or being maimed for life or going crazy from being sent to war. And that is totally understandable and legitimate. But I would, I would, I would certainly say that my experience back then, and since then, is it in general, most people who get involved in these kinds of movements, you know, they are doing it for the right reason. If-if they end up, you know, kind of going off and not being such, not being the kind of people, they should be, again, it might have something to do with the leadership of these movements. That that has to be looked at. You know, you look at today, I mean, you compare Donald Trump to Joe Biden, right. And Joe Biden's really not my guy. I supported Bernie Sanders, both in (20)16 and (20)20. Although I did actually, I did a 32 day, they asked a hunger strike to defeat Trump. I did not eat for 32 days in the month October-

SM: 1:34:08

TG: 1:34:08
-last year, because I wanted to Biden to win. But you look at the difference in terms of, you know, Trump, and like the Republicans in Congress and the way so many of them are, I mean, jeez. I do not I think there is a real difference in kind of truthfulness, and the general quality of people's lives between the Republicans and the Democrats and the, and some of the progressive independents like Bernie Sanders who work with the Democrats. You know, there is, that is, you know, definitely there is Democrats who take a lot of money from, you know, big corporations, from the fossil fuel industry. And you know, I do not agree with some of that kind of an approach but in general, when it comes to movements, when it comes to people active in essentially kind of progressive movements trying to advance to a different kind of society, my experience is that you meet an awful lot of good people when you are in those movements. Not-not perfect people, but good people, good hearted people who are, who are trying, as best they can. And again, you know, I will come back to some of what I said earlier that it is our res- those of us who, you know, play leadership roles in those movements, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to have the movements, that have the organizations that are part of, that makeup those movements, that are key to those movements, be about a very different way of interacting with one another, a very different way of living our lives, of really taking building of community seriously, helping people to-to become stronger, and to develop good leadership skills themselves. You know, that-that, and we cannot be into just, you know, following individual leaders, we need to be about the importance of what is called group centered leadership. I talk about that in this new book of mine, that-that is really critical that, that if you are building an organization, you are building a movement that is about social change, if you do not have an internal culture that is all about, you know, working together, and not just putting up one person or a few people as, as the leaders, that that is this conscious process of a continual working together, growing together, developing together, trying to build that kind of a culture for the movement, if that does not happen, you know, sooner or later, things are going to go the wrong way. But they do not have to. I really think if we are conscious about that issue, that is, that is what I really tried to hit away at one of the key things in this second book of mine, then I think we, then I really do believe we can change the world. I really do.

SM: 1:37:00
I have two final questions, and then we are done. Who are the heroes of the (19)60s and early (19)70s? And who are the villains of the (19)60s and early (19)70s?

TG: 1:37:10
Well, the villains are easier. Certainly, Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover, off the top of my head that-that is those would be the two ones I would first think of in terms of villains definitely. LBJ, you know, certainly he, he was kind of a mixed bag, he did some good things in terms of support for the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and so on. But the war, he was totally taken in and very problematic. In terms of the heroes, I mean, again, clearly the two Berrigan brothers and you know, many other people who were active in that movement. Dave Dellinger, I think of Dave Dellinger, who was a good friend. He was a wonderful human being and wonderful nonviolent leader. Gosh, who else? I mean, there is your they are all there were all those different movements, the women's movement, right. I do not know who were some of the leaders in the women's movement, but in that movement, the American Indian Movement that you mentioned, Russell Banks, Dennis Means, Bella Cortes. Yeah, you had a lot of a lot of different leaders from the (19)60s. In terms of the peace movement, I guess I really would see Dave Dellinger here as being a really, really important in terms of what he was about what he stood for. And then of course, you know, Phil and Dan Berrigan, they-they were standouts.

SM: 1:38:59
My last question is because you have been obviously most of your life an activist and organizer. And, but what frustrates you the most? Because you have been a lifelong activist and-and what inspires you the most from being that lifelong activist?

TG: 1:39:21
Well, you know, I guess the frustrating thing is that so many so many days, it feels like everything is just going too slowly. You know, especially now with the climate crisis and how urgent that issue is. And there is a there is a time there is a, there is a deadline for that. I do not think we have passed it yet, but we are getting close to the tipping points, tipping points that could just lead to really horrific societal upheaval and disillusion and so on. So especially when it comes to that issue, the slowness with which change happens. That is very frustrating. I do know, one of the things that keeps me hopeful is that I do know that history does show that, you know, you have a, history usually moves through a process of social change happens, where, you know, for a long time, kind of under the surface, it seems like not much is happening, but things are happening. And then all of a sudden, you know, you never know exactly what is, what leads to it, but all of a sudden, things can change. And you can you have this kind of like a political tipping point moment, and all of a sudden, is this kind of, it is this dynamic that takes over. And that is where you can have, you know, revolutions. Sometimes a good one, sometimes they degenerate, frankly. So that, again, those are lessons we need to learn how to how to make sure that any major changes that happens stick and do not degenerate. But yeah, so and in terms of so that, so your question was about frustrations. The other was what inspires me, what inspires me is right now the young people who are coming forward, I was just on a call this morning. With two young people, I think they were both in their 20s, they are both in their 20s. We had a wonderful conversation about you know, how we can be more effective in the organizing work that we are doing. You know, there are an awful lot of really dedicated sharp young people who have learned how to work together a lot of different races and cultures involved in this kind of youth upsurge that I see that, that is definitely inspiring. You know, without-without young people being involved, it is very hard to bring about change but when young people are involved, a lot of things can change and actually much more quickly.

SM: 1:41:57
Very good. Ted, I want to thank you very much for this interview. I am going to turn the tape off now and then I will give you some final comments. Hold on a second.

TG: 1:42:05

SM: 1:42:05
Hold on. That was a long one. I just, make sure I got the, the recording just ended but I hit the, it is still recording here. I do not know why so I hit the stop. Still recording.

(End of Interview)

Date of Interview

19 November 2021


Stephen McKiernan


Ted Glick

Biographical Text

Ted Glick is an activist, organizer, and writer. After a year of student activism as a sophomore at Grinnell College in Iowa, he left college in 1969 to work full time against the Vietnam War. He was imprisoned for eleven months for his draft resistance activities during the Vietnam War. Glick has been active in the independent progressive political movement since 1975 and since 2003 has been a national leader in the climate justice movement. He is the author of several books including his most recent titled 21st Century Revolution.





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Binghamton University Libraries

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1960s; Division; Ideology; Students for Democratic Society; Violence; American Indian Movement; Individualism; Change; Prison Issue; Activism.


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Stephen McKiernan's collection of interviews includes more than two hundred interviews with prominent figures of the 1960s, which were collected between the mid-1990s and 2010s. The collection provides narratives of people who were actively involved in or witnessed events in the 1960s, an era which spurred profound cultural and… More

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“Interview with Ted Glick,” Digital Collections, accessed March 4, 2024,