Mark Rudd, radical leader

Mark Rudd, born 1947, was a prominent leader in both the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weathermen.
In 2009 he published a memoir of his time as a radical (eventually leading an underground life as a fugitive from law enforcement),
Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen (Amazon, at Rudd’s web page).

What follows are some excerpts from Rudd’s Underground.

page 23

The Holocaust had been a fact of my entire childhood, though I was born two years after World War II ended.

The Holocaust brought me to the knowledge that evil exists and that it is associated with racism;
that’s what Nazi anti-Semitism was.

pages 32-33

I had been “sexually active,” as Ann Landers refers to fucking, since I was fifteen.
My first girlfriend was not a girl at all, but a married woman, Karen, age twenty-seven, who had a kid.
I’d go over to her house after school, and we’d make love quickly, before her daughter came home an hour later.
It was dynamite for my ego.
Within just a few years of puberty, I’d achieved my masturbatory fantasy of being inside a woman.
Sex was a great thrilling mystery to me and remains so to this day.

Fear of pregnancy, the dark side of my adolescent dream, had been eliminated because the Pill had just come onto the market.
The setup was perfect, except for the small matter of her potentially jealous husband, who never did find out.
I didn’t feel the least bit guilty toward the husband, whom I never met, but I did feel funny because I knew I really didn’t love Karen.
I had read in novels about sex without love, but I was still surprised at how easily the two are disconnected.
We continued off and on for almost two years, until I discovered girls my own age.

I was overweight and soft, a lonely, nerdy kid, but I felt like somebody special when I was in bed with a woman.
While other teenage boys were out proving themselves on the football field or the basketball court, I had better things to do.

pages 71-2

Imagine an idealistic Jewish kid growing up in a suburban New Jersey town, always knowing the world consisted of two kinds of people: Us and Them, the Jews and the goyim.
Crossing the river to the big city and taking a places as a student at a world-class Ivy League institution [Columbia University] run by Them,
I found at the top, much to my surprise, rather slow-witted, Wizard of Oz-like characters who ran things really badly, violated their own principles, lied, put into effect both pro-war and racist policies.

pages 234-5

[referring to events in 1971, Rudd writes:]

“We brought you three thousand,” my father said.

“You didn’t withdraw the money from your account, did you?” I asked.

“No, I accumulated it in cash over the last year, from the friends in South Jersey.”

I knew what he was referring to.
Years ago, when my father had worked for the Army Exchange Service, he had helped a friend get the base PX jukebox concession.
Ever since, he had received a small cash kickback every few months.
It was the only illegal or unethical activity I’d ever heard Jake [his father] involved in.
In our family the small rake-off wasn’t even considered a crime, just a normal mode of doing business, the single atavism from an earlier, poorer time.
It came in handy now, though, to have a hidden and untraceable source of cash.

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