October 20, 1967 – Stonybrook, NY – SUNY Stonybrook

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Forty years it’s been. In October 1967, I was an 18-year-old junior at SUNY Stony Brook, organizing students to participate in the first militant demonstration on the East Coast against the Vietnam war. At the Pentagon.

Phil Ochs — my hero — was scheduled to perform at Stony Brook that night. Many students were saying they weren’t going on the march because they wanted to go to Phil’s concert instead. SDS wrote letter after letter trying to get him to change the date. No answer. Finally — oh, how it cut my heart out — we organized a boycott of his records.

Then, of course, his manager (his brother, Michael) was quick to respond. “Go ahead, attack the heavies in the movement if it makes you feel better,” he wrote in an open letter to me printed in Statesman, the official student paper. But just as quickly they moved up the date to October 20, the evening before the march. Phil gave an interview over WUSB radio, Kenny Bromberg’s show. “Who’s this creep MITCHEL COHEN who’s telling everyone to boycott my records?” Phil raged. My first claim to fame. Somewhere at the station there’s a dusty tape of that show.
Read more at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/02/17/storming-the-pentagon/

 

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