Soapbox in the Sixties

Commentaries for Pacifica Radio (KPFA)


Prefatory Note

This is a collection of the more-or-less monthly commentaries which I gave over the Pacific radio station in Berkeley, KPFing the Sixties, plus one extending into the early Seventies. Actually they were given on a four-week rotation: KPFA then had a “rota” system in which a stable, or clutch, of commentators representing various viewpoints gave a fifteen-minute talk as part of the evening news program.

This is not a selection, though it is far from complete. It comprises all the commentaries for which I have manuscripts. As for the others: many were given by my co-commentator, my wife Anne Draper, especially on the subject of the labor movement and labor issues. Many others were interview sessions, in which I virtually turned the fifteen minutes over to an invited quest, acting as interlocutor and introducer. In the case of others, I prepared them only to the extent of assembling some pertinent clippings or other materials, with notes, and then commented on them ad lib. There were other types of commentaries which were not based on a written-up manuscript, and which I cannot now reconstruct.

The texts of these commentaries have been edited only very lightly, to remove repetitions and otiose passages due to a colloquial approach; to remove references which it would be idle now to explain in footnotes; to shorten, in some cases, where I don’t think the content warranted the space; and so on. Nothing has been added in hindsight.

These commentaries were often immediate reactions to pressing events, and the language often shows it. Looking them over now, I can say – not too smugly – that I have no reservations about exhibiting them, now when they deal with “history” rather than the rushing events of the day. I do not want to withdraw a word, at any rate not an idea; this can be called consistency or stick-in-the-mud pigheadedness, depending on the standpoint. The standpoint I was supposed to represent, on the KPFA rota, was that of Independent Socialism, the point of view of revolutionary-democratic Marxism, independent of the left sects and parties; and this is my point of view now as then.

Hal Draper, January 1982


Last updated on 26.9.2004