Other students, often our best, feel they cannot make do with less than "that absolute friendship, without reticence, which death alone gives," described by Malraux in Man's Fate. Though he writes of Communist revolutionaries in China of the twenties, the appeal of death for a cause is trans-cultural, trans-ideological.
". . . a doomed life fallen next to his in the darkness full of menaces and wounds, among all those brothers in the mendicant order of the Revolution: each of these men had wildly seized as it stalked past him the only greatness that could be his."
America's black man has not had the freedom to be given, and to refuse. He is claiming it now. America's rich white children—dissected, scolded but always adored—have not had the gift of sacrifice. They are asking for it now.
The degree of sacrifice becomes more extreme, a condition the white radical works very hard to create. As Marc says, "Weathermen, D4M, any anarchist group, couldn't care less what happens to the Moratorium Committee or the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee. They're never going to do anything revolutionary anyway. If these groups are smashed, it gives people on the fence an even clearer choice."
The affluent insurgent is cutting down his own choices at the same time. Not content to rain on other white people's parades, he is more impatient than the blacks. "While the Panthers have tried to broaden their base in the black community and win flanking support outside of it," writes Washington Post columnist Nicholas von Hoffman, "the rich, white revolutionary terrorist has, through arrogance, absolutism and a recklessness that makes him very dangerous to be around, isolated himself until he has run out of choices: he can give up politics or become a clandestine bomb thrower."
Says Jerry Rubin: Amerikan youth is looking for a reason to die.
This is one of the questions I ask myself these days: Is bombing a white male ego trip?
Curious how rock-throwing as a tactic was introduced to the Left just last summer by the all-white middle-class Weathermen. At Dupont Circle in Washington, as pre-emptive warmup for the November Moratorium, they threw bricks. Next Weathermen went on work-study programs with adolescent street gangs in the ghettos of Chicago and Boston. To boil their own politics down to instinct: Us vs. Pigs. Live vs. Die. You can't be Hamlet in the ghetto, baby. Teach me tonight, little black brutha. Squash those honkie brain cells. Get the current running from gut to fist.
While the white Left waits for the Panthers to get out of jail and give them instructions, the white ultra-rads are experimenting with dynamite and nitroglycerine. Cleaner fighting through chemistry. The fists and guns of street fighting are not the white radicals' favorite things. Face-to-face combat means somebody goes home crying. Or dead. Why not leave those tactics to the blacks? They've had practice, after all, fighting their way up from under.
Bombing, on the other hand, is a hit-and-run operation. Like rape. Both appeal to those who feel impotent and seek their lost power on dark streets, running.
This is the question Marc asks himself every day:
"If the script calls for blowing up something or killing someone, can you put that above your own life? If the answer is yes, it's just a question of getting your head straight so you can do it. It's like assassinating a President. You just shake the President's hand and a bomb goes off. It isn't difficult if you're prepared to die."
He still uses "you," not "I."
After many hours of talk and three months of preparation, Marc is still preparing to die. In the second person. For the time being.