When Berkeley in the 60s was taking shape

A person who grew up in Berkeley wrote this letter on hearing of the death of Donald Duncan, an antiwar Green Beret.

When Berkeley in the 60s was taking shape

by Jeff

Back in the spring of 1966 I was a terrified draft age 20-year-old, barely holding on to my student deferment, not quite sure what to do. Around that time a Congressional campaign began, featuring the anti-war candidate Robert Scheer vs. the entrench "liberal" Jeffrey Cohelan. "Berkeley in the 60s" was really taking shape.

And I really loved the way Robert Scheer articulated the anti-war position. By the way, Scheer lost to Cohelan, but he set the stage, first for Ron Dellums, and then Barbara Lee.

Criticism from the Center and Right wing were fast and furious. "Those anti-war people are nothing but a bunch of longhaired, bearded scumbag radicals." And that we were! (but so what!!) Into the mix appeared
Donald Duncan, a military man -- a SPECIAL FORCES military man, a clean cut all American boy type who saw the light and became an anti-war crusader.

Duncan showed up and spoke at many of the Scheer for Congress rallies and speeches and was truly knowledgeable and passionate.

Given my memories of this, it is truly sad to read of Duncan's dying in obscurity. On the bright side, Robert Scheer is still alive and, I presume, well. Almost 80 years old he's still sharp as a tack and sometimes appears on KPFA (94.1 FM). I've made cassettes of many of his talks. We wouldn't agree with everything he says but I still like hearing him.


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Here is the New York Times belated obituary for Donald Duncan, ex-Green Beret, antiwar activist, published in May 2016, several years after Duncan's death.

Donald W. Duncan, 79, Ex-Green Beret and Early Critic of Vietnam War, Is Dead