1968-78 was a period of convergence between the old and the new generations of activists in the Chinese, Filipino, and Japanese communities. A new common cause developed between the two generations, one in their elderly years, the other youths coming of age. The older generations were veterans of past struggles. In their youth during the 1920’s they had faced exclusion laws and anti-Asian racism. In the 1930’s they fought against hunger and unemployment during
The Asian American new left emerged from the TWLF strikes in the surrounding Bay Area campuses. Seeking guidance in community politics, the young activists sought and received support from the revitalized old left. Chinese, Japanese and Filipino student activists within
Although the old and new left had vastly different experiences, the rise of a new social movement in America created conditions for the elderly and youthful activists to form a solidarity that dramatically weakened the grip of conservative politics in their communities. With this new solidarity, a progressive voice emerged, successfully challenging a conservative political structure that had seriously hampered the political freedoms in the Asian American communities. The results were nothing short of a political awakening that helped bridge the gap between the earlier movements of the 1930's, 40's and the new activism of the late 1960's and 70's. This inter-generational merger provided an important contribution to the maturation of Asian American activism.
The old left also believed in integration into mainstream institutions in
Following are excerpts from the Wei Min newspaper written by or about the experiences of this older generation of Chinatown activists.