David Gilbert was an unlikely radical in some respects. Even after committing to militant activism, he felt alienated when the role of theory was disparaged. He describes a heated conversation with a friend who was angry with his decision to join a Weather collective and the variety of political activism it would entail. In 1960 Gilbert was, by his own admission, ‘a model citizen-in-the-making’. He was a person of high ability; presumably the friend with whom he argued was one of many who felt dismay about the direction in which Gilbert’s passion for social justice was taking him. And which underlines not only the radicalism of Gilbert’s own trajectory from citizen to outlaw, but the extremity of the context which seemed to require it. Herein lies the strength and challenge of this memoir. When faced with injustice, what do you do? Morality, Gilbert says, was ‘central’ to him. He contends that Weather ‘sins of commission were more visible, but sins of omission can be just as deadly’. ‘Love and Struggle’ invites us to consider the nature of appropriate response to the enormity of inequality our sociopolitical system generates and sustains (‘There are, of course, literally a million examples of how the rules are made and applied to favor those with power’, p.94). To the extent that this statement is a matter of fact rather than opinion, Gilbert’s memoir will retain urgent and ongoing relevance.
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