The Chicago 7: Mark L. Levine

“The significance of this trial was the government trying to repress dissent.”

Mark L. Levine is a lawyer and co-editor of The Trial of the Chicago 7: The Official Transcript. We discuss how the edited transcripts were published, the parallels of social injustice and use of political protests in the late 1960s with today, and the necessity for all of us to be engaged.

Mark L. Levine is a lawyer and co-editor of The Trial of the Chicago 7: The Official Transcript. We discuss how the edited transcripts were published, the parallels of social injustice and use of political protests in the late 1960s with today, and the necessity for all of us to be engaged.

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Publication of Transcript

Levine and the co-editors were outraged by what was happening in the trial and wanted to make sure the general public knew what was going on in that courtroom. They decided to buy the transcripts from the court reporter and edited over 22,000 pages of transcript into a compilation of the most shocking colloquies, which reveal the immense effort put forth by the government to quash dissent against the war in Vietnam and the injustice of Judge Hoffman’s court. About 180,000 copies were sold shortly after the book was published.

Injustice

Judge Julius Hoffman was anything but fair and impartial during the Trial of the Chicago 7. He openly disdained the defendants and their attorneys, accused them of insulting him, threw some of the defense attorneys in jail, and even ordered the physical gagging of Bobby Seale, the sole Black defendant who was not even part of the protests during the convention, for four days. The guilty verdict and the trial proceedings radicalized a lot of young people at that time.

Power of Protest

The Trial of the Chicago 7 helped popularize the anti-war movement, which was critical in America’s eventual withdrawal from Vietnam. In response to the trial and the beating of protesters during the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968, massive marches by conscientious objectors became more intense around the country. The United States ended the war in 1974, not only because it was losing, but also because of public pressure to do so.

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Mark L. Levine is a lawyer, writer, and teacher who practiced corporate banking and publishing law in New York City for over forty years. Together with George McNamee and Daniel L. Greenberg, they published The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Levine is also an experienced voter protection lawyer. His previous books include Negotiating a Book Contract and The Complete Book of Bible Quotations. A graduate of Columbia College, NYU School of Law, and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he has taught at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and Zicklin School of Business/Baruch College.

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