Here is a take from NPR on how earlier protest movements affected policy.
Endless, dusty, truck heavy, asphalt steaming hitchhike roads travelled, Route 6, 66, maybe 666 and perdition for all we knew, every back road, every Connecticut highway avoiding back road from Massachusetts south to the capital for one last winner-take-all, no prisoners taken show-down to end all show-downs. And maybe, just maybe, finally some peace and a new world a-borning, a world we had been talking about for at least a decade (clueless, as all youth nations are clueless, that that road was well-travelled, very well- travelled, before us). No Jack Kerouac dharma bum easy road (although there were dharma bums, or at least faux dharma bums, aplenty on those 1971 roads south, and west too) let her rip cosmic brakeman Neal Cassady at the wheel flying through some wheat field night fantasy this trip.
And not just any massed presence like the then familiar seasonal peace crawl that nobody paid attention then to anymore except the organizers, although the May Day action was wrapped around that year’s spring peace crawl, (wrapped up, cozily wrapped up, in their utopian reformist dream that more and more passive masses, more and more suburban housewives from New Jersey, okay, okay not just Jersey, more and more high school freshman, more and more barbers, more and more truck driver stop waitresses, for that matter, would bring the b-o-u-r-g-e-o-i-s-i-e (just in case there are sensitive souls in the room) to their knees. No, we were going to stop the government, flat. Big scheme, big scheme no question and if anybody, any “real” youth nation refugee, excepting, of course, always infernal always, those cozy peace crawl organizers, tried to interject that perhaps there were wiser courses nobody mentioned them out loud in our presence and we were at every meeting, high or low. Moreover we had our ears closed, flapped shut closed, to any lesser argument. We, rightly or wrongly, silly us thought “cop.”
Stop. Brain start. Out of the bloodless fury, out of the miscalculated night a strange bird, no peace dove, these were not such times even with all our unforced errors, and no flame-flecked phoenix raising but a bird, maybe the owl of Minerva came a better sense that this new world a-bornin’ would take some doing, some serious doing. More serious that some wispy-bearded, pony-tailed beat, beat down, beat around, beat up young stalwart road tramps acting in god’s place could even dream of. But that was later. Just then, just that screwed-up martyr moment, we were longing for the hot, dusty, truck driver stop meat loaf special, dishwater coffee on the side, road back home even ready to chance Connecticut highway dragnets to get there.