The Campus CORE-latorJanuary, 1965
P. O. Box 162
Magazine of the Berkeley Campus Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality
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Typing Labor Donated
Plates by East Bay Trade Graphics (Trade Union)
Printing by Slate Press (Labor Donated)
The Campus Corelator, Vol. 1, no. 2, a journal of civil rights published quarterly by Berkeley Campus CORE. Joe White, editor. Address correspondance to Box 162, Berkeley, California. Copyright 1965 by Campus CORE.
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LBJ Landslide: A Mandate for What?
Shortly after the election, Dr. King informed us that the Johnson landslide represented a mandate for progress in the field of civil rights. While we cannot help admiring King for his bold attempt to tell Mr. Johnson what his victory was all about, we must differ with him as far as the facts are concerned. What the Johnson victory did establish was what we knew all along, that the Democratic Party is the majority party in this country. The civil rights movement did not win a victory in this election any more than the Goldwaterites did. The preservation of the status quo can never be a victory for a radical movement.
We can perhaps get an idea of what, and who Johnson stands for with a glance at his supporters. Why was it that Johnson was able to capture the support of the big corporations and the New York financial houses, something that no Democratic president has achieved in the twentieth century? What induced high officials of General Motors, Ford, General Dynamics, and in California, the Western Pacific and Kaiser Industries along with many others, not to mention half of Eisenhower's cabinet, to support a Democrat? Perhaps they are beginning to realize that the Democratic Party is their Party, that it has forsaken the pretense of being the party for the working class, the small farmers, and the racial minorities. More significantly, the Democratic Party has been good for big business. The Democratic Landrum-Griffin Act has handcuffed union organizing drives, the Democratic Administration uses its full weight to thwart strikes, and is even willing to cut taxes for the "oppressed rich." It seems that these men, the most alert section of the capitalist class, have made a wise choice in the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, far too many labor leaders, and even some civil rights leaders do not seem to possess this same modicum of wisdom.
When we look back at the meteoric rise of millionaire Joseph Kennedy to prominence in the Democratic Party, (through large contributions to Roosevelt's campaign) or the ways in which this same corporate power structure has manipulated the Republican Party since the glorious days of the Credit Mobilier, we are forced to conclude that the corporate power structure at this point controls both major parties. Seldom before has it been quite as obvious as at present that both parties are class parties, parties of the wealthy, run for the wealthy by the wealthy. The futility of expecting either party to initiate or support a radical program for jobs and freedom has never been so plain. But what are we to do? Would it not have been a catastrophe to see Goldwater elected? Is it not just as great a catastrophe to see Johnson take over the
Most of the progressive forces in this country support the Democratic Party. How is it then that it is able to pursue such reactionary policies? The answer is obvious. Workers, Negroes, liberal and radical intellectuals have no choice at present but to support the Democratic Party. Whenever Johnson commits some new atrocity, he can simply explain himself to the liberals by pointing out that politically they have no place to go. And indeed, as long as there is no place for them to go, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party will remain synonymous with the powerless wing. The labor movement has enthusiastically endorsed the Democratic Party in every election since 1948. It has now reached such a pinnacle of power and influence that its views are ignored on every major issue. There is not now, nor has there ever been even one labor leader in the cabinet, this despite the fact that the 18 million trade union members quadrennially provide the difference between victory and oblivion for the Democratic Party.
Fortunately the civil rights movement has not quite reached this pinnacle of weakness. Although it has no political alternative, there remains the very real opportunity for action on the streets when action in the voting booth proves ineffective. However, we must remember that freedom cannot be won solely in the streets, that direct action must go hand in hand with political action. And this political action, contrary to the shrill cries of the Wilkinses et al, must be independent of the major parties.
J. Edgar Rides Again
Not being possessed with the Job-like patience of Martin Luther King, we find it difficult to go along with his sympathetic explanation of J. Edgar Hoover's latest outburst. Replying to the charge that he is "the most notorious liar in the country," King suggested that Hoover "has apparently faltered under the awesome burden, complexities and responsibilities of his office." (S. F. Chronicle, 20 November 1964)
In fact our charity extends only to the point of conceding that, despite the dictatorial overtones of the FBI, Hoover is probably not a fascist. Rather, he seems to embody the good old white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant virtues of middle class America in which crime equals sin, Negroes know there place, and to use Leslie Fiedler's felicitous expression, people conduct their sex lives
But this is America, 1965. Some of us do not accept the thesis of a communist conspiracy solely responsible for and fishing in the troubled waters of race relations. Nor do we complacently accept the image of the FBI agent diligently taking notes while a Negro is being beaten or the notion that a return to the alleged virtues of the past will solve current discontents. The Corelator joins with CORE National Director James Farmer and the New York Times in demanding the resignation from public office of this dangerous anachronism.
The Corelator's New Look
You are now reading Volume I, no. 2 of the Corelator. Although the distance in time between Volume I, no. 1 and Volume I, no. 2 came dangerously close to equaling an entire semester, we shall strive to bring out future numbers with rigorous regularity every three months.
It happens that many of the articles deal directly with Campus CORE's activities and that all the contributors are members of Campus CORE. Not being excessively modest, we are not above publicizing our exploits. On the other hand, we hope to make the Corelator something more than Campus CORE's newsletter. Specifically, we should like the Corelator to be a civil rights quarterly for northern California.
Accordingly, articles and letters are eagerly solicited. Manuscripts submitted will be tenderly but critically perused, and will even be returned without including a stamped self-addressed envelope. Send to Box 162, Berkeley, California.
With some notable exceptions, racial segregation is on the increase in the United States according to basic statistical studies prepared by Karl E. Taeuber, a leading population expert at the University of Wisconsin....
Indexes of residential segregation were computed for 109 cities, Taeuber reported.
The Taeuber index for the 109 cities in 1940 was 85.2. The index in 1960 was 86.1.
Two of the notable exceptions cited by Taeuber were New York City and New York State....
For the country as a whole only two regions showed declines in the Taeuber index values for the period 1940-1960.
San Francisco Sunday Chronicle
29 November 1964
Two Fronts in the Same War: The Free Speech Movement and Civil Rights
Editor's note — The punditry race is on to fathom the significance of the Free Speech Movement. At this moment the front-runner is Lewis S. Feuer, "Rebellion at Berkeley," (New Leader, 21 December 1964.) This is not the place for a full critique; instead we offer a small but representative sample of Feuer's aptitude for half-truths and deliberate distortion.
The best adjective he can find to describe Chancellor Strong is "saintly." Mario Savio is accused to trying to "seize the platform and take over the meeting" in the Greek Theater on 7 December 1964. Talk about alienation and "organic democracy...sometimes remind one unpleasantly of young German students...in the early 30's." Activists have a chip grafted to their shoulder and come to the University "in quest of a bill of particulars to justify [their] alienation.
The following article is neither a reply to Feuer nor the official FSM "line." Rather it is a preliminary and tentative essay to place the FSM in its historical and societal context, a necessarily difficult undertaking, since, unlike the topics historians usually write about, the FSM is far from having run its course.
The author, Jack Weinberg, is a former teaching assistant in mathematics at the University of California. He is currently chairman of Campus CORE and a member of the FSM steering committee.
Over the past several months the relationship between the Berkeley Free Speech movement and the civil rights movement has become almost a cliche. Those who view the FSM merely as an extension of the civil rights movement, merely as a battle to enable student civil rights groups to maintain the campus as a base for their operations, have a very incomplete understanding of the FSM, and probably an incomplete understanding of the student civil rights movement. In this article we discuss the student civil rights movement and its relation to the FSM; the FSM as an on-campus protest; and the implications of both the FSM and the student civil rights movement for American society.
I: FSM and the Civil Rights Movement
Over the past few years, there has been a change, both quantitative and qualitative in Bay Area student political activity. Until 1963, only a relatively small
Attempts were made by the civil authorities and the power interests to contain the movement: harassing trials, biased news reporting, job intimidation, etc. But the attempts were unsuccessful, the movement grew, became more sophisticated, and began exploring other fronts on which it could attack the power structure. Throughout the summer of 1964, Berkeley Campus CORE maintained a hectic level of continuous and effective activity. The Ad Hoc Committee to End Discrimination planned and began executing a project against the Oakland Tribune. Since those who wished to contain the civil rights movement found no effective vehicles in the community, they began pressuring the university. Because a majority of participants were students, they maintained that the university was responsible. After initially resisting the pressure, the university finally succumbed, and promulgated restrictive regulations with the intent of undercutting the base of student support for the civil rights movement. The reactions to these regulations should have been predictable: immediate protest and a demand for their repeal. Since the civil rights movement was responsible for the pressures applied to the university which led to the suppression of free speech and free political expression, and since their interests being the ones most seriously threatened, the civil rights activists took the lead in protesting the suppression, many concludethat the FSM is an extension of the civil rights movement.
II: The FSM as Campus Protest
But if we view the FSM simply as an extension of the civil rights movement, we can not explain the overwhelming support it has received from students who have been indifferent to the civil rights movement and even from some who have been hostile to it. Civil rights activists, those whose interests are really at stake, make up a very small part of the ardent FSM supporters. The vast majority of the FSM supporters have never before had any desire to sit at tables, to hand out leaflets, or to publicly advocate anything. The Free Speech Movement has become an outlet for the feelings of hostility and alienation which so many students have toward the university. Early in the movement, one graduate student who was working all night for the FSM said, "I really don't give a damn about free speech. I'm just tired of being shat upon. If we don't win anything else, at least they'll have to respect us after this." Clearly, his was an overstatement. Free speech has been the issue, and virtually all the FSM supporters identify with the FSM demands. The roots, however, go much deeper. The free speech issue has been so readily accepted because it has become a vehicle enabling students to express their dissatisfaction with so much of university life, and with so many of the university's institutions.
The phenomenon we describe is not at all unprecedented, even though the FSM may be an extreme example. There have been wildcat strikes which in many ways are quite similar to the Free Speech protest. The following pattern is typical: There is an industry in which the workers are discontent with their situation. The pay may or may not be low. There is hostility between the workers and the management, but it is hostility over a great number of practices and institutions, most of which are well established, and none of which have been adequate to launch a protest over the abstract issue. One of the greatest grievances is likely to be the attitude of the managers toward the workers. The union has proven itself incapable of dealing with the issue. Then one day a work practice is changed or a worker is penalized over a minor infraction. Fellow workers protest and are either ignored or reprimanded. A wildcat strike is called and the protest is on.
The same kind of forces which creates a wildcat strike has created the FSM. Alienation and hostility exist, but are neither focused at specific grievances nor well articulated. There is a general feeling that the situation is hopeless, and probably inevitable. There is no obvious handle. No one knows where to begin organizing, what to attack first, how to attack. No one feels confident that an attack is justified, or even relevant. Suddenly there is an issue; everyone recognizes it; everyone grabs at it. A feeling of solidarity develops among the students, as among the workers.
The students at Cal have united. To discover the basic issues underlying their protest one must first listen to the speeches made by their leaders. Two
To be sure, there are some excellent courses at Cal; some departments are better than others. Although a general education is difficult if not impossible to obtain, in many fields the student is able to obtain an adequate though specialized preparation for an academic career. Furthermore, successful completion of a Cal education is quite a good indication that the student will be agile and adaptable enough to adjust to a position in industry and to acquire rapidly the skills and traits that industry will demand of him.
When viewed from the campus, the Free Speech Movement is a revolution, or at least an open revolt. The students' basic demand is a demand to be heard, to be considered, to be taken into account when decisions concerning their education and their life in the university community are being made. When one reviews the history of the Free Speech Movement, one discovers that each new wave of student response to the movement followed directly on some action by the administration which neglected to take the students, as human beings, into account, and which openly reflected an attitude that the student body was a thing to be dealt with, to be manipulated. Unfortunately, it seems that at those rare times when the students are not treated as things, they are treated as children.
III: The Implications for American Society
It is inadequate, as we have shown, to characterize the FSM as a purely on-campus phenomenon, as a protest stemming from a long overdue need for university reform, or as a response to a corrupt or insensitive administration. Invariably, when students become politically and socially active, one can find that at the root, they are responding to their society's most basic problems.
Let us first consider why students have become so active in the northern civil rights movement. The problem with which the civil rights movement is trying to cope, the problem of the effect of our society on the Negro Community, is exactly the problem of our entire society, magnified and distorted. Unemployment, underemployment, poor education, poor housing, intense social alienation: these and many more are the effects of our way of life on the Negro Community, and these to one degree or another are the effects of our way of life on all of its members. When taking a moral stand, when doing what they can in the struggle for equality for all Americans, students invariably find that as they become more and more successful they come into conflict with almost all the established interest groups in the community. Students have turned to the civil rights movement because they have found it to be a front on which they can attack basic social problems, a front on which they can have some real impact. In the final analysis the FSM must be viewed in this same light.
The University of California is a microcosm in which all of the problems of our society are reflected. Not only did the pressure to crack down on free speech at Cal come from the outside power structure, but most of the failings of the University are either on-campus manifestations of broader American social problems, or are imposed upon the University by outside pressures. Departments at the University are appropriated funds roughly in proportion to the degree that the state's industry feels these departments are important. Research and study grants to both students and faculty are given on the same preferential basis. One of the greatest social ills of this nation is the absolute refusal by almost all of its members to examine seriously the presuppositions of the establishment. This illness becomes a crisis when the University, supposedly a center for analysis and criticism, refuses to examine these presuppositions. Throughout the society, the individual has lost more and more control over his environment. When he votes, he must choose between two candidates who agree on almost all basic questions. On his job, he has become more and more a cog in a machine, a part of a master plan in whose formulation he is not consulted, and over which he can exert no influence for change. He finds it increasingly more difficult to find meaning in his job or in his life. He grows more cynical. The bureaucratization of the campus is just a reflection of the bureaucratization of American life.
As the main energies of our society are channeled into an effort to win the cold war, as all of our institutions become adjuncts of the military-industrial complex, as the managers of industry and the possessors of corporate wealth gain a greater and greater strangle hold on the lives of all Americans, one cannot expect the University to stay pure.
In our society, students are neither children nor adults. Clearly, they are not merely children; but to be an adult in our society one must both be out of school and self-supporting (for some reason, living on a grant or fellowship is not considered self-supporting.) As a result, students are more or less outside of society, and in increasing numbers they do not desire to become a part of the society. From their peripheral social position they are able to maintain human values, values they know will be distorted or destroyed when they enter the compromising, practical, "adult" world.
It is their marginal social status which has allowed students to become active in the civil rights movement and which has allowed them to create the Free Speech Movement. The students, in their idealism, are confronted with a world which is a complete mess, a world which in their eyes preceeding generations have botched up. They start as liberals, talking about society, criticizing it, going to lectures, donating money. But every year more and more students find they cannot stop there. They affirm themselves; they decide that even if they do not know how to save the world, even if they have no magic formula, they must let their voice be heard. They become activists, and a new generation, a generation of radicals, emerges.
Reconstruction at the Richmond Housing Authority
A significant victory was won late in October by Richmond CORE and Berkeley Campus CORE when a sit-in, followed by a long series of public negotiations with the Board of Commissioners of the Richmond Housing Authority (RHA) led to the adoption of a strong anti-discrimination Resolution. The Resolution changes certain objectionable practices in the administration of Richmond Public Housing and calls for quarterly reports to Richmond CORE, containing statistics on apartment turnover, classified by race.
The project provided participants with an excellent course of "negotiation training," and some insight into the "second-level white power structure of a small city."
The project began on 2 July, when Mrs. Katie Himes, a Negro member of Richmond CORE, made her regular monthly call to the RHA office to request an apartment. She had been on the "waiting list" for three years, but a white member of Richmond CORE had just been given a house after a wait of only two months. This time Mrs. Himes said she would take the matter to the Richmond Human Relations Commission. Four days later, the RHA had a house for her.
The house was badly in need of painting, and in much worse condition than another vacant apartment of the same size which was located on an all-white street. Mrs. Himes asked to have the second apartment, or to have the first apartment painted. Both requests were denied, and she was told to "take it or leave it." That afternoon, she went to the FEPC office in San Francisco to file a complaint of "discrimination in maintenance," after telling the RHA official that she would be back with the required deposit. The FEPC immediately told the RHA of the complaint, and when Mrs. Himes returned the next morning, she was informed that both apartments had been rented and that it was her own fault for not returning soon enough with her deposit.
It was then that Richmond CORE became interested in the RHA. Not only had Mrs. Himes and other Negro applicants been treated rudely and unfairly by RHA employees, but it was clear even to the casual observer, that the five hundred housing units controlled by the RHA were strictly segregated.
Several days later a CORE delegation appeared at the RHA building. Before they could even introduce themselves, a door was slammed in their faces, and they were told that no one would see them. An impromptu sit-in was staged, and after two hours a minor RHA functionary granted them an "audience." A meeting was then arranged between CORE, the RHA Board of Commissioners, and representatives of the federal Public Housing Authority (PHA) and the state FEPC.
At this meeting, the RHA Board reluctantly gave Mrs. Himes a house, due to strong pressure by the PHA official. (The Public Housing Authority theoretically has the power to withhold federal funds where discrimination exists.) By this time, Richmond CORE had formulated demands dealing with the pattern of discrimination and segregation that their preliminary investigation had revealed, but the Board refused to discuss anything but the Himes case. The Commissioners adjourned the meeting with a promise to hold talks with CORE at some future date.
Richmond CORE spent the next few weeks preparing its case. Attorney Mal Burnstein volunteered his services, and was present at every meeting with the Board. Lois Rodgers, secretary at the CORE Regional Office, and two members of Campus CORE worked with a committee of Richmond CORE, planning a systematic investigation of Richmond Public Housing, drawing up a set of demands, and projecting a strategy to force a hostile Board of Commissioners to accept these demands.
The following is a summary of the evidence gathered in the CORE investigation.
Segregation of dwelling units: A complete map of Richmond Public Housing was prepared. Members of Richmond SCORE (Student CORE—the youth affiliate of Richmond CORE) went door-to-door, recording on the map the race of the occupants of each unit. The results were startlingly conclusive! With most of the occupants living in blocks of ten to fifteen dwelling units, scarcely one block was even tokenly integrated. Block after block was all caucasian—although applicants theoretically were placed in apartments in the order in which vacancies occurred.
Discrimination in acceptance of applications: The completed map showed the number of Negro and caucasian residents, as well as the racial distribution. We found that Negroes constitute 25% of the residents. This happens to be the same as the proportion of Negroes in the Richmond population, but it is far less than the proportion of Negroes among eligible for Public Housing. Only families with yearly incomes under $4,000 are eligible for Public Housing, and of this group, between one-half and three-quarters are Negroes. (By comparison, Oakland Public Housing has a large majority of Negro residents, although Negroes constitute about one-fourth of the Oakland population.) This leads to the statistical inference that some strongly anti-Negro factor has been influencing the selection of RHA tenants.
Individual complaints: After the all-night RHA sit-in (described below), a number of Negro residents came to CORE with stories of discrimination against themselves and their neighbors. Most complaints centered around unequal maintenance (painting, etc.), and discrimination involving the waiting lists. The physical segregation of dwelling units was considered unimportant, except where this made discrimination in maintenance more convenient for RHA employees. (There was little competition among Negro families for the dubious distinction of having white neighbors.) But RHA officials, on the other hand, seemed anxious to keep the races apart, so that when a vacancy occurred in a white block, any Negroes next on the waiting list were passed over in favor
The meeting promised by RHA seemed to recede farther and farther into the future. A private meeting was scheduled, then cancelled by the Board. Finally, they agreed to give CORE fifteen minutes on the agenda of their next regular monthly meeting. No more time would be alloted, and no private meetings were to be held. We knew then that direct action would be necessary. The project was seven weeks old.
On the afternoon of August 20, eighty persons jammed the small RHA meeting room. About twenty-five were Campus CORE members, five had come from San Francisco, and the rest were members of Richmond CORE and the Richmond Negro community.
CORE was first on the agenda. Mrs. Savannah Bello, chairman of Richmond CORE's Education Committee and leader of the RHA project, made the fifteen minute presentation. In this brief time, Mrs. Bello described CORE's futile efforts to discuss its grievances with the Board, the rudeness with which Negroes were treated at the RHA office, the blatant pattern of segregation and discrimination in Richmond Public Housing, and finally, the fact that CORE had come to the end of its patience. She demanded a series of meetings, to begin within two weeks and yielded her last two minutes for the Board's decision.
Mr. Gnaga, Chairman of the Board, had only one response: "Give us the names of the persons who have specific complaints, and we will handle them as individual cases". As to Mrs. Bello's request—he grudgingly agreed to allow CORE some more time on the agenda of the next regular Board meeting, a month in the future.
Then, over the objections of Mrs. Bello and most of the observers, the agenda was moved. It was the signal to begin the demonstration. Singing and clapping demonstrators sat down, blocking the two doors to the room. The Commissioners escaped only by climbing over our bodies. This was more than a "moral protest". It was a declaration that the Board was operating the Richmond Housing Authority improperly, that they were violating a public trust, and that we were determined to interfere with their administration despite the threat of arrest and punishment.
The demonstrators moved to the lobby at the building entrance. Some people sat in the doorways, others picketed inside, and those who could not afford to be arrested picketed outside. But no arrests were made, although police were present. At 5:00 PM the employees exited through windows (the doors were still blocked), and we were left in the building, with one policeman on guard. Soon the sit-in had become a sleep-in. Messengers returned to Berkeley to telephone leaders of other civil rights groups, and to prepare leaflets. Cars were loaded with food and blankets. A rally on the Cal campus was planned for noon the next day (Friday).
What made the sleep-in especially memorable was the unusual amount of community participation. The RHA building is located in a Negro neighborhood, and all night long hot food, blankets, and moral encouragement was brought by the neighbors, as well as a television set, on which we heard the news that our arrest was imminent. In the morning, hordes of young children arrived, joining the demonstration spontaneously and enthusiastically.
Most of our contingency planning proved unnecessary. Three city councilmen dropped in Thursday night "to find out what you people want", and after a great deal of frantic political maneuvering the next morning, the Commissioners (who are appointed by the city council) agreed to the series of meetings that we wanted. They would have to be public, we were told, because of the Brown Act, a state law that prohibits all public bodies (except for the UC Board of Regents) from holding closed meetings. We had won the first round!
Why did we gain such an easy victory? Why were we not just arrested, like those who sat-in on Auto Row and at the Sheraton-Palace Hotel in San Francisco? Partly, it was because we were dealing with a public agency, which could not claim "the privileges of private enterprise", and which had a recognized public duty to meet with any aggrieved citizens' group. It might also have occurred to the City Fathers that our arrest could lead to mass sit-ins, requiring mass arrests and mass trials. Perhaps San Francisco could afford to spend a couple of million dollars and tie up its courts for six months, but Richmond could not. Neither could it afford the loss of federal funds that might result if RHA became the focus of a major conflict over discrimination.
The most interesting theory is that city officials feared that by arresting us, they might precipitate a race riot. Residents familiar with Richmond politicians tell us that there is nothing they fear more than a race riot; and relatively minor clashes between Negro youth and city police or white teenagers occur frequently enough to sustain this phobia.
With the first negotiation session two weeks away, the "RHA committee" completed the final draft of the Agreement that would be CORE's basis of negotiation. A negotiating team was selected, consisting of: Savannah Bello, Maxine Eason. Charlesetta Ford (Richmond CORE); Jack Weinberg, David Friedman (Campus CORE); Mal Burnstein (Attorney, and member of Berkeley CORE).
The following are the main points of the Resolution that was finally passed by the Board. Except for the "legality condition" modifying point 7, the Resolution is substantially the same as the original set of CORE demands.
RHA Equal Opportunity Housing Program
It is the policy of the RHA that there shall be no discrimination or segregation in Richmond Public Housing.... The existing housing patterns... indicate that this policy...has in fact been violated. The Board...hereby declares that such practices will no longer be tolerated. We recognize that there is some question as to whether the Negro people of Richmond are fairly represented in Richmond Public Housing in proportion to their numbers and to their need for low-cost housing. We pledge to take all possible lawful steps to alleviate this situation. Accordingly, we will implement the following set of...policies....
- Maintenance accorded to all units... will be the same... regardless of race....
- The RHA... will inform all... employees... and suppliers of goods and services that... discriminatory actions against applicants or tenants... will not be tolerated; and that if such acts occur... employees will be disciplined and contracts cancelled.... All sub-contractors...will be required to sign a nondiscriminatory pledge.
- The RHA and its Board of Commissioners will inform its employees, in writing, that they must show courtesy to tenants and applicants... and that rudeness or angry outbursts by any employee will not be tolerated....
- Subject to preferences established by law, housing will be assigned... in the order in which... applications are received, without regard to race....
- The Richmond Housing Authority:
- will adopt standard procedures in all... operations (e. g., deposit and payment deadlines... and notification of vacancies.)
- will adopt standard procedures to deal with all complaints of discrimination.... Complaints concerning patterns of discrimination, as well as individual cases, will be considered.
- will give copies of these procedures to all tenants... and applicants.
The RHA will hire a fair proportion of Negroes in all job categories....
[Four out of the five negotiation sessions dealt almost solely with section 7 (statistical reports to CORE.) The Board claimed that it was illegal, and we demanded that they agree to it subject to a legal ruling of the Attorney General. The Board finally included section 7 in the Resolution, with the stipulation that it not take effect until after legal rulings by the state Attorney General and the Public Housing Authority. Our attorney assures us that the rulings will not be unfavorable. They may, however, be delayed due to bureaucratic timidity.]
- In order to execute the above-stated policy... in a positive manner the RHA and its Board of Commissioners agree to the following:
- To furnish to Richmond CORE within thirty days... the following... breakdown:
- ....by building, race of occupants, number of occupants, number of children, and number of pensioners.
- For each type of dwelling unit, the mean and median income levels of occupants, the mean and median rent charges,... classified by race.
- For each dwelling unit, the address and number of bedrooms.
- To furnish to CORE a like breakdown in regard to... applicants who apply within this same thirty-day period, including application and acceptance dates.
- To furnish to CORE within a sixty-day period... a like breakdown in regard to applicant and tenant turnover during the last six months.
- To meet with... CORE within a reasonable period of time... to discuss... a date by which certain sections of this agreement should be met.
- To have regular meetings with... CORE at three-month intervals to review the progress made.... At these meetings, all information mentioned in 7a will be brought up to date, including housing unitturnover and employee turnover, classified by race.
- To furnish to Richmond CORE within thirty days... the following... breakdown:
It is understood that no names will be included in these statistical reports.
The RHA negotiatons provided a striking confirmation that the negotiation process is basically a test of strength between opponents, rather than a "rational dialogue" to be conducted in a spirit of reconciliation. The remainder of this article is devoted to "negotiation training," based on the RHA experience.
For our model we take a situation in which three groups are represented at a public negotiation. Group A is an organization made up of volunteers, whose goals involve change in the status quo, whose resources include the manpower of its members and the sympathetic support of a segment of the community, and whose methods include direct action. Group B is an "establishment" organization, whose goal is preserving the status quo, whose resources include powers and privileges vested in law and tradition, money and political influence, and easy access to the mass media, and whose methods include legal sanctions against direct action, misrepresentation through the mass media, the withholding of relevant information, and various forms of intimidation. Group C consists of people who have cast themselves in the role of mediators, whose primary goal is the prevention of serious conflict, whose resources include possession of "the middle of the road," and whatever prestige they have as private citizens or as members of interested groups, and whose methods generally involve presuring groups A and B on each point of disagreement, using "rational argument" against group B and threatening to condemn group A publicly for "extremism."
This model is fairly general. For groups A, B, and C we can take CORE, RHA, and the Richmond Human Relations Commission. We can similarly analyze the negotiations within the Campus Committee on Political Activity (CCPA) at the University of California by taking groups A, B, and C to be the Free Speech Movement (FSM), the University Administration, and the "Faculty."
Group C is invariably present. As Minerva sprang from the head of Jupiter, so do mediators spring full-garbed from the scene of any major conflict. The danger is that these "mediators" may be men who indirectly are subordinate to the powerful group B. The Richmond Human Relations Commission is appointed by the city council; of the "faculty representatives" on the CCPA four out of six were handpicked by the University Chancellor.
It is imperative for the group A negotiators to isolate the "mediators"—they are the kiss of death to a militant group. Often, group B will allow a mediator to chair the meetings, thus obscuring the real decision-making structure by democratic formalism. Reverend Poitier, Chairman of the Richmond Hu man Relations Commission, literally forced himself on CORE and RHA to chair the third meeting. We later learned that he had been ordered to do this by the city council, which was embarrassed by the ineptitude of RHA Chairman Gnaga. The CCPA meetings were much worse, with nearly all discussion carried on by FSM and Faculty. The Administration representatives were able to sit silently by while the FSM fought against Faculty "compromises," all of which were ultimately rejected by the administration.
If no agreement is reached, group A must eventually resort to direct action. At this time, group C invariably remains with the establishment—it would be absurd to expect otherwise, since their major motivation is the keeping of the peace. At best the mediators will maintain their public stance of impartiality. At worst, as with the CCPA, group C will loudly condemn group A, declare that the negotiations had produced "substantial progress" and throw all their prestige behind any crumb of a concession made by group B. Here is where group A reaps the rewards of its negotiating skill: If group C has been effectively isolated, and the intransigence of group B clearly demonstrated, relatively little damage will be done. But if group A's supporters and sympathizers have been misled into accepting group C as friends or allies, tremendous demoralization and lossof support will occur.
The failure to handle group C properly is the greatest pitfall in the negotiations. However, the need to "isolate the mediators" is just one application of the following general principle: It is in the best interest of the group A negotiators to maintain tension and emphasize points of conflict with group B.
To put this principle into practice, the negotiator must focus unrelentingly on one key demand. In the RHA negotiations this was point 7, statistical reports to CORE. In the CCPA the key demand was "advocacy", assurance that the content of speech would not be regulated by the University. The object is to prevent group B from granting a host of trivial concessions so as to appear reasonable, preparatory to rejecting the main demands.
CORE began the second meeting with point 7 and flatly refused to pass it by, no matter how many times it was rejected. The RHA attorney claimed it was illegal; the CORE attorney claimed it was within the law. We offered to make the point contingent on a later ruling by the attorney general. The Board wanted
It would be fun to continue, but by now the reader can see what the sessions were like. The only competent RHA negotiator was the RHA attorney (who in fact was the real power in the Board), and we kept shutting him up by insisting that he stick to purely legal matters, like our attorney. (He could not afford to let it be seen publicly that he controlled the Commissioners.) About fifty persons witnessed each of the first four negotiation sessions, including members of the press and city government. The embarrassed city council ordered Poitier to chair the third meeting. Poitier performed brilliantly in his role of conciliator: if we had let him have his way he would have smoothed over every point of conflict, until the time came to sign the Agreement. Every time we put the Board on the spot, Poitier would interrupt to "mediate," and we would spend more time arguing with Poitier than with the Commissioners. Halfway through the meeting we presented Poitier with an ultimatum: if he did not shut up we would refuse to recognize him as chairman and would talk directly to the Board. He shut up. The following meeting we made sure that Gnaga resumed the hot-seat.
At the fourth meeting Murdock (the RHA attorney) surprised us with a new negotiating strategy. Very quickly the Board agreed to point 7 (subject to legal approval), and then to every other demand in our Agreement. Sensing that something was fishy, I insisted on a review of all points. No problem. We had previously agreed to accept a formal Board Resolution incorporating the CORE demands. Now the Board passed by unanimous vote a meaningless motion which reaffirmed a 1952 anti-discrimination Resolution (an elaborate legal document, signifying nothing.) As if to imply that they considered themselves less committed to the CORE demands than to the 1952 Resolution, the Board insisted that it should suffice to "adopt the minutes of the previous meeting, which contained all the sections of the CORE Agreement." It didn't take a legal mastermind to see that by adopting the minutes the Board did not commit itself to carry out every policy suggested by CORE in the previous meeting. To adopt a set of minutes is simply to attest to its accuracy. Furthermore, copies of the minutes were not yet available and later proved to be incomplete and inaccurate.
At this point we became very confused (chief strategist Jack Weinberg was
CORE voted to break off negotiations unless our Resolution was passed at the next meeting. Meanwhile, city officials were moving to head off direct action. At a hastily arranged meeting the City Manager and his liberal young assistant assured us that "now that the city government has entered the situation on your side, direct action would be unnecessary and even harmful." We agreed completely and told them to make the RHA Board pass our Resolution. "You misunderstand.... we need more time." "We understand perfectly.... you have a week and a half.... Good by."
There was a near race riot that night. (The day before a drunken white man had senselessly shot a Negro teenager.) Hundreds of white and Negro youth roamed the downtown area in packed cars and foot gangs. Open fighting was averted by police, but Richmond was a tense city for the rest of the week.
The stage was set for CORE to apply maximum pressure at the Friday negotiation. We planned a sit-in for Monday at the RHA building, but our preparations convinced outsiders that direct action would begin on the spot if our demands were refused. We wanted as large an audience as possible. Leaflets were distributed in Richmond and at the Cal campus. Campus CORE organized an "informational" rally on the steps of Sproul Hall (then a "Hyde Park" Area) to describe the project and invite students and faculty to witness the negotiations. The Dean of Students arbitrarily refused us a permit (off-campus speakers, members of Richmond CORE, were scheduled. We said we would hold the rally anyway, and threatened to sue the University for political repression in violation of its own printed regulations. We got the permit.
At the rally we recruited over fifty persons to join our car pool to Richmond. The audience numbered over 100, mostly young people who seemed dressed for action. In that context we were quite a menacing group.
A negotiating plan was conceived. Since the Board had expressed its willingness to adopt the minutes which contained the CORE demands, we literally cut up the printed minutes and pasted together a Resolution, no word of which had not been a part of those minutes. The Board was checkmated: they had agreed to the substance of our demands, hoping to avoid really ratifying them, and now they could not do even that without becoming the laughing stock of Richmond.
In fact, the Board had come to this meeting prepared to capitulate. I believe that "the word was out", for a Negro minister prominent in Richmond politics arose at the meeting to denounce the RHA Board. He was no friend of CORE (as we later learned), but knew what was up and wanted to be in at the kill. In just a few minutes, the Board had caucused and decided to accept our "compromise."
We asked for a role-call vote, and the Resolution passed unanimously.
In the RHA project public negotiations served as an adjunct to direct action. No picket line could have condemned the RHA Board as effectively as the spectacle of a city commission acting like fools and fakers. But it did not have to be this way. We were acting under fortuitous circumstances: our negotiators were trained and intelligent, theirs were untrained and stupid. The "mediator" did not have the respect of the audience or the public, and the audience itself was totally sympathetic to CORE. The reader would do well to compare this with the circumstances of the CCPA negotiations at UC, particularly if he was one of the FSM supporters who was critical of the negotiating team for its impatience and lack of trust in the Committee.
In future issues of the Corelator we expect to have articles dealing with the tactics of negotiation, as well as strategy. It is a rich field. Perhaps we will be able to persuade Clark Kerr to contribute an article.
David Friedman, with Bryson Collins
"Had it not been for the right of students on our college campuses to advocate involvement in civil rights and other social struggles, the civil rights revolution never would have and never could have gotten off the ground. Had there been on the Negro campuses in the South in the spring of 1960 regulations from the colleges and the universities barring the advocacy of actions which might become illegal, there would not have been the freedom rides of 1961. There would not have been the student movement in Mississippi this summer. There would not have been the agitation on campus after campus that we have seen...."
—James Farmer, addressing a rally at Berkeley, 15 December 1964
...Meanwhile in Oakland
This report is the result of an investigation conducted by Campus CORE in the fall of 1964 to determine whether racial discrimination exists in Oakland public housing. The investigation was suggested by a similar project (see p. 12) involving the Richmond Housing Authority.
Oakland has seven projects comprising 1,317 dwelling units. While Negroes constitute one fourth of Oakland's population, they constitute a large majority of the low income families for which public housing is reserved. It was found that the projects do indeed contain a high percentage of Negroes, five being over 60 per cent Negro. The races were in no way segregated within the individual projects. Even Palo Vista Gardens, a project for elderly citizens, had a significant number of Negroes
The breakdown of the individual projects follows:
- Chestnut Court: A new project; the majority of the occupants are Negroes.
- Campbell Village: This project, built in 1941, has no Caucasian families. There are recreation facilities for the occupants.
- Peralta Villa: The largest project in Oakland, with 390 units. It was built in 1942; over 60 per cent of the occupants are Negroes.
- Westwood Gardens: A new project that recently received its first Caucasian family.
- San Antonio Villa: A new project. Its occupants, at least 70 per cent Negro, are mostly people who have been moved out of West Oakland for urban renewal.
- Palo Vista Gardens: The new project for elderly Oalkland citizens has a substantial number of Negro residents.
- Lockwood Gardens: This project, built in 1942, was investigated more throughly than the others. Of the 372 units, 152 were surveyed. We found 81 caucaisians, 22 Negroes, 11 Spanish-Americans, 3 Orientals, and the remaining 35 were not at home. Most of the Caucasians were elderly people. The investigators found that the fastest way to progress from door to door was to inform the occupants that they were from the University of California. Several times this fact alone was enough to have the door slammed in one's face. Nevertheless, the investigators learned that in the Lockwood project the number of Negroes has been increasing over the past five years, and that tenants were generally satisfied with the project manager and with apartment maintenance. The investigation of Lockwood showed that even where there are a majority of caucasians, the housing is not segregated.
This article represents one of a continuing series of investigations by Campus CORE, some of which result in a finding of no discrimination, some of which are concluded by successful negotiation. Direct action is used only when investigation has uncovered discrimination and negotiations have failed to end it.
Unsavory Hiring Policy In East Bay Restaurants
Noting casually that there seemed to be no Negro waitresses in local restaurants, Campus CORE decided last September to investigate the situation systematically. Through the Chamber of Commerce we learned that most of the larger restaurants in the area are members of the East Bay Restaurant Association. We then began making headcounts among the 168 restaurants belonging to the Association. For each restaurant the investigators recorded the total number of employees observed and the number of Negroes, Mexicans, and Orientals in the four separate job categories; waiters and waitresses, bartenders, cooks, and busboys. Several visits were made to each restaurant, to ensure that all workshifts were covered.
The preliminary results of a week's investigating convinced us that this would be one of our major projects. After two weeks and 45 visits to 19 separate restaurants, we calculated that the percentage of Negro employees in the four major job categories was:
- busboys 20%
- cooks 15%
- waiters and waitresses 0%
- bartenders 0%
These percentages must be understood as approximations. The statistics of two restaurants (including Sambo's) were omitted, since their Negro waitresses serve a separate dining area obviously designed to have a Southern "ethnic" atmosphere. This phenomenon actually strengthened our impression of race-consciousness in restaurant hiring and would be misleading if included among the other statistics.
In an area with a Negro population of 25 per cent the above figures indicate a clear pattern of discrimination, with Negroes hired only for "back room jobs." The largest single job category—waiters and waitresses—requires little formal education, and no more "prior experience" than some thousands of caucasians in the East Bay have managed to acquire. We later determined that the presence of Negroes in the skilled jobs of cooks was due, at least in part, to the positive pressure of an integrated cooks union which is strong enough to enforce hiring through the union hall.
When making our headcounts, we always spoke to the restaurant manager to let him know the purpose of our investigation. Therefore, it was no surprise to the Association when we contacted them and attempted to begin negotiations.
At our first meeting, Mr. Dykehouse, Executive Director of the Restaurant Association, used an approach that we have come to know very well. He confided to us in a candid manner that indeed there was a social problem. "Yes, there is a traditional pattern in restaurant hiring, but of course no one here is responsible.... Civic minded restaurateurs are aware of our community's needs.... Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.... Good by."
Talks became a little less amiable when Mr. Dykehouse realized that CORE would not be satisfied with vague assurances of good will. We were proposing that all of the restaurants sign an "equal opportunity employment agreement" which called for specific commitments. As a goal we proposed that the restaurants agree that eventually Negroes should be represented in each job category in approximately the same proportion as in the general population. This could be achieved by hiring one-fourth to one-third Negroes in all future job openings. We suggested a program for attracting qualified Negroes through equal opportunity advertising. We suggested that Negro busboys who had proven their diligence be promoted to the more lucrative and prestigious waiter positions.
Finally, we insisted that each restaurant make quarterly reports which would record the number of Negroes hired in each job category and indicate the rate of staff turnover. From past experience we had found that businesses cannot be held rigidly to any rate of hiring. However, the requirement of regular reports guarantees that the project is taken seriously, and it gives us a real way of evaluating progress. Without the requirement of reports, the entire agreement is just a high-falutin' form of good will assurance.
While Mr. Dykehouse stalled us along about future meetings, we mailed copies of our proposed agreement to each restaurant in the Association, and continued the process of headcounts.
At one point we held a rally on campus to explain our project and to recruit students for restaurant surveys. Forty people volunteered to take individual assignments. This was an example of "mounting social and political action on the University campus." At the time, this was against University regulations, and according to the most recent "clarification" of the rules, we still can be punished for the rally if the project should eventually result in direct action leading to arrests.
Since the restaurants involved are located both the Berkeley and in Oakland, this has become a joint project of Campus and Oakland CORE. In the second week of December, a joint Campus CORE-Oakland CORE project negotiating team met with a subcommittee of the Restaurant Association's Board of Directors. We were informed that the full Board had unanimously passed a resolution stating that they would not meet with us unless we could produce a document showing that we represent all the integration and racial minority groups in the area. Offhand this seemed like a preposterous proposal. It was just another form of the statement
This break in negotiations is no serious setback. In fact, all CORE chapters know how detrimental it can be to engage in extended negotiations with "advisory committees" that have neither the intention nor the power to change the policies of the people they "represent." We will continue our relations with individual restaurants, keeping in mind the very likely possibility of direct action against one or several of the major offenders.
We consider this project to have great potential. It is a type of action particularly well suited to CORE. Taking the Association as a whole, about 3,000 jobs are involved, and each individual restaurant is a relatively easy target for a CORE chapter.. The members under pressure will themselves seek an Association-wide agreement in order to avoid possible recriminations for breaking a "traditional" pattern.
At this writing, we are preparing for protest action, organizing and contacting various elements and groups in the Oakland and Berkeley communities with a natural interest in the project. Undoubtedly direct action will be necessary. Already, some restaurant owners have declined to meet with us on the ground that they are "represented" by the Association. They have done this with full knowledge of the Association's refusal to deal with us except under absurd conditions which we consider unacceptable. These restaurants, by their discriminatory hiring patterns and their rejection of any negotiation procedure, have exposed themselves to direct action at whatever time proves convenient for us. When they ask us to call off our picket lines in order to negotiate, we will remember their initial attitude. However, we are always open to further negotiations with individual restaurants and their Association.
Oakland: Crisis Next Door
Civil rights activists should pay close attention to the city of Oakland, which has the largest, and one of the poorest, Negro populations in this area. Negro protest in Oakland may take the form of fruitless, undirected rioting or, on the other hand, it may be captured, smothered, and misdirected by Democratic politicians and conservative Negro leaders. Another course, that of militant, uncompromising struggle by a well organized Negro community is possible. The Negro struggle in other sections of the nation has shown that this latter course is not inevitable. But its likelihood can be enhanced by a program of action and organization militantly carried out now by activists who make it their duty to inform themselves about the Negro community, the problems which exist, and developments which can be encouraged and aided. That struggle will occur we do not doubt; our concern is with its content, form, and direction.
In 1960 Oakland's non-white population was more than 26 per cent of the total population, and the proportion of Negroes to total population has been growing rapidly since then. Approximately 50 per cent of the pupil population is Negro, while total minority group children account for more than 59 per cent. Last year Oakland was declared a "depressed area" under the Area Redevelopment Act of 1961, due to high rates of chronic unemployment. Census data for 1960 indicate an eight per cent unemployment rate for males 21 years and over; the unemployment rate for non-white males was 13.8 per cent and for males with Mexican surnames nine per cent. More recent surveys indicate unemployment rates among youth 16-21 years of 17.3 per cent in the Castlemont area and 31.4 per cent in the West Oakland-North Oakland area—both composed largely of Negroes.
Large scale industry continues to move out of the city, leaving little prospect for higher employment rates in the future without drastic governmental action. Given the anemic character of Mr. Johnson's "War on Poverty," there is little hope for the amount or kind of federal aid required to revitalize Oakland's economy.
Civil rights controversies over education in Oakland represent just one facet of the dilemma faced by Negroes. Police brutality is an ever-present terror for many Oakland Negroes. A reactionary attitude on the part of Alameda County welfare officials has resulted in many gross injustices to the poorer sections of the population, their most notorious crime being illegal referrals to farm labor jobs. The state has finally cracked down on the farm labor program in Alameda County, following a campaign carried out by the Welfare Rights Organization, which included a sit-in last September at the offices
As a final bitter dose, Oakland Negroes have been "represented" for many years by civil rights organizations led by very conservative Negro politicians whose personal opportunism has been of the same degree as that displayed by men like Supervisor Francois in San Francisco. A capsule history of civil rights controversy in the public schools since 1960 will give a representative picture of public institutions in the "All-American City," as Oakland proudly describes itself.
"Bastion of Bigotry"
In 1960 a new high school was built in the middle- and upper-class residential "hills" area of Oakland. Before 1960 only one of the five high schools (McClymonds High School, 98 per cent Negro) was de facto segregated. The new Skyline High School attendance boundaries were drawn to include most of the hill area running the entire length of the city (10 miles.) The Oakland Federation of Teachers protested that these attendance boundaries would lead to an all-white high school, and to disproportionately high percentages of minority children in the other high schools, which would then be serving primarily the flatlands, inhabited by minority groups and by working class and lower middle class families. Very few voices were raised in protest, however, and the school was built with the proposed boundaries. Within a year, a number of organizations and individuals began to protest the existence of the Skyline "bastion of bigotry," an appellation bestowed by none less than a member of the Board of Education itself. The board has held fast to its policy of "no social engineering" whenever it has been asked to change the Skyline attendance boundaries. This hard and fast rule against elimination of Skyline's present boundaries, together with an opposition lacking both militancy and program, has kept public controversy centered almost exclusively around the "Skyline question."
Under pressure from the NAACP, the newly formed Oakland chapter of CORE, the Oakland Federation of Teachers, and one member of the board itself, the board of education set up, in late 1962 or early 1963, a large and unwieldy Citizens Advisory Committee to make recommendations on a number of problems associated with education in Oakland. A subcommittee of the
Meanwhile, the administration began to put on a "new face." In addition to admitting that Negroes exist in some classrooms (for years administrators had insisted that they were "color blind" and refused even to use the term Negro) outside "experts" were hired to write reports and make recommendations for improving educational opportunities for minority children; race relations "experts" and "successful" Negroes were invited in to speak to teachers; "open enrollment" policies were adopted with much fanfare but no results; a few Negro teachers were assigned to previously all-white faculties; and administrators and board members began taking expense-paid junkets throughout the nation to see how other cities were handling "The Problem."
The schools have also begun a number of special programs designed to increase educational opportunities for minority group children. These programs range from a pre-school reading program at two elementary schools, financed by the Ford Foundation, to pilot programs in "compensatory education" and vocational training at the high school level. Most of the money for these programs is provided, not by the district, but by the Ford Foundation, the state legislature and federal agencies. The Oakland school district has spent almost no money of its own, and does not seem inclined to do so in the near future. The total amount of money and time consumed in these special programs is not sufficient to make a dent in the massive educational problems faced by the city's Negro children. Worse still, many of these programs proudly displayed by the administration as evidence of its concern are simply frauds.
Shades of Booker T.
The student selected for "compensatory education" is to be helped to "establish for himself a direct link between formal school education and a vocational goal." This student spends half of his school day in the classroom. During the other half he is engaged in developing vocational "skills"—mostly janitorial or construction work at the school site! A primarily "social worker" type of approach is made toward the student who is considered a potential drop-out. This is illustrated by the response of a special counselor recently assigned to help potential drop-out students at McClymonds High School, when he was asked how the children were to be helped to remain in school. Paraphrased, it went something like, "well, I don't know, I'll
NAACP True to Form
As the Equal Educational Opportunity Committee carried on its deliberations, it became clear that no revolutionary recommendations were in the offing; and criticism was voiced more and more frequently by individuals and organizations at board meetings. In the spring of 1964 Campus CORE and the East Oakland Citizens Committee began picketing the board of educations each week at its regular meeting, demanding action on high school attendance boundaries. The NAACP announced a boycott for May 18 to "commemorate the 1954 Supreme Court decision" and suggested that any financial loss to the district resulting from low attendance should be taken from the Superintendent's salary. The NAACP demanded "concrete action" on the question of high school attendance boundaries, and suggested that other reforms were needed in personnel policies, curriculum, and so on. Aside from the "Skyline question," the demands of the NAACP were quite vague. Campus CORE supported the NAACP boycott and did a lion's share of the work organizing it. A couple of days before the scheduled boycott, the State Board of Education stepped in and secured agreement from the board of education for an investigation of the Oakland schools by the Equal Opportunity in Education Committee, an agency of the State Board. In inevitable sellout followed. Don McCullum, then president of the Oakland NAACP, announced to the press and to volunteers from Campus CORE that, because of this "significant step forward" by the board the boycott was being postponed. So far no one has heard from the NAACP about the proposed length of the postponement.
This fall the Citizens Advisory Committee submitted its reports and recommendations to the board of education. Public hearings continue on the Equal Educational Opportunity Committee's report, which is voluminous but devoid of any but the most 'harmless' proposals for improving education in Oakland. The State Board of Education's Equal Opportunity in Education Committee also made its report to the Oakland board recently. This report praised the board for its efforts to improve education for minority children, and then went on to propose that the Oakland board develop a "master plan" for education designed to achieve racial balance within the next five years. The board happily adopted the suggestion, and its members are now informing the more insistent that there is really nothing to discuss
The one outspoken pro-integration member of the board of education, Dr. Robert Nolan, will be running for re-election in April, along with two other members of the board. Dr. Nolan will probably be challenged by a conservative, and the election campaign may provide a means of further increasing the consciousness of the Oakland Negro community. Civil rights militants should take the initiative whenever opportunities arise to demand public commitments from all candidates for election to the school board and the city council in the April elections. We should not fall into the trap of believing that public commitments will be honored by the victorious candidates; rather, we should use this opportunity to expose the racist policies and practices of the board of education and of the city council with the goal of building a movement for "freedom now" in the Negro ghettos of Oakland.
We cannot predict which issue or series of issues will provoke protest and organization in Oakland's Negro working class. The spark may be provided by police brutality, inadequate housing, employment discrimination, or unequal education. We can be sure that when the Negro community has had enough and decides to move, the city of Oakland will tremble from top to bottom. It is our duty to be ready when that day arrives. We cannot begin to prepare too soon. There has been a change in the leadership of the NAACP, but there will probably be little change in its philosophy of accommodation. Oakland CORE remains conservative and lacking in imagination and perspective. The Welfare Rights Organization has been doing a good job in a very limited arena, but does not seem to have an organizational structure or program which will lead to widespread organization of the Negro community. Youth for Jobs remains largely a service organization without an active membership, although it has some influence among the Negro youth of West and North Oakland. Youth for Jobs called a successful half-day walkout at two Oakland high schools in the fall of 1963, but has not conducted any such "political" campaign since then. The only civil rights organizations playing an active role in militant civil rights action in Oakland are two "outside" organizations, campus CORE and the Ad Hoc Committee. The latter organization is developing a base in Oakland, but Campus CORE is limited by its very nature to a Berkeley membership base. Neither organization is a "Negro" group, and both are essentially "student" organizations. Aside from gaining a few concessions from isolated sections of the power structure in specific projects, the primary role of these organizations
It is of especial importance for activists to understand the potential role of the labor movement in Oakland. The Alameda County Central Labor Council, unlike a majority of labor organizations in America, has taken a consistently pro-civil rights line for the past several years. Attempts by the Labor Council in the past to combat discrimination in Oakland and Alameda County have been stymied by the conservative Negro leadership of "civil rights" organizations such as the NAACP. The East Bay Labor Journal wrote more than one editorial supporting the direct action campaigns in San Francisco last year. Last summer Campus CORE and Oakland CORE were involved in a picketing campaign with Local 390 of the municipal employees union against the Recreation Department of Oakland, in which both traditional labor demands and civil rights demands were raised by all three organizations. The Central Labor Council delegate on the Citizens Advisory Committee mentioned above took a consistently hostile attitude toward the conciliatory recommendations of the committee, demanding stronger recommendations on most issures.
When the Ad Hoc Committee began picketing the Oakland Tribune, the Alameda County Central Labor Council went on record endorsing the project and the demands of the Ad Hoc Committee. More recently the Council reaffirmed this stand in the face of sharp criticism from the Tribune and from some of the labor unions which have contracts with the Tribune. The Council is showing a very friendly attitude toward Campus CORE's current project to end discrimination in the hiring policies in restaurants in Oakland and Alameda County.
No union members or Central Labor Council delegates or officials have been on the picket lines at the Tribune or at the welfare department. Nor should we expect to see them on picket lines or sit-ins at restaurants, should our campaign come to that. The labor movement certainly will not spearhead a drive for "freedom now." In fact, it occasionally gets tied up with non-essentials like persuading the Alameda County Supervisors to set up a Biracial Committee which will play the traditional role of conciliator and instrument for sponging up energies of protest in the Negro community. Nevertheless we must be aware of the fact that in the East Bay labor movement we will not find that solid front of liberal racism which is so common to the labor movement in America. The labor movement here is an important source of friendly support in militant campaigns and an invaluable link to communication with the working class community, both white and Negro.
To Be Ready
Our immediate task is to press for a substantial and meaningful settlement with
We must keep our hands on the pulse of Oakland to miss no opportunities. The April elections could provide some opportunities to inject important issues into the body politic. Education or public housing may be issues to which the Negro community will respond. Other issues will undoubtedly arise out of current projects. Civil rights activists who are white and who are students realize that students cannot make a civil rights movement. They should not sell themselves short, however, regarding their potential role as catalytic agents in helping to bring about the conditions and the consciousness which can lead to the building of a real freedom movement in the Bay Area.
"It was a Custom introduced by this Prince and his Ministry, (very different, as I have been assured, from the Practices of former Times) that after the Court had decreed any cruel Execution, either to gratify the Monarch's resentment, or the Malice of a Favourite; the Emperor always made a Speech to his whole Council, expr essing his great Lenity and Tenderness, as Qualities known and confessed by all the World.... It was observed that the more these Praises were enlarged and insisted on, the more inhuman was the Punishment, and the Sufferer more innocent."
—Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels,
ch. 7 "A Voyage to Lilliput"
"I had a good technique while canvassing. People would ask, 'why should I vote Tory? They've been in power for 13 years and they haven't kept the blacks out.' I say to that, 'but if you vote Labour, they'll let even more in!"' — Tory canvasser in Smethsick, England, where Labour foreign minister Patrick Gordon Walker was defeated by the "backlash" vote. Quoted in New Statesman, (London) 23 October 1964.
Equal Opportunity Unemployment?
The Oakland Tribune recently carried a front page article, accurate though unsympathetic, detailing Campus CORE's demands on the East Bay Restaurant Association. (See page for a fuller description of this project.) In response I received some approving letters and phone calls from Negroes who had experienced discrimination in restaurant hiring. I also received some notes from whites who felt threatened. Since these letters were unsigned and mildly threatening, I could have discarded them as crank mail. But I choose to take them seriously because they make a point which we cannot afford to ignore.
Here is one postcard, quoted in full:
We Whites in restaurant business see by papers you are going on war path to push us Whites off job for Neger friends. You sure will have a hell of a fight. Us cooks, wailters, bus boys are not going to be pushed out into the streets for likes of you. Of course we admit the Negers have a rite to work in restaurants. To work but the force to throw us out for the Blacks nothing doing. So wattch your step.
Yours—Whites For Restaurant
Perhaps the card would have been less hostile if the newspapers made it clear that we call for a new hiring policy, calculated on the rate of turnover. We never present an agreement that could in any way be construed to mean replacing present employees. In fact, in this project we have taken care to explain our plans and have them approved by the unions involved, (some of which have their own internal problems of discrimination to clear up.)
It will be necessary, then, to insist at great length upon the point that our demands call for changes in future hiring, not in current personnel. But even when we convince the white worker that we are not trying to get him fired from his present job, we still have a problem. At present there are not enough jobs to go around. Even if the white worker is assured that CORE will not get him fired from his present job, he worries about his next job—or about his son or daughter who may be looking for work. Let us face it frankly. If more jobs are available to Negroes, fewer are available to whites. No matter how you cut the deck, someone will be dealt out.
It should be obvious that CORE is incapable of taking on the gigantic problem of unemployment. Only an organization widely representative of workers white and black can lead the fight for a shorter work week, which would take up the slack created by increased productivity. Even the unions, with their immense resources, have cringed before this task.
Although we cannot start such a full employment movement on our own, we
At present the Negro unemployment rate is double the rate for caucasians. CORE must continue its campaign for more jobs for Negroes and, equally important, fair representation in all job categories. However, we must frankly recognize that in the current American economy the other side of the coin of equal employment must be equal unemployment. Thus as we fight for equal job opportunities, we should express some solidarity and sympathy for the very frightened white worker. Some day we may have the chance to join him in an integrated fight for integrated jobs for all.
Letter from Anne Albon
Following is the verbatim text of a letter addressed to Student Members of CORE, Berkeley State University, California, U. S. A.
55 Station Rd.
I have just read an account of your sit-down on Oct. 2nd in the daily paper The Guardian today, and am led to write at once and praise you all and thank you all. I feel so moved by this concerted action—it reminds me of our earlier anti-bomb sit-downs, and the feeling of for once doing something together that was both important and good.
Anyway I want to hug the lot of you, and say up with the human race, especially the young who say no to hypocrisy and authoritarianism, and love life enough to fight for freedom and love and tolerance. It's grand that you don't give in to the very real pressures. Thank you for your courage.
Crisis in Black and White, by Charles E. Silberman, Random House, 1964, $5.95
Were Charles E. Silberman neither on the editorial board of Henry R. Luce's Fortune magazine, nor a former lecturer in economics at Columbia, the reviewer would be able to praise Crisis in Black and White as an intellectually uneven but undoubtedly sincere investigation of what DuBois called the problem of the Twentieth Century. But since Silberman happens to be both, it is difficult to deal with him gently.
The thesis of this exasperating book is that America must solve the "Negro problem;" the cost of failure will be the permanent alienation of Negroes from American life and the hatred of the United States by the non-white world. The only solution is "nothing less than a radical reconstruction of American society... if the Negro is to be able to take his rightful place in American life." (p. 10)
That America is in serious trouble Silberman leaves no doubt. By far the strongest part of the book is his treatment of the damage which 300 years of suppression and oppression has caused both to Negroes and whites. He does not evade the unpleasant fact that most whites—both Northern and Southern—are after all racists. Nor does he have much patience with white intellectuals, ranging from Professor P.M. Hauser, who thinks Negroes have to be "acculturated" to Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz, who thinks that total miscegnation is the only answer. Schemes for reform from above, beloved by social workers and philanthropic foundations, also come in for attack.
So far so good. But, as we have seen, Silberman has called for a radical reconstruction. How is it to come about? By the Negro people themselves. Silberman has nothing against protest; on the contrary, he finds it to be an antidote to the lethal apathy to which the majority of American Negroes have resigned themselves. Constructive protest like the Woodlawn Organization in Chicago, which fought the urban renewal—i.e. Negro removal—of the city and the University of Chicago to a draw, represents militancy at its best.
But community action is one thing; radical reconstruction and the integration of American society others. And on this point—which he claims to be a sine qua non—Silberman essentially has nothing to say. In 350 pages there are exactly two passing references to CORE. The problem of structural unemployment is
Also, according to Silberman, Negro militants "cannot have it both ways.... For if Negroes are to be elected and appointed to high office—if they are, in fact, to enter the 'power structure' and help shape the decisions that count—they will have to give up a good deal of their freedom to criticize and protest." (p. 211) True enough, but the present power structure is unwilling even to shape the decisions that might benefit lower class whites, and the "black bourgeoisie" can hardly be called the champion of the Negro working class.
In the last analysis, then, Silberman's "radical reconstruction" is a red herring. Despite all his insitence on the urgency of meeting successfully the impending crisis in black and white, he has no perspective for achieving the new order or even an investigation of the economic, class, and value structure of the existing order and of its relation to discrimination and racism. Rather, he has only moral exhortation. In one of his attacks on social workers he observes that they "made Freud their god when they should have been worsipping at the shrine of the sociologist Emile Durkheim." Perhaps Silberman should have dropped in on the shrine of Karl Marx before venturing upon his intellectual travels.
Murder in Ole Miss
Mississippi Eyewitness: A special issue of Ramparts magazine, Menlo Park, California, 1964, 50 cents.
Old time civil rights activists are fond of priding themselves on their immunity to shock over the seamier aspects and events of our society. Perhaps the chief virtue of Mississippi Eyewitness is the ability of its seven essays to evoke, pictorially and verbally, the horror and savagery which attended the murder of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner.
The effect achieved is all the more impressive in that the 64 pages contains little that was not already known. Louis Lomax's essay, "Road to Mississippi," is a masterful narrative of not one, but a number, of roads which converged outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi, on 21 June 1964. Although first rate journalism, one cannot call it history, since Lomax is writing under a life-and-death obligation to protect his sources and since the murderers are not named.
Perhaps the best article is "Mississippi Violence and Federal Power," by William M. Kunstler, a New York attorney. Kunstler demonstrates in a manner which ought to satisfy the staunchest Kennedy supporter that the Attorney General's assertion that the situation is Mississippi was a "local matter of law enforcement" in which federal authority was "very limited" flies in the face of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 (a statute still on the books), which provides for federal troops to suppress "any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy" against constitutional and statutory rights. (p. 27)
Other contributions include brilliant photographs of "The Faces of Philadelphia," an interview with Dick Gregory, and an article, "Mississippi Autopsy," by Dr. David M. Spain, in which he repeats his earlier statement that in his 25 years of conducting autopsies he had never seen anyone beaten so badly as was Chaney: "I have never seen so severely shattered bones, except in tremendously high speed accidents or airplane crashes." (p. 49)
The implicit question behind Mississippi Eyewitness, it seems to this reviewer is whether Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner have died in vain. Louis Lomax writes:
The American Negro has survived on a prayer and a dream. The prayer was that one day they could take their place in the American mainstream as just other humans in pursuit of happiness.
Michael, Andrew, and James, then, are three coins we Negroes—No.' We believers in justice, black and white, Protestant and Catholic, Jew and Gentile—tossed into the fountain.
The only question now remaining is: which one will the fountain bless? (p. 23)
Since the centenary of Reconstruction is almost here, it might be a good time to see that the fountain blesses all three. This will require nothing less than the federal government's willingness to eradicate Southern savagery.
Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs, Front Page Publications, Los Angeles, 1964. 98 pp. $1.00
The cliche no news is good news is in dire need of revision, considering the spate of books and magazines on such subjects as J.F. Kennedy and the civil rights struggle. Rather the slogan should be changed to read, no news is profitless news. Indeed, the pursuit of the old dollar sign is the only raison d'etre this reviewer can find for Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs, a hastily assembled hodge-podge of UPI and Wide World photos chronicling events from the Montgomery bus buycott to Auto Row.
To be sure, the photos are for the most part the best of the crop and will not
"Such rights cannot be realized when acts of murder, assassination or violenced [sic] are practiced any place in our land.
"Nor can such rights be realized by public protests which create a climate of violence, whether those protests be made by sprawling in the streets, blicking public buildings, or sitting in the doors of subway cars.
"Such rights can be realized by the determination of each individual American to live and practice those ideals that we have once again defined and made a part of the law of the land."(p. 98)
CORE members are advised to use the $1-cost of this magazine to pay their dues. For others the list of worthy causes is too lengthy to enumerate.
BRYSON COLLINS is a junior in psychology at the University of California and is second vice-president of Campus CORE.
DAVID FRIEDMAN, vice-chairman of Campus CORE, is a National Science Foundation fellow in Mathematics at UC.
BARBARA GARSON somehow manages to find time to edit the FSM Newsletter and serve on the executive committee of Campus CORE.
MIKE ORKIN is staff cartoonist for the FSM Newsletter.
DAVE RICHARDSON is a senior in economics at UC.
TOM ROLAND teaches mathematics at McClymonds High School in Oakland and is a member of the Alameda County Central Labor Council.
JOE WHITE, Corelator editor, is a graduate student in history at UC and worked last summer in the Mississippi Summer Project.
BOB MCCLINTOCK is a member of the Campus CORE executive committee.
Title: Jan., 1965
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