Revolution at Berkeley
Sitting in the Student Union one day last September, I happened to read in the Daily Cal that tables were no longer allowed at Bancroft and Telegraph. "That's bad," I thought. "I wonder if something can be done about it, and who, if anyone, would do it."
We have accomplished more than anyone ever dreamed. To me, however, the most significant occurrence was not the many victories but the way in which the movement was supported. The determination and selflessness of those who helped us was unprecedented.
The stepring committee of the FSM set records for endurance which may never be broken, but most members were experienced in political activity, and also felt the burden of responsibility attendant on leadership. Many of the "hard-core" supporters also worked ceaselessly, but again, many (although by no means all) had political backgrounds and anticipated future political activity for themselves; thus, perhaps, they had a better picture of the importance of the movement and its connection with other political & social movements.
The really amazing and gratifying thing was the support given by "non-political types." The people who came to "central" or to Bancroft and Telegraph at six or seven in the morning to collate the materials for the day; the girls who donated great amounts of time and materials to make our posters; the leafletters, chauffeurs, typists, and telephoners; the faculty that raised $8500 bail ina few hours; the anonymous donors from the outside community....the list is long.
The significant question is: Why? Why was someone willing to drive me to Fresno at five in the morning, on two hours sleep and no advance notice? Why were we able to get enough volunteers to survey 27,500 students in one day? Why was there a two mile long line of cars outside Santa Rita? People who in the past had been inactive.
I think it is because a vast number of people became aware of their responsibility to society. They felt that this was their fight, and they had to fight it. Perhaps they had no intention of sitting a at a table, but sympathized with one of the organizations (and there is hardly a person who didn't, with a choice of 22 groups from Goldwater to Trotsky). In any case, it struck close to home. It's not as easy to ignore 500 cops on your own campus as it is to ignore the same number at Ole Miss.
People stopped to listen. They realized that 5000 students were not something to ignore, and they tried to find out what was going on, and in many cases, they decided to do something about it.
That last phrase, sums up the most important result of the entire controversy. It is the greatest -- though unplanned -- product of the Free Speech Movement; certainly it is the one for which students, faculty, and administration should be most thankful. Moreover, it should be appreciatted by the leaders of our society and supporters of democracy everywhere, for we are supplying a democratic society with what it most needs: thinking individuals.
The knowlege factory could produce managers, physicists, etc., to serve society (and the status quo) indirectly, through various indus tries. Hopefully, the University, of which the knowlege factory should be but a servant, will now be able to produce citizens: people who can think, decide, and if necessary, act to benefit society directly by changing the status quo. THAT is the real revolution at Berkeley.
A former FSM Central staffer labor donated