The History of the Cold war: A Comparative Perspective
UC Berkeley: Oct 1967
UC Berkeley: Oct 1967-It Begins
1. Berkeley an unusual community to nurture rebellion
was a republic of letters where independent newspapers, poetry, music, art,
and theater proliferated, transmitting dissident thoughts to a large community.
University and government officials attempted to control the public discourse,
but the diverse setting around the campus made this an impossible
task. By the 1960s the city of Berkeley was large enough to nurture a cosmopolitan
exchange of ideas, but it remained small enough to protect a space
for youthful experimentation relatively free from the commercial pressures
that naturally dominate an urban metropolis
From 1964 through 1968 this university community spearheaded the development
of a national protest movement in America. The ideas of the New
Left provided students with an initial language of dissent during the early
years of the decade. Protest activities in Berkeley converted words into
action. Confrontations on and around campus-beginning with the Free
Speech Movement in late 1964-sparked a series of disruptions that reached
a crescendo within a few years.
Suri p. 167.
Joan Baez arrested-folk songs provide anthems of protest--Rock will become the universal language of the cultural war
2. A Leadership corps evolves: They learn from other movements-Civil Rights
After a tentative compromise between the students
and the university broke down, members of the Free Speech Movement organized
a long series of rallies on campus, culminating in an occupation of
Sproul Hall on 2 December.8
Like their counterparts
in the civil rights movement, the students channeled various energies
into a form of "direct action" that highlighted the unjust use of authority by
established institutions. Sitting peacefully, the students appeared morally
pure. Using force to remove sitters, the police looked brutal and menacing.
Mario Savio, one of the leaders of the Free Speech Movement, recognized
that this was the beginning of a crusade that would not end soon. Speaking
to a large group before the sit-in at Sproul Hall, he merged New Left language
with a call for immediate action. "There is a time," Savio exclaimed,
"when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick
at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and
you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the
levers, upon all the apparatus and you've got to make it stop."
Suri p. 168.
3. Vietnam a world wide catalytic event
The Vietnam War provoked a continual series of student demonstrations
that included strikes, marches, sit-ins, teach-ins, and building takeovers. A
majority of Berkeley residents never participated in these activities. What
had been a very small cohort of protesters at the time of the Free Speech
Movement, however, grew into a formidable insurrectionary mass. Roger
Heyns, the newly appointed chancellor of the university in the fall of 1965,
commented that the atmosphere in Berkeley had grown "sick." Radical critics
of American policy and dogmatic conservatives polarized the city, creating
what one historian calls "a state of perpetual war. "14
Suri p. 169.
Draft card burnings a direct action that assailed main st. values
4. March on Washington, Oct 21, 1967--grow the movement-TV
We are fighting a "revolution," the Barb announced; "nothing
short of basic change will restore peace ... Will the establishment recognize
this at home-or are they after subjugation through extermination as in
Vietnam?"18 . . .
On 21 October more than 50,000 people
from around the country traveled to Washington for another antiwar
rally, this one modeled on the first Vietnam Day Committee gathering in
Berkeley. The young men and women who assembled at the Lincoln Memorial
marched across the Potomac River to the Pentagon, where they hoped to
occupy the center of American war planning.
Suri p. 170.
Flower power vs guns
5. Quickly the movement turns harsher
The language of warfare in Vietnam displaced the promise of peaceful domestic
reform. The youth and civil rights movements of the 1960s had initially
emerged, at least in part, from an extended pacifist tradition in American
thought.23 After the Oakland and Washington events, however, protest
activities veered toward more violent language and tactics. The year 1968
marked the point when demonstrators became militarized in parallel with
the militarization of American foreign policy in Southeast Asia. The Barb reported
that calls to "kill a white cop" received loudest applause at student
gatherings. Arguments for nonviolent change garnered far less enthusiastic
support.24. . .
The war in Vietnam, fought
to carry American developmental ideas abroad, had now come home in
ways that threatened to spiral out of control.33
Suri p. 171.
These videos are provided for those who are intersted in the events detailed. Realize that these events are all media events and you need to see and hear them as did the public of the 1960's.