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Free Speech Movement

Free Speech Movement: Do Not Fold, Bend, Mutilate or Spindle

At the beginning, we did not realize the strength of the forces we were up against. We have learned that we must fight not only Dean Towle, Chancellor Strong, and President Kerr, but also the Board of Regents with their billions of dollars and Governor Brown with his army of cops.

But neither did they realize the forces they were up against. At the beginning they thought they had only to fight a hundred or so beatniks, Maoists, and Fidelistas. But they put eight hundred of the hard core in jail and found they still had to face thousands of other students and faculty members.

The source of their power is clear enough: the guns and the clubs of the Highway Patrol, the banks and corporations of the Regents. But what is the source of our power?

It is something we see everywhere on campus but find hard to define. Perhaps it was best expressed by the sign one boy pinned to his chest: I am a UC student. Please don’t bend, fold, spindle or mutilate me. The source of our strength is, very simply, the fact that we are human beings and so cannot forever be treated as raw materials–to be processed.

Clark Kerr has declared, in his writings and by his conduct, that a university must be like any other factory–a place where workers who handle raw material are themselves handled like raw material by the administrators above them. Kerr is confident that in his utopia there will not be any revolt, anyway, except little bureaucratic revolts that can be handled piecemeal.

As President of one of the greatest universities in the world, one which is considered to lie on the cutting edge of progress, Kerr hopes to make UC a model to be proudly presented for the consideration of even higher authorities.

By our action, we have proved Kerr wrong in his claim that human beings can be handled like raw material without provoking revolt. We have smashed to bits his pretty little doll house. The next task will be to build in its stead a real house for real people.

–Anonymous statement from the FSM Newsletter

Posted by: skip
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