FSM-A \ Free Speech Movement Archives FSM-A

The Internal Organization of the FSM

 

Executive Committee

Goines: "Executive Committee: “Ex Com.” Large group composed of representatives of all campus  organizations. The Executive Committee formed general policy and elected the FSM Steering Committee. On October 5, consisted of two representatives from each of the eighteen United Front organizations. Expanded on Thursday, October 8 to include seven representatives of the newly-formed Independent Student Association and in the week of October 11 to include seven representatives from the newly-formed gcc. Campus religious groups received representation as did the eighty students who worked to put out the Rossman Report. By the middle of October, the FSM Executive Committee consisted of 56 members."

Steering Committee

Goines: Steering Committee: "Small group elected by the FSM Executive Committee to make rapid decisions on a day-to-day basis."

December, 1974 California Monthly, Michael Rossman photo essay, p11
" MEL'S COFFEESHOP
Two a.m. in Mel's Coffeeshop, Steve Weissman, Mario Savio, Jack Weinberg, and others you cannot see, the FSM Steering Committee taking a break in an endless string of crisis meetings. Sometimes we got a day off; more often we met for eight hours running, our deliberations punctuated by calls from the administration threatening to have us arrested for criminal conspiracy, and urgent messengers from the other working groups that formed the FSM's substance. There were thirty or more of them--Press Central, Legal Central, Nexus, Newsletter, departmental organizing committees, song-and-dance groups-created spontaneously wherever people recognized a need to be met, and functioning all with the creative energy and the autonomy that marked the FSM's style. Outsiders thought the FSM a highly organized, efficient political machine, and saw the Steering Committee as a mysterious body of skilled agitators who ran it. It was more than we could do even to coordinate groups and keep information flowing. Strategy was in the hands of the Executive Committee, where representatives of seventy groups covering the full campus spectrum met in a great circle; coordination and tactics were the Steering Committee's province. Often we had to make tactical recommendations to the movement almost on an hourly basis, and before deciding we would scurry around campus asking everyone we saw wearing an FSM button what they thought should be done. A civil rights worker, a Goldwater Republican, a touchy-feely anarchist, a Communist, a psychedelic mystic, a Socialist, a minister ... the Steering Committee was as mixed a group, and worked as successfully, as any I have ever seen, discussing every decision down to a solid con census as we orchestrated the tactics of mass action, indulging joy and ritual. It was real, there was conflict and bitterness as well as love among us. But it was also magical: our radically diverse personalities and viewpoints and efforts were fused in some transcendent functional harmony."

FSM Central
Press Central
Goines: "Shorter-run leaflets and other mimeographed communications were run off at all hours at Press Central, located in Tom Irwin’s basement on Milvia. Since it was part of a house, to avoid disturbing the residents we ordinarily entered and left through the basement windows."
Print Central
Legal Central
Goines: "The only one that ran well, aside from Central Central (as it was called at one point), was Legal Central, which kept track of all the defendants after the arrests of December 3. David Stein was in charge of it for two and a half years, and it’s the only one that ran as well as it could have, with almost no hang-ups or personality difficulties."
"David Stein kept the defendants’ list [802] up to date for two-and-a-half years, until all the fines had been paid, all the probations completed and all the jail terms served, and then that was the end of it."
Strike Central

 

"I remember a particular night in Correspondence Central,
writing a response to a message from students at the Sorbonne (French dictionary in hand),
while across the table Jane Gurko was wondering what salutation to use for Lord Bertrand Russell."
Richard Bevis, 10/15/2014 email