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"At present in the United States, students -- middle class youth -- are the major exploited class. The labor of intelligent youth is needed, and they are accordingly subjected to tight scheduling, speedup, and other factory exploitative methods. Then it is not surprising if they organize their CIO. It is frivolous to tell them to go elsewhere if they don't like the rules, for they have no choice but to go to college, and one factory is like another."

                                    Paul Goodman

".. we get a four year long series of sharp staccatos: eight semesters, forty courses, one hundred twenty or more "units," ten to fifteen impersonal lectures per week, one to three oversized discussion meetings per week led by poorly paid graduate student "teachers." Over a period of four years the student-cog receives close to forty bibliographies; evaluation amounts to little more than pushing the exam button, which results in over one hundred regurgitations in four years and the writing of twenty to thirty-five papers in four years in this context means that they are of necessity technically and substantially poor due to lack of time for thought."

                             Brad Cleaveland

     Throughout the semester, the FSM has been producing leaflets and pamphlets at a furious pace. We have been patient, repetitious, sometimes boring, we have tried to explain what we're doing and who we are. As we look back at our written communications of the semester, we discover that to some extent we have failed. Each day was an emergency, a crisis, so that although we said important things, issues arose which were not of the moment -- important issues which we have not adequately discussed. We take this opportunity to more fully discuss our movement, the university, and our education.

              The Free Speech Movement


1. The Moral Impetus

     Our stand has been moral. We feel, that to a great extent, our movement has accomplished something which so many of the movements of the past few generations have failed to accomplish. We have tried, in the context of a mass movement, to act politically with moral justification. We have tried to be sensitive to each of our supporters and the individual morality he has brought to the movement. This is what has been unique about our movement.

     Although our issue has been free speech, our theme has been solidarity. When individual members of our community have acted, we joined together as a community to jointly bear the responsibility for their actions. We have been able to revitalize one of the most distorted, misused, and important words of our century: comrade. The concept of living cannot be separated from the concept of other people. In our practical, fragmented society, too many of us have been alone. By being willing to stand up for others, and by knowing that others are willing to stand up for us, we have gained more than political power, we have gained personal strength. Each of us who has acted, now knows that he is a being willing to act.

     No one can presume to explain why so many thousands have become part of the Free Speech Movement. All we can say is what each of us felt: something was wrong; something had to be done. It wasn't just that student political rights had been abridged; much more was wrong. Something had to be done about political rights, and in actively trying to cope with political rights we found ourselves confronting the entire Berkeley experience. The Berkeley campus has become a new place since the beginning of the semester. Many are trying to tell us that what we are trying to do may destroy the university. We are fully aware that we are doing something which has implicit proportions so immense as to be frightening. We are frightened of our power as a movement; but it is a healthy fear. We must not allow our fear to lead us into believing that we are being destructive. We are beginning to build a great university. So long as the students stand united in firmness and dignity, and the faculty stands behind us, the university cannot be destroyed. As students, we have already demonstrated our strength and dedication; the faculty has yet to show it can do its share. Some faculty members have stated that if what they call "anarchy" continues, then they will leave the university to seek employment elsewhere. Such faculty members who would leave at this point would compromise themselves by an antiseptic solution to a problem of personal anguish, rather than stay and fight for a great university. There is reason to fear these professors, for they can destroy the university by deserting it.

     And sadly there is reason to believe that even after all of the suffering which has occurred in our community, the overwhelming majority of faculty members have not been permanently changed, have not joined our community, have not really listened to our voices -- at this late date. For a moment on December 8th, eight hundred and twenty-four professors gave us all a glimpse -- a brief, glorious vision -- of the university as a loving community. If only the Free Speech Movement could have ended that day! But already the professors have compromised away much for which they stood on that day. They have shamed themselves in view of the students and their colleagues all over the country. The ramparts of rationalization which our society's conditioning had erected about our professors' souls were breached by the relentless hammer-blows of conscience springing from thousands of students united in something called "FSM." But the searing light of their momentary courage became nakedness to them -- too painful to endure. After December 8th most faculty members moved quickly to rebuild their justifications for years of barren compromise.

     We challenge the faculty to be courageous. A university is a community of students and scholars: be equal to the position of dignity you should hold!! How long will you submit to the doorkeepers who have usurped your power? Is a university no more than a physical plant and an administration? The university cannot be destroyed unless its core is destroyed, and our movement is not weakening that core but strengthening it. Each time the FSM planned to act, it was warned that to act was to destroy. Each time, however, the campus community responded with new vigor. Too many people underestimate the resilience of a community fighting for a principle. Internally, the health of the university is improving. Communication, spirit, moral and intellectual curiosity, all have increased. The faculty has been forced to take the student body more seriously; it has begun to respect students. Furthermore, it has gained the opportunity to achieve a profound respect from the students. Those professors at Cal and other universities who love to teach, should be looking to Berkeley as the nation's greatest reservoir of students who embody the vital balance of moral integrity and high intellectual calibre. If the university community can maintain its courage, stand firmly together in the face of attacks from without, it will survive. Those who fearfully warn that we are destroying the university, are unwittingly weakening the FSM and the university. In the final analysis, only fear destroys!

ll. Free Speech and the Factory

     In our fight for free speech we said the "machine" must stop. We said that we must put our bodies on the line, on the machinery, in the wheels and gears, and that the "knowledge factory" must be brought to a halt. Now we must begin to clarify, for ourselves, what we mean by "factory."

     We need to clarify this because the issues of free speech and the factory, of politics and education on the campus, are in danger of becoming separated. For example, the press has had the tendency to assert this separation when they insist that we return to our studies; that we are not in a center for political activity, but a center for education. Likewise, the faculty betrays the same tendency in its desire to settle the free speech issue as quickly and quietly as possible in order that we may return to the "normal conduct" of our "great university."

     In contrast to this tendency to separate the issues, many thousands of us, the Free Speech Movement, have asserted that politics and education are inseparable, that the political issue of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and the educational issue cannot be separated. In place of "great university," we have said "impersonal bureaucracy," "machine," or "knowledge factory." If we emerge as victors from our long and still hard-to-be-won battle for free speech, will we then be returning to less than a factory? Is this a great university? If we are to take ourselves seriously we must define precisely what we meant when we said "knowledge factory."

     The best way to identify the parts of our multiversity machinery is simply observe it "stripped down" to the bare essentials. In the context of a dazzling circus of "bait," which obscures our vision of the machinery, we get a four- year-long series of sharp staccatos: eight semesters, forty courses, one hundred twenty or more "units," ten to fifteen impersonal lectures per week, one to three oversized discussion meetings per week led by poorly paid graduate student "teachers." Over a period of four years the student-cog receives close to forty bibliographies; evaluation amounts to little more than pushing the test button, which results in over one hundred regurgitations in four years, and the writing of twenty to thirty-five "papers" in four years, in this context means that they are of necessity technically and substantially poor due to a lack of time for thought. The course-grade-unit system structure, resting on the foundation of departmentalization, produces knowledge for the student-cog which has been exploded into thousands of bits and is force-fed, by the coercion of grades. We all know what happens when we really get "turned on" by a great idea, a great man, or a great book: we pursue that interest at the risk of flunking out. The pursuit of thought, a painful but highly exhilarating process, requires, above all, the element of time.

     Human nerves and flesh are transmuted under the pressure and stress of the university routine. It is as though we have become raw material in the strictly inorganic sense. But the Free Speech Movement has given us an extraordinary taste of what it means to be part of something organic. Jumping off the conveyors, we have become a community of furiously talking, feeling, and thinking human beings. If we take seriously our common agreement that we stopped a "machine" how can we be accused of conspiring to destroy a "great university"? Where?

     The history of rather volcanic emotions which led up to the eruption of the Free Speech Movement did not result from thin air. It came from within us. On November 29 a letter appeared in the New York Times Magazine. It is a beautiful and sad letter from a young girl, and describes well the "volcanic activity" in all of us.

To the Editor:

"I'm a student in the oldest girls' school in the country. I love my school, but your recent article on homework really hit home (Hard Day's Night of Today's Students by Eda J. LeShan). I came to this school not thinking I could even keep up with the work. I was wrong. I can keep up. I can even come out on top. My daily schedule's rough: I get up at 6:30 and have classes from 8:15 to 3:00 and stay in study hall or engage in activities until 5:30. I have majors, plus religion, speech, music, and art once or twice a week. I have gym four times a week. All this I can take. The homework I can't. I work from 3:00 until 5:00 in school.

After dinner I work until midnight or 12:30. In the beginning, the first two weeks or so, I'm fine. Then I begin to wonder just what this is all about: Am I educating myself? I have that one all answered in my mind. I'm educating myself the way THEY want. So I convince myself the real reason I'm doing all this is to prepare myself for what I really want. Only one problem. After four years of this comes four years of college and two of graduate school for me. I know just where I'm going and just what I want, but I'm impatient.

Okay, I can wait. But meanwhile I'm wasting those years of preparation. I'm not learning what I want to learn. I don't care any more whether 2 + 2 = 4 anymore. I don't care about the feudal system. I want to know about life. I want to think and read. When? Over weekends when there are projects and lectures and compositions, plus catching up on sleep.

My life is a whirlpool. I'm caught up in it but I'm not conscious of it. I'm what YOU call living, but somehow I can't find life. Days go by in an instant. I feel nothing accomplished in that instant. So maybe I got an A on that composition I worked on for three hours, but when I get it back I find that A means nothing. It's a letter YOU use to keep me going.

Every day I come in well prepared. Yet I dread every class; my stomach tightens and I sit tense. I drink coffee morning, noon, and night. At night, after my homework I lie in bed and wonder if I've really done it all. Is there something I've forgotten?

At the beginning of the year I'm fine. My friends know me by my smile. Going to start out bright this year. Not going to get bogged down this year. Weeks later I become introspective and moody again. I wonder what I'm doing here. I feel phony, I don't belong. All I want is time; time to sit down and read what I want to read, and think what I want to think.

You wonder about juvenile delinquents. If I ever become one, I'll tell you why it will be so. I feel cramped. I feel like I'm in a coffin and can't move or breathe. There's no air or light. All I can see is blackness and I've got to burst. Sometimes I feel maybe something will come along. Something has to or I'm not worth anything. My life is worth nothing. It's enclosed in a few buildings on one campus; it goes no further. I've got to bust."

              NAME WITHHELD

P.S. I wrote this last night at 12:15 and in the light of day I realize this will never reach you.

     This letter is probably one of the most profoundly shared expressions of anguish in American life today. It is shared by millions of us.

III. The Factory and the Society

     The emotions expressed in that letter reflect the problems of the society as expressed in the multiversity as well as in a small prep school for girls in the East. The university has become grotesquely distorted into a "multiversity"; a public utility serving the purely technical needs of a society. In Clark Kerr's words, it is a factory for the production of knowledge and technicians to service society's many bureaucracies.

     Current federal and private support programs for the university have been compared to classic examples of imperialism and neocolonialism. The government has invested in underdeveloped, capital-starved institutions, and imposed a pattern of growth and development upon them, which if disrupted, would lead to economic breakdown and political chaos.

     Research and training replace scholarship and learning. In this system even during the first two years, the student is pressured to specialize or endure huge, impersonal lecture courses. He loses contact with his professors as they turn more to research and publishing, and away from teaching. His professors lose contact with one another as they serve a discipline and turn away from dialogue. Forms and structures stifle humane learning.

     The student is powerless even to affect those aspects of the university supposedly closest to him. His student "government" by political castrates is a fraud permitted to operate only within limits imposed autocratically by the administration. Thus it is constitutionally mandated to serve the status quo. Likewise, the student has no power over the social regulations which affect his privacy, and little influence in shaping the character of the dormitories in which he lives. The university assumes the role of the parent.

     As a human being seeking to enrich himself, the student has no place in the multiversity. Instead he becomes a mercenary, paid off in grades, status, and degrees, all of which can eventually be cashed in for hard currency on the job market. His education is not valued for its enlightenment and the freedom it should enable him to enjoy, but for the amount of money it will enable him to make. Credits for courses are subtly transformed into credit cards as the multiversity inculcates the values of the acquisitive society.

     It has been written that "The main concern of the university should not be with the publishing of books, getting money from legislators, lobbying for federal aid, wooing the rich, producing bombs and deadly bacteria." Nor should it be with passing along the morality of the middle class, nor the morality of the white man, nor even the morality of the potpourri we call "western society." Nor should it be with acting as a second household or church for the young man away from home, nor as a playground for twisters, neophyte drinkers, and pledge classes. Already the parallels between the university and the habits of the society are many; the parallels between our academic and financial systems of credit, between competition for grades and for chamber of commerce awards, between cheating and price rigging, and between statements of "Attendance is a privilege, not a right," and "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

     In an article in the current New York Review of Books, Paul Goodman poignantly comments upon the plight of the modern student: "At present in the United States, students -- middle class youth -- are the major exploited class, (Negroes, small farmers, the aged are rather outcast groups; their labor is not needed and they are not wanted). The labor of intelligent youth is needed and they are accordingly subjected to tight scheduling, speedups and other factory exploitative methods. Then it is not surprising if they organize their CIO. It is frivolous to tell them to go elsewhere if they don't like the rules; for they have no choice but to go to college, and one factory is like another."

     In saying these things it is important to avoid a certain misunderstanding. By identifying the parts of the machinery in our factory, the way in which we have described them, and their blending into our society of institutionalized greed, might lead people to assume that we have a fundamental bias against institutions as such; that we wish to destroy the structure altogether, to establish politics on the campus, and lash out against the power structure for the purposes of expressing a kind of collective orgasm of seething resentment against the "power structure." When we assert that free speech and the factory, or politics and education, are bound up together, we are again pointing to the obvious. In a twentieth-century industrial state, ignorance will be the definition of slavery. If centers of education fail, they will be the producers of the twentieth-century slave. To put it in more traditionally American terms, popular government cannot survive without education for the people. The people are more and more in the schools. But the pressure of the logistics of mass popular education combined with excessive greed has resulted in the machinery of the educational process having displaced the freedom to learn. We must now begin the demand of the right to know; to know the realities of the present world-in- revolution, and to have an opportunity to learn how to think clearly in an extended manner about that world. It is ours to demand meaning; we must insist upon meaning!

The Free University of California

     The question of how to break down the machinery and build "intellectual communities worthy of the hopes and responsibilities of our people," is one of the minds of many participants in the Free Speech Movement. No one supposes he has the answers, but they can come from the Berkeley community. Our task is to generate these answers and to discover how they can be implemented. The Free Speech Movement proposes that the Free University of California be formed. We are inviting prominent intellectual and political figures to address the university community. We would like to see seminars on the educational revolution and many other topics which are not considered in the university. In the near future we hope that discussions with students, faculty, and members of the community, will take place independent of the university community. Such discussions would deal with any topic in which a sufficient number of people are interested. We would like to establish the availability of a revolutionary experience in education. If we succeed, we will accomplish a feat more radical and significant than anything the Free Speech Movement has attempted. We will succeed in beginning to bring humanity back to campus.


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