Lee Felsenstein 
Member since Sep 26, 2012



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Re: “Prequel to a Beginning

I was part of the Free Speech Movement and founded The Free Speech Movement Archives (www.fsm-a.org). Anyone can look up the documents there, and I can't see how any of them would support Ted's statement that the Free Speech Movement had "failed" after a year.

The FSM (as we called it) had limited goals - the withdrawal of the university administration from control of the content of speech on campus - "First and Fourteenth (amendments) or fight" was our motto. On Dec. 8th 1964 the Academic Senate voted by a wide margin to support our position. The University yielded and, despite an unsuccessful attempt in 1966 to re-assert their authority, the campus has been treated as open space subject only to the constitution as far as freedom of speech.

Ted doesn't tell us why he thinks we were a failure - perhaps because all sorts of larger agendas didn't materialize, or because of Reagan's election as governor in 1966. Reagan would have run against the university and "the mess in Berkeley" regardless of what we did - so when they attacked us with new regulations designed to suppress civil rights organizing we coalesced across ideological lines, fought back and won.

So tell us, Ted, where did we fail?

Lee Felsenstein
President, The Free Speech Movement Archives
Berkeley CA

Posted by Lee Felsenstein on 09/26/2012 at 4:05 PM

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