In the home of the Free Speech Movement at the U.C. Berkeley campus, students got a rude awakening when what they describe as an administrator “with clear political motivations” shut down the Beehive Collective’s art project on drought and Proposition 1, Governor Jerry Brown’s $7.5 billion water bond.
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Free Speech Movement. In the conclusion of Mario Savio’s class speech, before Free Speech Movement demonstrators entered Sproul Hall to begin their sit-in on December 3, 1964, the late Savio said:
“We have an autocracy which runs this university. It’s managed. We asked the following: if President Kerr actually tried to get something more liberal out of the Regents in his telephone conversation, why didn’t he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received — from a well-meaning liberal — was the following: He said, ‘Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his board of directors?’
That’s the answer! Now, I ask you to consider: if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the board of directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I’ll tell you something: the faculty are a bunch of employees, and we’re the raw material! But we’re a bunch of raw material[s] that don’t mean to have any process upon us, don’t mean to be made into any product, don’t mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We’re human beings!
There is a time 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. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
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