Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967

Chapter 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967 (ii)

Failing to find a summer factory job in Queens, I ended up seeking another NYC Urban Corps work-study job, through Columbia’s Placement Office at Dodge Hall. I returned to the campus for my summer job placement interview dressed in a sport jacket, dress shirt and tie. I wore sunglasses, because I felt strange walking around Columbia again while dressed so straight, and hoped to not bump into anyone around campus who would recognize me.

I noticed that Columbia SDS had set up an anti-war table on Low Plaza, and that a fairly large group of summer school students were gathered around it, debating the war in Viet Nam. Before going up to the Columbia Placement Office, I decided to surreptitiously stop by at the SDS table and listen in on the debate. After listening for a few minutes to the debate, I heard Teddy’s voice, suddenly, exclaim with a laugh: “Bob! What happened to you? Why is your hair so short? Why are you so dressed up?”

“I’m still hunting for a summer job,” I replied.

Teddy then mentioned that Harvey had a good summer job that summer in which he could do whatever he wanted all day, as long as he went to a sympathetic professor’s office at the end of the week and signed his time-sheet accurately. I laughed, but felt some envy that both Teddy and Harvey seemed financially able to afford to spend the summer around Columbia’s campus, without having to go home and live with their parents and work off-campus like I was required to do.

During the academic year, though, Teddy, even as Columbia SDS chairman, had to hold a work-study job all year-long to support himself, unlike Mark or I. Teddy’s work-study job was being a “study-hall monitor” in Carmen Hall a few evenings a week. Being a “study-hall monitor,” in practice, meant that Teddy would sit next to Nancy at a desk, while they both studied in front of whichever Carmen Hall students were using the dorm study hall on that particular night, and would make sure no group of students made too much noise in the study hall room.

After saying goodbye to Teddy, I marched up to Columbia’s Placement Office to secure my Urban Corps summer job. The work-study job I was placed in was in the psychiatric clinic at Queens General Hospital, between Union Turnpike and Grand Central Parkway and 164th St. and Parsons Blvd. The supervisor at the psychiatric clinic was Mr. Crosby, an African-American who seemed to be left-liberal in his political views.

“You’ll be doing some intake work and some writing of social histories. But most of your work will be helping out on the clerical side, answering phones, making appointments and relieving our receptionist,” Crosby said to me on the first day I started work at the clinic. “You may not be experienced enough to satisfy some of the patients or patient families you speak to or to be able to help them with their personal problems. But just do the best you can…And if you need help, don’t ever be afraid to come into my office and ask for assistance.”

I worked at the psychiatric clinic from mid-June to mid-September 1967 at $90/week, Monday through Friday. One night a week, I worked until 8 p.m. As far as jobs went, this Social Worker Assistant job was a much more fulfilling job than my UM&M clerical job had been, and it was more stimulating than my assistant teacher/day care center jobs of the summer of 1966 had been. But compared to being a New Left activist at Columbia, my social worker assistant job seemed less fulfilling. To function adequately as a social worker assistant, I had to block out of my mind the reality of the Viet Nam War.

At the clinic, I was able to converse with two other African-Americans besides Mr. Crosby and the African-American patients (who made up about one-half of all clinic patients). On the evenings I worked late, a good-natured, jovial nurse named Mrs. Powell would come to supervise the clinic and sit at the reception desk with me. In-between answering patient questions on the phone or in-person, she would share with me her latest insights into the scene at Queens General Hospital. She was well-liked by all the patients because she was a hard-worker, kind, had a big-hearted, warm, funny personality, was a great conversationalist and had a wealth of experience in hospital work.

And then there was beautiful Llewellyn, the clinic clerk-typist who registered patients and typed up forms and cards all day and answered phones. She was so good-natured, warm and sweet that I wrote her a song in the middle of the summer called Beautiful Llewellyn. Each day Llewellyn must have smoked a pack of cigarettes. [In the 1960s, cigarette smokers were allowed to smoke at their workplace desks]. And while she smoked, we conversed with each other whenever I was needed to join her in doing some of the clerical work of the clinic. Llewellyn was around 20 and was from South Jamaica. We made each other laugh easily and, by the middle of the summer, I was quite fond of her. I didn’t ask her out, though, because, by Summer 1967, inter-racial love affairs were frowned upon in Black Liberation Movement circles.

“I’m going to miss you, Bob. I’m going to miss you not being here,” Llewellyn said with tears in her eyes in the back of the clinic, right before I kissed her goodbye and hugged her on my last afternoon of work at the clinic. I felt like crying for an instant as I hugged her goodbye. I then quickly walked to the front of the clinic and out of Queens General Hospital for the last time that summer.

Work at the psychiatric clinic gave me other memories: patients who threatened suicide over the phone and who were then given emergency appointments with the shrinks; interviews with parents, whose teenage daughter preferred hanging out with hippies in Greenwich Village in the evening, to sitting with them in front of the TV set in their living room; taking a suicidal, depressed, unhappy wife to Creedmoor’s admissions office on a 30-day voluntary stay; interviewing an African-American bus driver with a perfectly healthy and emotionally sane teenage son, who was being seen at the clinic only because a racist white teacher in junior high school had labeled the son “disturbed” for not being interested in mathematics; patients who had spent years isolated in various mental hospitals around the U.S.A. and were coming to the clinic because they couldn’t get hired for jobs, once their mental hospitalization history was mentioned to prospective employers.

While working at the psychiatric clinic, I read Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man and Eros and Civilization. As a result of this reading and my summer work experience, I concluded that psychiatric treatment under corporate capitalism was useless. Nearly all the clinic patients were unhappy because they were either unfree, lonely, sexually repressed or the victims of class exploitation or racial oppression. Their emotional misery would not end until society became less repressive, more leisure-oriented and more democratic, until they were able to find and give love, and until they could act in a sexually free way, without guilt.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967

Chapter 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967 (i)

I was not eager to return home to my parents’ apartment in Queens for the summer. But to keep attending Columbia, I had to earn money during the summer. A few days prior to leaving the campus I bumped into Josh and Linda, who were walking up Broadway. Josh smiled at me as they walked and said with a giggle: “I-D-A. I-D-A.” I laughed, spoke with him and Linda for a few minutes and learned that he, Harvey and John were all going to attend graduate school in Fall 1967 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

During this time, war tensions were building up in the Middle East. Like most white Movement people in the U.S., I assumed that Israel was being unjustly threatened by reactionary nationalist Arab states. I had never really studied the Palestinian or Arab nationalist point of view, prior to the June 1967 Middle East War. I assumed Israel pursued a non-aggressive, morally righteous foreign policy.

Shortly after awakening one day in early June, I was listening to Larry Josephson’s WBAI morning program when I heard that “Egypt and Syria have attacked Israel” and that “Israel’s survival as a nation is in jeopardy.” Because the U.S. mass media portrayed Israel as being the victim of Arab military aggression in 1967, I did not get upset when it appeared that the Zionist military machine was rolling over the Egyptian Army and would win the June 1967 War quickly. In late June, however, I bumped into Harvey while going into Butler Library one afternoon to do some anti-war summer research on Columbia President Kirk, in preparation for the fall term.

“You know, Bob. The Left may be wrong in mechanically supporting Israel. Israel, you know, started the war in order to capture new lands,” Harvey said.

“I thought the Arabs started the war in order to drive the Jews into the sea?”

“No. The Arabs were the victims of Israeli aggression. And some of the Arab governments are more anti-imperialist than Israel.”

Harvey’s analysis of the 1967 Mideast War caused me to read more deeply about what had exactly happened. And when SNCC came out in opposition to Israel’s 1967 seizure of Arab lands and continued refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the claims of the Palestinian refugees and their Palestinian nationalist representatives, I inwardly supported SNCC’s position. But Viet Nam, not the Middle East, was the war issue that most seemed to threaten my life, because of the draft. So, like most other Movement people, I didn’t make Palestinian solidarity work any kind of political priority at this time.

After having gone to the barber shop to get a haircut, I then began to look at want-ads in the now-defunct Long Island Star-Journal for an open factory job. I assumed that, if exposed to a New Left political analysis and New Left anti-corporate political program and Movement, white blue-collar workers of both sexes would soon become leftist and communist in their orientation.

Students and African-American people were mobilizing for radical change in 1967, as were politically frustrated pacifists. What was missing was anti-Establishment political resistance to corporate domination on the U.S. factory shop floor, which would push U.S. unions into an anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-racist political stance, and into a genuine commitment to “organize the unorganized” to fight for the freedom of labor from 9-to-5 wage-slavery. I wanted to start to do my bit for the cause of blue-collar labor by doing manual labor, instead of working in a skyscraper office at some clerical job.

I trekked around to various factories in Queens. But I couldn’t get hired for a summer factory job, once I told them I was a student at Columbia. “You attend Columbia. You’d get bored too quickly with the work in this factory. This kind of work isn’t for you,” one Jewish factory owner in Flushing in his 50s told me in a fatherly way, after I insisted I wanted to try factory work in his company.

Other factories did not want to hire just for the summer. To get hired, I had to show personnel people my draft card. Once they saw my “2-S,” they always assumed I would return to school in the fall.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (vii)

At the end of the Spring 1967 term, Ted decided he wanted to move out of Furnald Hall and into an off-campus apartment during his senior year. I was also tired of having to conform to the anti-feminist restrictions of Columbia dormitory life, its cramped living space, and its sterile, sexist, 1960s all-male barracks-like atmosphere. So when Ted suggested that we rent an apartment together during the 1967-68 academic year, I agreed that it might be fun. A few days later, Ted learned that Dave also needed new living space in September 1967. So we decided to look for an apartment in which Dave would also live.

As Columbia SDS grew during the Spring 1967 term, Dave tended to return to the Columbia campus only to offer a “radical education” counter-course for Columbia SDS freshmen and sophomores in a lounge in Ferris Booth Hall. Most of his activism was centered downtown at the New School for Social Research or at the New York SDS Regional Office. Although Dave had become increasingly friendly with Ted during Spring 1967, I still had not spoken to him much on an individual, personal relationship basis prior to May 1967. So Dave and I agreed to meet briefly in the Furnald Hall lobby a few days before I was going to move out of the dorm for the school year.

I was talking with a freshman in the Furnald Hall lobby when Dave appeared in the dorm. I introduced Dave to the freshman as “The Father of Columbia’s New Left.” After the freshman went on his way, so that Dave and I could speak alone, Dave said with a smile: “It embarrasses me to be called `The Father of Columbia’s New Left.’ It makes me feel like I’m an old man already.”

“Oh, I’m sorry I called you that. But you were the Columbia activist who turned on people like me to New Left radicalism when I was just a freshman. I’m really excited about rooming with you, you know.”

Dave blushed and smiled again. And then we started to talk about Ted, about how hard it was to find an apartment and about SDS politics. It was agreed that he and Ted would be looking around for an apartment during the summer, while I was living out in Queens. If anything was found, Ted would telephone me.

Dave was from the Boston area and spoke with a Boston accent. His father was a liberal Democrat who worked as a manager in a toy company. At Brookline High School, Dave had been involved in civil rights activity in relation to the African-American community’s campaign in Boston for quality education and an end to de facto segregation. But when entering Columbia in Fall 1962, Dave was still just a left-liberal Democrat, politically.

By the time I entered Columbia 3 years later and first heard him speak on the sundial against the war in Viet Nam at ICV rallies, Dave was a revolutionary communist and New Left radical on a political level, somewhat bohemian culturally and very intellectual, morally passionate and earnest. He always seemed to be in a pleasant and enthusiastic mood. Like Harvey, Dave seemed to be one of the New Left activists around campus who knew the most about any politically relevant subject; and, like Harvey, Dave was a philosophy major as an undergraduate. As an orator and agitator, Dave was also quite good. And as a day-to-day organizer, Dave was very hardworking.

After Dave left me in Furnald Hall, I felt excited at the prospect of being able to room with him, as well as with Ted, in the fall. Dave still interested me intellectually very much, seemed so politically committed and dedicated to serving humanity, and seemed like a beautiful guy on a personal level. He was also more emotionally open and easier to get closer to on a personal level than Mark was in May 1967.

The academic term came to an end and I passed all my courses, despite my high rate of cutting. In the “American Foreign Policy II” course which had led me to do the research on the U.S. military-industrial complex that produced the discovery of Columbia’s secret IDA connection, I only received a “C-minus.” Despite my low grades, though, I seemed to know more about intellectually and politically relevant matters than most of the other Columbia College sophomores. More and more Columbia and Barnard students appeared to be moving in the radical intellectual and philosophical direction that I had started to move as a freshman; and this reinforced my belief that it was more intellectually productive to read on my own, instead of reading what was assigned by non-activist, “bourgeois liberal” Columbia professors.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (vi)

May 1967 was a slow month politically, except for Columbia SDS people attending an Earl Hall forum in which a Columbia Administration official, Herbert Deane, who had been a Columbia Professor of Government, spoke to a small group of students. He repeated the Administration’s contention that “Columbia University must stay politically neutral and not make value-judgments.”

I then asked Deane the following question at the forum: “If Columbia University is `neutral,’ why is it an institutional member of the Institute for Defense Analyses, which performs weapons research for the war in Viet Nam?”

Other Columbia SDS people at the forum applauded and giggled, before Deane gave an evasive answer. A few days later, Deane was interviewed by a Spectator reporter and, when asked again about IDA, replied that Columbia University “wasn’t a democracy,” and that student opinion mattered as little as “strawberries” in determining Columbia University institutional policy.

Near the end of the school term in May, I can recall studying with Harvey, Mark and Teddy, at Teddy’s apartment, for Professor Kesselman’s final exam. We ended up getting bogged down in a discussion of Harvey’s latest theory about the rise of fascism and gossiping about Kesselman and summarizing why Professor Kesselman’s political ideology was actually “counter-revolutionary.” Harvey used to read every issue of Monthly Review at this time and much of his intellectual thought was heavily influenced by his Monthly Review reading.

During this collective studying session for Kesselman’s final exam, Teddy showed us one of the term papers he was going to hand in for one of his classes that he had “borrowed” from one of the other intellectuals in Columbia SDS. Within Columbia SDS, like within Columbia’s male fraternities, if you had “writer’s block” and/or didn’t feel like having to spend any time preparing another meaningless term paper, you could sometimes secure an old term paper from one of your comrades, which could then be given to your Columbia professor.

In the middle of May 1967, I recall hanging out with Mark around campus on the night before the military’s “Armed Forces Day” parade was to be held in Manhattan. Mark suggested that a small group of us run over to the Law School Library bridge which spans Amsterdam Avenue, between W. 116th St. and W. 117th St., and wave red flags and shout anti-war slogans as the caravan of military trucks passed. The idea didn’t appeal to me at that time, but Mark and another guy ran over to the Law School bridge and did chant at some of the military trucks.

Mark was beginning to seem more spirited, “crazy” and wild-eyed than most other Columbia SDS people. And his growing enthusiasm, even without a crowd around him, for New Left politics now started to personally appeal to me. After Mark’s two-person nighttime demonstration against the U.S. military caravan, I didn’t see him again until September 1967. Aside from the charisma and oratorical skill he had shown on April 20, 1967, there still hadn’t been much indication to most people around campus that he was to be Columbia SDS’s Savio figure.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (v)

Following the confrontation with the Marine recruiters, most of the newly politicized and radicalized SDS supporters returned to their normal academic and hedonistic routines. But Ted, Teddy, Nancy, the Schneiders and a few other Columbia SDS steering committee “heavies” spent the next few weeks putting together a Columbia SDS publication called New Left Notes: The Journal of Columbia SDS. This SDS newspaper contained articles and columns on the SDS-Marine confrontation, on the “free speech/freedom to recruit” vs. responsibility to resist Columbia complicity with the war machine controversy, on draft resistance, on the latest Viet Nam War escalation and on Columbia’s IDA connection. It also included a short poem by Bertolt Brecht. I contributed the article on Columbia’s IDA connection. (I found a photocopy of this particular newspaper in my de-classified FBI file, in the late 1970s).

Much of the work of putting out this May 1967 Columbia SDS chapter newspaper was done at Teddy’s W. 115th St. apartment. Nancy applied her past experience as a high school newspaper editor to the Columbia SDS newspaper project. She’s the one who did most of the technical preparation and make-up and lay-out on the 4-page newspaper, after Columbia SDS steering committee people had contributed the articles and Ted “Acapulco” had edited them. Because Ted, like everyone else around the New Left, was smoking pot everyday by this time, people thought it was funny to start calling him by that nickname.

In Teddy’s apartment, Nancy usually just dressed casually in jeans, a nightgown or shorts. And whenever I stopped by to bring over flyers, attend meetings there, drop off my article or pick up and drop off Columbia SDS table literature, she was very warm and good-natured. Both she and Teddy always seemed to give off good love vibrations and I continued to feel a strong love for both of them.

On the afternoon the Columbia SDS newspaper was ready to be picked up from the printer I was hanging around the Columbia SDS table on Low Plaza. So I volunteered to go downtown to the printer and meet Nancy in order to assist her in carrying back the heavy bundles of newly-printed newspapers. She had been downtown most of the day in the print shop, making sure the newspaper was being printed correctly. I enjoyed working with Nancy on this little errand. She seemed much happier than I was, and still deeply in love with Teddy. She still seemed like the best woman around Columbia and Barnard.

Around this time, I first visited Mark’s 501 W. 110th St., 7th floor apartment, to attend a meeting to discuss Columbia SDS plans to run a slate of candidates in the Columbia University Student Council [CUSC] elections on a “student power” platform. At first I was going to run as a candidate, along with Mark and a few other SDS people, because somebody had decided that I would make a good candidate. But, after thinking about the prospect of running for the Student Council, I decided it wasn’t the kind of political role I wanted to play.

In order to make sure that I would pass my courses that term, I also couldn’t afford to spend the final weeks of the semester campaigning, instead of completing term papers. I also didn’t believe there was much political value in running in student council elections because real power at Columbia rested with the Columbia trustees, not with the student council. Mark and the other Columbia SDS candidates stayed in the student council election campaign and didn’t win many votes—for reasons indicated in Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, which describes the origins of “false consciousness” in advanced capitalist society. But perhaps some consciousness-raising gains were made by the New Left at Columbia because of its participation in the 1967 “Mickey Mouse” student council elections.

I don’t recall much of what was talked about at the meeting in which I first visited Mark’s 110th St. apartment. What I do recall most vividly is that Mark had hung a huge poster of Mao Tse-Tung on his living room wall and that the apartment resembled most hippie pads of those days.

Mark was cheerful at the meeting, but he still seemed hard to get to know and not more than superficially friendly towards me. He still didn’t seem to think as logically in a political way as Harvey, Dave, Josh, Ted, Teddy, John, the Schneiders, Evansohn or Nancy all did around this time, despite the charisma he had shown at the April 20, 1967 post-right-wing attack rally. When Mark talked politically at this pre-student council election meeting, he sometimes seemed to make sense, but other times he seemed scatterbrained, too rhetorical and not politically concrete enough.

On a political level, Mark still seemed unclear about the direction that he wanted Columbia SDS to be going. You got the sense that Mark enjoyed speaking before a leftist crowd, saw Columbia SDS as being an effective campus anti-war group, thought New Left politics could be popularized easily at Columbia if people worked at it and was into Columbia SDS because it was fun to be a New Left activist, as well as because he felt personally threatened by the draft. Mark gave no indication that he was especially interested in the question of African-American Liberation or that he had ever been involved in Civil Rights activity or peace movement activity before joining the ICV or Columbia SDS. He also never mentioned that he had ever been into writing plays, although he was open about being an English major at Columbia.

At 501 W. 110th St., Mark roomed with Herbert Marcuse’s stepson, a guy named Neumann. Neumann’s older brother, Tom Neumann, was one of the founders of the non-student “Up Against The Wall, Motherfucker!” Lower East Side chapter of SDS. This chapter combined an anti-student, anti-white collar radical, hippie lifestyle with a hard line revolutionary politic. The Neumann who was Mark’s roommate was never very active politically at Columbia. He seemed to be amused in a supercilious way at Mark’s growing inclination to become involved in day-to-day Columbia SDS campus organizing after April 1967. Neumann’s biological father, Franz Neumann, had fled from Nazi Germany and written the book about Nazi society, Behemoth.

Mark’s other roommate was a guy named Lieberman, who was also never politically active at Columbia. Lieberman just seemed into studying and smoking pot and never said much to me whenever I bumped into him either on campus or in Mark’s apartment.

Unlike most other Columbia SDS steering committee people, Mark, thus, roomed with non-activist student roommates. His apartment always smelled heavily of marijuana and there was usually FM rock music being played in the background. In early 1967, I recall seeing Mark walking on the street with this blond-haired woman with an English accent, named Mary, who also never became that active politically.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (iv)

On the second day of the April 1967 anti-Marine protest at Columbia, Spectator had a big headline article and front-page photograph on the previous day’s campus violence and the Establishment mass media sent their TV cameramen uptown to try to get film of more campus violence at Columbia to show on the local evening news. The Columbia Administration shifted the site of campus Marine recruitment to the Hartley Hall dormitory, where its NROTC unit office was located, in order to better shield the U.S. Marine recruiters from the wrath of Columbia and Barnard anti-war demonstrators.

Columbia SDS issued a flyer to the 800 anti-war students who showed up, titled “The Way To Organize,” which stated the following [This flyer was also found in the NYPD’s de-classified “Red Squad” files in 1987]:

“We are going to picket in a disciplined, if vocal, manner in the Van Am quadrangle since the Administration has decided to let the Marines recruit in Hartley Hall, home of NROTC.

“We will march several abreast, carrying placards, signs, etc.

“There will be marshalls along the lines of march, giving instructions and keeping order.

“If attacked, try to protect yourself and keep the attacker away from other demonstrators.

“The demonstration will begin and terminate upon the order of Teddy. Listen to him.

“Above all, do not provoke violence. Let us all have dignity.”

Although the right-wing students chanted hostile slogans, and a few individuals unsuccessfully tried to break through the line of anti-war student marshalls to attack the anti-war demonstration, the size of the Columbia SDS demonstration discouraged the “jocks” from repeating their attack of the previous day. What was quite noticeable, also, was how quickly the Establishment’s mass media cameramen rushed to film the right-wing students whenever they started to push at the anti-war student marshalls. It seemed as if the Establishment mass media was attempting to encourage right-wing violence at Columbia in order to project an image of “the trouble” at Columbia being just one of irrational anti-American radical leftists fighting patriotic right-wing Columbia students.

Besides the Establishment mass media reporters, correspondents and cameramen, other Establishment tools observed Columbia SDS activity on April 20th and 21st, 1967. Undercover police spies were starting to take Columbia SDS more seriously and had begun to work more closely with the Columbia Administration in covertly spying on Columbia and Barnard student activists.

The topic of Bureau of Special Services [BOSS] Case #289 M of the NYPD was “Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.) Demonstration On The Columbia University Campus In Protest Of The Presence of U.S. Marine Corps Recruiters On Campus.” In an April 20, 1967 memo to the “Red Squad”’s Commanding Officer, William Knapp, the undercover cop reported that “The following people were identified by the assigned as the speakers at the `sundial’ rally:” The police spy then listed the names, local addresses and parent addresses of the student speakers. In paragraph #4, the police spy also listed the names of 30 Columbia students who “were observed by the assigned taking part in the rally and the demonstration and fighting that followed in the dormitory.” All 30 Columbia students whose names were to be listed in police files were anti-war students.

Women leftist students were not considered important enough by the male chauvinist undercover cop in 1967 to have their individual names listed. The undercover cop “interviewed the Head of Security at Columbia” and was told that “uniformed” police were not yet wanted on Columbia’s campus by the Columbia Administration. “Information,” however, was to “be supplied the assigned to further identify the students mentioned” in the police spy’s report.

A final, edited version of this same memo was then transmitted to the Chief Inspector of the Police Department by the Red Squad Commanding Officer Knapp on April 21, 1967, who noted that the students “identified by the assigned as taking part in the demonstration and altercation that followed…have been properly indexed in the files of this command” and that “six copies of this report” were “being forwarded direct to the Operations Unit” of the NYPD.

An April 21, 1967 police spy report listed the names of all 8 speakers and the names, addresses and/or parents’ addresses of 31 Columbia students who “were observed by the assigned taking part in the demonstration in front of Hartley Hall.” The police spy also observed that “again, the administration of Columbia University refrained from calling on the New York City Police Department for aid and refused to use their own uniform patrol to enforce order for fear of creating an incident.” On April 25, 1967, a final, edited version of this report was sent to the Chief Inspector of the Police Department.

Columbia SDS people did not realize how detailed had been the New York police spying on our April 20th and April 21st political activity on campus. Columbia SDS activists underestimated the degree of NYPD activity on campus that would be sanctioned by the Columbia Administration in the late 1960s to eliminate a campus New Left presence which it felt it couldn’t control.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (iii)

The next day, Columbia SDS issued the following letter to Columbia faculty members, which indicates how its leadership thought politically at that time. [In 1987, I found a photocopy of this letter contained in the de-classified NYC Police Department’s “Red Squad” organizational file on SDS.]:

“Dear Faculty Member:

“In the past few months, the question of whether military agencies should be allowed to recruit on the Columbia campus has become a major issue, particularly for those students and faculty who are concerned about the war in Vietnam. The University Administration has maintained that it has the obligation to allow any U.S. government agency to use University facilities for military recruitment. Many students and faculty, however, have objected to this involvement of Columbia University in the Government’s military operations.

“Twice already, President Kirk has allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to recruit students on campus, despite the protests of many students and faculty members. Yesterday, President Kirk provided the University’s facilities for the U.S. Marine Corps for this purpose, in this case overriding the objections of student officials. The Marines were granted space for recruiting in John Jay Residence Hall, even though the Executive Board of the Undergraduate Dormitory Council had voted against the use of dormitory facilities for this purpose. The Marines were granted space for recruiting in Butler Library, even though the Columbia University Student Council was denied the use of that very spot for the draft referendum. Since President Kirk ignored representative student institutions in favor of the Marines, it is clear that the Administration enforces even its own rules only when it sees fit.

“Yesterday a group of 500 students, many of them members of Students for a Democratic Society, marched to John Jay Hall with the intention of questioning the recruiters about Marine atrocities in Vietnam and United States military policy throughout the world. However, a group of self-styled `leathernecks’ sought to prevent any such peaceful confrontation. This violent group again and again attacked the anti-Marine demonstrators, who were trying to question the Marines and to keep an aisle open to their table. Several SDS members were injured by this group while trying to keep that aisle open. Since no University official sought to pacify those students whose violent intentions were openly apparent, a riotous situation ensued. One SDS member suffered a broken nose; many others sustained less severe injuries. Full-scale violence was averted only when Dean DeKoff agreed to eject the Marine recruiters.

“Yesterday’s violence was clearly the result of arrogance and irresponsibility on the part of the University Administration. But more importantly, it resulted directly from the Administration’s policy first of allowing the use of the campus by the military, and second of protecting the interests of the military more than the interests and safety of its students.

“It is clear that

“—first, the Administration has systematically ignored the demand that students and faculty participate in any decision regarding on-campus military recruiting;

“—second, in this case, the Administration refused to recognize the decision of the student organization with jurisdiction in these matters (the Undergraduate Dormitory Council), that the Marine Corps not be allowed to recruit in John Jay Hall;

“—third, the Administration was blatantly irresponsible by allowing the recruiting to occur when it was obvious that this would lead to a violent situation. Only five days beforehand, over 2,000 Columbia students and faculty members participated in the largest anti-war demonstration in American history. Surely this was a clear indication of the sentiment of a significant segment of the University community on this issue.

“The Columbia chapter of Students for a Democratic Society believes that every faculty member should be aware of the issues involved in yesterday’s demonstration. Our position on this matter is clear-cut: we are unalterably opposed to any involvement of Columbia University with the unjust war in Vietnam. We call upon those of you who oppose American intervention in Vietnam, and the use of University facilities to assist in that intervention, to join in demanding that Columbia disassociate itself from all military institutions, including the CIA, the Marines, the Army and Navy, and the Institute for Defense Analyses. If you agree with us that the military has no place on our campus, we ask you to join us at our sundial rally at noon today, and our subsequent peaceful picketing of the Marines, to demonstrate this belief to the Administration and to demand an end to Columbia’s complicity with this war.

“Thank you,

“Columbia SDS.”

(The “largest anti-war demonstration in American history” referred to in this letter was the anti-war march which gathered in Central Park, went to the United Nations Building and listened to SNCC chairperson Stokely Carmichael [a/k/a Kwame Ture’] and the SCLC’s Martin Luther King address the huge crowd and officially link the African-American Liberation Movement to the U.S. anti-war movement protest. Everybody against the war with whom I had ever spoken at Columbia seemed to be gathered in Central Park near the Columbia-Barnard anti-war student contingent. I remember seeing Juan and Anne of Citizenship Council’s P.A.C.T. program attend an anti-war demonstration for the first time at this April 1967 peace march. Bill marched down to Central Park in a Harlem-based Black nationalist contingent, which was the largest African-American contingent that had ever joined in a U.S. anti-Viet Nam War march up to that time. The size of this anti-war demonstration was so large that the rally at the UN had already started before Columbia’s anti-war contingent had even reached the exit from Central Park. By the time we did reach the UN, rain had started to fall and the rally was breaking-up.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (ii)

At the post-attack sundial rally, Columbia SDS leaders took turns, in an emotional way, analyzing what had just happened inside John Jay Hall and venting their rage at the Columbia Administration for its complicity with the U.S. military and its responsibility for encouraging the right-wing student attack. I stood with a picket sign in my hands behind the SDS sundial speakers for awhile. Peter Schneider spoke and gave the most emotional speech he was ever to make at Columbia.

Mark, who had a beard at this time, eagerly decided to take a turn speaking on the sundial. He spoke spontaneously for about eight minutes in an easygoing, humorous, theatrical, clear, emotionally open, non-rhetorical, non-academic, non-pedantic, charismatic way; and he used sexual imagery in a politically clever way. He had not been that impressive a speaker in my government class or especially articulate in personal conversation. But now he appeared to be a better orator than either Ted or Teddy when he spoke in front of a large leftist crowd, and let go emotionally. Mark, not Lew, appeared to be the Mario Savio figure we apparently needed to repeat the Berkeley Student Revolt within New York City; although Lew’s physical resemblance to Savio, initially, had caused me to think he was to be Columbia’s Savio.

The second rally started to break up and, for the rest of the afternoon, people on Columbia’s campus were talking about radical politics in small groups. After a few hours of discussing on the campus the day’s events, Columbia SDS steering committee people and Columbia Professor of Sociology Dibble, who was Columbia SDS’s strongest faculty supporter, retreated to the back of the West End Bar on Broadway and W. 114th St. to plan what to do next.

“You let them push you out of John Jay Hall today. You have to go back there again tomorrow to keep your credibility as a radical student group,” Professor Dibble insisted.

Harvey, Teddy, Ted, Peter Schneider, John, Josh and others all got into the debate. Everyone agreed we had to go back to confront the Marine recruiters the next day. The major point of debate was whether we would gain more politically and win more mass support by stopping campus Marine recruitment and possibly fighting it out with other students—the right-wing protectors of the U.S. Marines—or by having a more mass-based, non-violent anti-war demonstration directed at protesting the policies of our main enemy, the Columbia Administration.

“The Administration likes nothing better than to have students fighting other students. Then it can portray itself as `above politics’ and as `a neutral.’ We shouldn’t fall into the Administration’s trap and alienate all our new mass student support by leading students into a violent confrontation…Which is what the Administration now wants us to do,” Ted argued.

Ted’s views were pretty much supported by the rest of the Columbia SDS leadership. Our April 21, 1967 demonstration of the next day was going to be non-violent, disciplined, and focused more on protesting against the Columbia Administration’s policies than on the jocks. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Council [SCLC] aide, James Bevel, would be invited to address the campus rally.

That evening, my dorm counselor Bill—a leader of the Student Afro-American Society—called me into his dorm room, closed the door and started to bawl me out.

“How could SDS let itself get pushed out of the John Jay lobby when you outnumbered them 300 to 30?” Bill asked sharply, with a tone of disdain in his voice.

“We weren’t ready. But we win politically by being seen as the victims of right-wing violence in the eyes of all the white liberal anti-war students,” I answered half-heartedly.

Bill thought for a second and then replied: “Well, maybe you can turn it to your advantage.” Then he smiled and added: “But if SDS actually wants to fight those jocks and needs some help, the Black student karate club might be willing to stand by your side.”

I smiled in return and said: “Thanks a lot.” Then, as Bill escorted me to his dorm room door, I added: “If they attack us again tomorrow, SDS may take you up on your offer.” For the first time, Bill appeared to be now taking Columbia SDS’s campus organizing efforts more seriously.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (i)

The first few weeks of April 1967 flew by. And then Columbia SDS learned that the U.S. Marines were coming to recruit on Columbia’s campus. There was a meeting that lasted for two hours in Ferris Booth Hall’s Hewitt Lounge in which about twenty of us discussed how we would greet the Marine recruiters. As usual, there was division over whether to peacefully picket, hold an indoor demonstration, sit-in, ask embarrassing questions or physically throw the Marine recruiters out of the John Jay Hall dormitory lobby.

Harvey participated in this discussion and was the dominant ideological and strategic influence. The consensus was that, although the U.S. Marines did not have the moral and democratic right to recruit students from Columbia to participate in a Viet Nam War which denied the Vietnamese people their democratic right to national self-determination and freedom, and violated the Nuremberg Accords, most Columbia and Barnard students still didn’t understand this. The consensus was that, although most Columbia and Barnard students were against U.S. military intervention in Viet Nam, they still were not politically radical enough to support Columbia SDS denying the U.S. Marines their “free speech” and/or “their right to recruit” on Columbia’s campus. The consensus was that the left-liberal anti-war Columbia and Barnard students would still feel that Columbia SDS was anti-civil libertarian if we stopped the U.S. Marines from recruiting—even though the Undergraduate Dormitory Council had previously voted that student dorm space should not be used for military recruitment.

It was decided that every Columbia and Barnard leftist around would be telephoned and a sundial rally to protest U.S. Marine recruitment would be held. Columbia SDS would then march into the John Jay Hall lobby behind a huge picture of napalmed Vietnamese civilians, chant “Hell, No! We won’t go!” in front of the U.S. Marine recruitment table, ask the U.S. Marine recruiters about U.S. war crimes in a politically confrontational way and set up our own Columbia SDS draft resistance table to the side of the U.S. Marine recruiter table.

Unfortunately, our anti-Marine recruitment demonstration plan didn’t work out the way we had planned it. Or, perhaps I should say that fortunately the demonstration turned out differently than we expected. A brief anti-war rally was held at the sundial on Thursday, April 20, 1967, attended by about 300 anti-war students, who then marched to the John Jay Hall lobby to peacefully and non-violently confront the U.S. Marines, raise the issue of Columbia’s complicity with U.S. Marine war crimes in Viet Nam and build support for more draft resistance. I left early from my “American Foreign Policy” class in order to join the demo and I arrived as the 300 of us were marching into John Jay Hall lobby.

“Hell, No! We won’t go!”

“Hell, No! We won’t go!”

“Hell, No! We won’t go!”

This chant had first been yelled out by SNCC’s Stokely Carmichael, had been picked up by anti-war 60s youth and was now a quite popular chant.

Once inside the lobby, we suddenly faced not only the two Marine recruiters, but also twenty Columbia College white “jocks” from Columbia’s football team. They were under the direction of a Columbia Assistant Dean named DeKoff, who was also the coach of Columbia’s fencing team. Teddy shouted at the U.S. Marine recruiters: “Why are you napalming children in Viet Nam?”

One of the U.S. Marine recruiters smiled and gave an inadequate answer. Other Columbia SDS people then started to shout out some more questions, in-between more anti-war chanting. A few of the right-wing jocks surrounding the recruiters chanted back: “Pukes Must Go! Pukes Must Go!” in response to our “Marines Must Go!” chants, and then they started to individually shove and push the physically smaller Columbia SDS people and anti-war demonstrators. Then, as a group, the twenty right-wing jocks charged the anti-war demonstration, in order to violently push us, as a group, out of the lobby. Individual right-wing students then started to punch and beat the non-violent anti-war demonstrators, encouraged by the Columbia Assistant Dean who was present in the lobby.

Columbia SDS women started to scream, given the suddenness and brutality of the right-wing student attack on us. John’s glasses were knocked off when two husky right-wingers started to rough him up. Nancy stood in front of me screaming “Teddy! Teddy!” as the right-wingers went after him and one of them broke the nose of Teddy’s roommate. I was too far back in the crowd to try to calm the jocks down. I saw Harvey pushing back at some of them, just before Teddy and Ted urged SDS people to retreat from the lobby. Neither Teddy nor Ted allowed any neurotic macho tendencies to influence their leadership decisions. They always protected SDS people from injury when possible and they weren’t too macho to retreat when SDS people were not really prepared to fight.

As we retreated from John Jay Hall, I realized that there was no way U.S. right-wingers would allow the New Left to achieve its political goals through non-violent methods. Seeing how twenty right-wingers willing to use reactionary violence against 300 tactical pacifists, whose cause was righteous, could prevent us from exercising our free speech rights convinced me that white New Left pacifism, even if mass-based, could never accomplish radical political change in the U.S. Die-hard right-wingers would always be willing to beat on white radicals to stop radical political change. The dream of a pacifist white New Left mass of people non-violently changing power relations, dismantling the U.S. war machine and ending institutional racism and white corporate domination in alliance with the radical African-American masses was a great dream. But it now seemed unrealistic. White New Leftists, like the African-American Liberation Movement activists, were going to have to develop the capacity to defend the mass movement violently, in order to prevent right-wing whites who were opposed to creating a genuine radical democracy in the U.S. from beating us to the ground—no matter how many white people at Columbia, Barnard or anywhere else in the U.S. were intellectually convinced by us to support the New Left.

Columbia SDS people retreated to the sundial from John Jay Hall. The size of our anti-war demonstration had doubled. We had not wanted to fight with Columbia’s pro-war students. But the effect of their violence against us was to expand our numbers immediately and, almost immediately, politicize hundreds of other Columbia and Barnard students on campus who had, previously, never taken Columbia SDS seriously or even bothered to read our flyers.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 8: Discovering IDA, 1967

Chapter 8: Discovering IDA, 1967 (vii)

At Columbia SDS’s general assembly meeting a day or two later, I summarized my IDA research for the rank-and-file members who had shown up for the meeting, and someone nominated me for a Columbia SDS steering committee position. I was elected to the steering committee and was re-elected the following year. Were it not for my discovery of Columbia’s IDA ties, I would not have been elected to the Columbia SDS steering committee.

At this same meeting, Teddy was elected Columbia SDS chairman for the 1967-68 academic year and Ted was elected vice-chairman for the same period. Since Teddy and Ted were the only Columbia College juniors in the New Left faction who were willing to take on these posts, they were elected without any significant opposition within the Columbia SDS chapter. Because Teddy was considered to be both a more charismatic orator and a more popular New Left personality on campus than Ted, nobody suggested that Ted—not Teddy—might be the more appropriate choice for Columbia SDS chairman.

Teddy arranged to have a few hundred copies of the Columbia-IDA expose’ printed up and circulated around campus. Spectator printed a letter to the editor that I had written them a month earlier because now I suddenly had more intellectual status with them. Viet Report suddenly acknowledged receipt of an excerpt from my anti-war play, The Barrier, which I had mailed them months before, after Klare mentioned my name in an article he wrote for Viet Report about IDA.

I started to work more closely with Teddy who, in his early days as Columbia SDS chairman, was very energetic and enthusiastic about doing campus organizing. Because Nancy continued to always be at Teddy’s side, I bumped into her often and continued to find her quite attractive on an emotional, intellectual, political and physical level, the more I spoke with her and worked closely with her and Teddy. I worked with the Schneiders on writing leaflets which described Columbia-IDA ties and used the IDA complicity issue to raise the political consciousness of the liberal Columbia and Barnard students about the true nature of the U.S. university. I started to get friendlier with more Barnard members of Columbia SDS with whom I worked, attended meetings with or met in libraries, at SDS parties, at SDS cultural events or just walking around campus.

Most Columbia SDS cultural events were set up by Morris, who had entered Columbia the same term I had. Morris was a red diaper baby who, as a freshman, had worked hard setting up benefit film showings and sliding leaflets under dormitory room doors for the Independent Committee on Viet Nam. As a freshman, I had joined him in shoving leaflets under dorm room doors in John Jay Hall one night. Like most other Columbia leftist students, Morris had left the ICV for Columbia SDS in Fall 1966.

Within Columbia SDS, Morris was the guy in whose name rooms for Columbia SDS film showings and cultural events were reserved. Morris was also the guy who took care of placing ads in Spectator for Columbia SDS cultural front events. Films on Viet Nam narrated by Bertrand Russell, Soviet films like Potemkin and Italian films like The Organizer with Marcello Mastroianni were booked by Morris for various evening fundraising or free SDS cultural events on campus.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 8: Discovering IDA, 1967

Chapter 8: Discovering IDA, 1967 (vi)

In March 1967, the editorial offices of Columbia Daily Spectator were located on the third floor of Ferris Booth Hall. With Mike Klare, who had previously shared his research on Columbia’s classified Electronics Research Lab [ERL] and Office of Naval research work with Spectator, I walked into the student newspaper office, the expose’ in my hand.

One of the new staff editors of Spectator, Robert, was sitting in his office. Robert was from Great Neck, which was on the other side of the highway from the Little Neck-Douglaston neighborhood in which I had spent most of my childhood. Great Neck was a much wealthier, more upper-middle-class neighborhood than the affluent Jewish working-class ghetto-development I had grown up in. Great Neck was where Little Neck and Douglaston girls from my side of the Long Island Expressway went to receive orthodontic work for their teeth.

Although Robert had apparently picketed Woolworth’s as a high school student as part of a civil rights demonstration, he had not been active in either the Columbia Citizenship Council or in the anti-war movement on campus.

“The Columbia SDS Research Committee has discovered something interesting,” Klare said to Robert. “When I asked Grad School Dean Halford a few weeks ago at a forum whether there existed an institutional connection between the Institute for Defense Analyses and Columbia University, he lied. He said `There is no institutional connection between Columbia University and the Institute for Defense Analyses.’ But the Columbia SDS Research Committee has found that Columbia is institutionally connected to the Institute for Defense Analyses.”

In the Spectator office with Robert at the time was a Spectator reporter named Jerry. Robert handed the expose’ to Jerry, and then told Klare and me to talk with Jerry about our discovery. Then Robert went back to editing newspaper copy. Jerry quickly skimmed through the eight-page research paper and noticed that another IDA Trustee, besides Columbia President Kirk, was a man named William A.M. Burden.

“Hey! This IDA Trustee William A.M. Burden is also a Columbia Trustee!” Jerry exclaimed with glee in his voice. Jerry was a boyish, pre-med major and sophomore from Hewlett, Long Island.

Jerry then went to Spectator’s trustees file and pulled out a glossy photograph of Burden. (Further research on my part revealed that Burden was also a director of Lockheed, American Metal Climax and CBS. Additional research later revealed that Burden was one of the 20th-century heirs to the fortune of robber-baron Cornelius Vanderbilt).

“Can I borrow this copy of your paper to use when I write the Spectator article on the SDS discovery?” Jerry asked.

“Sure,” I answered.

“Come by and pick it up tonight after dinner in my dormitory room,” Jerry added. He then gave me his dorm room number. He lived in the Hartley-Livingston Hall complex. Klare and I then left the Spectator offices and I went to one of my scheduled classes.

That evening, I dropped by Jerry’s dorm room. In the room with Jerry was his roommate, a Columbia College sophomore named Dan. Both Jerry and Dan seemed interested in talking with me about politics. After talking with them both about Columbia and IDA, Dan and I got into a discussion about New Left politics and radical social change. I asked Dan why he didn’t join SDS, since he seemed to be strongly against the war in Viet Nam and against the U.S. military and U.S. foreign policy.

“I’m a Marxist, too. And I seek the same radical change in U.S. society that SDS wants. But I think the best strategy is to infiltrate existing institutions and not let people know you’re a Marxist. Then, once you’re in power within Establishment institutions, you can use your power to really make radical change. That’s what I’m going to try to do with my life. I’m going to secretly work from within to radically change U.S. society,” Dan answered.

“I don’t think you can really change U.S. society by working from within the corrupt U.S. social institutions—even if you are a Marxist who sees working from within as just a political tactic. I think we always have to be open about what we believe in politically, all the time, in order to really change U.S. society. But I wish you luck,” I replied.

[Ironically, in the 1980s Dan became the first “Marxist” chairperson of the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Corrections, in charge of making the state’s prison system work more efficiently; and in 1989 he unsuccessfully ran for the office of Brooklyn District Attorney in the Democratic Party primary and apparently allowed his supporters to wage a homophobic campaign].

Spectator printed a one-column front-page article which noted that Columbia SDS had discovered Columbia’s IDA affiliation, despite Dean Halford’s earlier denial of any such connection. At the Columbia SDS steering committee meeting it was decided to have Evansohn read the paper I had written at an SDS teach-in that was being held around this time.

Just before he read the paper at the McMillan Theatre teach-in, in front of a few hundred people, Evansohn urged me to read it myself. But I was reluctant to stand up before that large a group of people and speak, at that time. I also felt that since Evansohn was more a part of Columbia SDS’s leadership at that time than I was, his reading the Columbia-IDA expose’ would be a more politically effective and impressive act than my reading of it. Evansohn read the expose’ before the teach-in audience and people at the teach-in were angered by the new revelations regarding Columbia’s complicity with the Pentagon.

The following week, Evansohn and I went to Dean Halford’s office in Low Library on behalf of Columbia SDS. We asked him to urge Grayson Kirk to immediately announce that Columbia would resign its institutional membership in the IDA as a protest against the continued U.S. military intervention in Viet Nam. Halford appeared to be in his late 50s, wore glasses, spoke in either a Midwestern or modified Southern accent and was polite. But he was defensive about Columbia’s IDA ties. He tried to minimize the significance of Columbia’s IDA affiliation and to justify his refusal to acknowledge Columbia’s IDA ties at the Low Library forum. Halford also indicated that it was going to be Columbia Administration policy to continue its IDA membership—Viet Nam War or no Viet Nam War.

As we walked down the steps of Low Library, both dissatisfied with Dean Halford’s response to Columbia SDS’s formal demand for institutional disaffiliation from IDA, Evansohn said to me the following:

“That’s all you can ever expect from a liberal bureaucrat.”

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 8: Discovering IDA, 1967

Chapter 8: Discovering IDA, 1967 (v)

After smoking with Ted once, I was no longer reluctant to share a pipe of grass or a joint with the anti-war heads to whom I rapped politically about SDS within the Columbia dorms. Most of the Columbia students I turned on with used pipes or water pipes, not joints. By breaking the law together and smoking together, not just talking politics or developing organizer-organized relationships, I and the Columbia students I turned on with in 1967 ended up feeling emotionally closer after each political discussion/pot smoking session.

I enjoyed smoking pot because I think it made me more open emotionally, helped bring me closer to people and made me feel emotionally high more intensely and quickly than the alternative methods I had been using. When I turned on, I felt even more of a generalized love for people of my generation than I felt when straight. I enjoyed the ritual of sharing pipes and joints with each other. I considered myself more of a head than a doper and I always found it most meaningful to turn on with leftist or anti-war heads than to smoke with purely apolitical dopers. In 1967 and 1968, nearly everybody within Columbia’s dormitories was smoking pot at least occasionally, and many students were constantly tripping. It was a common sight in the non-coed dormitories to see tripping, long-haired hippies like Elliot or Fletcher wandering aimlessly around the halls or campus at night, off in their own world, with eyes shining in a mystical way.

The love vibrations on campus seemed to intensify for awhile. People seemed to be more open to getting sexually or emotionally involved with each other in a more rapid way than they were in the early 1960s. Large numbers of students, influenced by the effects of pot and LSD, started to drop out spiritually from the achievement-oriented, yuppie-careerist track which had channeled them to elitist universities like Columbia. Pot and acid, and the sensations and insights that pot and acid induced, seemed to reveal the idiocy and superficial nature of all those straight careers and academic life options baby boom people had been programmed to fit into. There was some relationship between the growth of student radicalism and the spread of hedonistic grass and drug-use. But the excessive usage of pot and drugs also tended to depoliticize large numbers of politically-inclined bohemian youth, as well.

Hard-core New Left people at Columbia, however, were able to smoke pot regularly with each other without becoming less politically active. One theory was that if a person was already a leftist and had leftist moral values, grass usage would not de-politicize him or her. But if a person wasn’t already a leftist and didn’t have a strong sense of humanistic moral values, grass usage would tend to turn that person away from political activism and more towards just amoral hedonism and freer sexuality.

Around the same time I showed the paper on Columbia’s IDA ties to Columbia SDS people, I also brought a carbon copy of the paper to the office of Columbia Professor of English Hovde. Professor Hovde had worked with Columbia SDS’s multi-organizational coalition on the anti-class-ranking campaign because he wished to “keep Columbia pure” in relationship to contact with the U.S. war machine. So I figured Professor Hovde and other Columbia faculty members might want to speak out against Columbia’s IDA ties and push the Administration to disaffiliate, before Columbia SDS needed to start an anti-IDA organizing campaign.

“I’ll have to think about this issue, Mr. Friedman, before I decide my position on this,” Hovde replied after I told him what was contained in the Columbia-IDA expose’ I had written, and he had taken a quick glance at the first two pages, before quickly handing the paper back to me.

“My last name is Feldman, not Friedman,” I replied.

“Oh, I beg your pardon. But thanks for telling me about this.”

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 8: Discovering IDA, 1967

Chapter 8: Discovering IDA, 1967 (iv)

I met Josh in the Furnald Hall lobby and gave him a copy of the completed IDA-Columbia connection expose’. He shared the paper with a number of Columbia SDS steering committee members during a meeting which was held at Teddy’s apartment during the spring semester break. I did not attend this meeting because I went out to my parents’ apartment in Queens during this spring break. I spent the break catching up somewhat on my required academic work and driving up to Boston for a day with my parents to visit my sister, who was now living in a rooming house in Beacon Hill (in the days before all of Beacon Hill again became gentrified).

After I returned to my dormitory room, there was another Columbia SDS steering committee meeting in Earl Hall. A consensus developed that Spectator’s editors should be told about the weapons-research sponsorship activity of Columbia. It was agreed that Mike Klare should bring the expose’ to Spectator’s editorial offices with me. At a faculty-sponsored forum on University-Pentagon ties the previous week, Klare had asked Columbia’s Dean of Graduate Faculties, Ralph Halford, whether any institutional connection existed between Columbia and the Institute for Defense Analyses. Dean Halford’s reply to Klare at that time was: “There is no institutional connection.”

Klare had vaguely heard about IDA before, which is why he asked the question regarding its possible institutional connection to Columbia. But Klare did not know exactly how IDA had been set up and functioned until he, afterwards, heard that I had made the IDA-Columbia affiliation discovery. So when Dean Halford lied at the forum about Columbia’s true relationship to IDA, Klare mistakenly assumed Halford was stating the truth.

Prior to bringing Spectator the expose’ of Columbia’s IDA tie, I went to Ted’s dorm room to let him read the expose’. He had missed the steering committee meeting in which the expose’ had been passed around because he had been away from New York during the spring break.

After I had sat down on the chair in Ted’s dorm room, he smiled and said: “Let me see the paper you wrote that I heard about.”

I smiled in return and handed him the expose’. Ted began to read with great interest. After he had finished reading the last page, he turned to me and said: “That bastard. Kirk really is a bastard!”

We then smoked some marijuana together and listened to some of his early Rolling Stones, early Dylan, early Judy Collins, early Supremes and Beatles albums, as well as to the Dionne Warwick album in which she sang “Walk On By.” A few weeks before I discovered Columbia’s IDA connection, I had started to smoke marijuana with Ted.

Prior to February 1967, I felt that—like liquor—pot and all drugs should be legally sold and all people should have the right to smoke and use drugs, as well as to drink, without fear of arrest. But, personally, I felt smoking pot was not for leftists because it could give the government a pretext for arresting an activist on non-political grounds and because, like religion, it was an escapist way to deal with an oppressive reality. When political activism wasn’t fulfilling me emotionally and I was feeling trapped and unloved, I would escape with my songwriting, guitar-playing and singing and “get high” by being creative and artistic. I had no sense before smoking pot of how intense a feeling the weed produced and that a marijuana high was qualitatively more of a turn-on than a creative high. My pre-February 1967, somewhat puritanical, attitude resembled the anti-bohemian Old Left middle-class attitude toward marijuana that Ted’s parents had, and that Ted originally had.

When Ted started to smoke pot heavily in late 1966, however, I started to reconsider my attitude towards grass because he was the first “head” I knew who remained as politically active after he started to turn on as he was before he started smoking. So, finally, I ended up spending one Friday night and early Saturday morning turning on with Ted, Brian and another guy who lived on Ted’s dorm floor, named Waller.

“It really is absurd that it’s illegal to smoke pot,” I said with laughter, once the grass started to affect me and make me high and really happy and full of laughter.

“Yeah. The Old Left’s line on grass is totally absurd,” Ted replied with a laugh. Then I played him a song satirizing the Marine Corps that I had written to counter the pro-militarist “Ballad of the Green Berets,” accompanying myself on my guitar. The song included the following lyrics:

We are Marines
The best of men
America’s freedom
We do defend….

Charlie Whitman
An ex-Marine
Climbed to a tower
And killed thirteen….

It also included verses about ex-Marines Richard Speck and Howard Unruh, both of whom were also mass murderers in civilian life, and verses about Byron de la Beckwith, the ex-Marine killer of Medgar Evers, and ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald.

After I finished singing the song, Ted laughed and commented:

“That’s a great song. Except for the part about Oswald. He really didn’t kill Kennedy, you know. Mark Lane’s written a whole book exposing the whole Warren Commission cover-up.”

“You really think Oswald was framed?”

“From what I’ve read about all the contradictions in the Warren Commission Report, it looks like he was.”

While stoned, Ted would talk much more rapidly than when he was straight. But he still spoke about New Left radicalism, U.S. culture, Columbia politics, U.S. and world politics and questions related to socialism, capitalism, Maoism, Marxism, Cuba, Black liberation and revolution in an enthusiastic way—in-between listening to record albums.

Still stoned in the early hours of Saturday morning, Ted, Brian and I headed for Duke’s Restaurant on W. 112th St. and Broadway—which was open 24 hours a day—and ate an early morning breakfast. After breakfast, as the sun was rising, Brian walked back towards his apartment on W. 114th St. and Ted and I walked back towards Furnald Hall. Seeing a bundle of that day’s New York Times which had been dropped off in the early morning hours, in front of a closed Broadway newsstand, Ted ripped apart the string that tied the bundle together and helped himself to two copies of the newspaper, before walking back onto the campus. He gave me one of the newspapers and then we each went back to our dorm rooms, to sleep until late Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 8: Discovering IDA, 1967

Chapter 8: Discovering IDA, 1967 (iii)

After completing the research paper, I wrote a folk song condemning both Columbia’s complicity with the Pentagon and U.S scientists who immorally served the U.S. war machine. The folk song, patterned somewhat after Dylan’s “Masters of War,” was titled “Bloody Minds” and contained the following lyrics:

Come, you bloody minds
Look what I done find
I done did research
IDA exists
Laugh between your walls
Sit behind your desks
Watch your missiles fall
IDA exists.

The value-free school
Your mask we see right through
The weapons of the Pentagon
Their brains procured by you.

Godly Grayson Kirk
On the board he knits
Smokes upon his pipe
While his bombers bite
Problems he assigns:
“How to make men die?”
Professors they plan
Death for Viet Nam.

In ’56 to serve Defense
Five schools they did combine
Three years later
It joined the bloody minds.

City slums they rot
People live in lots
Atoms to destroy
They’re your little toys
Oh, they pay you well
To create a hell
Did you see the news?
Twelve women they slew.

A division
Its name Jason
In summer they study
They meet, they talk
They plan, they plot

Lovers they must part
Lamps they now are dark
Knowledge turned to swords
Kirk sits on the board
Schools changed into guns
For the Pentagon
Students now they learn:
How to make kids burn.

You stand in class
You spout your facts
A noble scientist
But then at night
You join the fight
You do secret research.

Murder poor peasants
With the tools you sent
Orphan thin children
Help the bastards win
Kill them with your mind
Paralyze their spines
Someday you will die
And in slime you’ll lie.

Prior to March 1967, IDA had rarely been mentioned in the U.S. Establishment mass media or in the left, underground or campus press. A few Establishment magazine articles on IDA had appeared between 1956 and 1967 and IDA had been mentioned in a few books for academic specialists published by university presses. But the New York Times had barely acknowledged its existence. The Rand Institute, not the Institute for Defense Analyses, was the military-oriented think-tank that had received most of the Establishment mass media publicity prior to March 1967. After March 1967, IDA began to receive more mention in the Columbia Daily Spectator and in left newspapers and magazines like New Left Notes, the Worker, the Guardian and Viet Report. But the U.S. Establishment’s mass media still refused to mention IDA. After my name appeared in some leftist publications in reference to the Columbia-IDA revelation, the FBI opened a file on me and started to investigate me using information provided by the Columbia University Registrar’s Office, according to my de-classified FBI files.

Columbia’s IDA affiliation came to also symbolize the degree to which Columbia University’s research budget was dependent on receiving Pentagon basic and unsolicited research contracts. Like most elite U.S. universities, Columbia was dependent on corporate research funds and Pentagon research funds for financing much of its institutional research activity.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 8: Discovering IDA, 1967

Chapter 8: Discovering IDA, 1967 (ii)

The annual reports also revealed that Columbia University President Grayson Kirk was not only a trustee of IDA, but was also on the executive committee of IDA’s board of trustees. They described and bragged about the military applications of weapons research work that, under university sponsorship, IDA research workers engaged in at IDA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, in cooperation with Pentagon officials, using language like the following:

“As the oldest division of the Institute, the Weapons Systems Evaluation Division [WSED] celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. During the past decade, the primary WSED mission has been to conduct analyses and evaluations of operational and future weapons systems for the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group [WSEG] in response to the needs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, and other components of the Office of the Secretary of Defense…Added emphasis has in recent years been placed on studies of military logistics and operations in Southeast Asia and on studies of anti-submarine warfare….

“During the past year, the Division continued its substantial efforts in evaluating ballistic missile capabilities. It also studied low-altitude aircraft operation from both offensive and defensive points of view…studied fire support of counterinsurgency situations…Other studies that were completed during the year dealt with various topics, including…Southeast Asia problems….

“The mission of the Research and Engineering Support Division [RSED] is to analyze natural phenomena and to evaluate systems that are of particular interest to the national security.

“…The Division carried out intensive studies of problems of tactical warfare and remote area conflict…

“Several of the study groups in tactical warfare systems focused on…the possibilities of airborne television reconnaissance at night, and potential methods for personnel protection, particularly for counterinsurgency operations. One of the operations research projects that was carried out was concerned with available data bases for counterinsurgency operations….”

The Annual reports also noted that IDA’s university ties were important because it enabled the Pentagon to more easily recruit university professors to perform weapons research work who might have objected to working with a purely U.S. military-directed, non-university-affiliated organization, in language like the following:

“The Jason Division was created in 1958 as an attempt to expose outstanding university scientists—mostly physicists—to critical defense needs in the belief that they could make significant contributions to the solution of defense problems…The intent of this experimental approach was to provide a mechanism to make available to outstanding university scientists an opportunity to work regularly but not exclusively on problems of importance to the national security in a way that would not exact a career penalty.”

The annual reports also revealed that eleven other major universities besides Columbia—M.I.T., Princeton, Penn State, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, University of California at Berkeley, Tulane, Stanford, University of Illinois, Case Western Reserve and the California Institute of Technology—were also institutional members of IDA. Finally, the annual reports indicated that IDA’s Jason Division, which consisted of university professors, met each summer to collectively perform practically applicable counter-insurgency weapons research, using language like the following:

“In 1964 a new excursion was made. Increased Government attention to such problems as counterinsurgency, insurrection, and infiltration led to the suggestion that Jason members might be able to provide fresh insight into problems that are not entirely in the realm of physical science.”

At least three Columbia University professors, Leon Lederman, Henry Foley and a Professor of Mathematics named Bernard Koopman, were listed as being IDA Jason Division weapons development researchers.

I took a lot of notes and by the following weekend the “Columbia SDS Research Committee” paper which exposed Columbia’s IDA ties was written up and typed. In Spring 1967 there wasn’t really a “Columbia SDS Research Committee.” But because I wished to emphasize the importance of Columbia SDS, not my own individual contribution, I credited the “Columbia SDS Research Committee” with authorship of the paper.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 8: Discovering IDA, 1967

Chapter 8: Discovering IDA, 1967 (i)

In early March 1967, by accident, I discovered Columbia’s institutional affiliation with the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA]. It happened on a cold Saturday afternoon.

I had gone into the stacks of Butler Library to do some research for my term paper on “The Military-Industrial Complex’s Role In Determining U.S. Foreign Policy” which I had decided to write for Professor Schilling’s “American Foreign Policy II” course. I started to browse around the 350 to 355 Dewey Decimal section, thumbing through books related to the U.S. military-industrial complex, in order to get some information for my term paper.

Picking up a book on military research, titled Schools for Strategy, I slowly turned the pages until I reached the index. Just to see if, by chance, Columbia University was mentioned in relationship to Pentagon war-related research.

Sure enough, Columbia University was listed in the index. And when I started reading the indicated pages, I first felt some anger. Then I started to laugh out loud as I stood reading there alone in the stacks. “IDA stands for `Institute for Defense Analyses.’ The Institute for Defense Analyses is a think-tank like the Rand Institute, which develops weapons for the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff under the sponsorship of U.S. universities. Columbia University, without telling either its faculty, its student body, or its student newspaper, Spectator, has been institutionally sponsoring secret weapons development research for Pentagon generals since 1959. The liberal Columbia Administration, despite its talk of `value-freedom’ and political neutrality, was actually in bed with the same Pentagon that waged unjust war in Viet Nam.” These were my immediate thoughts as I read through a few pages of the book. Ten minutes after I discovered that Columbia University was tied to a Pentagon think-tank—IDA—that I had never heard of before, I was on my way to the Butler Library stacks exit to check out the book which described Columbia’s ties to the IDA.

I immediately felt that if the Columbia Administration didn’t resign its institutional membership in IDA, the Columbia and Barnard student left might be able to create a Berkeley 1964 revolt-type situation at Columbia—as a way of effectively protesting both the insanity and immorality of U.S. military intervention in Viet Nam and the political powerlessness and lack of generational freedom felt by students in the 1960s.

After leaving the stacks, I spent the rest of the afternoon taking notes about Columbia’s IDA connection in the main reading room at Butler Library and looking for references to IDA in the Butler Library card catalogue. The catalogue cards which referred to IDA indicated that the annual reports of the IDA for the 1956 to 1966 years were contained in the “JX” section of Columbia’s International Law Library. After copying down the appropriate call numbers, I headed out of Butler Library and back to my Furnald Hall dorm room.

The morning after I discovered Columbia’s IDA connection was a Sunday, so I was not able to check out the International Law Library’s material on IDA. I did telephone Josh, though. Linda answered the phone in a drowsy voice which didn’t sound too enthusiastic.


“Hi. This is Bob Feldman. May I speak to Josh?”

“Oh. Just a minute.”

Josh then said “Hello” in a friendlier voice.

“Hello, Josh?...This is Bob Feldman. I was doing some research in the library and I think I discovered something important for SDS to look into. Columbia University is an institutional member of something called the Institute for Defense Analyses, which is a weapons research think-tank like the Rand Institute, that develops weapons for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

Josh laughed. “Well, that’s not too surprising. It’s an interesting discovery. But what would be our political demand?”

“Our demand should be that the Columbia University Administration resign its institutional membership in the Institute for Defense Analyses,” I answered.

“That sounds like a clear-cut demand,” Josh replied. “Let me know if you find anything more about this. Bye now.” Then he hung up.

The following day I cut all my classes and spent most of the day and the two subsequent days reading the IDA annual reports which were contained in the International Law Library, but which could not be taken out of the library. The annual reports bragged about how crucial IDA was to carrying out the Pentagon’s Cold War military mission. They also bragged about how crucial a contribution university members like Columbia made to the U.S. war machine by being involved with IDA, using language like the following:

“If the Institute for Defense Analyses has produced important studies on problems in national security, much of the credit must go to the university world. Five universities gave IDA its start in 1956, and since then seven more have become Members, broadening our contact with the academic community and strengthening the direction of our corporate affairs. From these and other universities have come many of our scientists and officers, as permanent members or on leaves of absence....

"Without the efforts of these men and the cooperation of these institutions, IDA would not be what it is. We are proud to be able to grace the pages of our report with scenes of the campuses of our twelve Member Universities, as partial recognition of our debt to the entire university world."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 7: Into Columbia SDS, 1966

Chapter 7: Into Columbia SDS, 1966 (xiv)

Prior to winning the anti-class-ranking campaign, Columbia SDS was preparing to lead a strike, if necessary, and Phil Ochs came to the campus to give a free concert, in order to help build up enthusiasm for the possible strike. My sister was as into Ochs as I was at this time and she came into Manhattan from Queens to attend the concert at Columbia with me. We both were expecting Ochs to carry on the early Dylan tradition of folk protest songwriting that Dylan had abandoned. But after Ochs sang his “Nobody’s Buying Flowers From The Flower Lady” song in a deeply felt way, which moved his leftist audience, it seemed that Ochs, too, was moving away from protest songs in his new writing.

After my sister had gone back to Queens, I talked with Ted about Ochs’ performance.

“I think he was stoned when he gave the concert. I could swear that he was stoned. The way his eyes looked,” Ted said with laughter, as we sat in his dorm room. “Maybe that’s why he’s getting less political.”

Ted had started to smoke marijuana, himself, around this time. The guy he smoked most with was his new friend, Brian. Brian had entered Columbia the same year I had and lived with male roommates in an apartment on W. 114th St. He was a tall guy from Hartford, Connecticut who pretty much got stoned every night, although his hair was never long. Brian came from money and politically non-radical parents. He was a gentle, reserved guy who became both very active in the Movement at Columbia and a great friend of Ted.

Brian was not into any heavy career-preparation trip and was both hedonistic and idealistic in Spring 1967. He was never reluctant to do Columbia SDS shit work and pretty much attended every Columbia SDS meeting or demonstration or rally that Ted and I attended. He also cut classes a lot like I did.

Around the time the campaign to end class-ranking for the draft was won, I began to feel threatened, personally, by the draft. I bought myself a book which described the procedure for seeking conscientious objection. Then I went to my local draft board in Flushing to register and, on one of their forms, noted my intention to eventually seek conscientious objection status, at the same time I also applied for a 2-S deferment. I took the 2-S deferment option because I wished to continue to do anti-war institutional resistance work in the U.S. and the deferment protected me from being captured by the war machine. I felt that granting deferments to college students, but not to non-student youths, was undemocratic. Spectator had even printed a letter to the editor by me on this issue during my freshman year. But as long as the 2-S deferment was an option, I had no reservations about taking it to prevent Uncle Sam from stopping my resistance to the U.S. military machine on the home front.

Once I was registered for the draft, I felt compelled to remain at Columbia in order to protect my deferment. I no longer toyed with the idea of dropping out of college. Much of my political activism was now motivated by my intense anger at being subject to the draft following my four years of college—or if I chose to drop out of Columbia. I felt trapped and enslaved by the draft. I felt that I could not plan my personal life beyond getting a college degree. I did not wish to either go to jail for draft resistance, flee to Canada, go underground, go to grad school or fight in an unjust war and have to submit to U.S. military discipline. I felt a social system that only gave those choices to its young men deserved to be overthrown.

Although certain leftist sects took the position that anti-war students should go into the U.S. military if drafted and organize against the war from within the military, and refuse to hide behind 2-S deferments, I regarded this position as unrealistic in 1967. I didn’t think anti-war organizing within the U.S. military could be as effective as campus anti-war organizing in 1967. I felt no confidence in 1967 that leftist men who went into the U.S. military could really disrupt it without ending up in military stockades or being shot in the back.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 7: Into Columbia SDS, 1966

Chapter 7: Into Columbia SDS, 1966 (xiii)

I wrote a song titled “The SDS Kids” around this time, which reflected my feeling that, prior to meeting “The SDS Kids,” all the men around me seemed cold emotionally and morally dead. As we built for a possible strike against class-ranking for the draft, life for me became one meeting after another, leafleting, bumping into other SDS people and chatting, and becoming part of a high-energy whirlwind. I had entered a world in which many people were activist and similar in value-structure to me. I wasn’t involved romantically with anyone. But I had started to forget about my love for Beth because she didn’t involve herself with Columbia SDS as an activist and didn’t even attend SDS rallies. All of a sudden I was meeting all these leftist people at once and was so busy that I almost didn’t feel lonely anymore.

One thing I liked about Columbia SDS people is that they evaluated students primarily on the basis of their politics and their level of political commitment. Columbia SDS men who were romantically involved with Barnard “chicks,” though, did have more status than unattached New Left men. Barnard leftist women who were sexually open or considered physically attractive also had higher status within Columbia SDS circles than leftist women who were unattached or not considered physically attractive. But Barnard leftist women who were politically active and energetic were still highly regarded, even if they lacked a boyfriend or were regarded as physically unattractive.

Barnard leftist women were expected to accept politically subordinate leadership roles within SDS. But neither male nor female New Leftists questioned the male supremacist pattern of political organization within Columbia SDS until 1969.

I continued to find myself being drawn towards Teddy in a brotherly, comradely sort of way. He seemed to have sorted out the important things in life from the clutter and always had time to talk with you about anything. I also was really growing fond of Nancy, who now lived with him in the W. 115th St. apartment.

A united front was formed with other campus organizations to end class-ranking for the Selective Service System by Columbia. As a result of this united front of students, Frank—the 1967 head of Citizenship Council—drew closer to Columbia SDS circles and became more radicalized.

I had first met Frank on Election Day in NYC in 1965. In exchange for us recording voting results at a particular city polling place for NBC News’ computers, to enable NBC to project an election winner faster than CBS or ABC, Citizenship Council received some donation from NBC for Citizenship Council’s community service programs. As we returned from the polling place where we had gathered figures for NBC’s computer, Frank said: “It’s a dirty war. A totally dirty war. We never had any business going into Viet Nam after the French left. And there’s no way I’m going to serve in the military as long as we’re still in Viet Nam.”

Frank was a beardless, thin guy of about 6 feet, who usually wore glasses. He had grown up in Douglaston Manor, on the other side of the tracks from the Beech Hills development where I had lived as a child. The son of an upper-middle-class white Catholic medical doctor, Frank was a good-natured, easygoing, non-materialistic, socially concerned, anti-racist liberal when I first met him.

Frank didn’t dress bohemian in February 1967, had short hair and did not consider himself a freak at that time. But he kept himself awake in his Furnald Hall single dorm room during his 1966-67 senior year at Columbia by taking Dexedrine. Frank used to get his Dexedrine from his father’s supply in Douglaston Manor. He shared some of the Dexedrine with me that spring one night, when I had to stay up all night to study for a final.

Because Frank more accurately reflected the pre-radicalized mass political mood at Columbia, he—not anyone from Columbia SDS—was the chief spokesperson at the mass united front vigil we held outside Low Library, prior to a trustees meeting which was to decide whether to continue sending class-ranking information to the U.S. draft boards. The Columbia Administration, on this occasion, conceded to our demand and class-rankings were no longer sent by Columbia to the draft boards.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 7: Into Columbia SDS, 1966

Chapter 7: Into Columbia SDS, 1966 (xii)

February 1967 remained hectic, with SDS activity on two fronts at Columbia. The Columbia Administration went ahead with its disciplinary action against the PL-led students who had sat-in against the CIA’s campus recruitment. A hearing was held around the time that Ramparts Magazine was disclosing how the CIA had secretly used many “non-profit” U.S. educational foundations as conduits to finance non-leftist political organizations like the National Student Association [NSA], and activities in which people like Gloria Steinem, Allard Lowenstein and Barney Frank participated in during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The anti-class-ranking campaign was also beginning to reach out to both liberal student leaders of the Columbia Citizenship Council and the Undergraduate Dormitory Council [UDC] and to the broad mass of liberal Columbia College students. A characteristic tendency of Columbia SDS in 1967 was to ignore mass organizing at Barnard and neglect to make any real attempt to mobilize Barnard women against the institutionalized male-supremacist nature of Columbia. I did set up a Brooks Hall lounge dormitory meeting at Barnard in which Gadfly’s editor, Paul, and Professor Stade spoke out against the U.S. war machine before a small group of Barnard students, who floated in and out. But we all generally assumed that only anti-war men at Columbia were qualified to be featured at SDS public meetings. Only on rare occasions was the “exceptional” leftist woman allowed to speak at SDS-sponsored educational events. Yet New Left women at Barnard and Columbia did not vocally protest against SDS’ male chauvinist political practice in 1967.

I didn’t relate much to the disciplinary hearing of the anti-CIA students, because the hearing was initially closed to most leftist students. According to de-classified NYPD “Red Squad” documents, however, a New York City undercover cop attended these hearing sessions and made notes that listed the names of those students and professors who also attended the hearing sessions, for “Red Squad” files.

I did spend time listening to the rapidly improving campus sundial oratory of Paul:

“The CIA is a criminal organization. It respects no rules of international law. It abides by no morality—except for the morality of Goring, Goebbels and Hitler. Columbia University President Kirk directs the Asia Foundation. The Asia Foundation acted as a conduit for CIA funds. Columbia University awarded an honorary degree to Allen Dulles in the 1950s in order to legitimize CIA Director Dulles’ role in ordering CIA coups in Iran and Guatemala.”

Paul spoke in a fiery way. His face reddened with outrage when he described from the sundial how current U.S. foreign policies violated Jeffersonian principles of democracy.

Ted also felt Paul had become an increasingly effective orator. But in his dorm room one night, Ted cited one reservation he had about Paul’s 1967 politics:

“He doesn’t argue against the war from either a New Leftist or a Marxist ideological perspective. But just from a militant liberal democratic, constitutionalist perspective. He ends up perpetuating illusions that the U.S. Constitution and Jefferson’s political thought genuinely reflect a commitment to a truly democratic society. We want to rid people of these illusions.”

In February 1967, Ted was the Columbia SDS agitator who initiated the anti-class-ranking campaign by standing up on a wall in front of Hamilton Hall, between the 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock classes, and addressing three other Columbia SDS guys. While he attempted to harangue them, large numbers of students apathetically walked by him. Many of these Columbia students glanced at Ted with a condescending smirk as they passed by him.

Ted’s oratorical style was more verbose and pedantic, as well as less emotional and concise, than Paul’s style. But his political summations were more traditionally Marxist. Paul was much better at using hecklers to stir up leftist mass moral passion, because he could quickly think up an emotionally and verbally good response to a right-wing heckler. Ted was less quick and witty than Paul at retorting to hecklers. Although Ted explained SDS positions very logically, he was sometimes too long-winded and not verbally flashy enough to stir up student mass emotions. He usually sounded more like a super-logical leftist intellectual than a charismatic orator.