Friday, March 23, 2007

Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories: Chap. 13: Christmas Vacation With Mark Rudd, 1967

Chapter 13: Christmas Vacation With Mark Rudd, 1967 (iv)

In early January 1968, I also started to look for my own apartment again. I enjoyed living above Mark. But I desired an apartment where I could freely entertain friends and cook.

I answered a bulletin board card ad in mid-January and sublet a Tiemann Place apartment from two Columbia students. The apartment consisted of 2 ½ rooms and had windows which faced out onto Broadway, a few blocks south of W. 125th St. Whenever the IRT Broadway local train rode by, the apartment shook and it sounded like the train was going to rumble into the bedroom. I had to give up possession of the apartment, however, when the landlord vetoed the sublet because my proposed roommate, Eliezer, now had long hair and looked too much like a hippie. I was forced to move back to my parents’ apartment in Queens for a few weeks until dormitory space in Furnald Hall became available for me. As a result of my unsuccessful Tiemann Place sublet, I was beat for $150.

In Queens, I filled up my spare-time for a few weeks hanging out around Queens College. But compared to Columbia in early 1968, Queens College seemed politically, intellectually and morally dead. At Queens College, I picked up a copy of the Phoenix student newspaper and ended up writing a letter to the editor which the newspaper printed—and the FBI agent who monitored political activity at Queens College inserted in my (now-declassified) FBI file because the letter recommended that Queens College students read the radical press for more accurate information about the Viet Nam War.

The TET offensive of the NLF in Viet Nam began in early 1968. Like most other Columbia SDS activists, I felt that the New Left’s analysis of the situation in Viet Nam had been validated by this offensive. I followed the TET offensive by reading the New York Times again each day and I felt happy that the Vietnamese people, despite the U.S. military escalation of the previous three years, were still able to fight for their liberation so effectively. Because it now appeared to many Columbia students that the U.S. government could not win its war in Viet Nam, campus opposition to continued U.S. military intervention in Viet Nam deepened even further.

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