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.