Marion Savio

Tom Condit (tomcondit@IGC.APC.ORG)
Sat, 1 Feb 1997 17:43:49 -0800 (PST)

As most of you probably know, Mario Savio died recently. Those
interested in knowing a small amount about his life and ideals
can get two things by e-mail:

1. In March 1968, Mario drafted a "General Principles" statement
for the founding convention of the Peace and Freedom Movement
(the membership organization which controlled the Peace & Freedom
Party) in Richmond, California. I have typed it up for use in a
forthcoming issue of _The Partisan_, the Peace and Freedom Party
newspaper and will send a copy to anyone who e-mails me at:

2. The New York Transfer news collective has produced an on-line
version of an obituary of Mario by Mitchel Cohen. It's about
2,800 words. You can probably get it by sending a message to: or perhaps through blythe's web page:

I should say that Mitchel's piece contains one thing which I think is a
chronological error. He writes that:

"Clearly influenced by Students for a Democratic Society
pamphlets--whether or not Mario read them I don't know, but bits
and pieces of the ideas were certainly blowing in the wind--Mario
put them all together, denouncing the University as a machine and
Amerika as a giant corporation serviced by the University, to
which students are just cogs in the wheel. ..."

Actually, it was the other way around. The SDS pamphlets I think
Mitchel is thinking of were written circa 1965 and were
influenced by Mario's speech. The big influence on Savio himself
was the Marxist writer Hal Draper, then working as a microfilm
librarian at UC Berkeley. Draper had given a talk for the
Independent Socialist Club reviewing a book by UC President Clark
Kerr on the role of the university in "society" (i.e., capitalist
economics). The talk was given a few days before the famous
Sproul Plaza arrest, was attended by Savio, Jack Weinberg and
other key figures in the Free Speech Movement, and was later
issued as a widely-distributed pamphlet called "The Mind of Clark

(It may be that Mitchell is thinking of the Port Huron statement
rather than the later pamphlets by Paul Potter et al. Certainly
no one had a monopoly on the ideas which were "blowing in the
wind" at that point.)

Tom Condit