Re: [sixties-l] Re: FUB-Berkeley

From: William Mandel (
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 20:29:49 CUT

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       "One of the most satisfying things I wrote at the time was an
    article, 'The Free University or Freeing THE University,' which I
    originally delivered as a kind of valedictory at the final FSM
    executive committee meeting. It was published in the university's
    Daily Californian....People have always regarded me as a much
    better-than-average teacher. Yet my courses, whether at the Free
    University organized by FSMers and drop-outs or later in more
    formal settings, showed only a little less drop-off in attendance
    than did those of others. I understood why, and it didn't bother
    me. I was teaching about the Soviet Union. It had ceased being an
    ideal for me a decade earlier, but I felt that the more we knew
    about it the better....But my students were idealists, and it was
    Utopia they were looking for. At least, those who were doing so
    dropped out of my classes when they realized that I didn't
    believe that the U.S. could resolve its problems by patterning
    itself after the Soviet Union. They turned to Utopias elsewhere."
       -- in chapter, "Don't Trust Anyone Over 30" in my SAYING NO TO
                                            William Mandel wrote:
    > I too was involved in FUB (Free University of Berkeley), though not "in
    > setting it up." But in 1968 when it was fresh and a fresh idea, I remember
    > giving a course for writers of every background/experience, which would flow
    > into chanting and singing too, and I remember taking a class where women
    > could really do hands-on photo darkroom work, another specifically set up for
    > women to learn (FORTRAN) programming--taught by Steve G-? who had been
    > involved too in the movement to legalize abortion; and in 1969 I began a
    > workshop "for working writers" that became the literary collective/magazine
    > The Open Cell--the first tabloid-size, photo-offset literary paper, as far as
    > we know--specifically created and priced to make literature by the people
    > available to the people. So--multiply this by how many persons' experience
    > to get some idea of the energy and innovations in the Free Universities. And
    > yet, and yet--how much of this was a sliding back "into normal life", a
    > pulling back from the intensity of the organizing and confrontation and
    > struggle against more militaristic or economic oppressions that gave the
    > Movement a cohesive momentum?
    > Paula

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