[sixties-l] Re:FSM credits

From: Michael Rossman (mrossman@igc.org)
Date: 10/10/00

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    Bill Mandel writes: "Wasn't Lerner a member of the Steering Committee? He was
    certainly a member of the Executive Committee."
    Lerner wasn't on the Steering Committee. I don't recall him as having been on
    the Executive Committee either -- though if I did, vaguely, this would be no
    more conclusive, since I have found that my memory at this distance has
    conflated two things close together as often as it's neglected one.  As I
    noted, the only reference in Goines's voluminous account (or any other history
    of the FSM, so far as I know) puts Lerner on campus in late spring of the
    following year. I remember him from that period, particularly in connection
    with the VDC. As I recall very dimly, a few years later when he was based in
    the Northwest there was some question about his being represented or taken
    there as having been a major leader of the FSM. If Lerner was in fact on the
    Executive Committee, he was indeed among the "leaders" of the FSM, in a sense
    applying as surely to the hundred-odd other members of its ExCom as to its
    hundreds of organizers in graduate and undergrad departments, dorms, co-ops,
    fraternities and sororities, and the dozens of "centrals" that formed the
    movement's functional structure. In this deep sense, to which I incline,
    leadership in the FSM was so widely distributed that it is misleading to
    credit anyone -- even dear Mario -- as having been a Leader. In the ordinary
    sense of the term, the histories of the FSM do not record Lerner as being
    among its leaders, and it is probably misleading to refer to him so. Indeed,
    such reference is pointless, and subtly degrading to the FSM; for one did not
    have to be a "leader" to be touched by its spirit and carry this on.
           Michael Rossman <mrossman@igc.org>

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