Since Michael Rossman thought my attempt at humor was an "unseemly taunt" let me stick to facts. The Goines books is full of errors of both omission and commission. But his list of "dramatis personae" is pretty inclusive, with lots of people whose contribution to events was fairly obscure. I'm listed twice: as Jo and Joe Freeman, but with different roles (and assessments). Neither Bill Mandel nor Michael Lerner are listed among the "personae", though Lerner has a brief mention in the index and text (described in an earlier post). Mandel isn't in either. I did not see Lerner's name in any of the thousands of pages of other stuff I read, including unpublished interviews with FSM participants, and notes of meetings taken by Rossman and Anastasi. Bill Mandel is listed occasionally as an alternate to the FSM Executive Committee (which acted as sort of a general assembly, not as an executive body) from a non student group. Lerner is not on any list of anybody, including office staff and volunteers, or arrestees. The FBI sent me thousands of pages in its FSM file, after seven years of FOIA requests, and numerous letters from various Members of Congress from whom I requested help in prying these loose. Most of these pages are news clippings (which would have been useful when I began my research, but by the time I got them, told me little I didn't already know), blacked out pages, or extensive reports of various groups in different parts of the country where the FSM got a mere mention. Also included are numerous copied documents, including the FSM songbook (twice), magazine articles on the FSM, and a com plete copy of Student by David Horowitz. All at ten cents a page, paid in advance. From these I learned all sorts of arcane details, such as that Michael Rossman was registered to vote, but did not declare a party preference (Jack Weinberg was a registred Democrat). I also learned virtally everyone with a CP connection or who were members of a "subversive" group (DuBois Clubs and YSA). These names were not blacked out. Bill Mandel is not among them. Given his past, how did the FBI miss him? It named people I never heard of until I read these files, including Leon Wofsy, a new professior in the Dept. of Bacteriology and Immunology, whom J. Edgar Hoover was convinced was the "brains" behind the FSM. Bettina, of course, gets lots of ink, including copies of her articles in Political Affairs. Even Carl Bloice shows up (he wrote about the FSM for the People's World). But not Bill Mandel. As for debating Clark Kerr; That may have been a Michael Lerner fantasy, or even a Bill Mandel fantasy, but that's all. There is nothing in anything I read, or wrote, or remembered, to indicate that anyone ever thought of that as a possibility. Nor would Kerr have agreed (I've read a lot by and about him, as well). 1) Kerr agreed with the FSM on the basic issue, and said so in public print as early as 1966. 2) He had nothing to gain by debating any one in public on anything even remotely connected with campus disruption. He even fought (and lost) a subpoena to be a witness for the defense in our trial. (But the judge sustained all prosecutorial objections to most of the questions our attorneys asked, so it was a useless victory). 3) Kerr's focus was on protecting the University, mostly from the legislature, and particularly from the Senate Fact-Finding Subcommittee on UnAmerican Activities, which attacked it (and him personally) in its 1961, 1963 (and 1965 and 1966) reports. The Chairman of that committee was the powerful Hugh Burns, President pro tem of the California Senate. Burns (and his Committee counsel R.E. Combs) tried to have him fired several times (as did the FBI), because he was insuffi ciently concerned with rooting out subversives at the University. Given these concerns, the idea of Clark Kerr debating Bill Mandel, or Mario Savio or Hal Draper is downright funny. Bill Mandel's memory of decision making in the FSM is rosier than real. Michael's is closer to the truth. Social Movements by their very nature do not have well established decision making procedures, and don't always follow the ones they think they have. How decisions were made in the FSM varied enor mously with time and event. Sometimes crucial decisions were made by one or two people, and sometimes they were debated by mass meetings. Sometimes those whose views differed from the leadership were treated with respect, and sometimes they were trashed and ostracized. The full story of the FSM has not yet been told. Goines excerpts interviews done by others to tell part of it; I tell a different story in my forthcoming book; Clark Kerr gives his views in his forthcoming memoir; other members of the Administration (Strong, Williams, Sherriffs, Towle) tell theirs in their oral histories; and more remain to be told. There are a lot of myths about the FSM (including the one that it was started by the Administration's capitulation to Oakland Tribune owner Bill Knowland's complaint about recruiting picketers from Bancroft and Telegraph). It's time to look at it from the many perspectives, unclouded by wishful thinking.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : 10/13/00 EDT