The Berkeley Free Speech Movement

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

In September 1964, to stifle increasingly militant civil rights activism, the UC-Berkeley administration issued severe restrictions on the rights of students to solicit support and funds for political causes. Thousands of students participated in the subsequent Free Speech Movement in 1964-65, whose highlights included a standoff in which thousands of students surrounded a police car to prevent Berkeley activist Jack Weinberg from being taken away. The car became a podium for impromptu speeches, and the sit-in didn’t end for 32 hours, when the charges against Weinberg were dropped. It was at a subsequent mass occupation of Sproul Hall, demanding that charges against four students for violating the university’s restrictions be dropped, that student leader Mario Savio made his now famous speech, declaring, “You've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop.” This presentation will review the movement’s history and discuss its relevance for student struggles today.

| More