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Speaking of the Free Speech Movement, I just watched the closing episode of season 2.5 of Battlestar Galactica last night. I was falling asleep when all of the sudden, for reasons I won’t go into because I know there are fellow non-cabled folk reading this blog who haven’t yet seen it, the character known as “the Chief” makes a speech with an uncanny resemblance to Mario Savio’s famous pep-talk at Sproul Hall in 1964 – one of the more memorable speeches in American history, particular the climax:
There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and 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. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!
Somebody in the series’ writing department has a rich sense of irony.
The first sentence in a letter from one Sylvia Hill in today’s ER.
I have never written a letter to the editor before because everyone has a right to his or her opinion.
Does that make any sense to anybody else?
To be honest, Herbert Aptheker was never much of a hero to me to begin with. He was dubbed the “last intellectual” within the Communist Party, but I think that honor goes to Howard Fast. Aptheker’s work was not only dogmatic, but uncreative. His daughter however, a very charismatic professor at UCSC and a heroine of the Free Speech Movement, was and is a heroine of mine. She packs them in and her students, particularly the young women, find themselves embarking on an intellectual journey that will affect them forever.
I should say that as I grew older I found Bettina A. to be a bit dogmatic. Although she’d long since left the CP, her politics were and probably still are a bit straightjacketed by “dialectical materialism” and “surplus value.” She made it onto David Horowitz’ dangerous professors list because she is extremely influential on her students, and while I find the whole concept of the list ridiculous, the fact is that her classes are hardly balanced in terms of politics. And I did lose a little bit of respect for her when she refused an invitation of a friend of mine to speak at a woman’s group meeting in my friend’s hometown, saying basically that she prefers the audience of students. I guess the real world can be frightening.
But she is a brilliant woman, who cares about her students. Despite rumors that she was a “ball-breaker,” she always treated me and any other male student I know of with respect. And her classes are quite compelling and interesting despite what I consider in my middle age to be a lack of intellectual balance. She is candid about her feelings, and her greatest strength is her ability to integrate those feelings into her intellectual endeavors which bring them vitality. And she is uncanny in her ability to help young women, particularly those troubled, channel their anger productively. And at this latest point in her life, she’s setting a terrific example.
I hadn’t thought about her for years. I was greatly saddened to read this article. While I find the whole revival-of-repressed-memories thing dubious, her account is pretty detailed and it’s apparent to me that she believes what she is writing because she is clearly in pain for doing so. She does not hate her father. However:
“I looked back and waved,” she writes, describing one of their leave-takings at the Berlin Wall, “and he waved back. He looked very small and distant in the shadows of the wall. It was the first time I had ever seen him in this way. He no longer loomed larger than life.”
I don’t think I’ll pick up her book. But she’s going to be bucking some denial from radical cliques. Portside is already refusing to discuss it. I can understand somewhat. Herbert Aptheker is no longer around to defend himself. However, the cat’s out of the bag and we’re talking about a community that excels in denial – from Stalin’s mass murder to the undemocratic character of their own party. They won’t let one of their few remaining icons go without some struggle.
I should have my explanations posted by the end of the weekend.
1A- Transportation: NO
1B- Highways: NO
1C- Housing: YES, with reservations
1D- Education facilities: YES
1E- Disaster preparedness: NO
83- Sex offenders: NO
84- Water quality: YES
85- Snitch and Waiting period: NO
86- Cigarette tax: NO
87- Alternative energy: YES
88- Education funding: YES
89- Political campaigns: YES
90- Government acquisition: NO!!