Monday, August 10, 2009

Chapter 11: Ted Gold and Dave Gilbert: Roommates, 1967 (viii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (67)

Columbia SDS continued to spend its weekly general assembly meetings in long discussions of political strategy. Mark started to participate more actively in these debates with great enthusiasm. But most of his strategic ideas seemed impractical and somewhat confused to me. At one meeting, Mark enthusiastically suggested that we build a wire fence around Low Library, to symbolize Columbia’s sponsorship of the IDA project which proposed the building of an electronic barrier between North and South Viet Nam to help crush the Vietnamese insurgency, by “preventing `infiltration’” from the north of Viet Nam. At another SDS general assembly meeting, Mark argued in favor of working to build a student strike at Columbia, around university complicity with the Pentagon issues, six months later—in April 1968. And he circulated mimeographed copies of a position paper which argued in favor of Columbia SDS adopting this strategy.

What was good about Mark’s October 1967 position paper was that (unlike the dominant figures in the Praxis-Axis) Mark recognized that unless Columbia SDS was seen by the mass of student radicals as concretely working for some kind of spring strike (and not just simply working to educate students without mobilizing them to act concretely), campus radicals would drift away from active participation in “local organizing” work, as the academic year progressed. What was bad about Mark’s October 1967 position paper was that it failed to show how locking Columbia SDS into a plan to call for a student strike six months later would lead to the mass politicization and radicalization of Columbia and Barnard students any faster than the intensified dorm canvassing, more dorm meetings, more educational activities, more petition-circulating approach being carried out under the Praxis-Axis leadership. Mark’s October 1967 plan appeared to overestimate the degree to which Columbia and Barnard students had already been radicalized and were ready to express their new radicalism in militant non-violent action.

Influenced by Ted, Teddy, Peter Schneider and Al, the mass of Columbia SDS members voted down most of Mark’s October proposals because they seemed overambitious and unrealistic. The “heavy” Columbia SDS theoreticians were still much glibber when it came to discussing political strategy with SDS members than was Mark. Ted, Peter Schneider, Al, Evansohn and the other praxis-axis Marxist intellectuals—like a philosophy graduate student named Andrew—smugly dismissed Mark as being, at best, a “vulgar Marxist” and, at worst, “an anarchist hippie” with “no politics.” Any Columbia SDS person who dared question the chapter’s emphasis on non-alienating, pedantic leftism and consciousness-raising—instead of moralistic, militant non-violent direct actionism—as a means of developing a mass campus base was accused by Columbia SDS’s theoreticians of having “no politics.”

My own strategic position was that Columbia SDS should continue to do dorm canvassing and other kinds of radical education work, in the context of continuing to demand an end to Columbia’s membership in IDA; and not alienate the mass of anti-war left-liberal students by small, premature left-sectarian actions which demanded an end to the Columbia-IDA connection. But when we had won enough people to have a sit-in of 500 in Low Library through this kind of educational work, I felt it would then be most practical to non-violently disrupt business as usual at Columbia, until Columbia’s IDA ties were severed.

Although—like the other Praxis-Axis people on Columbia SDS’s steering committee—I felt that tactics like having a “dirtiest man on campus” contest (in which students voted at the Columbia SDS table on Low Plaza for the Columbia trustee or professor who they felt had the “dirtiest” corporate or personal connections) were clever, I also realized that they weren’t enough. It wasn’t enough, I felt, for Columbia SDS to just be a cute guerrilla theater, radical education, draft counseling, petition-signature-gathering, purely agitational organization. But the intellectualism and intellectual certitude of others within the Praxis-Axis leadership made me assume that they knew what they were doing. If I wasn’t content with Columbia SDS just being a “local organizing” group, that avoided what Teddy called “infantile, masturbatory, left-sectarian action,” in favor of patient campus organizing and patient radical consciousness-raising among future members of “The New Working-Class,” then, perhaps I was being “politically immature.”

I realized that militant confrontational and disruptive non-violent action which exposed and provoked right-wing or Columbia Administration violence was a quicker way to develop mass radical consciousness than just holding teach-ins and forums, and just handing out verbose, pedantic leaflets. But I still felt that not enough students were yet ready to non-violently disrupt campus business as usual. So, unlike Mark, I didn’t think it was that important to agree in October 1967 to call a strike for April 1968—as long as anti-IDA sentiment was going to spread enough on campus by our educational and agitational work to make a mass sit-in or mass non-violent disruption of Columbia in the spring of 1968 possible.

Chapter 11: Ted Gold and Dave Gilbert: Roommates, 1967 (vii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (66)

During October and November 1967, a number of Movement people stopped by the apartment to spend some time with Dave. From the SDS Regional Office in Washington, D.C. came Cathy Wilkerson, who was visiting New York SDS Regional Office people on Movement business and needed a place to crash for the night. Cathy was in her 20s, dressed in jeans and a work shirt, and used neither make-up nor lipstick. She sounded much more politically conscious and earnestly committed to making radical social change than the Barnard women students I knew, and she seemed very intelligent.

I first met Jeff when he nodded at me on an October 1967 stopover to meet Dave at the apartment. Jeff had dropped out of Antioch College and was also working at the New York Regional SDS Office in Fall 1967. He was a tall, blond-haired guy and was from a Quaker background. But Jeff struck me as more of a rebel and radical Guevarist-type activist in spirit, than a religiously-motivated “pacifist-Quaker”-type activist. I was impressed by his cheerfulness, his good nature, his apparent psychological strength and the energetic way he approached people and moved about. He seemed to be more into being an activist and organizer than an academic radical or a theoretician. I was also impressed by the fact that Jeff had apparently been willing to drop out of school and give up his 2-S deferment, in order to be a full-time Movement organizer before completing college.

A tall Movement guy in his early 20s from Madison, who wore glasses, spent three nights in our apartment, before moving into his own New York City apartment. I can’t recall the guy’s name, but I do recall that he talked about the police riot which squashed the anti-Dow Chemical protest in Madison. Dow Chemical was the company which made the napalm that was being used by the U.S. war machine in Viet Nam to burn civilians.

Madison radicals in Fall 1967 had stopped Dow Chemical Company recruitment at the University of Wisconsin and the University Administration there had called in the police. Many student radicals were then beaten, and Ted and other Columbia SDS people received calls from Madison indicating that Harvey had been brutalized. Given how we all worshipped Harvey, because of his leftist intellectual brilliance, we were, naturally, quite anxious, until we heard that Harvey had not been seriously injured.

Around this same time, Brooklyn College SDS—under the leadership of PL “SDS’ers”, like a guy named Jeff Gordon—had also stopped Dow Chemical recruitment and forced the Brooklyn College Administration to also call cops onto the campus. As a result of the brutal way the NYC cops came onto Brooklyn College’s campus, Brooklyn College SDS, temporarily, acquired a mass student base around anti-repression politics for about a week—until the mass of sympathetic left-liberal students discovered that the Brooklyn College SDS chapter was actually an authoritarian, dogmatic left-sectarian PL chapter, operating under the New Left “SDS” label.

Another Movement visitor who stopped by the apartment one evening was an enthusiastic young activist from Berkeley who had played a leadership role in the mass street actions a few weeks before, in which mobile radical anti-war protesters had succeeded in shutting down the Oakland military induction center for awhile, while bravely confronting Oakland police. For a few hours, the activist—a guy named Kleiman—vividly filled me and the activist from Madison in on details of the anti-draft protest. I was excited by his talk, and felt some envy that more radical and more militant action was happening out near Berkeley than was happening at Columbia. As I listened to his description of the street demonstrations, I once again regretted that I hadn’t been able to afford a transfer to Berkeley.

“We had the cops completely outflanked. So many more people than we ever expected turned out for the protests early in the morning, that the cops were too outnumbered to control us. This was the most militant anti-war protest that’s been held anywhere in the U.S. That’s why they’re trying to pin a `conspiracy’ charge on some of the leaders,” Kleiman explained.

Kleiman’s personal report from Berkeley reinforced my feeling that the pace of mass radicalization and the growth of mass militancy was definitely accelerating. After speaking with Kleiman, I read the West Coast-based newspaper, The Movement, and liked the way it analyzed Oakland’s “Stop The Draft Week.”

Chapter 11: Ted Gold and Dave Gilbert: Roommates, 1967 (vi)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (65)

In early October 1967, whenever I found myself alone in the W.94th St. apartment, I usually would pull out from the bookcase an album from Ted’s record collection and put the record on the turntable. It was at this time that I really started listening over and over again to the Another Side of Bob Dylan album which Ted possessed. I liked the way Dylan sang about love relationships in this album and found his “All I Really Want To Do” song mirroring my own attitude towards love relationships with women, at this time. I went downtown to a movie theater on E. 34th St. and I saw the Don’t Look Back movie, which was a film of Dylan’s English tour of a few years before. Although Dylan’s refusal to speak out strongly against the war in Viet Nam disturbed me, I still idolized him in Fall 1967. He still seemed like an alternative bohemian male model to the straight corporate/straight academic male models 1960s white male youth had been programmed to emulate by the U.S. Establishment’s socializing process.

Around this time, Dave worked with Naomi in doing political organizing at both the New School and at the New York SDS Regional Office. Naomi was from an Old Left family in Troy, New York. She was very intellectual and politically aware and committed, and she seemed quite dedicated, sweet and easy-to-get-along with. Long before most liberal Democratic Party women were raising the issues of U.S. male chauvinism and sexism in the U.S., Naomi was writing articles for Ramparts, New Left Notes and the Guardian on this topic. She generally wore jeans and didn’t use lipstick or make-up.

In the 1960s, there weren’t enough professional job slots available for the increasing number of U.S. multiversity female graduates. A woman college graduate who either couldn’t find a husband/boyfriend to support her after college, or just chose to remain single, usually had to work at a menial clerical/typist or secretarial job in order to support herself, unless she landed a social worker, professional nursing or public school teaching job.

Another New Left activist woman at the New York SDS Regional Office, Sue Sutheim, was involved romantically with Dave, around this time. Like Naomi, Sutheim was very intellectual and politically committed. But she seemed less personally warm than Naomi. Sutheim appeared to be in her mid-to-late-20s, and was especially active in attempting to build an organization of young radical professionals—MDS.

Like Naomi, Sutheim seemed more sexually open than most Barnard women. At the time she was romantically involved with Dave, she was also openly having what appeared to be an even more intense love affair with another New York Regional SDS/MDS activist named Bob Gottlieb. Women who worked at the New York SDS Regional Office appeared to be experimenting more not only with grass and drugs, but also with having multiple sexual and multiple love relationships.

Sutheim seemed to combine a radical political commitment and lifestyle with an interest in developing deep emotional relationships. I admired her for being willing, unlike many other U.S. women at this time, to experiment sexually with different men, without pressuring her male lovers to marry her or to be monogamous. Like Naomi, Sutheim seemed to be a strong, independent, non-traditional woman who was intent on challenging 1960s U.S. male supremacy, long before other women got hip to their sexual oppression. And like Naomi, Sutheim showed me that there were Movement women in their 20s who wished to live differently than their more repressed mothers had lived.

After Ted began to spend all his nights at Trude’s apartment, Gottlieb ended up sleeping some nights on the bed in Ted’s room. By the end of October 1967, however, he appeared to be spending his nights at Sutheim’s apartment and Sutheim seemed to be more romantically involved with Gottlieb than she was with Dave. But all three remained close friends, worked politically together and smoked grass as a stoned threesome, either in our apartment or downtown. Gottlieb also attracted another New York Regional SDS/MDS activist named Marge Piercy. Although Marge was being supported by her computer programmer husband, Robert Shapiro, she became romantically involved with Gottlieb for a time. And when Gottlieb soured on her, she suddenly became a female separatist in her politics.

Gottlieb was skillful at flirting with and flattering Movement women, in order to get them to do Movement shitwork for him. He was an articulate, intellectual New Leftist who was action-oriented enough to be more politically appealing than Marxist academic professors who were not activists. He had longer than average hair, was around 6-feet tall and wore glasses. He usually dressed in jeans and a work shirt and not in a white shirt, a tie and a suit. Gottlieb had attended Reed College in Oregon, which was an experimental college.

Gottlieb related in an elitist fashion to younger Movement people who were still undergraduates. But Gottlieb boasted that he, along with John and Dave, was responsible for “bringing Marxism” into what had previously been a reformist, non-Marxist New York SDS Regional Office. Like Sutheim and Dave, Gotllieb was a strong believer in Dave’s “New Working-Class Theory.” And, as the driving force behind MDS attempts to organize and radicalize young professionals, Gottlieb was putting his daily life activity behind his theoretical politics. Both Gottlieb and Sutheim criticized ‘the culture of consumerism” often in private conversation, in public political debate and in their writings.

Chapter 11: Ted Gold and Dave Gilbert: Roommates, 1967 (v)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (64)

My “Political Sociology” course was taught by Professor Silver, who didn’t impress me as much as he had impressed Ted. At first, I attended Silver’s class regularly because I saw that Linda was also taking the course. Josh was in graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin and Linda, for the first time since I had met her, was walking around campus alone. As a result of being in the same class, we ended up getting into a fairly long conversation one afternoon. She seemed to miss Josh, was easy to talk with and was very intellectual. But by the end of October, Linda had stopped going to Silver’s class and was living again with Josh out in Wisconsin. Once Linda had stopped attending Silver’s class, I started to cut most of his remaining lectures.

One intellectually positive result of Silver’s “Political Sociology” course was that it led me to write a term paper on “The Ideology of Anti-Communism: The Masterful Put-On.” In the course of researching this term paper, I read a book by Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy on the Cuban Revolution and The Free World Colossus by David Horowitz, which was a left-revisionist history of the Cold War that Horowitz wrote before he became a well-paid right-wing propagandist in the late 1980s. I also documented the corporate economic interests that seemed to determine U.S. foreign policy actions since the 1917 Russian Revolution.

My “Shakespeare I” course was taught by F.W. Dupee, who had been some kind of a leftist in the 1930s and had founded Partisan Review with William Philips and Philip Rahv. In 1967, however, Professor Dupee seemed uninterested in radical politics and just interested in literary questions. Because Dupee was somewhat famous in academic circles and lectured on Shakespeare in an entertaining way, about 75 students enrolled in his class.

On the first day of class, I noticed that Mark was sitting on the other side of the lecture hall. After class we said hello to each other and talked for a few minutes, as we walked towards the southern part of the campus. I can’t recall attending many more class sessions with Professor Dupee, and my impression is that Mark also ended up cutting class often. To pass the course, I wrote a paper on Richard III, which noted the similarity of his Machiavellianism to the Machiavellianism of U.S. political leaders, and included a reference to the recent imprisonment of LeRoi Jones [a/k/a Amiri Baraka] by a U.S. judge who disliked his poetry.

Columbia SDS’s first meeting of the 1967-68 school year took place in Harkness Theatre, the basement auditorium of Butler Library. We seemed to have retained much of our mass activist base from the previous spring. About double the number of students who attended the ICV’s first meeting of the previous school year attended this Columbia SDS meeting. Harkness Theatre was packed with students, including many students who were newcomers to the campus.

Teddy spoke for about 30 minutes about Columbia SDS’s general political goals and its local campus goals. I thought Teddy’s keynote speech was coherent and well-organized. But New York SDS Regional Office activist Halliwell whispered to Ted, after Teddy’s speech had been well-received by the Columbia SDS membership, that “his speech was too apolitical” and “Teddy may be in over his head as Columbia SDS chairman.” Halliwell—being more into National SDS politics than Columbia SDS politics—probably preferred Ted politically to Teddy because Ted was much more Marxist-oriented on an ideological level and didn’t throw in so many references to religious values, Reich and psychological behavior patterns as Teddy did in his political speeches.

I don’t remember much else about Columbia SDS’s first general assembly meeting of the school year, except that a mailing list was passed around to be signed. SDS members signed up for various campus organizing and issue committees. Then a red-haired woman in her late 20s or early 30s sat down in the back of the auditorium and acted out in an angry, politically-flipped out way during the period of general debate, for a few minutes. This “crazy” woman was dressed in jeans and a leather jacket, although she still used lipstick and makeup.

Chapter 11: Ted Gold and Dave Gilbert: Roommates, 1967 (iv)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (63)

I had gotten my part-time job at the Journal of Philosophy as a result of my friendship with Nancy and Teddy. While walking around campus in late September, I bumped into Nancy and Teddy and mentioned that I was looking for a part-time job. Teddy looked at Nancy for a second and then turned to me with a big smile:

“We know of a job. Working where Nancy works. For John Cauman’s mother. At the Journal of Philosophy office.”

Nancy was also smiling and I felt excited at this sudden prospect of working with Nancy. “I’ll speak with John Cauman’s mother about you next time I go to work,” Nancy said.

The previous academic year, Cauman had been a bearded freshman who looked much older than most other freshman. As a freshman, he had served as Columbia SDS’s first treasurer and he seemed to be an efficient radical bureaucrat. He seemed to be politically radical mostly because he was cynical about the U.S. Establishment and intellectually turned-off by the illogical nature of most U.S. government arguments in favor of the war in Viet Nam, because he didn’t wish to be drafted and because he felt intellectually bored by Columbia’s academic life. Columbia SDS steering committee people had held at least one meeting in the Riverside Drive apartment where Cauman lived with his mother.

Cauman’s mother was a tall woman in her late 40s or early 50s who had a deep voice and a strong intellectual interest in philosophy and abstract questions of logic. She was in charge of putting out the Journal of Philosophy and would often raise her voice if she felt frustrated by other people’s inefficiency or demands. She did not like the fact that her son was bearded and more into being a Columbia SDS treasurer or a hippie, than being into academic careerism. Because of Nancy’s recommendation, Cauman’s mother hired me for the minimum wage shipping clerk job.

Nancy’s job was being a clerk-typist and she usually would put on her glasses and type up letters and forms for Cauman’s mother in a serious and efficient way. At the Journal of Philosophy office, Nancy was pleasant, but we rarely talked about more than our academic lives, our political lives or Columbia SDS chapter business. Teddy would often stop by and meet Nancy at 5 p.m. on the days she worked all afternoon, and he remained much friendlier towards me than was Nancy. After six months working at the Journal of Philosophy, I quit because Cauman’s mother was unwilling to give me a small raise.

My classes during Fall 1967 included courses required for my sociology major: “Systematic Sociology Theory;” “Society Transformation Post-1800;” and “Political Sociology.” My other courses were literature courses: “Poetry in the 20th Century I;” and “Shakespeare I.”

The “Systematic Sociology Theory” and “Society Transformation Post-1800” courses were both taught by the Columbia professor who was closest to Columbia SDS people on a personal and ideological level: Professor Dibble.

Dibble appeared to be in his 40s, had a mustache, and was especially fond of Harvey. During Summer 1967, before Harvey enrolled at the University of Wisconsin graduate school, Harvey was able to live in Professor Dibble’s apartment for free, while Dibble was away from New York City for the summer.

As a lecturer in class, Professor Dibble was pretty incomprehensible for many students, was ill at ease and would tend to mumble. But ideologically, Professor Dibble was a hard-line Marxist and staunch anti-imperialist. He also didn’t overestimate the 1960s revolutionary potential of the U.S. industrial working-class. When I mentioned that I might attempt to do factory work and attempt to organize factory workers after I graduated from Columbia, Dibble made the following observation: “I worked in a factory in Philadelphia once. And while the workers would bitch a lot and complain behind the boss’s back a lot, they were not open to radical ideas.”

Chapter 11: Ted Gold and Dave Gilbert: Roommates, 1967 (iii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (62)

As September 1967 passed by, other Columbia and Barnard leftist students began returning to the Upper West Side from around the U.S. and from summers in Europe—just in time for Freshman Week at Columbia College. There was new school year excitement in the air. Everybody at Columbia and Barnard seemed to be against U.S. military intervention in Viet Nam. Everybody with whom you talked seemed to be either a hippie or some kind of political leftist, left-liberal or anarchist. There was a sense of campus leftist momentum as we planned for Freshman Week.

Walking down Broadway on a summer-like September afternoon, I saw a student wearing sunglasses and sandals, who looked vaguely familiar. It was Mark. He had just come back from Berkeley. Although we exchanged some friendly conversation briefly, and I was amused to bump into him again by accident, I still didn’t feel that personally close to him. He still seemed hard to get to know and too impatient to really listen to you, if you spoke too long to him. I respected Mark as an orator and still thought he was a pleasant, interesting and funny guy. But I felt closer politically and personally to Teddy, Ted and Dave, at this time.

The final planning meeting for Columbia SDS’s countercultural Freshman Week was held in Mark’s apartment. Mark’s living room was crowded with Barnard and Columbia student activists, sitting close together on chairs or sprawled out on the floor. For about three hours that evening, we discussed how we could best “turn on the incoming Columbia freshmen” to New Left radical politics and a New Left activist lifestyle. It was suggested that we set up tables outside official Freshman Week events, leaflet the dormitories and hold dorm lobby meetings. Mark suggested, facetiously, that “We should go up to freshmen and offer them joints.”

We eventually held a mass introductory meeting for freshmen in Earl Hall, which was attended by about 100 freshmen. At this meeting, National SDS Secretary Greg Calvert gave the principal speech. Calvert was dressed in proletarian jeans and a blue denim jacket, and had a mustache and medium-length hair.

“I’m not going to congratulate you for getting admitted into Columbia University. Because it’s just a question of luck that you had the right class background to get into the Ivy League,” Calvert said at the beginning of his speech, in a sarcastic tone, as he stood in front of the auditorium. “The difference between a liberal and a radical is that a liberal doesn’t feel himself personally oppressed. He just fights for the freedom of others. A radical does feel himself personally oppressed. He fights for his own freedom, as well as for the freedom of others. SDS people are white radicals, not white liberals.”

Calvert had been on an academic careerist grad student/teaching assistant track in the early 1960s, and had studied in Paris before becoming radicalized and shifting his orientation from academic study to radical activism. In 1967, he was around 30-years-old and, because of the 1960s New Left’s homophobic nature, he hid his gay sexual orientation. He had apparently had his first gay love affairs in Europe. In his public role as a New Left male leader, however, Calvert seemed no different from any comparable heterosexual male activist, and he adopted no stereotyped gay male mannerisms.

In the W. 94th St. apartment, I started to get closer to Dave. By early October 1967, Ted was pretty much spending most of his nights sleeping with Trude in her W. 108th St. apartment. So it was pretty much just Dave and I who lived in the 94th St. apartment.

I would spend most of the day and evening around Columbia’s campus, attending some classes, browsing in the library and bookstore, attending Columbia SDS meetings, doing SDS political work, hanging out in the Lion’s Den cafeteria of Ferris Booth Hall, constantly talking with other SDS people or bringing SDS politics to lectures and meetings that were being addressed by speakers from off-campus. I also started to work at a part-time job from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Journal of Philosophy office, as a shipping clerk at minimum wage, to help pay my off-campus living expenses.

Dave would spend most of his days and evenings downtown attending grad school at the New School, building an SDS chapter there or attending meetings at the SDS Regional Office. He and other Regional SDS people were both working to build SDS and attempting to build an “adult,” non-student Movement for a Democratic Society [MDS] of ex-student radical professionals who had left the campus scene for meaningless off-campus 9-to-5 jobs. In addition, Dave spent his spare-time studying Marx’s Das Kapital book and writing more New Left theoretical papers on imperialism and U.S. domestic consumption, consumerism and “the new working-class.” In October 1967, Dave had begun to look somewhat like Marx, himself, and had grown a long black beard.

In the late evening, Dave and I would each finally return to the apartment. And most evenings—in-between answering the constantly ringing telephone—Dave and I would usually use his water pipe to constantly get smashed to the music of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club and Revolver albums, Rolling Stones albums and early Dylan albums. Most of Dave’s phone calls came from various Movement women with whom he worked at the SDS Regional Office.

Chapter 11: Ted Gold and Dave Gilbert: Roommates, 1967 (ii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (61)

A few days later, I also helped Dave move his stuff from an apartment on W. 110th St., between Amsterdam and Broadway, which he had sublet for the summer. I arrived in the afternoon. We talked for a few hours, while we waited for another friend of Dave to drop off the car and U-haul in which we were going to move his stuff.

As Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde album played on a stereo, Dave told me more about his past life, and discussed his current study of Das Kapital with me. He also gave his interpretation of Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization to me at this time. After talking about the Civil Rights Movement’s continued shift towards Black revolutionary nationalism, Dave mentioned that he used to have intense discussions with a Black woman activist in Harlem during the period when “we were all na├»ve about the political implications of inter-racial love affairs.”

A few moments later, Dave sang along with the chorus of Dylan’s "Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again" song, where Dylan moans: “Oh, Mama! Can this really be the end?”

“Do you hear that pain, Bob? Dylan’s expressing the pain that you get when you realize that no matter where you go geographically under capitalism, you’re still going to end up feeling the same intense alienation and loneliness that the System produces everywhere,” Dave explained.

Dave, like everyone else around Columbia SDS, liked to spend time analyzing Dylan’s lyrics and philosophical shifts. Dave seemed to empathize more with Dylan’s shift away from his earlier, more politically radical-oriented albums than Ted did.

After the car and U-haul arrived, I helped lift chairs, a desk, drawers, boxes of books and a mattress from the apartment to the elevator, and then into the U-haul. When we had finished moving Dave’s furniture and boxes of books to our new apartment, we returned to the 110th St. apartment in the evening, where we found many people high, and dancing, at some kind of hip left party. I didn’t know any other people at this party, because most of the hip left people there were a few years out of college and not part of the Columbia SDS scene.

Dave introduced me to another New York SDS Regional Office activist at this party, named Joe, who Dave felt was “a hard worker and a dedicated guy.” Joe was blind in one eye and had a speech impediment, but he didn’t let his poor vision and speech impediment stop him from doing more than his share of the SDS Regional Office shitwork. Unlike most Movement activists, Joe lived with his parents.

A final Summer 1967 Columbia SDS steering committee meeting was held one afternoon in September at the Schneiders’ apartment. Ted and Trude, Teddy and Nancy, the Schneiders, Al and I were there. And, for the first time, a Columbia College student named Robby appeared at a summer steering committee meeting. During his 1966-67 freshman year, Robby had chosen not to be that politically active in Columbia SDS circles.

I had first met Robby in a parking lot that we used as a stickball field—inside the Beech Hills development in which I lived—during the 1950s; and he was, thus, an old childhood acquaintance. Robby’s parents were Old Left professionals. After we confronted the Marine recruiters in April 1967, Robby seemed to become less frivolous in his attitude towards life and more interested in radical New Left politics than in Columbia University academic life, although he had still remained outside the SDS steering committee’s inner circle discussion group.

Chapter 11: Ted Gold and Dave Gilbert: Roommates, 1967 (i)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (60)

In late August and early September, Ted and I walked along Claremont Ave., ringing bells of superintendents and asking if there were any vacant apartments in the buildings. We didn’t find any vacancies.

Ted did not yet wish to move in with Trude. So Ted, Dave and I continued to search for a vacant 3-bedroom apartment, and it was a difficult task. Dave and Ted found a reasonably-priced apartment eventually and paid money to a broker on W. 72nd St. and Broadway to reserve the right to rent the apartment. But the broker played some kind of “bait and switch” game with Dave and Ted. The apartment suddenly became unavailable, and Dave and Ted lost $600 in broker’s fees, until they could win a court judgment against the broker.

In mid-September, with the help of Columbia’s Off-Campus Housing Office, Ted, Dave and I finally managed to find a run-down, vacant, 3-bedroom apartment on W. 94th St. Our landlady was a woman in her late 50s named Mrs. Grossman.

Ted and I dropped by the W. 93rd St. apartment of Ted’s parents, to pick up some of Ted’s extra books and records that he wished to drop off at our apartment. When I examined Ted’s bookcase there, it was interesting to notice that he had back-issues of the now-defunct muckraking Ramparts magazine from the early 1960s. I thumbed through some of these early issues, while Ted figured out which of his extra books and records to gather up.

I also noticed that Ted had a copy of Fleming’s The Origins of the Cold War, which argued that the Soviet Union wasn’t responsible for starting the Cold War after World War II. When Ted noticed that I was glancing at Fleming’s book, he smiled and said: “You know Fleming isn’t even a Marxist, but just a fairly conservative historian. Yet even he admits that the United States government was responsible for starting the Cold War.”

The apartment of Ted’s parents was furnished much like the apartments of those right-wing relatives of mine who owned small businesses or were accountants or insurance salesmen. Ted’s younger brother happened to be in the apartment and Ted said hello to him. But they exchanged few other words, before his brother went into his own room.

“He’s a good kid. But he’s not interested in radical politics at all,” Ted said with a shrug, as we walked back to our new apartment, carrying boxes of records and books. Trude then arrived at our new apartment a short while later, and the three of us walked across Broadway and up one block to W. 95th St. to the Thalia revival film house to see Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

I visited the apartment of Ted’s parents a few more times that month, including one time during the evening. At this time, his mother was sitting with a group of three or four women friends or women relatives—who all appeared to be in their late 40s or early 50s—and they were chatting when we walked in. Everybody said hello to Ted with fondness in their voices when we entered the apartment for a few moments. But then the women quickly resumed their conversation, as we picked up more of Ted’s things and quietly left the apartment.

Around this time, I asked Ted how his parents first indicated to him that the United States was an imperialist society.

“My father explained to me how oil company interests determined U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East,” Ted replied.

After most of Ted’s stuff was moved into the apartment, his father came over on a Sunday afternoon with Ted and me, and he looked over the apartment. Ted and his father seemed to relate to each other as much in a brotherly way as in a father-son way. Ted’s father thought the apartment was over-priced, but he didn’t express any disapproval at Ted for moving from the dorms into his own apartment. Although Ted’s father was a doctor, on Sundays he dressed casually. He seemed youngish in his physical appearance and was a Maoist, but he wasn’t interested in having any extended political discussion with me and Ted at the apartment. He was just interested in checking out his son’s new living quarters.

One evening in mid-September, Ted drove his father’s car out to my parents’ apartment to help me move my guitar, some suitcases of clothes and some books into our new apartment. After loading my stuff in the trunk of his father’s car, Ted drove north towards the Whitestone Bridge, over the bridge and then across the Cross Bronx Expressway towards Upper Manhattan. A thunderstorm began as we approached Manhattan. The rain had stopped and the sky was clearing up, however, by the time we reached our apartment.

Chapter 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967 (vi)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (59)

Ted had spent early June with friends out in Berkeley and had let his hair grow long for awhile out there. Then he had returned to the Upper West Side for the rest of the summer in order to be a group counselor in Columbia’s white paternalistic “Double Discovery” program. In late July, I dropped by Ted’s dorm room in Furnald Hall to talk about his apartment hunt, and to turn on with him.

After starting the fan in his dorm window—to reduce the accumulation of smoke in the room—and filling up his pipe with some marijuana, Ted passed the pipe to me. We then each took turns holding a match over the pipe, as the other inhaled. Folk music and folk-rock music provided our background musical atmosphere.

After talking about the “adjust to a repressive society” politics of the psychiatric clinic I was working at, discussing Ted’s attempt to expose his “Double Discovery” group of high school students to the writings of Malcolm X, and exchanging thoughts about the organizational problems Viet Nam Summer organizers were having on the Upper West Side, Ted suddenly asked with a smile: “Have you heard the new Beatles’ album?”

“No. I still don’t like the Beatles too much. They’re boring, compared to trying to analyze Dylan lyrics,” I answered.

Ted laughed and replied: “That’s what I used to think, too. But the Beatles seem hipper in their new album.”

Ted then took the record out of the album jacket, lifted off the turntable the folk record that had been playing, and put on the turntable the new Beatles record. A few seconds later, for the first time, I heard the song lyrics:

“It was twenty years ago, today.
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play…”


We kept smoking in the dorm room, as the record continued to play. Our time sense became distorted, as each 3 minutes of record time felt like 15 minutes. We were both giggling a lot by the time the song that began “I read the news today, oh boy” on the second side started. Laughing, Ted pointed out the skillful way the Beatles used sound effects to prolong the “I’d love to turn you on” phrase in the song.

I asked Ted if he had decided yet what he was going to do after his scheduled Spring 1968 graduation.

“I might go to grad school in London,” he answered with a shrug.

“Aren’t you tired of being in school?” I replied.

Ted shrugged again. “My mother wants me to go to grad school. And I think I could get a good recommendation from Professor Silver,” he said.

Columbia Professor of Sociology Silver was Ted’s favorite professor during his junior year. Ted then felt Silver was quite deep intellectually and quite decent, personally. In part, because of his admiration for Silver, Ted had decided to shift his academic major from mathematics to sociology. “Professor Silver has no family and seems like a lonely guy. But he really seems dedicated to his students. I’ve spent a lot of time talking with him in his office. And I feel very attracted to him, in a platonic way,” Ted had said earlier in the year.

Ted then asked me if I knew what I wanted to do after I graduated.

“Avoid the draft. Then go to Appalachia and organize poor whites for awhile. Then move someplace else and organize people there. I want to live in different cities in the U.S. after college for a few years. Not just live in one place and be stuck in just one job for 40 years, like my father. I want to work at many different kinds of jobs during my life,” I replied.

“You have post-scarcity consciousness. If we can make a revolution and gain control of the technology, people won’t be trapped in one city and in one career for their whole lives,” Ted said with a smile.

After awhile, Ted and I started to talk about Teddy.

“You know, I love Teddy a lot. But I think he’s stopped growing politically and intellectually,” Ted suddenly said.

I was surprised at this comment. I hadn’t yet noticed any particular change for the worse in Teddy, politically or intellectually.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“He doesn’t seem to want to think too deeply about political questions or read political books anymore. When I try to talk strategically with him, he just seems content to answer by rhetorically repeating some quotation he’s memorized from Mao or Che Guevara or Ho Chi Minh,” Ted answered.

“I haven’t noticed that. But he’s still a good speaker and has that great, warm personality. Everybody seems to like him,” I replied.

Ted laughed and retorted. “I know he’s a great talker. And, like I said, I still love him. But do you know? Teddy doesn’t know how to write a coherent leaflet. He can speak. But if he tries writing anything, it contains a lot of grammatical and spelling errors, and a lot of confused politics. Unless I write the leaflets myself this fall, the chapter will be in trouble.”

I laughed.

Ted also first mentioned to me at this time that he had fallen in love with a recent Barnard graduate named Trude. “She’s also a counselor in the Double Discovery program,” Ted noted.

After Ted introduced me to Trude later in the summer, Trude and I both thought it coincidental that when Trude was a senior at Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis, I had been a sophomore there. In her senior year at Broad Ripple, Trude had been the yearbook editor and very active in high school journalism affairs. In New York City, by the time she had graduated from Barnard, Trude had become popular with leftist Columbia men because of her sweet personality, her gentleness, her intellectual seriousness and her increased surface beauty. She now dressed more bohemian than she had dressed in Indianapolis, wore blue jeans and let her long brown hair hang down.

Ted also indicated in this Furnald Hall dorm room discussion that he felt the African-American rebellions of the summer meant that the mass of African-American people had outgrown Martin Luther King’s pacifist political line and were moving in the direction Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael and SNCC had predicted people would move. “I’ve been doing a 15-minute political commentary show for WKCR this summer, explaining why the Black rebellions are justified,” Ted said.

Chapter 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967 (v)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (58)

In late July, Columbia SDS steering committee people started to meet in the Schneiders’ high-rise apartment on LaSalle St., a few blocks from Columbia’s campus. Meetings were held in the evening during the week, on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Political strategy for the coming 67-68 school year was discussed. At one of the meetings, Katie and a male student activist, both from Princeton SDS, participated in the strategic discussion with us. We talked about our experiences in attempting to mobilize students in opposition to both Princeton and Columbia’s Institute for Defense Analyses connections and both Princeton and Columbia’s performance of Pentagon-sponsored research and weapons development activity on campus. Katie was a good-natured, serious intellectual activist who seemed to know almost as much about U.S. university ties to the Pentagon as Mike Klare knew.

Nearly all the people attending the informal summer Columbia SDS steering committee meetings were “Praxis Axis” people. Teddy, Nancy, Ted, the Schneiders, Harvey, Evansohn, a grad student from Boston named Al and I were among the people meeting. I brought research about IDA’s involvement in “Project Agile”—which directly related to weapons research for Viet Nam War operational activity—to one of the meetings. I also listened to much theoretical discussion about New Left political strategy and SDS chapter internal organization and education. Peter Schneider, Teddy and Ted, especially, seemed to feel that too great a gap existed between the political consciousness level of Columbia SDS’s leadership and its rank-and-file’s political consciousness level. Each felt that in the 67-68 academic year a special effort should be made to involve rank-and-file members in smaller groups, to maximize their participation in SDS chapter activity.

In Summer 1967, Monthly Review published an English translation of Regis Debray’s Revolution In The Revolution, which argued in support of Che Guevara’s “foci theory of revolution.” Near the end of the summer, SDS Regional organizer Halliwell appeared at one meeting to make the case for applying Regis Debray’s theory of “mobile tactics” to Columbia University conditions, with Columbia SDS acting as the non-violent equivalent of Che’s “guerrilla foci group.” According to Halliwell’s analogy, the mass of Columbia students, like the mass of Latin American peasants, could only be aroused if Columbia SDS developed the capacity to act on an off-campus level as a mobile guerrilla foci at anti-war demonstrations. In Halliwell’s view, Columbia SDS should continue to use its usual educational methods to persuade future members of the new working-class—the mass of Columbia University student “peasants”—to become off-campus mobile demonstrators who pushed the U.S. anti-war movement “from protest to resistance,” by their mobile tactics.

Chapter 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967 (iv)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (57)

During some political discussion in his apartment during the academic year, Teddy had mentioned that he “didn’t believe in shrinks” and that “friends should help each other solve their personal emotional problems.” At the time I heard Teddy make this statement I had nodded in agreement, because this was my feeling, too. And experience observing shrinks at the clinic had confirmed my view that friends were preferable to shrinks when it came to having someone to talk over your emotional problems.

So I wrote Teddy a note and asked if I could talk with him about my emotional problems. After receiving my letter, Teddy telephoned me.

“I got your letter. When do you want to get together?” Teddy asked.

I agreed to meet him in the evening at his apartment, later that week. When I got to Teddy’s apartment, I felt somewhat awkward. But I also felt relieved that he was kind enough to attempt to help me with my emotional problems. My love for Teddy was as strong as it would ever be, and I trusted him fully. He seemed like the best friend any person could have.

Teddy answered the door and looked concerned as he invited me into his apartment. Nancy was also in the apartment at the time, looking as beautiful as ever, but also looking concerned and uneasy as she said “hello.” Then, after a minute or two of small talk, Teddy and I left the apartment to go for a walk across campus and into Riverside Park. As we walked towards Riverside Park, I opened up myself emotionally to Teddy and he seemed very understanding.

“You have Nancy to love. And that makes life worth living. I can’t seem to find anyone to love. And without love, New Left politics gets to be emotionally empty after awhile,” I said sadly.

Teddy tried to cheer me up. “Being with Nancy doesn’t solve everything. The System is still enslaving and totalitarian and encourages sexual repression and alienation. But political activism can sometimes help overcome feelings of emotional alienation from everybody,” Teddy replied.

“But do you really think New Left activism can create a new ideal society? Won’t there always be people like Hitler and other frustrated artists who will be dissatisfied, even under a socialist society?” I asked.

“They’re building a new society in China and overcoming bourgeois artistic elitism and elitist intellectualism with their cultural revolution. And they’re creating a new man in Cuba. We can do the same in the United States…Although not all personal problems can be solved immediately by revolution,” Teddy answered.

We continued to talk about the need to change society and the human obstacles to building a new world in the United States, as we walked in Riverside Park. Then it started to get dark and we headed back towards Broadway and Columbia’s campus.

By the middle of my walk with Teddy, I began to realize that, although it felt good to talk about my feelings of emotional emptiness and loneliness with Teddy and he proved to be a kind listener, Teddy could provide me with no easy solutions. I would have to learn to live with my loneliness, but not let my emotional loneliness interfere with my ability to work politically to build a New Left radical movement that would strike at the sociological sources of my personal unhappiness.

On the Upper West Side, Columbia SDS activists who remained in Manhattan were taking part in “Viet Nam Summer.” Patterned after the “Mississippi Summer” of 1964, “Viet Nam Summer” was a nationwide student anti-war campaign to raise off-campus consciousness about what was going on in Viet Nam. SDS activists around Columbia set up tables on the sidewalks and canvassed Upper West Side apartment buildings. Some other Columbia SDS activists, like Mark, spent part of the summer out in California’s Bay Area, where Haight-Ashbury was experiencing its ‘Summer of Love.”

But the “Summer of Love” was also another “long, hot summer” in the African-American ghettoes of the United States. Black mass rebellions, generally triggered by acts of white police brutality, took place in Tampa, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Newark, Plainfield, NJ, Detroit and other U.S. cities. In the Newark Rebellion, at least 21 African-American civilians were shot down by police and National Guard soldiers. In the Detroit Rebellion, at least 33 African-American civilians were also killed by police officers or National Guard soldiers.

Chapter 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967 (iii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (56)

I tried to link up with anti-war people in Queens on the weekends. But in July and August 1967 there still wasn’t that much of a peace movement out there. PL people in Queens were collecting signatures on Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing for a petition which called for an anti-war referendum to be placed on the New York City election ballot in November. After I signed their anti-war petition, they invited me to a meeting at their anti-war committee’s office in Jamaica, near Sutphin Blvd. and Hillside Ave. Because I still felt a moral and political responsibility, and a personal urgency, to continue doing New Left political work during the “summer of love” in 1967, I showed up at their meeting in the evening.

The meeting was chaired by an intellectual woman who seemed to be in her early 30s and who wore a dress and used lipstick. Her last name was Silberman. She had run unsuccessfully as an independent anti-war Congressional candidate in Queens. Her husband was a radical professor at Queensborough Community College.

Three younger PL men activists and one younger woman activist, who also seemed to be college students, attended the meeting in Jamaica with me. All of us were white. For about 1 ½ hours we discussed possible strategies for increasing anti-war feeling in Queens that summer and raising consciousness about the Viet Nam War. But whenever I suggested doing anything other than working on the PL-conceived anti-war referendum petition campaign—like demonstrating in a creative way outside a draft board or trying to hold a big anti-war rally—all the others at the meeting would take turns speaking for 5 minutes and repeating almost identical arguments as to why a Summer 1967 petition campaign was the best way to reach the working-class in Queens with anti-war ideas. I decided not to attend the meeting the following week.

I also spent an evening during the summer attending a meeting in Queens which was addressed by two National Guardian editors, including Jane McManus, at some peace group meeting place near Jamaica. About fifteen other National Guardian readers attended the meeting. Most of them were Old Left, CP drop-outs in their late 40s, 50s or 60s. I can’t recall much about what was said at the meeting, except that it stressed how criminal was the U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, that the problem of U.S. imperialism was deeper than the war and could only be eliminated by establishing socialism, and that there was a continued need for an independent radical newsweekly like the National Guardian [which later changed its name to the Guardian]. I received a lift to my parents’ apartment from a man and woman couple in their late 40s or early 50s, who both talked politics with me in the car. They both seemed to feel quite politically isolated in Queens, despite their National Guardian subscription, and they both seemed much less optimistic about the prospects for a New Left-led revolution than I was.

On an emotional level, I started to feel overwhelmed, myself, by feelings of alienation, misery and loneliness by July 1967. On most summer evenings and on weekends, I began to feel completely loveless and emotionally hung-up.

Out in Queens, I had lost contact with everyone I had grown up with or had known at Flushing High School. Aside from Llewellyn, no one interested me enough at the clinic for me to consider going out with socially. Meeting people on the street in a spontaneous way seemed impossible and none of the bars around Queens seemed to attract my type of people. I felt completely isolated.

My parents both felt I was too deeply into New Left politics. My mother thought that SDS activism was nothing more than a poor substitute for not finding myself a steady Barnard woman friend, preferably of Jewish background. I ate with my parents after work, but either went outside after dinner or kept to myself in my room, while they watched TV in the living room.

I felt desperate for love and for companionship and for community. I felt personally fucked-up because I couldn’t seem to develop a sustained love relationship with any woman. I missed talking with and seeing Teddy and Nancy every few days. I missed the upper-middle-class intellectual leftist youth/student community scene on the Upper West Side, which seemed more emotionally, morally and politically alive than the dead suburban-type affluent working-class neighborhood in which my parents lived. I had risen out of my class somewhat and become part of an upper-middle-class left community. Now I found it impossible to fit back emotionally into the affluent working-class family scene I was now compelled by economic circumstances to drop back down into.

I nearly fell apart emotionally. I was almost paralyzed by loneliness and emotional depression. I now found my songwriting and writing to be as emotionally empty and meaningless as my academic work had been. I the absence of a sustained love relationship with a woman, life on earth seemed totally meaningless when I was unable to engage in daily radical political activism. I felt I needed somebody to talk to about my emotional turmoil.

I also found it difficult adjusting to life in Queens that summer because I suddenly didn’t have ready access to pot when living in my parents’ apartment.

Chapter 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967 (ii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (55)

Failing to find a summer factory job in Queens, I ended up seeking another NYC Urban Corps work-study job, through Columbia’s Placement Office at Dodge Hall. I returned to the campus for my summer job placement interview dressed in a sport jacket, dress shirt and tie. I wore sunglasses, because I felt strange walking around Columbia again while dressed so straight, and hoped to not bump into anyone around campus who would recognize me.

I noticed that Columbia SDS had set up an anti-war table on Low Plaza, and that a fairly large group of summer school students were gathered around it, debating the war in Viet Nam. Before going up to the Columbia Placement Office, I decided to surreptitiously stop by at the SDS table and listen in on the debate. After listening for a few minutes to the debate, I heard Teddy’s voice, suddenly, exclaim with a laugh: “Bob! What happened to you? Why is your hair so short? Why are you so dressed up?”

“I’m still hunting for a summer job,” I replied.

Teddy then mentioned that Harvey had a good summer job that summer in which he could do whatever he wanted all day, as long as he went to a sympathetic professor’s office at the end of the week and signed his time-sheet accurately. I laughed, but felt some envy that both Teddy and Harvey seemed financially able to afford to spend the summer around Columbia’s campus, without having to go home and live with their parents and work off-campus like I was required to do.

During the academic year, though, Teddy, even as Columbia SDS chairman, had to hold a work-study job all year-long to support himself, unlike Mark or I. Teddy’s work-study job was being a “study-hall monitor” in Carmen Hall a few evenings a week. Being a “study-hall monitor,” in practice, meant that Teddy would sit next to Nancy at a desk, while they both studied in front of whichever Carmen Hall students were using the dorm study hall on that particular night, and would make sure no group of students made too much noise in the study hall room.

After saying goodbye to Teddy, I marched up to Columbia’s Placement Office to secure my Urban Corps summer job. The work-study job I was placed in was in the psychiatric clinic at Queens General Hospital, between Union Turnpike and Grand Central Parkway and 164th St. and Parsons Blvd. The supervisor at the psychiatric clinic was Mr. Crosby, an African-American who seemed to be left-liberal in his political views.

“You’ll be doing some intake work and some writing of social histories. But most of your work will be helping out on the clerical side, answering phones, making appointments and relieving our receptionist,” Crosby said to me on the first day I started work at the clinic. “You may not be experienced enough to satisfy some of the patients or patient families you speak to or to be able to help them with their personal problems. But just do the best you can…And if you need help, don’t ever be afraid to come into my office and ask for assistance.”

I worked at the psychiatric clinic from mid-June to mid-September 1967 at $90/week, Monday through Friday. One night a week, I worked until 8 p.m. As far as jobs went, this Social Worker Assistant job was a much more fulfilling job than my UM & M clerical job had been, and it was more stimulating than my assistant teacher/day care center jobs of the summer of 1966 had been. But compared to being a New Left activist at Columbia, my social worker assistant job seemed less fulfilling. To function adequately as a social worker assistant, I had to block out of my mind the reality of the Viet Nam War.

At the clinic, I was able to converse with two other African-Americans besides Mr. Crosby and the African-American patients (who made up about one-half of all clinic patients). On the evenings I worked late, a good-natured, jovial nurse named Mrs. Powell would come to supervise the clinic and sit at the reception desk with me. In-between answering patient questions on the phone or in-person, she would share with me her latest insights into the scene at Queens General Hospital. She was well-liked by all the patients because she was a hard-worker, kind, had a big-hearted, warm, funny personality, was a great conversationalist and had a wealth of experience in hospital work.

And then there was beautiful Llewellyn, the clinic clerk-typist who registered patients and typed up forms and cards all day and answered phones. She was so good-natured, warm and sweet that I wrote her a song in the middle of the summer called "Beautiful Llewellyn." Each day Llewellyn must have smoked a pack of cigarettes. [In the 1960s, cigarette smokers were allowed to smoke at their workplace desks]. And while she smoked, we conversed with each other whenever I was needed to join her in doing some of the clerical work of the clinic. Llewellyn was around 20 and was from South Jamaica. We made each other laugh easily and, by the middle of the summer, I was quite fond of her. I didn’t ask her out, though, because, by Summer 1967, inter-racial love affairs were frowned upon in Black Liberation Movement circles.

“I’m going to miss you, Bob. I’m going to miss you not being here,” Llewellyn said with tears in her eyes in the back of the clinic, right before I kissed her goodbye and hugged her on my last afternoon of work at the clinic. I felt like crying for an instant as I hugged her goodbye. I then quickly walked to the front of the clinic and out of Queens General Hospital for the last time that summer.

Work at the psychiatric clinic gave me other memories: patients who threatened suicide over the phone and who were then given emergency appointments with the shrinks; interviews with parents, whose teenage daughter preferred hanging out with hippies in Greenwich Village in the evening, to sitting with them in front of the TV set in their living room; taking a suicidal, depressed, unhappy wife to Creedmoor’s admissions office on a 30-day voluntary stay; interviewing an African-American bus driver with a perfectly healthy and emotionally sane teenage son, who was being seen at the clinic only because a racist white teacher in junior high school had labeled the son “disturbed” for not being interested in mathematics; patients who had spent years isolated in various mental hospitals around the U.S.A. and were coming to the clinic because they couldn’t get hired for jobs, once their mental hospitalization history was mentioned to prospective employers.

While working at the psychiatric clinic, I read Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man and Eros and Civilization. As a result of this reading and my summer work experience, I concluded that psychiatric treatment under corporate capitalism was useless. Nearly all the clinic patients were unhappy because they were either unfree, lonely, sexually repressed or the victims of class exploitation or racial oppression. Their emotional misery would not end until society became less repressive, more leisure-oriented and more democratic, until they were able to find and give love, and until they could act in a sexually free way, without guilt.

Chapter 10: The Viet Nam Summer of Love, 1967 (i)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (54)

I was not eager to return home to my parents’ apartment in Queens for the summer. But to keep attending Columbia, I had to earn money during the summer. A few days prior to leaving the campus I bumped into Josh and Linda, who were walking up Broadway. Josh smiled at me as they walked and said with a giggle: “I-D-A. I-D-A.” I laughed, spoke with him and Linda for a few minutes and learned that he, Harvey and John were all going to attend graduate school in Fall 1967 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

During this time, war tensions were building up in the Middle East. Like most white Movement people in the U.S., I assumed that Israel was being unjustly threatened by reactionary nationalist Arab states. I had never really studied the Palestinian or Arab nationalist point of view, prior to the June 1967 Middle East War. I assumed Israel pursued a non-aggressive, morally righteous foreign policy.

Shortly after awakening one day in early June, I was listening to Larry Josephson’s WBAI morning program when I heard that “Egypt and Syria have attacked Israel” and that “Israel’s survival as a nation is in jeopardy.” Because the U.S. mass media portrayed Israel as being the victim of Arab military aggression in 1967, I did not get upset when it appeared that the Zionist military machine was rolling over the Egyptian Army and would win the June 1967 War quickly. In late June, however, I bumped into Harvey while going into Butler Library one afternoon to do some anti-war summer research on Columbia President Kirk, in preparation for the fall term.

“You know, Bob. The Left may be wrong in mechanically supporting Israel. Israel, you know, started the war in order to capture new lands,” Harvey said.

“I thought the Arabs started the war in order to drive the Jews into the sea?”

“No. The Arabs were the victims of Israeli aggression. And some of the Arab governments are more anti-imperialist than Israel.”

Harvey’s analysis of the 1967 Mideast War caused me to read more deeply about what had exactly happened. And when SNCC came out in opposition to Israel’s 1967 seizure of Arab lands and continued refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the claims of the Palestinian refugees and their Palestinian nationalist representatives, I inwardly supported SNCC’s position. But Viet Nam, not the Middle East, was the war issue that most seemed to threaten my life, because of the draft. So, like most other Movement people, I didn’t make Palestinian solidarity work any kind of political priority at this time.

After having gone to the barber shop to get a haircut, I then began to look at want-ads in the now-defunct Long Island Star-Journal for an open factory job. I assumed that, if exposed to a New Left political analysis and New Left anti-corporate political program and Movement, white blue-collar workers of both sexes would soon become leftist and communist in their orientation.

Students and African-American people were mobilizing for radical change in 1967, as were politically frustrated pacifists. What was missing was anti-Establishment political resistance to corporate domination on the U.S. factory shop floor, which would push U.S. unions into an anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-racist political stance, and into a genuine commitment to “organize the unorganized” to fight for the freedom of labor from 9-to-5 wage-slavery. I wanted to start to do my bit for the cause of blue-collar labor by doing manual labor, instead of working in a skyscraper office at some clerical job.

I trekked around to various factories in Queens. But I couldn’t get hired for a summer factory job, once I told them I was a student at Columbia. “You attend Columbia. You’d get bored too quickly with the work in this factory. This kind of work isn’t for you,” one Jewish factory owner in Flushing in his 50s told me in a fatherly way, after I insisted I wanted to try factory work in his company.

Other factories did not want to hire just for the summer. To get hired, I had to show personnel people my draft card. Once they saw my “2-S,” they always assumed I would return to school in the Fall.

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (vii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (53)

At the end of the Spring 1967 term, Ted decided he wanted to move out of Furnald Hall and into an off-campus apartment during his senior year. I was also tired of having to conform to the anti-feminist restrictions of Columbia dormitory life, its cramped living space, and its sterile, sexist, 1960s all-male barracks-like atmosphere. So when Ted suggested that we rent an apartment together during the 1967-68 academic year, I agreed that it might be fun. A few days later, Ted learned that Dave also needed new living space in September 1967. So we decided to look for an apartment in which Dave would also live.

As Columbia SDS grew during the Spring 1967 term, Dave tended to return to the Columbia campus only to offer a “radical education” counter-course for Columbia SDS freshmen and sophomores in a lounge in Ferris Booth Hall. Most of his activism was centered downtown at the New School for Social Research or at the New York SDS Regional Office. Although Dave had become increasingly friendly with Ted during Spring 1967, I still had not spoken to him much on an individual, personal relationship basis prior to May 1967. So Dave and I agreed to meet briefly in the Furnald Hall lobby a few days before I was going to move out of the dorm for the school year.

I was talking with a freshman in the Furnald Hall lobby when Dave appeared in the dorm. I introduced Dave to the freshman as “The Father of Columbia’s New Left.” After the freshman went on his way, so that Dave and I could speak alone, Dave said with a smile: “It embarrasses me to be called `The Father of Columbia’s New Left.’ It makes me feel like I’m an old man already.”

“Oh, I’m sorry I called you that. But you were the Columbia activist who turned on people like me to New Left radicalism when I was just a freshman. I’m really excited about rooming with you, you know.”

Dave blushed and smiled again. And then we started to talk about Ted, about how hard it was to find an apartment and about SDS politics. It was agreed that he and Ted would be looking around for an apartment during the summer, while I was living out in Queens. If anything was found, Ted would telephone me.

Dave was from the Boston area and spoke with a Boston accent. His father was a liberal Democrat who worked as a manager in a toy company. At Brookline High School, Dave had been involved in civil rights activity in relation to the African-American community’s campaign in Boston for quality education and an end to de facto segregation. But when entering Columbia in Fall 1962, Dave was still just a left-liberal Democrat, politically.

By the time I entered Columbia 3 years later and first heard him speak on the sundial against the war in Viet Nam at ICV rallies, Dave was a revolutionary communist and New Left radical on a political level, somewhat bohemian culturally and very intellectual, morally passionate and earnest. He always seemed to be in a pleasant and enthusiastic mood. Like Harvey, Dave seemed to be one of the New Left activists around campus who knew the most about any politically relevant subject; and, like Harvey, Dave was a philosophy major as an undergraduate. As an orator and agitator, Dave was also quite good. And as a day-to-day organizer, Dave was very hardworking.

After Dave left me in Furnald Hall, I felt excited at the prospect of being able to room with him, as well as with Ted, in the fall. Dave still interested me intellectually very much, seemed so politically committed and dedicated to serving humanity, and seemed like a beautiful guy on a personal level. He was also more emotionally open and easier to get closer to on a personal level than Mark was in May 1967.

The academic term came to an end and I passed all my courses, despite my high rate of cutting. In the “American Foreign Policy II” course which had led me to do the research on the U.S. military-industrial complex that produced the discovery of Columbia’s secret IDA connection, I only received a “C-minus.” Despite my low grades, though, I seemed to know more about intellectually and politically relevant matters than most of the other Columbia College sophomores. More and more Columbia and Barnard students appeared to be moving in the radical intellectual and philosophical direction that I had started to move as a freshman; and this reinforced my belief that it was more intellectually productive to read on my own, instead of reading what was assigned by non-activist, “bourgeois liberal” Columbia professors.

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (vi)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (52)

May 1967 was a slow month politically, except for Columbia SDS people attending an Earl Hall forum in which a Columbia Administration official, Herbert Deane, who had been a Columbia Professor of Government, spoke to a small group of students. He repeated the Administration’s contention that “Columbia University must stay politically neutral and not make value-judgments.”

I then asked Deane the following question at the forum: “If Columbia University is `neutral,’ why is it an institutional member of the Institute for Defense Analyses, which performs weapons research for the war in Viet Nam?”

Other Columbia SDS people at the forum applauded and giggled, before Deane gave an evasive answer. A few days later, Deane was interviewed by a Spectator reporter and, when asked again about IDA, replied that Columbia University “wasn’t a democracy,” and that student opinion mattered as little as “strawberries” in determining Columbia University institutional policy.

Near the end of the school term in May, I can recall studying with Harvey, Mark and Teddy, at Teddy’s apartment, for Professor Kesselman’s final exam. We ended up getting bogged down in a discussion of Harvey’s latest theory about the rise of fascism and gossiping about Kesselman and summarizing why Professor Kesselman’s political ideology was actually “counter-revolutionary.” Harvey used to read every issue of Monthly Review at this time and much of his intellectual thought was heavily influenced by his Monthly Review reading.

During this collective studying session for Kesselman’s final exam, Teddy showed us one of the term papers he was going to hand in for one of his classes that he had “borrowed” from one of the other intellectuals in Columbia SDS. Within Columbia SDS, like within Columbia’s male fraternities, if you had “writer’s block” and/or didn’t feel like having to spend any time preparing another meaningless term paper, you could sometimes secure an old term paper from one of your comrades, which could then be given to your Columbia professor.

In the middle of May 1967, I recall hanging out with Mark around campus on the night before the military’s “Armed Forces Day” parade was to be held in Manhattan. Mark suggested that a small group of us run over to the Law School Library bridge which spans Amsterdam Avenue, between W. 116th St. and W. 117th St., and wave red flags and shout anti-war slogans as the caravan of military trucks passed. The idea didn’t appeal to me at that time, but Mark and another guy ran over to the Law School bridge and did chant at some of the military trucks.

Mark was beginning to seem more spirited, “crazy” and wild-eyed than most other Columbia SDS people. And his growing enthusiasm, even without a crowd around him, for New Left politics now started to personally appeal to me. After Mark’s two-person nighttime demonstration against the U.S. military caravan, I didn’t see him again until September 1967. Aside from the charisma and oratorical skill he had shown on April 20, 1967, there still hadn’t been much indication to most people around campus that he was to be Columbia SDS’s Savio figure.

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (v)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (51)

Following the confrontation with the Marine recruiters, most of the newly politicized and radicalized SDS supporters returned to their normal academic and hedonistic routines. But Ted, Teddy, Nancy, the Schneiders and a few other Columbia SDS steering committee “heavies” spent the next few weeks putting together a Columbia SDS publication called New Left Notes: The Journal of Columbia SDS. This SDS newspaper contained articles and columns on the SDS-Marine confrontation, on the “free speech/freedom to recruit” vs. responsibility to resist Columbia complicity with the war machine controversy, on draft resistance, on the latest Viet Nam War escalation and on Columbia’s IDA connection. It also included a short poem by Bertolt Brecht. I contributed the article on Columbia’s IDA connection. (I found a photocopy of this particular newspaper in my de-classified FBI file, in the late 1970s).

Much of the work of putting out this May 1967 Columbia SDS chapter newspaper was done at Teddy’s W. 115th St. apartment. Nancy applied her past experience as a high school newspaper editor to the Columbia SDS newspaper project. She’s the one who did most of the technical preparation and make-up and lay-out on the 4-page newspaper, after Columbia SDS steering committee people had contributed the articles and Ted “Acapulco” had edited them. Because Ted, like everyone else around the New Left, was smoking pot everyday by this time, people thought it was funny to start calling him by that nickname.

In Teddy’s apartment, Nancy usually just dressed casually in jeans, a nightgown or shorts. And whenever I stopped by to bring over flyers, attend meetings there, drop off my article or pick up and drop off Columbia SDS table literature, she was very warm and good-natured. Both she and Teddy always seemed to give off good love vibrations and I continued to feel a strong love for both of them.

On the afternoon the Columbia SDS newspaper was ready to be picked up from the printer I was hanging around the Columbia SDS table on Low Plaza. So I volunteered to go downtown to the printer and meet Nancy in order to assist her in carrying back the heavy bundles of newly-printed newspapers. She had been downtown most of the day in the print shop, making sure the newspaper was being printed correctly. I enjoyed working with Nancy on this little errand. She seemed much happier than I was, and still deeply in love with Teddy. She still seemed like the best woman around Columbia and Barnard.

Around this time, I first visited Mark’s 501 W. 110th St., 7th floor apartment, to attend a meeting to discuss Columbia SDS plans to run a slate of candidates in the Columbia University Student Council [CUSC] elections on a “student power” platform. At first I was going to run as a candidate, along with Mark and a few other SDS people, because somebody had decided that I would make a good candidate. But, after thinking about the prospect of running for the Student Council, I decided it wasn’t the kind of political role I wanted to play.

In order to make sure that I would pass my courses that term, I also couldn’t afford to spend the final weeks of the semester campaigning, instead of completing term papers. I also didn’t believe there was much political value in running in student council elections because real power at Columbia rested with the Columbia trustees, not with the student council. Mark and the other Columbia SDS candidates stayed in the student council election campaign and didn’t win many votes—for reasons indicated in Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, which describes the origins of “false consciousness” in advanced capitalist society. But perhaps some consciousness-raising gains were made by the New Left at Columbia because of its participation in the 1967 “Mickey Mouse” student council elections.

I don’t recall much of what was talked about at the meeting in which I first visited Mark’s 110th St. apartment. What I do recall most vividly is that Mark had hung a huge poster of Mao Tse-Tung on his living room wall and that the apartment resembled most hippie pads of those days.

Mark was cheerful at the meeting, but he still seemed hard to get to know and not more than superficially friendly towards me. He still didn’t seem to think as logically in a political way as Harvey, Dave, Josh, Ted, Teddy, John, the Schneiders, Evansohn or Nancy all did around this time, despite the charisma he had shown at the April 20, 1967 post-right-wing attack rally. When Mark talked politically at this pre-student council election meeting, he sometimes seemed to make sense, but other times he seemed scatterbrained, too rhetorical and not politically concrete enough.

On a political level, Mark still seemed unclear about the direction that he wanted Columbia SDS to be going. You got the sense that Mark enjoyed speaking before a leftist crowd, saw Columbia SDS as being an effective campus anti-war group, thought New Left politics could be popularized easily at Columbia if people worked at it and was into Columbia SDS because it was fun to be a New Left activist, as well as because he felt personally threatened by the draft. Mark gave no indication that he was especially interested in the question of African-American Liberation or that he had ever been involved in Civil Rights activity or peace movement activity before joining the ICV or Columbia SDS. He also never mentioned that he had ever been into writing plays, although he was open about being an English major at Columbia.

At 501 W. 110th St., Mark roomed with Herbert Marcuse’s stepson, a guy named Neumann. Neumann’s older brother, Tom Neumann, was one of the founders of the non-student “Up Against The Wall, Motherfucker!” Lower East Side chapter of SDS. This chapter combined an anti-student, anti-white collar radical, hippie lifestyle with a hard line revolutionary politic. The Neumann who was Mark’s roommate was never very active politically at Columbia. He seemed to be amused in a supercilious way at Mark’s growing inclination to become involved in day-to-day Columbia SDS campus organizing after April 1967. Neumann’s biological father, Franz Neumann, had fled from Nazi Germany and written the book about Nazi society, Behemoth.

Mark’s other roommate was a guy named Lieberman, who was also never politically active at Columbia. Lieberman just seemed into studying and smoking pot and never said much to me whenever I bumped into him either on campus or in Mark’s apartment.

Unlike most other Columbia SDS steering committee people, Mark, thus, roomed with non-activist student roommates. His apartment always smelled heavily of marijuana and there was usually FM rock music being played in the background. In early 1967, I recall seeing Mark walking on the street with this blond-haired woman with an English accent, named Mary, who also never became that active politically.

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (iv)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (50)

On the second day of the April 1967 anti-Marine protest at Columbia, Spectator had a big headline article and front-page photograph on the previous day’s campus violence and the Establishment mass media sent their TV cameramen uptown to try to get film of more campus violence at Columbia to show on the local evening news. The Columbia Administration shifted the site of campus Marine recruitment to the Hartley Hall dormitory, where its NROTC unit office was located, in order to better shield the U.S. Marine recruiters from the wrath of Columbia and Barnard anti-war demonstrators.

Columbia SDS issued a flyer to the 800 anti-war students who showed up, titled “The Way To Organize,” which stated the following [This flyer was also found in the NYPD’s de-classified “Red Squad” files in 1987]:

“We are going to picket in a disciplined, if vocal, manner in the Van Am quadrangle since the Administration has decided to let the Marines recruit in Hartley Hall, home of NROTC.

“We will march several abreast, carrying placards, signs, etc.

“There will be marshalls along the lines of march, giving instructions and keeping order.

“If attacked, try to protect yourself and keep the attacker away from other demonstrators.

“The demonstration will begin and terminate upon the order of Teddy. Listen to him.

“Above all, do not provoke violence. Let us all have dignity.”


Although the right-wing students chanted hostile slogans, and a few individuals unsuccessfully tried to break through the line of anti-war student marshalls to attack the anti-war demonstration, the size of the Columbia SDS demonstration discouraged the “jocks” from repeating their attack of the previous day. What was quite noticeable, also, was how quickly the Establishment’s mass media cameramen rushed to film the right-wing students whenever they started to push at the anti-war student marshalls. It seemed as if the Establishment mass media was attempting to encourage right-wing violence at Columbia in order to project an image of “the trouble” at Columbia being just one of irrational anti-American radical leftists fighting patriotic right-wing Columbia students.

Besides the Establishment mass media reporters, correspondents and cameramen, other Establishment tools observed Columbia SDS activity on April 20th and 21st, 1967. Undercover police spies were starting to take Columbia SDS more seriously and had begun to work more closely with the Columbia Administration in covertly spying on Columbia and Barnard student activists.

The topic of Bureau of Special Services [BOSS] Case #289 M of the NYPD was “Students for a Democratic Society (S.D.S.) Demonstration On The Columbia University Campus In Protest Of The Presence of U.S. Marine Corps Recruiters On Campus.” In an April 20, 1967 memo to the “Red Squad”’s Commanding Officer, William Knapp, the undercover cop reported that “The following people were identified by the assigned as the speakers at the `sundial’ rally:” The police spy then listed the names, local addresses and parent addresses of the student speakers. In paragraph #4, the police spy also listed the names of 30 Columbia students who “were observed by the assigned taking part in the rally and the demonstration and fighting that followed in the dormitory.” All 30 Columbia students whose names were to be listed in police files were anti-war students.

Women leftist students were not considered important enough by the male chauvinist undercover cop in 1967 to have their individual names listed. The undercover cop “interviewed the Head of Security at Columbia” and was told that “uniformed” police were not yet wanted on Columbia’s campus by the Columbia Administration. “Information,” however, was to “be supplied the assigned to further identify the students mentioned” in the police spy’s report.

A final, edited version of this same memo was then transmitted to the Chief Inspector of the Police Department by the Red Squad Commanding Officer Knapp on April 21, 1967, who noted that the students “identified by the assigned as taking part in the demonstration and altercation that followed…have been properly indexed in the files of this command” and that “six copies of this report” were “being forwarded direct to the Operations Unit” of the NYPD.

An April 21, 1967 police spy report listed the names of all 8 speakers and the names, addresses and/or parents’ addresses of 31 Columbia students who “were observed by the assigned taking part in the demonstration in front of Hartley Hall.” The police spy also observed that “again, the administration of Columbia University refrained from calling on the New York City Police Department for aid and refused to use their own uniform patrol to enforce order for fear of creating an incident.” On April 25, 1967, a final, edited version of this report was sent to the Chief Inspector of the Police Department.

Columbia SDS people did not realize how detailed had been the New York police spying on our April 20th and April 21st political activity on campus. Columbia SDS activists underestimated the degree of NYPD activity on campus that would be sanctioned by the Columbia Administration in the late 1960s to eliminate a campus New Left presence which it felt it couldn’t control.

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (iii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (49)

The next day, Columbia SDS issued the following letter to Columbia faculty members, which indicates how its leadership thought politically at that time. [In 1987, I found a photocopy of this letter contained in the de-classified NYC Police Department’s “Red Squad” organizational file on SDS.]:

“Dear Faculty Member:

“In the past few months, the question of whether military agencies should be allowed to recruit on the Columbia campus has become a major issue, particularly for those students and faculty who are concerned about the war in Vietnam. The University Administration has maintained that it has the obligation to allow any U.S. government agency to use University facilities for military recruitment. Many students and faculty, however, have objected to this involvement of Columbia University in the Government’s military operations.

“Twice already, President Kirk has allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to recruit students on campus, despite the protests of many students and faculty members. Yesterday, President Kirk provided the University’s facilities for the U.S. Marine Corps for this purpose, in this case overriding the objections of student officials. The Marines were granted space for recruiting in John Jay Residence Hall, even though the Executive Board of the Undergraduate Dormitory Council had voted against the use of dormitory facilities for this purpose. The Marines were granted space for recruiting in Butler Library, even though the Columbia University Student Council was denied the use of that very spot for the draft referendum. Since President Kirk ignored representative student institutions in favor of the Marines, it is clear that the Administration enforces even its own rules only when it sees fit.

“Yesterday a group of 500 students, many of them members of Students for a Democratic Society, marched to John Jay Hall with the intention of questioning the recruiters about Marine atrocities in Vietnam and United States military policy throughout the world. However, a group of self-styled `leathernecks’ sought to prevent any such peaceful confrontation. This violent group again and again attacked the anti-Marine demonstrators, who were trying to question the Marines and to keep an aisle open to their table. Several SDS members were injured by this group while trying to keep that aisle open. Since no University official sought to pacify those students whose violent intentions were openly apparent, a riotous situation ensued. One SDS member suffered a broken nose; many others sustained less severe injuries. Full-scale violence was averted only when Dean DeKoff agreed to eject the Marine recruiters.

“Yesterday’s violence was clearly the result of arrogance and irresponsibility on the part of the University Administration. But more importantly, it resulted directly from the Administration’s policy first of allowing the use of the campus by the military, and second of protecting the interests of the military more than the interests and safety of its students.

“It is clear that

“—first, the Administration has systematically ignored the demand that students and faculty participate in any decision regarding on-campus military recruiting;

“—second, in this case, the Administration refused to recognize the decision of the student organization with jurisdiction in these matters (the Undergraduate Dormitory Council), that the Marine Corps not be allowed to recruit in John Jay Hall;

“—third, the Administration was blatantly irresponsible by allowing the recruiting to occur when it was obvious that this would lead to a violent situation. Only five days beforehand, over 2,000 Columbia students and faculty members participated in the largest anti-war demonstration in American history. Surely this was a clear indication of the sentiment of a significant segment of the University community on this issue.

“The Columbia chapter of Students for a Democratic Society believes that every faculty member should be aware of the issues involved in yesterday’s demonstration. Our position on this matter is clear-cut: we are unalterably opposed to any involvement of Columbia University with the unjust war in Vietnam. We call upon those of you who oppose American intervention in Vietnam, and the use of University facilities to assist in that intervention, to join in demanding that Columbia disassociate itself from all military institutions, including the CIA, the Marines, the Army and Navy, and the Institute for Defense Analyses. If you agree with us that the military has no place on our campus, we ask you to join us at our sundial rally at noon today, and our subsequent peaceful picketing of the Marines, to demonstrate this belief to the Administration and to demand an end to Columbia’s complicity with this war.

“Thank you,

“Columbia SDS.”


(The “largest anti-war demonstration in American history” referred to in this letter was the anti-war march which gathered in Central Park, went to the United Nations Building and listened to SNCC chairperson Stokely Carmichael [a/k/a Kwame Ture] and the SCLC’s Martin Luther King address the huge crowd and officially link the African-American Liberation Movement to the U.S. anti-war movement protest. Everybody against the war with whom I had ever spoken at Columbia seemed to be gathered in Central Park near the Columbia-Barnard anti-war student contingent. I remember seeing Juan and Anne of Citizenship Council’s P.A.C.T. program attend an anti-war demonstration for the first time at this April 1967 peace march. Bill marched down to Central Park in a Harlem-based Black nationalist contingent, which was the largest African-American contingent that had ever joined in a U.S. anti-Viet Nam War march up to that time. The size of this anti-war demonstration was so large that the rally at the UN had already started before Columbia’s anti-war contingent had even reached the exit from Central Park. By the time we did reach the UN, rain had started to fall and the rally was breaking-up.)

Chapter 9: Confronting The Marines, 1967 (ii)-Sundial: Columbia SDS Memories (48)

At the post-attack sundial rally, Columbia SDS leaders took turns, in an emotional way, analyzing what had just happened inside John Jay Hall and venting their rage at the Columbia Administration for its complicity with the U.S. military and its responsibility for encouraging the right-wing student attack. I stood with a picket sign in my hands behind the SDS sundial speakers for awhile. Peter Schneider spoke and gave the most emotional speech he was ever to make at Columbia.

Mark, who had a beard at this time, eagerly decided to take a turn speaking on the sundial. He spoke spontaneously for about eight minutes in an easygoing, humorous, theatrical, clear, emotionally open, non-rhetorical, non-academic, non-pedantic, charismatic way; and he used sexual imagery in a politically clever way. He had not been that impressive a speaker in my government class or especially articulate in personal conversation. But now he appeared to be a better orator than either Ted or Teddy when he spoke in front of a large leftist crowd, and let go emotionally. Mark, not Lew, appeared to be the Mario Savio figure we apparently needed to repeat the Berkeley Student Revolt within New York City; although Lew’s physical resemblance to Savio, initially, had caused me to think he was to be Columbia’s Savio.

The second rally started to break up and, for the rest of the afternoon, people on Columbia’s campus were talking about radical politics in small groups. After a few hours of discussing on the campus the day’s events, Columbia SDS steering committee people and Columbia Professor of Sociology Dibble, who was Columbia SDS’s strongest faculty supporter, retreated to the back of the West End Bar on Broadway and W. 114th St. to plan what to do next.

“You let them push you out of John Jay Hall today. You have to go back there again tomorrow to keep your credibility as a radical student group,” Professor Dibble insisted.

Harvey, Teddy, Ted, Peter Schneider, John, Josh and others all got into the debate. Everyone agreed we had to go back to confront the Marine recruiters the next day. The major point of debate was whether we would gain more politically and win more mass support by stopping campus Marine recruitment and possibly fighting it out with other students—the right-wing protectors of the U.S. Marines—or by having a more mass-based, non-violent anti-war demonstration directed at protesting the policies of our main enemy, the Columbia Administration.

“The Administration likes nothing better than to have students fighting other students. Then it can portray itself as `above politics’ and as `a neutral.’ We shouldn’t fall into the Administration’s trap and alienate all our new mass student support by leading students into a violent confrontation…Which is what the Administration now wants us to do,” Ted argued.

Ted’s views were pretty much supported by the rest of the Columbia SDS leadership. Our April 21, 1967 demonstration of the next day was going to be non-violent, disciplined, and focused more on protesting against the Columbia Administration’s policies than on the jocks. Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Council [SCLC] aide, James Bevel, would be invited to address the campus rally.

That evening, my dorm counselor Bill—a leader of the Student Afro-American Society—called me into his dorm room, closed the door and started to bawl me out.

“How could SDS let itself get pushed out of the John Jay lobby when you outnumbered them 300 to 30?” Bill asked sharply, with a tone of disdain in his voice.

“We weren’t ready. But we win politically by being seen as the victims of right-wing violence in the eyes of all the white liberal anti-war students,” I answered half-heartedly.

Bill thought for a second and then replied: “Well, maybe you can turn it to your advantage.” Then he smiled and added: “But if SDS actually wants to fight those jocks and needs some help, the Black student karate club might be willing to stand by your side.”

I smiled in return and said: “Thanks a lot.” Then, as Bill escorted me to his dorm room door, I added: “If they attack us again tomorrow, SDS may take you up on your offer.” For the first time, Bill appeared to be now taking Columbia SDS’s campus organizing efforts more seriously.