By 1969, the tides of our change were shaking every institution of higher education. In the eyes of white Amerika, provincial and racist as always, campus disturbances had replaced black ghetto rebellions and Vietnam as the Number One topic of concern. Every school and city government geared for war.
Meanwhile, among us, the slow wedding of new politics and new culture went on. After Rolling Stone established itself as the counter-culture's leading popular arts journal, its focus began to broaden, and Jan Wenner asked me to provide its first major article on the politics of the counter-culture. I hadn't written a piece of survey journalism about education since my notes of 1966, and welcomed the chance to step back for an overview of the action on the campuses I'd been traveling for two years.
The Context of Campus Violence
Last month in Ohio, I watched 200 Oberlin College students play with spontaneous anger and destruction in a "free environment" developed by some hip architect-travelers from Texas. Since then, Oberlin students have been suspended for a disruptive protest against Marine recruitment on campus. In Iowa, I helped teach students guerrilla theater techniques and new learning-games. At the University of Michigan, I watched leaders of rival factions of SDS -- split on the strategic question of whether to lead a direcy action attack against the school's language requirement -- trying to learn how to ralk with one another.
Everywhere schools are alive with growth and tense with dread, at the violent intersection of old and new. Last week the University of Pennsylvania, Stillman College in Alabama, Princeton in New Jersey, Missouri, Notre Dame in Indiana, and a dozen other campuses moved into open conflict. The news media have discovered that there is another ghetto: it houses America's college youth and is coming alive with rebellion. Each day brings new headlines, news of new gladiators. Some fans can recite the statistics from memory: the current roster of campuses in turmoil; the up-to-date figures this year on how many National Guardsmen called in; how many kids beaten, jailed, or suspended; total cost of felony bails; number and shock of bombings; success and significance of boycotts and strikes and betrayals.
At Champaign, Illinois, plainclothes cops were photographing me while I watched 400 white University of Illinois students debate a sit-in in defense of black brothers. The Trustees had just decreed immediate explusion for anyone guilty of disruption. The students decided on a new tactic: a "jam-in," to paralyze the telephone lines, deans' offices, cafeteria, library, and so on, simply by using their own weight of numbers to overload them beyond capacity. Legal disruption, in a word, the first serious experiment with a new tactic to replace the sit-in. I argued for the "jam-in," which had been conceived originally in Berkeley during the November 1966 strike. The next day an SDS traveler came down from SDS's national office in Chicago to denounce me as a CIA agent. Simultaneously the right-wing Chicago Tribune was splashing my name over its front page as an "outside agitator." “Paranoia strikes deep,” sings the Buffalo Springfield, “into your life it will creep ...”
But I'm neither an agent nor an agitator. I'm a campus traveler in the educational reform movement, a large but little-known branch of that great general movement for change among the young, whose most familiar aspects are political activism and the hippy thing. Maybe half a million people are involved in the "ed reform" movement now. Most are students making free schools, trying to change their institutions and find ncw ways to learn. As movements do, this one generates travelers and spreads itself by them. My traveling takes me to many colleges, and through a wide spectrum of people, from politicos to heads.
All of them are talking about violence. Everywhere the System has been responding with violence to attempts at change (not that our own hands are clean). Since I work with people learning to make change -- educational, political, cultural, personal -- everywhere I move behind the surface of violence. I am sick with statistics and examples. I want to talk about what is happening in America, about why the violence will increase, and about some real reasons for fear.
The Themes of Campus Conflict
Black students at hundreds of colleges are demanding great jumps in black enrollment, special privileges and programs, and the creation of Black Studies Departments which they themselves can control. At San Francisco State College, a radically successful black students' strike has now gone into its second semester with white students moving in support of black demands.
The hard edge of the white student movement has gone even harder. Since its founding in 1962 (as an offshoot of the League for Industrial Democracy), Students for a Democratic Society has grown to be the most important young white political group with over 300 local chapters and some 200,000 active sympathizers. At first, SDS rhetoric and concerns centered around "participatory democracy." Then it became preoccupied with the Vietnam War. Now, largely in response to hard-line pressure from the Progressive Labor Party (with their acrid insistence on the importance of a worker/student alliance a la Frace), SDS has gone over to a stance based on an updated version of Marxism: direct attack on the total institution of American Imperialism.
On the campuses, this ideological hardening is expressed by sit-ins against Marine recruitment (at Oberlin), against involvement in chemical and biological warfare research and other university roles in the War Game (at Pennsylvania State University), and against the university's nature as a racist institution (at Brandeis).
Tactics and penalties for campus disruption are escalating. Black students everywhere have mastered the art of the coercive sit-in. Since administrators are still fairly reluctant to have them beaten or expelled from school, small groups of blacks are managing to force some real granting of their demands. At 8,000-student Duke University, the 100 campus blacks led a boycott and sit-in that won them a black studies program and other changes in learning and living conditions, including an all-black dormitory.
White tactics are less disciplined and effective than black ones, and often more desperate. They range from mass drink-ins of forbidden beer on the main quad (at Colorado State University) to disruptive mill-ins at Berkeley in vain defense of student leaders persecuted by the Administration. College authorities in general are becoming venomous to white students. At the University of Massachusetts, thirty-two protesters sitting-in against Dow Chemical's recruiters were busted by state troopers. Administrators have become trigger-hasty to order arrests. They often, as at Berkeley, overrule pleas or rulings from proper faculty committees and suspend or expel student "agitators."
This fall at Sonoma State College in California I watched two heavy black organizers effortlessly and insultingly mobilize a bcwildered group of fifty white students -- who wanted action, but had no program of their own, nor sense of their own manhood -- into a support demonstration for the S.F. State strike. Whites always feel under pressure to move into direct action as radical and heroic as the blacks. A deep and natural manhood-competition thing is happening between them. It is rendered a bit sour and off-balance by the white movement's lack of a focused center or soul, and white direct-action is often clumsy, ill-prepared, and heavily punished.
Despite this, the action multiplies. There were organized student protests at more than 500 colleges in 1967/68, over issues ranging from control of dormitory rules to abolition of language requirements to the endless War. Over half involved some kind of direct action: at perhaps fifty colleges students were arrested. In late 1968 and early 1969 disruptions have been more frequent, more various, and heavier. All the awakened energy of the young McCarthy horde, shocked and blunted in Chicago, has reappeared to join last year's momentum of bitterness and impatience for change.
What all the protests have in common is this: students are demanding power, control, and freedom in the institution of higher education which shapes and controls their lives. By organizing for autonomous student governments and free dormitory inter-visitation, they are moving to control their political and social lives. By fighting against useless academic requirements and by developing new curricula in free universities, they are moving to control their education. By protesting racist admissions policies, Dow Chemical recruiters, and the Viemam War, they are coming to use the colleges as a base and a tool to change the larger society.
Increasingly, students are coming to realize that -- in ways as diverse as designing machines to help Agribusiness exploit Chicano workers, and forcing their participation in a competitive grading system -- the colleges participate actively in all of society's injustices, and deform them as individual people. By fighting for free minority admission policies and calling for courses that reflect their need to grow into new ways of knowing, students are beginning to demand that higher education fill the unmet needs of the people it processes.
But the colleges are an essential part of the total American system of exploitation and oppression, and are reluctant to change. If engineering departments shift their priorities to the task of producing livable cities, what will happen to the multibillion dollar aerospace industry, and the armies of young engineers with which it contends for fat government contracts? Male students must be kept to the grindstone with requirements and hurried through in four lock-step years, or else the orderly system of military deferment and obligation will be disrupted, and too many malcontents will be allowed to escape scot-free, without even paying the price of a degree and integration into the economic order.
Even as individual institutions, colleges are slow to change. Consider Berkeley, America's most prestigious public university. For five years, students' demands for political freedom and their discontent with their education have made Berkeley the nation's most protest-prone campus. Yet during this time no significant institutional changes have been made. The school goes on, average faculty teaching load has dropped sixteen percent, and now National Guardsmen patrol the campus plaza with pepper-fog machines.
As with the black liberation movement, the demand for change in the educational system grows rapidly more urgent and immediate. On every front-political, social, educational -- the colleges cannot and do not want to meet the demand. Some easy concessions -- like black studies programs at Duke, free dormitory hours at Denison University, pass/fail grading systems at Simmons in Boston -- are finally being given. But they have come too late. They will not be enough. The student demand for real power, freedom, and control will keep growing. It is impossible to meet without deep change in the entire institution of American higher education.
As everywhere in America, on the campus the channels of change are clogged. Requests disappear in a maze of administrative advisory and study committees, in endless delay. On the pinnacles of power stand inflexible presidents, arch-conservative faculty councils, trustees, and often the state legislature. None wants change.
The rising desire for radical change is met on the campus as everywhere with immobility, repression, and violence. And in response, the determined and heartfelt force of the movement for change becomes violent itself, even as it continues to expand.
The State of Other Campuses
America's 2,700 colleges form a great youth ghetto with 7,000,000 inhabitants. But higher education itself is only one of a cluster of campuses now coming alive with violence and change.
After the media discovered the Haight, sister communities appeared in every major American city. The gift of the Haight's media-martyrdom was that a second great youth ghetto -- a voluntary one -- became visible. At first its talk was all of flowers and grass and music. But lately the rhetoric and action have gone hard in the hippy ghetto.
During pleasant nights in communes in San Francisco and Colorado, I watch friends oiling guns and learning how to load magazines; they offer to teach me to shoot. People are swiping dynamite, industrial sabotage mounts unreported in the press. In the Bay Area, we watched the unfolding drama of a year-Iong series of power-line bombings. The Mafia and the law have moved in on grass and acid. The dealing scene, once warm and stable, has become increasingly turbulent and ugly. Hard drugs are rising fast, betrayals and burns and shootings increase. In Berkeley last summer, narks killed a suspected dealer in a hamburger stand shoot-out.
In New York, Digger Abbie Hoffman and friends dropped handfuls of dollar bills off the balcony at the Stock Exchange, watched the avid brokers scrabble on the floor below. In a hundred cities now, digger spirits burn public dollars, stop traffic in anger and joy, pass out soup on City Hall's steps, desecrate flags into human clothing. They violate deep rituals, and anger flares at them in return. A new form of street-theater is emerging, flourishing in a thousand microdramas already passed into folklore -- a new way of confronting a total system with its absurdities and people's real needs.
Spread by the example of SDS agitprop groups -- who tend to appear suddenly in cafeterias, shooting Vietnamese peasants -- on many campuses guerrilla theater is beginning to surface in the classrooms and libraries. It is provocative, naked, and often arrested. So is the Living Theater, which has escaped New York and is now shaking up kids at small Ohio colleges -- one of many influences turning them on to notions of drama as disruptive and shaking as Aeschylus was in his time.
But the heaviest theater is still in the streets, the joint campus for the hip and political cultures. In the West, the first significant street clashes between the young and the law came in early I967, when cops fell upon anti-war demonstrators at Century Plaza in Los Angeles, and scattered crowds of teenyboppers along Sunset Strip. Since then, at least 60,000 kids in a dozen cities have clashed with cops in major engagements, and have learned to form groups to drag each other back from the tear gas and clubs.
The issues on the street are various: the right to use it for festival, the right to a free political process, an end to imperialism. But the action is the same, and it is steadily growing more violent. Chicago was a quite typical example of the national brutality norm, shocking only because it was fairly well televised.
The classroom of Street Violence is coming to be a major shared experience among America's white young. An old Movemcnt maxim runs, "The quickest radicalizer is a cop's club." Nothing seems to confirm people in a change of values, or push them over the edge of that change, as directly and forcefully as does a police beating. The street experience may come to have an impact second only to that of our music and drugs. In many cities bands of neighbors or brothers, initially formed for self-defense on the street, are becoming semi-political "affinity groups," learning to work cooperatively and moving underground in preparation for the repression that many see coming.
At the Intersection
Thus, campus violence is embedded in larger violence -- the violence that flickers along the whole Intersection, where what's coming up meets what's going down.
Fortune magazine claims that 40% of America's college youth now pledge allegiance to the New Left. America is splitting. Expressed through her youth, a deep shift is occurring: a new culture with new attitudes and behavior is veering off, at righteous angles and odds to the old one.
We all sense, often with resentful hope, that something's growing in America. But the speed and variety of growth are still startling. Every large city now holds a therapeutic youth-ghetto community. National networks of communes are beginning to come together, and to generate their own economic support. Three hundred thousand students in 600 "free universities" on and off regular campuses are experimenting with new curricula and new ways of teaching, trying to build a new kind of educational institution. A diverse and independent media-network has been established. Liberation News Service, the underground newspaper wire-service, serves more than a million readers. Branches of the guerrilla film group Newsreel are appearing in major cities. The type of serious rock station whose first example was KMPX in San Francisco (1967) is taking permanent and financially viable space on the nation's airwaves.
Meanwhile, according to government estimates long outdated, at least 10,000,000 white youth smoke grass for pleasure and to change their lives. Some 2,000,000 young people have dropped acid and undergone psychotic breaks to learn that there are other ways of knowing than those taught in school. Youth has suddenly become defined as a political constituency, wooed by outside powers and beginning to generate its own leaders and programs. Youth political pressure has shifted the course of the state in Vietnam and helped to harden it at home. And in less than a decade we havc generatce and lovingly consumed -- and have been deeply shaped by -- a great flowering of music, whose sheer bulk, variety, and quality compare favorably with the output of the Renaissance.
Through all these changes runs a deep unity. The children of a total system that denies human needs are moving for power and freedom to build what they want. A mass consciousness is awakening. Students, and youth in general, are becoming aware of themselves as a class. Like the black people, they are coming to see themselves as a class exploited and oppressed -- forced by outside interests of power and money to labor on the colonial plantation of the campus, in preparation for their roles in service to the technological economy of capitalism. Like the black people, they are learning to recognize brothers and band together. And like the blacks again, they are developing an independent cultural identity, and moving to build in their own self-interest.
Against this wave of consciousness and building, there is coming down a System: some say in its death throes, some say merely facing the ugly impossibilities of its contradictions at last. The cities are quickly becoming unlivable, the air is choked with pollutants, the sea is befouled. Foreign liberation movements are threatening America's economic interests. A war whose frustrations will continue if it ever ends has led to political earthquakes. The economy sways dizzily and hiccoughs. Black frustration rises, the white Nixon government cuts back programs. The military grabs for the moon and extends a finger into the ocean. Wallace gets 13% of the vote, the country slides quickly right, police forces double in hard technology, Minutemen practice in the hills.
The Liberal mask America wore so well is slipping off. Her children are finding many languages to express their realization that she is an oppressive class society, anti-life and unstable -- a total system that resists all real change. And the drama being acted out along the Intersection is becoming clear. As their blind freaky growth continues, her killing response rises to the surface.
The action at the Intersection is the same in politics and education as on the streets of the city. We saw it when McCarthy kids, SDS, Yippies, and blacks converged on Chicago last August. Youth is bcing let on stage for rehearsals, and forced back with bayonets when it becomes clear that youth wants its own strange way. The image fled by television to China and France, where it was already familiar: everywhere a mass youth consciousness is developing. And everywhere the Authorities are terrified of losing control. Russia marches into Czechoslovakia, Daley into the Amphitheater, Reagan and Hayakawa over San Francisco State College.
But control is being lost indeed, on the campus as elsewhere. Grass and acid are entrenched and spreading, their use doubles cvcry year. Though the War's lull seems in sight, campus draft-resistance centers arc multiplying. The drop-out rate spirals. Campus travelers multiply, protest and growth spread by example, colleges flare like adjacent match-heads. The clearest avalanche warnings are given by the high schools, which are more active with protest now than colleges were three years ago. High school underground papers are so common that they are forming their own news services. Dozens of older Resistance groups are doing anti-war organizing on high school campuses. Militant high school students are traveling between schools in big cities, organizing simultaneous protests. The federal government intervened to quell high school disorders in nineteen cities last year. The Authorities grow increasingly terrified of losing control. A great repression gathers. On both sides violence multiplies its forms.
Lct's be frank and simple. Violence, as the good brother says, is "as American as apple pie." America is just a killer culture, that's all. In the end, there's not much karmic difference between napalming Vietnamese, creating the black American's experience, or filling the lungs of dear chubby white children with smogs and carcinogenic tars. Amerika dishes out impartial death, with more if you ask for it by challenging her.
We are used to thinking of violence as physical, but in Amerika most violence is transacted in words. And so the institutions of the word -- advertising media, the educational system -- are, with the military and the police, primary institutions of violence. Televised deodorant ads teach us that our natural smell is bad, everyone grows up terrified of his own freakiness, a secret nigger inside.
On the campus, students labor to raise the price of their sale into economic slavery. Their draft deferments are an essential link in a system of control, injustice, and violence. They are taught to use the intellect to fragment and divide, to legislate social control and construct engines of destruction. In the classroom, whipped on by the grading system and split sessions, students are conditioned to claw their brothers in competition for a smile. Harsh ivy grows on the ivory tower, it covers a long deep wounding that only now is beginning to break into blood.
All Amerika is a campus ripe with invisible violence vibrations. She is also a culture in unprecedentedly massive and rapid transition: a culture breaking open. Everywhere along the break, along the Intersection. violence becomes visible. It is not new, it is only translated into a different form and exposed. The growing physical violence is the last and clumsy resort of a system of quiet violence and control, as it begins to break open under the gathered pressure of changes and needs it can neither deny nor satisfy.
So violence spills over at the Intersection of black and white, at the technological interface where men's jobs vanish from their hands (haven't you noticed union action is violent again?), where the freaky young try to inhabit the streets they grew up in, at the leading edge of theater, and all along the open surface of young radical politics. Now, under the pressure of a rapidly growing movement for educational reform and political action, higher education is breaking open along the fault-line of the free university. And violence begins to appear on the campus.
But it is not simply a matter of a violent system blindly reacting to change with violence. The young have within themselves a deep and independent anger. (Will it, too, be inexhaustible?) What marks all our institutions, beneath their calm surfaces of control, is that their subjects are tense with gathered stresses and unmet needs, and are full of pains and angers, which they rarely express openly and are mostly unconscious of.
So what comes out first when we move toward freedom, along with sometimes our love, is our anger. And nowhere more heavily than in education. In loosely constructed experimental courses, 300,000 students have found that as soon as authority and control are relaxed in a learning-group, visible anger, long-conditioned and repressed, boils over, and must be dealt with before learning together can happen.
And in the colleges at large, every serious campus disturbance since the FSM has run on a mixture of political and cducational discontent. In each we have seen groups of the best students act out a long deep fury -- the living retlection of the massive frustrated boredom of the lecture hall.
Until five years ago, no one thought to connect youth discontent with the colleges themselves as the source. Since then and increasingly, students have turned against the institution itself, coming to identify it as an enemy rather than as a benevolent parent. The anti-war and black liberation movements have begun to teach them the ugly politics of higher education. Grass, acid, music, and "head culture" generally have begun to tempt them with new options, alternative ways of living, learning and knowing. The stance of college authorities as stern parents in classrooms, dormitory and dean's office becomes increasingly impossible to bear.
A system of constant violence now becoming visible, an angry people growing toward freedom. Who believes that violence will not increase, or that a serious repression is not in store?
Strategies of Containment
The standard reaction to pressure for radical change is to buy it off. Across America, a strategy of campus containment is emerging, which reads: grant with relative grace the minor changes and options that don't endanger the System itself.
Suddenly there is a crucial shift of mood in the way school administrators respond to black demands. The trend is rapid toward recruiting more black students and making special programs. Yale and Duke have announced that Black Studies are intellectually worthy of honor as a separate discipline. Jerkwater colleges follow suit, and the shortage of persons academically qualified to head Black Studies Departments is already severe.
But those black demands that might change the nature of colleges as institutions of learning -- for example, student control of curriculum, of hiring and firing, of finances; and open admissions without entrance requirements, plus uniform financial subsidy -- are being resisted to the end.
The question now becomes: Will the thrust of the black education movement be bought off, and the blacks satisfied by integration into an educational system breaking down of its own non-racist accord? Or will they press their more radical demands, and help force the system itself to change and not merely remedy its racism?
On the front of white campus action, administrative strategies of containment are more various, but they follow the same philosophy. Suddenly the fight for liberalization of women's dorm hours is almost over -- in most places even before it had fairly begun. Administrators agree: that's not the place to hold the line. Students are being freely granted token-nigger seats on faculty and administrative committees on hundreds of campuses (but no real power). Everywhere administrators are encouraging free universities, for these seem to bleed off energy and pressure for reform of the system. But they carefully regulate the nature and number of courses that can receive official credit.
At many campuses, administrations are experimenting with small, self-contained colleges of a few hundred students, trying to find a new form that will channel the attention and energy of young intellectuals and activists -- one that will keep them within the system without disruption. Berkeley's I50-student "Tussman Program," begun in 1965, was a first attempt. Its teaching assistants made the program too "unstable"; they were fired, which made the program safer and less interesting. Currently the most attractive experiment I know of is the Residential College at the University of Michigan, in which students can paint their walls, smoke dope, and screw; and also have some real control over curriculum and evaluation. (They do not, however, control finances, the nature of curriculum, or hiring.) If state legislatures don't object, this model will spread.
But a strategy of getting all the freaks off in a safely isolated corner to play and experiment may boomerang, as may any effort at containment. At the University of Illinois' Champaign campus, organized student activism has tripled during the last three years, partly because greatly relaxed women's hours permitted students to go to meetings and talk politics over late coffee -- since sex could be saved for later in the night. In the Residential College at Michigan, half of the students are activists. At Berkeley, the administration began approving a safe few student-initiated courses for credit. The students promptly sponsored Eldridge Cleaver lecturing in a credit course. The governor and the regents reacted; and the university and state were plunged immediately into political turmoil.
A few whole-system attempts at containment or inhibition of campus activism are under way. Some new campuses, like the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California, have been designed partly with a mind toward isolating students from each other in small manageable groups, making communication and mass action difficult. Such design is somewhat successful, but students there are still in the process of forcing the granting of their demand that the seventh "cluster college," scheduled to open in 1972, shall be for black studies and be named after Malcolm X.
A deeper force for the containment of student activism is now appearing, from an unexpected direction. Encounter groups, sensitivity games, and many kinds of touchy-feely play are spreading around the country, largely among the young. They involve powerful and long-neglected kinds of learning, and are potential tools for liberation. But they are being spread with the Liberal philosophy that "our troubles come not from conflicts of interest, but from inability to communicate." Encounter is being used to substitute for conflict, rather than to make conflict healthy and open. Thus, administrations, counseling services, and youth religious groups are all eagerly spreading encounter programs.
Some campuses, like the University of California at Davis, have become saturated with these games learned in this soft spirit. Students and administrators go through groups together, meetings are heavy with rhetoric of community. The usual result seems to be a virtual paralysis of student activism -- which everywhere grows by making conflicts of interest explicit. At such campuses activists seem less able to work well with each other in groups, despite all their "group experience"; and almost all attempts at educational change or political reform are co-opted into the structure and come to no significance.
The Gathering Repression
But the energies of change are breeding like yeast. Discontent, disobedience, and disruption are spreading too rapidly. No soft policy of containment, no matter how sophisticated, will be sufficient. A broad repression of youth has begun.
At its present pace, 1969 will see some 250,000 arrests for grass. A few states are considering lowering the offense to a misdemeanor, but the use of selective enforcement as a tool of local community disapproval is increasing. Cops have planted dope on friends of mine -- SDS and Yippie organizers, editors of high school underground papers, ed reform travelers -- in Santa Barbara, Urbana, Pennsylvania, and New York, to make arrests in the course of political persecution. This is how they are martyring Jerry Rubin, John Sinclair and John Lee Otis.
A massive and single-minded Media Curse has been cast over SDS, labeling it National Whipping Boy, responsible for any old act of violence on campus or off. Already on some peaceful campuses, students are being denied appointment to committees because of their supposed adherence to "SDS ideas." National SDS figures like Tom Hayden are being damned in Congress and hauled up before the House Un-American Activities Investigating Committee.
"Bur how much is SDS responsible for what's happening?" The question is empty, even given that SDS as an organization deliberately and proudly opens many of the fronts of conflict. Though only 200,000 activists claim it some official allegiance, SDS is less an organization than a broad penumbra of feeling present in every heart. Indeed, at most demonstrations -- however they begin -- less than a quarter of the protesters belong to any organized political group. Young activists, like the rest of their peers, are reluctant to create formal groups. The true organization of resistance and revolution is informal and interior.
The myth that SDS is responsible is part of the Conspiracy Theory. Something frightening and strange is happening: there must be a simple source or cause, some conspiracy that can be thwarted. It was this need to explain everything in simple, reassuring terms that led Berkeley administrators for years to believe that all the discontent and action on their campus was caused by a "small, bard core of outside agitators," and that if these could just be cut off from the students, peace would return. Fraternity enrollment would stop falling, and the Golden Bears would win the Rose Bowl again.
These days the agitators are traveling ones. They move between campuses and cities; but the Conspiracy Theory is the same. A small, hard-core minority of freak maniac antichrists are moving around the country casting spells of discontent, and must be stopped. So Yippie organizers like Jerry Rubin are also hauled up before HUAC, and are tailed and harassed constantly by the FBI and narks. Similar things are happening to campus travelers in the educational refom movement. When "traveling agitators" of any variety appear or meet on a campus, administrators go into high-level fibrillation, police patrols double, and reinforcements are alerted.
A new weapon of legal repression is appearing -- the felony charge of "conspiring to commit a misdemeanor," which can be used against any group of people who meet before a mass demonstration at which even trivial laws are broken. Currently, in Oakland, seven leaders of the 1967 Induction Center protests are being tried for felony conspiracy. Indictments for felonious conspiracy have already appeared in connection with campus struggles at San Fernando Valley State, Colorado State, Berkeley, and elsewhere.
Though Nixon is promising a voluntary army, jail sentences for the 5,000 active followers of the Draft Resistance are getting stiffer, mostly running three to five years. Black leaders like Eldridge Cleaver and S.F. State's George Murray are being sentenced to jail for "parole violations." Recent federal legislation against "crossing state lines to incite riots" is about to be enforced: indictments for black and white traveling organizers -- Panthers, Yippies, SDS and so on -- are said to be in the works, for Chicago and other offenses to America's dignity. Friendly reporters pass on word of calls from the FBI to campus Security Offices, inquiring after me. It's getting freaky.
Administrative allies are hard at work too. The influential journal Police Chief presents case studies of how local peace officers help deans solve their problems. In carefully timed press releases, the FBI boasts that it has thoroughly infiltrated SDS and other campus political groups, white and black. In Washington and Oakland, undercover informers and provocateurs are appearing, to testify against activists. Lists of students and others in attendance at major activist conferences or demonstrations are starting to circulate among college administrations.
Reactionary state legislatures in many states are passing laws to make any kind of campus disruption illegal. In California alone, some sixty punitive bills are now pending. Private schools like Notre Dame are making participation in disruption the grounds for immediate expulsion. Mid-level administrators in state college systems are falling all over each other to see who can present the hardest line. Often hard reaction from trustees or lawmakers upsets the efforts of liberal administrators to hold the line with soft containment.
At Santa Cruz, Michigan, Denison University, and Connecticut, the contracts of young teachers sympathetic to student activism are not being renewed. At schools like Pace College of Business Administration, student newspapers are being busted or suspended.
Two years ago, control of student finances at Berkeley was taken away from the student government by the administration. Now at S.F. State the administration, manipulated by the trustees, has taken control of $400,000 in student funds, suspended the student officers, and is suing them for mismanagement and misuse of funds. In the California legislature, bills are pending to take complete financial control of student affairs at all I30 universities, colleges, and junior colleges in the state system. This pattern of financial repression will be multiplied across the nation, as students continue to learn how to use their own money to make change happen.
Around the nation, liberal administrators are responding to the various student thrusts with more and more sophistication. They exchange letters, hold informal and formal conferences, and in their academic and trade journals publish strategies of containment presented as case studies. At each campus, how many worried dean-hours have been spent, together and alone, anticipating and pondering counter-measures? The style of reaction to disruptive protest now gaining favor -- to crack down early and hard -- is the product of those hours and conferences.
The possibilities for control and repression are growing quickly more sophisticated. For several years, the University of Chicago's Admissions Office has been screening applicants and starting to weed out activists. Since 1964, research on student activism has been increasing rapidly, often funded by government grants (many from the Air Force). Leading sociologists, like Harvard's Seymour Martin Lipset, have built their reputations by studying activists. A report from Educational Testing Services now circulating in 2,000 administrations points out that "the absence of a religious preference is the single personal characteristic most predictive of protest behavior in college freshmen."
But this is a crude measure. The general psychological types of most important activist subpopulations have been fairly well studied, at least with a view toward description. Their profiles are now available to anyone who is interested, simply by reading the non-classified research. (Who is to know what is secret these days, in universities that train CIA agents?) To put the matter bluntly: It is now possible to prepare a battery of standard psychological tests which, properly read, will identify present or potential activists with a fair degree of certainty.
Will anyone bother? What do you think?
Action is shaping already on the national level. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) granted the American Council of Education (ACE) $300,000 to do research on the nature and causes of student unrest. ACE's Director of Research, Alexander Astin, speculates -- according to the February 10 issue of the influential Chronicle of Higher Education -- that with the research "admissions officers could virtually assure that there would or would not be demonstrations on their campuses by systematically admitting or rejecting students with 'protest-prone' characteristics. "
Now, isn't that a piece of paranoid news?
At first the matter was quite embarrassing to the august American Council of Education. Though the research director was hot for the grant, the ACE's president was terrified of the possible bad publicity. They considered funding the research in the same way that the CIA funded the National Student Association (NSA): through a secondary or "conduit" private institution. But details of the grant were already too public for secrecy.
So ACE accepted the grant openly and quietly. Anxious to have it appear legitimate, they are trying to get the National Student Association itself to take a piece of the action. NSA has been offered the chance to run a sub-study aimed at finding out what distinguishes peaceful campuses from campuses prone to disruption. At the moment, NSA is deciding whether to be greedy for money and a chance to keep the study "honest and relevant," or to be noble and denounce the study -- and perhaps win back in the eyes of the student movement a fraction of the legitimacy it lost during the CIA scandal.
What the matter amounts to is that the government is subsidizing initial counter-insurgency research against its domestic (youth) rebellion. The universities have already performed the service of research to be used against foreign liberation movements in Vietnam, the Philippines, and elsewhere, and against the domestic black liberation (mostly in the form of studies of urban and riot management, and of the black family). Why should they not be used again, against their own inhabitants?
Why not, indeed? And who will understand our violent bitterness then, or now, or our growing fear, save we who feel these too strongly for words, indelibly staining our hope?