Group carrying "Free Speech" banner at UC Berkeley

Fifty years ago this fall, students at UC Berkeley started protesting restrictions on campus political activity and debate. The Free Speech Movement gained international attention and helped pave the way for the anti-war and civil rights movements, as well as for the election of Ronald Reagan as governor of California. Forum talks to veterans of the movement about its history and legacy.

UC Berkeley Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Free Speech Movement 23 September,2014forum

Jackie Goldberg, former California assemblywoman and veteran of the Free Speech Movement. She currently works with UCLA to prepare secondary teachers to teach in urban schools.
Lynne Hollander Savio, veteran of Berkeley's Free Speech Movement and wife of the late Mario Savio; associate producer of "FSM," a new play by Oakland's Stagebridge Theater.
Robert Cohen, professor of history and social studies at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Author of "Freedom's Orator: Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960's" and "The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s."
Jack Weinberg, one of the leaders of the Free Speech Movement; currently an environmental activist working on toxics issues

  • Kurt thialfad

    What is the future of free speech at UC under the Napster President? She strikes me as a control freak.

  • Sam Badger

    UC Berkeley’s administration likes to laud its past of radical free speech and student dissent, while oppressing all contemporary radical free speech and student dissent. While administrators talk about the heroic and noble traditions of the free speech movement, they send police to beat occupiers linking arms. Administrators then use the same rhetoric as the conservatives of the 60s when dismissing protests – the institution calls them a small group of radicals with no following, who are threats to campus police, law and order and other students.

    It seems the free speech movement is as necessary today as ever, especially in a world where UC reagents are giving themselves a raise while hiking tuition even higher.

    • Sam Badger

      oops – regent, not reagent

  • Cecile Lusby

    fifty years ago I was a battered wife and mother trying to run away. The sight of Mario on top of the police car and the passion of his speech decided the matter for me, inspiring me to move to Berkeley in the 1960s to raise my children in the happiest years of my life

  • Skip Conrad

    What do the guests think of President Janet Napolitano’s UC “Food Initiative”? What’s that all about? It would seem to me her first priority is making affordable higher education available to the citizens of California. It seems like UC would rather import out-of-state and foreign students, than our own. Then there is this 16% pay increase for the UC chancellors. Has UC lost the vision?

  • Whamadoodle

    The person who claimed that leftists are running amok, smashing any dissent on campus with physical violence, was laughable. I’ve spent 15 years at San Francisco State University, and NEVER saw a conservative being silenced.

    Uh, yeah–conservatives are meeting an orgy of violence on campus. SURE they are. What nonsense.

    • Kurt thialfad

      Di you ever see a liberal being silenced?

      • Whamadoodle

        No one, in fact.

      • Whamadoodle

        (I mean, you do get that that is a ridiculous claim, right?)
        It boggles the mind how backwards the propagandists all are. Derrp! I’m going to make a claim that every single person in America will disprove in about five seconds, the minute they ask an actual college student! THAT’ll accomplish

        • Kurt thialfad

          What is a ridiculous claim?

          • Whamadoodle

            As mentioned, the claim that right-wingers on our nation’s college campuses are in fear for their safety, from leftists who commonly attack them with physical violence, and that therefore, right-wingers don’t have freedom of speech on our college campuses, as someone tried to claim in the closing three minutes of this show.

            You’re aware that the person who said that was lying, I… hope? The person HIMSELF was plainly aware that he was, after all.

            You have to wonder who these people think they’re going to sell with this stuff. It only damages the right wing’s own credibility (which is plenty damaged enough, by other such incredibly obvious fabrications).

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