tv Reel America Columbia Revolt - 1968 CSPAN May 20, 2018 4:00pm-4:51pm EDT
vietnam war and the schools plan to build a public park. after tearing down a fence, the group occupied several campus buildings. negotiations between the university and the students failed, and six days later, new york city police were called in. protesters and bystanders were beaten, and 700 were arrested. up next on "reel america," columbia revolt, a 50 minute film by the new york film collective document of the events from the student protesters' point of view including scenes with access to the occupied holdings, and negotiations with campus authorities. narrator: a modern university is the cradle of the nation's future. today it not only preserves and transmits knowledge and values, it serves more and more as the
center of research and innovation. it has been called the chief energizing and creative force in our entire social system. ♪ narrator: the modern university is the cradle of the nation's future. if this be so, let us not underestimate the path we face. meanwhile the explosive growth increases the demands upon us. the undeveloped peoples look to us for training and guidance for their own governments, the local governments, state governments, national governments look increasingly to the national universities for expert counsel and for scholars who may convert -- who carry the posts of high responsibilities. terseever much
personality was sought with this administration may have exacerbated the situation. the situation would have in there whoever was president of the university. >> he is going to recommend every month or every week, each dean talks to the students, who have done a -- which makes the liberal assumption that what we have here is failure of communication. but that is not so. because it is an analysis of the entire system of the functioning of a corporate entity, that is at question. the students understand very, very well what the ruling class at columbia does, what it is about. >> the university has now become a means of production. one little bit for the fbi, another little bit further cia, and this university is now a means of production, reducing
the mechanism of human oppression. it has been bought out by the military. 50% of the research done here at this university depends on the defense money. >> we can see in the new buildings going up, and engineering building a business , school, a law school, a school of international relations. we can tell how much this university is focused on servicing the corporations and hope on servicing the war machine. >> william burden is the director for lockheed aircraft. this is for the council on general dynamics. and a junior partner in his law firm was the under secretary of defense. >> he is a trustee of the institution personnel. he is president of morningside heights and corporation, the organization which is concerned with institutional expansion of morningside. >> also, if you wonder how it was that columbia acquired the
land for the gymnasium, a 400 year lease renewable every five years after the first 100 years, at an incredibly low sum of money, all you have to do is look at who the trustees are. percy, chair of the board of the euris filming corporation, which has done 50% of all the building in new york city since the war. benjamin button, one of the trustees, is on that europe building program. brown, he is also on the building corporation, one of the directors on the board of cbs. william f. paley chairman of the , board of the columbia broadcasting system. arthur sulzberger, he is chairman of the board for the new york times for two successive sessions of the same legislature, columbia's ruling elite made journeys to albany, new york to convince legislators that this was indeed a wonderful thing for the morningside heights community, that columbia
this gym there. >> but i don't think a gym nine stories high with facilities for black people in the basement with a backdoor is something that black people want. >> there has never been any dispute as to the position of this community on the placing of a gymnasium by a private institution in a public park. >> i don't trust anybody in the administrative network of columbia university because they have lied, they have contradicted themselves. for let us saying we have , stopped at the gym. and the next damn day, the board of trustees says, we have stuck -- stopped to the gymnasium temporarily. >> this is a big problem, this country is going down on violence. as a whole school our house must , come down whether they like it , or not.
>> on april 23, we told the administration that we planned to demonstrate inside the library, to protest columbia's complicity with the institute of defense analysis, its racism with building the gym in morningside park, and its attempted suppression of the left by inviting students. about 500 people joined us. we were opposed by about 200 jocks. we found that not only were the jocks they are blocking our way, but the library was locked by the administration. >> of course i thought this would stop, but it didn't. >> [chanting] >> the pigs called in reinforcements. >> [indiscernible]
>> we were weak down in the park. the cops were coming pretty quickly. >> we would take a leave, 300 people would come back and take over. >> thinking it was just the perfect thing, after that. >> it wasn't so perfect because at some point we really, we were moving faster than we knew how . >> tremendous morale. >> always despite ourselves it
, was something that we really wanted to do, but we weren't sure that we were ready to do. -- whatesponsibility are your views? >> we haven't completed. >> political pressure from congressman in the community working, that prestigious, and you are assuming that if you go through whatever channels you are going through, you are going to comment out right. -- come out right. >> some of these things have gone on for weeks. colemanat point with thinking he was our trump card, but we really knew that he was there to hold the building. the real thing about the black-white split, was that the two groups realize that we had two different political identities. the blacks wanted to stop the gym. they figured the best way to do this was to hold the building, to barricade. the whites still saw our goal was to radicalize other white people.
we didn't want other students coming into class. we thought we should confront our enemies the administration. ,but we didn't realize that what -- we were much too timid and what we really had to do was show our moral strength and hold a building. the blacks thought that we had split among ourselves, that we were not disciplined, and that we really did not understand what the correct militant tactic was. so they asked us to leave. >> a report came down from the meeting and told us -- >> we left and took the library. even the administration. look, in two days, we have hamilton, buildings, avery, fairweather. we want to be here. >> we barricaded at the basement and the police were trying to come through.
--t the brothers did was that kind of thing, you know, and flooded the whole basement. that was one of their tactics, the police were very angry about that. but then they stood and charged the building, and they were pretending that they did not try to come through the tunnels, to the basement of the building. but they were trying to take the building by surprise, quietly, that kind of thing. you know, and keep moving that way. try to defeat the movement that way defeat it before it spreads through the community. they did not want the students at columbia university, with that kind of militancy, to get other students and other universities to revolt against the system. but the brothers who got it made a revolting too very hot that is what they were trying to do, but they did not get through. [drumming] >> there were mothers there. didn't have any sons in columbia, didn't want to see god didn't want ida to be running experiments in the school against their children and
against their families. everything from the far right to the liberal right such as charles to the far left such as tl and independent black militants. >> these black high school kids, right in the middle hundreds of , tps. up theathered and walked avenue to columbia, we were talking about burning the place down. we came out with baseball bats and hockey sticks, and when we got through columbia, we broke through the police lines. [applause] >> going on in here. >> what? >> in here. >> that was released by the students from inside. i will read the statement. number one, stopping the construction of the gym. number two, stopping charges against all persons involved in demonstrations against the gym. [applause]
number breaking all three, administrative guys with -- ties with ida. number four, for all the students involved, when the university has stopped construction of the gym and it granted amnesty, we will consider negotiations with the university. we are prepared to remain indefinitely until these conditions are met. the black students of the columbia university, joined by a few members of the black community have been in hamilton. we have established a cafeteria with adequate stores. our position is in charge of our infirmary. morale is high. [applause] [shouting] over 200 went into the library. only 23 stayed when the first
cops came. but as the days were on, we realized our strength is in our militancy and staying in those buildings. it took the example of the blacks to move us. >> we saw a bunch of papers in these girlie magazines, saw a bunch of papers linking congress to the ida. a lot of letters about cleaning up the area and moving out the blacks and puerto ricans. >> first day, we set up a defense committee which would take care setting up the barricades. we decided what our policy would be towards police, towards jocks. we taped the windows, empty -- emptied bookcases and put them up in front of the windows in case teargas canisters got through. >> people, whenever there would be a scratch or something, that time we through barricades, we decided the barricades were necessary politically and strategically. and anything went in making
strong and permanent barricades. >> defense was all taken care of. security was a problem, letting people in and out of the building. watches. we needed people to watch the windows every night. >> we had a walkie-talkie set up. plus there were telephone communications in every building. we had 3 million, and people who did nothing during the strike but worked the vending machine. there was a big signposts in berkeley that said five students with a menu graph machine can do more harm to a university than an army. every building had their own mode of communication. we had four or five we were using. >> one of the things that happened was that each new group
of people who came in the building each new day's , recruitment into the building would become political. what understand the life of the community, would understand what was going on by the meeting. we were meeting for approximately eight hours a day. a lot of it was political education. a lot of it was just bullshit. a lot of it was learning about what we would eat that day. fds is humane representing the human body, but during committee of various people from campus, and there were now starting to combat [indiscernible] that no amnesty would be granted to students under any circumstances. >> the question of amnesty is really important because it is a political question, our legitimacy to protest has to be recognized before we can negotiate. >> there seems to be a lot more dignity amongst the students now
because they they feel that they , have a right to say the things they are saying. that is why i think the amnesty issue has been raised so many times here, and we have had to reassure by raising votes of confidence for it 70 times here. because people are not sure what it whether they are supposed to be guilty for what they are involved in, and the whole issue of demanding amnesty first is to show that we have rights, and until we get those rights, we have to act in a coercive way. >> the hangups that are usually present in any kind of collective organizing where -- were there. then i gotyou made, 100 people in three rooms, and sleeping space for three people. the idea of sleeping so , insignificant. >> we never really got too much sleep. we were always having meetings,
and people always yelling and waking us up. but we did not care much, we slept on the floor. there was a group of people who were incredibly close to each other, on no other level. >> we are getting committee support. we are getting blankets food and , money. there were also getting -- they were also getting opposition from the faculty and from right-wing student. >> every now and then they would try to keep the food out, try through -- try to throw record players out, they were trying to act like the university at administration. >> there are 10 year. they are not going to say anything. that is our only position. no comment. >> [chanting]
>> get out of the way. >> trying to get food. >> that food is going up. there is nothing else to say. that food is going up. >> these people have been eating, they haven't. >> of course they have. >> they don't have any left. they don't have any food. >> [indiscernible] >> they are getting by. you don't need to have any. >> [chanting] >> put more food in there. that food is going up. pass it up, as it up, pass it up. [cheers and applause]
>> stop it. you are fools. >> the position of the professors was one of being the police, that they had to take sides. either they were for taking food in, or not taking food in, they were on the side of the cops are on our side. >> the faculty wanted to be against us because they never understood the nature of our demands when we were struggling. >> [indiscernible] >> the faculty was in some way just as naive as the officials were. which is the only alternative they could see was the maintenance of the system was chaos. they could not be beyond the occupation of the building as it -- as the creation of something that might be better. >> for like at least an entire week, living at full capacity, there was a total collective feeling. no one particularly cared about the individual feelings because you never even experienced them.
if you talk to anyone outside, they immediately will realize coming here they had never seen before. this was one of the new experiences for many people there, sort of an electric awakening. >> the cost of communal food was most important to share everything. we shared oranges, a coke, brad. -- sandwiches. we did not want to sing all by ourselves. >> people are living here. they are living here between meetings, and it is a home. it is a home. i have never been so comfortable on this campus.
[cheers and applause] >> as the spirit was so high tonight, we decided that it would be entirely appropriate to be married. [laughter] [applause] >> it was such that fairweather was not only holy ground, but was our home. [applause] and we therefore chose to be married at home with our family. [applause]
>> [indiscernible] >> thank you, gentlemen. >> the university claims are you are trespassing and has contacted the new york police department in connection with your activities. we have been informed that the police department will take all the necessary action with connection with our complaints against you. your order to remove yourself from the premises, and it is separate and apart from any question of amnesty. you will be subject to proper disciplinary action by the university in any event, though
if you leave the building pursuant to this order, you will have less to answer for then those who did not. -- than those who did not. >> [protesting] >> no violence, no violence. >> and they managed. they are going to push them all together. they were all sitting on the floor, and they pushed them together and got them so they could hardly move. they would get, they had something in their hands. >> just let me be. so many people, and they just rushed. you think that -- they came right past us. >> watch it, watch it. ok get back. ,>> stop. >> bring them into the door. >> get back. >> why you leaving the door? >> there's a doctor at the door. >> there is a doctor in the
doorway. >> these guys are animals. they don't want you to form. they attack from behind. >> on the staircase there was a solid line of police. the people in front of me were dragged down, and as they were dragged down each individual cop hisanding on this line put licks in, and they were laughing. i will never forget it. there seems to have been orders, as i thought so often during the demonstration. >> i was -- i got my glasses, and i was running and i asked the class officer, can i please go back? and he whacks to me in the face. i was hit with a club on the head and i was honest in the nose. >> i found a student who was dazed, bleeding profusely from the forehand -- forehead. i said this man is wounded, can you please help? they said, get out. police had formed two lines that
you had to run through, being pummeled all the time. he was very fortunate he wasn't kicked in the groin as most of the demonstrators were. however at the end of the line, he was hit with a blackjack at which point he was left unconscious. the next thing that he remembers was that he was at the first aid station. >> we want peace. we want peace. we want peace. we want peace. >> must go. must go. >> we have nothing against the cops. we have it against -- we realize the problem. get the reformers. we have a sense of character. faculty were with us. the strike -- we will admit we are guilty. we wish to be charged. i want this all down. we will get named very we will
give anything. is there no shaking -- [indiscernible] will people not realize this insanity? canterbury. i am guilty i want to be , arrested. >> let them go. >> the students have already pulled away, and now they are moving on another one. >> [indiscernible] >> i am not going to reach this. >> i also -- charges of over 700 us. some of it was real, some of it was fake. >> i know of nurses and doctors that pleaded with the police not to proceed, to please let them alone, and it would say no, no, get away, this is our job. >> i was a resident.
they would not allow me. my face was cut, i was hit with a pistol under the eye, and it was bleeding. i was not allowed to see about it until i got out of port -- court 10 hours later. >> what does it mean? i, i'm going to strike. i don't see how any teacher, any student can attend this school anymore. i was completely vocal about the whole thing. but this bust has radicalized everybody and me personally. >> i was a nonviolent student. i was completely passive. i did not kill one person. i was completely neutral. i am not neutral now. i will occupy buildings tomorrow. >> according to six written affidavits and a professor of mathematics much looting and , destruction occurred in mathematics between 7:00 a.m. p.m. 00 during these the only people
hours, permitted inside were policeman, members of the press, and a very small group of building staff. when i got out of jail and got back to math, iran for my camera and light meter that i left behind. all i found was a lot of exposed film and broken lenses. who else could have done it but the cops? >> it is interesting to note that arthur hayes sulzberger, one of the trustees, just happened to be the chairman of the board of a new york firm, and one wonders why certain things were distorted in the times coverage of the strike. other things that appeared in the evening edition changed in the morning edition. and i think the answer is clear enough. >> i think take a look. what is this a goddamn police , state? what is this? [speaking simultaneously] >> got two cards to get in your what is this? >> double identification, please. >> double identification, please. >> double identification,
please. >> ahead. finals, study, get ahead. work. rough. clubs. get ahead. grades, finals, get ahead. study. get ahead. jobs. get ahead. get ahead. get ahead. papers. [indiscernible] >> police, cops, forward march. >> [growling] >> private property. >> private property. >> no cops on campus. > ♪ we shall not be moved
we ask that all students and faculty not meet or have classes inside buildings. we have taken the power away from an irresponsible and illegitimate administration. we have taken power away from a board of self perpetuating businessmen who call themselves trustees of this university. we are demanding an end to the construction of the gymnasium, a gymnasium being built against the will of the people of the community of harlem. a decision that was made unilaterally by powers of the university without consultation of people whose lives it affects. we are no longer asking, but demanding an end to all affiliation and ties to this institution defense analysis.
a defense department venture, the cooperates with the university to study the kill and overkill that has resulted in the slaughter and maiming of thousands of vietnamese and americans. we are no longer asking. we are demanding. that students and faculty have a say in the policies of the university. >> our lives governed by men who don't understand -- [indiscernible] it has become increasingly clear they don't understand the elements and the ingredients of the creative discord that begins to show up in the west today. what they are able to do is give in their rates, they can create a world order which everyone and their mom thinks is absolutely on the power of the police to maintain it. they have no love of power.
[applause] >> when you have understood when , you understand the uniform, and the badge, and the coercive violence of the billy club, napalm and atomic bombs, then you have understood absolutely the same legacy of those like jason kirk who pretends to authority in our world. it is this generation coming fertility behind the barricades in new york, in rome.d, and in paris, and we are about to take the future. [applause] ♪ >> ♪ and i ain't gonna be treated this way
continue to be run without the offices and the power of the administration. >> the classes have been set up at this university to focus of the new glasses is to establish a free, open, democratic and meaningful discourse between faculty and students. to put an end to the old system and structure of columbia university. lawns,re being held on on campus, and food halls, and in apartments of faculty outside of campus. >> students were saying three major things. first they were saying that they refused to be produced anymore and sent into society as some kind of a managerial class. second, they were saying to the faculty that they could no longer accept the paternalistic role of teachers traditionally played in the university. learning takes place as dialogue between equal men.
they sat in effect we will no , longer let you play some kind of big daddy to us. third they were saying the demands and actions had to be taken seriously, could not be dismissed with some kind of bullshit platitude about idealism. they were involved on human seriousness. >> tonight, there is a new liberated area in this neighborhood. [applause] >> we are going to support those 50 community members that have taken over the building. presently in the building there are 40 to 50 representatives of political groups, of clubs, organizations that have been fighting columbia's expensive policies for years. this is not a state of occupancy. >> students right now are the vanguards. but there are masses of people in areas of new york around columbia which are finally going
to stop columbia. >> at some point it seems like a contradiction between support action and your own particular kind of oppression, which is what we are always talking about. but in fact -- >> when you want to impose institution -- [indiscernible] no longer will you close our streets, open the parkland, and force 100 of our buildings and force the removal of over 8000 people from their homes. >> why is the community action committee predominately white of the 8000 tenants of small hotels, sro's, and tenements that columbia has systematically displaced, only a singly selected token number of minority group families now reside in morningside heights.
we force the deliberate creation of a white ghetto. >> [indiscernible] >> we don't want to be arrested. >> get in the wagon. [speaking simultaneously] >> i am. >> get in the wagon. >> get your own wagon. >> you are free to leave. >> i don't want to be arrested. i don't want to be arrested. >> go right down here. >> go to riverside drive if you don't want to be arrested. [applause] >> we wanted to show solidarity with people and the six strike leaders decided to suspend.
>> you are hereby directed to clear out of this building. any further instructions if this building is not cleared out in the next 10 minutes. >> go now, stay, stay in here -- >> a three vote majority decided to stay. >> strike. strike. strike. strike. strike. strike. strike. strike. strike. strike. >> if you do not leave this building, we have no alternative but to call the police. if you are arrested you will be , immediately suspended. [applause]
>> a lot of the most militant people had left hamilton because they didn't want to get busted a second time. those were the people that stuck around outside, building, barricades, waiting for cops. >> the crowd is surrounded by police. >> here they come. >> come on. >> [indiscernible] >> sieg heil! sieg heil! strike. strike. strike. strike. strike. strike. >> [shouting] strike,strike, strike,
>> here we are at columbia university, morningside heights. 116th street. for the first time in the history of columbia university, there will be two graduations in morningside heights. the one we are looking at now is the official ceremony, acknowledged by the trustees and attended by the faculty and administration, but almost the entire graduating class is expected to leave the ceremony, and protest their legitimacy, and hold their own ceremony in repudiation of the trustees. they expect to be joined by a few members of the faculty.
making freedom saying keep your eyes on the prize, oh lord oh lord oh lord, keep your eyes on the prize oh lord ♪ >> that is right, everybody clap. keep it together. >> everybody sing. >> go. >> ♪ oh lord, oh lord, keep your lord n that prize, oh in just a few more hours, this whole campus will be ours keep your eyes on the prize, oh
lord oh lord oh lord keep your eyes on the prize, oh lord all our brothers give demands, we know that freedom rings keep your eyes on the prize, hold on hold on hold on keep your eyes on the prize, hold on ♪ [sirens] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter at c-span history for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news.
announcer: from the symposium titled 1968, philly and the world, a discussion on the impact of local and national sports on social change and civil rights. panelists talk about how collegiate and professional athletes used their platforms to advocate for equal treatment for all, especially women and african-americans. the lepage center for history in the public interest at villanova university and the historical society of pennsylvania cohosted this event. it is an hour and 10 minutes. sarah: my name is sarah leu. i am the edwin forrest curator of performing arts collections here at the historical society of pennsylvania. but prior to that i actually worked on several sports collections that we have here in the archives. and i am overall just a giant sports fan. [laughter] let me introduce you today to our panelists.