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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  April 23, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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04/23/18 04/23/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> recall on all students, faculty, staff, and workers of university to support our strike. >> the black students of university joined by a few members of the black community ave been -- morale is high.
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50 years ago today, hundreds of students at columbia university here in new york started a revolt on campus. they occupied five buildings, quitting the president's office and law library. they barricaded themselves inside the buildings for wii, protesting columbia's ties to military research and plans to build a university gymnasium and a public park in harlem. the protest began less than three weeks after the assassination of dr. martin luther king junior. the 1968 columbia uprising led to one of the largest mass arrests in new york city history. more than 700 people the taint on april 30, touching off the university wide strike. today we spend the hour looking back at this pivotal moment with four of the student organizers involved in the strike. >> like to think the legacy of activea is one of
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engagement in the issues of the day, seeking that engagement or a struggle to conclusion, and forng it be a launchpad social justice. amy: today we will speak with raymond brown, leader of the student afro-americans society a columbia, one of the leaders of the black students who occupied columbia university's hamilton hall. a member of sds, students for a democratic society. we will also speak with mark rudd mature of sds during the student strike, and, editor of the new book "a time to stir columbia 68." there asonzales was well. all of that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. north korea's supreme leader, kim jong-un, said he will stop testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and will close a site where at least six prior nuclear tests were held. the announcement came less than a week ahead of a planned meeting with south korean president moon jae-in, and as the trump administration makes plans for an unprecedented face-to-face summit between kim and president trump. in response, trump tweeted -- "they have agreed to denuclearization site closure, , no more testing!" in fact, north korea has said only that itill suspend tests of its nuclear program. trump has previously threatened to use nuclear weapons against north korea, saying he would totally destroy the nation of 25 million people. french president emmanuel macron kicks off a three-day state visit today with a sizing trip
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to george washington's mount vernon estate in virginia where he will be joined by president trump and first lady melanie trump. macron is reportedly planning to press trump to keep troops in syria and pressure him not to pull out of the iran nuclear deal as trump has repeatedly threatened to do. in tennessee, police have launched a manhunt for a killer who opened fire on a waffle house restaurant in suburban nashville early sunday morning, killing four people and wounding four others before being disarmed by a patron and escaping on foot. police have identified the killer as a 29-year-old white man from morton, illinois, named travis reinking. all of his victims were young people of color. reinking reportedly arrived at the waffle house naked, except for a jacket, armed with an ar-15 semiautomatic assault rifle. he fled the scene after 29-year-old james shaw jr. wrestled reinking's assault
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rifle away from him. shaw, who was injured in the struggle, has been widely hailed as a hero who prevented the further loss of life. reinking was arrested in july 2017 by the secret service for trespassing on the white house grounds. he would go on to tell investigators he wanted to set up a meeting with president trump. it was one of several incidents in which reinking was reported to have displayed delusional thinking. after the white house incident, the fbi seized four of reinking's guns, but the weapons were later returned to reinking's father, who acknowledged he gave the guns back to his son. one of those guns, an ar-15, was used in sunday's massacre. this is nashville mayor david briley, speaking to reporters on sunday. >> we need comprehensive gun reform to address mass shootings, domestic shootings, accidental shootings, and homicides. if we can all just come together
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for this and for the greater good, we can take these weapons of war off the streets of our country. amy: the mass shooting came two days after thousands of students at schools across the u.s. walked out of classes for another coordinated day of action against gun violence. in afghanistan, a suicide bomber struck a voter registration center in the capital kabul sunday, killing at least 57 people and injuring 119 others. the attack came just days after authorities began opening voter id distribution centers ahead of october elections. isis later claimed responsibility for the bombing, which appeared to target members of the shia hazara minority community. later sunday, six people were killed in baghlan province when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. in the gaza strip, israeli military snipers shot and killed four palestinians friday as they protested near the heavily
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militarized border cordoning off the palestinian territory from the outside world. among the dead was 15-year-old mohammad ayoub, who was shot in the head. this is the boy's mother. >> mohammed was standing unarmed. the israeli forces were armed and taking cover. they bring in reinforcements to kill the boys in gaza so they do not get to grow up and get their rights. amy: israeli forces have killed 36 palestinians since protests against the israeli occupation began on march 30. meanwhile, the number of palestinians injured by israeli bullets has topped 1700. the aid group medecins sans frontieres, or doctors without borders, warns most of those shot will be left with "serious, long-term physical disabilities. in kuala lumpur, malaysia, a palestinian man was shot and killed saturday by two assailants who fired 14 rounds before speeding away on a motorcycle. the victim, 35-year-old fadi
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al-batsh, was a senior lecturer at the university of kuala lumpur who specialized in engineering and who had been living in malaysia for the past decade. malaysia's deputy prime minister said he suspected the killers were europeans linked to a foreign intelligence agency. in the gaza strip, members of batsh's family blamed the israeli spy agency mossad for carrying out the killing. in syria, government forces have stepped up a massive campaign of airstrikes and artillery fire on the last opposition-held districts around the capital damascus. among areas taking heavy fire is the yarmouk camp, home to palestinian refugees, which has been held by isis since 2015. chris gunness, spokesperson for unrwa -- the u.n. relief agency for palestinian refugees -- warned of a humanitarian catastrophe inside the camp. camp was a refugee transformed into a death camp, again to one of the lower rungs of help. things were beyond inhumane for the people trapped there for
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civilians today, we are extremely concerned because things are getting worse by the hour. amy: five saturday, a u.n. team of chemical weapons inspectors coected samples from douma two weeks after an alleged gas tack. the incident was cited by president trump, along with the french and british governments, as justification for a round of u.s.-led airstrikes on april 14. in nicaragua, president daniel ortega has canceled a popular plans to raise taxes while cutting pension benefits after the death toll from resulting protests rose to at least 26 over the weekend. human rights groups have accused police of using live rounds on demonstrators. among those killed was reporter angel gahona, who was shot dead as he broadcast coverage of the protests on facebook live. the protests erupted last wednesday as the government moved to decrease people's pensions even as it requires workers and employers to contribute more money to the social security system.
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in peru, mourners paid their last respects saturday to 81-year-old olivia arevalo lomas, an indigenous rainforest protector who was found murdered in her ancestral home in the amazon. arevalo lomas was a traditional healer, a leader in her community, and an indigenous rights activist. on thursday, she was shot twice by an unknown gunman who fled on a motorcycle. on friday, an angry mob surrounded 41-year-old sebastian woodroffe, a canadian man they blamed for lomas's death, before dragging him away and lynching him. police say they're looking into whether woodroffe had anything to do with arevalo lomas' killing and are investigating both murders. in armenia, thousands of protesters defied a police crackdown and rallied in the capital yerevan sunday, demanding e release of a opposition leaders and calling on long-time leader serzh sargsyan to step down. protesters are accusing sargsyan of clinging to power after he served two terms as the country's president, then led a campaign to make the role of the presidency ceremonial while
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elevating the position of prime minister and assuming that role. at least 200 people have been arrested as police have sought unsuccessfully to stop the ongoing protests. back in the united states them arizona public school teachers are poised to strike on thursday unless the state's republican-led legislature meets their demands to strengthen public education. governor doug ducey has proposed raising teacher salaries 20% by 2020, but unions say that doesn't go far enough. they're demanding similar raises for support staff, new technology, smaller class sizes, and a reversal to $1 billion in education cuts since the start of the great recession. the strike authorization comes on the heels of similar actions in west virginia, tacky, and oklahoma, and as colorado teachers are planning a rally friday at their state capitol to demand pension security and more k-through-12 funding. in massachusetts, thousands of graduate students in undergraduate teaching assistants at harvard university have voted to unionize. harvard student newspaper reported harvard representative
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repeatedly declined answer whether administrators will recognize the harvard graduate students union, a chapter of the united automobile workers, the uaw. a climate change denier with no scientific credentials is set to helm nasa after he was narrowly confirmed by the senate in a 50-49 vote. oklahoma republican congress member jim bridenstine previously demanded president obama apologize for funding climate change research, and said falsely from the house floor that global temperatures stopped rising early this century. bridenstine will now oversee an agency whose earth sciences division is responsible for much of the satellite data used to investigate how human activity is driving global warming. in a major victory for environmentalists, banking giant hsbc said friday it will no longer finance the development tar sands oil extraction, most coal-fired power plants, and oil and gas drilling in the arctic. hsbc says its new policy, which will also end financing to
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hydroelectric and nuclear power projects that don't meet certain requirements, is targeted at helping keep greenhouse gas emissions below targets set in the landmark 2015 paris climate accord. in a statement, the sierra club's kelly martin welcomed the policy, calling it -- "yet another signal to donald trump and the rest of the world that, despite their worst laid plans, the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close." the winners of the 2018 prestigious goldman environmental prize have been announced, with women climbing five of the six prizes. among this year's winners are anti-nuclear activists liz mcdaid and makoma lekalakala, who led a successful campaign against uth africa's bid to purchase as many as 10 nuclear power plants from russia. in latin america, francia marquez wins a prize for her campaign against illegal mining in the amazon, which led colombia's government to crack down on cyanide and mercury pollution. and in the u.s., leeanne walters wins a goldman prize for uncovering the crisis of toxic
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lead in flint, michigan's water supply after she commissioned a test of her home's tap water and found it was so contaminated it qualified as hazardous waste. in georgia, hundreds of militarized police officers patrolled the small rally of neo-nazis in the atlanta suburb of newnan on saturday, arresting members of an anti-fascist counter-protest after they refused an order to remove their masks. >> state law requires you to remove your masks right now. you will do it right now or you will be arrested. amy: when some of the antifa protesters refused, police moved in, police moved in brandishing semiautomatic assault rifles and pointing them at the heads of unarmed demonstrators. 10 people were arrested. the police were enforcing laws drafted years ago to combat the ku klux klan. after the protest, the neo-nazis gathered in a field and made fascist salutes as they burned large wooden swastikas. in new york, former black panther herman bell is poised to leave prison for the first time in nearly 45 years after a judge rejected a lawsuit challenging
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his upcoming release on parole. bell was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the killing of two new york city police officers in 1971. at the time, he was a member of the black liberation army and a former black panther. since then, he has mentored thousands of young men while behind bars and kept a clean disciplinary record. for more on the case of herman bell, visit our website democracynow.org. and former san francisco 49ers quarterback colin kaepernick has accepted amnesty international's highest prize, the ambassador of conscience award. in 2016, kaepernick sparked a movement against racism and police brutality at sporting events across the u.s. by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem ahead of nfl games. this is colin kaepernick speaking saturday night at an amnesty awards ceremony in amsterdam. >> it was james baldwin who said to be black and america and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all of the
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time is, why aren't all people? how can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates freedom and justice for all that is so unjust to summon if the people living there? hocan you not be in a rage when you know that you are always at risk of death in the streets or enslavement in the prison system? how can you willingly be blind to the truth of systemic racialized injustice? amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. 50 years ago this today, unable 23rd, 1968, hundreds -- on april 23, 1968, hundreds of students at columbia university in new york started a revolt on campus. students went on strike. they occupied five buildings, including the president's office in low library.
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they barricaded themselves inside the buildings for days. they were protesting columbia's ties to military research and plans to build a university gymnasium in a public park in harlem. the protests began less than three weeks after the assassination of dr. martin luther king, jr. the 1968 columbia uprising led to one of the largest mass arrests in new york city history. more than 700 people were arrested on april 30. it also inspired student protests across the country. today we spend the hour looking back at this pivotal moment. several of the student organizers are joining us in a minute. as one of them writes today in an op-ed in "the new york times" -- "in popular memory, the columbia protests were a high point of the campus movement against the vietnam war, and a mile marker in its radicalization. but this history, which privileges the actions and concerns of white students like myself, is incomplete, and it misrepresents what made the protests so powerful -- the leadership of the black students." those are the words of mark rudd, who will join us in a minute. we'll also speak with raymond
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brown, former leader of the student afro-american society, and with nancy biberman, who, like rudd, was a member of sds, students for democratic society. but first, we begin with excerpts from the documentary "columbia revolt" by third world newsreel. >> we now demand we no longer ask a say in decisions that affect our lives. we call on all students, faculty, staff, and workers of the university toupport our strike. we ask that all students and classesnot meet or have inside buildings. we have taken the power away from in a responsible and illegitimate administration. we have taken power away from a board of self-perpetuating businessman who call themselves trustees of this university. we're demanding an end to this
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construction of the gymnasium, 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 commanding, an end stall affiliation and ties with the institute -- venture andpartment collaborates the university and to studies of kill an overkill that has resulted in the slaughter and maiming of thousands of the enemies and americans. -- vietnamese and americans. juan: students at columbia moved to take over buildings despite warnings from campus officials. tostrike leaders they tried
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suspend, they decided to take hamilton once again. you are hereby directed to clear out of this building. if this building is not clear about in the next 10 minutes. >> [inaudible] >> we decided to stay. >> if you do not choose to leave this building, we have no alternative but to call the police. any student arrested will be immediately suspended.
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juan: the students then set up barricades inside the administration buildings. >> we set up a defense committee. -- weided what our taped the windows, emptied bookcases, and put them up in front of the windows in case teargas canisters to get through the tape. >> there be a scratch or something. the second time we built the arcades, we decided the barricades were necessary politically and strategically. the fence was taking care of. security is a problem, letting people in and out of the buildings. when the people to watch the windows every night. >> we had a walkie-talkie set up. there were telephone communications to every building , which is the university tapped. we have three minute graphs constantly.
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-- shad three mimeograph constantly. amy: that is an excerpt of columbia revolt, third world newsreel. when we come back from break, we'll be joined by four of the student activists who led the strike. they're now lawyers working on housing rights and community activists, and journalists. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "draft morning" by the notorious byrd brothers. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we're now joined by four of the student activists involved in the columbia strike. in 1968, raymond brown was a leader of the student afro-american society at columbia and was one of the leaders of the black students who occupied columbia university's hamilton hall. he's now a criminal defense lawyer who also practices international human rights law.
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need to be berman is here with us in new york --nancy biberman is here with us in new york. she was a student at barnard college at the time of the '68 strike and a member of sds, students for democratic society. she's now a lawyer working in community development, and founder of the women's housing and economic development corporation in the bronx. joining us from albuquerque, new mexico, is mark rudd, who was the chairman of the columbia university chapter of sds during the student strike of april 1968. he was elected national secretary in 1969 and was the last to hold the position. and we are joined by paul cronin, the editor of the new book, "a time to stir: columbia '68." emit a seven hour -- he made a seven-hour documentary about columbia 68. he teaches at the school of visual arts in new york. and juan gonzalez, one of the strike leaders as well. on april 23,there
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50 years ago today. juan, describe what happened that morning. rallythere was a major called by the students for democratic society, as well as the members of the student afro-american society who joined the protest as well. basically, continuing the ongoing protest against the university's involvement in research for the defense analysis, a group doing a lot of research for the pentagon to the vietnam war, and against the construction of the gymnasium that columbia was trying to now morningside park. a variety of forces came together. the sds, the sas students, a lot of other folks involved in the community struggles around the gym, and everyone gathered at the sundial and -- initially, marched to the gym site then
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came back on campus and we all ended up in hamilton hall, the main undergraduate classroom building for the columbia college students. that is when the city and began. amy: ray brown, describe the role of the afro-american society, your role, what happened that day. >> the black student role has often been ignored, especially by the media. "the new york times" and managed to cover this for days. we got a chairman from the chinese republic that new with the students were doing. we were more disciplined than any group. we determined we were the first to determine to barricade buildings. we ask in a manner that has become controversial, the white students took leave. we barricaded that first building. our role was strategically pivotal because the city had just erupted weeks earlier after dr. king's death. there was a perception that harlem might rise, and we did
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have a lot of community support. the reason this last of her seven days was because nobody wanted to arrest the black students and subsequently, that meant they could not arrest white students. yetle is pivotal, historically ignored. a micawber to go to a clip when students first trapped henry coleman in his first-floor office pulse of the audit was from the campus radio station. it is narrated by no other than robert siegel, class of 1969. >> the dean of columbia college conference demonstrators in the lobby of hamilton hall. >> in my to understand i'm not allowed to leave this building? >> let me ask. is he to understand he is not to leave this building? amy: ray brown, remember that? >> we wanted dean coleman as our guest when a hostage. he personally recruited me. he was very popular among black students. he was involved in omissions. he reached out probably more
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than any other dean. it was ironic he was there. building, wed the invited him to leave because we did not need them anymore. we said, i cannot mention words like kidnapping -- and included a white students leave? you could not have black students effectively sitting cheek buy gel with a white students who were everybody from kids he wanted to have a teach in, people who were countercultural folks, we could not maintain it. we knew each other well. we were clear about the fact this was not a revolution, but a demonstration and ultimately used it against us. we were very firm. , describe biberman what you were doing that day, april 23, 1968. >> at noon, we all gathered at the sundial in the middle of the college campus. there was a rally.
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the rally was about the ongoing anger at the war in vietnam, in particular, our university's affiliation with the research for the war. ,e were also bring much aware dr. king had just died. we were all in the streets. i think everyone was sitting and high tension mode. what we were able to focus on, and symbols are as important as facts sometime, and in this case, especially, the gym was the most powerful symbol of racism that we could see in our neighborhood. it was right there. it was on a bluff. the proposed gym between the university and harlem. it was a public park. studentssigned for with a backdoor entrance to the community.
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behind all rallying that. amy: and the role of women? >> it is more complicated. i would like to say, however, for a couple of my sisters who are listing out there, that two women were the ones to yell -- after we could not get into low library, having just run from the sundial -- to the gym. it was from that moment that we all ran to the gym. we jumped into the bulldozers. juan: i would like to ask mark rudd to step in. your name is probably most associated with the columbia strike of all of the protesters, yet today in the "new york times" you attempt to try to correct the history or the narrative that has developed over the decades. >> right.
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said aboutlot to be the columbia strike, but that point that the leadership of the black students has got to be made. it is relevant today because too often the narrative of contemporary struggles focuses on the white kids. -- this is going to be particular movement that we have now or movements are being led by women and also by nonwhite people. so this is a good time to look back and see what relevant history there is. >> i think it is important to point out that mark and some of the leaders have not only been historically accurate, the gracious in the last decade saying, look, there was a misperception as to how this happened at the time. mark asked you to speak it is book launch.
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there has been a recognition by some leadership, but that hasn't taken away the tension that still exist at a number of events on the part of white students who feel they were expelled improperly from hamilton hall. to this clipo turn from the columbia revolt, the film. reading aown statement from black students who occupied hamilton hall during the 1968 strike. >> they have been in hamilton 56 hours. morale is high. amy: again, that was h rap brown. that is back in 1968. protesters who barricaded hamilton hall re-named it
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"malcolm x university." >> that is true. we were very self-conscious about our role politically in that we represented a larger community. many of us had been involved in the movement over the years. that statement was written by the black students of hamilton all. members of the democratic establishment came through along with many community organizers who said we will help foster this notion as the community cares. it is important to understand that organic connection as well as an important part of this notsing, and one that was reported or covered very accurately at the time of the mainstream media. juan: i would like to bring paul into this discussion. you have spent the last, what, 10 years of your life working on a project, a book on the columbia strike and this seven hour marathon film that you have developed? and yet you are a british national. >> baxley, i'm american, too.
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my mother is american. i grew up in the mid-atlantic household. juan: tell us why you spend so much of your life on this. >> the bottom line is it is a fascinating story. it is not as if anyone had revisited it in any detail since 1968. some phd student had not come along and pull all of the material together. i knew there were plenty of people around from 1968 would be able to talk. the fact is columbia university was full of very smart people, articulate people, and i've met some extraordinari articulate people over the years. also, the massive role -- raw primary material that is come to light i have generated an archive of 30,000 photographs. thousands of pages of documents. it has been a fascinating story to tell. a very traumatic story. the interplay between the black students and why students, between the faculty and the students. any number of dynamics at play
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here make it a very interesting and dramatic story. spent 10 years talking to people, interviewing hundreds of people, and i suppose he is one person u.s. try to really look weekly into what really happened. -- sevens the shoa of hours, right? >> it is. i interviewed 700 people on film for this project. juan: you also interviewed police who participated in the attacks, city officials. >> police. there are any number of -- somebody different constituencies here at play. each one of which are at odds with the other. youkly, you can sort of -- could focus the entire story in the mayor's office, for example, or in the police department. it even in the police department, for example, there's an interplay between the beach
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in morningsideps heights and say the tps, the .actical patrol force and by 1968, they were at the peak of their powers, parachuted in the hotspots around the city. the beat cops were not happy to have these guys on their turf. any number of these interactions andtes interesting stories interesting drama. amy: let's go to a clip of your film, paul cronin, "a time to stir." former columbia students who protested were called -- recall the key moment in which students take down a fence. >> it was a deeply symbolic moment because on the side of the fence is legality, politeness, i am part of the expressing my opinion and on the other side of this chicken wire fence is trespass, the realization that we are called upon to do more
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than simply express our opinion. >> i remember them pushing. i remember feeling finally i could grab the fence and also world.story, change the amy: talk about what that fence was. juan: that was the fence that was erected at the construction site for the new gymnasium. actually, i have been arrested protesting and that construction site a couple of months before the actual columbia protest erupted when there were some community protests. that fence was sort of the symbol of this new gym going up. there are been various protests at the construction site at the fence. so when some of the students began to tear down the fence a day, that was sort of a -- ok, you're not going to hold us back anymore. >> mark is very good on this. the film is seven hours in part because april 23, 1968 does not
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come in until two hours in. there is a whole back story. i had been reading the last two or three days, very brief newspaper summaries of events will stop to say they barely scratch the surface is self-evident. there is mixture nearly interesting story. in a way, even more interesting that one happen in 1968, the story of the founding of sds, of organizing, itg brings together an extraordinarily interesting people. especially don't understand. 1964 is 10 years after brown versus board of education, 90 or's after emmett till, and we were very coaches the university was saying, maybe if white supremacy is in a thing anymore, we have to have brown students here. there mistake was assuming it was students with brown skin and
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not engaging the issues we brought. but this is shortly after the government, through the courts, said, white supremacy is not hip anymore because we have to persuade the rest of the people in the brown world we are better than the communists. that is the context. any go how many black students were at columbia? had 20 students of the biggest class ever in the college. amy: how many students were at the college? >> 2600. it was miniscule. by the time of the demonstrations, we had maybe 100. although, there were some graduate students. juan: the same was true of latinos. i think i was one of two in my , 1968.t columbia there were not even enough latinos to have an organization back then. amy: juan, let's go back to you, figures ago, democracy now!'s juan gonzalez speaking to a strike. juan: now we want to go into the dorms.
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you may not agree with what we have been saying here, have questions, want to know more. let's go to the dorms and talk quietly in small groups will stop we will be there and everyone in livingston, livingston lobby -- we will be there and talk about the issues involved and we will talk about where this country is going and where this university is going and what it is doing to society and what we would like it to do and how we would like -- come join us now. amy: mark rudd, where you live now in albuquerque, new mexico, this will idea as juan is announcing the different places to have discussions during the strike. talk more about this and talk sds, you are being head of the students for democratic society. well, first of all, i just want to say how exciting it is comrades.ith my old
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i wish i were present with you in the studio. a couple of things that occur to me in regard to the conversation we're having at the moment is that the university was not prepared for black students. ray and other people have written about this. i would like to hear more from ray about that, about the ways in which the university failed the black students. and i think probably most of us white kids, too, failed the black students. so let's talk about that. but i just one to say the story protestction, any usually goes way back. in thiparticular ce, it has to do with, in part, years of the sds engaged in.
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when i got there in september 1965, what became sds, the students who formed sds, had a ready been organizing against the university's racism in the form of the university refusing to allow black and latino cafeteria workers to form a union. clear racism. and also the university's involvement in the war, which had just began in april -- well, with main force troops. the university was training naval officers. the organizing, meaning the education and our self education and educating the campus and a number of tactics like confrontations and petitions and
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meetings and teach ins. all of these things have been going on for a long time. that is what i mean by organizing. we had goals and a strategy and tactics to achieve those goals. in the case of sds, the goals were to politicize the of billy antiwar and anti-racist movements. so that was going on well before i gothen 1965. and in a sense, we helped lay the groundwork for 1968. amy: mark, we're going to go to break -- >> organizer and leader eligible or has often talked about doing the spadework. we did that spadework. that is the story i think is worth telling because it has to be done now. that organizing, strategic
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organizing is the issue. amy: mark rudd was the head of sds in 1968. on this day 50 years ago, the revolt.n gonzalez, one of maybe two latina students, nancy biberman, all in hamilton hall, what they called malcolm max university. when we come back, one of the largest mass arrest a week later . 700 people. this is the period between the assassination of dr. martin luther king and the assassination of robert f kennedy. also joined by, who is chronicled this all in a book "a ."me to stir the stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "goin' down the road feelin' bad" by gwen mccrae. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. 50 years ago today, hundreds of students at columbia
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university in new york started a revolt on campus. they occupied five buildings, including the president's office and low library. the students barricaded themselves inside the buildings for a week. they were protesting columbia's ties to military research and plans to build a university gymnasium in a public park in harlem. the protest began less than three weeks after the assassination of dr. martin luther king jr.. the 1968 columbia uprising led to one of the largest mass arrest in new york city history. a week ended the strike on april 30, new york city police stormed the campus with hundreds of students who were injured and 700 -- more than 700 were arrested. images of the police as all were broadcast across the country. this is another clip from columbia revolt by third world newsreel. us ony got over 700 of criminal trespass. >> i know of nurses and doctors
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that pleaded with the police not to proceed, do please let these men alone. they would say, no, this is our job. they would not allow me to see a doctor bring. i had broken ribs and my face was cut eye from a pistol. i was done allowed to see a doctor until i got out of court which was approximately 10 hours later. scholarship.ded a what the hell --sorry, what does it mean? i don't see how any student or teacher could attend this school anymore. this has radicalized everybody. >> i was a nonviolent student. i did not care what happened. i was completely neutral. i am not neutral anymore. revolt,t is columbia third world newsreel. rayguests are mark rudd --
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brown, head of the student afro american society, one of the leaders of the black students who occupied columbia university's hamilton all 50 years ago. we're ao joined by nancy of aman of sds, students democratic society. we're joined by mark rudd, chair of the colombia university chapter of sds students for a , democratic society. paul cronin is the editor of the new book, "a time to stir: columbia '68." and our very own juan gonzalez who was one of the leaders of this protest. ray brown, you heard this video clip. we're going a week later from april 23 to april 30 when it was one of the largest mass arrests, 0. you are one of the people arrested. >> we were clear from the beginning we were going to be arrested. there were many overtures for the black students to leave. we said no.
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amy: just to the black students? >> they try to consciously -- we had visitors from the mayor's office, the president's office, everybody was china separate us because we were the fulcrum. it turned out they could not lure us out with the promises. none of our people were injured at all because we were very disciplined about it. we had dated counterinsurgency doctrine. we had met with police officials over the years to talk about how to handle demonstrations. we had thought about this because history is different from others. we were quite prepared for this. none of our people were injured. that doesn't mean we endorse the use of force against a white students. but in fact, this event changed response tolice demonstrations. the rise of campus police forces , morere more professional sophisticated doctrines and relationships to local police, all of that is a direct result
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of what happened here and in other campuses around the country, including places like jackson's they were kids were killed, and elsewhere. juan: mark, you might want to talk about this in terms of the students that were occupying the other buildings, both sds and not sds, were obsolete more -- amorphous group, various different political tendencies. there was a much more sort of participatory democracy approach to making decisions, which made it very difficult to actually reach decisions and consensus on particular actions or tactics. >> all true. but it did not matter to the cops. they did not care whom they attacked as long as -- we were all fair game. in fact, i recall they even who are the jocks supporting the cops. the richer and the cops beat them up. hatred, a lot of ,ossibly misplaced patriotism
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possibly class hatred against us fea. at the 43 and engineers ago, one of the city officials describe the cops as having sat in their buses for days nine mother night sticks. they took it out on everybody. it did not matter what political tendency you were reading if you supported them. amy: nancy biberman, you are also arrested on april 30. >> the arrest itself, i would say we did expect it. people were barricading themselves in the buildings, you know, come what may. and they really meant we expected the police would come in. what i found the most shocking was the policet activity all over campus. i saw the university rabbi was standing in the middle of campus being beaten up, bloodied.
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there were so many bystanders that night. nothing to do this. people were running back into their dorms. some people called this a police riot and i think it was. i remember the cop booking me was a white cop and he said, i he university but iat you call don't understand is why kids. i do not engage in dialogue because i was doing name, right, and serial number. i think once they had removed the black students, which they thought was a potential powder keg, it was open season. >> quite a lot of the students i interviewed have talked about what they considered to be the kind of class conflict between themselves and the police. said it moret have pointedly. i think they were very bored.
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they had been up there from day one. inone women put it, we were one of the police advanced -- i was losing a lot of money playing poker come he said. when the time came to let loose -- amy: the cops. >> and we let loose. as one of them said, i suspect he is probably right, if the students of the colombia -- on columbia 1968. we were being excessively brutal, they don't know what police brutality is. daily spectator saying mark rudd, dear the microphone from the chaplain and declared the university was "committing a moral outrage against dr. king's emery. we will therefore protest this obscenity." it said mark rudd then walked down from the pulpit and was followed out of the church by dozens of attendees. the chaplain john cannon refused to condemn the action, saying -- "any student who is moved by the spirit of the truth is able to speak in this chapel anytime."
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do you remember this, ray brown? >> i remember. i wasn't present. there was a strange relationship between sas and as ds. we had a wide variety of attitudes and ideological respective's within the organization. affiliated more freely and watched it more closely, but that was a different path. amy: mark wright, do you remember that moment? >> it is hard to forget. i remember being terrified and shaking as i held the microphone. core.ne was shaken to the everyone in the whole country was shaken of the core by the murder of martin luther king. and a night after he was murdered, harlem went up in flames. i was there. i went down into harlem from looking out over warning site heights, morningside park
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looking down. i said, got to go. when down and checked it out. the anger -- it gripped all of us. so the university had been for years denying the union, martin luther king died helping the sanitation workers in memphis unionize. what kind of hypocrisy was this? it was like it had to be done. amy: in fact, you are having a kind of teach-in this forget colombia about what happened 50 years ago and there is student organizing on cap is going to graduate students from happening on campuses across the country. .our event is friday night i understand there's an occupation going on right now with students to concern about columbia suicides and not feeling there's enough mental health facilities there? juan: i think it is a must potentiale that the
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to disrupt or somehow courageous location in a strike by another strike. it is poetic justice for the university. the reality is, columbia university, like all of these giant universities, they all attempted to reform and the aftermath of the protest of the 1960's and 1970's, but institutionally, they are still giant corporations that see the need to train the end people of society to fill the jobs that the elitist society one. they constantly regress. no matter what they say, they always regressed back to the for tolicies of elitism communities around them. i cannot think of the urban university in america that is not gobbling up the ld of the residence right around them and attempting to build more buildings. the edifice of complex that they
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all have to build the newest building. it is a continuing problem. the role of the universities, vis-a-vis, the communities. >> i'm going to be at a black student event in hamilton. the times ran an in-depth story the other day and the president bollinger made a comment about, well, we didn't like the way they went about it, as though civil disobedience was invented at columbia in 1968. it is astounding the university is done engaging, yet have ignored 1968 in most respects and that really seem to have had a pedagogical experts in 1968 and learned institution in relate to impoverished community around them. amy: nancy biberman? >> i was at the university is not really utilizing one of the collective learnings and realizations that women had going through a massive civil
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unrest and feeling somewhat at a distance from leadership and decision-making, and that is what we all failed. and some of us tried to through it.unch but i think we came of age. we sort of painfully learned our place in the political movement. and most of us have been fighting ever since to redefine our roles in society, but that was our crucible. amy: we're going to have to leave it there. we will continue this conversation and jua,n come he will be speaking on friday night, ray, your speaking tonight at hamilton all. , one of then leaders of the black students --nancy biberman also speaking up on her college. mark rudd measurement of the columbia chapter of sts and paul cronin, "a time to stir: columbia '68."
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he is worked on this issue for 50 years.
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