The following came via Facebook:
“Sue and I were out for a little run this morning, and we ran, as we usually do, down to the site. Most folks were asleep (trying to stay warm, we assumed) but we met a gentleman our age who said he was a veteran of Berkeley in the 60’s, and had come to give us this letter. It was typed, not word-processed, so I re-typed it in a document that I can send folks who want a copy. I also have the 3 typed copies he gave us–where should they go?”
I thought on this website would be a great place for the letter, it follows below.
Honorable and Intrepid Occupiers:
I am speaking to you across nearly three generations to advise you that you are doing exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.
We who have gone before, urge you to remain strong and committed to our common cause.
We who were at the Athens of the West back in the day (CA 1965-70) also had a lot on our plate: stopping the obscene war in Viet Nam; pushing the Civil Rights Movement; promoting the Women’s Movement and fighting for Freedom of Speech on our own campus.
These struggles were, most often, tedious and thankless since a majority of our fellow citizens seemed not to care or even approve of our efforts. It usually felt as if nothing was happening or changing, and it seemed to many of us, at the time, that “this isn’t working.”
The “Establishment” seemed to control everything: all the levers of power, all important institutions and, of course, the lamestream press which was just as lame then as now.
When push came to shove violence was routinely used to discourage and frighten us, i.e. when we were literally surrounded by bayonet wielding National Guard troops the Governor of CA threatened a “blood bath.”
On one occasion, a helicopter was used to spray military strength teargas (really vomiting gas) over the campus plazas to disperse a peaceful sit-in.
We had only a few weapons: the truth, the goodwill of the best people, and an unshakeable, stubborn commitment to justice.
Sounds hopeless. And yet…
Look around you now. The horror of Viet Nam is now just a shameful memory and a permanent stain on the honor of this country.
Not only is Jim Crow gone forever, even in its most ignorant strongholds, but millions of people who could not vote or go to a public university now barely remember their routine humiliation. Indeed some of these people are professors in those universities.
As for the women’s issues, today the majority of university students in this country are women, and in the workplace have reached near parity with their brothers.
All in all, not bad results from what seemed then to be a struggle against hopeless odds.
We will never know for certain how much our efforts contributed to this progress, but I am certain that we mattered a lot.
When you are making history it is not possible to actually see or feel “history being made.” You can’t ascertain how effective your efforts are (or are not). But, the super-wealthy oligarchs of this nation and their political puppets are working 24 hours a day 7 days a week for total control of our future. And if they succeed, greed, corruption and poverty will sink us all.
As far as we know, each of us has just one human lifespan on this planet.
Lets make our lives matter.
L. W. Jones
P.S. I am amazed that the talking heads of major media keep asking, “What do the occupiers want?” Tell them what we told them: We want Justice.