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Berkeley's Free Speech Movement

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Opposition arose. Regents relented. In 1952, California's Supreme Court sided with fired university employees for refusing to sign.

These and similar events were precursor to FSM. Activism is traditional at Berkeley. It's an idea whose time came long ago. More than ever it's needed across America to challenge fast eroding rights.

Ironically, 1960s Berkeley protests helped elect Ronald Reagan. In 1966, he became governor. He promised to "clean up" student unrest. In spring 1969, he sent National Guard troops and state police to People's Park.

On "bloody Thursday" May 15, a violent confrontation ensued. Many dozens were injured, some seriously. Reagan declared a state of emergency. Public anger arose.

Months later, Reagan defended his action. "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with," he said. "No more appeasement." 

On May 4, 1970, the disease spread east. Ohio National Guard troops murdered four Kent State protesters. Nine others were seriously wounded.

Berkeley activism continues. Jewish/Palestinian issues are highlighted. On December 10, ACLU's Northern California affiliate wrote the US Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

It concerns a July 9, 2012 complaint filed by attorneys Joel H. Siegel and Neal M. Sher for UC grads Jessica Felber and Brian Maissy. In March 2011 they sued the university. They alleged a hostile Jewish student environment.

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They claimed Palestine solidarity activism creates "a disturbing echo of incitement, intimidation, harassment and violence carried out under the Nazi regime and those of its allies in Europe against Jewish students and scholars".during the turbulent years leading up to and (during) the Holocaust."

Saying so exceeded reason and then some. It was way over the top. Northern California's US District Court agreed. In December, it dismissed the case. It ruled that: 

"The administration has engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the opposing parties in an attempt to ensure that the rights of all persons are respected, and to minimize the potential for violence and unsafe conditions."

Felber and Maissy claims about Palestinian campus activism marginalizing Jewish rights don't wash. The ACLU got involved. It's concerned about First Amendment rights. 

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Its letter said the Northern California branch was involved "in a number of instances in which similar claims have arisen as a result of the activities of pro-Palestinian and/or pro-Israeli student groups on campus." 

"It acknowledges that these can be hard cases, but warns that the present Complaint 'raises constitutional red flags.' " (It) consistently ignores 'paramount constitutional message(s).' "

The US Supreme Court ruled "the First Amendment (to mean) that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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FW Stephen Lendman, Greetings:   We are ... by Gordon Glick on Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012 at 11:22:46 PM