Two Towns With Radically Different Takes

by | Oct 7, 2004

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop.” -Mario Savio, speaking in Berkeley in 1964

A group of private citizens in Nelson, British Columbia are planning to honor “the courageous legacy of Vietnam War resisters and the Canadians who helped them resettle in that country during that tumultuous era.” The organizers of Our Way Home National Reunion Weekend also planned to unveil a monument in Nelson, B.C., during their July 2006 two-day festival. That is, until Fox News got wind of their plans. Now Nelson’s political leaders, concerned with losing American tourism dollars, say “Not in our town.”

In direct opposition to this retro-fearful approach, we have Berkeley, California celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Free Speech Movement this week. More than 50 events are being held to mark the movement’s 40th anniversary, including an echo of the captive police-car episode. The week’s highlight will be a noon rally Friday atop a police car in Sproul Plaza with former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean among the speakers.

Mario Savio