Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Mario Savio and the Berkeley Free Speech Movement

on January 9, 2022
(Mario Savio, University of California, Berkeley)

Anybody who was alive, breathing, conscious, and living in California during the 1960s remembers Mario Savio and the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. Savio’s energy and passionate speeches helped to bring the Civil Rights Movement and anti-Vietnam war protests to college campuses all across America. He was a fierce champion of both FREE SPEECH and DEBATE. Plaques dedicated to his memory still grace the University of California, Berkeley campus.

He is best known for his speech called “The Bodies on the Gears” and his explicit description of the federal government as violent, intolerant, overbearing, over-reaching, authoritarian, paternalistic, and out of control. He believed that speaking out and refusing to comply with unreasonable government demands was a legitimate form of protest. The interesting thing is that, despite Berkeley’s loving remembrance of Savio and the Free Speech Movement, UC Berkeley does not currently practice what Savio preached. Berkeley may still have the appearance of an enlightened, left-wing, politically active college campus, but the administration has squelched lectures and debates sponsored by political moderates and conservatives under the guise of “security concerns” and appears to have no interest in providing a forum for free speech for ALL AMERICANS and ALL POINTS OF VIEW. In the same vein, Antifa memberships and violence have flourished with the support of intolerant, closed-minded teachers and students alike.

Savio and the Free Speech Movement were not about violence and censorship. They were about speaking up, carrying on healthy debates, discussing the issues, and solving social justice issues through reasonable and intelligent channels. All young people, who have the energy, optimism, and idealism, have the option to engage in social activism without the use of violence and bullying. But it takes a certain amount of critical thinking skills, common sense, self-confidence, and mental agility to debate your opponent, listen to his or her views, and offer a rational and intelligent response. It requires patience and a thoughtful formulation of your personal ideas. The American educational system in the 1960s still taught those skills. I cannot say the same thing for our current educational institutions.

Dawn Pisturino

January 8, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


10 responses to “Mario Savio and the Berkeley Free Speech Movement

  1. Unfortunately those days of healthy civil genuine debate are gone forever and this nation as well as the entire planet has been thrust upon the slippery slope to authoritarianism and even worse totalitarian control. Power to the people is nothing more than a past prospect of allowing the masses to have a real voice and therefore freedom of expression, as well actual freedom in a machine society system. With the digital age and AI we are now heading into the science fiction realm of Orwellian 1984 dystopian mindless control, where the people become the machine and any broken part or what’s deemed not part of the machine will be removed! Welcome to what’s been referred to as the Brave New World; but a bad one!

    Liked by 5 people

    • It’s part of the human condition to want to be free, so I have more hope that people will wake up, react, and fight for their own freedom. Governments always underestimate the will and determination of the people.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I agree again with this commentary here Dawn! And I just left this big comment on my essay where you responded about the vaccines too. And though I asked at the end of this comment what you would like to do I could see it all fits now; so I just went ahead with it here too.

        Hi Dawn! Sorry about all this and you are correct! I have family, friends and neighbors that did as you, but, I try to not ruffle feathers as it were in explaining what I see in all of this. Though it is very sad to me, as you too I’m sure; I tell everyone no matter what the outcome will be moving forward there is a great silver lining to this giant ominous dark cloud that has enveloped the whole human race and planet! This is a giant flashing sign giving all of us the opportunity to perhaps in some cases finally wake up! Our real hope and actual health mentally, physically and most important spiritually; is not going to be here but in heaven! And for all of this to be happening, to me is a clear indicator that we are in a Latter Days stage of what the Holy Scriptures has pointed out as the Word of God, as what to see, expect and how to prepare ourselves! Think about the simple fact that this is so rampantly out of control and an outright deceptive farce, and, like nothing that has ever happened out of the clear blue like this to the entire human race! But it was planned and is all nefarious like I said at the get goes back in March 2020 with my essay Covid-19 Melt Down and subsequent ones. I didn’t have all the facts but I knew by the Holy Spirit and my searching for Truth that this was a deception being manufactured in real time and I wasn’t buying any of it. So again the good news is if you and I along with other folks who want to be safe and happy we must turn to Jesus Christ, and no matter what happens moving forward; we are good to go if we follow Him!

        We will make it to the Promised Land!

        It is all adding up fine Dawn and our Salvation is coming, but, I’ve learned through suffering enough over the last 15 or more years, even at the hands of people, to know I’m good with it all, because like Martin I will make it to the Promise Land; and ultimately that is all that matters! It’s all good then!

        I just wrote in a reblog including this same message I left with you.


        God bless you and yours!
        Brother in Christ Jesus,

        Liked by 2 people

      • A reblog I would have liked to do but as you know it’s not that simple for some unknown reason, but, I can always make it happen from scratch! I don’t mind baking my own cakes neither! I wanted to get it done so here it is as a comment. But if you want a cake baked let me know!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Iowa Life says:

    What a great post! I remember as a kid their 2 mantras were to “not trust anyone over 30” and “don’t trust the government”. Now they want total government! Controlling and directing you in every aspect of your life. You went through a very interesting time period.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was very young when all that was happening, and it was all very confusing due to conflicting messages. Of course, they wanted people to be confused, and still do. The message, however, is just as relevant nowadays, if not more so. Thank you for your comments!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It was the Second World War that had forced the forces of fascism to take a step back for the following twenty years, realising they had to lay low, taking their time to reshape outdated concepts of control. Only then would it be possible to take over the seats of power again.
    Those forces of conservatism surfaced again from under the mantel of obscurity in the late sixties, slowly regaining ground and by the eighties, the process of rebranding had been completed.
    The faces of corporations had become sanitised and appeared to be socially acceptable. The wolf had acquired a new pelt but its claws and teeth were as sinister and dangerous as ever.
    Despite the intended wake-up call of the 1968 student revolutions, trying to warn us about the impending dangers, it was too late! Those idealists and “tinpot lefties” soon got bought off with comfortable seats in the newly reorganised universities.
    What we are now left with, are shadows of so-called democracies and we are again ruled by the re-surfed old elites, sometimes quietly from the back seat, sometimes loud even from the front.
    As we have learned from history, during times under enlightened rulers society flourished, and suffered under the rules of despots.
    In whichever direction the pendulum is swinging, as long it is swinging change is inevitable.

    Liked by 2 people

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