Letters

by

Fifth Estate # 80, May 29-June 11, 1969

To the Editor:

The strike of the Third World peoples and white supporters at San Francisco State College was a part of expanding the movement in this country toward liberation. It was a strike, an action with a direction toward a revolutionary level because it was based upon principles drawn from the foundation of oppressed Third World people’s needs.

There are some fundamental questions concerning the strike and its history that directly relate to the expansion and development of the movement into a more cohesive and powerful force of the people.

The hows, whys, whats, wheres of the strike cannot be overlooked in determining guidelines for the work—work not so glorious and saleable as the strike—that need to be recognized if we are to continue to move and not be overrun by the tremendous powers being concentrated against the people at this time.

For over two and a half years people worked at San Francisco State College and in the Bay Area on the educational needs of Third World people. Not just at the College, or in schools, but in the streets, in people’s homes, with juvenile authorities, city officials, gangs, car clubs, Ys, in bars and on and on and on.

People worked together and learned together what the general and specific needs of Third World people were and continued not only to educate others but also to develop their understanding and ability to relate to the people’s needs. The three principles of the strike were established from this commitment and work. In turn the principles of the strike have demonstrated the clear oppressiveness of higher education.

The duration of the strike, the strike strategy, as well as the organization and flexibility of the strike came from the perspectives and politics of a continuously developing programmatic approach to making basic changes in this country. In no way do I imply or contend that mistakes were not made during the strike.

However, it is a fact that for the first time in this country: 1) a working class institution of the largest higher educational system in the world was brought to its knees and held there for four and a half months—Hayakawa or no Hayakawa; 2) Third World people defined principles and demands concerning their needs; 3) Third World people established and maintained leadership of the strike that was recognized and accepted by large numbers of white- people; 4) college professors organized and acted as members of the working class; 5) a coalition of Third World people in their communities and young Third World people in the elite institutions of higher education was formed; 6) a coalition between Third World people and a workers union striking Standard Oil in Richmond was made.

These events did not occur because of a sham—they occurred because people understood the necessity of these actions and coalitions. The experiences of their daily commitment and work among oppressed Third World people taught this necessity.

Since the end of the strike the work has increased far beyond anything that it was before and during the strike. We are actively working not only to implement the demands but to extend our work more and more into our communities in defense of our people and our supporters.

In the law courts specifically we are concerned about the 700 persons arrested during the strike. We have been able to find lawyers and provide a tremendous amount of assistance in an attempt to protect our people, but we need more people and more money.

I can only ask you that if you supported the strike, agreed with its principles and/or understand the rights of people to be liberated not just in their souls, hearts and minds but in their material needs as well, then give to yourself the opportunity to continue to develop your involvement.

We need you and your money (if you have any) to protect our people in the courts in order to exhaust another alternative and push ourselves into another direction. The work is ours and the money is needed to get the tools necessary for defending our people.

Hasta la victoria siempre,
Roger T. Alvarado

Make checks payable to: San Francisco Legal Defense Fund. Mail to: Third World Liberation Front, 546 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, Calif. 94117.

Hi,

I’ve written the paper before from here (Jackson Prison) but got no results. So, I talked with Larry Belcher a fellow inmate and he suggested I write to you personally.

Anyway here I am and I don’t have my May issues of the Fifth Estate. Is there nothing we can do? Mine has not reached the prison yet, but when it does it will not come to me.

I have checked and when it arrives, we who subscribe will be called in and told to 1) change the address, to have it sent someplace else, or 2) cancel the sub. Wow what a bummer. Is this legal? Can they do this to us?

Other papers come in with no problem (of course they don’t knock the prison or the way it’s run—which they should). So what’s the hang up with the Fifth?

The paper and WABX is the only connection we heads have with the world. We want to keep both. How can we achieve this? Can you help us? Can anyone help us?

Please let me know what can be done or who to contact. I am speaking for at least 10 people here and I’m sure there are more who get the paper whom I am not known to, so it is a real problem. Sure hope you can help.

Better Times ‘n’ Good Things

Don Willard
121864
4000 Cooper St.
Jackson, MI 49201

P.S. Larry said you knew him so HI from him. Also if any free heads out there, guys or girls, would like to write, it would be greatly appreciated by us. Below is another head’s name for this purpose. Will supply more names if this works out.

Smack McClain
116318
4000 Cooper St.
Jackson, MI 49201

Editors’ Note: A letter from our subscription people apparently crossed with yours as we had just written our Michigan prison inmate subscribers to tell them that our paper had been banned from all State penal institutions by order of Gus Harrison, Director of the Department of Corrections.

We have contacted the American Civil Liberties Union but apparently the pigs are within their “legal” rights in censoring what goes inside their dungeons.

Say hey to Brother Larry.

Archive note: Read more on the FE’s Vietnam Resource Page.

Dear Friends of the Movement,

As summer approaches and the struggle against racism intensifies, the question facing everyone can only be, “Which side are you on?” This is a question which all of us must answer, not only in words but in action.

The black liberation struggle, led especially by the Black Panther Party, is bringing this question home to all of us because the repressive nature of the power structure is hitting hardest at the black movement. SDS response has been to wage an all-out attack on white supremacy in the schools, on the streets, on the job and in the courts and jails of America.

The students at Harvard, San Francisco State, Columbia and hundreds of other campuses throughout the nation are making it clear that they will not sit idly by, their noses stuck in textbooks, while their schools train officers to lead GIs to fight against Vietnamese.

To carry out our ambitious program, we need your help. Educational material for the hundreds of young people who daily write us for information must be printed. Right now we have five pamphlets ready for the press but no money to print them. Several other pamphlets are being written, for printing in the next few weeks.

Our funds have been drained by exorbitant bail which has been used against us by the courts to keep our organizers out of action. Taxes have put us in debt. In short, we are operating day to day on a shoe string, Our staff presently is working full time for $15 a week.

We have got to be in full operation this spring and summer developing extensive programs for the thousands of young people across the nation who look to SDS for leadership. We can only do this with your generous help and commitment.

Join Us!

Power to the People
Michael Klonsky
National Secretary, SDS

Editors’ Note: Contributions may be sent to: SDS, 1608 West Madison, Chicago Illinois, 60612

Dear Fifth,

I just viewed John Sinclair on Lou Gordon’s show May 18. It looks to me like drugs have damaged that cat badly. He seems real mixed up and freaky. Although he is not as far gone as Timothy Leary, it is evident that Sinclair is a little off. How much LSD has he used?

Drugs certainly do not help anyone. They do not make you happy. They only destroy people. As an example, visit Synanon some day. Or Lexington Hospital in Kentucky. I have a friend who almost died from taking a mixture of drugs. They only destroy, they do not build up.

They are an escape from responsibility. How can taking drugs resolve any problems a person may have, for they are only mind deadeners? Besides, they are artificial, and preclude human dignity and strength. Drugs destroy independence.

I am against the Establishment. I am against a government that looks on while people are being exterminated because they are Vietnamese. I am against anything that destroys human lives.

I am against the use of drugs…

John F. Miller, Subscriber

To the Editors:

What’s going down!? Not us!!

We’re here in Chu Lai and it ain’t that bad. There are plenty of things to keep our minds occupied and off the war. We’ve caught a few of your beautiful papers, but they are hard to find.

Anyway we would really appreciate it if you would bestow upon us, one of your free subscriptions.

This place is really a drag but it’s nice for your head, for pennies a day. With the help of the “Noble Weed” and your mind molding publications we shall keep sane.

Jeff Green, Mike McMillen
Vietnam

Mentors:

The ultimate least you could do before accepting advertisements for your otherwise honest paper is to attempt to investigate the products advertised.

I don’t understand why you try your best to inform and enlighten through the bulk of the Fifth, but then have ads for things such as “Super Grass.” Wow!

We all know about omnipresent financial problems, but look to the future when people will not believe your information because of all the screwings they’ve gotten from the classified section.

You must know that some of our brothers would send two dollars to an address to get catnip just because that address appeared in the Fifth as a place to get “Super Grass.” I sent for it and it sure as fuck isn’t going to “get you there.”

Peace and Truth

Carl Ciarrocchi
Melvindale

Editors’ Note: We think it would be less than honest if we didn’t admit that we are somewhat distressed about our Unclassified section. We have received several complaints about phony products, including insincere proposals, and even malicious use of them.

It’s a difficult problem to deal with because on the other hand people sell things, meet people and in general have good success with placing ads and contacting advertisers.

It is impossible for us to investigate every ad that comes into our office. We have withdrawn the “Super Grass” ad and are refunding the company’s money.

What we need is greater reader vigilance such as the letter above. If you have a similar experience or if you call a number and it turns out to be a phony, let us know by phone or by mail.

We want the Unclassifieds to be a community service, not a community problem.

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