More on MLK’s influence….
During the People’s Park event in the long distant past, folks in Berkeley (CA, US) expressed concern about the repurposing of a property that had functioned for quite a while as place where people could gather. I think it was very close to the bookstore on the corner of Haste and Telegraph (NE; see Wikipedia entry, thanks) and there was quite a hubbub about it.
People occupied the space and using non-violent means, refused to let the property be bull-dozed. It was an event that echoed the Free Speech Movement (FSM) of 1964 that had occurred just a few blocks from the “People’s Park.” During a highly charged protest event (the US National Guard was on the site, in force), many of us who were not there personally followed every report we could get about the confrontation between the university (?) developers. The developers planned to build something on the lot, and the residents and students—who were accustomed to saying, “I’ll see you at the People’s Park”—opposed the development. It was such an event that it got lots of media coverage. In fact, some San Fransisco radio stations, sympathetic to the people’s concerns, monitored events around the clock and encouraged people to call the station to express their opinions.
One of my best high school friends, Peter Hanssen, who was a student at Cal at that time, later related to me a part of a radio report from that era. Two of the callers disagreed: Joan Baez called and encouraged the protestors to stand firm for their rights. As I recall Peter’s account, Baez said something like, “There are things worth dying for.” A little later, according to Peter, John Lennon called in and said, “Nothing’s worth dying for.”
There’s our dilemma. What’s worth dying for?
I welcome corrections to this account. I’d like to have links from original listeners or, especially, to original tapes.
Peace and love.