Welcome to Berkeley! You are standing on some historically rich soil, and this coalition (and this website) is one of its many fruits.
In 1969, radical students first introduced a “Disorientation” program at Berkeley. The purpose of the Disorientation was to provoke discussion about the University as an institution, its role in society, and its impact on the values and aspirations of its students. Many students had come to feel that the University, despite a rhetoric of “personal development” and “academic freedom”, was not so much concerned with the interests of students and public as it was with those of business and the military […] Students developed Disorientation as a means of challenging the prevailing image of the university as a center for liberal education.
– Dis-Guide 1977
Fast forward to today, Fall 2014, the 50th Anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, and it seems that the need for students to exercise critical thought and organized pressure to counter the corporate control of our public institutions is more necessary than ever.
This semester is sure to be punctuated by official UC commemorations of our social movement legacy, sanitized and memorialized to create picture perfect representations of what were truly messy, often confrontational social processes. These movements were usually organized by small groups, often driven more by ideals than expertise, and have always, always been marginalized and repressed by university administrators and police.
We don’t propose you transfer to another school, for the system is not unique to Berkeley. We don’t propose that a student drop out – education can still be a valuable thing. We do propose that you use the University – don’t let it use you. We can shape our education and experiences as much as they shape us.
– Dis-Guide ’81
Drawing upon our progressive legacy, a group of UC students, workers, and alumni with varying political perspectives joined together to publish this collection of articles. There are many issues that we have not touched on due to limits of time and space. Rather than a final statement, we hope that this guide will be a catalyst. We urge all students, faculty, workers, alum, and local community to discuss, analyze, criticize, and most of all, to become involved.
We suggest that the cultural evolution of humanity not be thought of as a linear progression, but rather as a slow and cyclical one — like a coil or spring, looping round to similar territory decade after decade, slowly but surely ascending.
Where on the helix of history are we today? That’s for us to decide collectively.
Hit us up online, where we’ll be posting news, events, and commentary throughout the semester: