Big Marv is waiting for the crowd. Waving them into Uris. He is a roving revolutionary adviser from the University of Wisconsin who sounds like Marlon Brando with a prexy's education. Short and stocky in a brown leather jacket.
"Are you going to take Uris?" asks the poet.
"G'won in and find out," Big Marv says.
It is old home day inside, 300 people from revolutions past and novitiates from the freshman class. One of the greats from '68, who is now writing a book on the revolution, as it happens, in serial form, for a radical magazine called Leviathan, talks about the recent bombings.
"I support them 150 per cent. They pinpoint the targets and strengthen the rest of the Left."
Would he be willing to die for the revolution?
"Anyone who says they would is either crazy or lying."
A pretty language-lab girl shrugs to a girl friend. "There's nothing left in this university big enough to be worth fighting for this year."
"Yeah," says her companion, a senior. "Even last year we used to feel sorry for the freshmen because they hadn't been here in '68 to see Kirk get guillotined."
The tactical meeting has begun upstairs. Radical body fads are uninspired this year. The girls carry their pectorals a little lower, but under men's-underwear T-shirts and hempy handwoven vests, who cares? The ones who still wear skirts to meetings haunch down in the chair and drape their booted legs—six inches apart—over the side. Defiantly liberated. They are always given equal time to speak this year. In fact, with Women's Lib hanging over the men's heads, even a rad-groupie can get behind the mike and in a moment of high radical fever, giggling as though just kissed for the first time, keep the mike while the men hush the crowd. White radical males still affect the intellectual slouch, a body fad developed at an early age to avoid football and get out of work. Although this year, coached by Newsreel's films of Panthers bursting out of their bandoliers in iron-chested formation, the white male rad is standing taller.
Big Marv begins: "We as white people gotta show we're not gonna sell the Panther 21 down the drain like white people always have before. Are we gonna sit in this building and become lethargic about our struggle?"
A terribly pretty boy with hair clasped in a George Washington pony tail addresses the group sideways, extending his hands through a WW I nurse's cape.
"It's fun to bust windows but it's a drag to be in jail. We want to do things without going to jail. Why don't we call a general strike because nobody wants to go to classes anyway and then we can do something beautiful while we wait for them to write the check."
The check, which President Andrew Cordier is not really expected to write, is for $1.3 million bail.
A white girl wearing the Panther beret tries to bring the crowd back to the issue. "We're here to get up Panther money, aren't we?"
". . . 'It's like assassinating a President. You shake his hand and a bomb goes off. It isn't difficult if you're prepared to die.'. . ."
The hard core no longer bothers to answer questions like that anymore. The issues are not answers anymore, the Panther bail is a prop. What really matters in this room is the tactics. (Another Rubin chapter head has been digested: "I Agree with Your Tactics, I Don't Know About Your Goals.")
A speaker announces he has just been handed a note by a man who quickly turned his face and ran off. The speaker says it is pertinent:
To Students at Columbia:
This week we blew up three office buildings owned and operated by the biggest death institutions in this country. Andrew Cordier is on the Board of Directors of two. Today Columbia students have taken action. If you think that will put on the heat, do it, but understand that people are sick of Columbia. We understand three affinity groups have been formed at Columbia. We must take down enough so all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put it back together again. Those who are ready should do as we have done. Organize in small groups with people you trust and tear down the walls.
—Revolutionary Force 9
Now there is much applause and the talk moves to formation of affinity groups, rock-throwing as a tactic, a proposal to send a task force out to Ferris Booth Hall to see if the occupation can be transferred there. As the base of operations for the weekend.
A report comes back from the Senate on the bail resolution. Defeated.
"Let's trash the building on the way out!" shouts a sideliner. The house is divided. Big Marv makes a difficult decision. He advises that the building not be trashed.