|Born||April 4, 1940|
Buffalo, New York
|Education||University of California, Berkeley (B.A. in Mathematics, 1963)|
|Known for||Free Speech Movement, environmental activism|
Jack Weinberg (born April 4, 1940) is an environmental activist and former New Left activist who is best known for his role in the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964.
He began college at the University of Buffalo. At the age of 21 he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in mathematics. He graduated in January 1963 "with great distinction".
In the spring semester 1963, Weinberg continued at Berkeley as a graduate student in the mathematics department. He worked as a Teaching Assistant, teaching undergraduates who were taking large-lecture math courses.
Weinberg spent the summer of 1963 traveling in the South visiting civil rights groups. He returned to Berkeley and began his second semester of grad school in the fall of 1963 but then withdrew mid-semester to devote himself full-time to civil rights activities. He became the head of Campus CORE.
Free Speech Movement
In the fall semester of 1964, Weinberg was engaged in student activism at the University of California, Berkeley. On Thursday October 1, 1964, Weinberg was sitting at the CORE table in Sproul Plaza. He refused to show his identification to the campus police and was arrested at noon for violating the University's new rules regarding student political activism. There was a spontaneous movement of students to surround the police car in which he was to be transported. They sat on the ground around the police car, preventing it from moving.
Throughout the night and into the next day, students, including Mario Savio, gave speeches from atop the car calling for free speech on campus. Weinberg, too, addressed the crowd from the top of the police car. At one point, there may have been 3,000 students around the car. On the evening of October 2, 1964, approximately twenty-four hours later, representatives of political groups on campus signed an agreement with the administration regarding student free speech, which was dubbed the Pact of October 2. After being confined in the police car for 32 hours, Weinberg was then booked and freed as the agreement stipulated that the University would not press charges against him. But less than a week later, the Alameda County District Attorney did press charges against Weinberg.
The first meeting of FSM (Free Speech Movement) took place on Saturday October 3, in Art Goldberg's apartment. The first order of business was to choose a name for the organization (the name "Free Speech Movement" did not yet exist). Several names were proposed—Students for Free Speech, United Free Speech Movement, University Rights Movement, Students for Civil Liberties. Weinberg suggested "Free Speech Movement" and that's the name that was adopted, by a margin of one vote.
FSM leader Mario Savio later stated that Jack Weinberg was the FSM's key tactician. Historian W. J. Rorabaugh calls Weinberg "one of the most effective civil rights organizers" and "the strategist behind FSM".
"Don't trust anyone over 30"
Weinberg is the person who coined the saying "Don't trust anyone over 30". The saying exists in several variants, such as "Never trust anybody over 30". Origination of the saying has been wrongly attributed to Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, the Beatles, and others. In November 1964, Weinberg was interviewed by a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle working on a story about the Free Speech Movement. Weinberg tells the story like this:
I was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter, and he was making me very angry. It seemed to me his questions were implying that we were being directed behind the scenes by Communists or some other sinister group. I told him we had a saying in the movement that we don't trust anybody over 30. It was a way of telling the guy to back off, that nobody was pulling our strings.
On November 15, 1964, the Chronicle printed the story, quoting Weinberg as saying "We have a saying in the movement that you can't trust anybody over 30."
A Chronicle columnist, Ralph J. Gleason, highlighted the saying in his column on November 18. The saying then went viral, becoming a favorite for reporters and columnists wishing to ridicule the young, the New Left, or the hippie/Yippie movement. That annoyed Weinberg, who has said
I've done some things in my life I think are very important, and my one sentence in history turns out to be something I said off the top of my head which became completely distorted and misunderstood. But I've become more accepting of fate as I get older.
On Friday night, October 15, 1965, the VDC held an anti-war march that began at the UC Berkeley campus and was intended to end at the Oakland Army Terminal. The march left the UC campus at 7:52 p.m. after an all-day rally there. Marchers carried anti-U.S. foreign policy signs and chanted anti-war slogans. There were 10,000-14,000 people in the march. At the head of the march was a banner carried by a line of marchers, then a sound truck containing VDC leaders including Jack Weinberg, Bettina Aptheker, Jerry Rubin, Stephen Smale, Steve Weissman, Frank Bardacke, and Robert Scheer. Also in the truck was the poet Allen Ginsberg chanting the Heart Sutra. However, the City of Oakland had refused to grant the march a permit, and so Oakland police blocked Telegraph Avenue at the Oakland border with a phalanx of some 375 policemen. When the march neared the border, it came to a halt while the leaders considered what to do. Weinberg and Bardacke got out of the truck, crossed the police line, and met with Oakland Police Chief Edward M. Toothman. Weinberg and Bardacke could not persuade Toothman to let the march proceed into Oakland. So they returned to the sound truck and told the other VDC leaders. A fierce debate ensued about what to do; they voted 5-4 to turn back into Berkeley.
Weinberg has said that the Stop the Draft Week protests of October 16–21, 1967, were
the first clear demonstration that the radical part of the Anti-Vietnam war movement was coming up against its own limitations. It didn't really have the weight in society to stop the war. I think that it was after that, that the Berkeley radical scene became more and more cut off from reality. And the question of moving American society, changing people really was getting lost.
Weinberg moved to Los Angeles to work as labor correspondent for a radical weekly underground newspaper, the Los Angeles Free Press. Becoming involved in the formation of the Peace and Freedom Party of California, he organized the registration drive that collected enough signatures to get the party on the California ballot in the 1968 elections. Weinberg served as the California state chairperson of the Peace and Freedom Party from August 1968 until November 1968.
Work in labor movement
In following years, Weinberg was a union activist. In 1973, he was a participant in wildcat strikes at Chrysler plants in Detroit, Michigan, as a member of UAW (United Automobile Workers) Local 212. He wrote a book about those strikes.
Work in environmental movement
Weinberg is a consultant to groups seeking to clean up environmental pollution. He is married to Valerie Denney. Weinberg is a grandfather of three, and he has an adjunct faculty position in public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Lauerman, Connie (2002-03-20). "Jack Weinberg Still Fights the Good Fight to Keep Environmentalism from Fading Away". Free Speech Movement Archives. FSM Vets' News & Views. Retrieved 2015-04-06. Reprinted from a Chicago Tribune article dated April 21, 2000.
- Moberg, David (1994-02-24). "The Chlorine Crusader: From Free Speech to Greenpeace: The Journey of Jack Weinberg, Radical Optimist". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
In the summer of 1963 he participated in civil rights actions in South Carolina and Arkansas. When he returned to Berkeley that fall, he says, "civil rights was my whole identity." He dropped out of school again, began helping organize major civil rights demonstrations, and became chairman of the new campus CORE chapter.
- Margolis, Jon (2000-12-05). The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964--The Beginning of the "Sixties". HarperCollins. ISBN 9780688179076.
He'd grown up in Buffalo, New York, and majored in mathematics at the University of Buffalo but dropped out before getting his degree.
- Aarons, Leroy F. (1970-03-23). "'Don't Trust Anybody Over 30': Phrasemaker, at 30, Still Radical". The Washington Post. pp. A1, A6.
He joined the Independent Socialist Club in 1966 and helped organize it into a national movement -- the International Socialists -- of which he is a national council member.
- Batterson, Steve (2000-01-10). Steven Smale: The Mathematician Who Broke the Dimension Barrier. American Mathematical Society. pp. 78–79. ISBN 9780821826966.
Rather than return to the South in the summer of 1964, Weinberg remained in the Bay Area, maintaining a high civil rights profile.
- Rarick, Ethan (2005-01-24). California Rising: The Life and Times of Pat Brown. University of California Press. pp. 298–299. ISBN 9780520939844.
On the morning of October 1, a Berkeley mathematics graduate named Jack Weinberg was driven to campus by two friends, a big door balanced on top of their car.
- Scheer, Robert (1996-11-12). "The Man Who Stopped the Machine". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
Inside the police car sat Jack Weinberg, a math major recently graduated 'with great distinction,' who had committed the 'crime' of handing out civil rights literature on campus.
- Windt, Theodore O. (1991-12-19). Presidents and Protestors: Political Rhetoric in the 1960s. University of Alabama Press. p. 179. ISBN 9780817305888.
The police were called in, and they arrested Jack Weinberg, a former teaching assistant in mathematics, for operating a CORE table in violation of the new university rules.
- Weinberg, Jack. "The Free Speech Movement and Civil Rights". Free Speech Movement Archives. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
Former teaching assistant in mathematics at the University of California, currently chairman of Campus CORE and a member of the FSM Steering CommitteeReprinted from the January 1965 issue of Campus CORElator.
- Benet, James (1964-11-15). "Growing Pains at UC". San Francisco Chronicle. p. 6.
'I decided I'd rather work for civil rights than study math,' he said. He has no long-range plan for his future. 'We have a saying in the movement that you can't trust anybody over 30,' he remarked. 'So of course I'm 24 and I can't go on doing this indefinitely. But by then I'll have developed into somebody else.'
- Goines, David Lance (1999). "The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s". Calisphere. Ten Speed Press. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
Jack Weinberg remained in the Bay Area throughout the summer of 1964.
- Some sources incorrectly state that Weinberg went to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 and took part in Freedom Summer. FSM activists Mario Savio and Malcolm Zaretsky did so, but Weinberg did not.
- "Free Speech Movement Chronology". California Monthly. University of California, Berkeley. February 1965. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
- Stack, Barbara T. "FSM Jack Weinberg Photos". Retrieved 2015-04-07.
- 1990 documentary film, directed by Mark Kitchell. Excerpts can be viewed on YouTube.
- Pogash, Carol (2014-10-01). "At Berkeley, Free (Though Subdued) Speech, 50 Years Later". The New York Times. p. A18. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
Fifty years ago Wednesday, Jack Weinberg sat in the back of a police car on the University of California campus here for 32 hours while thousands of students blocked the vehicle's exit, protesting Mr. Weinberg's arrest on charges of manning an information table about the civil rights movement.
- Goines, David Lance (1999). "The Free Speech Movement: Coming of Age in the 1960s". Calisphere. Ten Speed Press. Retrieved 2015-05-12.
We tried on several -- Students for Free Speech, United Free Speech Movement, University Rights Movement, Students for Civil Liberties -- but none seemed really to fit. ... The name 'FSM' was proposed by Jack Weinberg. ... I favored Jack's suggestion because it was something that could be written on the walls, like in Paris or Algiers. The name was adopted by a margin of one vote.
- Rosenfeld, Seth (2013-07-23) . Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power (updated appendix ed.). Picador. p. 205. ISBN 978-1250033383. Lay summary (2012-10-05).
Someone else suggested University Rights Movement, but Savio thought the acromym -- URM -- lacked the appropriate dignity. Jack Weinberg, the man in the car, suggested Free Speech Movement. After much debate they approved it by one vote.
- Cohen, Robert (2009). Freedom's Orator: Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s. Oxford University Press. p. 129. ISBN 9780199766345.
Weinberg was, as Savio explained, the movement's key tactician; he had 'a consummate talent for determining what the tactical possibilities in a given situation are -- or enumerating them, analyzing them.'
- Rorabaugh, W. J. (1989-05-04). Berkeley at War: The 1960s. Oxford University Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780198022527.
... and Jack Weinberg, one of the most effective civil rights organizers, the strategist behind FSM, and author of the statement, 'You can't trust anybody over thirty.' (This remark was both generational and a sneer at the aging communists.)
- "Don't trust anyone over 30, unless it's Jack Weinberg". Berkeley Daily Planet. 2000-04-06. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
- "Jack Weinberg. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations". Bartleby.com. 1989. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
JACK WEINBERG, twenty-four year old leader of the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, California, interview with San Francisco Chronicle reporter, c. 1965.
- Rosenfeld, Seth (2013-07-23) . Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power (updated appendix ed.). Picador. p. 214. ISBN 978-1250033383. Lay summary (2012-10-05).
In what may have been an unintended consequence of the FBI's covert operations, Montgomery questioned Weinberg about who was 'behind' the Free Speech Movement, and Weinberg rebuffed the reporter's implication that students were being directed by Communist Party officials, or anyone else, with a remark that became a credo for his generation: 'We have a saying in the movement,' he said. '"Don't trust anyone over thirty."'
- Galloway, Paul (1990-11-16). "Radical Redux". Chicago Tribune. Tempo/Section 5. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
I told him we had a saying in the movement that we don't trust anybody over 30. It was a way of telling the guy to back off, that nobody was pulling our strings.A text version of this article is also online.
- Gleason, Ralph J. (1964-11-18). "Joan's Conscience Honors Us All". On the Town. San Francisco Chronicle. p. 43.
Maybe those in the civil rights movement who say, as Jack Weinberg was quoted Sunday in the Free Speech Movement story, that 'you can't trust anyone over thirty' may be right. You can't trust them to see things the way they really are very often, that's for sure.
- Ludlow, Lynn (1966-12-04). "Close Look at UC Targets --- The Non-Student Leaders". San Francisco Chronicle. p. 26.
Weinberg was subsequently active in leadership in the VDC.
- Angeloff, Sam (1965-12-10). "The Antiwar Marches and How They Happen". LIFE magazine. pp. 109–125.
But the V.D.C. leaders looked scared. 'Advance scouts' radioed that a few blocks ahead a wall of helmeted policemen stood on the Oakland-Berkeley line with clubs and gas masks. In front of them, between the police and the marchers, stood a thousand hostile demonstrators. Weinberg and Frank Bardacke, two members of a hastily formed emergency executive committee, ran forward to negotiate with the police.A text version of this article is also online.
- Aptheker, Bettina (2006-09-26). Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel. Seal Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-1-58005-160-6. Lay summary.
I yelled, 'Turn the march!' Immediately the car swung a right turn. The call was taken up by Jack Weinberg on a bullhorn. The marchers turned west, away from the border.
- Richards, Paul (2013-08-02). "Vietnam Day Committee March, October, 1965". Harvey Richards Media Archive. Estuary Press. Retrieved 2015-05-12.
- Robertson, Bob (1965-10-16). "The Berkeley Drama -- A Wall of Police". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. 1, 7.
Police insisted repeatedly that they were concerned about the 'hostility' of the spectators. But Jack Weinberg, a Vietnam Day Committee member and spokesman said the march had turned only because a number of persons 'not concerned with our movement' stood between the marchers and the police and made a 'confrontation' impossible.
- California State Senate. "Appendix to the Journal of the Senate". Sacramento, California: California State Printing Office.
The actual count, according to officials who are expert in making such estimates, was between ten and fourteen thousand.(For other formats of this document, see https://archive.org/details/appendixtojournax1967cali)
- Roise, Jon (1965-10-18). "10,000 Demonstrators In Peaceful Berkeley March". The Stanford Daily. Volume 148 (no. 17). p. 1. Retrieved 2015-05-13.
After an hour the march approached the Oakland City limits. Some 375 Oakland police, carrying billy clubs and gas masks and wearing helmets, stood shoulder-to-shoulder, blocking the way.
- Rosenfeld, Seth (2013-07-23) . Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power (updated appendix ed.). Picador. p. 279. ISBN 978-1250033383. Lay summary (2012-10-05).
Jack Weinberg dismounted the platform on the VDC's red truck and walked toward the police line. ... Now he crossed the barricade and met with [Oakland Police] Chief [Edward] Toothman inside a police truck. Although the Berkeley Police Department had let the parade proceed without a permit, Oakland authorities refused. Weinberg could not convince Toothman otherwise and soon walked back through the police line, across the asphalt to the red truck. The VDC leaders fiercely debated whether to confront the cops, ultimately voting 5-4 to turn back, a decision Weinberg announced from atop the truck.
- "Berkeley in the Sixties" (transcript). p. 42.
[the Stop the Draft Week protests were] the first clear demonstration that the radical part of the Anti-Vietnam war movement was coming up against its own limitations. It didn't really have the weight in society to stop the war. I think that it was after that, that the Berkeley radical scene became more and more cut off from reality. And the question of moving American society, changing people really was getting lost.Transcript of 1990 documentary film directed by Mark Kitchell. This quote occurs at 69 minutes 56 seconds into the film.
- Greene, Wade (1970-07-12). "Where Are the Savios Of Yesteryear?" (PDF). The New York Times Magazine. p. 37. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
He helped set up the Peace and Freedom party, organizing the registration drive that gained it enough signatures to get on the California ballot in the 1968 elections.
- "State Chairpersons". Peace and Freedom Party. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
Jack Weinberg was the first state chairperson recognized by the Secretary of State. Weinberg served from August 1968 until he resigned in November 1968.
- Weinberg, Jack (1974). Detroit Auto Uprising: 1973. Highland Park, Michigan: Network Publishing Group. ASIN B0006YEABA.
- Weinberg, Jack, ed. (February–March 1975). "Network, Voice of UAW militants" (1). Highland Park, Michigan: Network. ASIN B001NA3DBE. OCLC 33344982.
- Kaye, Karen. "A Network of Militants" (PDF). Workers' Power. Highland Park, Michigan: International Socialists (April 24–May 7, 1975): 13.
There's a new magazine out and if you're in the UAW it's for you. If you're not, there's still a lot for any worker to learn from Network, Voice of UAW Militants, an independent bimonthly publication.
- Ricci, James (2015-02-09). "From Berkeley, challenge to authority spreads". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
- Weinberg, Jack; Thornton, Joe (June 1994). "Scientific Inference and the Precautionary Principle" (PDF). International Joint Commission. pp. 20–26. ISBN 9781895085815. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
- "Our Lakes, Our Health, Our Future" (PDF). International Joint Commission. September 1995. p. 70. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
- Gordon, Larry (2014-09-27). "Graying activists return to Berkeley to mark '64 free speech protests". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
'Fifty years have passed, and it's pretty safe to be a supporter of the Free Speech Movement now,' said Weinberg, 74, who is a consultant to groups seeking to clean up environmental pollution.
- Weinberg, Jack, ed. (1995). Dow Brand Dioxin: Dow Makes You Poison Great Things. Greenpeace. ASIN B00BGR29GO. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
- Weinberg, Jack; Gerson, Jack (1972). "SDS and the Movement". In Friedman, Michael. The New Left of the Sixties. Independent socialist clippingbooks. Berkeley, California: Independent Socialist Press. ISBN 978-0912502090. (Article written by Weinberg and Gerson in September 1969 became a chapter in book that was published in 1972.)