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1. "Don't trust anyone over 30" came out of the FSM at Berkeley
Fri Sep 14, 2012, 10:56 AM
Sep 2012

The background below, provided by an FSM participant, is an interesting footnote on the origin of the catchphrase. The link no longer works, but is provided for the record.

Credit where due. The phrasing "We don't trust anyone over thirty" came from Jack Weinberg, who was indeed among the leadership of the UC Berkeley Free Speech Movement. Jack was, in fact, the person arrested on Sproul Plaza for trespass on October 1, 1964, and the more or less spontaneous protest where we surrounded the police car in which he was held was the tipping-point event that led directly to all of the sit-ins and strike actions - and eventual victory - that followed.

The line was a throw-away intended as a dismissive to a reporter who was pestering Weinberg, trying to get him to confirm false rumors that the FSM was controlled by powerful Communists. The point was that the students were running things, young people, not a bunch of old men in the Kremlin, but an SF Chronicle reporter latched onto it and ran it as an attack on the American Establishment.

Other activists, including Jerry Rubin, Paul Krassner and Abbie Hoffman among many, in turn seized on it for just that purpose, using it repeatedly because it provoked such a virulent reaction by the Powerful. In that sense, I suppose, it could reasonably be called a "Yippie" catch-phrase.

Weinberg is, last I heard, still alive and still raising hell. Thanks be to him and to the new generation of "Robert Ericksons" for having the guts to stand up in person for truth and justice.

Posted by: Graham Firchlis | Nov 16, 2009 at 10:48 PM


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