lenge was a Who’s Who of 60’s radicalsrn—Jerry Rubin, Stew Albert, IbnirnHaydcn, Bobby Scale et al. JohnrnLcnnon, during his “bed-in” with YokernOno, sent a message of support.rnOn April 20, 1969, hundreds of activists,rnfired by a spirit of 60’s cooperation,rninvaded the lot armed with picksrnand shovels. A tractor materialized fromrnnowhere. Those who were not stonedrnout of their minds worked very hard,rnbut—true to the times—with little discipline.rnGraduallv, a park of sorts tookrnshape. But in its inspiration lay its weakness:rnit was the product of innocent anarchism,rnlacking plan, purpose, or future.rnFor the left the park svmbolized thernbest of 60’s values: people power andrnecological harmony. For the right it representedrnsubversion and decadence. Itrnhad to be destroyed. Caught betweenrnthese two sides was then chancellor ofrnthe university, Roger Ilevns. Experiencernhad taught him not to underestimaternthe power of youthful protest. Butrnneither could he ignore the authorit’ ofrnthe state of California and its govcr-rnLIBERAL ARTSrnTHE WORLDrnACCORDING TO BILLrnWall Street journal: “What eventrnbefore 1900 helped shape your visionrnof American society? Yourrnview of America’s place in thernworld? What more recent event?”rnPresident Clinton: “|0n the firstrntwo questions] None, becausernmost of the things the U.S. didrnbefore 1900 were totally inconsistentrnwith the global role I’d likernus to play, or were narrow disputesrnover territory. [On thernthird question I America’s 4-1/2-rndeeadc stance against totalitarianismrnand support for freedom.”rnnor—Ronald Reagan—who controlledrnthe university’s purse strings.rnThe left rallied, the right fumed, andrnIleyns dithered. On N4ay 15, at the requestrnof the Republican mavor, 250 policernfrom various forces took oer thernpark. They were eventualR- challengedrnby 4,000 demonstrators who had cleverlyrnseized the high ground. Neitherrnside subsequently displayed restraint.rnDemonstrators tossed bricks and rocksrnfrom the rooftops. The police, increasinglyrnfrustrated, used tear gas, then birdshot,rnthen buckshot. As time passedrntheir aim became more random, theirrnrange ever shorter. One rioter was killed,rnanother blinded.rnLater that night, Reagan sent in thernNational Guard. I’br the next 17 days,rnBerkeley was a war zone. The action ofrnthe military is best described as bizarre.rnOn one occasion, guardsmen threw tearrngas canisters into a crowded lecture hall,rnthen held the doors shut to precnt escape.rnOn the 20th, in an obviously premeditatedrnaction, soldiers cleared universityrnbuildings, then blocked all thernmain campus exits. A bewildered crowdrnof students, staff, and passersb watchedrnin disbelief as a National Guard helicopterrnspravcd gas.rnReagan won his little war, but he lostrnthe hearts and minds of local residents.rnThey never forgave him. In the Reaganrnpresidential landslide of 19S4, WalterrnMondalc won 83 percent of Berkeley’srnvotes. As for People’s Park, the unixersitvrnrealized that the wisest course wasrnto leave the site alone. Neer propedyrnlandscaped, it became Berkeley’s ugliestrnand most important park—informallyrndedicated to the memory ofrnJames Rector, the slain protester.rnPeople power had won. A makeshiftrnchildren’s plav area was built, along withrna speaker’s stand and a community garden.rnA rccvcled clothes bin appearedrnand remained for years. But the spiritrnthat had inspired tlie park dissipated inrnthe “me” decade of the 1970’s. Thernsybarites took over: it became a placernfor drug deals, loud music, and exhibitionism.rnCreating a better life gave wayrnto creating a better high. In the 1980’srnit remained a place for drugs, but drugsrnof despair, not decadence. Heroin andrncrack replaced pot, LSD, and cocaine.rnFor most, the park became a disappointmentrnand an embarrassment. Butrnfor some it remained a shrine.rnThe city and the university, believingrnthat a generation is long enough forrnemotions to cool, decided in 1991 thatrnthe time had come to make somethingrnof the park. But when the universityrnstarted to build vollevball courts lastrnsummer, Berkeley radicals reacted to therninvasion of their sacred ground likernSikhs to the storming of the GoldenrnTemple. Trouble erupted on August 3,rn1991. A huge crowd surged down TelegraphrnAvenue, where it confronted overrn200 police in full riot gear, armed withrnrubber bullets, stun guns, and truncheons.rnSurveillance helicopters whirredrnoverhead; tear gas poisoned the air. Itrnwas like old times.rnOn my first trip into Berkeley duringrnthe summer of 1991,1 shared a seat onrnthe train with a woman burdened withrnleaflets rallying comrades to “the defensernof People’s Park.” One had to bernimpressed by her dedication. She couldrnnot have been more than 20 years old.rnLike her comrade Dcnovo, memoriesrnof the struggle came to her secondhandrn—perhaps from her mother or father.rnShe saw herself as the defenderrnof that golden decade of hope and socialrnresponsibility. For the past year she andrnher friends have maintained a permanentrndemonstration in Berkeley’s SproulrnPlaza. They recruit new activists amongrnpimple-faced first-vcar students who listenrnto Maggie’s Farm on CD. Agitationrnremains the soul of Berkeley.rnFor Denovo the volle’ball courts symbolizedrnan ethos so e’il it had to berncrushed. Her fellow actixists .share herrnideals, if not her self-destructiveness.rnThey keep on keepin’ on, clinging desperatelyrnto tawdry symbols of a decadernthat exists onlv in their imagination.rnDefending an unsighth acant lot seemsrna strange wav to uphold the 60’s spirit.rnWhat is the myth and what the legacyrnof the 1960’s? Berkeley’s decision tornimprove the park was taken after arnlengthy democratic planning process,rnwhich was itself a creation of the 1960’srncampaign for greater political participation.rnThe decade popularized ideasrnabout beautifying one’s living space andrncreating public leisure sites for everyonernto enjoy. The 60’s also saw the beginningsrnof the health consciousness movementrn—natural food, relaxation, exercise.rnPerhaps it is not entirely sacrilegernthat the people should play volleyballrnin People’s Park.rnGerard /. De Groot is a professorrnof modern history at the University ofrnSt. Andrews, Scotland.rn48/CHRONICLESrnrnrn