Magazine article Tikkun

Steve Weissman: Remembering Mario Savio

Magazine article Tikkun

Steve Weissman: Remembering Mario Savio

Article excerpt

Mario was a pain in the tush-and that's what we, the radical grad students, needed to keep our people moving.

He wouldn't shut up or go away. He kept shoving. He created crises. He refused to let us play it safe.

In his heart, he never believed we would get the teaching assistants out on strike. But he wouldn't let his doubt stop us from trying. He kept telling the truth, making us squirm, forcing us to face the awkward need to act.

Why couldn't he compromise, our mushy moderates asked, go along with a few reasonable restrictions on what students would be allowed to say?

No restrictions on the content of speech, he taught a generation that later lost its way in the swamp of campus speech codes and the silliness of the politically correct. Free speech is absolute.

On civil disobedience, he had the gall to refuse the hemlock of Socrates, the gracious acceptance of Martin Luther King, Jr. …

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