The Warrior, May 1972
Red Tide Member Reviews Revolutionary Movement
by John M. Hillman
“Revolution is not just something which is ‘over there,’ that is, something which you go out and pursue as if it was only a hobby.”
These are the words of Cindi (last name withheld by request), a junior at Uni and an active member of the local underground paper, the Red Tide. In a recent interview, Cindi gave her views on the March 8 demonstration in the administration building, and spoke of the upcoming issues of the Red Tide.
The Red Tide, which advocates a Communist revolution, was declared illegal last March when it violated several Los Angeles City Board of Education guidelines concerning distribution of outside material on school campuses.
Among the first questions posed to Cindi was why the Red Tide staff was relating to the Vietnam war, for instance, with what the Red Tide feels is the struggle for free speech on campus. During the sit-in, many people were confused with such analogies. Cindi replied that looking retrospectively, the staff went too far the first day in attempting to explain how such things are related, but emphasized that “repression in high schools is directly related to oppression around the world.”
Cindi explained that this follows in line with the Marxist theory of dialectical materialism. Cindi gave assurance that future issues of the Red Tide will concern itself more with explaining this theory.
A somewhat surprising opinion [held] by the Red Tide is its strong criticism of the IPS program. Cindi says that the IPS students and faculty had a productive meeting at the mid-term, in which the students were taking over direction of the program. But now Cindi asserts that “it’s still teacher oriented” and the IPS is “definitely a pacifying thing because too many people just go on intellectual trips.”
Cindi gives an example of this when she described how students will sit around all day and talk about the conflict in Northern Ireland, but fail to take any action on the problem. Cindi adds that she felt IPS divides one part of school from the other. She claims that many students in the program look down at students in the other part of school. In turn, she says, many of these students are envious of the IPS people “because they can leave school whenever they want to.”
Another topic discussed was the Red Tide’s criticism of the Warrior, which Cindi sees as a part of the propaganda in our society. “The Warrior,” says Cindi, “concerns itself too much with things that are not relevant to our lives, like the Cultural Fair and speech contests.”
A suspicion on the part of some people at Uni is whether the Red Tide is receiving outside editorial or financial help. Cindi gave a firm “no” to this question, despite the fact that it costs $150 to put out each edition of the Red Tide. Cindi explains that there was some confusion over the mailing address of an individual given in each of the first two editions. That person was not connected in any way to the paper other than being a friend of the staff.
“We just wanted to use that person’s address to prevent us from being hassled,” recalls Cindi.
And examination of the media in this country will display a typical revolutionary as being in the like of Jerry Rubin or Abbie Hoffman. This is very disturbing to Cindi because she does not want that type of image to be placed on members of the Red Tide staff.
It’s a middle class thing for them (Hoffman and Rubin),” says Cindi. “Only rich people can go around all day and smoke dope, but a poor black person, for example, has to face the realities of life and go to work. It is the working class that is being exploited the most — they’re the ones who will be the biggest factor in the revolution.”
Quite often in a movement of any type, a dominant leader emerges. In the case of the March 8 demonstration at Uni sophomore Mike Letwin was perhaps the most vocal of the students in the administration building that day. Largely because of this and because he is a Red Tide staff member Mike appears to many as the leader of the revolutionary movement at Uni. According to Cindi this acknowledgement of leadership “has been very detrimental to us.”
Cindi emphasized that when a movement looks to one leader for direction, it is in danger of falling apart. She points out that when Mike was suspended following the demonstration, the “energy level” went down. While Cindi says that Mike is a very articulate speaker, she claims that you can’t depend on one leader to hold an entire movement together.
Working Within System
But Cindi cites an even more serious problem which is holding down the revolutionary movement at Uni. She feels that people who work for change solely within the system are pacified into not achieving any meaningful change. The reformation of the dress code, for example, while very necessary and welcome, just becomes a concession which prevents people from working for more reform, concludes Cindi.
Yet Cindi claims it is not hypocritical to quote the Constitution one minute, and then proceed to break the law the next. “By any means necessary” has been a prominent slogan of the Red Tide.
ASB President Mark Harris is considered close in political thoughts to the Red Tide, [and] an alternative to student government is being planned. At the moment, the structure of this proposed student union is vague, but the major difference between the union and student government will be the fact that all students who wish to be involved will be permitted to do so.
Why a Revolutionary?
What led Cindi to become revolutionary? Cindi cites the alienation from her parents and school as the factor leading her to her political awareness. She feels that capitalism is the cause of this alienation.