Monthly Archives: November 1972

1972.11.30: Principal Loses Battle on ‘Red Tide’ (L.A. Times)

1972.11.30 LAT 1972.11.30 -- Principal Loses Battle on Red Tide -- LA Times_Page_2

1972.11.17: Antiwar Demonstrators to Hold Rally Tomorrow (UCLA Daily Bruin)

1972.11.17 -- Antiwar Demonstrators to Hold Rally Tomorrow -- UCLA Daily Bruin 1972.11.17 — Antiwar Demonstrators to Hold Rally Tomorrow — UCLA Daily Bruin

1972.11.01: At Hamilton We Don’t Lose All the Time (Red Tide)

We Don't Lose All the Time -- Red Tide

Red Tide, Vol. II, No. 3 [Issue #7], November-December 1972

At Hamilton
We Don’t Lose All the Time
[By Michael Letwin]

The RED TIDE‘s second lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court on Monday November 20th. This suit is a different suit than the one that challenges the rules about prior censorship and prohibitions on sale.

This suit came about when a student at Hamilton High, David Hammerstein, was stopped from distributing Vol. II, No. II of the RED TIDE on campus. The principal, Josephine Jimenez, stopped David on the grounds that since the RED TIDE had an article on birth control article, it was contrary to the State Education Code relating to sex education. This was in fact an illegal action, as the State Code mentions classroom situations only, not material put out by students for distribution on campus.

David immediately called us, and we in turn called Rowan Klein, an ACLU Lawyer to call the principal and inform her that she could not legally stop distribution of the paper. Rowan Klein called the principal twice, and both times was hung up on by her. It was at this time that we realized we would have to take more drastic action.

When the case was first brought to the Superior Court, it was heard by Judge Wenke, for he is the judge that you go to if you want a Temporary Restraining Order, the first most immediate procedure available. The judge said at that time that he was not prepared to rule on the matter, and told us to come back on Weds. the 22nd. It was on this day that we did get the T.R.O.

What this means is that the administration of Hamilton Hi cannot stop distribution of this issue of the RED TIDE and for all practical purposes that this issue cannot be stopped anywhere in Los Angeles. The trial date in this hearing has not been set as of this date.

The first lawsuit is presently in the California State Supreme Court, and we’re waiting to hear about whether or not they will hear our case. We took the suit there after being denied an appeal hearing in the District Court of Appeals.

In this lawsuit, a major issue that we have been fighting is our Constitutional rights of free association and privacy. The defense (School Board) has submitted interrogatories (questions) which state that they do not believe that the RED TIDE is a student run newspaper, but rather that Cynthia Hummel, the plaintiff, has nothing to do with the paper, [and] that it is published and distributed by groups outside of school, having nothing to do with school. These statements are backed up with no facts.

The defense, while supposedly testing their theory, tries to get the plaintiff to answer questions such as “what is the name and addresses of everyone who has ever worked on the paper,” “names and addresses of everyone who has ever donated money to the paper,” [and] “who conceived of the name ’RED TIDE’ .”

These questions are irrelevant to the fact that the Board of Education rules are both unconstitutional and illegal. Whether or not the RED TIDE is owned and published by students (and it is) is of no consequence, when considering the rules that we are challenging. We believe that if the schools are to be true educational institutions, instead of the farces that now exist, all and any material should be allowed, nay encouraged on campus.

Today, December 3rd, this case was heard in the Superior Court, and many of the questions were approved by the judge to be answered. However, because we feel that this is another very basic constitutional issue, we are appealing this also, now to District Court of Appeals.

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See:]

1972.11.01: Keeping Track Part 2: The Actual Process (Red Tide)

Keeping Track Actual Process -- Red Tide

Red Tide, Vol. II, No. 3 [Issue #7], November-December 1972

Keeping Track Part 2: The Actual Process
[By Michael Letwin and Karen Pomer]

This is the second part of our articles dealing with tracking. Tracking is the system by which the schools are manipulated to direct and force students into different jobs by the type of education they get according to their race, sex or social economic class. This is all done under the guise of “educational ability.”

This part of the article deals with some of the actual ways that tracking is enforced. How does tracking work?


From elementary school to college, tracking is mainly a question of differences in quality between entire schools. Predominantly white middle class schools such as University, Palisades, Santa Monica, Grant, Emerson, Webster and others are generally better equipped in the college bound subjects, with better “reputations” among universities and employers, than are the inner-city black, Chicano, and Asian working class schools such as Jordon, Roosevelt, Morningside, etc.

American education is set up so that schools are attended for the most part by people in the surrounding community. And since communities are set up in this society according to race and economic standing, different areas of the city are dominated by the different tracks. There are of course exceptions, for example Palisades High has about 120 blacks, mostly on transfer from other schools.

Since most inner-city students are tracked into industrial jobs, their schools are equipped quite well with shop equipment, whole buildings are devoted to printing or metal, while middle class schools such as University, have jewelry. An example of this type of tracking is that many Chicano students in East L.A. revolted several years ago, one of their demands being that the non-accredited schools (college accredited) become accredited.

In many cities, teacher seniority transfer policies allow teachers to choose their assignments after an initial period of “internship” in a “difficult” school. In some cities, principals can choose their own teachers directly. With either method, the result is that the experienced teachers are found in white middle class schools in a metropolitan area, and that inexperienced temporary teachers are found in urban minority and working class schools.

Most tracking is done under the guise of  “ability,” usually beginning in the very early grades. At that time, classes begin to be named “Advanced Placement,” “remedial” etc. This is supposedly for the purpose of identification only. In reality, these classes are set up with the purpose of tracking people into their future roles. This kind of tracking takes place within the schools, after the interschool tracking is already in effect.

Reading is the key to intra school tracking. It is by reading scores that students are measured (IQ tests are essentially tests of reading achievement). It is by reading proficiency that teachers in early primary grade their students and that students learn to judge themselves. It is an interesting sidelight to the controversy about tracking that black children do better generally in math than they do in reading.

Because reading is the key to tracking, and minority and working class children generally do poor in that, teachers expect less of low tracks, and especially blacks and Chicanos. These are taught less, learn less and learn to expect less of themselves. Thus, being placed in a low track becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The lower tracks do increasingly worse as they move through school. First grade black children, for example, have a median verbal test score of 45.4 (where the national average is 50). By the 12th grade, the score is down to 40.9 (not to speak of all the blacks that do not make it to the 12th grade).

Blacks generally do poor in reading because what they are shown in school does not relate to their lives. How can a black kid relate to a white “Dick or Jane” (it’s hard enough for whites), who have no problems, are all middle class, speak practically a different language, have a different culture, and who have nothing in common with their lives? This is not to mention the racism of many teachers, who regard minority kids as inferior to begin with.

This tracking is not always accomplished by open force. After a certain amount of conditioning, years of school which beats in this message about who you are, who you are supposed to be, what your place is and what you are to become, students often believe it. Minorities and working class students know that they are for the most part destined for industrial jobs and services, or for unemployment.

Women in all economic classes have been told by radio, T.V., magazines, etc., that they are no more than sex-objects, housekeepers, chauffeurs, babysitters, etc., according to a man’s whim. Women trying to take shop classes will be discouraged if not prohibited from taking part by counselors and others.

The counselor might say that you just want to be the only girl in the class, don’t you think that you should really take sewing, or they think to themselves that you’re a castrating female. Even if the counselors will let you in, the teachers and even students often make it rough or unbearable for women, by ridicule, harassment and discrimination, as a result of their own conditioning about sex roles.

Another example of this type of conditioning can be found in the Autobiography of Malcolm X. Malcolm X remembers telling his 7th grade teacher that he wanted to be a lawyer:

“Mr. Ostrowski looked surprised, I remember, and leaned back in his chair, and clasped his hands behind his head. He kind of half-smiled and said ‘Malcolm, one of life’s first needs is for us to be realistic. D0n’t misunderstand me, now we all like you here, you know that. But you’ve got to be realistic about being a nigger. A lawyer — that’s no realistic goal for a nigger. You need to think about something you can be.  You’re good with your hands — making things. Everybody admires your carpentry work. Why don’t you plan on carpentry? People like you as a person — ­­­you’d get all kinds of work.’ “

It is this kind of “realism” that has kept people, blacks in this case, in their “place” for centuries. This attitude isn’t realistic; it’s an enforcement of the tracking system that serves certain powerful interests.

Think about it, check it out, especially if you are black, Chicano, Asian, working class, or a woman, haven’t you ever been told that your goals are “unrealistic,” “above your head,” “uppity,” etc.? Check out where the good shop classes are located, and where the college bound teachers, resources, and computers are.

These are just some of the mechanisms that are employed in enforcing tracking.

Our next article on this topic will deal with some of the unsuccessful reforms of tracking, such as free schools, innovative programs, and ability tracking.

Sources and Suggested Reading

1. New University Papers #3, copyright 1971 (article on grading and tracking by Kay Trimberger)

2. Down the Up Staircase, Tracking the Schools, by Richard Rothstein for the Teachers Organizing Project of New University Conference, copyright 1971 by N.U.C.

3. Degrading Education, by Robert Klawitter, Indiana U. N.U.C.

4. Classes and Schools, A Radical Definition for Teachers, 1971 by N.U.C.

New University Conference
662 West Diversity Parkway Rm. 403
Chicago Ill. 60614

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See:

1972.11.01: Two Murdered at Southern U. (Red Tide)

Two Murdered at Southern U. -- Red Tide

Red Tide, Vol. II, No. 3 [Issue #7], November-December 1972

Two Murdered at Southern U.
[By Michael Letwin and Karen Pomer]

On November 16th, two black students on the Baton Rouge campus of Southern University were murdered and 24 other students were wounded by State and Parish police. These casualties were a result of the month old movement on the campus for better conditions including emergency medical care on campus, more voice in university affairs, including hiring and firing of teachers and administrators, the resignation of two administrators, and the right of students to audit university funds. Generally, the issues centered around the university meeting the needs of black students both in curriculum and action.

Around 8 a.m. on Nov. 16th, students gathered outside the student union building to discuss what should be done to strengthen the movement to meet these and other demands. At that time they were told that student leaders Charlene Hardenett, Lewis Anthony, Paul Shrivers, and Fred Prejean had been arrested by the sheriff’s deputies.

Upon hearing this, the students decided to go to President Netterville’s office in the administration building to inquire about the release of the students. When the students arrived, campus security guards, who were stationed near the entrance, opened the doors and about 50 students went inside. Others remained outside.

Several students then spoke to Netterville in his office. He told them: “Wait right here. I’m going downtown to see about it right now.” Netterville, a black administrator, lied. He didn’t go see about the arrested students, but to a State Board of Education meeting that was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

After Netterville left, Nathaniel Howard, another leader of the student organization, Students United, went through the building and informed the building staff that the students were not attempting a building takeover. He then went outside and told the people gathered there the same thing.

The people in the building went about their usual business, and Howard was even invited into the comptroller‘s office to look over some audit. Nevertheless, minutes later, sheriffs deputies and state police entered the campus and marched on the administration building.

Having brought along an armored personnel carrier and a tank-­like vehicle equipped with flamethrowers and bazookas, they were prepared to wage war. The officers themselves, one student remarked, were equipped for battle in Viet Nam, bearing tear gas canisters, Thompson submachine guns, riot 20 shot guns, grenade launchers, and M-1 carbines — complete with bayonets.

Reports vary on exactly how the police attack began. Sheriff’s deputies claimed they issued a warning to the students to evacuate the building and the area outside. Students claimed they heard no warning. One student said: “They didn’t tell us anything. They didn’t tell us any kind of warning because we had telephones in there and nobody called to tell us that we had warnings or anything.”

After this “warning,” sheriff’s deputies and the state police waded into crowd of students outside the building, pushing and striking them with their guns. Then, according to Fred Prejean, a deputy rolled a tear gas canister into the crowd. It was picked up and thrown back.

After that, according to most reports, deputies hurled a barrage of tear gas canisters at the crowd and began to fire tear gas into the building. While this was occurring in front of the administration building, other police were behind the building. They had their guns drawn, and as the students and some office staff also caught ran out, they opened fire.

Sheriff Amiss claims his men fired only tear gas shells from their weapons. But according to one student who observed the incident, “I saw one dude over behind a tree with an M-16, just popping away.” Other black witnesses claimed that each time the police fired a round, they would pick it up from the ground and put it in their pockets.

When Nathaniel Howard ran out of the building, he overheard one cop, who recognized him, yell, “There’s that nigger! Get him, get him!” Almost immediately, other students who saw that Howard was about to be attacked formed a circle around him in an attempt to save his life. Howard was arrested, but luckily was not harmed. He later said that the police who were coming at him had their guns cocked and ready to fire.

During this time, in the front of the building two students were fatally shot by the police. Another leader of Students United, Brother Sabau Taibikam, was directing people out of the area for their safety. He was running with his back towards the police when he reached over to pick up a tear gas canister. As he bent over, shots rang out and the two brothers who were standing beside him fell.

One apparently died instantaneously from multiple wounds to his head and left rear side. The other, who received similar wounds, was left by the cops to die. Collings reported, “He lay there in a pool of blood. He was breathing, but he bled from his mouth and hands. I learned later that he too had died.”

The two victims were Denver A. Smith, 20, and Leonard Brown, 20. Students United, in a news conference the following day, stated that the police were really aiming at Brother Sabau, who was to be a target of assassination, along with Howard.

These facts were distorted for several hours by the media and government until finally the governor admitted, “I’m not going to say one of my men didn’t shoot them. I feel like they did not, but maybe we will never know.”

What can be done about such racist attacks as these? This incident is no different than what has been going on in this country for four centuries, since blacks were kidnapped and brought here for slavery.

When four white students were murdered by national guard at Kent State University in May of 1970, there were demonstrations of sympathy and solidarity all over the country. People were outraged.

But why is there no reaction now when two black students are murdered? (Although there have been scattered black demonstrations.) Well, people must have thought, “these are blacks after all, it happens to them all the time, but at Kent State they were white.”

Another example of this type of racism is the Olympic killings. In the 1972 Olympics, 9 Israelis were killed, and thousands of Jews and non-Jews all over the world were upset, outraged, and dismayed. Israeli troops and planes carried out raids of revenge in Syrian territory.

But where was the rage and revenge when in the 1968 Olympics, 200 Mexican students were and killed in the streets by government troops when demonstrating against the impoverished conditions in Mexico perpetrated by a dictatorship heavily backed by the U.S. government?

Six (6) million Vietnamese have been and are being killed by U.S. bombs and puppet troops during Nixon’s term of office, but when a Vietnamese village is wiped out by U.S. bombs, we think to ourselves “Well, they’re only ‘gooks.'” But when a cop or a racist George Wallace is hurt or killed, it’s a “terrible tragedy,” etc.

Vietnamese, Mexicans, and Southern U black students are allowed to be killed because of our indifference. If people let the government know that they could not get away with legal murder, because if they tried there would be a general strike in this country, then they could not. If when the Southern students were shot, thousands of students and teachers had taken action, then there not be these endless murders.

These students were fighting for the same rights we need and want. If we do not support others in their struggles, who will support us in ours? It is up to us to insure that these type of murders cannot go on freely any longer. Only by showing with our actions that we will not stand for it any longer will it stop.

When these murders happened, every school in L.A. should have been shut down in solidarity and the flag flown at half mast, but they weren’t. It’s up to students and teachers to make sure that next time, they are.

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See:]

1972.11.01: Let’s Not and Say We Did (Red Tide)

[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See:]

Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Issue #7), November 1972

Let’s Not and Say We Did
[By Michael Letwin]

We too were fooled by the “peace plan”. This is an attempt to analyze the situation as it now stands to see what is really going on.

Since the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (DRV or “North Viet Nam”) announced that a peace settlement has been negotiated, millions of Americans have been hoping that an end to the War was at long last here. Even though Nixon had postponed the signing way beyond the agreed Oct. 31 deadline, he was still giving the impression that “peace is at hand”, when in fact it seems he may not sign at all.

Nixon has been able to win additional concessions from the DRV and the Provisional Revolutionary Government (the PRG, or called by the U.S., the Viet Cong), by squabbling over small details until the election was past and he was free to demand what he wants. Now he does not have the pressure of the election to sign early.

Without that pressure, he will feel free to break any agreement he finally reaches, if he does decide to reach one, just as every other president, both Democratic and Republican, has felt free to break all other agreements ever signed regarding Southeast Asia.

During the period between the announcement of “peace” and this writing, there has been the heaviest bombing in the history of the War. This way, Nixon is forcing the DRV and the PRG to make further concessions.

But even if a ceasefire is ever signed, the War will not be over. The U.S., its weapons and its “civilian advisers” (read C.I.A.} will remain. Already, the government has sent in pilot trainers from the Lockheed Corporation. They are also refitting Air America, the air force, to run bombing missions. This is the same Air America that is bombing northern Laos, off-limits for official U. S. bombs.

Yes, the “forces of democracy” will remain, attempting to force their policies on the people of Indochina. The agreement solves none of the basic issues involved in the War, and these forces will be there to intervene when the fighting breaks out again. Specifically, American bombers will still be stationed in Laos, Thailand, Guam and other areas within easy bomber reach.

The terms are a compromise, a compromise with U.S. aggression. But after all the years of war that Viet Nam has seen, any ceasefire, no matter how short lived, has to be welcome. However, before we start celebrating the end of the War, lets look at the terms of this “peace with honor”.

This agreement allows Thieu to remain in power. Thieu, a mass murdering puppet of the United States, serves absolutely no one inside of Viet Nam, and could not last a day without U.S. support. He needs U.S. dollars to pay his army, and U.S. weapons and ammunition to arm his mercenaries and draftees with.

Just think back to last years “elections” in South Viet Nam. Thieu outlawed all dissent, from the moderate Big Minh (a general the puppet army) to Vice-President Ky, a man certainly no “softer” on Communism than Thieu himself.

Finally, by election time, Thieu was the only person on the ballot. This is the man that will, represent the “democratic” segment: of the new government. With Thieu style democracy, who needs elections?

The agreement calls for a National Council, a coalition between Vietnamese Communists, neutrals, and these puppets of the U.S. In other words it’s a coalition between the NLF and the with some neutrals thrown in for good looks.

The whole agreement is under the supervision of an international commission. According to the most recent rumors, this commission will be made up of Canada, Indonesia, Poland and Hungary. Poland and Hungary will do Moscow’s bidding, and Canada will surely act in the best interests of its ally, the U.S. The same can be said of Indonesia, a butcher regime put in power with U.S. backing in 1965 over the corpses of a million Indonesians. So again, the fate of Viet Nam is left up to the whims of the super­powers.

The agreement does allow the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and the NLF to hold on to some of the land they now control. This was an absolute minimum, without which no deal could be reached. Any less would have meant surrender for the NLF.

This is the “principled peace” that the President has been promising us. The only truly principled peace, the only “peace with honor”, would be the complete, immediate, total and unconditional withdrawal of all troops and aid from Southeast Asia. Many people say that this would equal surrender for the U.S. The fact is that the U.S. has no right to discuss ”victory”, or even set conditions on its withdrawal.

The DRV-NLF were forced to make the deal with the United States. This is a crime, not justice. Given the corner in which the Vietnamese found themselves, they had no choice.

The American peace movement placed much of its faith in McGovern (who by the way thought that the peace agreement was peachy) instead of trying to build an independent movement speaking to the real needs of the American people. That also was crucial for Nixon.

Russia and China too, added to the plight of the Vietnamese. Instead of giving the Vietnamese unlimited supplies and sweeping the harbors the day they were mined, they compromised with the wishes of the U.S., and restricted the amount of aid they gave the Vietnamese.

The U.S. offered the NLF a deal “they can not refuse”, like in the GODFATHER. There is no way of knowing how long the ceasefire will last if it is ever signed. The most that can be hoped for is that when the fighting resumes, all the U.S. troops will be gone, to insure a victory for the Vietnamese.