July 31, 2004

Mario Savio’s Speech Before the 2004 Democratic Convention

Forty years ago in a galaxy far, far way, I stood with many others outside Sproul Hall at U.C. Berkeley and listened to Mario Savio make a speech which in many ways launched the political upheaval of the 1960s and all that has come from that. Savio died in 1996, a man who in many ways peaked at the moment the speech was made and who lived the rest of his life in the shadow of it. Still, he was a brilliant man and perhaps, not certainly but perhaps, he might be inclined to make the following speech if he had been returned to life for the Democratic Convention.

"We have a MoveOn-ocracy which runs this party...."

"We have a MoveOn-ocracy which runs this party. It's managed. We asked the following: if John Kerry actually intended to be a real Democrat in his campaign, why didn't he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received -- from a well-meaning Kerryista -- was the following: He said, "Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his board of directors?" That's their answer!

"Now, I ask you to consider: if this is a political party, and if George Soros, MoveOn and Al Gore are the board of directors, and if John Kerry in fact is their candidate, then I'll tell you something: the leaders of our delegations are just a bunch of employees, and as delegates we're just the raw materials!

"But we're a bunch of raw materials that don't mean to have this degrading process worked upon us, don't mean to be made into Kerryistas, don’t mean to lose this election, the house, the Senate, the Governorships of the Fifty States and local town boards simply because this convention seems to have decided to to end up being humped, pumped and dumped by these net nerds, be they bloggers, be they meetuppers, Clintoniacs, Gorephiles, Harlem Hustlers, UFOoligists, or French looking Americans who fought, by the way, in Vietnam, be they anyone! We’re not these refugees from the ideological Clown Car! We're Real Democrats!

     [Wild applause.]

"There is a time when the operation of the Democratic Party becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the phony baloney party online apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the idiots that are crashing this once great party into the center of the sun, to the morons who’ve manipulated this conventions, that unless you're free to be a real Democrat, the Party will be prevented from existing at all! “

     [Prolonged applause.]

“Now, no more talking. We're going to march out of this train wreck singing "We Shall Overcome." Slowly. There are a lot of us. Up here to the left -- I didn't mean the pun.”

Posted by Vanderleun at July 31, 2004 5:21 AM | TrackBack
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