Larry Golden Memoir - Part 1
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections Larry Golden Memoir G565L. Golden, Larry b. 1944 Interview and memoir 6 tapes, 540 mins., 102 pp. Golden, professor of Political Studies at Sangamon State University, discusses his family background, Jewish religion and anti-Semitism, his education at the University of New Hampshire, and the development of his liberal views and involvement with radical social movements. He discusses pacifism and the anti-war movement of the 1960's; protests and demonstrations against the Vietnam War; Civil Rights and the battle against all types of racism; Nazi Germany and war crimes trials; and the St. Paul, Minnesota civil rights movement. He also discusses the 1972 presidential elections, the draft, Sangamon State University, the Justice and the Social Order Program there, and the American Civil Liberties Union. He also mentions the assassination of Martin Luther King, the My Lai Massacre, and corporate involvement with the Vietnam War. Interview by Clifford Keith Wilson III, 1978 OPEN See collateral file: interviewer's notes, photograph and academic credentials. Archives/Special Collections LIB 144 University of Illinois at Springfield One University Plaza, MS BRK 140 Springfield IL 62703-5407 © 1978, University of Illinois Board of Trustees Preface This manuscript is the product of a tape recorded interview conducted by Clifford Keith Wilson Ill for the Oral History Office in the Fall of 1978. Cliff Wilson transcribed the tapes and edited the transcript. Larry Golden reviewed the transcript. Larry Golden was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 3, 1944. Larry Grew up in a predaninantly Jewish neighborhood, his Jewish religion having a great influence on his life. He attended the University of New Hall\)shire mere he earned a B.A. degree in Govenment. Fran there he attended the University of Mirmesota in Minneapolis Where he earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science. ~.Golden also taught there for a short tUne as a colleague and student of Mulford Sibley. Fran there Larry went on to take a position at Sangaroon State University in Springfield, Illinois. Throughtout Mt-. Golden's career he has been involved in such radical or social programs as the civil rights IIDVEment, ACLU, the anti-war rmvenent and the JSO progran at Sanganon State University. Readers of the oral history memoir should bear in mind that it is a transcript of the spoken word, and that the interviewer, narrator and editor sought to preserve the informal, conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Sangam>n State University is not responsible for the factual accuracy of the memoir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge. The manuscript may be read, quoted and cited freely. It may not be reproduced in v.hole or in part by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangcm>n State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708. Fanily History • University of New Hampshire. Jewish Religion. MOther's History • Graduate School. Anti -War Mbvenen t. Pacifist Feelings. Table of Contents Assassination of Martin Luther King. Strengths and Weaknesses of Anti-War Mwanent. War Memories Corporation Protests Racist Wars. Damnstrations Against Viet Nan. Hubert Hmphrey. The Kennedys Lyndon Johnson • Barry Goldwater. Nixon and AgneN. Ronald Reagan. 1972 Election. Speech in 1965 Se}'IIX>ur Hersh. War Crime Trials St. Paul Civil Rights M>vement The Draft. Hannah Arendt • Justice and the Social Order • American Civil Liberties Union • 1 4 9 .11 .13 .21 .24 .28 .29 .33 .37 .40 .43 .so .54 .56 .56 .57 .58 .60 .69 .71 .71 .74 .79 .81 .84 .91 Larry Golden, Springfield, Illinois, Fall, 1978. Clifford Keith Wilson III, Interviewer. Q: I think we should start out, probably ~th a little bit of background, your social background. W:tat was your social status that you were brought up ~th? A: Ckay. My father, Who is still alive, was working in the shoe industry in New- England for many years, a semi-professional way as a manager of various factories. If I reooember correctly, he ~nt to accounting school. I don't think he went to four years of college, but he went through accounting school ••• Bentley School of Accounting in Boston, Massachusetts. I was brought up, by the way, on the East Coast, W:tich I'll talk about a little bit. I think that makes a big difference. I was born in Boston and raised in New Hampshire, \W.ich I think follows along with W:tat I 1m saying about rtrj father being involved in the shoe industry. It was a big industry, of course, in New England in the 1930's, 1940 1s, and 1950's, econanically for the family it was ups and dO\'Ills. We were probably never more than middle class as far as our actual income situation was concerned. My dad never n:ade more than $15,000 at any t:ii:rJa in his life. lt 1s kind of a surprise, but of course, $15,000 was a lot of money years ago. For a variety of reasons, sane of \\hich I'm unsure of, he had a very rocky job career; a lot of moving fran one place to another. He worked in Haverhill, Massachusetts for <While. He v.orked in Rochester, New Ha:q>shire, if I rEmember correctly, for fihile. Maybe even Exeter, New Hanpshire, for av.hile. And finally he went to v.ork. Let 1 s see--if I remen:ber \\hat brought him to Manchester, he went to 'o'I.Ork for a transport Caqlany. It did a lot of the textile shipping. It was called Chelsea Contracting and Trucking Cmpany. He was the manager and accountant in their New Halpshire office. I don't know, maybe for about ten years. I'm not sure of the time on that. But then he was a casualty as were many people of the changes in the econany in the area. The textile and shoe industry started to move South. And as a result of that all kinds of BDployrrent opportunities were lost. Things like the trucking cm:pany. You didn1 t need it any more, because their business dwindled. So he left there and pi eked up a little 'o\Ork in a couple of other shoe factories. Then I think probably about the early 1960's he took What savings he had, it wasn't an 2Wful lot, I think maybe he had $3,000. I'm not sure. He put it into opening a sporting goods store. Actually it was initially intended to be an athletic shoe factory outlet. This was all, by the Larry Go 1 den 2 way, in Manchester, New Hanpshire. That was where Cllelsea Contracting and Trucking Cc:npany was, and that 1 s 'Mlere I grew up fran the time I was about four years old. So he took the savings and put it into this shoe outlet. Supposedly he had an agreement with a friend of his who owned an athletic shoe factory, and it served as the outlet for their shoes. This was doWl. in the mill yards in Manchester. A lot of people used to cane in there because it was a very famous factory outlet. It had a lot of traffic. For a variety of reasons that didn't go, and one of than was his friend pulled out and set up his son in the business. That really gutted it, and so he -went into bankruptcy and lost all of his savings. Then he floated for a 'Ml.ile. This was probably about the mid-1960's. He's never had solid f\lllding since then. He's now about sixty years old. So the last fifteen to twenty years have been very rocky, and to say the least, certainly not overwhelmingly canfortable financially for~ dad. My IIDther I don 1 t ra:ne:d>er the first time she went to v.ork, but off and on she 'ftOUld pick up employment. M>st of her voork seened to be things like a sales lady in department stores. She aspired very IDJch to an upper middle class existence, even though -we were never that -well off. She was very concerned about nxmey. M:>st of her friends were very weal thy. Not all of them, but an awful lot of them. And when I say very weal thy, I mean very weal thy. You lm0111 a $100,000 a year kind of -wealthy. And so she, I think, always had that sort of feeling of wanting to live like they did and not being able to. The relationship between my dad and my m::m probably never would have reached the point of breaking up. It was a very \Ulccmfortable relationship. To a certain degree she blaned him for not being able to bring in the rmney and let her live the way she wanted to. They went through all kinds of problEmS the last six of seven years. Anyway, she got cancer back about 1970 and died about four years ago. The last ten years for her were very \Ulcanfortable. That 1s all. It was a very difficult period. My dad didn1 t even sean to be that concerned about rmney, per se. I don't lmow why. I mean he v.orried about having food on the table. He was very unlike my rmther in that he owned an old car rather than a new car. He didn't care whether he lived in a mansion or an apartment. We never owned a bane. My IIDther never owned a bane. We always rented. We always lived in an apartment. But the environnent within ...m.ich I was brought up was a very upper middle class bane despite the fact that we weren't. My parents are both Jewish and that made a big difference, because the Jewish Cc::mnmi ty in Manchester [is] a fairly well-to-do ccmnmi ty unlike a lot of other Jewish cannunities. The stereotype that all Jewish camuni ties are -weal thy is inaccurate. The one in Manchester was fairly well-to-do and so rmst of their friends were Jewish. M:>st of the kids I beca:re friendly with fran about my second year of high school. Mbst of than, not all of than, were Jewish. And also I think they were fairly well-to-do sons and daughters of doctors, people 'Mlo owned stores or factories. [They were] certainly professionals at a minim.m. I 1m not sure I can think of IIDre than a couple of than who Larry Golden 3 could not fit that category. So the life that they led, I think that rrostly I led too. M:>re inportantly the way they approached life, I think, affected the way I think today. There was a point in rey ~ life where I suspect I could have gone in a variety of directions, sane of which were probably a lot less desirable than others. Before we IIDved, just before I went into high school, I had a lot of friends that were called really lower class friends, who lived pretty precarious existences, rough and tumble. Same of than I got pretty close to and I probably could have ended up, certainly not going into any kind of professional career. But then we moved out of that part of the cannunity, and I think that had a really big effect on me. It was just at the right time. The kind of friends I got after that were the kind of kids I was just talking about before, prnnarily Jewish, prnnarily upper nrlddle class. Their interests were very intellectual and very social. In fact, I think aside fran my f~ily life, a lot of my own social consciousness starts to really carne out during that period. I think that was a very important period of rey 1 i fe, the second year of high school. Do you want to interrupt? Q: No, go right ahead. A: It was in that period, for example, that I becane familiar ~th people such as Peter Seeger. He, in tenrns of song I think, had a really great influence over me. I've followed Seeger's career ever since the early 1960's. I have about twenty of his records. Just every chance we've had we've tried to see him when he's around. He was singing at the time with a group called weavers in the early 1960's. Through song and through a lot of other discussions and things, in and around school, I think I started to develop a social consciousness about things that were happening around the world. It wasn't terribly overt at that point. I was rrore in the beginning stages. I don't remenber being involved in a lot of political activity per se, when I was in high school, but of course, those were the years \\hen nobody was involved in politics. This would have been fran about 1957 to 1961. Those were pretty quiet years. I also got involved~ th a friend through the Jewish Ccmwni ty Center in Manchester. The Jewish COmmunity Center is sort of like the Y.M.C.A., only much more cohesive. It's snaller because of the size of the cannunity, of course, is substantially snaller. When you go to a place like that you go and you meet the sane people. It 1 s friendly place to gather and to talk and engage in activities. There was a fellow they brought in, who was to work~ th the young people in high school. I don't rE!IllEDDer -Mlen he came. I think it was in 1960. He was like a father outside of the family to a lot of us. He was both footlose and fancy-free. He \Vasn1 t married, he was handsane, very very bright, an extraordinary man. He's now, I believe working, or had been the last couple of years. I knew he was writing scripts for television. He had, I think, a lot of social and political concerns in his own existence. And so he was very comfortable to listen to things like those. we did things like take trips to Washington D.C. for a week, or New York City. Groups of us lM>Uld go. We lM>Uld have discussions down at the center. He Larry Golden 4 would be a follower of people like Pete Seeger and others. So a lot of the things started there. I don't ranember if I was active in student governnent in high school. I might have been, but it doesn't stick out as an inportant thing. In fact a lot of high school doesn't stick out as important. I don't ranember very rruch about my high school years, other than certain teachers, and these activities I was just telling you about. I may have to go back and look. I don't know if I have files on those--oh, there is a scrap book. Maybe that will help. (picks up scrap book and pages through) I 1 ll look at the scrap book. (laughter) I guess the only other thing about those years in tenns of at least my life went • • • Almost all of my friends, given their class and intellectual backgrounds, they were very bright. I always felt inferior. Intellectually I was stunted compared to than. They all ended up going to incredibly good schools, Colmbia, Harvard, Yale, Brandeis, Radcliffe. I mean you name it, there wasn't one of the eastern elite schools that at least one of my friends didn't end up in. But I didn1 t have the money for one thing, and my high school record, while good, was not that good. Even though I applied to a few places like Brandeis, I don't even remEmber if I got in to any of those, I might have gotten into Brown. I don't rEmember. I ended up going to the University of New hampshire in Durham, New Harq:>shire. And I rana:nber sane of the discussions about that. About the ability put forth for me to go to school and everything. If I was really that bright then I would really have a chance to stand out there, as opposed to going to a place where I would be just one of a bunch of intelligent people. (laughter) And you know, it's a great opportunity, and you built all kinds of rationalizations. But I am glad I did go, and I think there was a certain extent to which same of that is true. By going there a lot more opportunities really opened up for me, because most of your real cream of the crop in New England ended up going to private schools. It 1 s unlike the midwest where everyone ends up going to a big state university. In New England that's just not true. If you're bright you go to one of the private schools. That may not be true anym:>re because people can't afford it. They used to be able to. And the other thing about going to the University of New Hampshire was that--! can't remeoober when I first made the decision. It must have been during that first year that I really decided that one of the areas that I was interested in was to go into college teaching. And I got a grant fran the Ford Foundation. There were about eight of us that got grants fran the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation Fellows for Potential College Teachers ran a special seorlnar at the University of New Hampshire. I floated for my first year and a half, as far as what my major was going to be. I equivocated between Econanics and what was called GovermEnt. I eventually ended up in Governooent, or Political Science as it's now called. I'm not sure there was any determdning factor, other than the fact that I was interested in it. I think if I remember, I've always had this sort of strong feeling to study politics or law. In other words, the debate in my mind for a long thne was whether to became a lawyer or a political scientist. I've never resolved that one, by the way. As sane of our Larry Golden 5 later discussions ~11 indicate to you, I sort of straddle between being a lawyer ~thout a license and a teacher of political science. I know that one of the reasons I didn't go into Econanics was I got involved with a bad advisor in the Econimics Program. I didn't like him. He was just a tyrant. He so turned me off to staying in Econanics that I decided to switch. At one point, I think I was a major in Econanics then switched to Govenment. The other thing was • • • The only thing that really interested me about Econanics was ccuparative econanic systens. Even at that time I had this very keen sense of talking about questions of justice. I 1m not sure how this came about, w.hether it was evolved fran a religious baCkground or what. I had this concern of evaluating the world, looking at the world to see what are really the best ways of doing things. I got real turned off when I had to spend a lot of time worrying about things like ma.thmatical tmdels in econanics and stuff life that. I was much llDre interested in talking about \\hether or not Yugoslavia was a better society than America, or things like that. And like all Econanics programs, justice isn't really one of the things they're concerned with. Justice isn't central in the discussion of Econanics. And so politics it was, and governnent it was. And I think about my third year at New Hcupshire 1 really started to cane into my own as an independent person. I don 1 t know, in sane ways I consider myself a late bloaner. Whatever I do, it takes me a while. I tend to be aggressive in doing things. But it really takes me a while to settle in and be certain, and have certainty and assurance that I am doing \\bat I want to do, I 1m making the decision that I want to make. I think that was true in high school, and I 1m sure that was true in college. Those first couple of years were spent largely searching for things, and the last couple of years asserting my own identity. And I'm sure a lot of that was due to people I met. If I think back over my life, clearly one of the most significant forces has got to be people I 1ve rret and the people I've worked with. I can only take so rmch credit or blame for \\here I am as a hunan being. I kn<N~ I was just tremendously influenced by people 1 rret or came close to. Teachers in college particularly, and peers. And the same thing is true in high school. I was talking about that advisor before, at the Jewish Community Genter, and my friends. I'm a very social person in that respect. I'm not a isolationist as a person, and the friends and aquaintances I made have a really deep influence on me. I met sane people at the University of New Hampshire that I 1m sure have had a lasting influence on my life. The teachers that I worked with, the Department of Governnent there, and the friends that I made. I got involved there in a number of things those last couple of years at New Han:pshire. That was men I think maybe I was most overtly starting to get involved in politics. This would be about 1963 or 1964. Again a lot of that was affected by the society and Kennedy's election in 1960. It was clearly something that sthnulated my interests. Although I don't raneriber it, I'm sure that that year in high school, 1960 [or] 1961-- Larry Golden 6 about the thne I went to college, that I probably got involved in politics. At least in terms of a very heavy discussion and activity. That's probably where all this stenned fran. In fact it initially [started] ~th Kennedy. I got involved in organizing the Peace Corps at the University of New Hampshire, and helped recruit people for the Peace Corps. I was going to go into the Peace Corps myself, and then Kennedy got assassinated. That made a big difference. That's one little event, big event I suppose, that changed the lives of a lot of people in this country. In my case it really--I think if Kennedy had been president I probably 'M>uld have gone into the Peace Corps. Interestingly enough, my wife also was in that situation. She said she was thinking of going into the Peace Corps at that thne too. So those were very politically conscious years. It's hard to think of how the environnent affects you that llllch, but it does. The 1950's were very apolitical or unpolitically interesting, but when Kenndey did take over in 1960 it was 1 ike the whole country did change. And so that was one thing. I also started to get involved fairly heavily in student activities at the University of New- Ha:tpshire. I can't rE!llEII"her all of them, or even how I first got into them. I ended up, in my senior year, as president of the student government there. That was a potentially very political position. I made sane notes here. (pulls out pad of paper with notes on it) A number of things occurred during those couple of years, particularly around 1963 and 1964 that were pretty bnportant. TWo things that just stand out to me as the student body president. One of them was that I got involved in a big controversy at the University of New Hampshire over the right of Cmm.mists to care and speak at the University. A group of students, I might have even been aoong the group. I'm not sure. I've got that all docurented too and I think that's sanething we should cane back to. I've got a big scrapbook I'd like to show you of that stuff. A group of students invited a guy, ~ was open! y a cmmmi st. I think his nane was James Jackson. I think he was the editor of The Dail¥ ~rker, carne to speak at the University, and all hell broke loose 1n the state. You've got to ranariber that that's the state ~th the Manchester Union Leader. That 1 s the one major daily newspaper in the entire state, the only Sunday new-spaper in the state. At least it used to be--and it was the only newspaper in the state that had both the IIX>rning and afternoon editions. I mean there were other dailies, but as you can tell in cmparison to that, pretty flhnsy operations. And the Manchester Union Leader is run by a pseudo-fascist editor by the nane of Bill Leob. A lot has been written about the paper, primarily because [of) the role New- Ha:tpshire has taken as the first primary in the presidential campaign. AliiX>st every four years there's an article in Time Magazine about Bill Loeb, The Manchester Union Leader, and the state of New Hampshire. Anyways, Leob got ahold of this thing about the cmmmist being invited, and he started to run editorials about it. The whole state got into an uproar. And it got to the point where the issue actually was brought before the state legistature. And I had to go and address the entire state legislature of New Hampshire, which was the largest state legislature in the country. Even larger than Illinois. It had about 450 Larry Golden 7 representatives. New Hampshire has this great New England sense of democracy. It believes in overkill, it's incredible. I ranariber saooe of those things. They were really kind of crazy. Here I was addressing the New Ha11>shire legislature. And you know the issue was freedan of speech and the right of anybody to came, particularly to a university campus to talk and say things even if they were crazy things. And I don't know. That might have been for me one of the first great influences in tenns of Ire getting involved in what I nO'N call "civil 1 iberties activities." I mean I 1m sure there were other, but as far as an actual civil liberties issue, something other than the civil rights movement. Something that tends to be a little more like freedan of speech or something like that, that was probably the first major activity that I got involved in. And you know it couldn't help but have a big influence. The other thing was, as student body president, I got invited to the White House in, it must have been Spring 1964. Lyndon Johnson, of course, was the president then, Kennedy having been assassinated in Novenber of 1963. And Johnson, I think, partly because he was building for his election in 1964, invited a group of student body presidents fran all over the country to go to visit the \'hi te House. And so here I was straight off the fann, in a sense--the University of New Hampshire has got a pretty rural reputation--going down to washington to go to dinner at the White House. It was quite a fascinating event. I think I realized part of the reason I was to help Johnson win his re-election, but the grandeur of everything couldn't help but be influential. I started to get active in the civil rights movement in the Spring of 1964. I went with a group of students fran the University of New Hcupshire down to ColUibia--or Coh.mbu.s--Colt.nhia, South Carolina, the capital of South Carolina. During my spring vacation I went down. It was actually a project sponsored by the Y.M.C.A. of all things, to help voter registration. And once again this was the year that Johnson's making the run against Barry Goldwater. Political sensitivities were very keen, because of Goldwater's extraordinarily irresponsible position on public issues. And of course this was the thm when we were just starting to get a glimpse of v.hat might happen with the Viet Nam War. You had those cannercials on T.V. with Goldwater, and the a tan bad> dropping, and the little child picking a flower. One of the classic cannercials. That week I think had a really great hnpact on me. For the first time in ~ life I really experienced a racial and econocrdc poverty that I never seen before. And although I 1d never seen it before, for sane reason, it was there in my genes. I mean I related to it. I even remenber going to a Baptist Church service that week we were down there. A whole group of is were invited by the minister of the blaCk community, to attend his church service because we were down there \\Orking in the camuni ty. It was a very a:ootional and moving experience. We lived at a black college the \\hole week. We \\Ould get up in the rooming and we'd train for a couple of hours before going into the cannmi ty. Then we 1d go door to door trying to register people. The poverty was incredible, and at the same tbne, it was one of those southern cannunities, where on one side of Larry Golden 8 the street you have a plantation, and an the other side you have people living in just devastating econanic condi tiona. I 1m not sure I fully understood Vlhat was happening. I 1m not sure I was really intellectualizing at that point, but I know I felt deeply about it. I understood at least sane of Vlhat was happening. The other thing during that year or tv.o--i t 1 s hard for me. A couple of years becanes a little bit of a bear for me. I was part of a group of students that, probably in 1963 v.ould be my guess, started an organization called, No Time For Politics. It was obviously a pun or play on sanething, because the group was a group that was very political. It's main purpose, in fact, was to sthnulate controversial political discussion at the University. In about 1964 we started to bring in a couple of speakers about the war in Viet Nam. We brought in a couple of socialists and we tried to set up same debates between neo-conservatives and neo-radicals of the left. And that group brought me into contact ~th a lot of people who were very active on the political left. It was fran meeting people in that group, for example, that I first became acquainted with a group called Y.S.A., the Young Socialist Alliance. I had never been exposed to those things before, but you know, I later found out that the Young Socialist Alliance was a Marxist Trotskyite group of young people Vlho follOINed the line and teachings of Lean Trotsky. It was a national group. And men I got to Minnesota later on, I met quite a few people ..m.o \\'ere connected with the Young Socialist Alliance, because that was a bastion of radical activity, and particularly the Young Socialist Alliance was very strong there in Minnesota and I got involved ~ th a n.mber of other people. The style of this new type of politics was well, pretty political. I was always I think, much more inclined to that direction. It began, I'm not sure how or Vlhy. I 1m not sure I could nake any sense of it unless I really had to. I didn't really have my own viewpoints then, I 1m not sure when I did in fact. It probably wasn't until I got to graduate school that I really began to start to really understand what I believed, why I believed it, and mere I wanted to go ~ th my own belief systen. Anyway that No Time For Politics group was a pretty crazy group of people. Crazy in a nice way, not in a negative way. And also, you've got to rEnlE!Iber that this was the time that both SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] and the Berkeley thing had all broken loose. It was around this time too the Free Speech Movememt broke loose. There started to be a lot of fennent throughout the universities all over the country. So it was a fairly active period. Historically and politically all kinds of things were happening. At the University of New Harrpshire I was probably one of maybe a dozen people who were at the top in tenns of being active politically. Part of that again, stems fran friendships I made. I becane very friendly ~th a fellow who had a lot of political sensitivities. He took over the Memorial Union Association at the sane time I becane student body president. And so between the t\\0 of us we really controlled almost all student activity at the university. we had a lot of fun. It was a nice position Larry Go 1 den 9 to be in. He was an extranely bright guy, just fantastic. And he too was interested in philosophy and political philosophy. And I think partly because of his influence, partly because I was already headed in that direction, and partly, I think, because of same of the teachers there were at the university, I got very interested in the areas of philosophy and political theory, as well as constitutional law. Although the teacher I had in constitutional law at the university wasn't overwhelnrlngly exciting, found that the class was. Even today you hear, every once in a \\bile, people talking about the fact that that was such a traurmtic event that alrrost anyone can date thanselves in teltllS of were they were vW.en Kennd.ey was assassinated. I rananber what raised it. we were talking a nrlnute ago about constitutional law. I was in a constitutional law class, taking an exam. we were just walking in to take an exam \\hen we had heard that Kennedy had been shot. The teacher wanted to go ahead with the exam and I got very upset, saying that this was no thm to be taking a test. I don't remenber \\hat happened. I think he left it optional. "For those of you that don't feel like doing it you may leave." I don't rananber \\hether I took it or not. I think I did. And then quickly handed it in so I could see v.hat was happening. It was a very shaking experience. Incredibly trawatic. I renanber heading hane and spending the next three days in front of the television. I almost went to washington. It had a great impact in a lot of us. Kennedy really had sthnulated the social juices in the society. In a way, I trean \\hether he was right or wrong, or \Vhether people liked him or [didn't] like him. I' 11 adni t he was a hypocrite anong other politicians, but that right now is not the point. The point is that he started sanething that maybe even he couldn't control, that was that he had just awakened it. He really did awaken a sense of idealisn and belief in a lot of things this country had sort of preached, but never really practiced. And I was one of those people, Who certainly felt along that 1 ine, and was glad of it. I'm not sure I 'M:»Uld be the person I an today if it were not for Kennedy. It certainly had to be one of the contributing factors. There was this friend of mine, Jeff. Last I knew he was with this union organization. We spent an awful lot of titre together. And he and I, plus another fellow, v.ho taught political theory at the university becane very friendly. We became proteges of that professor, and then got very involved in political theory discussions. We would go to his house. Samt iDEs we would be there unt i 1 one in the rooming, talking about things, trying to make sense of things, writing, critiquing, Jeff and I would get involved in a lot of other--almost all of these other political activities that I've trentioned, he was also involved in. I don't know \\here he's ended up now. I haven't seen him for years. I tried seriously to catch up. It's hard to tell. Let me think for a minute, \\hether or not there is anything else. I really do want to go back to that business on the Free Speech thing after I've had a chance to dig out that notebook. Q: You rmntioned that you're Jewish. How has your religion--has it had any effect on your thinking? Larry Golden 10 A: I'm sure it has, but I 1m not sure how. I mean, I 1m still working that through. It smmds kind of crazy. I 1m not religious n<N~ in an institutional sense. My IIDther and dad -weren1 t terribly religious. We would go to services on occasion, and I did get involved ~th the temple youth group men I was in high school. In my school years, I was probably the IIDst institutional that I had been my entire life. But IIDStly it was social, and I don1t want to belittle that, I think it's very Unportant. I 1m sure sane of those activities that I was involved~ th through the youth group at the temple, probably affected sane of my social and political thought. I think one way that I 1m almost certain now, must have had sane effect on me. I don1 t know if there is any way of ever explaining this to saneone. It 1s almost like a black trying to explain to a mite, mat it feels like to be oppressed, as a black person. I use that as an analogy, not because it 1 s bad, but because it really is analogous today. And that is, to grow up Jewish in this society, is to grow up different. And there is, as people are I think, are a little bit more sensitive during this past year, this sense of fate, of potential tragedy, of discrirrdnation, of being different. We are non-cllristians in a Cllristian society. The rules of society--despite the fact that we1re not supposed to be a theological society--the rules of the society are oriented towards Christianity. Even today, although I'm not religious in an institutional sense, I cringe at the thought of men the Jewish New Year canes around and life goes on as usual for everyone. And yet when Christmas or Easter is here everything closes down. It 1s just, it 1s a different world, in a certain sense. And there is sanething about this idea of being different that keeps a perspective of, aliiDst a struggling perspective on life. You kn<N~, you're going to make it, you1re going to fight, and you're going to push to do it right. The other thing is, the substance is very oriented towards questions of justice. It's very hnportant. Living the good life is very important, in tenns of Judaisn and its teaching. It's a very socially oriented religion. Social so m1ch to the extent that it doesn1 t even e:t:phasize the activities of the Temple, it does the activities of the family and the ca:rmmi ty. It 1 s more irrportant to be close to your family, and to do good things for the canmni ty than it is to go to service every week. A lot of religions have never thought about that. The funny thing about that is, going back to this previous thing about being different, there was during the period right before I grew up, a lot of discrimination anongs the Jews in New Fngland, and it was so bad, for exa:nple, my father changed his nane. Golden is not our real name, or my dad1 s real rurne. Before [it] was Larry Goldstein. And men he got involved in the shoe business, in New England, in the 1930 1s, discrimination was serious enough during that period, so that he had to change his name for business purposes. And those were the days men, of course, the hotels in New Han:pshire would have a sign that would say, "No Jews or Dogs Allowed." It was a yankee sensitivity. It was always quite antiSanitic in that period. A lot of places were like that. This is in the 1930 1s now, and to a certain extent the 1940 1s and 1950 1s I think a lot of people saw the 'Ahole Camunist IIX>vanent in this country being led by Jews. A lot of Je~JVs, of course, were the victi.n:s of that Red Scare Larry Golden 11 during the McCarthy period. It 1 s never been said that the Red Scare was a religiously based attaCk. Part of it is that so many of the people that were involved were Jewish. So anti-SEm.i tisn has always been a great key thing in m, life. It does, I think, require the question of religion, \Wlen you try to think of '~.hat kind of things lead you to get the facts. Were the group of people really discrirr.dnated against or are you keenly and strongly against injustice? There's no question about it. My religious upbringing had an effect. It had to. Not just the religious upbringing, but the experiences that are associated ~th it. The other thing is that Manchester is a very interesting ca:rmuni ty. The bulk of the community--it's a twin city almost. It's divided by a river, and on one side of the river are the French Canadians, and on the other side of the river are all the Anglos, in a sense. And so because of that, it 1 s extranely heavily Catholic. And probably the t® groups historically, that are the most antagonistic to each other, are the Catholics and the Jews. [They are the} furthest apart. The irony, of course now, is that m, ~ fe is a fanner Catholic, and my folks weren't very happy with that. (laughter) But I'll talk a little bit maybe about that later, because the answer is (inaudible). But because of the composition of the canruni ty, it made being Jewish in even IOOre inportant thing, both to be proud of, and also to be careful of. Q: ~twas your family relationship? was it a close knit family? A: I only had--have one brother, so I cane fran a snail fanily, hnnediately. The actual hunediate family was close, but since it's so small it's almost hard to talk about it being close. Ckay, if you understand \Wlat I'm saying, because you find a lot of relationships, again outside of the hone. You don 1 t have many peers at hane. Okay? But my mother came fran a very large family. She came fran a fanily of ten brothers and sisters, and she came fran the Soviet Union. In fact, she was born in the Soviet Union. My mother came over during the revolution, the Russian Revolution, or just prior to it. She's very fluid or has been. She never liked to get pinned down. One of the traits of her family is, you can never find out how old they really are, so they would never give you a really accurate description. She was just a little girl when they escaped. Literally escaped. At the time the governnent was after thEm and m, grandfather. That's my mother's father. I used to kid my mother about that, because she 'Mmld get upset when I v.ore a beard. I'd say, "Didn't your dad wear a beard?" "Well, that 1 s di £fer en t. " It was different in those years. We 1 re looking at a picture of my grandfather, ~th a big full beard. (referring to picture on staircase wall) Anyways, they escaped. They cane over to this country, ten of than, an incredibly story. And they struggled, they struggled and struggled, and they made it. Just like so many other people during that period--1914, 1915, 1916. CAle Wlcle 'M>rked his way through medical school and became a doctor. Larry Golden 12 So she came fran a very large family, and that family was very tight knit. Okay, I'm making a difference here bet"~J~~een my imnediate ham and my relatives, but the relatives constituted an extended family for us, even though IJDst of than were fran Boston. We lived in New Hanpshire, and that 1 s like sixty miles away. So we saw a lot of each other, and my cousins and I were very close. In fact, \1Ve stay in touch even now. Almost all of than have died. Her brothers and sisters, they're all very old, in their sixties, seventies, and eighties now. I don't know, I think out of the family of ten or eleven, I think there are two left, of the brothers and sisters. And so that had a real effect, I think. I feel the notion of family, to me, is still very important. Very inportant. We try to do that with our children. My wife cams fran a family of eleven kids, and we've became sort of the occasional refuge for the teen-age problems and visits, and every once in a while the substitute father and rmther. I think that's inportant. There's just so IIllch you can take before you say you've got to live your ov.n life, but it's inportant. Q: \\hat about your political background? As far as after you reached voting age. A: Well let 1 s see if I can rananber voting age. (laughter) How do you remanber voting age? Q: I think i t was twenty one. A: Ch gee you're already ahead of me now. I've only gotten to college now. (laughter) Well, the Johnson-Goldwater election, as I mentioned before, was a very siginficant turning point. That was an inportant election for a couple of reasons. <Ale was Goldwater. We had a real fear that Goldwater was dangerous, really dangerous for the country. The other was this sort of rennant of Kennedy, that was always hanging there. And Johnson, although I think many of us were not sure we V!OUld feel canfortable with him, as president, many still saw him as hopefully continuing the politics of Kennedy and the Deo:ocra t s. Thirdly was the civi 1 rights rmvenent. That really started to push forward in 1964, May of 1964. That's one of the other things I was going to mention. In May of 1964, I mentioned that I had gone to South Carol ina. I also ended up going to a conference up in Biddeford, Maine, in May of 1964, at a snail school called St. Francis of Assisi COllege. Martin Luther King spoke there. There "~J~~ere a nunber of people, but the two who stood out were Martin Luther King, and a \\OOl3.l1 by the nane of Dorothy Day. She was a grand old radical fran New York. For a while she was in Olicago. And I think that was probably my first direct experience with Martin Luther King, Wl.an I becarre a very close follower of for the next four years. There's his assassination. I think King was probably, oh he had to be one of the greatest figures of the 1960's. Clearly, maybe one of the greatest figures in !merican history. We'll wait and see about that. I have a great deal of respect for vmat he did, but rmre irrportant I have Larry Golden 13 this incredible admiration because he did it. He had a charisma, that even now \\hen I listen to his speeches, I cry. I do. I sit there and tears just cane into my eyes due to the power of that. And it wasn't power in the sense that Hitler had power and charisma, it was power in the sense of the kind of good feelings, the kinds of justice that he really stood for. And many people mpathized with. So anyways, in May of 1964, this whole spring of 1964, I think was just probably very hnportant in terms of my getting involved in civil rights activities. And then in--1 don't rananber what the hell I did those sun:mers. The sunners were kind of a bore for me. M>st of the time, in the sunners, I was out working so I could go to school. One sunner I interned at a department. I think it was the Department of Education. It was a big deal, in Concord, Maine, in state governnent, 'Which was kind of interesting. But sanehow during that period, I got involved in the Johnson~oldwater election. M>st of it again I think was in and around Durhan, New Hampshire. I was involved with voter registration in the communities around Durban; primarily in Portsrouth and Dover, New Hanpshire. We'd go into cannmi ties, again, particularly into poor communities and black cannunities. They're the worst out there. There weren 1 t very many blacks in New Hampshire. There never have been. I don't know, I think three per cent of the population is black, very, very small. But then again, we're only talking about half a million people, in the whole state. Anyway we got involved in voter registration activities. We got involved in parades, and setting up. I mean I was very active in that • I was one of a group of students, fran the university, who were supporting Johnson versus Goldwater. And I think part of my inclinations about the election were not just because of Johnson, but Hubert Hmphrey. Sane of the ma:nbers of my family had very strong feelings about Hwphrey. There are sane ironies about that too, that I think I should relate. Hmphrey and I ended up teaching at the same college, in St. Paul, N.linnesota, after he lost the election in 1968. 1111 cane back to that. Part of my life at that point had to be very transitional, because of the fact that I was going fran undergraduate to graduate school. It was in 1964 that--! don't kn~-was that 1964 or 1965? wait a second. Yes that's right, it was 1965. Sane of these dates may be a little off, but I was involved in same of the civil rights activities, and Johnson and Goldwater in 1964. The trip to South Carolina, and the voter registration activity would have been in the spring of 1965. So it was sort of in the course of those two years, 1964 and 1965. But again, I was in transition in 1965, going fran the University of New Hampshire to graduate school. That was another big decision. At that point it was fairly clear that I was going into Political Science. It was also fairly clear that I was going into graduate school. That's what I was interested in doing, and I was getting a lot of encouragemmt fran my teachers at New Hanpshire. The other thing was, of course, the draft was going at that point. I was starting to figure out what was a good way of staying out of the anny, which is true, a lot of people did it. Going to graduate school was one way. There was no way of getting out of school at that time if you wanted to avoid the draft. Larry Golden 14 I'd already started to get involved in sane anti-war activities. I'm not sure exactly \\hat they were during that period, but there wasn't that much going on when Johnson got elected. The decision started being made. [They were] not exactly the decisions we hoped would be made in term; of Viet Nan, but I applied, I think to three or four graduate schools. I was a little selective. I got accepted at John Hopkins, and I almost went to, but they didn't give me any money. I did not have any money. The University of Minnesota on the other hand did. They offered me a teaching assistantship. I think there were two people at the University of Minnesota, a couple of people there that I was particularly attracted by. They made it interesting for me to go there. Initially~ interest was to go into something like Soviet politics. I was starting to get interested again in different parts of the world, evaluating the whole political system, and I was sort of interested in the Soviet Union. I'm not sure if I was that greatly, or that terribly interested, but I was certainly curious. we had a fellow there by the mme of John Turner, at the University of Minnesota, and he had written a couple of books on the Soviet Union. I was st i 11 inpressionable enough, so that anybody who had written books on something, sort of seemed to be sarnebody to look up to. It doesn 1 t happen as much today as it used to, but that was very impressive. Here was this guy by the rume of Milford Sibley. His field was political theory. I was interested in political theory, but I was not sure at that time it was what I wanted to do. I just wasn1 t sure. Anyway, I rananber going to Minneapolis. And you've got to remanber now that growing up in New Haq>shire is like growing up on a big fann, although Manchester is very similar to Springfield. I mean both in size and way of life. I would say slightly more sophisticated than Springfield, but still it's a somewhat rural state. No where near as rural, of course, as central Illinois. M>st of your ruralness is in grain fanns. I mean wheat fanns, and com fanns, and livestock, cows and chickens. This may not have an awful lot to do with anything. I reroa:rher going to the University of Minnesota, and here I was. I drove out in this old Volvo that I had, and it barely made it out there. And I get to the University and the Political Science Department was, I don't know the fourteenth floor of the Social Science Tower. It had these big doors. And I took the elevator up to the fourteenth floor. I don't know what I expected when I got up there, I expected a band to start playing or what. But you know, "here I am!" You know it's sort of like, every once in a while in a movie, you'll see this Texas hick conrlng off the elevator shouting, "here I am." (laughter) Well as it happens, John Turner was a graduate advisor for graduate students at that t i.rm. It was probably a good thing, because I went into his office shortly after I got there and looked at him. Here was this guy, this fairly rotund fellow. He remdnds me of this guy in Smiling Jack conic strip, with the buttons popping out of his stomach, sitting there with this stump of a cigar in his mouth, and his feet up on the desk. He said, "What do you want to do?" I said, " Well, I 1m interested in--and here I thought I'd inpress him, he was the guy I had carne fifteen hundred miles to see, and said--I'm interested in going into Soviet Larry Golden 15 politics." And he looks up and says, 11You1ve got the wrong department. You need to go into Area Studies. We don't study places." And I sort of felt like a balloon that got too inflated. Anyway, Jo1:m Turner was a very hard fellow to take, initially. Initially he came across as a very hard, cold tyrant. I took me three or four years to get used to him, and to realize that in fact underneath that exterior there was a fairly wann and sensitive hunan being. Not my type of course. He wasn't very interested in politics, but very bright at what he did. That sent me quiCkly scurring down to Professor Sibley at sane point. I don't rEmEmber when. And the reason this all bec~s very irxportant is because, Professor Sibley, becomes again, another figure of extrane hqportance in my life and development. And Mulford Sibley is probably the closest thing to a living saint that I've ever encountered. I have a great deal of both wannth and affection for him as a hunan being, as well as an incredible and exceptional, intellectual person. And the reason that all of this becomes hqportant is that Sibley is probably one of the most significant people in the world of radical politics. I mean that's him. And he was arrvng that top leadership in the country, aroong the non-establishment political Anti-war Mbvanent. I didn't know that at the t irm. That was not even what initially attracted me to him. What attracted me to him was the fact, that v.hen I walked into his office, he sat me down and we talked like--you haven't been talking very rmch (laughter), but it's almost as if you had. I mean he was really interested, in me, as a human being, and \\hy I was there and \\hat I wanted to do with my life. And it almost didn't make any difference Whether he was going to be my teacher of not. That wasn1 t what was inportant. He was interested in me as a hunan being, and as a student. Fran that time on it was clear that we were going to have a close relationship, which we did. I knew he was a pacifist because he had written, or edited a book called Quiet Battle, which was a book on the history of non-violent resistance. And, of course, having been involved and having interest in the civil rights movanent, and it 1 s movtment towards non-violence, that imnediatel y becane a factor. As I say, just generally in tenns of the things that I did in both my intellectual and social interests, I have to give a lot of credit to him, and a lot of influence to him, to this day. That first year at graduate school, maybe, I think once again was a period of digging in. I don't have a lot of recollections of the details of those years--! mean in te~ of political activity. This would have been in 1965 or 1966. Clearly during that period, I was involved with the anti-war moverent, as it was starting to develop, but I was also at a time of searching for my own academic interests, so a lot of the political stuff was sort of secondary to that. And it didn't take me long, I think about six months, before I think I knew v.hat I wanted to do as far as my academic interests were concerned. whether I really wanted to go into political thoery and study with Sibley. And I think again part of the reason for that was because the people ~ were attracted to Sibley were the kinds of people, \\ho I felt I could relate to. And again they were politically and socially conscious people. Secondly because it asked the right questions. I was really interested in political problems rather than political methods, the way we were talking about politics. And it was interesting, questions about justice and injustice. Larry Golden 16 Well I'm sure that, fran the thne that I started to get settled in, at the University of Minnesota, anybody Who was the least bit inclined towards politics was going to find all kinds of things going on. N.tinnesota is probably one of the most politically alive places in the entire nation. And not only the University was very exciting politically, but the whole environment there was very exciting politically. I became involved ~th all kinds of activities there. By spring of 1966, I had becaiE pretty well involved in the Anti-War M:JVenent at the University of Minnesota. And in November of 1966 we had a teach-in at the University of Minnesota. That was now the age of teach-ins. The teach-ins were a couple of days, sanethnes a week even, at the universities, Vllhere you would actually organize a whole series of activities designed to teach people about 'Ah.at was happening in the war. And sanetimes they would try to get schools to close down, and have these activities. I can't ranariber if we actually got the University to close down in November of 1966. I know that teach-in was a very big one, and that I was one of the organizers of it. And I'm also sure that during this period that I becarre sanewhat influenced by Sibley's role, because he was clearly one of the major figures of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and the anti-war movarent. If there ever was a major event occurring he was always in the speakers' row. He had this incredible ability. By the time the war had reached i t 1 s height, Sibley was speaking on the average of once a day at sane function throughout the community, and at the sane time managing to keep up with his teaching and publishing work. And I still don't know how he did it. Did you want to ask a question? Q: Wlen did you have your first anti-war feelings? A: Well, that's a hard question for me to answer, because I think that a lot of it stenned out of that 1964 election between Johnson and Goldwater. Ironically that election countered on war, ~th Johnson clahning that he was going to end the war and Goldwater, fo course, giving the opposite in:pression. And so that was clearly one of the major things. The two things in that election that were critical, were the war and civil rights. And Vllhen Johnson didn1 t cane through, as I say, I think, as early as 1964 and spring of 1965, I was already at that point pretty rwch developing my sensitivities in opposition of the war. And I think sane of that also stEJIIDed. around the draft. As soon as the draft got going, a lot of us got pretty upset. Not just because of our own vulnerability, but friends and other things, and we also saw that it was going to be rough time-pretty hard to believe. As for as actual activity, well I'm just not sure, specifically having to do ~ th the war, but that 1 s hard to pinpoint. It was when I got to Minnesota. I know that at the University of New Hampshire, we brought in speakers as early at 1964. Even before the election, we talked about 'Ahat was going on in Asia. I'm fairly certain, although I can't pinpoint in right now. I better go baCk over same of these files a little bit more. I can't pinpoint it, I started to get involved in political activity, at the University of Minnesota, against the war. But the first event that I can really pinpoint specifically, that [I] dealt ~th, that was the teach-in, in November of 1966. Larry Golden 17 Q: Did the teach-in also involve something more then just the University? A: Only to the extent that I think there was an atteapt to try and get • End of Tape One A: I have to badk up again, just for a minute, because I just remembered looking through these files, there's something else I forgot. One of the other things that I had done in te:nns of getting involved, well there VJere t\\0 major events that I've sort of downplayed, that I think deserves a little bit more noting here before I even left New Hampshire, or the year that I was leaving New Haxpshire. One of thEm was, I think the role of the Free Speech movEment, stemning out of the events at Berkeley--and Savio, 'Mlich becarre very in:portant nationally in terns of what was happening at colleges and universities, and students rights, and all of those things. lhat had a big effect on me. The whole develop.nent of SDS. I think actually that prhnarily occurred probably the year that I left New Hao:pshire. I think it was around 1965 that it started really breaking in. But one of the other things that did happen that year, 1964, was I ended up going down to--that was the year again that I was involved primarily in civil rights activities, and really interested in thEm, and I ended up going down to the Democratic convention in 1964. It was held in Atlantic City, and I've got some material on that here on the convention. Again, that was a very mixed experience for me, unfortunately a very incanplete experience, because While I was there tto/ brother got into an autanobile accident and we had to leave the state quiCkly. For a variety of reasons, which I'm not going to get into in detail. But, part of the thne I was there, I ended up out in front of the convention hall, in Atlantic City, with the Mtlssissippi Freedan Democratic Party, which was a group of blacks who were trying to unseat the establishment MUssissippi delegation. Which was, of course, almost all white, if not all white. And there was a big fight at the convention over whether or not--and this was led by Fanny Lou Hamner the faroous civil rights \\Orker--and they got thrown out of the convention or they walked out. Their credentials V~Jere denied and there was a big fight at the convention. It was one of the things, that again, stared to rmke me realize that work for Johnson was not exactly all roses and you knOI.V, well I never thought that caxpletely anyways. It just started to confinn part of that. And anyways, there was a big sit-down on the part of the MF.DP [Mississippi Freedan Democratic Party] out in front of the convention hall. I raneoober spending same thne out there ~th that group protesting the Democratic Party to open itself up. You knOI.V that's a big experience, being at a convention of the Democratic Party, and having sanething like that happen. Going back--! know we're shifting years a lot here, I knew that was going to happen. The teach-in, in 1966, if I rananber correctly, was not really a major event in the sense that we tried to close the University down. I mean it was a big event, but it was not--we weren't at that Larry Go 1 den 18 point yet in the movement where universities were closing and things like that, but it was part of the activities of a group called The Minnesota Canni ttee to End the War in Viet Nam, of which I beccme very active. And I must have been active, probably fran the time I got to the University of Minnesota. I don't think I ever fonnally held a major leadership position in the group, in the sense of an office. Ironically, this was true with most of the Viet Nam movanent era, even though I was one of the most active. I was a ~er of the leadership carnadssion, and part of the reason for that I think is because, you've got to realize that Minneapolis-St. Paul is just so incredibly politically aligned. You've got all kinds of people \\ho you know were there to lead and you don't have to WJrry. It's not like Springfield, where if you want something done you get six people together and all six of you at one point or another are going to end up being chainna.n of the group. I mean you just didn't have to WJrry about that. And the other thing was, there was a lot of leadership at that time caning fran people who were, for example, professors at the University, things like that. Anyways at that teach-in, in 1966, we had invited in five, I think it was, individuals. One of the was C. Clark Kissinger, who was the past president of SDS, Lincoln Lynch, who was the Associate National Director of CDRE, Congress For Radical Equality, and Edward Keating, who was the editor of Ran:parts Magazine. I don't knCTW' if you're familiar with :Ranparts. It's a crazy magazine caning out of California. Sidney Lens, who was an editor of Liberation and very involved, not only in the Anti-War movement, but primarily carre out or the Vbrkers Mwement. Lens is located in Olicago. And anyway just to mention for a second what this was about I'll just quickly read this thing. "The purpose of the Teach-In was primarily to continue the confrontation of the administrations' policy in Viet Nan by Anti-war forces. We hoped it would sthnulate discussion of the war, and create more understanding of the Anti-War movement. The teach-in was part of a nationwide observance as scheduled for Novariber 5th through 8th coordinated by the National Cannittee for M>bilization, headed by A.J. Mustee." The fannus pacifist A.J. MUstee. So there were twenty-five other professors fran the University and other colleges that were leading seminars after these discussions. So it was a big event, but not as huge as sane of the others that were to came in the future. It did go on until November 8th. It started in the evening, and I think it went almost into the night. I'm not sure, it went on and on and on. So that was the first major activity, although as I say I was involved fran the time I got there, I'm pretty sure with this group, The Minnesota Canni ttee to end the war in Viet Nam. Q: How did the war affect you personally? Did you lose any friends or relatives in the war? A: NO, I can't really rananber that ever happening, ironically. I think probably, along with most people my age at that time, probably the greatest direct threat was the draft. I mean if you really want to talk about Larry Golden 19 threats that was one. And I know fran the time I was involved with Sibley and sane of my friends at graduate school, fran the t hre that I reached the age of having to worry about it, that I was seriously contemplating either applying for C.O. status, if that ever cane about, or leaving the country in the later years of the war. And I 1m not sure what I would have done. I still don't to this day, don't know what I \VOUld have done. I know I \VOUldn' t have gone. I would have gone to jail first. Q: Could you explain C.O. status? A: Oh, Concientious Objector Status. I think Sibley, in that regard, had a lot of influence on me. As to, in tenns of making me think about whether or not I really believed in non-violence, and accepted it as a philisiphy of life, or whether it was just sanething that appealed to me in a specific political situation. So anyways this whole issue, on how to deal with the draft, is one that was hanging over many of us Who were in school at that thre. There were times that, even though I technically didn't have to worry about the draft, a nwber of us Who got so upset with the war, aliiDst felt that we ought to confront the situation. And I admit that I took, in a sense, a conservative position on that one. It was IIDre important for me to keep myself in one piece as long as I didn't have to compromise my beliefs too Illlch. And I knew that caning fran New Ha:rpshire, that I was not going to be treated very generously by my draft board. So I just sort of took the high road on that one, and never really felt camJortable with my own situation. Part of the reason that I put it that way is because one of my activities in N.Unnesota--and I can't put any real dated on this right now, I'll be able to give than to you later on--I also becane involved in a group called the Resistance. The Resistance was a group of people that actually gave help to draft resisters, and encouragement to draft resisters. And I renember on more that one occasion going down to the Federal Building in Manneapolis, for exarrple at four in the IIDrning, when people that I knew, or in sane cases people that I didn't even know, directly or tangentially through the anti-war IIDve:rent were being drafted. And we would go dov.n as a group and sometimes get a hundred people down there, a couple of hundred people down there, when that person would refuse to go into the service. We'd be down there, we'd be singing to give encouragement to people not to go. And he Resistance, in N.linneapolis, you've got to recognize again, that where you are geographically really has a lot to do with how much you can do. And N.linneapolis is probably one of the half dozen places in the entire nation that is so politically sensitive, and also has such a liberal political clhnate that a lot of things would happen there, that aren't necessarily representative of everywhere else in the country, or that are really bnportant. In sane cases it was going to happen later on. So while I was in N.linneapolis I was really involved in the resistance. I'm sure in a lot of places people had never heard of resistance, but every once in a \\bile you do sanething like that, and you stop and think. My God, you know here I an encouraging this kid not to go in and I 1m sitting here with a defennent. You know, and should I confront that. Larry Go 1 den 20 And as I say, that was a very tough issue to be \\Orking through. But fortunately, and I really do think fortunately, I never had to do that directly. I managed to put it aside intellectually at least in terms of the draft board. My narm never carm up. And then of course the big question was Vl.hen they moved to the lottery. At that point in the war they IIDved to the lottery. They had the lottery and unfortunately you knew ~ether you -were going to be drafted, low or high, Vl.hichever. So I didn't have to worry. But that was really a pivotal event, I suspect. If I had to confront it at that point, I 1m not sure What I would have done. Q: How was the draft run before they cane up with the lottery system? A: Well, it was as it always has been. A real class-based thing. Anybody mo was not in a sensitive occupation, Which usually meant a professional occupation, doctors, lawyers---well not doctors, I should say lawyers--people 'lllho were weal thy, didn1 t have to serve. Let's put it that way. One of the reasons that doctors had to serve was because--and even then I suspect a lot of them didn't--was because they did have that thing Vl.here if you went through rnedical school you did have to serve t'.Ml years in the public service. But, anybody Vl.ho was eighteen years old was eligible for induction. And if you -were in school you got a defennent. If you -were in a sensitive occupation you got a defennent, Which would rnean you didn1 t have to go. And if your parents had influence and they could get you out, they did. So I'm really serious when I say it 1 s a very class based thing. People who have always gone to war in this country have been very poor, and the black. During a war, like Viet Nam War, and the Second World War, there was obviously discrimination towards blacks, but at least those -were the first people to go. Particularly anybody, kids Who finished high school and didn't go on to college were just hnrnediately pri.rre. But, of course, anybody who finished high school and didn 1 t go on to college was usually a lower class person. So, you know, it was the middle and upper middle classes that sent their kids to college altiDst autanatically. So that was how it went. I mean each state had quotas that they had to fill. So depending on Where you -were, depending on mich state you came fran, you were either 100re or less vulnerable. For exanple, one thing about New Harrpshire was that it wasn1 t a very populous state, so they had low quotas. Well, the other thing about New Harrpshire is that it 1 s a very poor state. When I left New Hampshire in 1965 the average incane for people was $55 a week. And that 1 s because of the huge nwber of factories and low scale labor, and also because of the fact that New Hampshire has always been a place \\here people cane to retire. So they're not making any tiDney Vl.hen they cane there, and the average is low. But the thing is that, given the fact that it is such a lower class state, it always had very high enlistments. The other characteristic of the anny is that it offers a vehicle of social IIDbility to people who get out of high school and can't find a job, and want to make a few bucks, and they want to travel, so they join. So a place like Manchester, where I came fran, I don't know if they ever drafted anybody. I'm sure they did a few people, but they didn1 t have to draft many people because they'd always nade their quota. They'd always Larry Golden 21 have nx>re enlistees, people Who'd be JOlnlng. And so that's another thing that made me less vulnerable than a lot of other people. Q: The anti-war nx>venent, how you were involved. Was this just an anti-Viet Nan thing, or was this anti-war in general? A: Well, I 1d have to say both. I straddled between the t'M> very often. In MUnnesota, again particularly there were both carnarlttees to end the war in Viet Nam, and there were other canni ttees that were Ill)re generically anti-war. And the split even anDilg those mo were involved, there was very often a lot of overlap on those, and the split was very obvious. By split I don't mean antagonisn, I mean just a difference between those who opposed the war, and sanebody like Sibley, for exanple who was opposed to war, period. In fact he wrote a book called COnscription of Conscience out of Wbrld War II, and I think that was his PhD. dissertation--something like nine hundred pages long. I don't think he did that on purpose, but I rEme:Ilber he told us a story about the fact that \\hen he went in for his PhD. dissertation to be approved and subnlltted, this nine hundred page book. And the first question that one of the people at the University of Oklahana asked was, "Mr. Sibley, how many PhD's are you applying for fran this uni vers i ty? 11 But that was his '.M>rk. So he was opposed to war. He was and remains a strict pacifist. And people like A.J. MUstee. He is one of the more noteworthy pacifists. And, in fact, in that league ~th Mlstee, you had people like Sibley. On the other hand you had a lot of very political groups, including the various communist groups during that period, and other left wing groups that were opposed to the Viet Nam War. And that you 1 d have a group 1 ike the clergy and Laymen Opposed to the War in Viet Nan. They also had a very heavily pacifist caxponent to them. And one of the things that very often differentiated the t\\'0 groups, for exanple, were their tactics. The pacifist groups -were people \\ho tended to be very low keyed in their approach to ending the war. They shied away fran direct confrontation. They shied away fran very aggressive activities. And one of the things, for exanple, that they used to do, that I occasionally became part of was every Wednesday at noon, they used to have a vigil, a silent vigil out in front of the R.O.T.C. building, on the University of N.linnesota campus. And it was really interesting to watch the size of that vigil for years. Actually it was started by a philosophy professor at the University, a guy by the nane of Berham Terrel, and he just decided one day he was going to do it. He told a couple of friends, "I'm going out. 11 He made a sign and started a silent vigil against the war, and fran that Wednesday for the next ten years, I don't think he ever missed a noon hour, no matter how cold--and in N.Unneapolis I'll tell you fifty-five below zero you 1 re talking about--every Wednesday he was out there. And there were times ..W.en there '.M>uld be fifty to a hundred people just standing there. Sare people would care for five or ten minutes and stand. Others v.ould cane for the Vlhole hour. And all they '.M>uld do is stand in front of the R.O.T.C. building with their sign, sanetirnes a few signs against the war, and that was their way of expressing it. Well you know, unfortunately that never \\Ould have ended the war in Viet Nan if that had been the approach that people took to the war. But it did, I think, represent the kind of q.t.estions you asked about. It did represent sane of the tenperament Larry Golden 22 and the differences of approach, of the pacifists, to the more aggressively politically Anti-Viet Nan people. Sibley is at the other end of the spectrum. He's a nrllitant pacifist. And of course, one of the big issues during this whole period was getting King to link the anti-war movement ~th his civil rights activities, sarething that he hesitated to do and was Wlder a lot of pressure not to do. And there's been a lot of speculation that in fact his movanent to oppose the Viet Nam War was vmat caused his assassination. The authorities were ~lling to accept him, or felt they had to accept and tolerate him, as long as he confined his activities to the civil rights movement. But once he started to make the shift to opposing the war, and making those linkages, then he becarre very dangerous to a lot of people in power. And I don't know how much truth there is to the fact that that might have led to his assassination. But those of us \\he lived through those years know that we don't discount anything. That 1 s a potential explanation for those things. Q: Do you feel Viet Nam was a racist war? A: Well, let's put it this way, in two senses it certainly involved racis.n. Che of than is that we were fighting people of a different race, and it generated a great deal of racisn, either directly or indirectly. I mean anybody \\ho studied and observed the attitude of soldiers in Viet Nan, including things like \\hat happened at the My Lai Massacre, know that what happens in a wartime situation is that you depersonalize your oppenent to the point that you can kill than, and one of the vehicles by which that occurred was racis:n. So instead of being hunan beings, they became gooks, slant eyes, and I know there's a lot of racisn there. The other way in Which it was racist was that, like I said before, like most wars it n:ade very heavy use of blacks in the actual fighting, and it perpetuated in our society a kind of racisn that's existed. The irony of course, of that is that it's fraught ~th contradictions. One of the things about American history, is that most of the periods of social unrest involving minorities in our country, have occurred around wartime. And there were a lot of reasons for that. One of then I'm sure, is the fact that it's extremely difficult to be fighting a war for dEmJcracy and equality sanewhere else, 'When people in your own society don't feel that they've got that. And of course blacks are the most vulnerable, as far as that goes. In this case we already had it. I mean the civil rights movement. So the sensitivity was already there, but taking a lot of blacks and putting then into the anned forces and sending then over there to fight ~th all these statements that were being made by people like Johnson and others, that we were doing it 11 to make the world safe for dermcracy;" there was no way that was going to wash. And of course, it was as you know during the peak of that period that we had things like the riots in watts, and Rochester New York, and Harlan, all going down. And it was during a wartime situation, and I 1m sure there's a relationship between that. So you know, the tougher question is, did we go to war in Viet Nam as a matter of racisn, per se? And I don't know about that. It's just a hard Larry Go 1 den 23 question. So I think it's just a whole variety of factors, including econanic and political, as well as racial. Q: You mentioned the silent vigils in front of the R.O.T.C. building. Y\hat are your feelings about anny R.O.T.C. on campus? A: Well, that was one of the other things that we got involved in. During that period I was also part of a group that was trying to get R.O.T.C. off the campus. In fact we wanted to get it off all together. It was our view that R.O.T.C. had no right, it had no place, on a university canpus. And there was a pretty big nnve:nent there that we were able to get generated to fight the R.O.T.C. See, a lot of this sort of went again, everthing was just caning together in a funny sort of way, during this period, because on the one hand R.O.T.C. is a war issue and on the other hand it's a student issue, of the University. And as I say there were always ferments that were just sort of caning together all at the sane time. And one of the things that many of us started getting ourselves involved in fighting was control of the university and getting students to be able to control the universities. And so on the one hand the R.O.T.C. thing was a vehicle of fighting the war, and on the other hand it was also a vehicle of taking control of the University, and they came together. But we were involved in a, actually it was a nationwide IIDvement, to demmstrate against R.O.T.C. And I just happened to have a sheet here that listed forty-one danonstrations, and I think this must have been around 1970, but I 1m not quite certain. It might not have been quite that late, 1968, 1969, 1970. And they were, around the country, having to do ~th protesting the R.O.T.C. And things like that. At the Arizona University at Phoenix, a group occupied the building and rampaged the recruiting offices. At Colorado State, the R.O.T.C. building was burned. At Case Western Reserve, in Ohio, there were fire banbings of the R.O.T.C. building and it was forced off campus. At the University of Maimi, in Florida, there was fire bombings of the R.O.T.C. building. And it just went on and on and on. We weren1 t quite that militant, but we didn make every effort to get the R.O.T.C. off the University campus. We were sane\\hat successful in doing that. I don't rEtllE!Jtber all of the details of \\hat happened now, but I know it became a very significant issue, during that period, to link up ~th the whole presence of R.O.T.C. on the University canpus, at the thne of the war. And I'm pretty sure that by the time we peaked out that R.O.T.C. became a pretty insignificant activity at the University of Ntlnnesota, compared to what it was before the war started. There was a special camarlttee set up to investigate R.O.T.C. at the University. And I rananber, I had a very close friend--one of my closest friends in those last few years at Minnesota--who had this fantastic hnagination, and the R.O.T.C. building at the University was one of these kind of bnposing buildings ~th a big, black, steel, picket fence around it. It sort of looked like a castle. And he had an idea that we should-in order to attack the R.O.T.C.--we would make believe that we were marching on the walls of Jericho. And so one day a group of us went out Larry Go 1 den 24 to the R.O.T.C. building, and we marched around the building seven thnes, and he pulled out this big horn and started blowing his horn, and we declared that the R.O.T .c. building had fallen down, (much laughter) and it no longer existed. And that was our celebration of the end of the R.O.T.C. at the University of ~nnesota. It was a great, great experience. Arrjway, he was very close to us. He's now at Rutgers University. He teaches Mathematics there. Just a fantastic fellow, but I'll never forget that one thing. If there's any one thing I remember about our relationship, even though we became good friends, it 1 s that particular event that sticks out in my mind. He had this sort of incredible, not only hnagination, but this sort of optimisn. I mean I full expected to see the building crumble by the thne we got around. It was just a fantastic thing. But R.O.T.C., as I say, became symbolic of the war. It beccme symbolic of what had happened to our universities. It becarre s-ynbolic of all the m:mey that was pouring into the univeristies for the military. And again, you've got to ranenber that at big universities, and like other places in the country, you had the goverrment pouring a lot of rooney into the big universities to engage in research, and to support activities that were really quite questionable. And very often supported the war and things like that. And so R.O.T.C. becaooe a real important focal point. I want to add, by the way, that I was in R.O.T.C., at the University of New Hanpshi re, v.hen I was there. It was canpul sory at the t ime I was at New Hampshire. All males had to spend a year or t'V\.0 in R.O.T.C., so I was not totally unfanilar, nor unsympathetic ~th dealing with R.O.T.C. as directly as I could. It didn't last very long as a compulsory activity, but v.hen I was at the University of New Haxpshire, it must have been 1963, I reooariber marching ~th my gun. I rananber it on the University campus. It was sarething. Q: Were your anti-war feelings just anti-Viet Nam, or 'M>uld you consider yourself a pacifist? A: Well, at the time that I got involved in the anti-war rmvanent, that was a question that I was 'M>rking through. And I think that, in other words, looking back on it, it 1 s hard for me to say one way or the other that at this point I went one way or at this point I went another way, because that was a very difficult question, for me. Let's put it this way, going into the Viet Nan situation I don't think I would have considered myself a pacifist. Okay, v.hen the war started I don't think that had ever been an important philosophical elanent in my life. I 1d cane in contact ~ th sane people in New Hanpshire that were involved in pacifist activity. There were a couple of groups that I can remember particularly. Che of than was a guy by the nane of Arthur Harvey. If I rema:nber the name correctly. He was a kind of eccentric fellow, who lived a very ascetic existence out on a fann, and put out a newspaper called The Greenleaf. And he was a fairly strong pacifist. And he used to cane over to the university and set up a stand, every once in a v.hile. This was now at the University of New Hampshire. I was sort of attracted, Larry Golden 25 at least to sane of the things he preached, and I thought aoout it a little bit because of that and other things. The other thing was, that I cane in contact at the University of New Harpshire, with a group. I think it was part of the "SANE" group. S-A-N-E. [National Gamnllttee for a Sane Nuclear Policy] And sane of the people who were involved in that, who were sailing off of the West coast and East coast in ooats, to protest prnnarily nuclear weapons. That group was strongly pacifist. I don't ranember hCJN I carre in contact with than. They were people who, at New Hampshire, I cane in contact with. When I got to Mfinnesota, there were two things I think that led me to seriously be thinking about that question. One was of course, the problem of confronting the draft--we talked a little bit about this earlier--and I had to make a decision in my own mind as to \Wlether or not I was a conscientious objector. And of course the primary basis for being a conscientious objector, or one of the major prhnary aspects was. to hold a pacifist belief. And one of the issues that cane up. that we were constantly dealing with throughout the Viet Nam War. was the question of whether of not somebody could be a pacifist, could be a conscientious objector, because of their opposition to this war compared to their opposition to all wars. And since that question cane up, it was the kind of thing that had to be constantly worked through. The second thing at the University of Mfinnesota, was the influence of professor Sibley. He was a Quaker, and an ardent pacifist. And I never really spent a lot of time with sanebody, who had worked through that kind of belief, in the way he did. His whole way of approaching life, I think had a very deep inpact on anybody who came in contact with him. And I don't mean to continue to talk about him in the past tense. He's still a teacher at the University and I'm sure that even without the war that his deneanor tends to be such that people are very impressed with him. Well, there were just an awful lot of ways in which my contact with Sibley raised the question of pacifian. we had direct discussions about it, I listened to numerous speeches of his, and was affected by those, and other people at the university who considered themselves pacifists. Professor Terrel, I mentioned Terrel earlier because he was one of the organizers of the vigil that they held every week, was a pacifist. It was a s:nall, very strong, Quaker group. Now I 1m talking about the conservative Quakers, not the Richard Nixon Quakers. The conservative Quakers are the political radicals. So it's very difficult to keep in mind which group it is. The radical Quakers are the political conservatives. And so, it gets very, as I say, confusing. But these were conservative Quakers, and they had weekly meetings. I was not part of the group, anybody I think could attend, but that's not the point. And then I guess. I probably ought to add that there maybe were a third influence, and that is just friends that I had, who either bordered on pacifisn thEmselves or who were working through the same question as myself. And I think there were ti.rres that. and I fact I know there were times, during the war I really felt that I would hold a pacifist view. I think in the long run, I probably have never really resolved that question Larry Golden 26 to my own satisfaction. Philosophically, I think I'm probably a pacifist, because I believe that there is a very strong connection between ends and means. That the only way we'll ever achieve peace, in other 'M:>rds, in the 'M:>rld, is through peaceful means. If we use war, that all war does, is to bring aoout roore violence instead of limiting violence. \'ben we look at the history of nankind we can never see peace resulting fran war. And you know, it always has resulted in the long run, in roore violence. Just as I mentioned last week, war brought about racial violence in this country, or at least that was one of the consequences. It didn't matter about vmether it maybe brought about SalE peace S~ere else, it 1S just the means, it's corrupting in and of itself, it's very corrupting. It's corrupting to the people who use it. Look at the effect of the war, for example, on the people Who fight in it, what it's done to some of the kids that went over? My wi fe 1 s brother Tan went over to Viet Nam and the war just made him crazy. You kna.v, I mean he had satE of those tendencies already in tenns of his own disposition, but it just increased his ability to be violent, things 1 ike that. So there were those kinds of things. We may want to get back to this thing with my brother-in-law, by the way. That's sanething that I also forgot about. So I don't kna.v. I 1m not trying to evade the question when I say that I think that I don't consider myself a pacifist in the sense that I consider myself unalterably opposed to violence, particularly in self-defense. But on a philosophical level, I still had problans justifying war, and so I 1m extremely reluctant to ever see the condi tiona under which I would condone it. Now the other thing is--I think this is really important--one of the things that did have a really big hnpact on me is the effect of nuclear weapons, and the fact that we're no longer able to talk about war in the sense that, the John Wayne sense. Those days are gone. And the rmvies fran World War II are no longer representative of our situation. And so on that level particularly, I'm very concerned. If What we mean by pacifist is saneone who is unalterably opposed to war under any circunstances, I think again the balance sheet w;mld lean me in that direction, because of the existance of nuclear weapons. I remanber when I was in high school. This may be an important ele:nent that we haven't talked about. I ranenher When I was in high school back in the 1950's, and those were the days of fallout shelters, and the days of the air-raid drills. I'm serious about that. It was a very serious thing. And I had a week of totally sleepless nights, with nightmares. They were sort of separation anxiety. This was before I even got into high school. I think this was actually back, probably vmen I was in, maybe around eighth grade. And I remember, it was primarily separation anxiety. The nightmares I had were about \\ha. t would happen to me if there were a nuclear attack, and all of my family was wiped out. And I literally had a week of nightmares. I 1d wake up at night screcming. I was having cold sweats. I think a lot of us Who grew up in the 1950 1s, the late 1940's and 1950's, were deeply affected in a way that, unfortunately today 1s young people, for example, aren't. I don't think they understand What nuclear war is Larry Golden 27 about. I don't think a lot of people even have any sense about \\hat a nuclear weapon is. They think of it sort of like just another gun that you can buy in the store. And you know, you don 1 t see roovi es about it any roore. So this was sane thing that had a deep inpac t. Since I 1 ve married Yosh, \\ho 1 s Japanese-Pmerican, I've even becane roore concerned or have been roore touched by Yosh, because of the fact that she had family that lived in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the war, sane of \\han were killed as a result of the dropping of atonic weapons there. So we're both sort of keenly sensitive to Hiroshima. It puts a different light on things, and it's not so much even necessarily philosophical opposition to violence under any circumstances. It's just the recognition of the fact that to think in terms of war in the nuclear ages is just thinking in tenns of total destruction. I suppose if you oppose war under those situations, I suppose in a sense, you're holding a pacifist view. The other thing that affected me--l hope we're not getting too far off the track, or I'm not. Q: That's all right. A: The other thing that affected me was, \\hen I was a kid I got in a fist fight, just once. I know it sounds kind of silly, and I won't go into the circumstances. But I was at a summer camp and I was sort of half asleep one day and had built up an antagoni sn with one of the people I was working with at that camp and we got into a fist fight, and he knocked me out. He alnDs t killed me with one punch. Or he came very c 1 ose to doing that, because he hi t me in the eye. And i t wasn 1 t so much that I lost the fight, that bothered me, it was the recognition of the fact that the use of the fist was even the use of lethal weapons. I have really thought about it that way again. It was sort of, you know the glorification of fighting, because of the fact that's \\hat you're brought up with and you see on television. You know, again it's sort of the John wayne image of life, that if you have a problan and your honor gets questioned, you take the guy outside and you go to it, and even if you lose you're just barely knocked down, and of course you get right back up and get on your horse and ride away. They don't shaw the fact that the guy \\ho loses really probably ends up in the hospital. So a lot of kids think that's a neat way of solving problems, and I suppose I did too. I did end up in the hospital. He broke his wrist, he hit me so hard, \\hich wasn't much consolation to me. So that made me very reluctant too, to get involved in fighting on a personal level, and I think it probably affected the way I looked at the war. So I don't know, overall I guess there is a certain sense in wnich I hold pacifist beliefs, but I don't consider myself a religious pacifist and I suspect if I were pushed in a lot of situations, I probably would not even be a complete pacifist on a personal level. Sane people probably would say I'm not a pacifist, too, because of the fact that I act aggressively to other people. So anyways, the thing is that you know I do relate sane\\hat forcefully to people. I guess, I don't mean forcefully in a physical sense, but there is a sense in wnich nonnally, there are certain characteristics associated Larry Golden 28 with being a pacifist that affects their entire demeanor. There is one other sense in which too, I get involved in the issue of pacifisn, and that was intellectually. You know, I was very taken by Martin Luther King and the civil rights rmvement. We talked about that a little bit. One of the things that I rEmEmber doing, that I had rrentioned when we talked last 'M'!ek, when \\e 'M'!nt down to South C'.arolina, \\e actually went through training in non-violent resistance. And again that raised the issue of pacifisn very strongly, because there was always the question of whether or not you were using non-violence as a tactic or whether you actually believe in the power, of using non-violent resistance. And like I say, I varied in my belief systan, but I think for a good part of the 1960's when I was forced to confront the issue, I suspect I leaned more towards pacifisn, than against it. And I think that overall, the two major influences on n::e were Martin Luther King and M.llford Sibley, intellectually. In addition I got involved in reading, in the history of political thought, because that was my field of interest academically. I got very taken, of course, with the teachings of Mahatma Ghandi. And I read a lot of his writing and the things about his life. And Thoreau, Henry David Thoreau and his faoous "Essay on Civil Disobedience, 11 and a nunber of other things like that, really had a deep inpact on me. So there's those kinds of things. You know, v.hen push canes to shove it's just hard to tell how I'd land on it. So I guess I'm drawing this out just a little bit too much, because what I'm doing is reworking, in a sense, all of those things. But I guess over all I 'd have to say that I 1 ean toward paci fi sn, phil osophi call y and intellectually. The problan of course is that we're not forced as much these days to confront that issue because of a lack of people like Martin Luther King as national leaders. Given the kinds of problems that we 1re working through, we're not forced as much to have to make that decision. So I'm not a religious pacifist, but very often I would probably carne down towards a sort of secular pacifisn. That was a long answer to a question. (laughter) That was inportant, but maybe in terns of my own life didn't deserve quite a lengthy response. Q: Almost anybody can re:nenher where they were when, well you rrentioned where you were '<\hen John F. Kennedy was shot. Do you ranember where you were and What you were doing '<\hen you heard that Martin Luther King had been assassinated? A: Oh, you would raise that question. (laughter) Well, it was a different thing with Martin Luther King. I don't know, maybe it's sarehow we'd becane itmune to violence at that point. And so it dosen' t stand out as much in my mind as the thing with Kennedy. And I think that 1 s true with most people. Sanehow I renanber being involved with, in fact I was involved with sane kind of a dem>nstration or sarething, that night that King was shot. It wasn 1 t a demonstration. It was a discussion group. And I ranember hearing it. Sarebody came up and told us that it had happened. And you know, it's funny, because the assassination of King should have had more inpact on me personally than the assassination of Kenndey. King was more Larry Go 1 den 29 important for me in tenns of my 1i fe, practically, than John F. Kennedy was. He really had a deep inpact on me, and forced me to deal with things in ways I had never dealt with them before. But I don't have that vivid a mawry of his assassination. Maybe because, with the thing with Kennedy, everybody was forced to stop \\hat they were doing. The \\hole conntry carre to a stop. Bing like that. (snaps fingers) I mean it was just, you know, and with King, dann it, I mean you know it happened, but people went on doing \\hat they were doing, and 1 i fe continued and, it didn't have the sane inpact. It should have, but it didn't. So that's about the best I can do. (talks to his wife) Well, my wife just reminded [me] we were involved in same activities that night and I was pretty sure it was at the Newman Center, at the University of Minnesota. Because the Newnan Center served as a bastion of liberalisn at the university, ironically. In fact one of the priests there, by the nane of Harry Berry, I 1 11 talk about him a little bit later, because he eventually went over to Viet Nan and was involved in same stuff there. But evidently the night King was assassinated, we were involved in same civil rights activity, v.Qrking throuth same interpersonal dynanics at the Newnan Center. The annonncanent cane through that King had been shot. I don't remanber if it was kno\m right away that he was killed. But I know the impact, was of course that alrmst everything we had v.Qrked on during the 1960's, in tenns of in:provenents of civil rights, was put in jeopardy. And evidently the blacks 'Who 'll!lere there that night 'll!lere extranely upset and you know--King just put a \\hole power over things that I don't think will ever--! hope we will, but I have a feeling that we'll never in our lifetime be able to sort of reconstruct the kind of leadership that King provided in tenns of civil rights rmvanmt. Q: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses mainly, of the anti-war rmvanent? A: Ch "~M:JW! Now you 1 re talking about overall? I mean fran beginning to end? Well, I think in tenns of weaknesses, the primary weakness of the anti-war movement was the fact that it continuously exposed the divisions that people on the left in the country have always had. And even at the height of the anti-war rmvement, it may not have appeared that way to a lot of people outside of the rmvanent Vlho were watching, but boy inside the movement, it was just continuous factionalian--constantly. There was alrmst as rw.ch tooth and nail fighting in the rmvanent as there was between the rmvement and the rest of the society at times. There were real problems in tenns of ideological beliefs, leadership struggles, and things like that. I don't know if it had another weakness. I suppose, I'd have to think about that as far as \\hat are the weaknesses. As far as strengths are concerned, boy -we'd have to be talking about, you kno.v, alrmst ten years of history in this country, that were altered by the anti-war rmvanent. It alrmst doesn1 t matter Vlhether you agree with it or don't agree with it. The anti-war rmvEmeD.t helped to get Lyndon Johnson elected in 1964, to force him to resign in 1968, and defeat Hubert l:h.txphrey in 1968. It caused a radical shift in politics in this country. It was the first time in the history of this country that substantial rmbilization was able to be made against a war that the Larry Golden 30 country was fighting. It highlighted many of the other social problens in the country. It drew people into the rmvanent and radicalized thsn, unlike any other rmvement has been able to do. I consider those strengths. Now of course sa:rebody outside the rmvanent \\ho was opposed to mat we were doing, \\Ould probably say that those were terrible things. You know. And there are sane people vv.ho I suppose, \\flo were even in the movsnent, who \\OUld consider things like the defeat of Hubert Hlllphrey in 1968 as a weakness rather than a strength. All I 1m saying is that w1thout getting into all of those things, and we can if you want in te~ of picking out specific events, the anti-war rmvsnent as well as the civil rights movement together, fanned the core of almost ten years of history in the country, that I think over all were largely positive in its hnpact. It raised the rmral consciousness, I think, of this society to heights that unfortunately we're lacking today. I hope that again we'll saneday be able to achieve, hopefully not at the expense of another war. I don't know. Is that vv.hat you 'olllere \\Ondering vv.hen you asked about the strengths and weaknesses of the movanent? Q: Also the strengths and weaknesses of the rmvsnent itself. The problans it had organizing. The strengths, what held it together for so long? A: Well, I'm not sure you can talk about, I don't think you can talk about the movement that way. That 1 s the problem. Because it really wasn't held together for so long. It built over a period of time. I mean it reached a peak during a couple of years and then that was it. It wasn't really something that was held together. The strength I guess in that sense, if vv.ha t you mean is how it achieved its force, was probably to be found in the last thing I said--the moral consciousness of the people throughout the country. And probably on a more practical level, I think, the numer of people who really were a£ fected by the war and didn1 t see any meaning to it. And you know, I go back to the business of the draft for example. As rruch as I don't like to accept it as the rootivation, a lot of people personally were threatened or had their fanilies threatened, and their rights disrupted and they didn't quite see the sense of it. And so it wasn 1 t so rruch that they were opposed to the war as thier own self interest dictated that they ought to do something. Try to help w1th the situation. But I think that, if you really want to talk about the strength in tenns of the internal sense, you have to talk about the fact that we were in a decade mere we had rroral leadership through people sane of vv.han were not direc t1 y connected w1 th the war. Through people like John F. Kennedy. Through people like Martin Luther King. Through people like Robert Kennedy. And I don't say that because I like those people. I mean you know, the Kennedys for example were not pure, but I say it because they stood for something, Whether they really believed it or not, I don't want to get into merits of that. They stood for it though. They symbolized it. And vv.hether they intended to do it or not, and I think they did, they raised peoples• expectations and the consciousness of people in the country, unlike anything that occurred since the New Deal. So, you know, that was probably the real strength--that kind of leadership. And then, just the incredible resources of leadership or people throughout the country. A strength that we never, maybe never, recognized before. Larry Golden 31 And I think in that respect, there's one other thing that's hnportant here. And that is, the 1960's were a thne of relative comfort for a lot of people. I don't mean wealth, but comfort. A hell of a lot of people were in school on scholarship, for example. And it was probably the thne when the baby boan of the 1940 1 s had reached a peak. And so you had a lot of young people, with a great deal of dynamisn, and rebellion as well. And so, you had people in a situation where they actually had the ability to engage in politics, unlike many other situations economically in this country. And once again, I go baCk to my own working through of political theory and the farmus political philosopher Hannah Arendt--who unfortunately died a couple of years ago--talked about the fact that the real guts of politics is being free fran necessity, and what she meant by that wasn't an innovation of her own because she was well schooled in the classics in political thought, and she understood thtm inside out. But what she meant by that was that for people to particapate in the public realm, they have to be free fran the necessity of the private realm. People cannot have to worry about surviving, not having to worry about putting food on the table, or going home at night without being able to survive. The need to have the leisure time to be able to think about politics and act in the political world. And for sane reason during the 1960's, there just seemed to be an awful lot of students at least, that were willing to make that jump, and as a result they forced a lot of people, including parents in sane cases, and teachers in many cases, and others to make the jump as well. So that's another source of strength, certainly. We've go to recognize the fact that the anti-war movement never had a leader--one leader. It was always a disparate group of people, and that meant that you had to have an awful lot of leaders at the local level. And I think the effects of SDS and the student movement, and the civil rights movanent, and all those things, in that respect had great hnpact on peoples' lives. Q: W:lat do you see as the main hnportance of the anti-war movanent? A: Well I think I touched upon that maybe in the last question that you asked. Thinking a little bit more fran an external. Unless you mean, what did I see for myself as the main Unportance--personally. Q: Yes. A: I don 1 t know. That 1 s a very di f f i cult question to answer, because it 1 s hard to think of what life would have been like without it during that thne. It certainly forced me to deal with a lot of political questions that might never have been forced to deal with if it weren1 t for that. Things like, you know, the issue of \\hether or not I was a pacifist and should be a conscientious objector. So in terms of my own personal life, it did that. It also I think, led me to a life style of getting involved and staying involved in poltiics, and seeing the necessity of that. That's probably, right now, without spending a lot of time really thinking about that, that's probably about the best I can answer that. That's a hard question. Larry Go 1 den 32 Q: Would you say then, that the anti-war rrovanent really helped to bring a lot of other movements out into the open? A: Oh, I don't think there's any question about that. I don't want to put it all on the anti-war rrovernent though, because you have to remember again, that the anti-war movement cane as an aftennath to the student movement that had already started, and the civil rights llDVement. But I think that the whole, as I say the whole sense of moral consciousness which has led to, for exan:ple, the strength of the Wanen's movernent today was enhanced by the anti -war rrovenent. I don 1 t know whether the \\tlllen 1 s movernent today, would have the strength that it does, if it weren't for the anti-war rrovenent. The civil rights movenent certainly helped then in that respect. But the anti-war rrovenent touched, I think, middlle class white \\UilEm in a way that the civil rights rrovenent didn't. It put a lot of women into political leadership positions. It put a lot of wanen into the \\Orld of politics. And I think maybe one of the rrost significant things happening today in fact, is the \l.allen1 s movanent. It's an area of change and challenge in this society. And I'm not just talking about E.R.A. [Equal Rights Amendment], I'm talking about the whole struggle of women for same kind of equal role in this society and I think that it's a great cultural change for this society. So in that respect, I think that we have to look at it within that context and not in isolation. We have to see the 1960's as a decade, almost as a decade. I don't want to say that for same reason you reach the ten year mark and that becomes UDportant. In tenDS of activity we have to look at the 1960's as a whole and understand the dynarndcs of a lot of things that were going on during that period, before you can really say that sanething was the result of the anti-war movement as compared to the others. It's really hard historically, you don't want to make those kinds of jumps. It probably \\Ould be inaccurate, and in a sense it \\Ould be oversimplifying. Q: 0:> you think that !merica, the country, has learned very tw.ch fran the anti-war rmvement and the Viet Nam War? A: I wish I could answer yes. The key word, of course, in that question, is the word 11 learned." And I don't think anyone can answer that question. Because we haven't had a test on our learning yet and like a lot of other things--let's put it this way, you can't go through an experience like that without having an impact on you. The question is not really whether people learned fran it, the question is 'Ahat they learned fran it. I don't know what people have learned fran that experience. Our leaders might have learned to be more shrewed, rather than more IXDral. That might be the lesson to Watergate, too, to people: "let's don't get caught the next time, rather than don 1 t do it • " I hope that 1 s not true. I think if nothing else, that we 1 re not going to have a war for a while-and that Viet Nan, not so llllch taught us that that 1 s true. I guess that did teach the leaders of this country that they can't quite put it over on us that easily. The next time they're going to get away with it. And I think that, in that sense, a lesson has been learned fran Viet Nam that can be nothing but good. Larry Golden 33 As far as how much the people of this country have learned, I don't think you can go through an experience since then engaged in any kind of a significant political activity, ~thout it affecting your life. And I think that while public rnamr i es are short , that that 1 s sare thing that people ~ ll always ranenber. And hopefully, as I say, ~ 11 be helpful to us, historically, to help us avoid that kind of situation again. End of Tape Two Q: As far as the war itself, What points in the war stick out the strongest in your mind? A: well not necessarily in this order, but certainly towards the later part of the war, the My Lai Massacre, was just an incredibly horrendous event, that I think caused a great deal of agony. The napalming, and the publicity over the napalming, the invasion of Cambodia, and the general sort of escalation. Just generally, it seened that once Johnson was elected, starting in 1965, it was just one escalation after another. It almost wasn't a matter of picking events, it was just a matter of watching this thing rr.ushroan at just an incredible rate, particularly, initially after we all thought it was under control. As I said before, one of the reasons Johnson got so !Ulch support was because of the fact that he indicated opposition to Goldwater's politics having to do ~th the war. So as least as far as the actual war was concerned, those few things that I mentioned. I don't know, I probably should look back over sane of the articles I've clipped out. Maybe before the next thne we get together I I ll do that • Q: What was your origional reaction to the My Lai Massacre? A: I don 1 t remEmber. What I 1m saying is that I don 1 t rE!IlEnher a spec i fi c reaction to that event, because at that point, of course, we were all so i.rnrersed in the anti-war movenent that you know for IIE to talk about it in those tenns right now, it's just not that identifiably separate fran anything else. I know that I generally reacted~ th horror, towards the whole issue. It was one of the things that led me to teach a course here at SSU on war crime trials. We might want to get into that a little bit later. But the trial of [Lt.] Calley was a fairly significant event that raised the Whole question annng many of us, who were opposed to the war, as to Whether or not people could be held accountable for their actions, in war situations. And for about two years I taught this course, this PAC [Public Affairs Colloquium] at Sangcmon State, called 11Should We Have War Crhnes Trials? A Search For Justice." We looked at not just the Viet Nam situation, but we looked at the Nuremburg trials and the whole status of international law and things like that. In fact, if you even ask me the date of My Lai now, I don't think I could tell you. That's the sad part about these kinds of things, is the way they all sort of melt away in your memory. And of course sane of them you wait to melt away and others it's just a matter of them fading over a period of thne.
|Title||Larry Golden Memoir - Part 1|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
University of Illinois at Springfield
Norris L Brookens Library
Larry Golden Memoir
G565L. Golden, Larry b. 1944
Interview and memoir
6 tapes, 540 mins., 102 pp.
Golden, professor of Political Studies at Sangamon State University, discusses his
family background, Jewish religion and anti-Semitism, his education at the
University of New Hampshire, and the development of his liberal views and
involvement with radical social movements. He discusses pacifism and the anti-war
movement of the 1960's; protests and demonstrations against the Vietnam
War; Civil Rights and the battle against all types of racism; Nazi Germany and
war crimes trials; and the St. Paul, Minnesota civil rights movement. He also
discusses the 1972 presidential elections, the draft, Sangamon State University,
the Justice and the Social Order Program there, and the American Civil Liberties
Union. He also mentions the assassination of Martin Luther King, the My Lai
Massacre, and corporate involvement with the Vietnam War.
Interview by Clifford Keith Wilson III, 1978
See collateral file: interviewer's notes, photograph and academic credentials.
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
© 1978, University of Illinois Board of Trustees
This manuscript is the product of a tape recorded interview conducted by
Clifford Keith Wilson Ill for the Oral History Office in the Fall of
1978. Cliff Wilson transcribed the tapes and edited the transcript.
Larry Golden reviewed the transcript.
Larry Golden was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 3, 1944.
Larry Grew up in a predaninantly Jewish neighborhood, his Jewish religion
having a great influence on his life. He attended the University of New
Hall\)shire mere he earned a B.A. degree in Govenment. Fran there he
attended the University of Mirmesota in Minneapolis Where he earned a
M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science. ~.Golden also taught there for a
short tUne as a colleague and student of Mulford Sibley. Fran there
Larry went on to take a position at Sangaroon State University in
Throughtout Mt-. Golden's career he has been involved in such radical or
social programs as the civil rights IIDVEment, ACLU, the anti-war rmvenent
and the JSO progran at Sanganon State University.
Readers of the oral history memoir should bear in mind that it is a
transcript of the spoken word, and that the interviewer, narrator and
editor sought to preserve the informal, conversational style that is
inherent in such historical sources. Sangam>n State University is not
responsible for the factual accuracy of the memoir, nor for views
expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge.
The manuscript may be read, quoted and cited freely. It may not be
reproduced in v.hole or in part by any means, electronic or mechanical,
without permission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangcm>n
State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708.
Fanily History •
University of New Hampshire.
MOther's History •
Anti -War Mbvenen t.
Table of Contents
Assassination of Martin Luther King.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Anti-War Mwanent.
Damnstrations Against Viet Nan.
Lyndon Johnson •
Nixon and AgneN.
Speech in 1965
War Crime Trials
St. Paul Civil Rights M>vement
Hannah Arendt •
Justice and the Social Order •
American Civil Liberties Union •
Larry Golden, Springfield, Illinois, Fall, 1978.
Clifford Keith Wilson III, Interviewer.
Q: I think we should start out, probably ~th a little bit of background,
your social background. W:tat was your social status that you were brought
A: Ckay. My father, Who is still alive, was working in the shoe industry
in New- England for many years, a semi-professional way as a manager of
various factories. If I reooember correctly, he ~nt to accounting school.
I don't think he went to four years of college, but he went through
accounting school ••• Bentley School of Accounting in Boston,
I was brought up, by the way, on the East Coast, W:tich I'll talk about a
little bit. I think that makes a big difference. I was born in Boston
and raised in New Hampshire, \W.ich I think follows along with W:tat I 1m
saying about rtrj father being involved in the shoe industry. It was a big
industry, of course, in New England in the 1930's, 1940 1s, and 1950's,
econanically for the family it was ups and dO\'Ills. We were probably never
more than middle class as far as our actual income situation was concerned.
My dad never n:ade more than $15,000 at any t:ii:rJa in his life. lt 1s kind
of a surprise, but of course, $15,000 was a lot of money years ago. For
a variety of reasons, sane of \\hich I'm unsure of, he had a very rocky
job career; a lot of moving fran one place to another. He worked in
Haverhill, Massachusetts for