In the 1960s the situation in the USA is characterized by a whole lot of political movements. Many movements supported and nurtured each other, literally building on each other. The civil rights movement, the student movement, the anti-war movement, the movement for women's rights, for the rights of sexual minorities, the green movement, the movement of American Indians, Mexican Americans, and others. These movements were sometimes simultaneously, sometimes at different time. Participating in one of these movements for American citizens was like participating in all at once. One of the central roles in all these movements is played by free speech one. The free speech movement is known like a student’s protest in the campus of The University of California, Berkeley in 1964 – 1965. The protest of students started in 1964 when the Administration of Berkley announced the adjacent territory to the campus to be the property of the University that had been used before by various student organizations of the political nature to carry out their activities. Students’ indignation drew the attention because Berkeley had a prominent place among American universities. With the inclusion of this area in the Campus students were precluded from doing their political activities, as in accordance with university regulations, organizations, groups being outside of the University, were prohibited to conduct their propaganda, to raise funds, etc in the Campus. Such a measure was taken to stop the activities of the administration of student groups that took an active part in the struggle for civil rights and freedom, and for peace throughout the world, for the end of Vietnam War. Berkeley was chosen as the main point of the attack on the fundamental rights of the students on purpose, as more than 10 percent of its students were fighting for civil rights in the USA.
The civil rights movement is considered to be the mother of all American citizens' movements; it is the struggle of African Americans for racial justice in the USA. It is hard to imagine that this minority, about 11% of the USA population, had a tremendous impact not only on American society, but also on the minds of many Americans who were eager for social changes but did not know how to implement them, and thought that it was impossible; they had no strategy how to create a movement. Thus, the movement of African Americans gave the activists a certain pattern of action. The strength and power of the peace movement most clearly manifested themselves during many anti-war demonstrations held across the country. Students led the movement against the war because they were among those who were called to serve, and who died in Vietnam. They helped to organize and coordinate the actions of protesters across the country. They organized courses on college campuses that were to inform students what actually happened in war, and how to protest effectively. All this definitely raised the awareness of all Americans, especially through the media.
Demonstrations against the war raised the question, what people would pay in the democratic society for legitimate protest against the policy of the government, and what the payment was for being heard and accepted by elected officials and not to be suppressed and silenced.
And the students of Berkeley stood up and fought for the basic democracy proclaimed in the USA Constitution. The students wanted the cases for their political activity to be considered in the civil court, not resolved by disciplinary action, including expulsion of university administration. But the Administration stated that university rules were non-negotiable, that only they could determine what was legal and what was illegal in the university. In response to the actions of the administration, students organized on the 5th of October 1964 "The movement for the freedom of speech", led the fight at the university.
Events in Berkeley shook the students of other universities in the USA and have shown that, in addition to resolutions, requests and appeals, that had no necessary impact, there were other active and effective methods. In addition to the movement in Berkeley student protests initiated a wave of bustling student activities all over the country.
Carson, Clayborne. Civil rights movement. History.com, n.d. Web. 27 Mar.2013.
Freeman, Jo. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement. Jo Freeman.com, n.d. Web. 27 Mar.2013.