But the only alcoves that mattered to me were No.1 and No.2, the alcoves of the anti-Stalinist Left and pro-Stalinist Left respectively It was between these two alcoves that the war of the worlds was fought, over the faceless bodies of the mass of students, whom we tried desperately to manipulate into "the right position" but about whom, to tell the truth, we knew little and cared less.
Joseph Dorman wrote and directed this biographical documentary tracing four Jewish intellectuals from NYC's City College during WW II to the present day -- political essayist Irving Kristol, sociologist Nathan Glazer, the late socialist literary critic Irving Howe (who died in 1993), and social theorist Daniel Bell. At CCNY, debates raged in the school's cafeteria, later continuing in the pages of influential academic journals. Alan Rosenberg narrates. Shown at the 1997 Boston Jewish Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide
Running Time: 109 mins
Arguing the World (1997)
Todd Gitlin(Formally President of Students for a Democratic Society):
It was a response to the impersonality, the bureaucratization,
the abstraction of life.
Participatory Democracy was an idea that talk was a good idea,
Freedom is an endless meeting.
I was not raised in (ugh) thankfully, a household of people yelling at each other about the correct line.
And so I could not comprehend the decibel level that these people would reach.
And also they reminded you of in a sick way of your father, you know they were very paternalism. Is beyond Abraham. I mean paternalism to an extreme that I never heard.
People pointing at you and lecturing to you. They did not appear to be doing anything. And we were going to jail. So lest we knew, we were on the right track.
From Memoirs of a Trotskyist by Irving Kristol
Others who later found, to their pleasant surprise, that what they had took been doing in Alcove No. I was what the academic world would come to recognize and generously reward as "social science" were Nathan Glazer (Harvard), Philip Selznick (Berkeley), Peter Rossi (Johns Hopkins), Morroe Berger (Princeton), I. Milton Sacks (Brandeis), Lawrence Krader and Bernard Bellush (City University), Seymour Melman (Columbia), Melvin J. Lasky…
City College was a pretty dull educational place. The student who came seeking an intellectual community, in which the life of the mind was strenuously lived, had to create such a community and such a life for himself…
"Ever since I can remember, I've been a neo-something: a neo-Marxist, a neo-Trotskyist, a neo-Liberal, a neo-conservative; in religion a neo-orthodox even while I was a neo-Trotskyist and a neo-Marxist. I'm going to end up a neo dash nothing." Irving Kristol
Tom Hurwitz biography but no mention of membership in SDS.
Columbia had a way of containing within it, most of the problems of American Society. We were against the war and we were against the inequity of American society but we had in our administration an example of what was worst about our society. And we could confront it by confronting it right at home.
Where are we going? Where have we been?
Free Speech Movement