San Francisco State

In response to:

Trouble at San Francisco State: An Exchange from the April 11, 1968 issue

San Francisco State from the August 1, 1968 issue

To the Editors:

In my previous statement, I made one great mistake: I referred to Mr. Windmiller as a liberal. He is not even that. A liberal at least tries to rationalize the betrayal of his self-professed ideals with liberal rhetoric. And he tries not to resort to vicious personal attacks. [NYR, April 11 and July 11].

But not Mr. Windmiller. Since our last exchange, he has gone on to smear people with whom he disagrees—but with whose activities he was not involved—by using (Joe) McCarthyite tactics. For example, writing not in the free school paper (which is open to him) but in the Journalism department’s hack weekly (which is not open to radicals), Windmiller slandered Prof. Juan Martinez as an incompetent by digging out dirt from Martinez’s publication of twelve years ago (which Martinez has publicly and repeatedly repudiated).

Now in his answer to my reply, Mr. Windmiller resorts to outright lies. For example, some thirty students, faculty members and attorneys are perfectly willing to swear under oath that he accused me of being a propagandist and said that I should be fired for this during my hearing, and that my lawyer, Charles Garry, reacted with such outrage to his definition (education does not lead to action, propaganda does) that Garry burst out that he hadn’t heard such crap since the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

As for the rest of Mr. Windmiller’s points. I would love to see the AAUP investigate them—and the whole business, too.

I cannot prove that Mr. Windmiller called me at home to ask me if I wanted to be rehired and, when I said yes, warned me to eat with my peers and not the students, but I can prove that I had made arrangements for my classes to be covered when I went to Oakland for Stop-the-Draft.

But it does not matter. Most students have now understood what a red-baiter Mr. Windmiller has become. In the college’s Open Process of May 1, 1968, Brooks Penney, the student whose article in The Movement a few months ago Mr. Windmiller quoted out of context in the NYR to back his own position, attacks M.W. first for such dishonest distortions and second for hypocritically inventing criteria to destroy his unsympathetic peers while refusing to apply these same criteria to his allies—or to himself. (For which Professors Richard Fitzgerald and Anatole Anton, in S. F. State’s The Gater of May 2, 1968, call him “a vindictive fifth columnist in the ranks of the protest movement” and “a thief crying ‘stop thief.’ “)

Anyway, none of this really matters any more. What has since happened at Columbia, Northwestern, Stanford, Hawaii, etc. (not to mention Berlin, Belgrade, Nanterre and, of course, the Sorbonne)—as well as S.F. State where seven faculty members were arrested this time—makes it perfectly clear that the Windmillers are totally and definitely irrelevant. Thus, I can on longer feel anger at Mr. Windmiller’s hypocrisy. Just as no serious student gives a damn anymore about the government’s discredited “side of the story” (which M.W. wants to keep hearing), so too can I not take him or his “replies” worthy of my time. I cannot even feel sorry for Mr. Windmiller, for it would be hypocritical of me to pretend that I can feel sorry for a moving relic who is remembered for only one thing—having yelled “freedom” while knifing freedom from behind. But then, so did Joe! No, Joe knifed it from in front.

John Gerassi

San Francisco