Free Speech Movement 50th Anniversary Photos
December 2

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December 2, 2014: Savio Steps: Robert Cohen leads his class in a reading of FSM Defendants' Letters to Judge Crittenden. Photo by Barbara Stack

The Poem

Read at the Dec. 2 Commemorative Event on the Savio Steps

We Aint Going Down Quietly
Maddy Smith

I want to make a difference
I really do.
And it’s not that I have too much work or shit to do,
I mean I do, but it’s because sometimes I lose faith in the fight.
I think the sky is too polluted, I think the night is too bright
from the light pollution.
I think the politicians are corrupt,
I think that animals have stopped talking ‘cause they know we fucked up.
I think we can’t hear all the silence.
I think there are people quiet from repression and quiet from violence,
I think the chants at the rallies are missing too many voices,
I think our choices have been stolen from our hands and given to the dollar.
I think the suit collar turned from blue and white to metal and chains,
I think those in poverty, although they have too little have so much to lose,
I think the top 5 per cent have too much to gain – 
I think I’ll never be truly happy again.
How can I? How will I ever be free
when the cities are cages and a life means the wages you earn just to be
surviving when what I want is to live?
How will I ever forgive myself for paying the university?
I wonder if I’m continuing my own plight.
I worry that in my debt I’ll lose sight of what is right.

I want to be free.
I want to speak without worrying I’ll lose my education,
I want to speak without worrying I’ll be fucked over by the administration,
I want to speak without worrying I’ll lose my visa documentation,
I want to speak without worrying I’ll lose my undergraduate certification,
I want to speak without worrying about incarceration,
I want to speak without worrying about victimization,
I want to speak out against
I want to speak without worrying I’ll have gained debt for nothing,
I want to speak without worrying that my loans are crushing,
I want to speak
I want to speak…

I want to make a difference,
and I think we can.
By myself I’m feeble, but in solidarity we stand
strong. We can take back our lives in our hands.
We can stop the cogs behind the clock and halt history and time,
scream with voices till we silence the campanile’s chime
so our beliefs not old bells will ring out over what is yours and is mine
for our minds are far stronger than the dollars and dimes
whose silver makes the chains that strangle our throats.
So break the metal, rip down the green coloured notes
that trick you into exchanging your birth for a society
which asks you to bail out bankers and go about life silently.
Don’t let them break you down with bills and anxiety
for together we can face them, in droves and defiantly
fighting for freedom and we ain’t fucking going down quietly.

The Counter Demonstration

December 2, 2014: Sproul Plaza: Free Speech Does not mean you are heard! Photo by Barbara Stack.

December 2, 2014: Sproul Plaza: Don't Commodify the Movement. Photo by Gar Smith.

December 2, 2014: Sproul Plaza: 50 years later we're SLAVES to DEBT.. Photo by Gar Smith.