Local activist and former Mountain View mayor Lenny Siegel tells the inside story of the Stanford anti-war student movement

Author Interview / Free Forum
DISTURBING the WAR
The Inside Story of the Movement to Get Stanford University out of Southeast Asia—1965-1975

A conversation with
LENNY SIEGEL
Community Activist / Former Mayor of Mountain View

Host
PAUL GEORGE
Exec. Dir. (Ret.), Peninsula Peace and Justice Center

Wednesday, March 24, 6:00pm
Online Zoom Webinar
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86000205701

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In the 1960s, Stanford University was already known as one of America’s “great research universities.” Less known to outsiders, it was an essential cog in the U.S. war machine during the Vietnam War. From the mid-1960s through the end of the Indochina War in 1975, a dedicated, evolving group of students and other members of the Stanford community challenged that role and the leadership of the university itself.

Lenny Siegel tells the inside story of the Stanford radical, anti-war student movement, how activists used research, education, political activity, and direct action to win over their campus cohort, alter Stanford’s direction in the world, and lay the foundation for what became known as Silicon Valley.

In the 1960s, Stanford University was already known as one of America’s “great research universities.” Less known to outsiders, it was an essential cog in the U.S. war machine during the Vietnam War. From the mid-1960s through the end of the Indochina War in 1975, a dedicated, evolving group of students and other members of the Stanford community challenged that role and the leadership of the university itself.

Lenny Siegel grew up in southern California, organizing fellow high school students to work for peace and civil rights. He entered Stanford University in the fall of 1966, majoring in physics and hoping to eventually get a job in the area’s growing computer and electronics industry.
He soon discovered that Stanford’s pioneering “Community of Technical Scholars” had a powerful, seldom mentioned partner, the U.S. military. Along with other students, he spent much of his time at Stanford documenting the university’s participation in the Vietnam War and organizing to “halt all military and economic projects concerned with Southeast Asia.” Siegel’s participation in that Movement ended his academic career, sent him to jail for a dozen days, and ironically, kept him out of the military draft.

In 2014, Siegel formed the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View, to address the jobs-housing imbalance that Siegel challenged during his days at Stanford. That led to his election to the Mountain View City Council, on which he served from 2015 to early 2019. He served as mayor in 2018, becoming one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading advocates of new housing development.
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