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In the 1960s, Berkeley activists took to the streets repeatedly, from the Free Speech Movement to anti-Vietnam War protests to People’s Park. But in the 1970s Berkeley leftists turned to the ballot box, attempting to win majorities on the city council and using the initiative process to support policies such as rent control, neighborhood preservation, citizen police control, and decriminalization of marijuana. Moderate opponents responded by organizing vigorous campaigns against the New Left candidates and proposals, and a local “two-party system” dominated Berkeley politics from 1971 to 1986.
One activist who believed in the power of the ballot box was the late David Mundstock, who, in addition to constant voter registration activities and support of progressive causes, amassed a large collection of materials representing all aspects of the issues at play during the 1970s and beyond. That collection is now in the Berkeley Historical Society and forms the basis of this new exhibit. Mundstock's website narrating the politics of the period can still be found at https://berkeleyinthe70s1.homesteadcloud.com/.
The exhibit is open, admission free, Thursday through Saturday 1 to 4 pm, through April 9, 2022.