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NY Times -- Seeds of Protest Growing on College Campuses

BOSTON, Oct. 10 - Mike McLinn never showed the faintest
interest in political protest, but he has plunged headfirst
into the effort to prevent an American attack against Iraq.
Seeds of Protest Growing on College Campuses

October 12, 2002
By TAMAR LEWIN

BOSTON, Oct. 10 - Mike McLinn never showed the faintest
interest in political protest, but he has plunged headfirst
into the effort to prevent an American attack against Iraq.

On Tuesday night, Mr. McLinn, a senior at Northeastern
University, went to a planning meeting for a citywide
demonstration on Nov. 3. Wednesday night, he went to the
Boston Mobilization office, where two dozen students from
Boston University and Boston College talked about the "No
War, No Way" Walk for Peace on Oct. 20. Mr. McLinn, a
computer studies major, has also been meeting with other
campus groups to explore joint actions.

"The only thing I ever did on campus was run the outdoors
club, which is about having fun," Mr. McLinn said. "But
this is about saving lives. We're talking about attacking
Iraq, attacking first, which is something this country's
never done before. We're turning into an imperialist power.
So for the first time, I made the decision to act on my
angst."

As the threat of military action against Iraq looms,
students across the country are talking about the
possibility of war. The first stirrings of an antiwar
movement are emerging, even as a few conservative students
who support the president are starting to organize.

"We've made a board with all these pins on it, showing
where there have been demonstrations or teach-ins, or where
there are things planned, and we have more than 135
campuses in 35 states," said Martha Honey of the Institute
for Policy Studies in Washington, who has been helping
organize student protests against military action. "It's
growing exponentially, each day."

The movement against an attack on Iraq is still brand new,
and most of the student actions have been small, attracting
100 people on one campus, 300 on another. It remains to be
seen whether a powerful antiwar movement will emerge in the
absence of a draft or, for that matter, a war.

Then, too, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, many Americans, of
every age, support tough action to prevent terrorism.
According to a New York Times/CBS News Poll released this
week, most Americans under 30 share the rest of the
nation's views of the president's policies - they are
generally supportive. But younger Americans are the most
opposed to a pre-emptive strike, and most likely to think
that a war between the United States and Iraq would spread
to other countries in the Middle East.

As recently as two months ago, on many campuses, only a
handful of Muslim students and foreign policy professors
were thinking about Iraq. But since late September, more
than 10,000 faculty members at universities across the
country have signed an online letter opposing an invasion,
posted on the Web site www.noiraqattack.org. Students from
anti-globalization groups and humanitarian groups are now
forming antiwar coalitions with peace groups, Muslim
student associations and others.

"My group, Stop the War!, is working with Amnesty
International, the Greens, the Student Labor Action
Coalition, the Muslim students, all kinds of groups," said
Josh Healey, a University of Wisconsin freshman who helped
organize a teach-in Tuesday and a rally Wednesday. "When I
was handing out leaflets, all kinds of people were saying,
like: `Thanks a lot. We don't want to go to war about Iraq,
but we didn't know what to do.' "

The speed of the antiwar mobilization has struck some
longtime college presidents. "Students are engaging very,
very quickly with Iraq," said Nancy Dye, the president of
Oberlin College. "This morning I was struck by a very large
sign on top of an academic building, saying, `Say No to War
in Iraq.' A new student organization has gotten itself
together, and I don't even know if they have a name yet.
There wasn't anything like this during the first gulf war,
when I was president at Vassar."

But such activity is not seen everywhere: "So far, people
seem to be worrying more about the economy and the sniper,"
said Stephen Trachtenberg, the president of George
Washington University. "You talk to undergrads and they
don't have any memory of Vietnam. Activism is something
their parents tell them about."

At many campuses, support for military action against Iraq
has been muted or nonexistent. But that, too, may be
changing. Late last month, Joe Fairbanks founded the
Stanford College Republicans to give conservative students
at his mostly liberal campus a place to voice support for
the Bush policies. The group, with 200 members, is now
planning a teach-in.

"We knew that military action was likely soon, and wanted
to give students who supported it some way to show that to
the rest of the students. Military action has become the
only way to solve this problem," said Mr. Fairbanks, a
sophomore at Stanford University.

At the University of Texas too, conservatives are planning
political actions.

"The Campus Coalition for Peace and Justice has had a
couple of antiwar rallies here, and university campuses
always have more antiwar feeling than America in general,"
said Austin Kinghorn, public affairs director of the Young
Conservatives of Texas. "But I think a lot of students here
are still unsure. We're going to set up a debate with the
coalition people, and I think that will get a huge
turnout."

Last year, the noisiest issue on campus was
Israeli-Palestinian relations. That tension remains: At the
University of Michigan this weekend, hundreds of students
from more than 70 universities are gathering to discuss a
campaign for divestment from companies that do business in
Israel, a campaign intended to paint Israel in the racist
colors of apartheid South Africa.

On most campuses, the threat of war with Iraq has now
become the dominant political issue with teach-ins and
protests so common that prominent academics cannot meet the
demand for their presence.

"I organized the Monday night forum at UMass-Amherst," said
Michael Klare, a professor of peace and world security
studies at Hampshire College and defense correspondent for
The Nation. "I did M.I.T. last week. And then over the next
two weeks, I'll be speaking at Springfield College, Western
New England College and Simon's Rock. I've had to turn down
CUNY and Hunter in New York, and Stanford and UC Santa
Cruz."

On Monday, rallies were held at dozens of campuses
nationwide, including Boston University, where students
hung hundreds of paper dolls in Marsh Plaza, each one, they
said, to represent 500 Iraqis killed since the Persian Gulf
war as a result of either economic sanctions or bombing.

On Wednesday, a telephone line was set up at Georgetown
University in Washington, and activists were stopping
students between classes, and asking them to call their
representatives in Congress to urge them to vote against
allowing the president to go to war.

"I think there's a very strong antiwar feeling on campus,"
said Shadi Hamid, a Georgetown sophomore. "It wasn't so
much an issue when we came back to school in August, but in
the last two weeks there's been this new sense of urgency,
and the issue has moved beyond the Muslim students."

Building an antiwar movement when students are not
threatened by the draft is not easy. It may be particularly
difficult in a generation that has little experience with
political protest.

"Campus activism at Penn is a bit frustrating because it
seems like most people agree with us," said Dan Fishback, a
University of Pennsylvania senior. "I'll talk about the
various reasons we shouldn't go to war, and they'll be,
like, `Yeah, I'm totally with you.' But they're not,
because they're not involved. They're so used to feeling
helpless that it doesn't occur to them to be outraged."

 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/12/national/12PROT.html?ex=1035467892&ei=1&en=ecef494cb909e05a

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Too little too late? 14.Oct.2002 15:20

maxomai maxomai@aracnet.com

The best chance that we had to prevent a war was in the United States Senate, before the Senate approved extended war powers for Bush. Where were the college campus peace movements then?

Sometimes, honestly, I wonder if the peace movement is serious about preventing war, or if the Socialists and others are just in it to win new converts.

The best anti-war demonstration I ever saw was organized by Chicago Muslims. It wasn't quite as loud or rock-concertish as large demonstrations can get, but it was *packed* and the people involved *stuck to the issues*. None of the organizers tried to convert me to Islam, tell me about a vegitarian anarchist collective meeting, or sell me a goddamn newspaper. When counterassholes like Bush Admirer and Trilox showed up to yell at the protestors, the protestors responded calmly, rationally, and intelligently.
People walking to work, instead of marching away pissed and annoyed, stuck around to watch -- in other words, they had their awareness raised. WOW! What a concept!

If we ARE serious about preventing war, we'll stop kitchen-sinking these events, we'll keep our message focused, and we'll act with the goal of changing the minds of the people who make the decisions. That means we start with the voters and work our way on up. The last couple of weeks, putting the pressure on our elected representatives, was a good example of how this can work. Now we have to get our message out to the electorate. How convenient for us that it is an election year, and that the election is in four weeks!