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Antiwar activism is back to school

September 19, 2003 | Page 2

SCHOOL IS back in session. And so is the student antiwar movement.

At Columbia University in New York City, 175 people signed up for the student antiwar group at the university's club day. Twenty attended the first meeting. At the University of California-Berkeley, the first two meetings of the Stop the War Coalition drew 20 to 25 people each, and 80 people signed up to get involved at the activities fair. San Francisco State University Students Against War had an energetic first meeting in early September. Many of those who attended were first-year students who had been active against the war while in high school. Bay Area student groups are now organizing for the "Protest Against Occupation and Empire," planned for September 28 in San Francisco.

Campus groups are also finding a new set of debates springing up in the antiwar movement as well. At Harvard University in Boston, the Harvard Initiative of Peace and Justice had more than 50 people sign up to attend the first meeting--where one major question was whether or not to vote for a Democrat in 2004.

At a meeting of the University of Maryland Peace Forum, there was debate over whether the antiwar movement should call for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq immediately--or if this would cause too much chaos. In Chicago, a similar debate took place as 35 people turned out to a first meeting of University of Illinois-Chicago No War to hear Voices in the Wilderness member John Farrell speak about his recent trip to Iraq. Though torn on the question of an immediate U.S. withdrawal, Farrell pointed out the hypocrisy of U.S. claims of "liberating" Iraq.

Each morning, he said, U.S. overseer Paul Bremer takes to the aiwaves to make pronouncements regarding checkpoints, rationing, and new rules and laws--something that Saddam Hussein used to do on Iraqi state-run TV. According to Farrell, some Iraqis now refer to Bremer as "Saddam Bremer."

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