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News and reports

February 17, 2006 | Page 11

Columbia University
Protest Bush's war on Iraq

Defend academic freedom
By Karl Swinehart

LOS ANGELES--Students and faculty at the University of California-Los Angeles have responded with a public forum and a demonstration to counter the attempts of former campus Young Republican Andrew Jones to initiate a witch-hunt against faculty.

After graduating in 2003, Jones went on to work under David Horowitz in a project to target left-wing academics. On his Web site, Jones recently offered students $50-$100 to turn over transcripts of professors' lectures. The Web site included a list of the "Dirty 30"--a group of professors that Jones says are guilty of "demagoguery."

A quick look at the Web site shows that their real "crimes" are being Palestinian, Chicano, feminist, gay or lesbian. So many of the targeted professors are in the Chicano and Chicana Studies Department that some students are calling the list a "brown list."

At a forum organized by the University Council of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the targeted professors, Reynaldo Macías, chair of the Chicano and Chicana Studies Department, commented that what Jones objects to most is the professors' political engagement outside of the classroom. English professor Saree Makdisi, historian Vinay Lal and anthropologists Sondra Hale and Ellen Dubois also addressed the crowd of roughly 100 students and professors.

Out of that meeting, Students for Academic Freedom in Education (SAFE) organized a demonstration the following week that brought together a group of approximately 40 students and faculty. SAFE will continue organizing to oppose efforts by these new McCarthyites to pass the mis-named "Academic Bill of Rights" in California.

"[Jone's] site isn't that threatening, but the larger attack is," said professor Vanay Lal. "Academic freedom wasn't always the case. It came only after a long struggle, so it's important to keep this alive."

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Columbia University
By Zachary Zill

NEW YORK--The right is on the attack against antiwar students at Columbia University.

Last September at Columbia's Activities Day Fair, three members of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) confronted a group of military personnel trying to sign people up for Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). ROTC has not been allowed on campus since 1969, and the ISO members challenged the recruiters' right to be there and debated them about the war in Iraq.

Now, the recruiters, with the help of members of the Columbia Military Society and the Conservative Club, have been publicly claiming that they were "harassed" and that one ISO member made "racially motivated comments" towards a Latino recruiter.

The Columbia Spectator, Columbia's student newspaper, published a "news" article that presented these accusations as if they were fact. The story was also reported on Fox News and in the New York Sun.

These charges are completely fabricated. The Columbia administration investigated the supposed "incident" last semester, found it to be baseless and dismissed it.

The people behind these attacks certainly don't care about racism. One of their leaders recently wrote a column in the Spectator in which he called Malcolm X "a militant lunatic" and a "hate-spewing racist" and slammed the Black Student Organization for having a lounge named after him. The Conservative Club even held an "anti-affirmative action" bake sale two years ago that set off a series of mass demonstrations against racism at Columbia.

These right-wing activists want to make themselves out to be victims in order to discredit the antiwar movement and to lay the groundwork for officially bringing ROTC back to Columbia.

Last year, a concerted propaganda campaign to bring ROTC back failed after students collected more than 1,000 signatures on an anti-ROTC petition, and the University senate overwhelmingly voted not to reinstate the program.

Now, the pro-ROTC forces are demanding that Columbia's administration create a more "military-friendly" environment on campus and add military personnel to the university's anti-discrimination policy along with women, African Americans and other oppressed groups--a move that would essentially make any counter-recruitment action an act of discrimination.

Antiwar students at Columbia are not taking these attacks lying down. A publicity campaign is being organized to refute their claims and to bring attention to the real victims--the more than 100,000 dead Iraqis and the thousands of U.S. soldiers killed, maimed and traumatized in the war. Antiwar voices at Columbia will not be intimidated.

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Protest Bush's war on Iraq
By Glenn Allen

CHICAGO--More than 650 protested Bush's State of the Union address January 31. Organized by the World Can't Wait coalition, the demonstration--which drew a wide range of people, from organized groups to suburbanites and factory workers--called for Bush to be forced out of office. The turnout demonstrated the broad rejection of Bush and the war in Iraq.

True to predictions, Bush's State of the Union address was a series of lies, half-truths and hypocrisy. Bush claimed that "we are winning" in Iraq, in the face of more than 2,300 U.S. casualties. And despite the fact that the median hourly wage dropped 1.3 percent last year, Bush called for more tax cuts for the rich.

Criticism of Bush at the demonstration centered around the war in Iraq, but included the Bush administration attacks on civil liberties, tax cuts for the rich, cuts to social services and the handling of Hurricane Katrina.

One of the centerpieces of the protest was a large effigy of Bush that was burned. The protest ended with a march through downtown, stopping at the Chicago Tribune building. Speakers included Paul Vogel, whose son was killed in Iraq, and Dr. Quentin Young of Physicians for a National Health Program, who described his experiences caring for women who had septic abortions before the legalization of abortion.

Unfortunately, the protest centered almost exclusively on Bush and included virtually no criticism of the Democrats' role in supporting the war in Iraq or Bush's domestic policies.

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