Building the campus antiwar movement

May 26, 2008

STUDENTS ON a number of campuses around the country are continuing to speak out against the war and build the student antiwar movement with various actions.

In Boston, about 100 people gathered May 8 at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Boston to watch Winter Soldier: Testimony from Iraq and Afghanistan and to hear the live testimony of members of the local Boston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

The event was organized by the UMass Boston chapter of the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN) and IVAW. The showing was the largest event the local CAN chapter has organized this school year, and further demonstrates that students, professors and local community members want to talk about what it would take to end the war. The event also allowed CAN and IVAW members to meet new veterans who are students on the campus.

In Northampton, Mass., more than 60 students from Smith College and members of the Western Massachusetts chapter of CAN walked out of class April 24 to protest the war. The walkout was part of a week of antiwar action at Smith College that included a film screening and antiwar panel.

After marching around campus chanting, "Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!" students took to the streets of downtown Northampton, where they were met with shouts and honks of support.

Returning to the Smith College campus, marchers poured into the college's administration building, chanting "This is what democracy looks like!" Ending at the Smith College Campus Center, activists discussed strategies and tactics, shared contact information and started building the base of an antiwar organization on campus.

In Cincinnati, the local CAN chapter hosted "Peace Week" May 12-16 at the University of Cincinnati. The week included five nights of speakers on topics that included "Sociology in a Time of War," "Breaking Ranks: The Future of GI Resistance," "Vietnam Veterans Against the War," "The Government of Iraq: Divide and Conquer" and "Palestine: Occupied Since 1948."

Though turnout was not overwhelming, the talks helped strengthened alliances between the local CAN chapter and IVAW, the Campus Greens, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the International Socialist Organization.

Throughout the week, CAN also had an interactive art project on display in high-traffic areas. Triota (a national women's studies honor society) made T-shirts with statistics about how the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan disproportionately affects women.

People walking also were invited to express their feelings about imperialism and occupation on a large canvas, and were interviewed about their feelings on the war, how the war affects their daily lives, how they think it affects Iraqis lives and the aims of the U.S. global war on terror, etc. The week was capped off by a huge fundraising party that included DJDQ of Glue and the Animal Crackers.

Tristan Brosnan, Amirah S. Goldberg and Nancy Paraskevopoulos contributed to this article.

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