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November 15, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-11-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

a
special
essay

the

s11unday

dcdly

lynn
weiner

Number 36

Night Editor: Jim Beattie

Sunday, November 15, 1970

I

Nov. 15, 1970:
a Moratoriu

What if they

gave

rm and

The generations unite in the quest for peace

nobodycame?
.X. "What the President doesn't
understand is that many of
those who oppose the war do
not want him to end the war
his way-they want it ended,
and now. They want an equit-
able peace, not an American
or South Vietnamese victory.
. . Time and elections will
x tell who wins this war of
nerves and political clout . ..
-The Michigan Daily
Oct. 17, 1969
A YEAR AGO today, 350,000
Americans jammed the
streets of the nation's capital to
stage the largest single protest
march in history.
The Washington Moratorium
demonstrated a bouyant sense
of unity which promised great
progress in the search for peace.
The participants sought imme-
' diate, unilateral withdrawal of
American troops from Vietnam,
supporting a moratorium which
was to increase one day for
each month the war continued.
The moratorium began in Sep-
tember, 1969, gaining strength
until it culminated in the mas-
sive, three-day November march.
Today we encounter the
month of the 13-day mora-
torium, but the urgency, excite-
ment, and activism of last fall
has dimmed. We have succumb-
bed to a reign of apathy and
cynicism. The moratorium is
forgotten as the war drags on.
Has Nixon won the battle of
"nerves and political clout"?
What has happened to the peace
movement?
Neither the question nor the
situation are entirely new.
"Was the flash-in-the-pan
character of (the peace move-
ment) directly the fault of
those students who were re-
sponsible for its origin, was It
directly the fault of the stu-
dent body, or was it not a
fault at all?"
So asked The Daily in 1936
as it urged the reinstitution of
a University Peace Council
which had been formed the year
before.
In an era in which the world
seemed to teeter on the brink
of war, in the era of Mussolini
and Hitler, students here-and
across the nation participated in
building peace programs.
In November, 1935, The Daily
reported, "students of a number
of colleges shouted 'down with
war' in peace demonstration in-
tended to be nation-wide, and,
in New York, some 25,000 stu-
dents pledged 'not to fight for
my country in any war'."
And despite waning enthusi-
asm, six months later, the Uni-
versity closed for an hour to
"dedicate time to peace."
"It is both significant and
reassuring," said then Univer-
sity President Alexander Ruth-
ven, "that students are taking
an active interest in world peace
since students are training

theselves to be intelligent citi-
zens of the world, they cannot
be pardoned if, in the process
of securing an education, they
fail to grasp the concept of the
unity of mankind."
THOSE YEARS SAW a con-
tinual procession of pacifist
speakers, peace programs, and
the formation of the "Veterans
of Future Wars" anti-war or-
ganization. Enthusiasm for the
projects alternately dimmed and
flared. Then came the Second
World War, and the movement
died.,
Thirty years a n d several
wars later, the peace movement
was again resurrected on the
nation's campuses, this time in
response to an undeclared war
in a distant country.
At the University 12,000 join-
ed a peace march in September:
in October, 20,000 participated
in a stadium rally: over a mil-
lion participants in the October
nation-wide demonstration call-
ed for an immediate end to the
war. President' Nixon responded
that "to allow government policy
to be made in the streets would
destroy the democratic process
and invite anarchy."
In November, 45.000 initiated
the three-day moratorium with
the March Against Death, in a
display of unity which soon en-
gulfed over 350.000.
Why isn't there a massive
march today?

"Demonstrations are useless,"
answers one s t u d e n t who
marched last year.."I wouldn't
go if there were a march today.
I'm too tired, it's frustrating
and futile."
Why did he go last year?
"I had never been to a
march," he says, "I thought it
would be exciting, which it was,
and I did want the war to end.
But the march failed, the war
still exists."
Frustration and apathy has
won over a large portion of
those who participated in last
year's' demonst'rations.
One reason for this may be
the fear of violence in mass
activity, engendered by the
spring tragedies at Kent State
and Jackson State Universities.
WHEN STUDENTS at Kent
State planned a peaceful pro-
test against the Portage County
special Grand Jury indictments
last month, fear of violence and
another tragedy, prompted by
new state laws which restrict
demonstrations, s t o p p e d the
event.
And there was the intense
disillusionment felt after the
high expectations and ideals of
the Moratorium days were not
met.
An answer, too, may lie in
the particular nature and value
of mass movements.
After the November demon-
strations, the movement began

to factionalize internally. Senti-
ment for collective action cooled
,.s the emphasis of the protest
shifted from the national to the
local level, as differing peace
groups argued over future
plans. No nation-wide events
were stressed at the University,
but the focus, through April,
rivited on local teach-ins deal-
ing with repression, the draft,
and war expenditures.
Other events besides the war
vied for attention. The Chi-
cage Conspiracy Trial, recruit-
er lock-ins, ROTC protests, the
environmental action program,
and the Black Action Movement
strike competed for publicity
and support. The peace move-
ment fated.
During a 1936 rally 2,000 stu-
dents condemned the "defeat-
ist spirit" prevalent on campus,
calling for "positive, practical
answers" in the quest for peace.
For three days in November,
1969, a strong feeling of some-
thing good and positive sur-
rounded and supported the peace
movement.
Somewhere within this sense
of unity and potency may lie a
k y to the success of any anti-
war program.
Another key may rest in the
nswer to an important ques-
tion:
What will you be doing if
there is a war being fought on
Nov. 15, 1971?

y

The largest protest march in history gathers by the Washington Monument

Photos

' -.:.. :.4 1 . 4 v .. . . .. . . . .4. .. . . . . : . ... qy . . . .. . .I

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