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The Mass Media

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Coalition Against War and Racism Organized On Campus

A new coalition has formed on campus in response to the events of the past month. The UMass Boston Coalition Against War and Racism is comprised of students, faculty and staff who are concerned about the current military actions of the United States government against Afghanistan. Another main focus of this group is the defense of civil liberties here and the promotion of knowledge and tolerance among people of different ethnicities.

“President Bush is forming his coalition, we’re forming ours,” said Pat Ayers, president of the Socialist Club and member of this coalition.

The coalition has been meeting for a few weeks and plans are underway for some actions on campus to take place early in November. Although there have been many presentations and forums going on to attempt to educate the community about the origins of this war and the possible repercussions of the U.S. response, there is still room for more. Some events this coalition is trying to organize include a rally and teach-in at UMass Boston.

“No War, No Racism, No U.S. Military Occupation, and Defend Civil Liberties” are the main demands of this coalition. There was some speculation about whether the demand to oppose military occupation should relate directly to the Middle East and Afghanistan or if it should encompass all military occupations our country embarks on. After a short discussion and vote, it was decided that military occupation in general is condemnable.

“We want to point out how this war is hurting not only the people of Afghanistan but also working people in our community and nation as a whole,” said Bryan Koulouris, treasurer of the Socialist Club and member of the coalition. “The attacks on Afghanistan have coincided with attacks on civil liberties.”

The unprecedented act of President Bush to create a new cabinet-level position, Director of Office of Homeland Security, is seen by some in the coalition as a direct attack on civil liberties. This office has already received search warrants for websites. Over 600 people have been detained and/or questioned in relation to the September 11 attacks. In the past month, racist acts of retaliation have plagued our communities and racial profiling is on the rise. Under new legislation, student visas are being restricted and security surrounding immigrants and immigration in general has increased considerably.

A few people from the UMass group have been working with a larger coalition in Boston. The Boston Campus Anti-War Coalition (BCAC) has members from many area universities and hopes to hold a regional conference for interested students, faculty, and staff in early November. The BCAC, as well as members of the UMass group, attended a peace march held October 7. The protest began at Copley and participants marched to a park in Roxbury.

This coalition is open to everyone in the UMass community: students, faculty, and staff are all welcome. Sponsors of this group include The Socialist Club, The Philosophy Club, The William Joiner Center, The Queer Student Union, and the International Socialist Club. The coalition meets each Wednesday at 2:30 in the Wheatley cafeteria. Those who wish to contact the coalition can email Mitch Lewis at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Natalia Cooper served as news editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2001-2002; *2002-2003 *News writer Gin Dumcius filled in as news editor for Spring 2003 before returning to their writer position. Disclaimer: Years served is based on online database and may not detail entire service.