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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Students Hope To Revive Anti-War Movement

The war in Iraq remains a rising concern on college campuses in the Boston area. Recovering from the “election hangover,” campus activists say they feel the time is ripe for building a broad anti-war movement. Over a dozen Boston area college campuses, including UMass Boston, organized a rally last Saturday, featuring retired Boston University professor Howard Zinn. Roughly 700 students rallied around the bandstand in the Boston Common to listen to speakers representing several college campuses and organizations. Following the rally, the protesters were scheduled to march to Copley Square. “We’re trying to build the broadest coalition possible to oppose this war,” said Tufts student and MC of the rally, Dan DiMaggio. DiMaggio spoke to a crowd of protesters that signs read slogans like “No Draft, No Way” and “We Support the Troops, We Oppose This War.”

One UMass Boston student present at the gathering, Diana Bell, commented, “It’s important to continue to show opposition, especially after the election. What can you do at this point?”

Speakers addressed concerns of this sort with speeches. “The soldiers believe they are fighting for freedom, but they were lied to. The anti-war movement says no more lies,” said Military Families Speak Out member Nathan Aldrich, who has two brothers headed for Iraq.

Other speakers addressed concern for the estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed in the war, and the 1,200 soldiers who have died fighting in what many of the protesters believe is an unjust war. UMass Boston student Matt Stuart spoke on behalf of Socialist Alternative and UMB’s coalition against the war, saying, “Right here, right now, is the spark that could eventually end this war.” But a group of men separate from the protesters idled by a tree waving American flags. Beverly native Aaron M. held a sign that read, “Stop being proletariat and start being Pro-American.”

“An upside down flag is not very American. I support the war one hundred percent. We need to keep America safe,” Aaron M. said. “They’re free to express their opinion and we’re free to express ours.” Aaron M. was commenting on a protester waving an upside-down American flag that read, “Sold.” The activist pointed out to the counter-protesters, saying, “Where was your flag made? In China! Mine was made here: U.S.A.!” Zinn, a former World War II pilot and retired BU professor, spoke just before the march to Copley Square. “We used to have Vietnam meetings exactly this size,” he said. “Then we had meetings one hundred times this side. This is our job and we will do it!” Spectators gathered on the sidewalks to listen to the activists chant, “Dump the elephant, dump the ass, build a party of the working class,” and “Bush lied, thousands died.” After arriving at Copley Square, the march split into two. According to DiMaggio, a group of anarchists demanded the crowd march take to the streets and continue marching to Harvard Square, though the organizers of the march and rally had legally obtained a permit and wanted to continue to rally at Copley. The rally and march marked what some see as the beginnings of potential growth in the anti-war movement, sponsored by the Boston Student Mobilization to End the War (a coalition of students from over a dozen Boston high schools and universities), Military Families Speak Out, Socialist Alternative, United for Justice with Peace, International Socialist Organization, and ANSWER.