Sunday, November 19, 2006

Editorial: Signs of activism life on campuses

If we read one more column slamming the peace movement from the supposed left or supposed semi-left, we'll scream. If we hear one more falsehood about how Iraq doesn't matter on campus but "a living wage" is the big ticket, we'll get downright ugly to those pushing that lie.

We're not joking.

If you're packing up your semi-merry pundsters off to a campus and you're not someone who addresses Iraq, don't be surprised that those concerned with the war choose to skip your gathering. Honestly, why would they show in the first place?

If coverage is activism and your coverage is "Vote!" . . . well, quit kidding yourselves that the ones who really care about the war are going to show up for your gathering.

Students aren't idiots. This is written by the core six and five of us are college students. We're not stupid. We see the covers on Hurricane Katrina, we see the coverage of "Eisenhower Democrats." We wouldn't go to one of your gatherings. In fact, we skipped one (featuring a speaker we do like -- one speaker) and went instead to the reading of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History. We like Zinn, we like Arnove. We like Alice Walker and the others participating. (C.I. and Ava note Alice Walker was a guest on Friday's Democracy Now! interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.) Many people we interviewed exploring the importance of people to the movements and progress of this country vs. a wonderful speaker and two others (one of whom is on staff at another magazine and pushed the war after the 2004 elections), so it was a sad choice (in terms of the one speaker) but it was a wise choice.

We'll go with Zinn. We'll go with Arnove. We'll go with the crowd that knows the war is illegal.

Others make similar statements. Other students. We've all heard it on campuses and not just in California or from our friends in NY. We tag along on C.I.'s trip (Dona tagged last week) (C.I. says "Not tagged, everyone who goes participates.") , we hear the comments. (Like, in Iowa, the "Eisenhower Democrats" tag for the students that do get coverage.)

So word to the desk jockeys who don't even go out to campuses, you have no idea what's going on. Word to the publication who does, your coverage has been so poor that you shouldn't be surprised that most who will criticize the war (and the Democratic Party) skip your events.

Did you catch this?

Police removed more than 20 protesters from a speech Maj. Gen. Michael J. Diamond gave Wednesday about the wars in the Middle East.Diamond, the deputy director of logistics from U.S. Central Command, focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in his presentation at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
The speech began as planned, but the protesters entered the auditorium and began rapidly shooting questions at Diamond.
Edward Goetz, associate dean of academics at the Humphrey Institute, warned protesters they may be escorted out if they did not allow the speaker to proceed.He said there would be time for questions at the end of the presentation, but the protesters continued to interrupt Diamond.About five minutes into the discussion, Goetz directed University police to escort protesters out of the auditorium, an act that received applause from the 75-member audience.
The protesters chanted, "Out of Afghanistan, out of Iraq, out of the 'U' and don't come back," as they were ushered out.Before the speech, about 50 protesters from the student group Anti-War Organizing League and a community group called the Anti-War Committee gathered outside the building and called the war in Iraq "racist" and said it needed to end.Tracy Molm, women's studies senior and protest organizer, said AWOL was there to voice opposition to the war."We're here to stand up against the war in Iraq," she said.

That's from last week's Minnesota Daily, Charles Bruce's "Police remove protesters from speech on Iraq." Now it's not 'fantasy football,' or maybe we should call it "Trading Cabinets"?, but it's reality. How about, on a variety of age groups, Minneapolis' the Anti-War Committee? What are they doing?

Well, maybe you remember the GOP convention in 2004, the one in NYC? Maybe you remember how Bloomberg dicked everyone around on the whole permit issue and how the grass in Central Park (not a concern when Dave Matthews Band gave a free concert) couldn't take the people lawfully assembling?

Minneapolis' citizens working to end the war aren't going to play wait and see. They're applying for permits right now because the 2008 GOP convention will be held in their state.

Now again, it's not as fun as "Pelosi's a winner! Wait, no, she's not! Waxman! She should have gone with Waxman! Draft Waxman! Draft Waxman!"

WTF is that but the gas baggery that Tim Russert's been allowed to get away with for far too long? He has no plans, Waxman, to run for House Majority Leader, but we're told, we can dream.

Yes, we can dream. We can dream up ways for a better world. We can dream the dreams that will lead us to that. We can create the world we want (the way Alice Walker does in her novels). Or we can jaw bone and gas bag about how a post would be perfect for someone who doesn't want it.

Which really seems more productive?

Why don't students against the war flock to those gatherings? Because of jerk off crap like that. (It's only one example. There's another one we want to note but C.I. says if we do, we have to note "C.I. is not participating in this editorial." If it weren't so late and we weren't so tired, we're pretty sure we could make a convincing argument to include it, even persuade C.I. But, oh well.)

Hey, did anyone at the publication, in fact at any left publication, notice the news re: Abeer this week?

Guess not. Guess she'll continue to go unnoted. (Robin Morgan covered her in an essay in August, the magazine Off Our Backs devoted consideral coverage to the topic in the last issue.)

You don't see the anti-war activists? You don't see the peace activists? At your gatherings, they're not there. So you assume they don't exist? The reality is they do. The reality is they, unlike you apparently, are quite aware that "alleged" can now be removed from the statement that US troops raped and murdered 14-year-old Abeer and murdered her parents and her five-year-old sister. [Note: Barker only pleaded guilty for himself. Though his testimony does state that the others were involved, they haven't been tried yet. See "Justice for Abeer and her family?"]

Maybe sometime, if you can pull yourself away from 'fantasy football,' you can't cover something that actually matters. Until you do, don't be surprised that you get the middle-of-the-road Eisenhower Democrats and you continue to be further and further disconnected from students really working to end the war.

[Note: Dallas insists we add this. Last Sunday, we did an editorial. The publication in question posted something with the same two word title and question mark on the 16th. We're not talking about that. We weren't even aware of it until Dallas told us. We like the columnist and certainly don't hold a patent on those two words plus question mark.]
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }