The Cambridge Peace and Freedom Party, formed in 1968 to organize residents of the City around radical causes, has decided to disband.
During its existence, the party-generally similar in outlook to the Worker-Student Alliance of SDS-began a campaign for a rent-control referendum in the City, obstructed several evictions by Cambridge landlords, and ran two unsuccessful candidates for local office.
The party had been generally inactive since last fall, when a Superior Conrt judge ruled that the proposed rent-control referendum was unconstitutional and the Peace and Freedom candidate received less than one per cent of the votes cast in the City Council race.
A group of about 50 persons-many of them graduate students or recent alumni of Harverd and other Bostonarea colleges-founded the local party in the summer of 1968 to "fight racism, the war, and the exploitation of working people and students by landlords and big business interests."
A statement released yesterday to announce the organization's demise stated that the party's lack of ties with local residents had hurts its efforts.
"We think such a movement can someday be built. But since most of us in Peace and Freedom are young and new to the community, we do not know many people in Cambridge and have found that we are unable to build this kind of movement at this time," it read.
The statement went on to say that ex-members of the party would continue to work toward its goals on their own by organizing workers on their jobs and supporting strikes.
Though the group's active membership never rose above several dozen, the rent-control campaign it initiated collected over 5000 valid signatures of City voters on a petition calling for a vote on rent control in the City. The petition was thrown out in court on the grounds that only the state, not the City, has the right to approve rent control.
Peace and Freedom candidates in local election races received less support. Harvard graduate student Michael Schwartz ran a poor third in a 1968 race for the state legislature, and Cynthia F. Kline, a local telephone operator, received only 247 votes in last fall's City Council campaign.
In 1968, radicals in several other U.S. cities also formed parties under the Peace and Freedom label and ran Black Panther Leader Eldridge Cleaver as a Presidential candidate. Most of the other branches are now also defunct.