WHILE PRESIDENT NIXOS DECIDES whether there will be a peace in Vietnam. It would be a monstrous mistake to think that the matter is entirely out of our hands. There is a part for us to play in the global scenario now unfolding. The terror bombing of Hanoi provoked an unprecedented public and Congressional outerv, and such dissent remains the strongest constraint on Nixon's further pursuit of a disguised American victory Instead of eliminating the need for mass anyway demonstrations the recent developments in Paris have made them a clear necessity.
The rough logic of Nixon's strategy should be evident by now Nixon does not want peace he wants his peace, peace with honor. At the moment peace with honor seems to involve a recognition by Hanor of the permanent division of Vietnam into North and South Nixon has shown himself willing to shatter carefully constructed hopes for peace if at any moment he thinks he can achieve such a peace with honor by force of bombs. Now that peace is once more "at hand," massive public opposition to Nixon's war and his illegitimate war arms is our only guarantee that he won't sense weakness and again call out the B 52's.
The recent events in Paris have made this weekend's scheduled demonstrations especially important For Nixon a better time to sign the peace hardly can be envisioned. He can make the announcement at his inauguration, and claim to have fulfilled an election pledge He can meet the deadline of an angry Congress. And if the demonstrations on the 19th and 20th are as large as anticipated, the political price of failing to sign the peace will be clear. On the other hand, if we let Nixon get past January 20th with no peace and little dissent, the political constraints on his warmaking will be seriously diminished. The threat of a renewed antiwar movement must be made real.
THE LARGEST, MOST important antiwar activities will clearly be those held in Washington this Saturday, coinciding with Nixon's inauguration. Busses have been chartered by the Greater Boston Peace Action Coalition, and will leave Friday night. Everyone who can take the time should go.
In addition to the Washington demonstration, a large, peaceful antiwar march will take place in Boston this Friday, starting at 11:30 a.m. in front of the State House on the Boston Common. A contingent from the Harvard area will gather at Forbes Plaza at 11:00 a.m. and proceed to the State House by subway. The March has been called by the January 19th Committee--a coalition of Boston-area antiwar groups. It will be followed by cultural activities in the Old West Church and an evening teach-in at M.I.T.
The U.S. has been in Vietnam for so long it is difficult to imagine what it would be like not to have Asians bombed and killed in our name. But even if we can't envision privately what peace in Vietnam would be like, we can perhaps sense it when it is near, and it has never seemed nearer than it does today. If we act on Friday and Saturday, we can make sure that this last chance doesn't slip away. Demonstrate against the war this weekend, and you may never have to do it again.