Members of the Harvard community: Please imagine for a moment that your's is (merely) an institution somewhere in Latin America, and this the occasion of the receipt of a letter from the Underground. These words, written through the student newspaper, have caused some obvious response on the campus by the government police and troop movements, stepped up identity checks, the seizure of the newspaper office, etc.
"We have watched the actions of university leaders, and we find them suspect. We have examined the basis of their major policies, and we find them unconscionable and insidious. We have examined the basis of their major policies, and we find them unconscionable and insidious. We have appraised the results of their words and deeds, and judged them to be inhuman and socially criminal. Our conscience leaves us no choice but to move will do within the next two weeks.
Now come back. Despite the new anti-Nixon rallies any scenario which foreshadows a return in this country to a social "chaos" reminiscent of the late '60s when political upheavals were commonplace, just isn't real Or is it? And the events of those years--the giant rallies, the mass arrests and political trials, the streetfighting, the attacks on ROTC and your CFIA building the strikes on every campus in the city and many across the country--have become just so many dim memories of contemporary history. Or... have they become well learned lessons, useful now in the campaign against Nixon and, more importantly, in the longer term effort to demilitarize and radically restructure our faltering society?
The official theory behind the cooling of America and the creation of domestic pacification is not hard to divine. The so called "Free World" is moving toward decent with its chief communist competitors, a process wherein every crisis will ostensibly be negotiated to a settlement rather than resolved by a bloodletting (no matter how distant from our shorelines). The architects of decent in both the national Executive and Congress--Free Worlders all believe rightly we hold the edge in this game, that we hold the chips (read: technology), the best and brightest players the most efficient organizations, and as always being them the fastest gunmen, to dominate any and all bargaining sessions and literally control the agenda for the future. A corollary belief is that the achievement of a (nearly) warless international community dominated by U.S. power would allow this nation's domestic machinery to function within the old imperial now called multi-national context, but without public resistance such as that generated by the inhuman policies used to prosecute the Indochina Wars.
The only catch in the plan was and remains its basic un workability without the total trampling of democracy here at home and the utilization of military power abroad.
Nixon or no Nixon, there ain't no peace anywhere except, perhaps, in that Skinnerian box called classroom. In fact, to start to live reality one should assume the existence of a wartime atmosphere similar to what was once called the Cold War, providing the setting for our entire political economy. Know only that the pace of so-called peaceful world development has accelerated even as the costs have risen, and realize the lower and middle classes are being publicly asked and politically pushed into grudging support for the effort here at home ("pay any price, bear any burden, etc.") Better understand the real strategy behind providing our big city police departments with counter-insurgency training and access to computer technology: Think about who created the recession which began in '68 and continued to pre-election '72, recall the assault on the poverty program, and know the bottom third of this country--the nigglers the Spics the wetbacks the redskins, the rednecks, the wops and the micks, the hippies and the hunkies--are gonna get squeezed together again and again, and that --to THEM--means trouble. Forget the details of Watergate and consider the energy crisis, manufactured to hold the free World's energy sources under the control of multi national business and finance cartels and therefore exploitable for their profit. There's more and it all begins right here in Cambridge, where, in a totally insane and perverted response to our nation's Bicentennial Celebration, the institutional heads of government, business, and education have decided to use the city as their own little monopoly board and its people as their social laboratory.
The keystone of their idea has been to make the Kennedy Library in Harvard Square on a scale comparable to the monument erected in Texas in his own honor by the departed Lyndon Johnson. This edifice will then be complemented by the development of new hotels, shopping centers and highways. And followed by the city wide expansion of the universities and their spin-off industries. The plan, even at the outset, will destroy the residential communities of Cambridge port and Riverside, where, already, homeowners are selling out to un principled real estate speculators who intend to turn the area into a land of mini condominiums priced beyond the pocketbooks of most present residents. If you're real you'll understand the truth of this town/gown scenario and disregard the liberal profile of the city's universities; the creation of a few hundred units of housing for the poor and the elderly can only be seen as a token gesture for public relations, and not as a serious commitment to social progress.
But in any case, realize this: the move by powerful developers has been so blatant that people in every neighborhood have organized to be in a position to say, simply, "No Go;" to demand that any and all development be community-controlled.
Members of the Harvard community: consider for one moment your position as students, faculty, and even administrators who reside in this city. Rest assured that the rest of us who live down the streets from your ivied walls are through subsidizing your institution and challenge you, lest you be judged as your present leaders have been, to join us in our uprising.
John Marcy is a Boston University graduate and a candidate for city council.