A permanent alliance of workers and student movements has proved in the past, at least at Harvard, to exist only as a gleam in the eyes seen behind student organizers' bullhorns. But for now, leftist student groups and the 32 lithographers and bookbinders striking the Harvard Printing Office have formed a marriage of convenience around specific issues, if not a true alliance.
About 150 students turned out yesterday at a rally in front of Holyoke Center supporting the strikers--slightly outdrawing a similar rally held the week before. And a corps of students began this week to picket with the printers.
As for the printers themselves, they seem to have welcomed the student help, and some of them have sat through long-winded theoretical arguments at organizing meetings in order to express that appreciation to the student groups.
Student involvement, spearheaded by a coalition of groups including SDS, NAM and the Union of Radical Political Economists, is not widespread by the standards of past political activity, but a petition drive started by the support coalition has reportedly gained momentum.
For the radical groups, the strike offers a ready-made issue at a time when provocative causes are hard to find. The groups hope politically concerned students may be watching their activities in the same way other Harvard employees are watching the printers' strike: to see if University policy can still be influenced by the actions of its constituencies.
The printers' union, the first in Harvard history to go on strike seven years ago, and its student supporters probably find their common cause makes the vanguard a less lonely place to be.