Staking out a corner of the Boston Common in front of the State House steps, about 1000 anti-draft protesters assembled Saturday afternoon to hear speakers denounce registration and the Carter administration's foreign policy.
Speaking at the first Boston anti-draft rally this school year, veterans of the anti-Vietnam War movement warned the crowd that only continued protest could stop the "madness" of nuclear war. They also said this summer's registration set the stage for U.S. military intervention around the world.
"We are living under the same leaders who led us into Vietnam," Howard Zinn, professor of political science at Boston University, told the crowd, which had marched to the Common from Copley Square. "The faces are a little different, that's all," he added.
Daniel Ellsberg '52, best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971, predicted that the United States would be the first country to use nuclear weapons if a new war broke out.
Citing previous instances when American presidents had threatened the use of nuclear weapons, Ellsberg said Carter's proposed "rapid deployment force" constituted a "nuclear trip wire." Such a force, he said, could easily become surrounded, inducing the U.S. to use tactical nuclear weapons to save it.
Ellsberg, who will speak at Harvard Wednesday afternoon, said only massive anti-war protests prevented former President Nixon from using nuclear weapons against North Vietnam in 1969.
"There will be a draft no matter who is elected unless there are a lot more demonstations like this," Ellsberg said. He urged higher pay to attract military volunteers.
Zinn and Ellsberg drew loud applause when they referred to striking workers in Poland. Zinn called for "continuous revulation--revolutions need to go on and on so long as tyranny exists"--and decried "police states" on both the right and the left.
"Carter and Brezhnev have more in common with each other than with the people of their own countries," he said.
Phil Martin, a journalist and teacher at Tufts University, said the increased military spending hurt minorities and the poor, and he urged the crowd to "fight back" against racism, poverty and other problems.
Other speakers included author Grace Paley; Farrah Zand, an Iranian student; and Liz Bentley, a high school student.
Michio Kaku '68, associate professor of nuclear physics at City College of New York, spoke of the recent mishap that killed one person at a Titan II nuclear missile site in Arkansas. He recited a list of nuclear weapons and power plants that have problems, including a reactor in Florida that malfunctioned whenever a toilet flushed and one in California that was installed backwards.
The crowd--enthusiastic but smaller than some Boston anti-nuclear and anti-draft organizers had hoped--included about 50 Harvard students, Jamie Raskin '83 of the Harvard-Radcliffe Peace Alliance said.
Several speakers said they were skeptical of the Selective Service's statement that 93 per cent of men born in 1960 and 1961 had registered, citing a Boston Globe survey indicating a 25 per cent non-compliance rate