To the Editors of the Crimson:
I went to college at Tufts in Medford, where many students disliked the local residents. There we were, infusing the community with the arts and all those facilities, and they hated us simply for our presence, it seemed. We decided they were provincial and ignorant. Townies, we called them.
Now the townies watched us move in, goof off for a few years, raise hell in their neighborhood, and then blow out of town in Dad's car with a B.A. stashed in the trunk. Snots, they called us. In my four years at Tufts. I did not break down these barriers. Relations with the neighbors were bad, except for when either of us got drunk, and then they were very bad.
Because students and working class people often come from different backgrounds, living together will cause problems; that can be expected. I know something about how those problems come up, and they are coming up now in Cambridge.
Cambridge residents will soon vote on a referendum written to ban, within the city, research or evaluation that promotes nuclear weapons production. Now I don't care what you think of this proposal, or of the freeze movement, or of local government's proper role in shaping foreign policy. Two groups lead the fight on these issues, and they each have a dozen arguments supporting their position. For the ban is Mobilization for Survival and against the ban is Citizens Against Research Bans.
I am concerned that a conflict I watched for four years is affecting this campaign: students and young people largely support the ban while older and working class people largely oppose it. Sure, these are exceptions, but there is a general pattern here, and that is because many students are unaware that in this case, jobs are at state.
If the act passes, and if it stands up in court, the Draper Lab will move. Draper employs a lot of people, and those people are upset because they might lose their jobs. Other companies may have to move, too.
So at the debate I attended on this issue, two weeks ago at the Harrington School, there was an auditorium full of angry people. They were all from Draper, and they didn't want to hear any debate. They did not want to discuss the issues. They did not even care about a nuclear freeze. No, they wanted only to know one thing, who had the right to tell them where they could and could not work?
That night the Mobilization for Survival speaker was incredulous. Aren't the Draper employees fed up? he asked. Don't they she that they are tools of the management? Don't they want to do more useful work: And gee, how come they're it all no rude? We can Harley make our points, here.
The Mobilization speaker wanted to talk all about the ethics of nuclear warfare, and defense policy, and our moral obligations as citizens, he did not want to discuss what the act would do: it would cost a lot of people their jobs, that's all.
The act calls for a two year "grace period," when a commission will supposedly find these people "useful" employment. But no one-seems clear on how this will happen. Will the commission create a new industry, and then re-train people so that they may command comparable salaries? That's ridiculous.
No, the ban supporters just feel that a certain amount of unemployment may be the necessary price to pay, considering what will be gained by the act's passage.
But it is not impressive to make a point of principle at the expensive of someone clue's livelihood, and that is what is happening here. If the act passes, Draper would simply move to Somerville and carry on: it is, at best, a gesture, and it will have a lot of people. That is why Cambridge residents think the has supporters have, this time, gone too far. So do I. Joel Keeman