Protesters Kick Off Divestiture Rallies
Kicking off a week of protest that will culminate with a mass rally and 24-hour vigil, nearly 30 demonstrators from the Law School yesterday marched on Massachusetts Hall and called for Harvard to divest of all as stock in companies which do business in South Africa.
Yesterday's rally, which featured speeches by Domenic N. Bozzotto, president of AFL-CLO Local 26, was the first in a series of demonstrations, this week designed to convince the Harvard governing board of the immorality of its investment in companies with South African operations.
Members of the Law School Divestment Committee, who organized yesterday's protest, said they would hold similar but larger demonstration today and tomorrow in preparation for the appearance of the Rev Jesse L. Jackson and other divestment activists on Thursday.
Jackson, who will be joined by former Boston mayoral candidate Melvin H. King and a number of other speakers, will lead a pro-divestment rally from the steps of Memorial Church that afternoon.
The rally, which University activists say will be the largest demonstration on the Harvard campus in years, may draw as many as 5000 demonstrators, according to Bozzotto.
Following the rally, students plan to stage a 24-hour encampment around Bok's Massachusetts Hall office, trying in "stop business as usual," said Jamin B. Raskin '83, a member of the Law School Divestment Committee.
But Harvard Police Chief Paul E. Johnson said yesterday. "We'll make sure that normal day-to-day business is maintained" at Bok's office.
Johnson, who watched over yesterday's rally, said he would try to gauge the amount of Harvard Police supervision he'll use based on attendance at the rallies this week. "We'll take whatever action is appropriate," he added.
A round-the-clock Harvard Police guard has been stationed inside Massachusetts Hall this week to prevent protestors from entering the building. Two Crimson reporters who approached Massachusetts Hall last night were unable to enter and were questioned by Harvard policemen.
Administration officials will meet this week to plan security measures for the demonstration, said Law School Dean of Students Mary Upton.
Yesterday's demonstration began at the Law School's Harkness Commons, where a lunchtime crowd of 40 students listened to Bozzotto briefly describe working conditions of Blacks in South Africa. Bozzotto, who led a successful strike of Harvard food workers two years ago, said Black South African workers "are treated like cattle."
Bozzotto, who is on the steering committee of the Free South Africa Movement, said Harvard plays a major role in "enforcing" apartheid by "denying basic rights to 72 percent of the South African population."
Harvard holds $565 million of stock in companies, which do business in South Africa. The University maintains that its policy of "intensive dialogue," which it claims helps convince corporations which have South African operations to abide by ethical standards, is more realistic than complete divestment.
But Bozzotto argued yesterday that "When we force Harvard to divest, that will bring down apartheid."
Following Bozzotto's remarks at Harkness Commons, protestors marched through the Yard to Massachusetts 'Half, where they gathered in front of the entrance, waving banners and chanting pro-divestment slogans.
Rolling Over Bok
The demonstrators, who were joined by dozens of bystanders, sang protest songs which included the lyrics, "If Derek Bok gets in our way we're gonna roll right over him."
Bozzotto spoke again from the steps of Massachusetts Hall, saying. "Even though we're small in numbers, we're big in enthusiasm."
"Every place Bok turns, every place he looks, he's going to see Harvard students and Harvard people talking about divestment," he added.
After Bozzotto's speech protesters marched to the back of Massachusetts Hall, massing in front of Bok's office windows and chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, there's blood on your portfolio.