From Our Readers
To the Editors of The Crimson:
We write to express our dismay at an opinion expressed in The Crimson by John Ross (October 6). Ross argued that the anti-apartheid movement at Harvard should shift gears from demanding divestment to raising material aid for the liberation movements in South Africa.
We strongly disagree. If anything, now is the time to force the issue. Momentum is growing each day nationally and internationally, witnessed by events such as the total divestments by the University of California and Washington State, recent congressional economic sanctions and the intensifying struggle within South Africa itself. The recent announcement of Harvard's divestment of $198.7 million came on the heels of a string of successful divestment actions including the shantytown, numerous demonstrations, the election of a prodivestment candidate to the board of overseers and finally, the events sponsored by the 350th coalition which culminated in preventing a black-tie dinner being held for George Shultz.
This diverse range of divestment actions has succeeded in bringing increasing public attention to the contradictory position which the administration holds in regard to divestment. The result has been to make this position increasingly untenable and to help force a partial divestment.
This tremendous success was not simply a "symbolic" victory. The business section of The New York Times reported September 8 that corporations with holdings in South Africa are reassessing these investments because they are losing business at home due to divestment activities. The Times reported that 18 corporations had pulled out of South Africa for this reason between January and September of this year. This is a concrete effect of the divestment movement, which weakens the economic system supporting apartheid and hastens its downfall.
There are already several material aid organizations in the Boston area, but there is only one Harvard divestment movement. If we don't do the job, no one will. We must not let our efforts be diverted or our determination be diluted. Tom Bidell and six members of Harvard Educators for Justice in South Africa