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At eleven o'clock tomorrow morning several hundred Harvard students will forego the rest of their classes for the day and hie themselves to the Boston Common, there to join with several thousand other New England collegians for a meeting in the interests of peace. Their mass demonstration will take the form of a strike, and this strike will be notable for the number and variety of issues they oppose. Not satisfied with merely crusading for an abstract, effervescent peace, the students have decided to direct their disapproval against war and the forces which make for war; compulsory military training in schools and colleges; the billion dollar war budget; teachers' oath laws and similar restrictions of American civil liberties; and finally, against the Fascist aggression in Spain.
With such manifold and disturbing topics to discuss, one thing is certain; there will be plenty of opinions expressed. There is, however, some question as to whether those opinions will be student views, and it is the choice of speakers which causes this question. Instead of addresses by noted advocates, statesmen or diplomats, the gathering will be harangued by two Labor men, Powers Hapgood, of the New England council of the C.I.O., and Robert Morse Lovett, editor of the New Republic, national chairman of the League for Industrial Democracy, and pro-Labor sympathizer. What these men have to say may be very pertinent to current events and of interest to economics-minded undergraduates, but whether they will be inclined to, or capable of, speaking authoritatively on peace is doubtful.
If peace is to be, like last week's Childes lecture, only an excuse for young men to get together and discuss the enervating spring weather until they get in the mood for rioting or lesser disorders, then the setting has been well laid. The speakers are vociferous and colorful enough to inspire action; but let that action be along the lines of peace rather than labor agitation and radical fantasy.
No one who has seen the horrors of war and contemplated the tragedy of the mass slaughter that war entails, can fail to appreciate the motives that are causing peace strikes all over the country. But there are many who strenuously object to beclouding the issue with social problems and labor agitation. Every national malady should be treated and discussed at the right time and place, and labor problems are very pressing in this day and age, but a peace strike is not the place to air labor's grievances. The most forceful, most impressive, peace-strike is one that is dedicated solely to the cause of peace and is participated in by speakers who have no other axes to grind. With Hapgood and Lovett leading today's discussion, an undue emphasis is bound to be placed upon the problems that confront labor, which will distort the supposed objective of the peace strike and diminish the singleness of purpose that such a strike should strive to attain.
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