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Prague Festival


From August 14 to 28 the International Students Union will hold its second annual World Student Congress at Prague. Ostensibly this is a meeting of "students from over 64 seek ways in which the students of the world can jointly participate in working to insure peace." But if this meeting is anything like last year's Festival at Budapest, delegates from other countries will hear, from American student delegates, only that ours is a land with growing economic troubles, few jobs, and a good deal of discrimination against minorities.

And there is a more than even chance that this meeting will parallel the 1949 Congress. The U. S. delegation is again being formed and sponsored by the Committee for International Student Cooperation, which operates out of an office in New York. This organization claims that the International Students Union gave it an official invitation to form a "representative American delegation to the Congress." Students who want to join its delegation must apply to the New York Office, and receive visas through the Committee.

It is doubtful that this official delegation "will be anything approaching representative, if last year's group is an example of the Committee's handiwork. The Budapest "representatives" of the U. S. had this to say of their country last August: "...The greater part of American Youth have no jobs. America is run by economic royalists and military brass hats...To the ever-louder demands of our youth for jobs, all Wall St. men can answer is 'Join the Army...'" What the Committee is most interested in this year is illustrated by requests in its blurb for information on: "Southern Schools...Dismissal of three professors at the University of Washington...NAACP Civil Rights Crusade to Washington...ROTC's on campus...City College Strike..."

Worried by the possible character of the Committee's delegation, the NSA has protested; it wants to make up a delegation to present an unbiased picture of the U. S. at Prague. But the CISC has refused to allow this, stating that..."the objective of the leadership of the NSA is to split the students of the west from those of the east...they are conducting themselves in a way that identifies them with the cold-war policies of the U. S. State Department."

Unless U. S. students want to have their country characterized to the rest of the world as it was last August, they must somehow get at least a talkative minority at Prague. While they cannot be official delegates, students can attend the Conference. If an ample number of students get to the Festival, there may be enough really representative U. S. student opinion to prove to other groups that CISC people have no priority on the truth about the U. S.--that what truth they do have, they distort.

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