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Members of the Harvard Young People's Socialist League (YPSL) officially will not be participating in the March on Washington this weekend. According to Jon Ratner '70. president of Harvard YPSL, the group will concentrate on canvassing activities in the Boston area instead.
YPSL has "two sorts of doubts" about the March, Ratner said. One doubt involves the way in which this particular demonstration has been organized.
The group fears that a widespread display of NLF flags at the protest and a disproportionate number of speakers supporting the NLF will give the public the impression that the peace movement as a whole favors an NLF victory in Vietnam, Ratner said. The group also is worried by what it sees as the strong possibility of violence at the demonstration.
Richard Sternhell, a member of the National Moratorium Committee, which is among the groups planning the Washington protest, said yesterday that the demonstration's organizers are presently considering the possibility of banning the display of flags at the march.
YPSL also has doubts about the value, at this time, of massive peace demonstrations in general, Ratner said. He stressed the need to move towards a policy "that reaches out beyond the marchers."
The October 15 Moratorium has demonstrated the extent of student support for the peace movement. Ratner said. Now, canvassing and other activities designed to build majority support for ending the war immediately have become most important. he added.
Harvard YPSL voted not to take part in the Washington protest at a meeting on November 5. At the same meeting, the group affirmed its support for immediate withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. Shortly before the Harvard vote, national YPSL leaders had advised members not to go to Washington.
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