( The opinion of a minority of the editorial board will appear tomorrow. )
THIS WEEK's series of demonstrations by the November Action Coalition of Boston is a well-designed first step toward preventing Amreican involvement in wars of national liberation. The demonstrations are planned against some of the most blatant examples of the design and implementation of counter-revolutionary strategies.
The NAC demands the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam and supports the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, These principles are a firm basis for mobilizing further support throughout the country and a foundation for the growing movement against the present nature of American foreign policy.
The NAC demonstrations include last Saturday's women's rally at Fenway, a several-day protest against war research projects at MIT, and a mass march in downtown Boston next Saturday. In preparation for the demonstrations, the coalition has helped to establish radical organizations in many colleges and high schools where little previous political activity existed.
The main demonstrations, those at M.I.T. are directed against specific projects from the Instrumentation Laboratory and the Center for International Studies. The cancellation of the seven specific projects demanded by the NAC would substantially reduce the government's ability to prosecute counter-insurgency wars.
Four of the projects deal with applied weapons research-the Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vchicle (MIRV), the ABM, the Moving Target Indicator, and the Helicopter Project. MIRV is an attempt to develop a first-strike nuclear capability. The U.S. could use the threat of this capability to aid its foreign policy. Both MIRV and ABM are enormous subsidies to the defense industries, and as such point to the distorted priorities of American corporate capitalism.
The Moving Target Indicator is a radar system that allows a helicopter travelling at 200 m.p.h. to detect a single moving man three miles away. The Helicopter Project would provide all-weather stability for army "gunships." Both projects would be used extensively in Vietnam.
The three other projects are in the social sciences-Project Cambridge. Project Com-Com, and the International Communism Project. Each of these projects, the last of which is less important than the other two, involves research and applied technology that would be used in the aid of American foreign policy.
Project Cambridge would find the means to program computers to handle the mass of accumulated data about radical movements and underdeveloped countries. It would place previously unusable information within the reach of any policy maker. The Com-Com Project was designed to develop the means of dispersing propaganda in communist countries and in the insurgent areas of non-communist countries. The International Communism Project, originally funded by the CIA. provides the government with an independent analysis of intelligence information about radical and revolutionary movements.
DEMONSTRATIONS against these projects are only the first step in an attempt to change the educational machinery at M.I.T. from its defense-related bias. They are the beginning of a city-wide movement to end M.I.T.s participation in all war research and add still more volume to the growing cry to end the war.
Given the goals of the demonstrations, the NAC has wisely chosen to make the protests non-violent. The NAC has stated that demonstrators will initiate no violence against students. staff, faculty, administrators, policemen or property. That policy is not only wise, it is necessary for the success of the demonstrations.
By advocating demonstrations, the NAC has said that large numbers of people must participate before any of the goals can be achieved. No one is organized by violence. Any assault on people or property serves only to divert attention from the legitimate demands of the demonstration.
It therefore follows that no professors or administrators should be ejected from their offices. It similarly follows that no other student group and no policemen should initiate violence upon the demonstrators. Demonstrators, if attacked, should make no attempt to return the violence but only to parry those attacks.
Today's disruptions will be temporary and nonviolent. The threat of the demonstrations is to the political activity of M.I.T., not to its existence. Similarly, tomorrow's militant picket line around the Instrumentation Labs is not an attempt to prevent any future use of the labs.
Yesterday, M.I.T. obtained a court restraining order to prevent the demonstrations. Those who participate in today's protest should realize that this order could raise the personal costs of their actions. Nevertheless, the NAC demonstrations are a valid way to oppose the projects at M.I.T.
It is the responsibility of the entire community to protest against the war and the aid M.I.T. gives to it. Those against the counter-revolutionary policies of the U.S. government can no longer afford to do so on their own campuses or at their own jobs. Everyone who would truly like to see an immediate withdrawal from Victnam should support today's actions at M.I.T.