President Eliot of Harvard once said, "The scab is an American hero."
President Lowell exempted students from exams to serve in the militia used against the textile strikers at Lawrence in 1912.
In 1969 President Pusey defended ROTC on the gorunds that the role of the American military around the world is basically good and justified by "destiny."
These have not been accidental statements of petty men--they have come from public spokesmen of the American ruling class, a small group of men who own and control the large corporations, the U.S. government, and the universities--including Harvard. They derive their profits and power all over the world. They are the men who sit on the Harvard Corporation and who use Harvard to further their personal interests and those of their class. They use ROTC to train students to put down popular rebellions from Detroit to Vietanam--rebellions against the daily oppression millions of people face at the hands of these men and their class. They evict black and white working people from their homes in Cambridge and Roxbury to make way for expansion which can only serve the ruling class--for political science institutes and research hospitals catering to the rich. Harvard's expansion is only part of a general plan to convert Cambridge into a center for imperialist research--research into perfecting weapons and improving counter-insurgency techniques for use against the people of the world.
This spring Harvard students waged a sharp struggle against these ways in which Harvard attacks working people at home and abroad. As President Pusey says. I openly "encouraged and participated" in this struggle, which clearly threatens the interests of those who rule Harvard. It is not surprising therefore that the Administration has called me before a handpicked committee which will undoubtedly fine me guilty of "misconduct" and recommend "discipline"--either a warning or quite possibly a firing.
My "misconduct" is joining the fight against the ways Harvard serves imperialism, practices racism, and attacks, the working class.
My case does not arise in isolation: for participating in the same struggle eighteen students have been thrown out of the University, numerous others admonished, one student sentenced to a year in jail, and a number of teaching fellows, and another faculty member have had their jobs threatened. It is necessary to fight back hard against this attempted intimidation and repression--which is aimed not so much at a few individuals, but rather at the thousands of students at Harvard who during the struggle this spring came to the realization that ROTC should be abolished and Harvard expansion stopped.
That the few men who run Harvard are afraid of the student body is shown by how they have chosen to exercise repression; in my case, as in all others, through private star-chamber proceedings with punishments announced after the normal school year was over and students had gone home. But these students will return in the fall, and in their eyes the Corporation and the Administration will have been increasingly isolated and exposed by their attempts to punish the leadership of the struggle against ROTC and expansion.
Our struggle is just, and no punishment is justified, regardless of procedure. I am not opposed, however, to answering questions about my "conduct" and presenting my "case," as President Pusey has asked me to do before this committee. But for me to do this, two conditions would be necessary: that any "hearings" be public and that they be held in the fall when all interested students and faculty could attend. I would welcome such an opportunity to explain why I and others took such actions as we did--though I believe out reasons are already clear to most persons at Harvard.
If the Administration and Corporation were not afraid of Harvard students and faculty they would accept the kind of hearing I suggests. I believe they will not accept such a hearing. So I appear today simply to submit this statement and to reaffirm our intention. We will not be intimidated. We will stay and fight. And we will fight to win.