Mass Gathering Votes for Strike Against U. S. Invasion of Cambodia

A mass meeting of more than 2700 members of the Harvard community last night voted to call a University strike on the following demands:

That the United States government "unilaterally and immediately withdraw all forces from Southeast Asia."

That the U. S. end "its systematic oppression of political dissidents, and release all political prisoners," including Bobby Seale and other members of the Black Panther Party.


That the "universities immediately end defense research. ROTC, counter-insurgency research, and all other such programs."

A coalition of anti-war groups and other Harvard organizations-ranging from the November Action Committee to the Young Democrats-had called the meeting to decide whether Harvard would join the growing movement to shut down the nation's universities to protest President Nixon's escalation of the war.


The meeting's co-chairmen-Carol R. Sternhell '71, managing editor of the CRIMSON, and Charles G. Gross '57, lecturer in Psychology-ran the meeting from Sanders Theatre, but overflow crowds also filled Memorial Hall and Lowell Lecture Hall. All three rooms were linked by sound equipment. The chairmen generally succeeded in keeping the heated meeting in order.

The meeting also voted to endorse a Boston-wide request to use Harvard Stadium at 4 p. m. Friday to discuss a city strike.

Although the anti-war coalition had presented a proposal calling for the election of a 15-member strike steering committee, at 11:30 p. m. too few people had remained in Sanders to vote on this suggestion. The strike coalition will consider the selection of a representative steering committee in the near future, especially the issue of how many women and Harvard employees should serve on the committee.

The most fiercely contested vote came on the demand that the universities immediately end ROTC, defense and counter-insurgency research, "and all other such programs."

Mare J. Roberts, assistant professor of Economics, argued against this demand, stating that students should use the strike to try to persuade people in the general community to fight against the war. He said that this demand reflected "a kind of youthful romanticism when we believe that the university is the central battie ground-what matters is Cambodia."

Roberts added that it is "important to raise issues about university research." but that "the time has come for those of us who want to go out into the community" to do so.

Hilary W. Putnam. professor of Philosophy, said that part of the strike should be directed against programs like ROTC and the Center for International Affairs in order "to concentrate on the class nature of the University."

Putnam stated, "We can't win by allying with Harvard deans" who "servethe class" that has committed aggression in Southeast Asia and oppressed blacks. He added that students should make "imperialism and racism" the main issues, and that a "phony" University-wide strike "would lead to defeat."

Two NAC spokesmen-David C. Plotke '71 and Dean Sheppard '71-supported Putnam's argument in favor of the demand calling for an end to university activities which they called instrumental to the war effort.

Plotke said that "We must make the connection between what's happening in Southeast Asia and in Shannon Hall, the OG AND CP, [Office of Graduate and Career Planning]. and the CFIA." He said that the universities' "recruitment and training" of junior officers for Vietnam was an important part of the war effort.

Recommended Articles