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The $25,000 Huddle



When, after an hour of chanting and speeches at military recruiting offices next to the Boston Common, 2000 protesters at a People's Coalition for Peace and Justice rally Tuesday were told. "It's time to march to Cambridge," perhaps 1990 of them had no idea where they were going or why. Even as marchers entered Cambridge, a PCPJ bullhorner told them only that they were headed for a "war-related center"--the identity of which would remain secret to evade the police--where they would "huddle to consider other targets." Three hundred PCPJ organizers meeting last Sunday to plan Tuesday's action had specifically voted down an occupation of Harvard's Center for International Affairs or attacks on any other university target.

PCPJ leader Mike Albert later said they intended to occupy the building, not to trash it; but this was apparently another piece of vital information not transmitted to the crowd, for the 150 people who entered the Center--which conducts no military research--did $25,000 worth of structural damage and destroyed mounds of research material in the three minutes before rumors of police chased them away.

The evening soon resumed its ritual course, with police thrusting and parrying in the tear-gas mist along Mt. Auburn Street's club row with crowds of Harvard students and high school street fighters, few of whom were more than vaguely aware of what had started it all.

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