The Path to Public Service at SEAS
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LAST THURSDAY night's strike vote, which comes due again tonight, has constituted a somewhat vague mandate for action, and one which has been open to conflicting interpretations. As was appropriate in the tense, bust-expectant atmosphere of that meeting, there was little political discussion. People came to pass resolutions. Once finished they adjourned to the picket lines in front of Mass Hall where the sense of one of those strike resolutions-"we collectively support PALC and Afro in occupation of Mass Hall and demand amnesty"-was immediately embodied.
The sum of the resolutions was less precise. It was to be a strike against the University in support of the PALC demand for divestiture, yet there was to be no picketing of classes-thus it was a strike without teeth. Strikers professed support for antiwar candidates from the Democratic Party: yet they also declared their comradely alliance with the people of the Third World:
Resolved that we, members of Harvard University publicly declare out solidarity with the people of Indochina and Angola in their struggle for national self-determination.
Yet the diverse resolutions, and their conflicting calls for action on campus and off, were united by the consistent theme that our strike was against American imperialism: in protest against the escalated tactics of the government's imperialist foreign policy in Indochina and against the decision of the Harvard Corporation to support corporate imperialism in Angola by retaining its Gulf Oil stock. Clearly the thrust of the resolutions was that if any protest is to have long-term effect, it must strike at the roots of involvement: a general commitment to stability, free markets, and open access to raw materials in the Third World. These are the dicta of American imperialism-Vietnam is not as isolated aberration of American policy, but an extreme example of a general phenomenon.
And if our consciousness is to be antiimperialist, we must soon join the struggle in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea Bissau to the struggle of the Vietnamese, in our own minds, and come to see that American interests are stationed throughout the world as a multilayered hedge against the threatening national liberation movements.
THE RECENT HISTORY of Angola is a microcosm of American corporate penetration. Portugal is a relatively weak client of the Western NATO powers and has been very jealous of her prerogative in her colonies. Until 1961, when the liberation movement in Angola went on the offensive for the first time, the Portuguese refused to allow any foreign investment in the colony. As the Liberation forces grew in strength. Portugal realized that she needed allies, and so began to solicit American capital. Backed up by such corporations as Gulf, and by NATO training and advisers for her army. Portugal is waging a bloody war to try to remain in the ninteenth century.
The war in Angola has not yet reached a critical point. No American ground troops are committed. But the Vietnam War, whose precedent will critically affect the fortunes of all National Liberation movements, is now at such a point. The history of that War turns on the remaining weeks of the Offensive. If Americans can limit their government. Vietnam may finally be released to its people.
Whatever tonight's strike meeting decides, we must continue to act upon the mandate of the Thursday meeting-not just until the end of the term, but for as long as we have strength. We must continue the dual task of education and struggle against the roots of our nation's imperialism. We must ally against the institutions in American society that conspire in the murder of the patriots of the world.
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