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Conference

THE MAIL

To the Editors of The Crimson:

We wish to respond to Laura Wharton's letter of November 6. Ms. Wharton states that last weekend's conference on the Middle East, sponsored by an ad-hoe group of students calling themselves the Middle East Education Project (MEEP), was designed to be, at least in part, a forum for the views of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Her evidence? The shocking fact that three of the seven people present at the first meeting of MEEP were active in H/R DSA.

First, it should be noted that only one of those three people remained active in MEEP, something Ms. Wharton couldn't have known since she didn't attend any subsequent meetings. But more importantly, these people participated as individuals; DSA had no organizational involvement in planning the conference. Now Ms. Wharton can think what she wants about DSA or its members, but it is irresponsible for her to imply that we hide our identity or unfairly influence other organizations. Anyone familiar with DSA knows that such a claim is absurd--DSA members have been involved in the large majority of left-of-center political activities on this campus over the last five years, yet neither we nor the organizations we have been involved with have ever before been subject to such an accusation.

We want to add that this kind of reasoning is exceedingly dangerous. Had Ms. Wharton remained in MEEP, could we have then concluded that the conference was a forum for the Zionist liance? Of course not. We must make distinctions between organizations and their individual members, or politics dissolves into paranoia.

It was clear at that first meeting that Laura Wharton's views were quite different from those held by the rest of the group. It's unfortunate that she was not content to simply go her own way, but instead chose to make an attack based on guilt-by-association and red-baiting. She has done both organizations a disservice. Tom Canel '83   Guy Molyneux '83   H/R DSA

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