First Published: Harvard Crimson, October 6, 1969.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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About 350 SDS members and supporters marched to the JFK Federal Building in Boston Saturday demanding immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, no negotiations, and “an end to university attacks on the people.”
The peaceful two-hour march through Cambridge and Boston was a city-wide effort beginning separately at Harvard, Boston University and Boston State. All marchers met at the corner of Commonwealth and Massachusetts Avenue.
The march was organized and supported by regional SDS members, largely members of the Worker-Student Alliance (WSA) caucus of last year’s SDS. (WSA claims to be the only true SDS, and does not recognize the split with the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM), who walked out of last summer’s Chicago convention).
“The march is not in itself a solution.” Jay Sargeant a Boston State student and member of the march steering committee, said last week. “It is a building action for a campus worker-student alliance. This is the focus of our whole campaign; we must make this alliance concrete.”
For Harvard students the march was scheduled to begin at noon from the Cambridge Common, but was half an hour late in getting started. About 100 students began here, joined another 50 at M.I.T., and picked up the remaining 150 in Boston.
The march culminated in a rally outside the Federal Building, with speakers John Pennigton ’66, national secretary ofSDS; Cindy Kline of the Cambridge Peace and Freedom Party: and Sargeant.
There were no disturbances during the march and only mild heckling from bystanders. A parade permit for up to 3000 demonstrators had been obtained from the Boston Police Department in advance.
In Cambridge one police car led the marchers through the streets, and another followed behind. In Boston, where the demonstrators were forced to remain on the sidewalks, a squad of motorcycle police took over as escorts.
Marchers distributed leaflets explaining their position among the crowd. Most were received with indifference, although several onlookers shouted obscenities while others held up their hands in the victory sign.
“The U.S. remains in Vietnam for very definite reasons.” Sargeant said during the rally. “This country is devoted to maintaining a worldwide system of imperialism.”
“A victory for the ruling class in this war would be a disaster for the American worker.” Sargeant added, including the American university as part of the ruling class. “We’re trying to shatter the illusions of the university–we want to expose them as bosses.” he said. “The Moratorium lets these crooks off the hook.”
“The university isn’t neutral.” Pennington said at the end of the rally. “It uses committees, cops and troops to attack the people. We must ally ourselves with the working people and fight the common enemy.”