Kent State Hosts Successful Anti-War Demonstration
May 4, 1970 four Kent State Univeristy students were gunned down by National Guardsmen. This came at a time when nationwide resistance to the war in Vietnam was becoming popular. Today it is widely acknowledged that direct resistance is necessary against the war in Iraq. Because of the useless and negative corporate media, heightened police surveillance, and internal lack of organization this resistance is having trouble getting off of the ground. And so it was.
May 4, 2006 started out with the usual commemoration ceremony for the fallen students. People in attendance were treated to 2 long hours of speeches and songs. Candlelight vigils were held throughout the week. A pleasant surprise occured when the Black United Students held an engergetic rally against the discriminatory nature of judicial review at KSU. Two black students had recently been punished by the university. The students did not even commit the crimes they were being punished for. Speakers expressed their respect towards the May 4 Commemoration. They also made it a point to declare their autonomy from the largely white commemoration crowd. One speaker remarked that this is 2006, not 1970. Mourn four dead people from then, fine, but people of color are being oppressed in America everyday.
Back to the green the commemoration speeches continued. Some of the crowd left and attendend the Black United Students rally. Finally the commemoration ended and younger members of the crowd pushed towards the front and the march began. Location one was the ROTC building. Unfortunatley the ROTC buidling was rebuilt sometime between 1970 and 2006. People consolidated in front of the buidling. At this time the Kent police entered the scence. Two to three bike police monitored the situation from afar.
After the ROTC building the march took over a street on campus. Traffic was diverted. Poilice cars swung by to monitor the scence, but were unable to directly intervene in the situation. At this point the estimated size of the crowd was 200. Chanting grew loud and aggressive as the march left campus. Protestors returned to the sidewalk and began down main street towards downtown Kent. Main street is a four lane street with heavy traffic. When four lanes merged into two the crowd again took the street and were unopposed. Police and local frat boys looked on as marchers broke the law in opposition to war and imperialism. The march continued through downtown in the middle of the street. Drivers were forced to re-route but the atmosphere of downtown Kent was primarily on the side of the anti-war movement.
Finally the march ended at a Gazebo and the center of the city. Speakers spoke and protestors banged their drums. People speaking ranged from all different ethnicites and political affiliations. Some of the main things addressed were the need for the anti-war movement to expand and grow, and the old debate of peace and love v.s. direct action and revolution. One man, apparently from Iraq, expressed his solidarity with the Iraqi Resistance despite their unsavory portrayal by the U.S. media, and their occassional disregard for civilian life. The World Can't Wait was there.
After Kent ARA spoke a large section of the crowd left and headed back to campus. They drummend, danced and chanted their way back to Kent State. Classes were interrupted and the everyday mundaneness^ of university life was altered. One student stuck his head out the window and bellowed, "You're interrupting my class."
"No class, but the Class War," a demostrator retored.
Most students did not seem to oppose the march through campus. Then the action ended and everybody left. That was that. It is this writer's opinion that we cannot be drug into an argument of peace and love v.s. direct action and revolution. In some ways the debate describes emotional states that cannot occur at the same time. Let it be known that we are dynamic characters in this story. We can love as well as hate. If your heart tells you to revolt, I would not hesitate.
^ Yes, mundaneness is a word, I looked it up in the dictionary.
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