Kent State Hosts Successful Anti-War Demonstration


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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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Thanks to the columbus folk

Thanks to the columbus folk who came up to kent on the 4th and helping to make it a success. we need to have more statewide support for actions.

just a little local background for the article

there were a few factors that led the police not to intervene in the march to downtown. on campus, even the year the cops went wild, marching on terrace drive wasn't an issue. and this year the march organizers to let the "officials" know the march route so there wouldn't be a problem, since the point was to have a march, not to have a confrontation with the police.

as for the city- the activist community has worked to call the police on their misconduct - be it videotaping a vigil, marches, etc. or the ridiculous overkill on may 4 2003.
the lawsuit filed against the city and individuals for the false arrests in 2003 began earlier that week. I imagine they were more inclined to allow a minor disruption of the traffic pattern downtown for a few minutes rather than risk further legal action. it's likely they have video spytapes from the day tho. Once i get a copy i can post it.

the rotc offices have had a few homes since 1970, but the rotc building was not rebuilt.

make pie, not war
sue from kent

whoa, buddy you crack me

whoa, buddy you crack me up...:)

i was glad that the people involved were willing to push the limits of the usual manner of dissent which has grown predictable and stale. and even the dalai lama will tell you that non-violence doesn't mean getting wiped off the face of the earth by facists; it means that you act in consideration to everyone, and to the conditions that are necessary in that moment, and that when you elevate the militancy, that you do it out of a true desire for freedom and compassion.

being absolutely non-violent just makes you complicit in a violent world, which-- from sweatshops to warlords to predatory capitalism to military oppression to racist genocide-- we obviously live in.

Good work, excellent work!:)

Good work, excellent work!:) Best of luck, thumbs up!

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