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Students and Faculty Unite Against War
UC Santa Cruz community gathers together for an educational teach-in against the war
City on a Hill Press
Katie Markowicz and Alia Wilson
Voices of opposition to the War on Terror echoed off the granite ruins at the UC Santa Cruz Quarry Amphitheater on Monday, Apr. 24 in a good old fashioned day-long teach-in organized by the UCSC group, Faculty Against the War (FAW).
Former US ambassador Joseph Wilson headlined the event. Wilson’s speech—scheduled two hours into the 10 hour event—elicited a standing ovation.
Feminist studies professor and teach-in organizer, Bettina Aptheker introduced the event.
“The purpose is to bring the university a wide range of speakers on differing topics with experience and knowledge” on issues pertaining to the War on Terror, Aptheker said.
Along with Wilson, “The War on Terror: A Credible Threat” teach-in featured 25 speakers including Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Mathews, Confressman Sam Farr, UCSC Chancellor Denice Denton, Students Against War (SAW), Watsonville Brown Berets, and former serviceman Aimee Allison.
In his speech, Wilson outlined the lies that led to war and betrayal of his wife’s CIA identity, as well as addressing issues concerning U.S. occupation in Iraq.
“The best way to support our troops . . . is to make sure they are not sent to kill or die in the name of the American people unless our national security depends on it,” Wilson said directed at those who might consider him unpatriotic.
He added, “the role of the military is to protect the U.S. from foreign threat . . . [Going to Iraq was] a misuse of that most precious asset.”
Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Mathews highlighted the financial and emotional toll the war has taken on the city of Santa Cruz.
“As a city we have been criticized for taking issues beyond our borders yet we feel it is important to think both locally and globally,” Mathews said. “I’m proud that ours was an early voice and I’m proud that we can add our voice again.”
Professor of History and Chicano/a American Perspectives at Pomona College Miguel Tinker-Salas spoke out against United States foreign policy concerning Latin America and addressed the current immigration debate. He encouraged the audience to challenge what he describes as government intimidation
“You have the right to engage in the issues without fear of the government and Federal Agency,” Salas said.
Congressman Farr also addressed the issue of immigration, voicing concern that proposed immigration legislation is “worst piece of legislation I’ve seen in 30 years.”
“We have to take back the voice of the American people...that means getting involved in the trenches of the elections,” Farr said.
Chancellor Denton also delivered a speech, praising the event.
“Peaceful protests are an important way to present perspective and is an important juncture to the history of the nation,” Denton said.
In addition to helping organize the event, Students Against War (SAW) also made their presence known, passing out flyers and offering their voice.
FAW member and history professor Christopher Connery acknowledged the assistance of SAW. “They’ve been very generous with their help,” Connery said.
“It was sponsored by faculty but we had six of our members meet with them and help with planning and details,” said SAW member Kot Hordynski who was arrested at the Apr. 11 SAW protest.
“We can count on them,” Hordynski said, adding that this was the first event that SAW and FAW collaborated on.
As the final speaker, Aptheker closed the event discussing the extreme measures that human rights movements have taken in the past in order to implement change. She outlined UCSC’s hopes to sponsor counter-recruitment efforts in high schools and plan for future FAW teach-ins.
Following the event, Aptheker said, “They’ve been terrific, I’m just elated with it all.”
Peter Scott, a retired UCSC professor, gave his thoughts on the teach-in. “It was fantastic, it’s good to hear people coming out and waking people up.”