Students Plan to Protest War
By John Byrne

In a dimly lit room in Wilder, a coalition of 50 students gathered Tuesday evening to discuss upcoming protests of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and President Bush’s response to terrorism.
Today, students will set off for Washington, D.C., to protest the IMF and the World Bank, which they believe have engaged in egregiously unfair loan practices for developing nations. This protest will be followed next weekend by a moment of resistance to Bush’s “war on terror” and what they perceive as a “war” on civil liberties here in the United States.
“We’re trying to create a space for more individuals to get engaged and to really better educate folks on this campus and this community as to what’s going on,” senior Marianna Leavy-Sperounis said. “Something really fucked up is going on and we need to mobilize.”
“The government is really trying to make people who are against this feel powerless and alone,” she continued. “They have begun waging war essentially on the world and here at home as well.”
Leavy-Sperounis, who is the campus organizer for Not With Our Voices, led Tuesday’s meeting. NWOV is a national coalition of artists, individuals and resistance groups who are outraged by the approach the Bush Administration has taken towards pre-emptive strikes and U.S. civil liberties.
NWOV is organizing a national moment of resistance on Sunday, Oct. 6 in New York City, where thousands of Americans from different walks of life intend to “create an international understanding that there are Americans who care,” Leavy Sperounis remarked.
The group will create an image of the Earth by giving those present blue and green placards, which will be photographed from above to show American solidarity with the international community.
“They have already arranged for aerial media,” Leavy Sperounis said.
Those involved have vastly different ideas but common goals, she added. From parents on school committees to radical socialists, all are committed to resisting unilateral action on civil liberties and invasive military action in Iraq.
Leavy said she was inspired this summer by a rally held in June to launch NWOV.
“I had the chance to listen to and meet some incredibly inspiring people,” she said. “I met activists young and old; Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders; lawyers; teachers; parents; people who had borne witness to the enormous suffering in Iraq and Palestine, and an Arab-American man who, speaking for himself and on behalf of the more than 1000 Muslim, Arab and South Asian immigrants who have been persecuted and detained since 9/11 in the name of “our” security, told of his unlawful and harrowing month-long detainment by the authorities on the suspicion of engaging in “terrorist” activities.”

“Not only do people around the world need to know that Americans are organizing to fight the erosion of our freedoms and of theirs,” she continued, “but people in this country need to know — fear has silenced a lot of people in the U.S. so it’s imperative that we create an open and supportive space for resistance.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, senior Ted Virdone noted that while this weekend’s IMF protests are intended to focus on international development loans, it will also likely speak to Bush’s intentions for a pre-emptive Iraq strike.
Coalition leaders expressed excitement about the number of students present at the meeting, and reflected upon the importance of a continued movement.
“Let’s keep this going because the war is not going to be over like that,” senior Vanessa Ho said. “We should say no to U.S. war in Iraq. Money should be for jobs and education, not war.”
Leavy Sperounis called Tuesday’s meeting “the sparkplug,” and said that students should get “ignited with the energy and knowledge to continue.”
“Within the next few weeks,” she said, “the individuals and groups who want to form a resistance coalition on campus will get together and decide whether to start an official Oberlin chapter of Not With Our Voices, a chapter of another resistance group like ANSWER (“Act Now to Stop War and End Racism”), or an independent coalition.”
“From there,” she continued, “we will work to raise more awareness at Oberlin about the war and the resistance movement, bring in speakers, musicians, and artists; arrange debates, teach-ins, and demonstrations; and ultimately, rally as many people as possible to be a force against the war and repression.”

September 27
October 4

site designed and maintained by jon macdonald and ben alschuler :::