Feb

15

Troops out now! Fuck it’s cold!

Written by

psert“Money for Jobs and Education, Stop the War and Occupation!”

“Cut the funding, stop the war! What the hell is Congress for?”

Anti-war impatience reigned on Low Plaza this afternoon as a hundred-odd students, professors, union workers, and community members listened to a slew of speeches organized by the Columbia Coalition Against the War while huddled at the base of Alma Mater, sipping free hot chocolate. A few professors had cancelled class, but most people stopped by on their lunch breaks, lingering for a few minutes before hustling on. One onlooker, who had just come from a trial in which her friend was arrested for holding a sign saying “Waiting for Peace” at Ground Zero on September 10, said she was hoping for a couple hundred more protestors.

kjOn the other end of campus, a group huddled in front of the doors of Butler, where someone had pulled the fire alarm a few minutes before the strike started. Alarms also went off in Lerner, Philosophy, and Hamilton at about the same time, spilling everyone out into the snow. Firefighters with big hoses expressed annoyance with having to check out the false alarm, which Coalition organizers said they had nothing to do with.

After the speeches, the gaggle tromped up to 120th street and back, returning to a teach-in in Lerner with speeches by profs Richard Bulliet, Noha Radwan, Rebecca Young, and Rashid Khalidi (Dabashi didn’t show) as well as people from ANSWER and the Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Apparently there’s some stuff going down at other schools too, and the wires are starting to pick it up as a blurb. WHAT NOW, President Bush?

Pictures by Downing Bray and Sara Vogel after the jump.

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61 Comments

  1. GAH  

    terminal preposition

    • fuckyou  

      Why don't you go tutor some SAT prep classes? Did that last "with" trigger an armageddon, prevent you from getting laid or ruin your day? Were lives lost because of one measly fucking terminal preposition in an on-the-fly blog post? FUCK OFF YOU SMUG SCHMUCK.

      • woah  

        I think the first poster is an annoyance as well, but simma down.

        Now, for the fun of it, I shall take your post out of context (with an edit):

        "FUCK OFF YOU SMUG SCHMUCK."

        Woah dude, "Did [something] prevent you from getting laid or ruin your day?"

  2. Wow  

    BULLIET did part of the teach-in? Not something I'd ever imagine him doing - what was THAT like?

  3. attendee  

    Bulliet was characteristically disheveled. He made predictions about how some Shia general taking over Baghdad.

  4. Bulliet  

    wasn't aware he was speaking until I asked him last night what he was going to talk about

  5. I think  

    whoever organized the protest ought to be billed for whatever it cost to get the firefighters to come. Plus the fine for a false alarm, which could have potentially cost lives had there been a real fire somewhere else.

  6. fire alarm  

    so who set off the fire alarms? Anyone want to claim responsibility?

  7. Sprinkles  

    Too bad all these anti-Israel and International Socialist groups always hijack events like this for their own purposes. More people would probably show up if they weren't alienating lots of people who oppose the war in Iraq.

    • if you dont like  

      protests where socialists talk, organize your own antiwar protest. or stfu about 'hijacking'... the protest wasn't *yours* to begin with.

    • Cam  

      Word. The socialists stayed more or less on message, but since when does anti-Iraq-war automatically equate to anti-Israel? I'd like to go to an antiwar protest and not be counted in the attendance/support numbers of the Free Palestine folk, thanks.

  8. Anti-War Coalition  

    The Anti-War Coalition was not responsible for pulling the fire alarms. I was one of the people organizing for the event on Lowe plaza when the alarms went off and we were all surprised (and concerned, because we knew that we would face suspicion...) Most likely someone who was not in our organization pulled the alarms to generate drama/controversy.

  9. Columbian  

    My poster is Bwog-famous!! (Although the person holding it is not me...)

    I was glad I participated in this event. I had been wanting to do this type of thing for a while, but never actually had. If anyone is considering getting involved with the anti-war effort, we are having a meeting about how to get involved on Monday at 8pm in Hamilton 603. If you are anti-war but haven't done anything to actually be involved, I'd recommend considering becoming more active.

  10. hmmmm....  

    lol, there was certainly more than a 'hundered-odd' people there. The AP report (which I think, just maybe, may a bitter more of a credible news source than.....bwog......) reported 'significantly upwards of 200.'

  11. spec  

    has a story that says campus security said 300

  12. 300  

    was my estimate for the peak size, too, around 12:40. bwog left early because of the cold, i think, or maybe downplayed the numbers because they were bitter about showing up... those pics are all from very early, too.

  13. footage  

    CTV News has footage of the protest on their website

  14. Columbian  

    The ISO did not hijack the protest. Their organization was very active in planning the event. It probably could have drawn a larger crowd if the advertisements had stated that it was sponsored by the Democrats instead of by the ISO, but then again, if it was sponsored by the Democrats, perhaps it would not have occurred at all...

    And 300 seems like a much better estimate.

  15. also  

    bwog, they also set off the alarms in Kent, Dodge and Butler

  16. Kwyle  

    Well, there's significant overlap in terms of the atrocities committed. If I can criticize the US, I can criticize Israel. I did not go, but if the Coalition held fast to both issues, good on them. Nice to see some organizations refusing to sacrifice issues that are remarkably similar to trump up numbers or support.

    • atrocities  

      speaking of atrocities...
      Why wasn't this an anti-Iraq war, anti-Israel, anti-Sudan, anti-Somolia, anti-China, anti-Uganda, anti-Serbia, anti-everyone else that commits atrocities in a time of war? Why single out the US and Israel?

    • except  

      When I was deciding whether or not to attend, I read nothing on the flyers regarding Israel. Kind of the bait and switch don't you think?

      I wish I wasn't counted in that 300 number above (which seems a bit high to me). Of course, I bolted as soon as the message went all anti-zion.

      • Class of 2006-er

        Well, hopefully you'll realize that the ISO does that in the future. The same thing happened in 2003, and Columbians left in large numbers from that (MUCH LARGER) demonstration when the anti-Israel message became the focus of attention.

        100-300 students out on low plaza when all surrounding fire alarms were pulled is an abyssmal turn out, especially for the size of Columbia's liberal student body.

        Clearly, the demonstration failed to show support for the Anti-War Coalition and ISO on campus, which took a message that a majority of Americans (not just Columbia students) support in the polls and so watered its message down with their own agendas that their numbers were not enoughh to even constitute 30% of a single freshman class.

        If people want to have rational protests on policy issues that stick to those issues, don't rely on the ISO or their affiliates to do it. You'd do better organizing it yourself.

        • Sprinkles

          Yep. Apparently for all these anti-Israel people, the Intifada doesn't count as war and therefore isn't part of the anti-war message. Hell, it probably doesn't even register as an act of violence in their minds. "Suicide bombings? What's that? Oh, if they're Israeli civilians, they must deserve it! OMG ISRAEL IS TRYING TO PREVENT FURTHER MURDER OF ITS CITIZENS, QUICK, CALL THEM A RACIST TERRORIST APARTHEID REGIME!" That's the message I get from the ISO and their like.

          It would be reeeeally nice to have a protest that didn't lump everyone together with the loonies.

          • Oh please  

            Since when do you hear about the droves of Palestinian casualties? Israeli casualties are always a big deal media wise and used as justification by the Israeli military for bombing the shit out of densely populated civilian areas (and not with shitty rockets btw) and making the lives of people miserable on a daily basis with curfews and checkpoints. Why is it "prevention" when a military with much more deadly weaponry kills civilians with wanton abandon? Those people are always just statistics. It's when the (comparatively) handful on the Israeli side die that it's a big deal. And no one wants to talk about the prisoners that were taken and the occupation of S. Lebanon. That kind of action on Israeli soil would surely prompt a violent response.

          • please yourself  

            Why should israel care for palestinian lives more than palestinians?

  17. to put it mildly,

    this wasn't exactly 1968

  18. ...

    What's going to happen when there's an actual fire on campus and the local firehouse doesn't bother responding?

  19. Bwog  

    you do realize that this effort was a massive failure, no? With all the groups co-sponsoring, the hundreds and hundreds of man hours put in to poster, dorm-storm, write op/eds, get teachers, get permits... and less than 300 (people walking by and stopping for 2 minutes during a photo do not count) show up for the grand protest-to-end-all-protests. Of course, Bwog would never say anything of the sort.

    • "anti-israel"  

      All the publicity, statements, demands, etc focused on Iraq. The vast majority of talk at both the teach-in and the rally was about Iraq. A couple of speakers at each mentioned Israel, but AFAIK none talked more about it than about Iraq. The people who think that somehow the protest was irredeemably tainted and it wasn't worth participating because of what mention of Israel there was are seriously ridiculous. I remember two women walked out of the teach-in after Michael Letwin spent literally *3 sentences* on Israel. Wtf? Is there not even a place for debate on the subject?

    • failure?  

      The Sun quotes the protesters as expecting 200+, which is what the police permit was for. 300+ isn't bad for the weather, and it's the biggest demo on campus since before the war started.

      • Well

        We shan't debate Israel. That's just too upsetting. Criticizing my own country is fair game, but three sentences on Israel, benefactor of billions of American tax dollars, more than some entire regions, and people throw hissy fits. I say fuck em. Let em leave.

  20. do something  

    The spec article: As the strike began, fire alarms went off in Butler Library, Lerner Hall, Hamilton Hall, and Kent Hall, forcing an evacuation of the buildings and an investigation by the New York Fire Department. Later, a group calling itself the Union of Students Advocating for the Preservation of Tedious Paperwork claimed responsibility for the fire alarms in a statement delivered anonymously to Spectator, which called the protest "symbolic, harmless, [and] permissible" and called the strike's organizers "aspiring bureaucrats."

    "We pulled fire alarms on campus to disrupt the scripting of both activism and student life," the statement said. "No one should be willing to sit idly in the face of war, nor should they be willing to act as mere extras in a farcical theatre of resistance."

  21. fugh

    Protesters: I paid $12,000 in tuition this semester (a sum I will be paying off for years to come as I am by no means wealthy.) This self-incurred-debt entitles me to use resources such as the Butler Library and its 3 million books. On cold days such as yesterday, it also provides me with a warm place to study and to research my work for classes on campus. Thank you for pulling the fire alarm yesterday. I truly appreciated having to pack up all of my materials in a hurry, be herded through the doors by security and pushed out into the snow in the name of your fascist scheme to force participation in your pathetic demonstration.

  22. Sprinkles

    Also, just to throw in an anecdote, I was part of the peaceful outdoor protest when the Minutemen came. I was holding up my sign opposing the Minutemen, and all the sudden one of the International Socialists walked over to me and started going on about how the plight of Mexican immigrants is just like what the Palestinians are going through. WTF??? What's next, a "vast Israeli conspiracy" to control the Republican party? Pffft.

  23. wow

    If the College Dems. want to prevent discussion of Palestine, Afghanistan, or any other issue at an antiwar event, they should call one.

  24. blurgh  

    Whenever people do that sarcastic-caps-lock shit instead of composing a sound argument my eyes just glaze over, sorry.

  25. tim

    I'm glad the coalition did not refrain from criticizing Israel that the teach-in directly took on Israeli apartheid and occupation.

    I just read former president Jimmy Carter's book, "Peace not Apartheid" and it's a very valuable warning to Israelis (and pro-Israel Americans) not to be blind to the horrible oppression that American taxpayers pay for.

  26. Sprinkles

    Let's also not be blind to the fact that Palestinian leaders (hello, Mr. Arafat) did absolutely nothing to help their own people. Nothing, that is, except point fingers at Israel. Give any of your nearly $1 billion to your suffering peoeple, Arafat, even though you took most of it from their taxes? Pah! Nah, spend it on yourself and keep on pointing the finger and big bad evil Israel.

  27. Columbian  

    The Anti-War Coalition did not officially adopt an anti-Israel position for the strike. The focus on that subject at the teach-in was due to Professors choosing to speak on the subject. The Anti-War Coalition did not tell Professors how to structure their speeches (other than to provide general anti-war insight), so any anti-Israel references were not an official position of the Anti-War Coalition (which has members with various views regarding Israel/Palestine).

  28. blah

    cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches, cliches.

  29. someone

    regarding why it's America and Israel:

    I might agree that we shouldn't single out Israel. But it's blindingly fucking obvious why we should single out America: WE LIVE IN AMERICA. Why shouldn't we care the most about what actions our country is taking, actions we're supposed to have some sort of say in as citizens? And then there's the whole "world's only superpower" thing.

  30. bluh

    cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches! cliches!

  31. !!!!!  

    Well considering that the protestors weren't going to physically stop the war, I'd say the MASSIVE amount of national coverage of the student walk-out and rally renders the event a great success. I;ve only seen pictures of the event, and despite the usual non-supporters trying to downplay #'s it appears like there was indeed a sizeable number. I suppose there had to be to get stories in the nytimes, Associated Press, SF chronicle, etc etc etc. Bravo students.

  32. Israel/the US

    "WE LIVE IN AMERICA"

    And of course Israel is completely, totally, and utterly dependant on the US government. Since 1967, the US has been Israel's main benefactor. It's simply impossible to discuss what our government is doing in the ME without mentioning its proxy state, Israel.

    The problem with Arafat is that he sold out the Palestinians. With Oslo, Arafat gave away rights recognized for more than 4 decades in return for Israeli promises that were never carried out (for example, dismantling settlements in the West Bank. They were instead doubled in the aftermath of 1993).

    The result was that Arafat and Fatah became wildly unpopular until he was imprisoned in his Ramallah compound by the Israelis in the years before his death

  33. hahaha

    Typical campus lefties. "Concentrate! Concentrate! Must focus on one issue. Must communicate direct message one issue...at...a...time...NO!!!! Down with Israel! Down with the war! Down with "racism"! Free Mumia! Free Tacos in John Jay! RAWRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

  34. victimofyourownirony

    and all your protests clearly enhance your (non existent) point!

  35. Anti-War Coalition  

    Once again, the Coalition Against the War voted with an overwhelming majority to NOT take on the Israel-Palestinian conflict as an issue. While many of our members feel that such issues are innately connected, other members of the Coalition and the general Columbia community oppose the War with Iraq but either are pro-Israel or view the Israeli-Palestinian issue as a separate conflict. Therefore we did not take an official Pro-Palestinian stance. However, we wanted to create an open forum for a diversity of voices within the Anti-War movement, and therefore decided to NOT create an official list of restrictions as to what professors and groups could discuss (in addition to the fact that if you are inviting professors to speak at your event, it isn't really appropriate to tell them specifically what to say, beyond that we wanted them to provide general anti-war insight).

  36. reason  

    All the far-left can seem to do effectively is alienate, alienate and alienate. Jews against the war in Iraq have to watch out for the anti-Israel message; whites who are against the war have to watch out for the ethnic-based coalitions who can't seem to protest "racism" without coming off as severe racists themselves; opponents of illegal immigration (including legal immigrants and their children) can't get involved because, inevitably, they're wrong, too. And so on and so on. Everyone I spoke to knew about your protest in advance but if I were to sum up the reason why no one I know bothered to attend, it would sound something like this: "I'm against the war, too, but those activists are always such assholes."

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