High school students rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts

On Saturday, more than 1,000 people lined Massachusetts Avenue from the Boston-area suburbs of Cambridge to Lexington, a route of about 10 miles. Clusters of people held up signs denouncing the Bush administration’s war drive and the abrogation of democratic rights in the United States.

Another 100 or so bicyclists organized by Bikes Not Bombs rode along the length of Mass. Ave. The protesters, particularly in the Harvard Square area of Cambridge, were greeted by spirited horn honking from drivers in cars and trucks. The actions were organized by United for Peace with Justice, a protest organization active locally and nationally.

About 200 high school students from various schools in eastern and central Massachusetts, organized independently, also marched from Cambridge City Hall along Mass. Ave. and joined the protest in the Cambridge Common, where a rally of about 300 took place not far from the site where George Washington mustered the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

While rally organizers trundled out local Democratic City Councilor Marjorie Decker, the sponsor of the Cambridge City Council’s resolution against war with Iraq, it was the youth who dominated the rally. Many student speakers made the connection between the enormous resources wasted by the war drive and the sweeping budget cuts in Massachusetts education sponsored by Republican Governor Mitt Romney.

Supporters of the World Socialist Web Site distributed hundreds of leaflets opposing imperialist intervention in Iraq, and the WSWS spoke to a number of high-school students. Nate from Fitchburg said: “I’m here because I don’t believe that US policy has anything to do with the interests of people here or abroad. I would hate to see people die for the enrichment of a few people on top.”

His friend Adam said that he felt that now was the time for protest since he wanted people in Iraq to know “that there are peaceful people here in the US. We are one people around the globe.”

Stuart said the war “has no clear-cut objectives. The last thing I’d like to see is to have us take out Saddam to put in three more dictators.... The Democrats are Republicans in disguise. Humanity is what’s important.”

A march organizer from Lexington High School said that the FBI had reportedly called the local police about five Lexington students who had put their names on the Students for Justice and Peace web site in support of the national student strike for peace earlier this month. While there had been no adverse incidents as a result of this, she said, it was clear that the activities of high school students were being monitored by the federal authorities.