Editorial, April 20, 1934, Page 2
The anti-war demonstration held last Friday has justified itself. Though the College registration in the Day session is slightly less than 5500, almost 4000 students of Brooklyn College rallied behind the movement supported by Student Council, the Anti-war Committee of the Social Science Club, and this paper. This means that the movement was supported not only by a majority of students who had classes scheduled for eleven o'clock, but also by students who, though they had afternoon classes, came to College earlier so that they might participate in the peace rally.
Those who objected to the aims of the anti-war protest as outlined by its leaders ought to see that this majority protest indicates an ever-growing student awareness concerning world events. By this time they ought to be assured of the sincerity of those who worked tooth and nail to prove that students are more than automatons who may be relied upon to do blindly what their superiors demand. Perhaps they have, now, come to understand that though it is possible to say that three or four or ten or a hundred students are childish and emotional, it is a more difficult matter to decide that 4000, of different environments and different ideals, have been swept off their feet by a solely emotional stimulus.
The leading editorial in last Monday's "New York Times" stated that "there was a plain element of futility about" the meetings held "for the purpose of pledging students not to serve it any wer which this country might enter." We should like to suggest that our meeting was held for no such reason. Our first purpose was to prove that there is a militant student movement against war. Our second purpose was to organize the students to present a united front in championing peace measures so that the possibility of war might he averted. If we could do this, it would not be necessary to refuse to participate in a war. It must be obvious that one can't take part in a war which doesn't exist.
In spite of all kinds of popular opposition, 4000 students in I Brooklyn College and many thou-sands more in other colleges showed that they could, if necessary, t rally behind an ideal embodying , peace sentiment. We do not see how, in the face of such strong student support, the anti-war movement in the colleges can be a considered "futile."
The "New York Times" is mistaken if it thinks that "clear-eyed youth" is "deluding itself by imagining that it can attain the end without the means." The anti-war rallies last Friday were just the beginning of what we think will be a definite sincere, comprehensive, and unswerving program of peace activity.
The "Times" points out that "the Youth Movement throughout the world today is only partially pacifist" and it suggests that if the students are really intent on preserving peace ... they would do far better to give all their strength to the movements and methods and agencies which are striving to make war impossible." We hope that we are not so unintelligent as to believe that a program consisting exclusively of anti-war demonstrations will serve as an effective weapon against war. The April 13th meetings were, in a measure, tests of student reaction. Now, knowing that the students are behind the peace movement, it will be easy for organizers to focus their attention on those peacetime agencies against war which the "Times" thinks effective.
The "World-Telegram" stated our case much more exactly than the "Times" when it expressed its opinion in its editorial column last Saturday. "The student peace movement," it said, "cannot be laughed or scared off. It is a serious challenge to reactionary educators, munitions makers, politicians. And yesterday's demonstration proved it. The students met, denounced war, and pledged. allegience [sic] to the forces working for world peace ... For generations students have marched off to the bugle call to give their young lives for profiteers, imperialism, and aggression. Now they are learning that wars are not all fought for glory and honor."
"President Roosevelt," the editorial concludes, "has declared that 90 percent of the people are opposed to war. That helps. But it is the opposition of the cannon-fodder that counts most." And sot it is. The "Times" says that the college students "are not cowards. - They are not thinking of saving their own skins. What they would save is the civilization which might be destroyed by another world war. For such a sentiment "we are all bound to have respect. When it is expressed by so many who constitute the 'fair rose and f expectancy of our State,' it cannot t be cavalierly disregarded."
These statements indicate that the student peace movement is r being taken seriously by the press. They indicate, too, that further peace activity will probably provoke sympathy and understanding from the public and from the government. That we are gaining popular respect and appreciation for a nation-wide anti-war program is obvious. We urge our readers to put all of their support behind all further peace activities projected in and out of the College with as much zest as they supported last Friday's demonstration.