Notebook: Students in Washington

Notebook: Students in Washington

The size of the recent student peace demonstration in Washington only inadequately suggests its importance. Both in organization and ideology the demonstration differed from all that had gone before in the student movement. It is even possible that Turn Toward Peace, the recently formed coalition of peace groups which provided an umbrella for the students, will really come to represent a new turn—if not toward peace than at least toward a vastly more sophisticated and intelligent agitation on such issues as testing and civil defense. The following notes are an attempt to weigh the possibilities and difficulties of the new turn. I am writing them under the impact of a wonderful day in Washington.

1. Over 5000 students were in the capital for the February 17 demonstration. Student leaders expected far fewer, though 5000 was the goal they had set themselves last November. They came from some 150 colleges, mostly in the Eastern half of the country. There were a surprisingly large number of high school students; arriving in busloads, largely from New York, all Saturday morning, and they undoubtedly added to the elan of the picket lines. The line in front of the White House was the largest and liveliest in many years. On the march to Arlington Cemetery, Saturday afternoon, the line stretched for almost two miles—and the student leaders, amateurs all, marched their followers three and four abreast. All this was impressive and exciting.

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Lima