To the Editors:
In early June, the Columbia Strike Coordinating Committee announced plans to hold an International Assembly of Student Movements in New York, the 17 to 25 of September; invitations were sent out to different active groups in the highly industrialized countries, and enthusiastic replies were received from such organizations as German SDS, the March 22 Movement in France, several groups at different Italian universities, etc. But, at this moment, it is possible that the Assembly will not take place; the movements in all countries are impoverished because of the expenses they have to meet in order not to be broken by repression by the State. We, ourselves, have to raise close to one hundred thousand dollars simply to meet legal costs; and in order to bring the representatives of the different groups over here we must raise a minimum of ten thousand dollars. We feel that the need for such an assembly is almost as great as the legal defense of our comrades, and ask for your support.
The necessity for holding such an assembly is primarily educational. In general it has been impossible to gain any real understanding of the different movements throughout the world, and the recent actions they have engaged in, by reading the press; most often, the reporting on the different movements has been manipulated and incomprehensible; we have seen just in the reporting on Columbia a decided propensity on the part of the press to deal with everything but the issues. We feel that many of the movements are similar to ours—yet this is impossible to gauge correctly without first-hand knowledge; and all concerned citizens are faced with a situation in which the entire capitalist world has been upset by movements led or originated by students about whom they know practically nothing.
No one can leave the task of understanding why these movements erupted when they did, or the ways in which they acted, to those same academics and political scientists who have consistently misrepresented and deplored the actions students have taken—actions they often-times have known nothing about. Such men have not shown even a disinterested sympathy towards the actions taken last spring. Unless the students, and other concerned persons, take upon themselves the burden of discovering the nature of their allied movements and what has taken place within them, the same distortions will be allowed to continue, distortions against which people without their own sources of knowledge have no defense.
In order to insure the greatest possible dissemination of information, our assembly will be held at several universities throughout the New York area; and most of the foreign representatives will be available, after it is over, to go on speaking tours; and the assembly itself of course will be open to all in-interested people and there will be no restraints upon discussion or argument. We ask for your financial support in order to hold it. Please send all contributions to Strike Coordinating Committee—International Assembly, at the address below.
Columbia Strike Coordinating Committee
Box 238, Cathedral Station,
New York, N.Y. 10025.
September 26, 1968