Walkout Draws Lukewarm Response
Lack of organization, apathy hurt campus turnout for "World Can't Wait" rally.
November 2, 2005 5:21 PM
A student walkout and rally drew mixed results in Malcolm X Plaza Wednesday morning. The event was part of a nationwide walkout effort organized by worldcantwait.org, a group dedicated to protesting the Iraq War and the Bush administration.
The event started around 10 a.m. and included freestyle rap by "Mars Attacks."
"I'm just trying to educate everyone," said the rapper, "let them know that it's okay to get out of school for a day to show what you believe in, and more importantly, what you don't believe in."
As a drum group began to perform in Malcolm X Plaza, a small group, led by organizer Oscar Ledesma, walked through the fine arts and ethnic studies buildings encouraging students to join the walkout.
"We're trying to mobilize students here at State to get this rally started and to get everyone aware," said Ledesma.
Broadcasting major Angie Muela was one of the students who chose to join in the protest.
"Yesterday I saw a flier on the floor, I kind of just picked it up and joined" said Muela, "I saw them out in Malcolm X, and I can't sit around and not do anything about this, it's ridiculous."
After returning to the plaza, a group of a few dozen protestors made their way on to Civic Center Plaza to join both college and high school students from San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.
Veronica Dominguez is a psychology major whose only previous protest experience was at Chabot College.
"I haven't done this in a while," said Dominguez, "but I do know that I love people and I want to help the world, basically. We can all learn from each other, and we can all really empower each other."
Upon arrival, the SF State group disappeared into the much larger mass of protestors, many of who were high school students. U.C. Berkeley student Gavin Raders organized a group from the East Bay.
"I find this very interesting how it seems that high school students are taking this up a lot stronger than universities," said Raders, "I think it might be because a lot of university kids don't really have to worry about going to fight the war in Iraq, it's pretty far removed from that, whereas our high school students see the military recruiters every day."
Back on campus, the lack of organization and enthusiasm was cited by Paul, a BECA major, as a reason for not participating in the walkout.
"I think it's very unorganized," he said, "it seems like it's different groups who are just going and preaching to the choir about their own interests."
Political Science major Carl Clark, Vice President of the campus Republicans, has seen many of the campus protests from the other side of political spectrum. He noticed a decline in the number of people protesting as of late.
"It seems like compared to the number of students we have at this university, they don't have much of a turnout any more," said Clark, "it might be a little different today because it's Bush, but I don't think there will be any great numbers."
At the Civic Center Plaza rally, SF State freshman Alex Fu acknowledged the lack of a substantial group from SF State.
"From the way SF State was so unorganized, I was expecting even less," said Fu, who blames much the lack of participation on philosophical differences between groups.
"I just hope that a lot of the ideological differences can fade out and people can find some common ground," said Fu, "sure, a mother may be a Democrat or a Republican against the war, but they lost there son, and that effects me, that's a lot more concrete than some abstract revolution. If people can think about it in that aspect, then maybe we can get some stuff done."
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