Iraq conflict protested

    Local performers The Nectarines and Able-Minded Poets joined the recent anti-war protest effort by members of the campus community when they held a concert in Price Center Plaza on Dec. 4 at noon. The event was followed by a number of UCSD students and faculty who led discussion on the United States’ recent conflict with Iraq.

    The concert and lecture mark the largest of the recent anti-war events held at UCSD in the past quarter.

    Marla Fuentes, one of the event coordinators and member of the Campus Peace Coalition, noted a trend toward increased student participation, citing a significant rise in the number of students requesting materials from information tables and signing up to receive regular e-mail updates.

    “”This is one of the bigger events in terms of students and the number of organizations sponsoring [it],”” said Rebecca Anshell, a Thurgood Marshall College junior.

    With greater organizational participation in support of the concert and rally comes more profound divergence among ideologies. The medley of groups sponsoring these events — CPC, International Socialists Organization, the Green Party at UCSD and La Voz Frontierza — all have different perspectives on what action the United States should take toward Iraq. However, event coordinators did emphasize “”three points of unity”” — namely: ending economic sanctions, avoiding war on Iraq and protecting domestic civil liberties.

    Ethnic studies professor George Lipsitz addressed the noontime crowd on just these issues, using impassioned rhetoric to decry the adoption of war “”as a casual instrument of foreign policy”” rather than a last resort.

    After the concert and speeches, a dozen individuals and group representatives met for a discussion session to promote a unified front in resisting a possible war on Iraq. This meeting, the first of its kind at UCSD, represents the initial efforts of the CPC to coordinate anti-war sentiment on a community-wide basis.

    The performances by far received the most positive student reaction. First, the pseudo-hippy funk jazz/rock vocals of The Nectarines got the attention of Price Center patrons. After a few brief interludes, including speeches from members of each constituent organization and Lipsitz’s address, a spoken word group known as Able-Minded Poets launched salvoes of criticism against the U.S. government and challenged the audience with rhythmic calls to action.

    As for the future of the antiwar movement at UCSD and San Diego, students project that the momentum will continue to build as protesters nationally and abroad continue to organize action.

    “”There’s been a growing radicalization around the war,”” Anshell said. “”People are realizing what problems arise when we attack a country devastated by sanctions.””

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