Anti-war activities at Moo-U........

Mike Ballard swillsqueal at
Thu Nov 21 13:25:49 MST 2002

Pair brings anti-war ideals to 'U'
Graduate student activists use teach-in to protest war

The State News

Florida natives and peace activists Lori Baralt and
Michael Perez arrived at MSU this fall expecting to
join student groups in campaigning against the Bush
administration's conflict with Iraq.

Instead, the couple found themselves organizing their
own anti-war group, holding teach-ins, promoting
traffic-stopping protests on Grand River Avenue and
inspiring hundreds of students to join the peace

"We need to show people that we're not just some naive
neo-hippies protesting the war for love and peace,"
said Perez, an anthropology graduate student. "We have
a clear and comprehensive understanding of the

Baralt and Perez organized a teach-in scheduled for
4:30 p.m. today in 146 Giltner Hall to talk about why
they and other students oppose a war in Iraq.

Besides planning today's teach-in, Perez and Baralt, a
sociology graduate student, helped organize a protest
led by professors Oct. 25 that attracted more than 300
people. The following day a demonstration on Grand
River Avenue in downtown East Lansing temporarily
halted traffic. On the same day, some 200,000 people
marched in a peace protest in Washington, D.C.

Baralt said the U.S. conflict with Iraq is ridiculous.

"It came out of nowhere," she said, adding that fear
of terrorism is driving support for war and that
Saddam Hussein has been built up as an evil killer.

Baralt and Perez's group, Students for Peace and
Justice, meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays in 121 Bessey Hall
to discuss conflicts at home and abroad and methods of
resolving problems.

"Mike and Lori saw that there was a need for an
anti-war student group on campus," human biology
junior David Mitchell said. "Discussing possibilities
besides war is not un-American, but is in fact our
responsibility as Americans."

Mitchell, a member of Students for Economic Justice,
will be speaking at the teach-in with Baralt, Perez
and students from Direct Action, Palestinians for
Human Rights and People for Positive Social Change.

But conversation about the conflict in Iraq is not
limited to today's speakers.

Mike Price, an MSU student activist in the 1960s and
member of Direct Action, said war against Iraq would
be an extremely dangerous undertaking.

"It could start World War III. It's true (Saddam) is a
monster, but he's a monster of our creation," said
Price, adding that the United States aided the Iraqi
president from 1980 to 1988, during his country's war
with Iran.

Price compared today's student protests with movements
in the late 1960s against the war in Vietnam. He
described MSU as a working-class university and said
students were not active in the peace effort until a
lottery draft was set up.

"When the working-class university turned against the
war, that was a big step," Price said. He said
thousands of students protested for three days on
Grand River Avenue in what some called the largest
demonstration against the war in Vietnam.

Price said today's protests are different because war
hasn't been declared on Iraq, so they have a greater
impact on foreign policy.

But Jill Schwab, treasurer for the MSU College
Republicans, said demonstrations like today's teach-in
should try to present the other side of the story,
too. She said peace isn't always realistic.

"Peace is not a bad thing," the international
relations junior said. "But it's not going to solve
the problem."

Melissa Sanchez can be reached at sanche96 at


"Man first begins to philosophize when the necessitites of life are supplied."  Aristotle

"determinatio est negatio"  Spinoza

"There are no ordinary cats."  Colette

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