Protest: The Banners of Dissent

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The Mob's "co-project director," wild-haired Jerry Rubin, 29, a former Berkeley nonstudent leader, is an uncompromising radical. "We are now in the business of wholesale and wide spread resistance and dislocation of the American society," he proclaimed shortly before Dellinger's return from the Bratislava conference. Dellinger subsequently agreed that the aim of the Washington march would be to "shut down the Pentagon." Remembering the success that attended the Mob's peaceful antiwar marches last April, when 180,000 well-mannered dissidents in San Francisco and New York gave protest a more tolerable name, moderate members from the more firmly established peace groups threatened to pull out unless Dellinger and Rubin toned down.

Reversed Ground. Groups like Veterans for Peace and SANE preferred a "symbolic confrontation" with the Pentagon to any outright lawbreaking. As a result, an entire issue of the Mob's newspaper, the Mobilizer News, was rewritten and a tub-thumping editorial replaced by a quieter explanation of the march's purpose, written by Co-Chairman Sidney M. Peck, a Cleveland sociologist. Dellinger reversed his ground and urged avoidance of blatant lawbreaking, but at the same time was careful to disown in advance any responsibility for the more vigorous forms of protest. Thus a befuzzed line was drawn between "dissent" and "resistance" in the complex vocabulary of the American peace movement. As Dellinger later said, demonstrators could not be counted on to approve the "ritualistic charade of merely stepping across a line and being arrested." The hint of violence was obvious.

Understandably, many moderates decided to stay away from last week's outing. "Whereas most of the people who will be in attendance at the march will be well-intentioned, this demonstration was organized and is being run by the radical left," warned Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch of the Religious Action Center of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. "I can't go along with these folks who think everything the U.S. does is wrong and everything Hanoi does is right."

Similar feelings had SANE foundering last week on the reefs of radical schism. To protest the move toward militant anti-Americanism— as well as what one official termed Dr. Spock's "ecumenical promiscuity" as cochairman, a post he reluctantly gave up earlier this month—14 of SANE's 45 national directors threatened to resign unless the course was instantly changed.

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