16 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY MAY 9-15, 2024 www.montereycountynow.com Then and Now Seeing student protesters with fear is nothing new. Neither is the protesters’ anti-war message. By Susan Raycraft FORUM I marched at UC Berkeley in the 1964-65 free speech movement while attending campus teachins on the Vietnam War. That experience informs my perspective on today’s student protests against Israeli policies in Gaza. How are they different from what I experienced 60 years ago? First, it seems the demonstrators’ higher goals are the same as those my contemporaries and I shared “back in the day:” free speech, justice, equity, ending violence. Peace and love. The media attention is very similar, compounded by the 24-hour news cycle unheard of in the ’60s. I remember being frustrated at the disconnect between what we engaged in and its media portrayal. The story largely told in the press is of violent clashes, outside influences guiding encampments and protest activities. It seeks to discredit the genuine concerns of the protesters. It also portrays a black-and-white perspective, lacking complexity, but of course not every student protester shares each other’s views in lockstep. I see the same effort by youth leaders today to create space for discussion and analysis of issues. The word “educate” comes from the Latin meaning to bring up or draw out, as in ideas or children. The demonstrations are processes with that goal. Viewing them through a lens of political power or personal morality distorts and distracts. It allows the police to be called in rather than professors engaged, the community challenged and minds grown. Those seeking black-and-white answers to complex questions— good guys and bad guys, winners and losers—are uncomfortable with processes that challenge them to look deeper. Kids go to college to learn to see beyond such distortions of truth. They are practicing what has been preached to them and being hauled off to jail for doing it too effectively. The specifics of each campus protest, and each protester, are different. But they largely share a focus on the extent to which capital tied to weapons development influences most large U.S. educational institutions. They question how financial arrangements benefiting governments most dependent on such weapons impacts the quality and direction of their education. (At CSU Monterey Bay, student protesters are also raising questions; see story, p. 10.) Protectors of the status quo always discredit honest and deep focus on uncomfortable truth. What I hear from today’s students is that their study of history, political science, psychology and all the disciplines colleges bring together is teaching them to reject the world order they are inheriting, with its focus on war and failure of reason. No one wants to listen. Protesters are asking not for a specific political solution in the current conflict—a one-state or two-state plan and who will govern which territory and how—but for American institutions to divest their interest in sustaining weapons of war. Susan Raycraft has lived in southern Monterey County since 1977. She keeps chickens, grows lavender and writes history, memoir and poetry. She belongs to the Lockwood PerSisters, a group of progressive women. OPINION Study is teaching them to reject the world order. Mundos is a registered trademark and cannot be used without expressed written permission Open Mon-Fri 8-5:30, Sat 10-5:30, Sun 10-5 2233 Fremont St, Monterey • 831-324-0369 www.3MundosSandwichShop.com NORTH FREMONT STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT 2004 Fairgrounds Rd. Enter at Gate 5 (831) 372-0315 • www.montereycountyfair.com Admission $7.00 Wednesday – Sunday 10:00 am – Closing Over 40 televisions 12 tracks per day Full Bar – Drink & Dinner Specials Thursday – sunday $9.00 3Mundos half pound burgers Burger and Fries $8.99 Quality • Flavor • Comfort OPEN Mon-Fri 8-5:30, Sat 10-5:30, Sun 10-5 2233 Fremont St, Monterey • 831-324-0369 www.3MundosSandwichShop.com nOW OFFeRInG Vegan and Vegetarian Options Quality • Flavor • Comfort Guaranteed Expanded private patio and contactless drive-thru window Open Tue-Sun 11am-9pm and Mon 4-9pm Or order to-go,and take it home 2149 N. Fremont St. • Monterey • 831-642-9900 MontereyCookHouse.com Mother’s Day Brunch Enjoy our Mother’s Day Specials or choose from our regular menu