James Couture

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James Couture

Countering LRS membership accusation

According to an article in the May 23 1990 Stanford Daily, six prominent campus activists were members of the League of Revolutionary Struggle.

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The group was defended, in a letter to the paper two days later by a group of eight other campus activist;

Richard Suh says, in the May 23 Daily, that League of Revolutionary Struggle members "are leading progressive politics on campus . . . because they are the best and the hardest workers." He and others "who asked not to be identified" then "charge" that Elsa Tsutaoka, Stacey Leyton, David Brown, Gina Hernandez, Steven Phillips and Ingrid Nava are members of this League (presumably because they are some of the best and hardest workers on campus). All six deny being members of such a group, which the author then uses to imply that they must in fact be members, since the organization is supposedly secretive. The absurdity of such reasoning is apparent, but what concerns us is that irresponsible charges that have serious and detrimental implications for individuals' lives are being published on the basis of rumor and innuendo. Those "accused" by this article deserve our respect and support because of their being the "best and hardest workers."
The "infiltration" of Stanford by these six hard workers has given us the leaders of Stanford's anti-Apartheid and pro-CIV movements, the coordinator of the 1987 You Can Make A Difference Conference, three student body presidents, a Phi Beta Kappa in history, fighters for the expansion of the Asian American Activities Center and El Centro Chicano, key volunteers and speakers on the 1987 and 1990 YCMAD Conferences, an RA, members of the varsity track and swim teams, a dancer in Ballet Folklorico and much much more. The Daily has come right out and said that Stanford students are too stupid to think for themselves. The League of Revolutionary Struggle has been running things all along, using students for its own ends. But we, those who should know, assert that Stanford students are not dupes and that progressive student politics on campus are decidedly democratic. When a particular plan of action is proposed by any student, others weigh their options and then agree on a path of action.
It is ironic that the six community members you name have themselves been some of the staunchest advocates of democratic processes. Just out of curiosity, what is wrong with being a Marxist-Leninist? Last time we checked, it was still legal in this country to hold any political beliefs or belong to any organization without alerting the media. Stanford should ask itself why radicals feel the need to avoid explicit mention of their politics. It is easy to get tagged as a radical at this university and have one's ideas and actions written off. To avoid censure you keep your head down and keep your criticism in the mainstream. The odd thing is that many of us are in agreement with Marxists and even that blacks, Latinos, women, homosexuals and many others are oppressed or at least suffer the effects of past oppression? We may disagree with the League's ultimate goals or projects, but is it impossible to work with them where we do agree? (If indeed we could really find them.) The need to avoid this kind of red-baiting will lead student groups to ask radical members to leave in order to avoid trouble. This process can only lead to the stifling of discussion and the weakening of student groups by throwing out "the best and hardest workers." How long before we start hearing that familiar old question before we can participate in student politics: Are you now or have you ever been ...

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