The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 69/No. 14           April 11, 2005  
Pittsburgh students publicize youth festival
PITTSBURGH—A contingent organized by the Western Pennsylvania Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the 16th World Festival of Youth and Students marched in a peace protest here March 19. The action, which drew around 1,500 people, began in the Squirrel Hill district and ended in a rally in front of the student union at the University of Pittsburgh. The contingent marched behind a banner that read, “World Festival of Youth and Students. For Peace and Solidarity, We Struggle Against War and Imperialism. Caracas, Venezuela, August 2005.”

The message on the banner is the official slogan of the festival, which will take place August 7-15 in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital. Thousands of youth from countries around the world are expected to attend the gathering.

“The delegation was representing what we were marching for. We talked to teenagers to grandparents. We related what our delegation is about, what we’re fighting against, this war, and imperialism,” said Tommy Furfari, a member of the committee who marched in the contingent. “We talked about the situation in Venezuela, why it is good to have the festival there because they fight U.S.-backed imperialism. When people unite, with demands, they are showing what can happen.”

Committee members passed out hundreds of flyers, staffed an information table all day, encouraged people to sign a contact list, and raised $15 from a donation can. The LOC prepared a written statement describing the youth festival and encouraging people to join and support the effort. A representative of the Thomas Merton Center, the organizers of the action, read the statement at the rally in front of the William Pitt Union.

“I thought we got a really good response. A lot of people want a thing like this. People are longing for a better community,” said Devin Gorney, another LOC member also in the march. “And this festival is attractive, when you have people from around the world coming to together. There is politicization amongst working people to Bush’s attacks.”

That evening, the committee held a house party and invited all participants in the day’s action to discuss and mingle with those building the festival.

Earlier that week, on March 16, the committee organized its second film presentation of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, a documentary that shows the mass working-class mobilizations in Caracas that were key in defeating the April 2002 U.S.-backed military coup in Venezuela.

The event was held at the University of Pittsburgh. About 40 students and others attended. The film showing was sponsored by Pitt Students in Solidarity, Pitt Students for Justice in Palestine, and Sankofa. The Thomas Merton Center, which also endorses the LOC, publicized and sent information on the event to its mailing list. The committee members built the event by going to classes, posting flyers on campuses, on the Internet, and promoting the event on two local radio stations. The following week the LOC elected a steering committee with representatives of various student and political organizations in the committee. Its duties are to help carry out the day-to-day work decided at each committee meeting and to pull together an agenda for the weekly meeting. The committee meets every Sunday at 11:00 a.m. in Posvar Hall at the University of Pittsburgh. Each meeting starts off with political discussion, and plans out future fund-raisers, and the week’s work. For more information and to get involved, contact the committee at  
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