Protest of Vietnam War

KING CALLS WAR A ‘BLASPHEMY’

uncredited writer, Chicago Tribune, 26 March 1967

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership conference, told 5,000 peace demonstrators yesterday that the Viet Nam war is a “blasphemy against all that America stands for,” and that President Johnson is more interested in the Viet Nam war than in the war on poverty.

Dr. King had led the demonstrators in a parade in State street. At his side was Dr. Benjamin Spock, co-chairman of the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, a sponsor of the parade and rally.

Atrocities Equal Cong’s
Speaking in the Coliseum, Dr. King said, “We are committing atrocities equal to any perpetrated by the Viet Cong. We are left standing before the world glutted by our own barbarity. We are engaged in a war that seeks to turn the clock of history back and perpetuate white colonialism.”

Dr. King said the United States spends $322,000 for each enemy that is killed and it spends $53 for each person in the “so-called” war on poverty.

“And much of that $53 goes for salaries of people who are not poor,” he said.

Peace Lovers Organize
“Those of us who love peace must organize as effectively as the war hawks. As they spread the propaganda of war, we must spread the propaganda of peace. We must combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement. We must demonstrate, preach, and teach, and organize until the very foundations of our nation are shaken.”

Dr. King left immediately after he spoke, and the audience began to leave with him. Dr. Spock, who followed Dr. King to the rostrum, spoke to a half empty house.

Dr. Spock called America the aggressor in Viet Nam and charged that our government has succumbed to an unhealthy distortion of reality.

“Accusation Isn’t True”
“Lyndon Johnson launched attack on North Viet Nam claiming that it was engaged in a direct military effort to take over South Viet Nam. But history shows—to anyone willing to read it—that this accusation was not true.

“For 13 years our government has been trying, unsuccessfully to gain control of South Viet Nam, by means of a Quisling puppet regime and more recently by armed invasion.”

Dr. Spock to Quit
After the rally, Dr. Spock, 64, said he plans to retire from his post at Western Reserve university to devote more time to the peace movement.

 Another speaker, Emil Mazey, secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers, said, “There has been a tremendous credibility gap in the information that the American people have been fed concerning Viet Nam.”

He called upon President Johnson to redouble efforts to achieve peace.

Peaceful Pacifists
During the parade, the demonstrators marched along peacefully carrying numerous signs protesting the war and identifying some of the groups of marchers.

Most of the spectators went about their shopping business after brief glances at the parade. Here and there along the route were groups of young men who carried signs saying “We support our men in Viet Nam” and shouting “We hate communists” and “we want Rockwell.”  This was a reference to George Lincoln Rockwell, head ot the American Nazi party.

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The 1960s were an awfully turbulent time.

Pictures:

1. First man on the moon.

2. Vietnamese children running from the site of a napalm attack.

3. MLK in the march from Selma to Montgomery.

4. The self immolation of a Buddhist monk in protest of governmental anti-buddhist policies in South Vietnam.

5. Flowers are placed on the bayonets at an anti-war protest, otherwise known as “flower power”.

6. Woodstock music festival, attended by an estimated half million people.

7. The Beatles

8. Marilyn Monroe, who died August 5th, 1962.

9. President John F. Kennedy.

10. Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in to office after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

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My Reflections On Yesterday’s Women’s March

In eighth grade I discovered the musical Hair and watched it over and over and over again, blasting the soundtrack from my bedroom at full volume (sorry Mom and Dad). I became endlessly fascinated with the protests against the Vietnam War & the many civil rights movements of the 1960s and 70s, and wished desperately that I had been born earlier so I could have been a part of those crowds myself, demanding justice, demanding equality, and marching shoulder to shoulder with thousands in demonstrations for peace.

I didn’t know exactly what I was wishing for, of course, since along with that fiery passion of a movement comes its counterpart: horrible racism, war, and unspeakable inequality for so very many. I also didn’t realize, at the time, that my white, middle-class upbringing shielded me from the fact that those very same inequities were still at work in this country, still holding tight all around me, and that there were loud, angry, passionate, and incredible fighters still gathering, still protesting, still demanding that their voices be heard.

In the last two decades, I have come out and grown up as a queer woman. I have worked alongside thousands of people in efforts to bring equality, awareness, and change. In doing so I have also learned more about my own privilege, about pervasive, systemic racism, about the effects of sexism, ableism, transphobia, Islamophobia. I have learned what it feels like to be treated differently and to have rights taken away based on who or how I love. That work, and that ever-evolving awareness, echoed many of the sentiments of that 1960s activism I so admired.

Yesterday, though, I marched in a protest for the very first time. My fear of crowds finally met its match with the horrors I continue to see unfold in my country. I stood in a sea 750,000 people deep in downtown Los Angeles. I screamed and shouted: I am here, I am full of fire and life, I will not stand for the inequalities and injustices that still exist.

Millions of people stood up yesterday and screamed those same words. Together, we challenged the world to listen. The inequities, the sexism, the racism, the homophobia, the transphobia, all of it is being doused with gasoline by a new administration that does not include the interests or rights of millions of its citizens.

As I stood with my wife, with my sister, my family, I realized: I was there. I was in the pictures I had seen all those years ago. I was right in the middle of that moving sea of protest. My wish, both powerfully and devastatingly, had come true.

To those who still have yet to listen: I am not going to stop shouting. I ask you to please think about the fact that millions of people are all, in unison, telling you that we are facing danger, that we demand better, that we need you to step up. If that isn’t worthy of your deep, concerted consideration and engagement, then I ask you one more thing: what ever will be?

USA. California. San Francisco. April 15, 1967. Bobby Seale, co-founder and chairman of the Black Panther Party, selling Mao’s Red Book to raise money at the first San Francisco peace march against the Vietnam War. 

Photograph: Stephen Shames/Courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery

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“Reproductive health care should be a right for everyone — regardless of their income, their zip code, gender, you name it. I have such admiration for health center staff and doctors all across the country who go to work every day. Many of them walk through protesters just to get into work and provide care for patients. That’s what keeps me centered.”    

- Cecile Richards is the president of Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood Action Fund and a leader in the field of women’s health and reproductive rights.

Check out the in-depth Q&A with Cecile below!

Keep reading

An anti-Vietnam War protest along Wellington’s Willis Street in 1970 draws attention to New Zealand’s death toll in the conflict. In total, 37 New Zealand men would lose their lives in Vietnam.

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March 16th 1968: My Lai Massacre

On this day in 1968, during the Vietnam War, between 350 and 500 Vietnamese villagers were massacred by American troops. The soldiers of the ‘Charlie’ Company killed and mutilated hundreds of unarmed civilians, many of whom were women and children. The massacre took place in the hamlets of My Lai and My Khe of Son My village, and was supposedly due to the belief that enemy soldiers were hiding in the area. The incident was initially downplayed by the army, with General Westmoreland congratulating the unit on their “outstanding job”. However, once the true nature of the horrific masacre was revealed, it sparked outrage both in the United States and around the world. The brutality of My Lai was a major factor in increasing domestic opposition to the Vietnam War, with mounting protests putting pressure on the government to end what many saw as a futile war. 26 US soldiers were charged for their involvement in the incident, but only one - William Calley - was convicted and found guilty. Calley was given a life sentence for killing 22 villagers, but only served 3 and a half years under house arrest; he made his first public apology in August 2009.