[Marxism] Some Differences between Vietnam and Middle East antiwar struggles

Brian Shannon brian_shannon at verizon.net
Sun Jul 23 11:38:22 MDT 2006

1. A small Marxist group (SWP) and a larger Marxist group oriented  
towards the Democratic Party ((CP), both of which focused on the main  
world issue and had the experience and commitment to keep on course*
> 2. Marxist groups that are narrower, more consumed with own purity,  
> and little grasp of need for flexibility*

3. The coincidence of this with a rising student movement created by  
the civil rights movement and the desire for personal and sexual  
freedom against the stifling of the 1950s
> 4. Students today under pressure to succeed; no sense of relaxed  
> affluence or community that will support "drop outs"; "success" no  
> longer identified with stuffy racist country clubs or "the man in  
> the gray-flannel suit"

5. A clearer ideological situation (also well integrated with the  
Marxist groups) that was understandable to secular socialists and  
liberals. No religious aspect except for Buddhism, identified as a  
religion of acceptance or spiritual conquest separated from material  
> 6. A religion ideologically (despite some commonality) and  
> geographically separated from U.S.A. and compromised, of course, by  
> terrorist attack of 9/11/01. Identification of Zionist outpost with  
> slaughter of co-religionists during WWII by Hitler, yet  
> unquestionably compromised by passive acceptance of rise of fascism  
> and failure to specifically militarily intervene to stop anti- 
> Jewish slaughter

7. A huge U.S. military presence, initially including draftees  
(although apparently not a majority of those actually in Vietnam)
> 8. A smaller volunteer military, gulled into joining by promises of  
> education and better civilian jobs (points and ranking available to  
> service veterans from many government jobs)

9. Democratic Party war, carried out by an accidental President, but  
identified as a hick by some thus putting stress on the party ranks
> 10. Republican Party war, which opponents don't feel betrayed by,  
> yet supported by Democratic Party politicians which most war  
> opponents still want to replace the Republican ones

Brian Shannon

* Although important antiwar organizer Fred Halstead's book is titled  
"Out Now!" and although this was the dominant call by the end of the  
movement, the focus throughout was on "bringing the troops home",  
i.e., with a strong personal and pacifist content. This is strikingly  
shown in a full-page ad in the NY Times on April 20, 1971, for the  
largest (and last major) demonstration on April 24, 1971. Although  
this action was led in the main by the SWP and close allies rather  
than the CP influenced wing, the published ad was not very different  
from one that would have been created by both together.

(in large type at the top--U and lc changed for emphasis)

(the secondary head at the bottom of the ad was much smaller)
Bring All The GI's Home Now.

There was room for 1400 signatures, although the ad said that the  
actual number was three times that. For the record, here is the text  
that was under the main headline.

"For the first time, trade unionists in impressive numbers have  
joined with students and traditional peace groups, professionals,  
women, Vietnam veterans and antiwar GI's, Black and Brown people,  
city and suburban residents in a broad-based, national coalition  
dedicated to the immediate end of the war.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity on April 24th to express the  
majority antiwar sentiment in the country. To assure maximum  
participation in the legal, peaceful, and orderly demonstrations in  
Washington and San Francisco much remains to be done in the days  
before the event."

[in larger type] "We need money urgently. We need it now. Please send  
as much as you can."

There was a coupon for contributions and various aspects of  
volunteering and transportation.

More information about the Marxism mailing list