VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR |

Finally, the anti-war movement helped create a general anti-imperialist,anti-capitalist climate that still exists in the U.S. People are more skeptical of bigcorporations, of imperialism, and of capitalism. Tens of thousands of people were affectedby that movement and chose jobs in areas such as teaching, where they wanted to continueto spread anti-imperialist, anti-racist ideas. But again, this should not beoverestimated. Much of that anti-imperialist sentiment has been tangled up with pacifism,which only disarms the anti-imperialist movement. On the other hand, as discussed above,the development of InCAR has helped sustain anti-imperialist, pro-Communist consciousnessand activity in many places.

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No war caused such great division among the American people like the Vietnam War.

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In the black community, opposition to the war was stronger. Muhammed Ali was strippedof his championship title for opposing U.S. policy. There was a developing consciousnessthat imperialism in general and the war in particular were racist. Opposition in the whitecommunity deepened during the course of the war as it became clearer that the U.S. was atwar against the majority of people in Vietnam, as more U.S. soldiers were killed, aspeople witnessed the brutality of the U.S. government at home suppressing anti-warprotests, and as some elements of the anti-war movement reached out and spreadanti-imperialist consciousness on campuses and in the communities. But in the early daysof the war, protesters in the U.S. were at risk of beatings and arrest by right wingers aswell as police.

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By 1966, SDS shifted its focus more towards becoming an anti-war organization. However,it still maintained its multi-issue approach. This was in contrast to some of therevisionist and liberal groups who said that a single issue anti-war organization thatmade coalitions with anyone against the war was the way to go. About that time, SDSdropped its anti-communist clause. SDS at this point was still influenced by patriotismand anti-communism, however. Much of the rhetoric spoke in terms of fulfilling the truevalues of the United States through democracy, and SDS had to allow free speech, even ifit meant having to allow communists to join.

As a whole, the American people agree that the Vietnam War was a waste of time, money, and life.
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There were explosions on dozens of campuses. Tens of thousands of students took to thestreets, often with no organizational leadership. The war was broadening out; it was timeto take action. President Nixon got on television and called the protestors"bums." Governors ordered the National Guard onto many campuses. On a number ofcampuses, students were shot. At Kent State University, four of the students died. Thenews media carried pictures of the shootings, including of Guardsmen firing into a crowd,using illegal pistols, and shooting at people who were running away. Then, campusesexploded all over the United States. Actually, over a dozen black students were killed bypolice over the previous few years, but racism caused many students to take the Kent Stateshootings more seriously. Maybe it was the realization that capitalism was coming to getthem too that shocked them. In any case, over five hundred campuses were shut down byangry students who blocked doorways, occupied buildings, and fought pitched battles usingbottles, stones, and sticks against the police. ROTC buildings were burned down on anumber of campuses, and many campuses stayed shut down for the rest of the school year.

VIETNAM DISCOVER THE PEOPLE, BATTLES AND EVENTS THAT MARK AMERICA'S LONGEST WAR.

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To regain the initiative on the war front, President Johnson signed off on Operational Plan 34-A on January 19, 1964. The plan called for graduated pressure on North Vietnam, proceeding in stages from surveillance and small hit-and-run raids by South Vietnamese commandos, then in operation, to more destructive “airborne and seaborne raids on important military and civilian installations” such as bridges, railways, and coastal fortifications, then to large-scale “aerial attacks conducted against critical DRV installations or facilities, industrial and/or military,” designed to destroy North Vietnam’s infrastructure and incapacitate its economy. This secret plan, now declassified, amounted to a declaration of war against North Vietnam. Although U.S. officials were well aware that the insurgency in the south was largely sustained by the rural population rather than by Hanoi, they reasoned that increased pressure on North Vietnam could reduce the flow of weapons and supplies to the NLF and, in any case, punish the DRV for supporting the NLF.

Actress Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam in 1972, making her infamous with American war supporters

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During this year, the ruling class tried to force the movement onto the defensive bybringing to trial the "Chicago Eight", eight people who were charged withconspiracy because of the violence during the Democratic Party convention in Chicago thatpast summer. They carefully picked the defendants. The focus was Abbie Hoffman, the drugpushing clown whose anti-working class speeches were emphasized in the news media. Alsoindicted were Bobby Seale, a leader of the Black Panther Party, a couple of pacifists, andone or two liberals who were relatively unknown. The trial dragged on for months. Most ofthe defendants did not even know each other before the demonstration, and the charge ofconspiracy was a frame up. The judge met secretly and illegally with prosecutors duringthe trial, and he gave so many contempt of court citations to the defendants that some ofthem faced longer prison terms from the contempt citations than they did for the allegedconspiracy. Bobby Seale had a gag tied over his mouth and his body was tied to a chair inthe courtroom because he repeatedly challenged the judge. The sight of him tied up andgagged enraged tens of thousands of black and white workers and students. The trial wasmainly a farce; after many appeals, the defendants got off. But the trial served tointimidate many people, divert others from taking the offensive against imperialism, andconvince many workers and students that the anti-war movement was run by anti-workingclass, phony clowns like Abbie Hoffmann.