New Politics Conference


Fifth Estate # 36, August 15-31, 1967

NEW YORK—Dr. Benjamin Spock on August 1 called President Johnson “the worst betrayer of the American people” for recklessly escalating the Vietnam War.

“He (Johnson) was elected by an overwhelming majority who believed him when he promised to avoid escalation in Vietnam and avoid the sacrifice of American soldiers,” the famed pediatrician said.

“But within three months he went back on his word. He launched an onslaught on that small country, essentially because its people would not accept the puppet government that he selected for them.”

Speaking at a press briefing at the Hotel Commodore sponsored by the National Conference for New Politics, Dr. Spock said that “white people have no moral right whatsoever to condemn the Negroes whose anger has boiled over” the nation’s ghettos.

“Our America,” he declared, “has denied them education, jobs, housing, health, self-respect and any sense of being an acceptable part of the community.”

Turning to the methods employed to quell the riots, Dr. Spock said, “the reaction to the violence on the part of the police and National Guard in many cities has not consisted of the judicious firmness that would be appropriate for controlling the outbreak.”

Appearing with Dr. Spock at the press briefing were William Pepper, executive director of the National Conference for New Politics and Dr. Bertram Garskof, assistant professor at Michigan State University and member of NCNP’s convention Steering Committee.

Pepper stated, “The old politics has broken down completely under the responsibility of providing effective humane government for urban America.” He said that the NCNP’s convention in Chicago over the Labor Day weekend will weigh alternatives to the Johnson war policy and explore ways and methods of building a New America, one responsive to the needs of the people because it will be designed to be truly representative of the people.

Dr. Garskof predicted that “some day people will talk about the Negro rebellions in our cities as they now talk about the Boston Tea Party—both challenged a system of economic and political power.

“History books will say,” Dr. Garskof went on, “that the riots shook not only our cities but our whole concept of our nation as an island of domestic tranquility on a sea of revolution.”

“We must strive to end the old politics which has led our society to such bankruptcy and from the ashes and rubble created and made inevitable by our old politics in both our cities and in Vietnam, we must build a new politics which returns power to the people.” Veep creep greeted H. Horatio Humphrey, United States vice-warlord, was welcomed to Detroit last week by a 200-man anti-war picket line in front of Cobo Hall.

Humphrey was in Detroit to speak about riots and other such domestic problems at the National Association of Counties Convention. Official U.S. policy on riots, according to Humphrey, is that the government is against them.

Members of various local anti-war groups, however, protested official U.S. policy on Vietnam and the draft. While Humphrey, as vice-president, has little power in deciding this policy, he serves as Johnson’s chief propagandist for the war.

Breakthrough was able to scare up about ten people to picket Humphrey on a different section of sidewalk in front of Cobo Hall for “Victory in Vietnam.”