“Confront the Warmakers” is no idle phrase. Coming together from throughout the nation on October 21 and 22, war opponents will march, demonstrate, petition and culminate the activities by mass acts of civil disobedience inside the Pentagon.
The confrontation will be real and physical. Of the 200,000 plus participants, 10,000 are expected to sit-in to block the doorways of the Pentagon, says the National Mobilizing Committee, “preventing people from entering to work but permitting them to leave. If they are able to enter the building the direct actionists will also block the hallways and staircases.”
The parade will originate from two locations: one near the -Washington Monument and the other on the south side of the Lincoln Memorial. Both will start at 11 a.m., October 21 but each will- have different parade routes. Both will terminate at the south parking lot of the Pentagon.
A mass rally will be staged after which the participants will be asked to follow one of- three courses:
* Acts of peaceful civil disobedience to sit-in in and around the Pentagon. Those who take this course are urged to stay the weekend until Monday when large work shifts attempt to enter the building.
* A sympathy demonstration which will be a picket line in support of those who take direct action
* Organizations and individuals who will present governmental agencies and their Congressional representatives with demands to end the war.
David Chamberlain, Chairman of the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam, contends that this will be the largest mobilization ever conducted against the war in Vietnam. Besides the national effort, he says, “there will be international participation in all the capitals of Europe.”
Chamberlain reports that contingents from Southeastern Michigan will be the largest ever mobilized for a demonstration. Twelve buses have been reserved by the Detroit Committee and they expect to have more. In Ann Arbor fifteen buses have been reserved. Michigan State and Western Michigan Universities are still formulating their clans and no figures have yet been received from them.
Car caravans have been privately organized in Detroit, Pontiac and—surprisingly—in Grosse Pointe. The Grosse Pointe caravan already has 150 people included in it
Considering the participation of the Grosse Pointers, Chamberlain feels that the anti – war movement has entered a new phase. “There is a grass roots anti-war movement,” he says, “and politicians are becoming more vocal in their anti-war stance.” He cites businessmen and generally more wealthy people as beginning to show opposition to the war.
Further, Chamberlain says, the October 21 march on Washington will be the first anti-war demonstration black militants will join in numbers since becoming a viable political force.
The government forces have been preparing for the demonstration. Laws were recently passed in Washington which limit the number of demonstrators in front of the White House to 100 and which make disruptive noises and actions within federal government buildings punishable by fine and imprisonment.
On September 19 the Women Strike for Peace demonstration was handicapped by the White House 100 picket limitation. The D.C. police were adamant ‘in upholding the law and some arrests were made, two of which are being protested to the Justice Department because of police brutality.
The new laws and the new attitude against demonstrations in the capital will have their first major test in the October 21 march. Chamberlain said that there “will be a confrontation if the government attempts to abrogate our rights of peaceful demonstration.”
Bus tickets to Washington are available at the Detroit Mobilization Committee for $15. Further information can be obtained at the Committee, 1101 W. Warren, Detroit, Michigan. Phone 832-5700.