Inaugural Antiwar Mobilization


Fifth Estate # 70, January 9-22, 1969

On Jan. 20, 620 bombing missions will rain death on South Vietnam.

On Jan. 20, Richard Nixon will be inaugurated amid cries of consensus, unity, and law and order.

Liberals admonish us to “give Nixon a chance,” but we should remember that this new “man” has the same sick obsession with war policies as Johnson and is quite likely to bomb us to death in the name of international law and order if our local police, which he supports, don’t club us to death first.

His appointments and public statements show that he is committed to the same racist imperialist policies as his predecessors and gives preeminence to the rich elite who are a direct beneficiary of American imperialism.

The inauguration is a crucial opportunity for radical protest against the war, racism, and imperialism. It is a chance to re-raise the war issue at a time when the elite tries to mask it with phony peace talks. We must crack the illusion of a consensus in this society where racism splits people apart and the real power of capitalist wealth behind Nixon tries to cloak itself in a mask of popular support.

The inauguration of a president is a national religious ceremony to create an aura of legitimacy for the monied elite that is taking power. That elite assembles itself publicly every four years for this event, will dance and strut and drink champagne at all the fashionable hotels in Washington.

They have successfully prevented the National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam from renting any facilities in the D.C. area to hold a counter-inaugural ball the night before theirs. The elite does not like to have its grotesque ceremonies lampooned.

But the Mob is packing its own facilities on its back—a 10,000 capacity red and blue (they tried for red and black) circus tent. It is also rumored that duplicate tickets for the other balls have been printed and will be distributed free on the streets of Washington for people who want to see how the other 1/1000th lives.

The Mobilization is planning a series of actions and demonstrations to contrast the vitality and energy of our movement to the dead hand of their power. But all of this is going on with the sense that there has probably never been a more critical time to demonstrate the determination of the anti-war movement to stay in the streets as long as the war continues.

Nixon has asked for a chance. The Mobilization’s response is simple. The only chance that anyone can morally talk about is a chance for American soldiers and Vietnamese to live.

Saturday Jan. 18, will be a series of political workshops on high school organizing, women’s liberation, imperialism, racism and other issues both local and international in scope. These will be held in the Federal City College building, 425 2nd St. N.W. Housing will be provided in movement centers and private homes.

On Sunday, Jan. 19, people will assemble behind the White House on the ellipse and march the other direction from the inaugural parade in a demonstration that will be led by active duty GIs and Vietnam vets, and that will encourage the use of political “floats,” theatre, chants, flags, etc.

We think we can demonstrate our determination to see the war and racism ended, our diversity; and the cultural/ political distinction between us and the essentially military event that will take place the next day.

That evening, along with the Fugs, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, other entertainers, rock groups, films and impromptu theatre, we will make a counter-inaugural ball in our circus tent: Pigasus the Yippie candidate will be inhogurated at this time.

On Monday, the day of the Inauguration, the Mobilization intends to stake out a presence along one section of the inaugural route and set up a gauntlet of political opposition and hostility for Nixon and his cronies to run through. So far, all talks with the city make it clear that Nixon doesn’t want another Chicago.

Saturday and Sunday will be safe. Monday, during the inauguration is also likely to be safe since Nixon doesn’t want spectators clubbed in front of TV cameras.

In the face of Nixon’s phony bid for unity, the so-called peace talks, the intensified bombing and the attention of the international press, the inauguration action must show the presence of an able and determined nationwide movement willing to fight back when everyone wants to kill it into inaction.

InHOGuration (sidebar)
by David Lloyd-Jones

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LNS)—The transition in Washington from Johnson to Nixon means paralysis, rumor and opportunity; paralysis as bureaucrats scramble to cover the millions they pissed down the drain; rumor as bars and offices pass the latest ephemeral word on what may or may not be in the works; opportunity for contractors, idea sellers and would-be certified leaks who were on the “outside” while the barbecue crew were in. But on the surface, war-weary Washington basks in calm in the assurance that some new consensus is being formed by the dreary bucolic crowd dribbling into town.

The transition period is symbolized by the wooden stands now being built along Pennsylvania Avenue for the Republican enthusiasts willing to pay $25 to watch a Nixon parade: Legitimacy Theatre, the crowning of the new Mr. Universe, Chief Justice Warren meets son of Godzilla, no, sorry, wrong review, son of pious California Quaker! Applause button! Crowds! Cast of millions! See General Ky and his vanishing round table! See Governor Volpe and his magic bulldozer! See the naked brutality of Georgetown hostesses scrambling for status! Huzzah! Huzzah! Four more years of the same shit!


See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.