Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam
Vol. 1, No. 2
1101 W. Warren, 832-5700, May, 1966
The major activity of the DCEWV since the March 25-27 International Days of Protest was a demonstration at a fundraising function of the 17th District Democrats. About 35 demonstrators carrying signs reading: STOP THE BOMBINGS; BRING THE TROOPS HOME; I WAS A LIBERAL UNTIL I DISCOVERED THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SELLOUT: and MARTHA (Griffiths) MUST GO, formed an orderly picket line from 8 to 10 p.m. in front of the Latin Quarter where the affair was held. Three of the demonstrators, who managed to obtain tickets legitimately, participated in the cocktail party, despite police efforts to keep them out of the building. One of them, Dena Clamage, executive director of the Detroit Committee, engaged Rep. Martha Griffiths of the 17th District in a discussion about the Vietnam war, which ended when Rep. Griffiths accused Miss Clamage of baiting her and suggested that if Miss Clamage were opposed to her (Griffiths’) Vietnam policies, she should support some other candidate running on a peace platform. Smiling, Miss Clamage assured Rep. Griffiths that she would.
The candidate she’ll support, of course, is James Lafferty, national executive secretary of the National Lawyers’ Guild. Mr. Lafferty, though, is not running solely as a peace candidate. There are many issues on which Rep. Griffiths’ voting record is sadly deficient. Poverty, the war in Vietnam, civil rights, civil liberties, and the minimum wage are only a few.
In addition to the Lafferty campaign, members of the DCEWV have a full schedule of activities originating out of the ACTIVISTS CONFERENCE held in conjunction with the March 25-27 International Days of Protest: an exhibit of anti-war art, photographs and cartoons, which several members of the Detroit Committee and Citizens for Peace in Vietnam have begun work on.
Another project which the conference generated is the compilation of a Vietnam file based on clippings from the NY Times, coordinated by Jan Baugh.
Andrea Shapiro’s Theatre Committee recently performed Vietnam: Protest in Verse, the puppet play given at the International Days of Protest rally, at a SNCC benefit in Ann Arbor. The play, with its eight foot high puppets as characters, was received so well, it was decided that it will be presented at Michigan State University and Wayne State University. If you are interested in having the play performed for your group or school, let us know. Besides this project, Andrea’s committee is gathering poems and passages from literary works for a series of peace readings.
LETTERS TO SERVICEMEN
In an effort directed toward the people who are actually paying the price of “Johnson’s folly,” a committee headed by Fred Baker is sending letters to servicemen in Vietnam along with “The Whole Thing Was A Lie,” an article by Don Duncan which was reprinted from Ramparts magazine. This article by a former Green Beret, who spent eighteen months in Vietnam and was nominated for two battlefield decorations, should have more of a favorable effect than a letter from the Detroit Committee.
Several members of the education committee have prepared a leaflet for mass distribution at supermarkets, tying rising food prices and inflation to the war in Vietnam. It also mentions other things Americans will be called upon to sacrifice if the war continues, such as higher taxes, loss of aid to education, and Great Society programs, and calls upon the recipient of the leaflet to write his congressman. The leaflet was aimed at the fears most expressed in a recent national survey done by Stanford University in California.
We want to begin distribution in all sections of the city and suburbs and need a large number of people to do so, especially housewives. If you are interested, please contact the committee office.
THE GI TOLL IN VIETNAM: 19,066
Killed in Action: 2,958
Missing or Captured: 237
Those Selective Service Tests
The Selective Service System will be giving College Qualification Tests on May 14, May 21, and June 3, 1966. The tests will be given to college students and high school seniors planning to go to college. While the test is voluntary, students in the lower parts of their classes can expect to be drafted if they do not take and do well on the test.
The DCEWV, cooperating with SDS, will hand out leaflets at the tests at each center on all three dates, dealing with conscientious objection and opposition to the war in Vietnam.
These tests will bring a large number of students together in one place, all thinking about the war and concerned about their chances of being drafted. It is clear that a large percentage of people who take the test will fall below the cut-off point and be drafted. For the peace movement, the test presents the best opportunity to reach those people whom the war touches most personally. The peace movement must grow to become effective. We must not let this important opportunity pass.
Jim Lipson, recently arrived from Ann Arbor, has just become a full-time staff member of the Detroit Committee, and is coordinating the campaign. If you can help work on this, please let him know immediately.
WCEWV Scheduled activities
An indoor campus re-showing of the puppet play put on at the Campus Martius for the International Days of Protest.
There will be a Committee picnic, May 7 at Belle Isle.
Its major activity will be a teach-in in early May on “Soldiers and the War”. The major invited speaker is Don Duncan. Plans for this are still tentative, but if he accepts, other speakers will be invited to discuss civil liberties, Negro GIs, etc. in the army.
The Committee has been holding weekly literature tables on campus and regular business meetings 2:30 Fridays in 128 State Hall. All are invited.
Anyone interested in any of these activities or in the Committee should contact Dave Werner at UN4-3393 or Marilyn Levin at 875-9870.
by Dena Clamage
Over the past few months, the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), in conjunction with various other groups and individuals, has been circulating the Voter’s Pledge, a card committing voters to support candidates in 1966 “who agree to work vigorously” for steps leading to “peace.” The Voter’s Pledge drive is to culminate in a Voter’s March for Peace in Washington May 14.
Last week the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam decided not to organize people to attend this march. It seems to me that this decision makes good sense for a number of reasons, both ideological and strategic. Ideologically, both the Voter’s Pledge and the demands of the march show a number of weaknesses. First, the solution to the Vietnamese conflict which the pledge proposes—”U.S. steps to scale down the fighting and achieve a cease-fire;…U.S. initiatives to encourage negotiations with all concerned parties including the Viet-cong (NLF); and…a settlement which permits the Vietnamese people freely to work out their own future”—is inadequate. It makes no mention of U.S. withdrawal of troops, either immediate or ultimate, the real precondition of self-determination for the Vietnamese. However, all this is more or less technical; as in the November 27th march, alternative signs could be carried. Furthermore, differences in slogans, an issue hotly debated within the peace movement, are probably irrelevant to most observers of the demonstrations; unfortunately, numbers count.
More serious, the Voter’s Pledge offers no constructive alternative to those who live in Congressional Districts where there is no peace candidate; it states only that we will “support and vote for” candidates who will work for peace. In districts where there is no peace candidate, are we to vote for members of the Johnson consensus? Or, should we rather provide our own alternatives through independent political action, at least in the primary races? The latter course is significant for both the ideology and the strategy of the peace movement; its omission from the Voter’s Pledge dilutes the SANE drive.
Such ideological problems are, however, probably easily reparable; as mentioned above, a show of force is sometimes more instrumental than ideological purity. What is more important, it seems to me, is that the march is strategically bad at this time in terms of the needs of the peace movement. Experience with two previous marches on Washington indicates that organizing for such national hoorahs requires the expenditure of a great deal of time, energy, and money. Generally, such organizing becomes the central focus of the group, monopolizing resources and diverting attention from other activities. In the past this has been justifiable; the peace movement was at the stage where concern about the war had to be aroused and a climate of dissent or, at least, uncertainty created. But that time is past. Uncertainty about the war has been created; we must now work to answer the questions we have raised. This requires steady, long-range educational programs; sporadic bursts of frenzied activity are not adequate.
The SANE march on Washington will not only divert resources from this type of organizing; it will also obscure the real issues now confronting the peace movement. We should no longer be thinking about how to get the same 300 people to Washington for another march. There are more important questions: how can we get across to people factual information about the war? In what ways does the war affect people’s lives? How can we use these areas of relevance? How much can we rely on the traditional mass media? Can we create our own? What about independent political action? Can it help us to educate people and mobilize them into meaningful organizations? Whatever happened to community organizing? Is it workable? Etc., etc., etc.
It is probable that in the future, we will again wish to turn to massive direct action. But for the moment, I see two basic priorities for the movement: First we must evaluate our movement, attempting to determine where it is, where it should be going, and how it’s going to get there. second, we must work to fill the vacuums which we have created, explaining the reasons for our dissent and organizing public sentiment into concrete opposition. At this time, the SANE march can only be a diversion from these priorities.
Let us shape the future by Carl Oglesby 10 cents
Carl Oglesby is President of Students for a Democratic Society. This speech was delivered at the November 27, 1965, March on Washington to End the War in Vietnam.
VIETNAM: INSIDE STORY OF THE GUERILLA WAR BY WILFRED BURCHETT REG. $1.95, $1.50
MARCH ON WASHINGTON SPEECH BY PAUL POTTER, FORMER SDS PRESIDENT 10 cents
AMERICAN ATROCITIES IN VIETNAM BY ERIC NORDEN, LIBERATION REPRINT 15 cents
VIET-REPORT CURRENT ISSUE HAS TWO PROGRAMS FOR VIETNAM, CIA vs “VC” 25 cents
VIETNAM: HISTORY, DOCUMENTS, OPINIONS, ED. MARVIN GITTLEMAN 85 cents
BUTTONS: DRAFT BEER; NOT BOYS 25 cents
PEACE (with dove) 25 cents
YANKEE COME HOME 25 cents
Okinawa—The Army announced April 15 that charges against Claude McClure and George Smith were being dropped after detaining the two GIs for four months. Smith and McClure had been held since being freed by the NLF after two years captivity. Upon their release both men made statements opposing the war in Vietnam and were spirited away by army officials. Both now deny making such statements. Shades of 1984.
Washington, D.C.—A law suit brought by Army Pvt Robert Luftig against his being sent to Vietnam was dismissed for the second time in Federal Court. Luftig contends that the war is illegal. He will appeal the decision.
Atlanta—The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) headed by Martin Luther King announced a resolution asking the U.S. to consider withdrawal from Vietnam. At the organization’s annual meeting the delegates pledged to fight more actively against the war.
Detroit—An Alice Herz Memorial Banquet will be held May 8, 5:00 PM at St. Josephs Episcopal Church. The featured speaker will be John Conyers, Jr. Tickets are $2 and may be obtained from Naomi Komorowski at TO9-5483.
New York—At a meeting of Democratic Party members, an audience of 6,500 persons including over 50 elected Democratic officials heard Senator Wayne Morse denounce the war and President Johnson.
New York—On April 16 wore than 5,000 persons marched in Times Square in response to the anti-government street protests in South Vietnam.
Detroit—The Detroit Women for Peace will begin a biweekly radio program on WDTMFM, 7:00 PM, Sunday, beginning Sunday, April 29.
New York—On April 14 150 persons demonstrated against the New York Stock Exchange carrying signs saying “Big Firms Get Rich—GIs Die” and “What’s Good for GM Isn’t Good for GIs.”
G.I. or C.O.?
For several months, the anti-war movement has been concerned with organizing around the draft, one of the areas in which the Vietnamese war most directly affects young people’s lives. In line with this approach, the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam has begun an educational and counseling program on conscientious objection, the only legal alternative to the draft available to young men who are opposed to using organized violence to solve ideological and, in this case, economic conflicts.
The Detroit Committee program extends into three areas. First, we have obtained a large stock of various C.O. counseling literature from American Friends Service Committee’ (AFSC), the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO),Students for a Democratic Society (SDS),and the War Resisters League (WRL). This literature is listed below.
Second, we have begun mass leafleting on the Wayne State University campus, using leaflets produced both by our own members and by the SDS group in Ann Arbor. These leaflets are being used to educate people and to announce the third programmatic area: c.o. counseling meetings.
In terms of this third area, we will be co-sponsoring with the Wayne Committee to End the War in Vietnam a program on the W.S.U. campus Friday, May 6, 1:30, in the D.D. Henry Lounge of McKenzie Hall, featuring Mr. Arlo Tatum Executive Secretary of the CCCO. This program represents the kick-off for a series of meetings on conscientious objection, featuring c.o. counselors, people who have already received their c.o. status, people whose status is in the appeal process, films on c.o., etc.
Besides this, we will be helping to publicize two other upcoming meetings: a SEMINAR ON CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION Friday, May 6, 6:00, at Central Methodist Church, featuring Mr. Tatum and Henry Hitt Crane; and a CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR COUNSELOR WORKSHOP Saturday, May 7, 9:00 a.m. at the Central Methodist Church, sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Ann Arbor office of the A.F.S.C., the Methodist Board of Christian Social Concern, and other Detroit organizations.
Handbook for Conscientious Objectors, CCCO, $.50
Guide to Conscientious Objection, SDS, $.10
G.I. or C.O., WRL, Free
The Draft Law and Your Choices, AFSC, Free
Plus Assorted Leaflets, Free
Where do we go from here?
by Frank Emspak
The efforts of local groups have demonstrated through the second International Days of Protest, the genuine unpopularity of the war in Vietnam. It is that increasing unpopularity on which we must capitalize to create the type of nation wide pressure that will actually end the war.
In considering the course of future action, we must examine what type of pressure is needed to reach our first objective, i.e., an end to the war in a way that ensures a permanent peace in Vietnam. This would mean recognition by the U.S. government that Vietnamese independence is not negotiable and that the Geneva Accords, which include the removal of American troops, must be implemented. A second objective is the prevention of other Vietnams. Already U.S. troops are taking part in anti-guerrilla actions in Peru, Columbia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. These are only a few of the numerous examples which make a reexamination of total U.S. foreign policy a necessity.
The first objective of an end to the war, I think, can be achieved without a fundamental change in U.S. policy as a whole. In support of this I would offer the end to the Korean War. I believe that rising taxes, casualty rates, prices, and inflation will provide an increasing basis of political discontent around which we can organize pressure to end the war, but we must also create an understanding of how foreign policy is actually made if other Vietnams are to be avoided. This latter will take much longer. We will have to establish the fact that foreign policy is undemocratic and is made undemocratically, that those who control it do not have the interests of the American people at heart, and that the interests of our movement are the same as the interests of the popular movements in other parts of the world. It is obvious to many that Standard Oil of America and Ford have a direct say in foreign policy through their employees like Suak and McNamara. It is not obvious that the interests of these corporations are not the same as those of the American people. Nor is it obvious to most people that we do not control these corporations. We have to establish that it is because of the foreign interests of these policy ‘makers, and not because of the interests of America as a whole, that more Vietnams will occur and growing numbers of American youths will go off to war.
Although I do not believe that the radical change needed in this country is a prerequisite to ending the Vietnam war, a radical change will be necessary to fundamentally alter our cold war foreign policy and prevent other Vietnams. As we build strong indigenous groups that will in time grow powerful enough to force an end to the war, there will be a natural movement, as has already begun, to discuss the war’s wider implications. In order to end the war, we must concentrate on organizing enough political sentiment to make it impossible for the present government to continue its war policy.
Perhaps the most unusual anti-draft protest took place in February in Elk River, Minnesota, where Barry Bondhus dumped two buckets of human excrement into the files of his local draft board. Bondhus was arrested and released on 410,000 bond. He is the second oldest of ten sons whose father is opposed to any of them serving in the armed forces. According to the FBI young Bondhus refused to take his pre-induction physical as ordered on February 15, 1966.
STOP THE WAR IN VIETNAM NOW!
—Big Firms Get Rich—While GIs Die!
PICKET STOCK EXCHANGE
Two examples of the many profit-makers who are strong supporters of the war are the producers of napalm and aircraft. These profits are up 55 to 125% based on war contracts—while casualty figures of GIs dead, wounded and lost in action are up 800 to 1,000 per week.
THURSDAY MAY 19, FORT ST. BETWEEN SHELBY AND GRISWOLD, 1:30 P.M.
See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.