Ft. Jackson GI speaks out

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Fifth Estate # 89, October 2-15, 1969

Andrew Pulley, one of the leaders of the Ft. Jackson GIs United Against the War in Vietnam, wound up his speaking tour in the Detroit area Sept. 25, by addressing the first meeting of the Third World Vietnam Solidarity Committee.

GIs United was initiated at Ft. Jackson by Pulley and other black and Puerto Rican GIs who held meetings to discuss the war and the racism rampant inside the armed forces. The GI anti-war movement grew rapidly.

Several mass meetings were held on base during which the war was openly discussed and opposed. At one of these spontaneous “rap sessions”, Pulley along with seven other organizers of GIs United were placed under arrest.

After a sixty-day stay in the stockade and a long-winded court-martial Pulley and the others were acquitted, establishing firmly the constitutional right of all GIs to organize and express their political views.

At the Detroit meeting Pulley, who has been on tour for the GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee since his discharge from the army in May, stressed the importance of black and third world peoples entering the fight to end the war.

Pulley sighted the victory of the Ft. Jackson Eight against the brass as an example of how a strong and organized anti-war movement can force the government to back down. Had it not been for the massive civilian support they received, Pulley said, the eight GIs would probably be in the stockade today.

Pulley also called for the building of mass demonstrations not only as the best way of defending the Vietnamese liberation fighters but also as the best way of ending the wasteful slaughter of black and third world youth who are “drafted from their struggles for liberation here at home to be used in suppressing the liberation struggle of another colored people.”

In keeping with Pulley’s urgings, the Third World Vietnam Solidarity Committee endorsed the Fall Offensive Against the War called for by the July 4 weekend anti-war conference in Cleveland.

Plans were made for the building of the November 14 international student strike and the November 15 March on Washington. Also discussed was the possibility of a Detroit-area student strike October 15.

* * *

DETROIT (LNS)—Harold Johnson, 74, has resigned as chairman of the Tuscola County, Mich. Selective Service Board as a protest against the Vietnam war.

Johnson said, “For some time now, I have felt serious reservations about my activities as chairman of the board which is engaged in the recruitment of young men for a cause which I cannot dedicate my total loyalty to. I am not convinced that the war in South Vietnam could be defended as a morally and legally proper course of action.”

Related

See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.

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