First Published: Guardian, October 11, 1969.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Millions of Americans may participate in antiwar actions this fall.
Different kinds of demonstrations are being scheduled to accommodate virtually every political inclination to the left of President Nixon, from mild church meetings to actions organized by the Progressive Labor party denouncing the Paris talks and. by extension, the Provisional Revolutionary government for participating in them.
In general, however, the political content of most of the demonstrations will be for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. The tactics, except for Weatherman SDS’s protests in Chicago Oct. 8-11, will be largely nonviolent, relying instead on peaceful assemblies of masses of people.
Much of the action will be located on campuses, where antiwar feeling continues to escalate, despite political splits in SDS. Although student participation will be limited in SDS’s Chicago action– where two opposing SDS factions have called rival protests–hundreds of thousands of students will probably engage in the Oct. 15 “moratorium” and the student strike Nov. 14.
The Oct. 15 demonstrations, organized by the liberal Vietnam Moratorium Committee, may result in action on 500 to 1000 campuses. A second “moratorium” will be called Nov. 13-14.
The Nov. 14 nationwide student strike being organized by the Student Mobilization Committee, taking advantage of the antiwar enthusiasm generated by the more liberal moratoriums, may result in a considerable number of campuses closing down. Johanna Mismik, an SMC organizer, said the committee hopes “to shut down every campus in the U.S.”
Youth will also probably provide the bulk of support for the mass marches in Washington arid San Francisco Nov. 15 called by the New Mobilization Committee. Although some Mobilization spokesmen estimate 100,000 people may join the Washington march and rally, figures of a quarter-million are not inconceivable. Since the Washington action will take place on three days–Nov. 13-15–coinciding with the second moratorium and the student strike, many more thousands may be in a position to travel to Washington because they won’t be in school anyway.
Mrs. Coretta King, wife of the slain civil rights leader, will lead the “march against death” that is scheduled to begin near midnight Nov. 13, to initiate the Mobilization demonstration which will culminate in a mass march and rally two days later. She will be joined in the single-file procession that begins at the Arlington Cemetery in Virginia by Dr. Benjamin Spock, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin and others.
A number of liberal politicians may support the action. New Mobilization press spokesmen said a few Senators “have indicated their enthusiasm for the demonstrations. Their endorsement may follow. At least they’re on our side.”
At an Oct. 4 press conference in New York, Mobilization co-chairmen Dave Dellinger and Cora Weiss reiterated that the demand for immediate and total withdrawal of U.S. troops and materiel was the basis for joining the antiwar coalition.
Although the two national SDS splinter groups–Weatherman and RYM-2– plus the “second SDS,” are ignoring the Oct. 15 moratorium and thus far the Nov. 15 demonstration, many local SDS chapters have gone ahead with organizing for both actions.
RYM-2 plans a series of demonstrations in Chicago culminating in a rally and march through the North Side Oct. 11. The Black Panthers and Young Lords have indicated support for this march. The demonstration is not likely to cross the Weatherman who promise to “kick ass” in a march through the Chicago loop the same day.
WSA-PL-which calls itself the “real” SDS–has staged several demonstrations urging “No negotiations-U.S. out of Vietnam now,” a reference to the Paris peace talks and a criticism of the Vietnamese revolutionary leadership for making “deals” with the U.S. to end the war.
The Weatherman faction has tried to build support for its Oct. 8-11 actions by staging “jailbreaks” at a number of high schools. In Boston last week, for example, Weathermen invaded English High and got into a scuffle resulting in the injury of a gym teacher. Angry high school students, believing Northeastern University SDS was responsible, marched several hundred strong onto the Northeastern campus Oct. 3 chanting “Down with SDS.”