Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Take the War to the People

Published: The Revolutionary Youth Movement newspaper, n.d. [1969]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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(This resolution, passed by the June 1969 SDS National Convention, was submitted by Mike Klonsky, NIC member; Marilyn Katz, Chicago; Marv Treiger, the Bay Area RU, and others.)

The rebirth of the American revolutionary movement has been closely linked with the heroic struggles of the Vietnamese people fighting against US imperialism for national liberation. This struggle has been like a beacon to all the oppressed peoples of the world, showing them that the power of the people is invincible in the end. The Vietnamese fight has served to heighten the consciousness and level of struggle here within the heart of the monster. The youth movement can trace its heightened development directly to the early resistance to the war on the part of youth, who were the first to recognize the contradictions and gain the understanding that the war in Vietnam served no one but the rich.

We must understand the dialectical relationship that exists between the struggle in Vietnam and the class struggle in the US. Each blow we strike against US monopoly capitalism is of multiple benefit not only to the Vietnamese but to all other oppressed people as well. Just as the Vietnamese have been kicking ass despite seemingly insurmountable odds, we too have been advancing our struggle to win the masses of the American people to the fight against imperialism. Our task now is to convert mass sentiment against the war into mass action capable of ending the war.

The proletariat is the key force in the fight against imperialism and is the class that is hit hardest by the developing crisis in the system. It is working people who pay for the wars of oppression with their lives and their labor. The crisis in imperialism has meant triple taxes, cutbacks in safety, speed-up, falling wages, and death on the front lines to working people, Black and brown workers have been hit the hardest and black people have led in the resistance movement against the war. The rebellions in Detroit, Watts, etc. have been the vanguard actions against US imperialism in Vietnam by bringing the war home. Two divisions of troops were sent to Detroit instead of to Vietnam to put down urban insurrections.

The imperialist system is increasingly vulnerable. Inflation is running wild and the international monetary system is approaching crisis. This situation, as well as the mass work of the anti-war movement, has already won a majority of working people to opposition to the war. However, we are at a point now, primarily due to the tremendous victories of the Vietnamese and the over-extension of manpower and resources of the imperialists, where the demand “Get out of Vietnam Now” takes on a new aspect. The Vietnamese taking the war to the people of the world by way of their heroic action have won the support of the masses of people throughout the world. Our rebuilding of a militant class-conscious movement against the war, here in the mother country, can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and makes “GET OUT OF VIETNAM” a reality.

In practice, this means a revival of the mass movement against the war, elevated to a higher level of militancy which will be powerful because of the working class base and leadership. Some people might think that by winning large numbers of working people to our mass actions, the level of militancy of those actions will drop. In actuality, increased numbers of working people will raise the level of our militancy. To understand this, you only have to watch the response on the part of workers when their wildcat strike is attacked by the pigs. Our youth movement is one of the important roads to the working class. It is young workers that are the ones who must fight their class brothers in Vietnam. They are also hit hardest by layoffs. Young workers are also generally easier to break away from national chauvinism. Through the young workers, we can extend the movement against imperialism into the working class as a whole.

Our movement is presently facing a new level of attack on the part of the reactionary forces. Repression has escalated, particularly against the black liberation struggle. Responses to this repression on the part of our movement have varied and sometimes have meant mistakes, playing right into the hands of the oppressor.

Reactionary attacks have led some people to forget about our primary task of winning the masses to the struggle. They have turned inward and withdrawn from mass struggle.

There has been a tendency to forget about militant actions and the need to build a fighting movement.

We should see an increase in actions against the war and imperialism as a revolutionary response to repression. By taking the issues to the people, we do exactly what the repression is aimed at stopping us from doing. Repression attempts to isolate the revolutionary elements from the people and turn them inward towards themselves. As we take our movement to the people, the level of tactics will be elevated. A fall action could be coordinated, for example around the trial in Chicago of the Conspiracy 8, making it clear to the people that we will not be scared off by repression and fascist attacks.

The Vietnamese, through the formation of the new revolutionary government, have shown us what internationalism means. They have a program of support for the struggles of oppressed peoples in Africa, Asia, Latin America and black people in the US. Our response must be to win the masses of Americans to support of the struggles of the oppressed nations for self-determination. This is the primary way in which we can break the chains that tie them to capitalism.

Up until now, lack of international solidarity on the part of US white workers has meant that they were objectively scabbing on the rest of the world proletariat.

One of the ways in which we build this solidarity is by attacking white supremacy. We should see that white supremacy and national chauvinism are key factors in the war in Vietnam and that the war is a white supremacist war. By attacks on white supremacy, we can also connect the war in Vietnam to the war in the black colony in the minds of the people.

Therefore, we must develop a program for the summer and fall which:

(1) builds a broad based attack against imperialism;
(2) drives that movement into the proletariat and fights for proletarian leadership within the anti-imperialist movement;
(3) raises the level of militancy of this movement as a response to repression;
(4) makes the demand “IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL FROM VIETNAM” an operative rather than simply an agintational demand.


(1) SDS should call for a mass action against the war for Sept. 26-28 in Chicago. This should be a broad based action that attempts to involve the most people possible in militant struggle. The demands should include:


(2) The NO should produce literature which explains the implications of the crisis in world imperialism and cam show working people how they are being screwed by imperialism in Vietnam and throughout the world, including here at home.

(3) We should build a program over the summer that builds toward this action by taking the issues to the masses of working people. This can be done through a program of work in factories and in working class communities by taking our anti-imperialist politics with us. We should attempt to build revolutionary collectives wherever we work that can study revolutionary theory, apply it to practice and do criticism and self-criticism while developing a program in a collective way. This is also an important step to building a party of the proletariat, which is necessary if victory against imperialism is to be achieved.

We should build toward work stoppages and strikes and mobilizations of workers who are won to the fight.

(4) We should call on soldiers in the army to hold demonstrations during this period. We must work to develop programs within the Army that raise anti-imperialist consciousness and aid any such existing programs. We should avoid the mistake of economism in GI organizing, which limits organizing to GI rights issues. We must attack the notion that anti-imperialism and support for black liberation cannot be raised in the military because of the severe repression. We should support the fight for basic rights of GIs and fight to inject anti-imperialist consciousness into those struggles. In the past year, there have been tremendous struggles fought within the military which have been mostly black-led and which have struck at the heart of imperialism.

One of the best examples of proletarian internationalism was the revolt of the black GIs at Fort Hood during the Democratic Convention who refused to march on their class brothers in the streets of Chicago.

(5) A student strike should be called for the week of the demonstrations, making it clear that students will not sit by with their noses stuck in textbooks while imperialism is plundering the peoples of the world.

Through mass struggle and militant action we can turn the imperialists on their ear. Mao says that “all reactionaries attempt to stamp out revolution by mass murder, and they think that the more people they massacre, the weaker the revolution will become. But contrary to this wishful thinking of reaction, the facts are that the more people the reactionaries massacre, the greater the strength of the revolution becomes, the nearer the reactionaries are to their doom. This is an irresistible law.”