Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Rick Cumings

’mouthpiece of the empire’

Blood On Agnew’s Hands

First Published: The Stanford Daily, Volume 161, Issue 35, 7 April 1972.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew is coming to Palo Alto tomorrow to speak to the California Republican Assembly. To show why thousands of people are going to make Agnew answer for his crimes of justifying, propounding, and rationalizing genocide and racism inside and outside America, it is necessary to get to the root of those crimes.

A key foreshadowing to the Nixon Doctrine of pulling out the troops from Southeast Asia while heightening the bombing of North Vietnam and Laos can be seen in Agnew’s statements, “We can’t win a ground war in Asia” (Face the Nation, May 3, 1970), and “our policy is neither one of gradual withdrawal nor of unwarranted intervention in Asian affairs. As a Pacific power we will remain in the Pacific.” (Canberra, January 14, 1970). It is essential to understand the actuality of these remarks, which results in the use of anti-personnel cluster- and guava-bombs designed to tear the limbs off Vietnamese people, cripple them psychologically, defeat their morale, and extend the War as long as possible.

What should be done with people of color or whites who oppose the Nixon Doctrine at home? According to Agnew, they should be cut off from society “with no more regret than we should feel over discarding rotten apples from a barrel” (Harrisburg, June 31, 1969). Continuing on the same line, he stated, “. . we’re always going to have a certain number of people in our community who have no desire to achieve or who have no desire to even fit in an amicable way with the rest of society.


And these people should be separated from the community, not in a callous way, but they should be separated as far as any idea that their opinions should have any affect on the course we follow.” (London, July 1970). What is a non-“callous” way of “discarding rotten apples from a barrel?” By murdering them, or sterilizing them and taking their kids away, or having them kicked off the faculties of universities (Bruce Franklin)? According to Agnew, all of these ways are justified and even desirable.

Regarding the Attica prisoners’ revolt, Agnew spouted, “To compare the loss of life by those who violate society’s law with the loss of life by those whose job it is to uphold it represents not simply an assault on human sensibility but an insult to reason.” (Washington, September 17, 1971).

Spiro T. Agnew is thus largely responsible for this and other forms of violence perpetrated against a people that has been brutalized for 400 years and will be no longer.

How should society deal with the oppressed peoples of the world? Make sure that they either never come into existence or that they grow up in “good homes,” according to Agnew. Speaking on “skyrocketing welfare costs” before the Governors’ Conference in Sacramento, January 14, 1971, Agnew said that the Government must decide “sooner or later” whether it should take away the children of unfit welfare mothers:


“I have a theory that these problems will never be subject to complete solution until somebody in public life is willing to take on the hard social judgments that very frankly no one that I know in elective office is willing to even think about.

“If a woman has not taken care of her children properly, who is going to say to that woman, “We are going to take that child away from you – the natural mother – and put that child somewhere where it will receive proper care.”

“Who is going to say to a welfare mother who has three or four illegitimate children who are now charges of the state, “We’re very sorry but we will not be able to allow you to have any more children?”

Agnew of course found that “somebody in public life,” – no less than Governor Ronald Reagan. Chairman Robert Mitchell of the California Social Welfare Board, appointed by Reagan to serve as an advisory panel to the State Department of Social Welfare, asserted that “... a woman does not have the right to have as many illegitimate children as she chooses . . . that is not normal in our society and it is not acceptable to our society.”

Once again we are faced with a Government that is supposed to protect the rights of its citizens, instead of conceiving ways it can take away those rights and the millions spent on welfare (poor and working people have to pay out more in taxes to the Government than they get back in welfare – see Up Against the American Myth, p. 136), while at the same time billions are being spent on the “defense” of our foreign investment all over the world and especially in Southeast Asia. And once again we find Agnew’s genocidal, racist theories reaching their endpoint in the physical and psychological destruction of Third World people.

“... when a Panther leader vows to ’chop off the head’ of a United States Senator, another threatens to ’slit every throat that threatens our freedom,’ the seeds of violence are sown and flourish.” (September, 1971).

Agnew pays no attention, of course, to the real violence of property laws in the U.S., which can send a man to prison at five years to life for stealing 70 dollars. Those laws keep Agnew and his class in power.

It was for supposedly advocating (based on no evidence) violence to property that Bruce Franklin was fired from the faculty. But how can two Black Panthers or Bruce Franklin be compared with the incitement to violence provided by Agnew, who has thousands of police, national guardsmen, and armed forces at his disposal?

This article shouldn’t be reduced down to the often-heard solution of silencing “extremists” on both sides, however. What it comes down to is this: either you side with Agnew’s policies of racism, genocide, and violent oppression, or you side with the Peace Union, the Committee for Just Rewards for Agnew, Bruce Franklin (Venceremos),and the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, etc.; all those who are struggling for a world in which each person is able to develop his abilities to the fullest.


(Rick Cumings is a member of Venceremos and the Committee for Just Rewards for Agnew.)