This started out as a reply to Super’s Diary but it became a bit of a rant…a purging of demons as it were…I have no answers…back then I thought I did, now, I know I don’t.
I wish I didn’t have to comment here…I really just wanted to read what people had to say and get a sense of what and where the ground is. But, wishes aside, the gentrified, homogenized, pasteurized, sanitized for your protection “protests” that occur today are a far cry from those of the 60’s and the 70’s.
As I stated above, I don’t know the answer, but I do know that change is not going to be effected, nor are problems going to be resolved, or influenced in an appreciable manner, until people are in the streets en masse, every week, in every city, on every campus, week in and week out. The big marches and the national media coverage at the time were made possible by the local stuff…things like DJ participates in…think globally, act locally…it all builds…but everybody’s too complacent…put an anti-war bumper sticker on your Prius and call it a day… that ain’t gonna work…I’m sick of limousine liberals and neocon hawks and doves and elephants and jackasses who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. The goddamned keyboard brigades, left, right and center, should just STFU and get out there and put their asses in the street…pisses me off…more than it should probably, but jezeus mofos…bah!!!!!
Most of the people…hell, all the people poo pooing the demonstrators are sadly misinformed and hung up in the “glory and rightousness” of their own petty bullshit. There wasn’t any fucking glory then…it was dangerous and people got hurt, killed, thrown in jail, disowned by their families, cast out of their communities, forced to leave the country, chastised for their beliefs…it was fucking painful, it was fucking brutal. I went to more goddamned funerals by the time I was 23 than most people go to in a lifetime…I buried one hell of a lot of friends due to that war and watched too many of them come home fucked up mentally and physically. I was there when we got gassed, got the shit beat out of us, got harassed, arrested, bailed people out of jail, and helped people find refuge. Damn! I really hate going back there…it’s really hard…it brings back the pain…truly makes me just want to cry…scream…grab somebody by the throat and just pound on their dumb asses…it brings back all the craziness and insanity of it.
As to the straw man arguments being put forth by some, here’s an interesting read about “What Happened to Vietnam War Resisters?” from the American Friends Service Committee…an organization I would recommend that anyone contemplating resistance to contact…that may shed some much needed light on the actual scope and number acts of civil disobedience of both civilians and military service members of the time as well as the magnitude of the prosecution of those who did so:
Draft Law Violators – During the entire Vietnam War, 209,517 young men were formally accused of violating draft laws. Government officials estimate that another 360,000 were never formally accused. Of the former group, 25,000 indictments were handed down; 8,750 were convicted; and just under 4,000 served jail time.
Military Resisters – It is difficult to say how many military service members were prosecuted for offenses growing out of opposition to the Southeast Asia War. Most estimates consider the rates at which service members went AWOL (absent without leave) or deserted – commonly referred to as “absence offenses.” AWOL and desertion rates hit an all-time high during the Vietnam War, 1971 and 1972 being the peak years. The Pentagon documents 1,500,000 instances of AWOL and desertion during the war. Official estimates of the actual number of service members who went AWOL or deserted run between 500,000 (Pentagon) and 550,000 (officials in the Ford Administration). It is important to remember that not all service members who received bad discharges for offenses related to the war were absentees. Adding other types of anti-war activities for which service members were prosecuted significantly increases these figures. Many went to jail and/or received bad discharges.*
complete article HERE
As I posted in BooMan’s On Bloggers and Demonstrations post yesterday, The demonstrations of the 60’s and 70’s fundamentally changed the political landscape. Too many good people paid too high a price for those changes to have them be lost.
I thought we solved this 40 yrs ago…I don’t want to do it again, I haven’t the strength.
Reprise: this is what protest looks like: