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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Report On Anti-War Actions
April 5-6 was a smashing success for the antiwar movement across the country. In New York, 100,000 people marched behind an enthusiastic contingent composed of hundreds of active duty servicemen. In San Francisco a large GI contingent was supported by a march of 20,000. The same numbers turned out in Chicago to support the GIs there. We will have reports on other areas of the country in the next issue.
One of the most gratifying things about the actions fro us in GI-CAP was the number of telegrams we received saying that they had been given inspiration and valuable lessons by the highly successful GICivilian peace march that we held here on Feb. 16.
Since we had held a march so shortly before these international days of protest, we responded to the mobilization call by organizing a conference on the war and GI rights. On the first day, we had testimony on the effects of the war and the army on different parts of the population, and on the country as a whole. Speakers included Aaron Dixon of the Black Panther Party, Sidney Mills, an Indian civil right activist recently released from the Ft. Lewis stockade, Ann Fetter from the Resistance and the ACLU, and Bill Massy of the Young Socialist Alliance. GI's moderated the meeting and made the fund raising speech. The highlight of the day was Terrence Hallinan's moving indictment of the army in the case of the Presidio 27. Hallinan is currently defending 14 of the so-called mutineers, and he told us the background to their cases. He described the filth of the stockade, the vicious punishment of the "black cell," the suicide attempts which the army has scornfully dismissed as "gestures" - and how the army punishes for such attempts - and finally, the murder of Pvt. Bunch. These conditions finally led to a rage and horror which compelled these young men to conduct their peaceful protest. Hallinan declared that his clients should not be given 15 years, or 2 years, or even 6 months, but instead should receive medals for extraordinary heroism. The audience must have agreed, because he was given a standing ovation.
On the second day of the conference, there were workshops on nonviolence, GI organizing and defense, the relation of the war to other American policies, etc. In the afternoon we all met back together again to discuss in a body. There was a discussion of the demands listed elsewhere in the paper, and of the necessity for a public, broad-based, and widespread defense of GI rights. There was general agreement that the GI and civilian movement need each other, but that GI's need to play the primary leadership role in GI organizing while the civilians have to take responsibility for organizing their own large and supportive civilian groups and demonstrations. We plan to continue this discussion at future meetings of GI-CAP.
--Sp/4, Ft. Lewis
Counterpoint, vol. 2, no. 8