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War Protest Grows

The National Vietnam Moratorium Committee has scheduled a nation-wide protest against the war on October 15. Although the committee purposely avoided the term "strike", businessmen, workers, students, teachers, soldiers and concerned citizens have been urged on that day to abstain from "business as usual" and actively work for peace.

The National Vietnam -Moratorium Committee envisions a mass campaign similiar to that employed by Senator McCarthy last year to spur an end to the war. The call of the committee says in part: Ending the war in Vietnam is the most important task facing the American nation. Over the last few years millions of Americans have campaigned, protested, and demonstrated against the 'war. Few now defend the war, yet it continues. Death and destruction are unabated; bombs and fire continue to devastate Vietnam. Billions of dollars are spent on war while urgent domestic problems of this country remain unattended. Moreover, the war has had a corrupting influence on every aspect of American life....

The discredited policies of the past which have brought about this American tragedy have not been changed. We follow the same military advice which has created a futile and bloody conflict while we cling to the same policies which have caused the Paris negotiations to falter. The token displacement of 25,000 troops over a three month period simply is not the substantial change of policy that is so desparately needed.

Thus it is necessary for all those who desire peace to become active again and help bring pressure to bear on the Administration.

We call for a periodic moratorium on "business as usual" .....

If the war continues this fall and there is no firm committment to American withdrawal or a negotiated settlement on October 15, participating members will spend the entire day organizing against the war and working in the community to get others to join us in an enlarged and lengthened moratorium in November. This process will continue until there is American withdrawal or a negotiated settlement."

Anticipated activities include reading the roster of local war dead, teachins, planting "trees of life", canvassing neighborhoods to discussing the war and to distribute anti-Vietnam-war leaflets, citizens meetings and petitions of support for the moratorium.

At the national level, over 500 colleges and universities have endorsed the war protest and pledged to work for peace on October 15. Business groups, professional organizations, and labor unions have likewise expressed support for the moratorium. On Oct 7 over 20 US Senators and Congressmen, led by Senators McGovern, Kennedy and Goodell, intend to introduce a resolution before the Congress indicating support for the war protest and calling for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of American troops fro' Vietnam,

The Nixon Administration has already revealed its apprehension over this scheduled demonstrations. At a press conference on Sept 30, the President expressed his concern lest the American people "bug out" rather than buckle down to prolonged war. The Vietnam Moratorium Committee plans to accelerate demonstrations each month, devoting two days in November, three in December, and so on until "Congress or the Administration promptly ends the war."

Here in El Paso, activities have been scheduled to coincide with the National Moratorium. At the University of Texas at El Paso, student groups and faculty members have endorsed the protest and organized demonstrations against the war. The American Friends Service Committee intends to work in the community at large discussing the war and its social and economic impact.

Fort Bliss GIs For Peace has also formally endorsed the Moratorium and suggested a series of proposals which would effectively protest the war. They include: a boycott of messhalls, telephone calls to local radio and TV stations letters to Congressman Richard White of El Paso and hometown newspapers, cancellation of savings bonds, and a day of silence. In addition to these proposals, GIs are being urged to participate in demonstrations on the UTEP campus and in El Paso proper after normal duty hours .... Paul Nevins....

Gigline, vol. 1, no. 3

 

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