Last night I dropped in a fundraising benefit for a film about GI antiwar activism during the Vietnam War. Its relevance was made clear by the presence of a leader of Iraq Veterans Against the War, an organization that now has several hundred members and plans to march in force in Washington on Saturday.
The film is Sir, No Sir, directed by David Zeiger, who worked in the GI movement back in the day.
Featured in the film, and passionately supporting it, is none other than Jane Fonda, who explained she became an antiwar activist because of the GI's who opposed the war. She toured with an anti-Bob Hope-type show called F*ck the Army at the time, but always in the company of soldiers.
This is ironic, she noted, because of all the attacks on her by right-wing veterans who picture her as anti-military. She noted that the history of the antiwar movement has disappeared -- "abra-cadabra!" was the term she used to suggest that it was made to vanish by the media and politicians.
Of John Kerry, once a soldier-activist, she said, "If he had owned his participation in that struggle -- rather than denied it -- he might have won."
Fonda has lost none of her fire and, in a sense, she has come "home" to her roots after a long period of taking shelter when denigrated as "Hanoi Jane," a punching bag and symbol of distortion and derision by the right. She said she believes in a strong military, but not one that serves unjust wars.
She was not only a passionate speaker, but a great fundraiser. Events in Los Angeles and New York have probably raised more than $150,000 to help finish the film. Among those present last night were Air America Radio's Al Franken, Danny Goldberg and Carl Ginsburg.