The largest anti-war march in 1967 had avoided the arguments about communism and mounted a successful, peaceful demonstration in San Fransisco. A coalition of old and new pacifists, leftists and civil rights workers had created the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (the MOB). Hundreds of thousands rallied behind Martin Luther King Jr. to march from Central Park to the United Nations.
In the Fall of that year, just before the annual draft, ten thousand SDSers participated in a street fight with the Oakland, California police. The anti-war movement was breaking away from King’s pacifism. They didn’t allow themselves to be dragged into police wagons. They charged police lines and retreated behind makeshift barricades in the street. Students at the University of Wisconsin tried the tactic of sitting in at a university building to protest the presence of Dow Chemical recruitment. They didn’t drag the protesters away, but used mace and clubs, that so outraged the public that soon the police were fighting several thousand. Dow produced the napalm used against soldiers, civilians, and landscapes of Vietnam. It was first developed during WWII by scientists at Harvard, and was a perfect example the military using educational institutions to develop military weaponry. Originally, napalm was the name for a thickener that could be mixed with gasoline and other incendiary material. In Vietnam, the mixture itself was called “napalm”. It turns the flame into a jelly-like substance that allows it to be shot at a considerable distance when under pressure, and sticks to the target, whether human or vegetal. Of the 71 demonstrations mounted on college campuses, 27 were directed against Dow Chemical.
People have been commenting that our generation needs new tactics. They say that our generation has been using the same tactics that the 60s generation has used, and that we need to get past that. I’m not exactly sure why. They claim their tactics haven’t worked. However, their tactics helped bring the end of the war. Likewise, our tactics should be modeled closely to the SDS tactics of the 60s, but less militant. We should use their framework, which we have. But we also have new technologies, and I think we should develop those. We ought to use our technological capabilities to reach newer audiences, to break through the ideological barriers.
As far as I’m concerned, this means creating counter-hegemonic films, creating anti-war media spectacles, counter-hegemonic spectacles, projecting media alongside highways, and counter-recruiting in public places.