Sunday, May 30, 2010

Irwin Silber's `About The GI Movement' Article Revisited: Part 1

In the booklet that's included with Paredon Records' 1970 vinyl album, FTA!: Songs of the GI Resistance Sung by Barbara Dane with active-duty GIs, former Sing Out! magazine and U.S. Guardian radical newsweekly editor Irwin Silber wrote--in his "About The GI Movement" article--the following:

"Soldiers in the U.S. Army, stationed at Ford Gordon, Georgia, organize a `War Crimes Commission' to investigate the American military machine.

"More than 100 GIs, held prisoner in the stockade in Fort Lewis, Wash., sign a petition supporting the Vietnam Moratorium Day and stage a mess hall boycott for one day.

"Hundreds of U.S. Marines march in an anti-war parade through the streets of Oceanside, Calif., home of Camp Pendleton, largest Marine training camp on the West Coast.

"GIs at Fort Hood, Texas, mimeograph copies of the political program of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (formerly the National Liberation Front) and distribute them to onlookers and participants in a peaceful demonstration in Houston.

"The Commanding Officer at one of the largest military bases in the U.S.A., Fort Dix, New Jersey, confines his own troops to barracks during an anti-war demonstration for fear they will join the demonstrators. He polices the action with MPs flown in from another base, figuring his own Military Police might be too sympathetic to the protestors.

"19 stockade prisoners at the Presidio in San Francisco, California, sit down in the center of their enclosure and sing `We Shall Overcome' as a protest against inhuman treatment of GIs.

"More than 40 military bases throughout the country cancel traditional Armed Forces Day celebrations (May 16), concerned that anti-war demonstrators will `invade' their bases and propagandize the GIs.

"Incidents such as these, only occasionally publicized in the U.S. press, are occurring daily at the camps, bases and installations of the self-proclaimed most powerful military machine on the face of the earth. Widespread disaffection right within the ranks of the U.S. military has become one of the major political and logistical problems for the Pentagon, whose policy planners have become the High Command of international counter-revolution.

"It is a problem they did not anticipate. Just as the orthodox military mentality has no way of coping with the realities of `people's war' in Vietnam, so the elite officer corps of the U.S. brass, contemptuous of their own enlisted men in the first place, cannot comprehend the depths of alienation and outright political opposition which have infected every branch of the armed forces..."

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