Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Irwin Silber's `About The GI Movement" Article Revisited: Part 2

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:

"...Almost three years ago, as anti-war GIs began to realize that almost no one except lifers and the brass were in favor of the war, the dissent began to take on an organized form. GIs at various bases began publishing their own underground newspapers. Salty, outspoken, increasingly political, there are more than 50 such papers regularly published today. Some of them have a circulation as high as 15,000 copies per issue. The papers appear everywhere--including some which are epublished in Vietnam, Germany and Japan. Stockade rebellions, protesting the Army's racist system and the inhuman treatment accorded military prisoners, broke out in dozens of camps--including posts in Vietnam, German and Japan.

"Desertions from the U.S. Army reached an all-time high, while AWOLs sky-rocketed to the point where the military conceded there were more than 150,000 such cases in 1969 alone. GIs began organized letter campaigns and petition movements in opposition to the war, in support of the struggles of blacks, Mexican-Americans, students, working people and others in the civilian populatlion, and in protest at the brutalizing conditions within the armed forces. Mess hall boycotts, sick-clal strikes, and various other `on the job' actions spread throughout the ranks--particularly in conjunction with coordinated mass civilian anti-war actions.

"The movement is more than one of spontaneous dissent, however. The basis for a widespread movement exists in the reality of the opprression of the ordinary GI, and particularly his victimization as the one who is asked to give up the most--his life--for the least. But it also took the conscious and concerted efforts of politically motivated activists to help this movement find its voice and its organizational forms."

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