The Vietnam Anti-War Movement: A Study of Communist Tactics In America

History, socialism, Terrorism, Virtue Signalling

When it comes to military might, few would disagree that the United States is unsurpassed, not only for its size and strength, but for the number of victories it has racked up in its short history. Until the mid-20th century, the United States had not lost a single war its armies engaged in, including one against its own people. Americans were used to winning, and it was the solace that they took in this winning spirit that in large part fueled their patriotism; and at no point in time was this sense of patriotism more untarnishable than after World War 2.

Less than 20 years later, however, that sense of patriotism would be tested to its limits during the Vietnam War, when the liberals and neo-Marxists of the American Left would use every tactic they could to undermine America’s war effort.

Communism and the Left: A Short History

The American Left, known by different names at different times in the country’s history, but always rooted in the same ideology: anti-nationalism, draped in soothing totalitarianism. In the post-Marx world of the 20th century, that ideology was now called “communism” and it was all the rage among European Jews who emigrated to the U.S. during the rise of Nazi Germany.

However, those refugees from Europe did not plant the seeds of Marxism in the United States, but merely watered the ones that had already been planted by the likes of Mary Harris Jones and the Socialist Labor Party. Those seeds took root within and through the labor movement, and through the eventual affiliations of labor unions with socialist politicians.

By the early 20th century, the seedlings had had bloomed. Socialist politicians were winning elections to various offices across the country. In the 1912 presidential election, Socialist Party of America candidate Eugene V. Debs tallied almost a million votes. The party’s staunch anti-war rhetoric during WWI helped to garner the same candidate an almost equal number of votes in the 1920 presidential election.

World War II

At the outset of WWII in 1939, Leftists in America began their next big anti-war movement, called the “peace movement” at the time. Groups like the American Peace Mobilization rallied left wingers against England and its survival against Nazi Germany. For 42 days in May-June of 1941, the American Peace Mobilization rallied outside the White House to pressure the Roosevelt administration to cut off aid to England.

Then on the night of June 21st, all protests abruptly ended. It was the day that Germany invaded Russia in violation of the Non-Aggression Treaty both countries had signed. At this point, the American Left suddenly started to pressure Roosevelt to enter the war on behalf of England and its allies. Less than 6 months later, he granted their request after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Left has never been shied away from revealing its true motives, even when the obviousness of their intentions is comical.

During the short period of peace before the Korean War, the Left was able to unite again to promote its anti-Western agenda, freshly invigorated thanks to the influx of new refugees infusing European communist ideas into the socialist movements already at work in the U.S. Aiding in their cause was the inclination of these refugees to work in the fields of mass communications and politics, two areas that played the most prominent role in shaping American culture.

With no war on the horizon, and hence no anti-war effort to promote their cause, the Left turned to the culture war and dismantling America’s identity. They attacked military leaders–some of the same ones who had just led America to victory—by turning them into personalities, and then attacking that personality. They tapped into the American people’s conscience and played on its penchant for feeling guilty (a human trait not shared by Marxists). They did this freely and openly, in the guise of journalism and the “free press,” as they still do today.

It wasn’t until one man stood up against what he saw as the infiltration of communism into the American psyche that the Left was put on the run and had to defend themselves in front of the entire nation. One man who would not back down against the Left and all of their powerful institutions. That man was U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Post-War Communism and Joe McCarthy

With the nation still riding high with patriotism after its victory in WWII, it was with shock and surprise when in 1950, Sen. Joseph McCarthy gave his famous “Wheeling Speech” in which he claimed to know the names of communists working within the State Department. To be sure, the news media portrayed the speech as if it shocked and surprised most Americans, but what may be closer to the truth is that the media was shocked and surprised that McCarthy had the audacity to call the communists out. After all, the Socialist Party of America and the Communist Party of the United States of America had been fielding candidates for office for years. Americans knew they were in the country. It wasn’t a far stretch to believe they were working in the government by now.

Eventually, McCarthy’s hunt to root out communists became part of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which was tasked during the 1950s with investigating communists and communist sympathizers within the Hollywood film industry. Sen. McCarthy has often been maligned for his role in this, and is often portrayed as a paranoid dictator for the black-listing that occurred in Hollywood as a result of HUAC, a committee he had no direct involvement in since it was a House committee, and which was created in 1938, long before McCarthy became a Senator.

His cause has often been labeled a “witch hunt”, but in retrospect, there can be little doubt in the minds of conservative, patriotic Americans that the witches did in fact exist, and McCarthy knew where they were hiding.

The Korean War

Paralleling McCarthy’s rise to prominence in the anti-communist front was the start of the Korean War in the summer of 1950. Communism had become the new enemy of the West with the advent of the Cold War, and here was the first “hot war” of that world-wide clash of ideology. 

Although wrapped in the cloak of a battle of North versus South Korea, it was obvious that it was the first battle of what was to become the Big 3 of the Cold War era—the United States, China and the Soviet Union—and it was obvious that the battle lines were drawn ideologically.

It can only be surmised that the reason the Left in America was not able to insert its communist sympathies into the Korean War is because it was too busy being hunted down by McCarthy, the HUAC, and the SACB (Subversive Activities Control Board). There is no doubt that without the distraction of having to defend themselves in front of Congress, and having to disavow themselves publicly of any affiliation with communism, Leftist filmmakers and politicians of the day would have been part of an anti-war effort–or worse, traitorous activities supporting the Soviet Union like those of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who conspired to give atomic secrets to the Soviets. Some might even say that the popular comedy show M.A.S.H., which ran during the 1970s and 80s and used the Korean War as its setting, was a retroactive stab at traditional America.

The Left, Front and Center: The Vietnam War

 Although they had not the time or resources to insert themselves into the Korean War, a new conflict had arisen for which the Left could devote their energies: the Vietnam War. Much like the Korean War, the Vietnam War was another ideological war of the free market versus communism. Although the battleground was the territories of North and South Vietnam, the real players—both overtly and covertly—were, again, the United States and the Soviet Union.

With the untimely death of Sen. McCarthy in 1957, communism survived its first big existential threat in the United States. The celebrations in Hollywood must have rivaled those of the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch of the West had died; and as is the usual treatment by the Left of their enemies, the parodies and slander that followed McCarthy throughout his career did not stop after his death. When faced with a real enemy that they perceive to have defeated, the Left will never allow the memory of that enemy to die.

Unburdened from the anti-communist McCarthy era, and with the U.S. once again fighting a communist surge on the other side of the globe, the Left was free to flex its muscle. It no longer had to sit back while their comrades battled the Evil Empire of the United States, a nation which it saw—and still does see—as illegitimate. But how to fight their own country without picking up arms?

The Anti-War Movement and the Media

During the 1960s (and until the 2010s), the Left controlled the media narrative. Every network news broadcast was tilted to the left, although the bias was hard to see at the time because there was no alternative narrative—except from the government itself and from conservative Americans, both of whom were portrayed as “out of touch” and the “old guard.” With all of the news media broadcasting only one side of the story night after night, it was easy for conservative Americans to begin to believe that they held the minority opinion, even though that wasn’t necessarily true.

The Left began by pushing their tried-and-true tactic—the anti-war movement. They tapped into the wide-eyed, eager-to-hope youth of the United States to energize their movement, which was a divergence from the tactics employed earlier in the century and during the 1800s when they looked to prove the benefits of Marxism to displaced laborers. Using constant negative news about the war, feeding it into the young TV Generation—with an additional dose of Marxism being slipped into curriculums at liberal universities—it was fairly easy to manipulate the rebellious nature of the young and impressionable to the Left’s favor.

Until the mid-1960s, the Left was happy to plug away with this tactic. Instances of upheaval—such as the Cuban Missile Crises, the Bay of Pigs, and JFK’s assassination—along with communist victories like the Soviets beating the Americans into space—helped to accent their worldview of a chaotic America whose illegitimacy was being exposed by omnipotent forces and serendipity. This played directly into the fears of a predominantly Christian nation, with the added bonus of slightly tarnishing America’s reputation as the pre-eminent superpower. 

By the mid-1960s, the Left had hoped that their narrative had injected enough doubt into the minds of ordinary citizens as to America’s exceptionalism that their sense of patriotism would soon give way to calls for their sons to come home from war. The Left hoped that these ordinary Americans would join in the opposition that they were fomenting among America’s young people. To their dismay, this did not happen to the extent they would have liked.

Turning the Nation Against Itself

In a November 1964 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jack Weinberg, a member of the New Left movement and organizer of many anti-war groups, was famously quoted as saying “We don’t trust anyone over 30.” It was promoted by Leftists in America as a rallying cry for the disgruntled youth of America. Loosely translated, that means it was the Left’s first attempt at driving a wedge between children and their parents, which is one of the most insidious teachings of Marxism. The anti-war movement now had its first slogan, the first of many. 

The Left also embraced the hippie counter-culture—or rather it embraced the youthful tendency toward rebellion underlying it. They also embraced the upheavals in predominantly black neighborhoods, such as the Watts riots of 1965, for its rebellious symbolism. The news media gladly broadcast the images on the nightly news, along with the daily death tolls from the war, in the hopes that Americans would see the images of their country crumbling and realize that the demise of Western Civilization was inevitable.

For the most part, the working class of America didn’t buy into the anti-war movement that was sweeping the country. It’s true that some war-weary Americans began to question the viability of a protracted war across the globe, but this sentiment wasn’t engendered by the anti-war movement, even though the leaders of the movement tried to convince its adherents otherwise.

Average Americans tended to look at the movement for what it was: drugged up teenagers and college kids caught up in a haze of modern bolshevism, being taken advantage of by communist sympathizers. For the record, the leaders on the Left knew that those average Americans were right. 

By 1966, support for the Vietnam War remained strong, even with people under 30 years old. The Leftist media in the country knew that something had to be done, or the misery of their comrades in North Vietnam would be prolonged. They decided to insert themselves directly and overtly into the middle of the war.

A Sheltered View of War

For all the talk of “revolution”—a hallmark of communist ideology—very few Leftists actually have the stomach for war. Modern Leftists seem to believe that civilizations are overthrown with rainbows, lipstick, and heavy drug use, and this belief was not much different during the “Make Love Not War” revolt of the ‘60s. The typical jack-booted communist shrinks at the sight of blood and violence. They believe that their own violence against people and property is always justified, and are horrified when they experience it firsthand.

The Left believes all people are just as squeamish about the reality of war and conflict as they are. To each new generation of communists, abhorrent violence is a part of man’s distant past, the gruesomeness of which is unknown to modern society; hence, they play up the violence that they pretend to abhor, believing (naively) that the rest of society is as yellow-bellied as they are.

Compounded with this attitude is the fact that communism is mostly taught in upper middle class homes and elitist circles. The children of communists usually live a sheltered life in gated communities and private schools, protected from the violence of everyday life. They never see the consequences of their beliefs played out in from of them, and are rarely the victims of the violence they espouse.

It was with this mindset that the Left felt in 1965 it was time to horrify Americans who hadn’t come around to their way of thinking. It was time to bring the war into the American living room. It was in that year that the national news networks somehow convinced the U.S. military to allow reporters unfettered and unvetted access to military operations in Vietnam. From that point on, support for the war began to sway to the left.

War Is Reel

In 1966, CBS sent Dan Rather to Vietnam and embedded him with American troops. He was allowed to report and film whatever he pleased, and CBS broadcast his reports nightly, heavily edited yet under the guise of being raw and unfiltered.

The tactic worked better than even the Left probably envisioned. Unemployed teenagers and college kids began hitting the street, carrying signs with anti-war messages, led by contemporary Marxists such as Weinberg and Abbie Hoffman. Almost overnight, the communist Left had successfully brought the chaos of war that was being inflicted on their comrades in North Vietnam to America.

To be sure, it was the most successful combined effort of the news media to propagate anti-war American guilt since the radio news networks hired actors to read the New Yorker magazine issue devoted entirely to the bombing of Hiroshima in 1946.

Infesting the Culture

Invigorated by the advantage they had been handed by the news media, the Left now began their next front in the battle for American opinion: pop culture. Hollywood and the music industry had stayed on the perimeter of the anti-war movement for the first half of the 1960s. Now it was time to enlist them in the front lines.

By 1968, folk and psychedelic rock music had decidedly become mouthpieces for the anti-war movement. The drug-soaked “counter-culture”, as it was called, was oozing its way into the American mainstream, regardless that the mainstream had no need or want of it.

TV shows like “Laugh-In” parodied the counter-culture as harmless Americana, yet were so enamored with the anti-war effort against the Johnson administration, that they inadvertently contributed to the election of a republican president—Nixon—by featuring him in a now famous cameo on the show, where he delivered the program’s signature punch line, “Sock it to me!” Seeing Nixon in the company of the stars of a popular TV program which embraced the hippie culture, combined with the anti-Johnson sentiment across the country, no doubt influenced some of the youths of the anti-war movement to vote republican in the 1968 election.

In 1967, an off-Broadway musical called Hair began performances in small theatres around New York. It was basically a summary of the entire Marxist anti-war movement: drug use, promiscuous sex, and generally rebelling (literally and figuratively) against conservative society, particularly parents. By April of 1968, it was (unsurprisingly) a Broadway hit.

The worldwide anti-war movement’s self-validation was solidified with the release of the Beatles album The Beatles in November of 1968. Songs like “Back In The USSR” and “Revolution” left little doubt in the minds of protestors whose side the band was on. When John Lennon sang, “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow”, it wasn’t a call for protestors to distance themselves from the communist dictator, but rather to keep their communist beliefs under wraps in order to not harm the anti-war movement. Later, in early 1969, John Lennon and his wife would hold their famous “bed-ins for peace” in Amsterdam and Montreal.

Woodstock: The Last Hurrah of the Peace Movement

The climax of the counter-culture movement of the 1960s came in the summer of 1969 with the Woodstock music festival in New York. For four days, a farm in Bethel, NY, became the Mecca for every hippie in the United States. It was at this point that I personally believe that the Left felt their control over the political direction of the country start to slip out of their hands.

Woodstock was not an anti-war movement. There were no revolutionary chants. Woodstock was the result of years of feeding into the rebelliousness of youth by luring them into a Marxist revolution with free love and drug abuse. Those same youth were tired of hearing all the political jargon. Marxist revolutions tend to wear on anyone who’s not a dyed-in-the-wool Party member, which only the media and their propped-up celebrities were.

The temptations that were used to sway the youth of America to the Left’s way of thinking had now become the only reason they were there. Woodstock was billed as “Three Days of Peace,” a half-hearted attempt at linking the concert to the fractioning anti-war movement. It was peaceful, but not in a coherent protest way. It was peaceful because everyone there was stoned out of their minds.

Desperate Times

The Left was winning the culture war, but at what price? The youth that they depended on for enthusiasm for their ideology had succumbed to heavy drug use and the pursuit of their own sexual gratification. Protests had given way to “love-ins.” The anti-war movement had become a peace movement. The youth had grown weary of fighting. Pacifism was winning the day in the counter-culture.

To any sane, rational mind, this would seem like the ultimate victory for an anti-war movement; except that the Left never saw this undertaking as anti-war. To the communist Left, this was just one step in the process of bringing down Western Civilization in the United States. The anti-war message was just a means to an end, not the end itself.

The flame of Marxism that had been kindled in young Americans over the past half-decade was going up in smoke. The Left was desperate to keep moving forward. The youth needed to be jolted from the slumber that their own rebellion had led them into. It was time to shake things up.

Desperate Measures Pt. 1: The Kent State Riots

As is usually the case, when Marxists get desperate, they try to incite violence. This violence usually takes the form of protests led by speakers who whip the protestors into frenzy. Then, when an opposing force—for instance, the police or military—is faced with defending itself from the frenetic energy of the mob, the protestors use this as an excuse to attack. It is the hallmark of the radical Left, and a tactic used since the early days of Marxism in America, dating back to the violent labor strikes of the late 1800s. That tactic was on display for the whole country to see at Kent State University in May of 1970.

Since the previous group of teenagers had now become useless drug addicts and degenerates due to the effects of Marxist teachings in the mid-60s, the Left turned to the next generation of teenagers to revitalize their movement. As usual, they tapped into the endless source of impressionable youths on college campuses once again.

The Youth International Party (known as “Yippie”) was an anti-war Marxist/anarchist group founded by Abbie and Anita Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Nancy Kurshan and Paul Krassner. They used street theatrics to promote their anti-war, anti-America message, and were once referred to lovingly by ABC News as the “Groucho Marxists.”

On April 10th, 1970, Jerry Rubin spoke on the Kent State University campus, where he told a gathering of students, “The first part of the Yippie program is to kill your parents. They are the first oppressors.” Two weeks later, Bill Anthrell—a member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an arm of the New Left—spoke on campus spouting similar polemic rhetoric.

On May 1st (May Day in Communist Russia), a group of about 500 protestors calling themselves World Historians Opposed to Racism and Exploitation (WHORE), gathered on the student Commons area of campus, ostensibly to denounce the Cambodian Incursion operation that President Nixon had announced the day before. Some protestors shouted “Bring the war home!” and a sign hanging from a tree asked, “Why is the ROTC building still standing?” The first statement is one of the strategies of the Marxists, as has been explained previously in this article. The question on the sign will become relevant shortly.

Around midnight that night, a group of people left a bar on North Water St. in the Kent downtown district and began throwing beer bottles at passing police cars and smashing storefront windows. Other people joined in the vandalism, and by the time the police showed up to disperse the crowd at Main St., there were estimates of 120 people. The crowd made their way to the Kent State campus (where local cops deferred jurisdiction to campus police), and continued to throw rocks and bottles at the police until tear gas canisters were released and the crowd dispersed.

The next day, government offices and private businesses began receiving threats of violence and property destruction. Kent’s police chief received credible information that the ROTC building was going to be targeted by protestors. A decision to send in the National Guard was made at 5:pm. By the time the Guard arrived at 10:pm, the ROTC building was on fire.

In President Nixon’s Commission on Campus Unrest, pg. 215 states that “Information developed by an FBI investigation of the ROTC building fire indicates that, of those who participated actively, a significant portion weren’t Kent State students. There is also evidence to suggest that the burning was planned beforehand: railroad flares, a machete, and ice picks are not customarily carried to peaceful rallies.”

Firemen who were attempting to put out the fire were hit with rocks, as were National Guardsmen who made numerous arrests.

Protests continued on May 3rd, until the National Guard began enforcing an 11:pm curfew. On May 4th, a protest which was scheduled 3 days earlier convened at noon in the Commons area. Protestors threw rocks and shouted at National Guardsmen, who eventually tried to use tear gas to disperse the crowd. Because of the prevailing winds, the tear gas was ineffective.

What happened the next day depends on whose account of the story is being told. On May 4th, 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio, either a) the National Guard were advanced upon by rock-throwing protestors and defended themselves, b) a shot was fired at the Guardsmen after which they began firing on the students, or c) the Guardsmen gathered by the burning ROTC building, knelt down and started firing indiscriminately at protestors. 

Whatever actually happened that day, one thing is clear: the Left won the battle. They now had martyrs for their cause. They had seduced these young men and women into believing wholeheartedly in their failed socio-economic radical ideology. Those men and women unwittingly became the footsoldiers of the New Left, the Youth International Party, the SDS, and all the other “revolutionary” movements of the late 6os. They were taught that they were invincible, that they were the warriors for the new great society that their leaders were going to build. Their leaders never told them, however, that sometimes warriors get killed.

Violence Breeds Violence

No matter what the Left stands for at any given time, one thing they’ve never believed in is peace, regardless of their anti-war slogans. They don’t look to live under peace with anyone except their own kind. Their idea of “diversity” means lots of different looking people who all think the same exact way.

They long for violence, and to justify their violence, they incite violence. Up until the Kent State uprising, the great majority of anti-war protests were actually peaceful in essence; however, they were also meant to antagonize mainstream America into a reaction. After waiting all during the 60s, the Left had had enough of peaceful antagonizing. It was taking too long. Kent State showed that if protests were tweaked a little, the violent reaction that Marxism feeds on would occur.

After Kent State, college students across the country started protesting. More scenes like Kent State played out where protestors and National Guardsmen were injured or killed during on-campus riots. The riots caused by a “peace movement” march in Washington D.C. were so horrific that President Nixon had to be flown to Camp David for a time until the police and military could get the city under control. Communism was in full swing across the country.

Desperate Measures Pt. 2: Domestic Terrorism

Having radicalized every major university campus in the country, the Left collectively decided that it was now time to take violent anarchy out of the classroom and bring it into mainstream America in a more “adult” way. It was now time to tap into newly graduated crop of Leftists marching out of university, and pair them up with the leftover pseudo-anarchists from the late 60s who hadn’t been seduced into drug addiction.

There were so many violent radicals ready to do the Left’s bidding that domestic terrorist groups seem to spring up everywhere overnight, eager to bring chaos and destruction to major U.S. cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Groups like the Weathermen Underground Organization (a faction of the SDS led by Bill Ayers), the New World Liberation Front, and the Symbionese Liberation Army, combined with black supremacist groups like the Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party, were responsible for most of the domestic terrorism that occurred in the 1970s.

Ostensibly, the WUO, NWLF and SLA were part of the anti-war/anti-establishment movement born in the 1960s. However, with the U.S. stepping up negotiations to end the war in Vietnam in the early 70s, and yet the bombings by these terrorist groups intensifying, it became clear by the mid-70s that their intentions had nothing to do with an anti-war movement, and had everything to do with destroying America.

After the Kent State incident, the Left was riding high on its preferred mode of social upheaval, which is protests by disgruntled and easily manipulated young people. The Left used the shooting at Kent State to spur on even more violent protests. It must have surprised even some of the highest ranking communists in liberal camps that, even after 4 of them had been killed by the National Guard, the young protestors were still willing to take a chance on getting injured or killed for Marxist ideals. 

However, considering that the targeted bombing of civil and private establishments in large cities began just months before the Kent State shooting, it is obvious in hindsight that Marxists in America had already started taking the next violent steps in inflicting their communism-or-else ideology on the United States. Indeed, it seems that the anti-war protests were now something “for the kids” to radicalize their latent energies while they progressed through college so they could be full-fledged communists by the time they graduated.

This fact is seen clear in the down-trend of anti-war protests starting in 1970, while bombings and other domestic terror attacks by Leftist groups steadily grew. In 1970, there were 11 incidents of either specific protests or mass anti-war protests. In 1971, there were 7 incidents of specific or mass protests. In 1972, there were 5 incidents of protest, and in 1973 only one, which occurred on Inauguration Day. In contrast, bombings and other domestic terrorist activities by Marxist groups steadily increased during the same time, and continued to increase for the rest of the 1970s long after the Vietnam War ended. It seems Nixon’s “Peace With Honor” withdrawal from Vietnam was not enough for the so-called “peace movement.” If their comrades in North Vietnam were not able to defeat the United States, their allies back in the States were going to try to do it for them.

Conclusion

The terms “anti-war” and “peace movement” during the Vietnam War were nothing more than code words for Marxism. It was also the Left’s first departure from using working class laborers to push their agenda, and instead implementing the newest weapons in their arsenal—Hollywood and college campuses. The peace movement turned out to be a springboard into outright planned violence and domestic terrorism. From this model, it is easy to see the tactics of the modern Left taking place in American society, and in other Western countries. We should learn from this exposition, and heed its warnings. Ignoring the canary in the coal mine at this point could cost us more than just a peaceful existence. It could cost us our civilization.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

Dan Rather with 25th Division, South Vietnam (video)

“Hiroshima”, The New Yorker, Aug 31 1946

The Bombings of America That We Forgot, Time, Sept 20, 2016

The Other Half of History: Why No “Peace” Movement In WWII?

The Report of the President’s Commission on-Campus

Traitor: “Hanoi Jane” Fonda

 

Author: John Arbor

John Arbor grew up dodging alligators, snakes and mosquitoes in the swamps of Louisiana. His hobbies include triggering neo-Marxist snowflakes on social media, training his family to be a right wing death squad, and mowing the lawn. He also likes puppies. He can be reached at john.arbor@yandex.com

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