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The Four Stages of the Antiwar Movement


The Four Stages of the Antiwar Movement

Bill Zimmerman

The 10-year movement to end Vietnam was a complex phenomenon that evolved strategically as circumstances changed.

New groups exposed President Nixon’s escalation of the bombing war, named the corporations profiting from it, publicized the torture of political prisoners in the “tiger cage” prisons of South Vietnam, pushed scientists to boycott war research and denounced the use of toxic defoliants like Agent Orange.


War or Peace.

If you had your choice for yourself, your children, and your grandchildren, which would you choose?

We must no longer allow a very small group to profit from the Death and Human Suffering that goes with War.

Let your voice be heard, and tell the 1%, We don’t want your fucking War!

Tell them, and tell them again, and again…


Another component was reactivation of support networks for CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS.

One of the best clearing houses for background and active support is the War Resisters League. From counselling to cross concerns such as police militarization, the wisdom of vets and selling broken rifle Tshirts as a fundraiser, they are also mounting resistance to the bellicose Trump administration reactions to North Korea.


This article deserves more attention because it illustrates the strategic thinking, variety of tactics, and patience required to build a powerful social movement - the kind we desperately need today to confront climate change, endless warfare and an increasingly global oligarchy. That movement ended the draft, helped end the war, and stymied or weakened U.S. imperialist efforts for almost two decades.

Significantly, “electing progressive candidates to office” was only a minor piece of that antiwar strategy - yet elections seem to be a fixation for many on the Left today. We have collectively forgotten how to build social movements, and need to relearn quick.


Good point. What we have today is the calculated effort at normalizing endless war and some of the other things. Also, society wasn’t so splintered. Some things have changed.


Precisely. The social movement–grassroots, focused, steadfast, fearless–comes first, and drags a party behind it.

In our current political situation, there isn’t even a reason to bother with dragging a party along: Out of a social movement, totally new political leadership can emerge.


We need to keep opposing the existing wars:


But we also need to oppose the new wars Trump and the militarists want:

North Korea

I am hoping that the anti-war movement can build during this time when it’s a Republican buffoon like Trump who is promoting war. We have an opportunity here, let’s seize it.


This was a time where profits were not placed before humane values.


Do not forget


Zimmerman completely mischaracterizes the Pentagon march of Oct. 1967–it was aimed at the Pentagon from the beginning and was not an illegal march. Those arrested were those who crossed the MP’s lines or sat in at the entrance, none of the rest of us were arrested because we had a permit for the march. I have no idea why he got this so wrong, perhaps a bad memory and a failure to review the record of the events.


theoldgoat–thank you so much for posting the WRL. I will join that group today. Did not know such an organization had been around that long.


Amen. And the militarization of our local police forces, nationwide.