Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Viet Cong Never Called Me a Nigguh!

Muhammad Ali


"I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The VietCong...
No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger" — Muhammad Ali, 1966

On August 23, 1966, Muhammad Ali embarked on the biggest "fight" of his life when he applied with the Selective Service for conscientious objector status on religious grounds (as a minister with the Nation of Islam). In what became an extensive legal, political, professional, and personal battle, Ali was convicted of draft evasion, stripped of his boxing title, and became a lightning rod — and a voice — for opinions on the Vietnam War. Muhammad Ali's willingness to speak out against racism in the United States, and the affect it had on domestic and foreign policy, earned him many supporters and detractors. In 1971, nearly five years after it began, Ali's legal battle finally culminated with a unanimous decision (8-0 with Thurgood Marshall abstaining) by the United States Supreme Court overturning his draft conviction. The following resources document his struggle, his views, and his influence.

Clay, aka Ali v. United States 1966-1971
Click here for resources detailing Muhammad Ali's fight against induction into the U.S. Army — from 1966 to 1971. It includes the full text of the Supreme Court decision (Clay, aka Ali v. United States), a 1967 CIA document describing a pro Ali rally, editorials and coverage from the Nation of Islam publication, Muhammad Speaks, and more.

Ali's Vietnam Legacy
Muhammad Ali's stance on Vietnam inspired admiration and hatred among many. Click here to find resources describing Ali's Vietnam legacy, including reactions to his being named "Athlete of the Century" by USA Today in late 1999, an Ali interview with National Public Radio from December 2001, in which Ali answers his critics, and more.


Source: Muhammad Ali — The Measure of a Man. (Spring 1967). Freedomways, 7(2), 101-102.
"No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people the world over. This is the day and age when such evil injustice must come to an end."
—Muhammad Ali

Source: "Muhammad Ali — The Measure of a Man." (Spring 1967). Freedomways, 7(2), 101-102.
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“You will kill ten of us, we will kill one of you, but in the end, you will tire of it first.”
― Hồ Chí Minh

Hồ Chí Minh 

Anti-War Demonstrators

Bay Area Asian Coalition Against the War

Link to Interactive 
Viet Nam War Timeline

Various Viet Nam sound clips
- Ho Chi Minh addressing the anti-war movement in English
Ho Chi Minh led the anti-colonial struggles against the French and the US. He was the first President of modern Viet Nam, declaring independence on September 2, 1945.
- Madame Nguyen Thi Bình appeals to the US Congress
Madame Binh served as Foreign Minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government and negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference. She has also been Vice-President, Minister of Education, and held other posts as one of the leaders of Viet Nam. (1972)
- Vietnamese Students
Protest demonstration by Vietnamese students, including US representative of the National Student Union of South Viet Nam, protesting repression in the southern part of Viet Nam under the Thieu regime. (1972)
- Dao Interview
One of the members of the Union of Vietnamese in the US, who were very active in the antiwar movement. (1976)
- Robert and Mabel Williams on Viet Nam
Leaders of an armed self-defense movement against the Klan in North Carolina, the Williams were forced into exile, first in Cuba, then in China.  For more on their story and struggle, see here.
- H Rap Brown - selections from a speech in 1967.
H Rap Brown (now Imam Jamil Al Amin) was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s.
- Huey Newton on the Black Panther Party and Viet Nam
Huey Newton was a founder and first Minister of Defense of the Black Panther Party. (1970)
- Martin Luther King, Jr
Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam. (1967)

- Geronimo ji Jaga on Viet Nam and Detroit
A leading member of the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles, Geronimo was a Viet Nam war veteran. He was falsely imprisoned for 27 years in a frame-up engineered by the FBI as part of their counter-intelligence (Cointelpro) program. For more, see here.
- Chican@ Moratorium Speech on Viet Nam War
The Chicano Moratorium was a broad-based coalition of antiwar Chican@ groups throughout the Southwest that organized a march of more than 30,000 in Los Angeles on August 29, 1970, in which four were killed by police. Rosalio Munoz speaks.
- Chican@ Moratorium Press Conference on Viet Nam War
- Native Americans on Viet Nam
A solidarity statement that emphasizes anti-imperialist commonalities between the Vietnamese and Native American struggles. John McClain speaks for the Bay Area chapter of AIM. (1975)
- Attack the Water - Janice Mirikitani
A San Francisco poet who often read at antiwar events, and brought forth her childhood experience in the concentration camps in the US during World War II that imprisoned Japanese-Americans. (1973)

The Long Haired Warriors from mel halbach on Vimeo. They were soldiers, activists and tortured as prisoners of war. This is a film trailer about Vietnamese women who struggled against American occupation and the South Vietnamese government during the war in Vietnam.

Viet Nam Victory - April 30, 1975

Liberation Forces Tank entering Saigon - From BBC "War of the Flea"
Victory from Freedom Archives on Vimeo.
April 30, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the victory of the people of Viet Nam over the US military. The Vietnamese national liberation struggle moved the entire world and is one of the most important historical events of the 20th century.
The people’s war waged by the people of Viet Nam, reaching a peak in the Tet Offensive of 1968, demonstrated that a united people, even in a poor and underdeveloped nation, could defeat the most powerful military and economic power on earth.
In an era when national liberation struggles surged in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the struggle of the Vietnamese people provided an inspiring example to solidarity movements around the world and inside the US. The movement against the war in Viet Nam in the US was inextricably tied to the early anti-imperialism of the civil rights/Black liberation movement, and many other movements of the 1960s and 1970s. 
The victory of Viet Nam is a living example that holds lessons for the ongoing struggle against US imperialism today.  We are creating this online tribute, much of it drawn from the Freedom Archives, to help illustrate and pass on these lessons.
From 1964 to 1972, the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of the world made a maximum military effort, with everything short of atomic bombs, to defeat a nationalist revolutionary movement in a tiny, peasant country-and failed. When the United States fought in Vietnam, it was organized modern technology versus organized human beings, and the human beings won.
- Howard Zinn from A People's History of the United States

The Chican@ Moratorium marches against the Vietnam War played a decisive role in ending that conflict (poster: Malaquias Montoya)

Colonialists, International Traitors, Think Carefully Before You Take Vietnam - To Lien (1978)

Women played a powerful, absolutely crucial role in Viet Nam’s liberation struggle, from the Trung Sisters leading ancient struggles against Chinese domination to the courageous participation of millions of women from north and south in the people’s war against the US Empire. Prominent leaders include General Nguyen Thi Dinh, a commander of the National Liberation Front, and Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, who led the delegation for the Front at the Paris negotiations. There were a number of meetings between Vietnamese women with women from North America and other nations during the war; the example of women in Viet Nam’s independence struggle had a profound impact on the antiwar and then resurging women’s liberation movements—and in fact inspired women all over the world. In her book, Women and Revolution in Viet Nam, Arlene Eisen quotes Bui Thi Me, then Minister of Health of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Viet Nam, as saying, when welcoming her to a liberated zone: “We are part of the worldwide family of militant women. The oceans cannot dampen our feelings of solidarity and love.”

One of the most powerful and often understated components of the movement against the war in Viet Nam was the unprecedented wide-scale revolt inside all branches of the US Armed Forces that essentially led to the breakdown of the military’s ability to wage war—the US military in all branches became unmanageable. At its height, the GI movement involved nearly half of all enlisted personnel. There were 300 antiwar GI newspapers, and many antiwar GI coffeehouses near bases throughout the US. For soldiers of color, who were predominantly fighting and dying on the front lines allegedly for “democracy” the contradictions were even greater, as activists inside the US struggled and sometimes died for a democracy that had so long been denied. On the battlefield itself, there were numerous incidents of rebellion, including “fragging”—the killing of officers by enlisted men. Even official statistics record hundreds of successful fraggings—and those only include incidents using explosives, not rifles or other means, nor the many threats of fragging that curtailed officer orders.  By 1970, the US Army recorded 65,643 desertions, roughly the equivalent of four divisions. There were also many thousands of draft refusals and an active draft resistance movement, including demonstrations such as Stop-the-Draft Week in Oakland, California and the public burning of draft cards in many cities.

We will fight and fight from this generation to the next - 1969. May 19: Birthday of Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh, two great revolutionary fighters for social justice and national liberation.

"It became necessary to destroy the town to save it."
― Unidentified U.S. Army major, Bến Tre, Viet Nam, February 7, 1968.
On Lynching and the Ku Klux Klan by Ho Chi Minh - 1924
Interview with Vo Nguyen Giap about People's War and Diên Bin Phû
Viet Nam War & Resistance Timeline


By the late 1960s Marvin X was a central figure in the Black Arts Movement in coast to coast and had become part of the Nation of Islam, changing his name to El Muhajir and following Elijah Muhammad. Like the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, Marvin X refused his induction to fight in Vietnam. But unlike Ali, Marvin X, along with several other members of the Nation of Islam in California, decided to evade arrest. In 1967 he escaped to Canada but was later arrested in Belize. He chastised the court for punishing him for refusing to be inducted into an army for the purpose of securing White Power throughout the world before he was sentenced to five months imprisonment. His statement was published in the journal The Black Scholar in 1971.
Despite his reputation as an activist, Marvin X was also an intellectual, and a celebrated writer. He was most concerned with the problem of using language created by whites in order to argue for freedom from white power.

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