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SDS Call for a March on Washington (1965)

The War Must Be Stopped

Our aim in Vietnam is the same as our aim in the United States: that oligarchic rule and priviledged power be replaced by popular democracy where the people make the decisions which affect their lives and share in the abundance and opportunity that modern technology makes possible. This is the only solution for Vietnam in which Americans can find honor and take pride. Perhaps the war has already so embittered and devastated the Vietnamese that that ideal will require years of rebuilding. But the war cannot achieve it, nor can American military presence, nor our support of repressive unrepersentative governments.

The war must be stopped. There must be an immediate cease fire and demobilization in South Vietnam. There must be withdrawal of American troops. Political amnesty must be guaranteed. All agreements must be ratified by partisans of the "other side"--the National Liberation Front and North Vietnam

We must not deceive ourselves: a negotiated agreement cannot guarantee democracy. Only the Vietnamese have the right of nationhood to make their government democratic or not, free or not, neutral or not. It is not America's role to deny them the chance to be what they will make of themselves. That chance grows more remote with every American bomb that explodes in a Vietnamese village.

But our hopes extend not only to Vietnam. Our chance is the first in a generation to organize the powerless and the voiceless at home, to confront America with its racial injustice, its apathy, and its poverty, and with the same vision we dream for Vietnam: a vision of a society in which all can control their own destiies.

We are conviced that the only way to stop this and future wars is to organize a domestic social movement which challenges the very legitimacy of our foreign policy; this movement must also fight to end racism, to end the paternalism of our welfare system, to guarantee decent incomes for all, and to supplant the authoritarian control of our universities with a community of scholars.

This movement showed its potential when 25,000 people--students, the poverty-stricken, ministers, faculty, unionists, and others--marched on Washington last April. This movement must now show its force. SDS urges everyone who believe that our warmaking must be ended and our democracy-building must begin, to join in a March on Washington on November 27, at 11 A.M. in front of the White House

[from: Takin' it to the Streets: A Sixties Reader. Edited by Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines. pp: 226-227. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. (MOFFITT: E841 .T28 1995)

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