May 2, 2014

50 years ago today: "May 2, 1964, saw the first major student demonstrations against the war in Vietnam."

"In New York City, 1000 students marched through Times Square to the United Nations to protest what was then called 'U.S. intervention' on behalf of the legitimate government of South Vietnam. More than 700 students and young people marched through San Francisco. In Boston, Madison, Wisconsin, Seattle, there were simultaneous smaller demonstrations. A start, but nowhere near enough. Nowhere near enough because very few students even knew about the war, or if they did, knew what it means, or what they could do about it. Now thousands know the nature of the war in Vietnam and its corollary deceit in the press and in our universities, and its concomitant at home. The May 2nd Movement calls that war and the resulting lies about it at home the products of an imperialistic system."

From "What is the May 2nd Movement?," a historical document preserved at The Sixties Project.

A Google news search on the term "the May 2nd Movement" turns up nothing, and I'm not finding anything more general about those protests. I'm particularly interested in the protests that took place here in Madison, and you might think Madison folk would be likely to commemorate 1960s protest. But a news search on "madison wisconsin vietnam" only brought up a couple of articles predicting the level of disorder that may occur on this, the weekend of the Mifflin Street Block Party, which, we're always told, originated in 1969 as a Vietnam War protest.

From protest to beer fest... and no one takes note of the half-century anniversary of the first major Vietnam Protest.

59 comments:

EDH said...

"What is the May 2nd Movement?"

International Socialism, a day late and a dollar short?

Shouting Thomas said...

I was one of the first in Illinois. Encountered the traveling Berkeley teach-ins at the University of Illinois during the summer of 1966. Published editorials against the war in my teeny-tiny home town paper soon afterward. The editor, good Illinois Republican that he was, believed in freedom of speech.

The war was wrong and it was a disaster for the U.S.

Over the years, however, I've had to confront the damage done by turning against our fathers and refusing to do my duty.

Ultimately, this had led to the empowerment of people like Althouse and her philosophy of relentless destruction and sabotage of the Judeo-Christian tradition of our fathers. God forgive me for being involved in setting this insanity in motion.

Had I know back then that this was where it was going, I'm not sure what I would have done. Too late.

betamax3000 said...

Day One of the Great Decline.

Big Mike said...

Maybe to commemorate the anti-war movement in Madison they can blow up another science building and kill one or two more post-docs.

Darrell said...

They were too busy celebrating their world holiday the day before. And picking up their signs and slogans.

David said...

Were there celebrities? Did Walter Cronkite notice?

I lived in NY in 1965 and was involved in anti war protests then. It was very orderly and sedate. And small. And not mostly students.

sojerofgod said...

I wonder who put them up to that. What "agent provocateur" was at work from the communist bloc countries to stoke this fire? According to http://www.americanwarlibrary.com/vietnam/vwatl.htm
there were 23,300 "troops" in country in '64. A pittance compared to the overall forces of the Us at the time. While it was news, the war was not the evening news staple it became and it surely was not the crisis imagined a few years later. The takeover of the universities by Marxists had begun years before and I really believe that they got marching orders to stir up a student revolution that the Marxists though would bring down the West and usher in their brand of Utopia. Didn't work out quite as planned, though the slo-mo implosion of this country can be linked back to its beginnings here. May 2 should be a day of mourning.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Doing away with the draft seems to have calmed things down a bit.

Kevin Walsh said...

It was all about the draft.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


The true issue was not the war, but the Draft. No draft (meaning, all volunteer military like today), no 60's protests.

Conscription was the evil, being a combination of kidnapping and slavery, with a disparate impact on males.

Curious George said...

May 2nd, my birthday.

Illuninati said...

"The May 2nd Movement calls that war and the resulting lies about it at home the products of an imperialistic system"

May 2, 1964 marks the anniversary of the date when the left emerged from the shadows and began to take over American universities.

SGT Ted said...

As well they shouldn't take notice of it, much less celebrate it.

They should be embarrassed they were dupes for the Communist North Vietnamese Government and the USSR that caused the war to be stretched out and gave hope to a totalitarian government that they could win.

That successful protest movement, fronted by the USSR, was also the start of all the Stalinist anti-free speech PC bullshit we are enduring today, as those radicals infested the Academy and have inculcated their Marxist world views into the curriculum, free from accountability for their support of genocidal totalitarians.

AJ Lynch said...

I am going to be 62 next month. I saw a bunch of friends last week - 10-15 guys who hung out on the same street corner in Philly 45 years ago. Someone brought up Vietnam and how it was really not a big life event or deal to us since we all missed being drafted / involved by only a year or two. Sure it affected the guys a few years older than us but not us and none of us ever protested that war.

I think, in many ways, the media and other baby boomers made it a larger thing than it really was.

traditionalguy said...

Point of order. Using May 2 1964 date as opposition to Viet Nam war reveals this is a history from standard Communist front demonstrations against the America's cold war opposition to noble Communist Peoples Insurgencies.

There were no American military forces at war in Vietnam at that time. There were special forces advisers, but the were not fighting until February 1965.

This demonstration pre-dated Gulf of Tonkin by three months and LBJ's the landing of Marines at DaNang by ten months, and popular opposition to war casualties and the Draft by two years.

cassandra lite said...

No draft now, so no interest. No draft in the 60s would have meant no protests then either. Of course, it would also have meant no war, at least not a half million-men war.

St. George said...

Ask 1,000 college students today what the words...

Donetsk
Senkaku
and
Benghazi

mean....

FWBuff said...

"Dude, that was like 50 years ago."

jono39 said...

As a founding member of New England SDS in 1964, I can assert that the student movement had zero effect on the Vietnam War which ended when we were defeated by the enemy. Since then the fantasy of the student movement overthrowing the war has steadily grown. One result has been the empowering of a thoughtless and effect less leftist campus culture in the US which is thoroughly poisoning our politics and eliminating any possibility of political discourse and debate.

Phil D said...

I was too young to be interested in the anti-war protests. I have a vague recollection of some of the last.

But what I do remember VERY well that there were never protests against the communists (for who murder and mass murder were never but an instrument) nor any protests when Saigon fell, when Phnom Penh fell and what happened after.

I have always considered communists to be murderers but since then I have also considered most of the left and its fellow travellers (what you call "liberals") to be no better than nazis.
And there is nothing today to change my mind on this, to the contrary.

AllenS said...

I went to Viet Nam with the 3rd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade (Sep) in the fall of 1967. On A company's roster there are 182 names. Only 11 of them were draftees, and I was one of them.

IIRC, only about 24% of VN veterans were draftees.

mccullough said...

Once the student protestors themselves came to power they confirmed the belief that they were cowards, fools, and self-centered assholes. Nothing to celebrate.

sojerofgod said...


5/2/14, 9:52 AM

traditionalguy said...
Point of order. Using May 2 1964 date as opposition to Viet Nam war reveals this is a history from standard Communist front demonstrations against the America's cold war opposition to noble Communist Peoples Insurgencies.

The takeover of the universities was well underway by this time. those infiltrations started in the 30's and 40's Anyone remember the beatniks? the Jack Kerouak (sp?) generation, being urged to step away from American culture and mock it? Why do people insist on believing all this was a random or spontaneous event when it so obviously was well planned?

Michael K said...

Student demonstrations against the draft. Once Nixon ended it, the demonstrations vanished.

Robert Cook said...

"The war was wrong and it was a disaster for the U.S.

"Over the years, however, I've had to confront the damage done by turning against our fathers and refusing to do my duty.

"Ultimately, this had led to the empowerment of people like Althouse and her philosophy of relentless destruction and sabotage of the Judeo-Christian tradition of our fathers. God forgive me for being involved in setting this insanity in motion.

"Had I know back then that this was where it was going, I'm not sure what I would have done. Too late."


So, you were sane and morally driven then, but now you renounce your own sanity and morality. In your own statements here you contradict yourself from the first paragraph to the next.

Following "our fathers" and "doing our duty" when our fathers are wrong and our duty is criminal is not the way to run a democratic republic. "My country, right or wrong," is a sure prescription for and description of Naziism.

Robert Cook said...

"I am going to be 62 next month....(I) missed being drafted / involved by only a year or two. Sure it affected the guys a few years older than us but not us and none of us ever protested that war.

"I think, in many ways, the media and other baby boomers made it a larger thing than it really was."


No, it was a huge deal, as devastating to our country in its way as the Civil War had been 100 years earlier.

I'm 58 and only just missed being of age to be drafted into the Viet Nam war by less than a year. How is it you (and your buddies), three or more years older, could have missed at least the possibility of being drafted into the war? You guys were in the prime age at the worst time!

Phil D said...

After Phnom Penh fell it was emptied in a week of its population. This was brought as "normalization" by the Khmer Rouge and the press sucked it up.

I was still in school (catholic) at the time. We had just some "project days" (one of the things we learned was how to protest "playfully" (ludiek)). My teacher of mathemathics mentioned that it was logistically impossible to empty a city in such short time, and that we shouldn't just believe what the media said. This was the ONLY time Indochina was mentioned, good-thinking western society simply not interested.

For the record, the last figure I read is 1.6 million murdered between 1975-1978 in Cambodia alone.

SGT Ted said...

And along comes Cook to pick the Communists over his own country, once again, showing his moral stuntedness. Ignored are the entire list of actual Communist war crimes as well as genocides of dissenters after the fall of the South Vietnamese government, as he steps over the bodies of those killed by his comrades to indict the US as especially criminal.

It's like reading screeds from Nazi apologists.

Phil D said...

And there you have Robert Cook, leftie extraordinaire, showing up just to demonstrate the sort of people I was talking about.

SGT Ted said...

OF course its a big deal to Cook, as his side won the war and he wants to celebrate the Commie victory and subsequent killings that followed.

Robert Cook said...

"OF course its a big deal to Cook, as his side won the war and he wants to celebrate the Commie victory and subsequent killings that followed."

Wrong, as usual, Sgt. Ted.

Meade said...

"No, it was a huge deal, as devastating to our country in its way as the Civil War had been 100 years earlier."

True.

Meade said...

"Student demonstrations against the draft. Once Nixon ended it, the demonstrations vanished."

Not exactly, but ending the draft was part of Nixon's 1972 plan to end the war.

SGT Ted said...

"No, it was a huge deal, as devastating to our country in its way as the Civil War had been 100 years earlier."

That it was all fomented by the International Communist movement of the Cold War financed by the USSR, a hostile foreign power, that was seeking a victory in Vietnam against a treaty signed by the US government with South Vietnam is glossed over.

Your side, the Communists, started the protests and then you have the chutzpah to undermine support for a non-Communist Vietnam Government.

To then complain that it caused devastation to this country, when that devastation and division was deliberate and was the entire goal of the movement, really takes the cake.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

AllenS,

drafted or not, you're a hero for serving your country during a difficult time.

Thank you for your service.

SGT Ted said...

Opposition to the US involvement in the Vietnam war was to functionally support the Communist victory.

You may want to deny it, but it's the cold, hard truth and you have the bodies of millions of dead South Vietnamese that refute your double talk, moral equivalence nonsense and excuse making for Communist genocides and death camps there.

SGT Ted said...

Cook showing up to defend the pro-Communists is all you need to know about him.

Illuninati said...

jono39 said...
"As a founding member of New England SDS in 1964,... One result has been the empowering of a thoughtless and effect less leftist campus culture in the US which is thoroughly poisoning our politics and eliminating any possibility of political discourse and debate."

Interesting. You were a founder of the SDS but reject modern leftism. Were you present for the Port Huron statement?

I understand that the SDS was originally supposed to be a more moderate organization which rejected the totalitarianism of the Communists. Unfortunately they soon drifted back to supporting violence like all the previous lefties. Do you have any insights into this?

Shouting Thomas said...

@Cook

It's a hell of a dilemma.

The destructive, nihilistic and evil attack against the authority, traditions, religious beliefs and honor of our fathers may be more damaging in the long run than the tragedy of the Vietnam War. Undermining our fathers opened the door.

Our fathers were not Nazis, nor did they believe in "my country right or wrong." They believed we were doing the right thing in Vietnam, and in many ways they were right.

My opposition to the war was based on a sound reading of the history of Vietnam, the French role and the realities of fighting a war there. I may have only been 16 years old at the time, but I was pretty smart. The Vietnamese produced new soldiers at an amazing rate. Even with the 10 to 1 kill rate of American forces, there was no way the U.S. could win.

Our allies were doofus puppets who fled the moment we stopped paying them, as I knew they would. The Vietnamese had a long history of fighting the Chinese to a standoff. They weren't in awe of the U.S. or anybody.

In other words, I knew that we were going to lose ultimately. Our only options were endless barbaric slaughter or nuclear annihilation of the enemy.

So, you see, you might not have understood my motives.

rtr said...

here's a little bit more about the May 2nd Movement:

http://the60sat50.blogspot.com/2014/05/saturday-may-2-1964-vietnam-protests.html

AJ Lynch said...

Cookie- you must have a very poor memory. From Wikipedia:

"With the end of active U.S. ground participation in Vietnam, December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who were born in 1952[60] and who reported for duty in June 1973. On February 2, 1972, a drawing was held to determine draft priority numbers for men born in 1953, but in early 1973 it was announced that no further draft orders would be issued. In March 1973, 1974, and 1975, the Selective Service assigned draft priority numbers for all men born in 1954, 1955, and 1956, in case the draft was extended, but it never was.[61] Jeff Mellinger, the last drafted enlisted ranked soldier still on active duty, retired in 2011.[62]"

I was born in 1952 and my draft lottery was 296 meaning I had zero chance of being drafted. But as noted above, the last draftees were from people 2-3 years older than you so you could be making stuff again :).

AJ Lynch said...

The Vietnam War was as big a deal as the Civil War ?

I think Meade and Cookie are smoking the same wacky weed.

Sam L. said...

Because the Vietnamese people did not deserve to be protected from Communist aggression.

William said...

I served in the military (in a non-combat role) during Vietnam. I didn't join for any lofty patriotic reason. If you came from a bad neighborhood and a screwed up family, it was a way out. Similarly most of the young people protesting against the war were, in truth, protesting against the draft. People generally act in their own self interest,and it's truly amazing how often their self interest coincides with some high ideal or other.

Robert Cook said...

"The Vietnam War was as big a deal as the Civil War ?

"I think Meade and Cookie are smoking the same wacky weed."


It was as disruptive to the fabric of American society and as destructive of the citizens' trust in government as the Civil War had been, if not as destructive of American lives.

Sigivald said...

From protest to beer fest... and no one takes note of the half-century anniversary of the first major Vietnam Protest.

The US pulled out of South Vietnam the year I was born - and I'm therefore not exactly a callow youth.

Almost nobody cares about the Vietnam Protests, except aging hippies pining for the 60s to come back.

(As Mr. Walsh said, it was really, I think, all about the draft - nobody wanted to end up being shipped off to Indochina to get shot at by Communists.

The draft was an injustice all by itself, of course, and I'm glad it's gone - but let's not pretend for a moment that opposing fighting Ho Chi Minh was humanitarian or admirable as such.)

Robert Cook said...

"'With the end of active U.S. ground participation in Vietnam, December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who were born in 1952[60] and who reported for duty in June 1973. On February 2, 1972, a drawing was held to determine draft priority numbers for men born in 1953, but in early 1973 it was announced that no further draft orders would be issued. In March 1973, 1974, and 1975, the Selective Service assigned draft priority numbers for all men born in 1954, 1955, and 1956, in case the draft was extended, but it never was.[61] Jeff Mellinger, the last drafted enlisted ranked soldier still on active duty, retired in 2011.[62]'

"I was born in 1952 and my draft lottery was 296 meaning I had zero chance of being drafted."


I was born in late 1955 and turned 18 in late 1973. At that time, if I'm not mistaken, I would have been subject to the draft, (I did, of course, have to register with my local draft board). You say your draft lottery number was 296 and so you had no chance of being drafted...yet, you did have a draft lottery number, and so it was within the realm of possibility you could have been drafted. I never had a draft lottery number, or, if one was ever assigned to me, I was never made aware of it. As far as I was aware at the time, I missed the possibility of being drafted by only about 10 months. If you were born in '52, you did at least face the possibility of being drafted.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Meade said...
"No, it was a huge deal, as devastating to our country in its way as the Civil War had been 100 years earlier."

True.


Oh, please. Get over yourself. And your (my) generation.

It wan't even close to the 'deal' that the Civil War was.

Robert Cook said...

"Opposition to the US involvement in the Vietnam war was to functionally support the Communist victory."

Wrong again, Sgt. Ted.

By that metric, any conflict anywhere in the world where we don't interject ourselves amounts to "functional support" for one group of bad guys or another.

As General (and first President) Washington warned, we should not involve ourselves in foreign alliances or conflicts.

n.n said...

Democrats have an unearned reputation as the "anti-war" or "peace" party. The commemoration of this protest would reveal an inconvenient truth.

cubanbob said...

ST its pretty obvious you can't win a war that you don't want to win.

RC I'm your age and I was hardly in a terrified state at the time but I sure didn't mind it when Nixon finally had enough and bombed the crap out North Vietnam-just two weeks to convince them to settle when all of the previous yeas of fighting didn't. Too bad Nixon didn't do that in 1969.

AJ Lynch said...

Cookie- no one was drafted until they were 19 years old so you could not have been drafted until 1974. Therefore, you are either are full of soup or just have a few faulty romanticized memories of your scary youth. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you used your scary "I coulda been drafted" stories to try and get laid.

mikee said...

Perhaps after 50 years it is recognized by the vast majority of citizens of the US that communism was a more genocidal version of the other great totalitarian movement of the 20th century, fascism, and that both should be reviled and fought against wherever their disgusting heads arise.

And it may also be recognized that those who protested against the war are outnumbered by those who drowned fleeing the country immediately after the North reacquired control over the South.

Robert Cook said...

"RC I'm your age and I was hardly in a terrified state at the time...."

Oh, I wasn't either. I wasn't even thinking about the war or the possibility I might have to go...simply because I was too childish and wasn't paying the slightest attention to the real world and its grim possibilities. I think I first realized how close I was to facing the draft when Nixon ended the draft when I was less than a year from my 18th birtday.

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie- no one was drafted until they were 19 years old so you could not have been drafted until 1974. Therefore, you are either are full of soup or just have a few faulty romanticized memories of your scary youth. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you used your scary "I coulda been drafted" stories to try and get laid."

No...as per my previous comment, I simply wasn't paying attention. I was too immature to be scared at the time or to understand that I might have to face going to Viet Nam, even though I had at least one classmate whose father was a Navy flyer being held captive by the North Vietnamese. Until you posted this comment, I never knew no one was drafted before they turned 19.

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "As General (and first President) Washington warned, we should not involve ourselves in foreign alliances or conflicts."

That's what leftists ALWAYS say about US and/or free Western nations involvement in foreign conflicts.

Now, when it comes to communist nations getting involved in foreign conflicts, the lefties have no such qualms.

Remember when far lefty Andrew Young called Cuban troops in Africa (Angola) a "stabilizing influence"?

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1734&dat=19771202&id=U3oqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=mFEEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6486,2964968

The left always had great praise for the support of "indigenous movements" that were coopted by the hardline communist regimes.

Cookie is simply playing his part in trying to get America to back off while the Chinese, Soviets (er, Russians) and radical islam continue their own global expansion.

Cookie is one of those 1930's/40's version lefties who turned on a dime per Comintern direction from "keep us out of the WAR!" to "Second Front Now!" overnight.

Literally overnight.

n.n said...

mikee:

While moral philosophy (i.e. religion) is necessary to moderate behavior, it is insufficient to prevent all people from running amuck. This is why left-wing regimes inevitably commit extraordinary human rights abuses. They are characteristically atheist, and their ideology requires monopoly formation through authoritarianism, which necessarily reduces competing interests. There is little recourse for people living under these regimes than to stage a revolution, often requiring tremendous violence to unseat the ruling minority.

mccullough said...

Only Boomers would compare Vietnam to the Civil War.

Most self-centered generation ever.

Rusty said...


I'm 58 and only just missed being of age to be drafted into the Viet Nam war by less than a year.

Bullshit.
It ended in 72.
I',m 62. My deferment lapsed in 71.
You were still eligible for the draft, but by that time they were,'t taking any new members.
Hell. I had 3 years of ROTC and was in good health and they still told me to wait for the lottery.


Allen. Thank you for your service.