50 Years Ago on May Day 1971: When Bob Parry Went to Jail in the Biggest Mass Arrest in US History

On May 1, 1971, Bob Parry, the late founder and editor of Consortium News, traveled to Washington to take part in an anti-Vietnam War protest. Here is Bob’s account of that day.

A note from Nat Parry: In the spring of 1971, with war raging in Vietnam, the U.S. peace movement hoped to shut down the federal government in an audacious mass civil disobedience action. Under the slogan “If the government won’t stop the war, then the people will stop the government,” tens of thousands of protesters set out to block major intersections and bridges to bring Washington, DC, to a halt.

A young Robert Parry, then a student at Colby College, drove down from Maine to participate in the demonstrations and ended up arrested along with thousands of other protesters who were swept up in the largest mass arrest in U.S. history. He later wrote about the protests and their significance in the Colby Echo, where he was Editor-in-Chief.

Marking the anniversary of these events, we republish Parry’s article for the first time in 47 years, with an introduction from his classmate Stephen Orlov, who attended the demonstration with him.

Introduction by Stephen Orlov

It was with a heavy heart that I read Nat Parry’s moving tribute to his father, Robert, on his sudden passing.

Bob was my closest friend at Maine’s Colby College during the turbulent Vietnam War years, when Bob was Editor-in-Chief of our student newspaper, the Colby Echo. He rarely talked with family and friends about his time at Colby, given the enormity of the important issues of the day he addressed tirelessly during his distinguished career. So Nat asked me to share a few anecdotes about Bob during his student days, when he began honing his muckraking journalistic skills and demonstrating to our campus community his inspiring strength of character in speaking truth to power.

I worked with Bob at the Echo, writing anti-war articles as an Associate Editor and Student Government President. We helped lead with a handful of activists the Colby strike against the Vietnam War in May of 1970, following Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia and the National Guard’s killing of protesting students at Kent State. Bob played a key role in our successful lobbying campaign that convinced the Colby Faculty to pass a resolution supporting our student strike. 

We replaced classes with a counter-cultural-curriculum of daily workshops led by students and professors on the mass movements that were engulfing America in a tidal wave of social protest—anti-war and nuclear disarmament, civil rights and black power, feminism and gay rights, the American Indian Movement and United Farm Workers Boycott, anti-poverty and pro-environment. 

Bob and I drafted a telegram on behalf of student government heads of 16 college and university campuses in Maine to Senators Edmund Muskie and Margaret Chase Smith, which forced them to fly to Colby within days for an all-state anti-war rally that would “give the students of Maine the opportunity to confront you.”

We devoured the non-violent civil disobedience writings of King, Thoreau and Gandhi, discussing for hours how to best apply their theory and practice to our plans for being arrested together at anti-war demonstrations in Washington DC that spring. And a year later at the May Day demonstrations in 1971, the friendly elderly stranger arrested next to us turned out to be Dr. Benjamin Spock, who had penned the classic baby-care “bible,” we both would later rely on as parents.

Bob Parry in 1971

At a speech to Alumni donors during the strike, Colby President RobertStrider attacked Bob’s editorial stewardship of the Echo, decrying “the uncontrollable barbarism, with its obscenities, libel and innuendo, of the college press.” The following semester, Strider moved to end the College’s near century-old sponsorship of the Echo because of Bob’s editorial choices.

Strider wrote to Bob officially demanding the removal of the Colby name from the Echo and he convinced the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees to propose at a Board meeting we attended a resolution to disassociate the College from its student newspaper. Strider had highlighted swear words and an Echo photo of students frolicking “au natural” as just cause, but we countered that the heart of the matter was Bob’s anti-war editorial position. Bob refused to remove the Colby name from the Echo and he delivered an unflinching defense of freedom of the press, convincing the Trustees to reject the censorship resolution of their Board Chair and College President.

On a personal note, Bob lamented a painful rift with his father, William, who was the publisher of the Framingham News, nearby Boston. He told me how his dad had always preached to him the need to consider multiple points of view for every story, a principle Bob embraced throughout his career, and yet William dogmatically dismissed off-hand Bob’s anti-war position as being anti-American, and he ardently supported the war effort in his paper. Perhaps that personal experience later helped Bob emotionally confront the surreptitious maneuvers by government and media power brokers to blacklist him within the Washington press corps for his courageous reporting.

Bob and I remained in close touch during our first few years after graduation. We traveled together to Miami in 1972 for anti-war demonstrations at the Republican National Convention, sleeping in a pop-up tent in the protester’s camp at Flamingo Park, where we bathed in the Park swimming pool. We drove there from Mass. to Florida in a car Bob had recently bought. He was rather proud of the fact that he had tuned it up himself after studying an auto-maintenance manual.

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After I moved to Montreal and he to Virginia, regrettably we rarely saw each other, occasionally catching up on work and family life from a distance. I can still remember decades ago, Bob describing passionately his visionary plans to begin publishing an online investigative journal in the tradition of his hero, I.F. Stone. I was thrilled to learn that Bob was honored in 2015 with Harvard’s Nieman Foundation I.F. Stone Prize for Journalism, and later with the Martha Gellhorn Award. Ironically, when the Colby Trustees refused forty-five years earlier to back the Board resolution disassociating the College from the Echo, they appointed Trustee Dwight Sargent, the curator of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation of Journalism at the time, to head a study committee, which never censored Bob or the Echo.

Throughout his life’s journey, Robert Parry cast the shadow of a giant, and on his path he left a signature footprint marked by strength and integrity. Bob’s passing is a personal loss of a friend I’ve admired my entire adult life, a loss of far greater magnitude for his loving family. His legacy shall endure, inspiring investigative journalists the world over.

Stephen Orlov is an award-winning playwright, who recently co-edited with Melbourne-based Palestinian playwright and poet, Samah Sabawi, Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas, the first English-language anthology worldwide in any genre of drama, prose, or poetry by Jewish and Palestinian writers.

“May Day”

By Bob Parry

(Originally published in the Colby Echo student newspaper in May 1971)

There was the air of a mighty athletic contest about it. A super bowl played out in the streets of the nation’s capital. And the news media always alert for any incident that will appeal to America’s sports-minded viewing public played the athletics of the situation to the hilt. To the media, it was the kids coming off several big seasons of demonstrations against the seasoned veterans of the Washington police force. The demonstrators with their potent offense trying to throw the city into chaos; the cops, led by their elite Civil Disturbance Unit and backed up by thousands of Marines, Army, and National Guard, putting up a great defense to maintain social order.

It was to be the biggest story of the week, perhaps of 1971, and the participants’ temerarious victory predictions and scoffs at the strength of the opposition reminded some viewers of Joe Namath psyching the Baltimore Colts out of the ’69 Super Bowl. The demonstrators had stated, “If the government won’t stop the war, then the people will stop the government.” And President Nixon had countered with assurances that he would not be intimidated. Chief of the D.C. police, Jerry Wilson, who would guide his team on the field, went on saying that the demonstration would be only a minor “nuisance.”

So the lines were drawn and the kids readied themselves for game time Monday morning. But the police started things early with a foray into the demonstrators’ home base at dawn Sunday. At that time, 41,000 people were camping at West Potomac Park. The police dispersed them hoping that many would go home, but most remained in Washington and others, like the nine members of the Colby contingent, had been staying elsewhere.

But with the thrust into the park, the police had taken the play away from the offense-minded demonstrators. The kids charged foul, but their cries went unheeded. Rules for the week’s struggle were fuzzy at best, and with their early move, the police gave warning that many of the fair-play guidelines were out the window for as long as threats of disruption continued. The lack of rules reflected an even greater confusion which would plague observers and commenters throughout the week – how could anyone tell who won.

Nine of us from Colby – Steve Orlov, Dick Kaynor, Bob Knight, Lyndon Summers, Ken Eisen, Joel Simon, Andy Koss, Peter Vose and me – had come to Washington to commit civil disobedience. Most of us expected to be arrested; some were prepared to be clubbed. We had come because we opposed the war and wanted to demonstrate through the power of non-violent civil disobedience that our commitment to the war’s end went beyond placards and petitions to congressmen.

We had come expecting to engage in Gandhian civil disobedience (passive non-violence); we learned, however, on meeting up with our regional group Sunday afternoon that the tactic now being favored was “mobile non-violence.” Apparently because of fears that the numbers of demonstrators had been significantly reduced by the park clearing and because of a greater concern for the ends (who would win the “Stop the City” Bowl Game) rather than the means, regional leaders favoring “mobile” tactics had prevailed over others wanting more passive disobedience. Gandhi was to be mixed with Abbie Hoffman and the result would be a kind of touch football in the streets.

The kids were up early Monday but, as the slogan goes, the police department never sleeps. The cops and the troops were out in force and they had already had the four bridges from Virginia to D.C. neatly in their pockets. Ken and I drove our cars into the city before six. Our job was to use the cars for blocking and slowing down traffic. Steve and Peter stayed with us in case of trouble and the others disembarked on the D.C. side of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. From the beginning it was clear that things were not going our way.

Steve and I drove around participating in and occasionally starting traffic jams. Scenes from Godard films met us at nearly every corner. Police charging and swinging into clumps of demonstrators, police cars chasing kids across parks, the grey smoke of tear gas rising everywhere, troops in their full, khaki battle gear lining the city’s bridges. The government had responded to the threats of a shut-down with force and throughout the morning they had the kids running from their attacks and reeling from the tear gas. Traffic was snarled (some places for hours) but as the government pointed out, the workers got through.

When the Colby contingent returned to Ken’s house in Arlington, we evaluated what had happened and discovered that Jody and Lyndon had been arrested. Everyone at the Eisen’s was disappointed with how the demonstration had developed. We had come to be arrested and instead spent the whole day avoiding arrest. All of us agreed, no more of the same.

That evening, however, Bob, Steve and I talked with Hosea Williams, a leader of the SCLC, and he told us that his organization would lead a march to the Justice Department Tuesday afternoon which would end in a mass sit-down and, almost certainly, arrests. Six of us decided to go; four of us (Ken, Steve, Dick and I) got arrested. (Bob and Peter had taken a lunch break during the speeches and when they returned from their “Justice Department” sandwiches, they found four rows of police blocking off access to the several thousand demonstrators.)

The demonstrations at Justice were what we had been hoping for. When the police arrived, the two or three thousand protesters sat down and pulled out handkerchiefs to use in case of tear gas. The police moved toward us in rows, a tear gas canister was set off accidentally. The people didn’t panic, they didn’t run, they stayed together. The police began the arrests. At first, there were some incidents of violence, police clubbing and macing demonstrators, but when the cops realized that there would be no resistance, the arrests came orderly and peaceful.

The arrested demonstrators were taken in buses to areas of detention. The four of us from Colby and about 800 other people were placed in the U.S. District Court cell block. We were held in a cell (50’x20’) with 100 other protesters and later in a cell (15’x15’) containing 66 people. The over-crowding, the oppressive heat, and the bologna sandwiches served with rancid mayonnaise made life in the cells difficult. But it also served as a crucible test for the principles of communal living. When food was provided for us, we asked to be allowed to pass the food back to the back of the cell in an orderly way. The people sitting against the back wall ate first. We overcame the difficulties of too many people by communicating with each other and arranging shifts for sleeping (while some slept, others stood or sat uncomfortably). In short, we survived by learning to live with and care for each other.

At 10:30 Wednesday morning, I was taken in a bus to court. Ken, Steve, and Dick had to remain in an even smaller cell (8’x12’) with 33 people until five that evening. Dick, Ken, and I were fortunate to be arraigned before Judge Halleck, the judge most sympathetic to our cause in the city. Halleck was accepting pleas of nolo contendere (no contest) and giving sentences of two days or $20 (the two days considered already served). Steve and Jody were released on bond and the charges against Lyndon were dropped.

People have asked us since we’ve returned to Colby what was accomplished in Washington. The media, knowing that nobody likes a tie game, had ruled that the police had won. And indeed there are strong arguments to support that conclusion: the city was kept open, the government did function, and the war still continues. The police statistics were also impressive: virtually all government employees made it to work and almost 14,000 demonstrators had been arrested. And the people who watched on their sets at home saw the police always on the offensive and the demonstrators on the run.

But one thing that the media seemed to forget was that the shutting down of Washington was only one of May Day’s aims. The demonstrators were designed to project an image of Washington, D.C., to the world as the scene of social chaos brought on by the country’s involvement in Indochina and the problems of racism and poverty at home. By forcing the government to line its streets with thousands of soldiers the demonstrations created an image not easily washed away.

But more importantly, May Day was the first large-scale application of non-violent civil disobedience by white Americans. The arrest tallies which are pointed to with such pride by Chief Wilson stand perhaps as a greater monument to the determination and will to sacrifice of the protesters. As we were being taken away from the Justice Department in a bus, the cry of the people with us was not of defeat but of victory. As we passed people on the streets kids leaned out the windows shouting “We won, we won.”

But the greater measure of victory of defeat had to lie in the effect the actions had on those not participating. The initial reaction from television commentators and politicians indicated that the demonstrations were not well received, but other adults who were more immediately involved with the May Day occurrences felt differently. For instance, a reporter for the Washington Star who was arrested at Justice and served time in our cell block wrote on Thursday, “I … was radicalized, but not just in the political sense. When I was separated from the group in the cell block, I told them I didn’t know whether to flash a V sign for peace or a fist for power. ‘Give them both,’ said a friend. I did.”

The spirit, he wrote, comparable to that of the “Britons in their bomb shelter during World War II or civil rights workers in the south” – was the feeling of men and women with a vision of a new society that is coming. Everyone I’ve talked to who experienced that feeling left Washington knowing that they had found 14,000 brothers and sisters by being in jail. The whole question of victory or defeat became submerged under all of us win or all of us lose.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He founded Consortium News in 1995.


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26 comments for “50 Years Ago on May Day 1971: When Bob Parry Went to Jail in the Biggest Mass Arrest in US History

  1. DR-Montreal
    May 2, 2021 at 17:01

    I was really moved by that. I well remember those days here in Canada. Some 30,000 draft dodgers came to Canada during those years. I welcomed them and became friends with many.

    But it’s a bitter sweet feeling remembering this–where did the spirit of resistance go? Any American attempting to bail out of the latest war will be turned over by our customs and sent back. The Deep State seems to have won finally (with a nod to Mike k above). And the illegal, not to mention immoral, wars continue, glossed over and hidden by a mendacious media peopled by lick-spittle stenographers.

    Bob Parry was not one of those and I honour his memory here. We need more Bob Parrys, but they will probably be crucified like Assange, and Snowdon if the security state finally gets their man. I’m not optimistic.

  2. Donna Bubb
    May 2, 2021 at 11:47

    Wonderful to read about Bob Parry and friends’ brave fight for peace at DC, May 1971. Late husband and I joined thousands at
    downtown SF many times for the anti-war marches in tough fights for truth and peace. Our big hope today is that our young in
    these perilous times of perpetual war within and without our nation will bravely grab the torch and carry it high as did Robert Parry
    and friends.

  3. Jason King
    May 7, 2018 at 11:20

    I was one of the protestors involved in the Dellums vs Powell suit, which arose from the May Day 71 demonstrations:

    I was just a 17 year old kid, protesting on the capitol steps when Senator Jackson approached me, his face beet red with rage (I was holding a banner). Jackson, took a swing at me and tried to tear the banner out of my hands. but I held on with all my strength and he could not wrest it from me. So a DC cop stepped in an maced me in the eyes. The crowd of protestors there began shouting as the scuffle took place, but the mace put an end to it and Jackson took off.

    Moments later we are all arrested and put on a bus to be taken to the holding cells.

    I believe this incident was mentioned in the Washington Post he next day.

    Not mention in the WP article above is the fact that Dellums vs Powell had an impact on the case for monetary restitution for survivors of the US Japaneses internment camps.


  4. May 3, 2018 at 06:06

    Many of us will never see/receive the entire ” fruits of our lifetime work”, and even though Bob Parry’s life was cut a tad short , he did see most of his. We never see the parts that happen after we pass, but we hope that someone else understands the actions we took – were meant for the good -of us all. Spasibo Consortium

  5. backwardsevolution
    May 1, 2018 at 21:59

    Here’s Wolf Blitzer of CNN and Rand Paul (who wanted to stop military assistance to Saudi Arabia re its war on Yemen):

    “So for you this is a moral issue. Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States.”

    Translation: Padding the coffers of the defense contractors who pay for the politicians’ campaigns. They could care less about jobs. They didn’t think twice about “jobs” when they quietly sent them all to China.

    And then there’s also the famous statement by Madeleine Albright when she heard that 500,000 children had died in Iraq:

    “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

    War at all costs! Who raised these sick people?

  6. robjira
    May 1, 2018 at 19:06

    Great comments by Bob and Joe; I’ve been thinking that those (like the late Mr. Parry) who advocate for peace, equality, and enviromental conservation are the real conservatives. Those who advocate (actively or passively) for “opening markets,” “regime change,” and the “resonsibility to protect (among other nauseating euphimisms)” are the real extremists.
    Again, great comments guys; keep ’em coming.

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 1, 2018 at 20:02

      Many thanks robjira, excellent observation, as I mentioned below I’ve been watching and reading for a lifetime this injustice. You might look at/read “Subversives” The FBI’s War On Student Radicals by Seth Rosenfeld about how Hoover and Ronnie portrayed Berleley’s Peace Movement into something (Communist) that it was not, as well. I’ll link it below. My own personal hero Educator Clark Kerr was a true gentleman and sincere advocate for his students and he was painted as Communist inspired. These are great injustices. Or Carl Oglesby, a brilliant grad student who discovered the Industrial nature of The Military Industrial Complex, and calculated who organized JFK’s Assassination early in the 60’s, all marginalized. Sorry, end of rant…


      • robjira
        May 2, 2018 at 12:29

        Thank you for the link, Bob.

  7. Gregory Herr
    May 1, 2018 at 18:23

    I can’t help but be taken with the last line of young Bob’s article. “The whole question of victory or defeat became submerged under all of us win or all of us lose.” You’re right Sam…well balanced and insightful.

  8. Joe Tedesky
    May 1, 2018 at 15:46

    Wow reading this was like listening to loss recordings of John Lennon, or Elvis. I’m not trying to demean this article as it being trite with that comment, as I really am a fan of the late recording stars whom I have mentioned.

    What I do find interesting, is the discovery of a young Robert Parry. Now, I am a huge supporter of Mr Parry, as I have grown to love reading his works. With this I now have a rare chance to see how Robert Parry evolved to what we now praise him for. Apparently Robert Parry was always the advocate for peace, and equality, and with that I feel I now have a better knowledge of who he was.

    While reading what Parry had to report back in 1971 I could not help but remember that year, as I was in the Navy. The draftee military at that time had taken it’s toll on our armed forces, so much so that Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Jr changed much about that Navy culture. Like sideburns were then permitted, and many of the other harsh dress codes were relaxed, along with the other chicken crap stuff that was done away with. Yes, 1971 was a year of radical change until it wasn’t.

    Reading Robert Parry’s account of the demonstrators shutting down Washington only makes me yearn for another age of protest to occur. Funny isn’t it that the same issues which Parry and his friends rallied against are still with us today. Maybe now would be a good time to pick it up from where we left off. This time the old must march with the young.

    Why do we need a draft to wake people up?

    • Sam F
      May 1, 2018 at 20:04

      Yes, the old must march with the young, as Dr. Spock did with Bob Parry. I demonstrated with a few college students recently for internet neutrality and to “get money out of mass media” and next time will interact more. Of course they were from the local college.

      We do need ” another age of protest” and it will happen if issues become intense. The issues that we need to address are far more complex (really they always were) in rescuing democracy and returning sanity to foreign policy. That is why I think we need an internet college of debate to get all viewpoints on the table, challenged, exploring all issues. What a gold mine for learning about the real world that will be, for young and old!

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 1, 2018 at 20:51

        Sam your Internet College idea is a genuinely great idea. I would think in the Internet age it should be televised on the Internet. Like maybe a panel taking calls, or open debate sessions. I’m not trying to commercialize your idea, but only give it maximum coverage of the total population. Think of Thomas Paine in the Internet age. I say this yet maybe I have your idea all wrong, but transparency and coverage means a lot if democracy is to ever succeed. Joe

        • Sam F
          May 1, 2018 at 21:05

          That’s a very good and new idea for me.

          The original idea was to have the real debates text-only, moderated challenge-response exchanges between chosen teams representing all possible viewpoints. The debate summaries would then be commented by all sides and made available by internet for public study and comment.

          But your idea is important, even though it re-introduces the personal and emotional element, because that is exactly what keeps people interested in the in-person debate format. This could be an outer circle of the debate of experts, which actually preserves the clash of emotions, an in-person format conducted after the text debate, so that the public can see how they respond to pointed partisan challenges, before they read the text debate (those who read debates). A moderator could point out where questioners should read the text debate when it gets too detailed.

          Great idea to make the debates more accessible and immediate! Thank you. I will start putting this into the plans tomorrow.

  9. Patrick Lucius
    May 1, 2018 at 14:45

    Reading that made me proud that I have been a fan of Robert Parry the last five or ten years (not sure when I started… not sure when I started paying some attention). I was born in ’61–and so no surprise, have always been against the Vietnam war. One thing that struck me reading this article–it is often the youth that participate in Democracy the most, and bring about change. Notable and interesting to me is the current generation’s anti-gun crusade–unlike Robert Parry, I am against gun control, primarily because I am concerned about the “slippery slope” of control; government tends to want more and more control, and more and more power. At any rate, I am alarmed that the youth of today does not seem to recognize that the freedom we have today is not guaranteed tomorrow, and that Second Amendment rights, and guns, may have a connection to continued freedom… I had a lot of fun walking in the woods in my youth with a 22 rifle, shooting at various birds and squirrels (not killing many of either, mainly hiking and target shooting), and though I have not shot a gun in thirty years, on a recent visit to a gun shop, I felt nostalgia and respect for the guns displayed on the walls. I understand that many people do not feel that, and instead feel fear and dread of guns. Are the young people reading Brave New World these days, or 1984, both of which had I had read before I turned 18? I am skeptical of the youths’ call to give up their rights–I can well imagine, and this probably puts me in a distinct minority, that there could come a time where government is oppressive and people will lament the loss of their 2nd amendment rights. At any rate, I respect Robert Parry, and these are my thoughts after reading his article on the mass arrests at the 1971 May Washington anti-war demonstration. I think the youth were right on the money in wanting us out of that war in Vietnam; I am very skeptical of the youth of today for trusting the government and wanting to curb our gun rights. I totally agree with them that they should be safe at school, and I don’t know what the solution will look like. I also think that the current gun deaths are minimal, and in effect are a straw man argument. The numbers I have seen and agree with, show that when suicides by guns are eliminated from the math; and when the deaths of criminals killing each other are also set aside (upwards of 75% of gun murders involve criminals killing each other in drug and turf wars), then the number we are left with, 2000, is less than the number of people killed by Hippos every year in Africa. Compared to the annual 500,000 tobacco related deaths, 100,000 alcohol related deaths, 60,000 opioid deaths, and 10,000 alcohol-driving related deaths, I find the attention that the profit-oriented media gives to the school shootings is completely disproportional and unfair to the 2nd Amendment.

    • mike k
      May 1, 2018 at 15:06

      So all will be well if we just have our little pop guns to take over the government? I feel so safe knowing my enlightened fellow citizens will make everything OK with their sixgun justice. I am sure they will establish a true democracy after gunning down the present unsuitable rulers.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 1, 2018 at 21:34

        Good people rarely resort to using guns. During the Occupy protests, the protesters were peaceful, just like Mr. Parry. They were sitting down while they were being maced and pepper-sprayed; they did not fight back or use guns.

        Most people killing with guns today (aside from the military) are those who are suicidal, suffering from mental illness, or gang-bangers over drug wars and taking offence because one fool dissed another fool.

        Heck, the mentally ill are now using cars and vans to kill people, arson, or bombs to blow up the innocent. Doctors, while offing their wives, prefer to use undetected poison. And the inner city gang-bangers can always get guns on the black market; they are always available to the criminals.

        Good, law-abiding people are not using guns. They want them for protection from that part of society whose glue is coming undone.

        Let us know, mike k, if the government ever comes after you. We’ll all look the other way.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 1, 2018 at 20:25

      Patrick – good post, and I agree. Unfortunately, the young have been led down the road of Identity Politics and are currently blind. Blind to the fact that they are being used, blind to the fact that they are key players in the shutting of free speech, and blind to their Winston-like existence.

      Keep the masses divided – any how, any way – and they won’t have time to fight you on wars and inequality.

  10. mike k
    May 1, 2018 at 14:11

    Those were the days. Sadly that spirit is no more. I hate to be a downer, but truth still counts for more than hopeful fantasy. In my estimation, the establishment, the oligarchs have won. Where we go from here is unclear. My hope is that we somehow work out a way to avoid the growing dystopia and constant war, that is settling in like a dark cloud, that unfortunately most of our citizens have learned to ignore and avoid thinking about. To find ways to wake them out of their trance of denial will be necessary, if they are to become active in demanding change.

  11. Sam F
    May 1, 2018 at 13:38

    Thank you Nat and Stephen Orlov for this account and introduction, which brings back those days very clearly.
    Robert Parry was writing a well balanced and insightful account even at that time. New generations of journalists make us aware that money controls mass media and elections and prevents democracy from working today, and manage to organize smaller demonstrations against these more abstract problems with equally devastating effects.
    Thank heaven for the freedom, courage, principles, energy, and sympathies of young organizers.

    • Sam F
      May 1, 2018 at 13:59

      It is fascinating that the reasonable WWII equation of defensive militarism with patriotism was co-opted by the 1950s as anticommunist militarism = patriotism, and by the 1970s anti-reform militarism = patriotism. Editor William Parry taught journalistic balance to Bob, but “dogmatically dismissed off-hand Bob’s anti-war position as being anti-American” causing a “painful rift” that divided the nation.

      • Bob Van Noy
        May 1, 2018 at 15:48

        And Nixon’s Propaganda team, led by the Rat F’ers, we’re organizing the government sponsored resistance so that student protesters like Robert Parry were officially subjected to organized ire, included in that group was a younger member by the name of Karl Rove…


        • Joe Tedesky
          May 1, 2018 at 16:14

          You know Bob I find it amusing that the current Republican Party is struggling to find itself. I attribute this to the earlier works of Rove and Lee Atwater. I mean if you attract the insane then what do you expect that will make you, is how I see it, and the Republicans are now dealing with their Southern Strategy and Reagan Democrat’s for whatever that’s worth…so good on them for being so stupid. You get what you put into it. Then again it’s easier to blame it on Trump, because it makes for better TV.

          Once again Bob you link us to some good added material. Joe

          • Bob Van Noy
            May 1, 2018 at 18:18

            Thank you Joe. It wasn’t just good clean college pranksterism; these guys were the subversives they claimed the peace movement represented. I say these days, after a lifetime of observing this organized deception that Democracy isn’t capable of self correction.

            It’s fitting that we discuss this under Sam F’s moniker because I’m fairly certain that it will be up to us Citizens to find a peaceful, logical solution like a Peace And Reconciliation Commission. Many thanks to my two favorite CN commentators…

          • Sam F
            May 1, 2018 at 19:54

            It is amusing, although hard to interpret nowadays, amid the battles of secret influence and false information in most policy areas, the “ignorant armies clashing by night.”. That is good news, I suppose, because it leads to accidental glimpses of the real power structures, and potential opportunities for change and for new institutions.

        • Sam F
          May 1, 2018 at 18:35

          That is the first I’ve heard of the faked letters on stolen stationery to discredit politicians, although I m surprised that there is not much more such conduct, having seen so many attempts to misrepresent others, as to be surprised when a lawyer or even a judge does not do such things. It appears to be a whole class of communications to officials and news media, so perhaps they check their sources now. Thanks Bob and Joe.

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