What is a con 1nisnaist? One who
For equal division of anequial
iber 5 Night Editor: Judy Sorosohn
April 6, 1969
The Society: Keeping the gunpowder dry
Are our leaders plotting to let Vietnam go Communist? ... then
why don't they let our boys win that war?
By JIM NEUBACHER
AN ANTI-WAR organization in Ann
Arbor without any students?
Secret or non-existent membership
Anti-bureaucracy. An almost paranoid
fear of the government echelons and
the bureaucrats who control America's
Ann Arbor's John Birch Society is
officed in the second story of an old
brown building on Liberty Street, cour-
tesy of Donald E. Van Curler.
"Section leader" of the Ann Arbor
Society, Van Curler is a professional ar-
chitect. The Liberty Street offices are
decorated with his drawings and sket-
ches. In his inner office hang numer-
ous shingles and framed citations.
One certifies Van Curler as a lifetime
member of the National Rifle Associa-
NEXT DOOR TO Van Curler's busi-
ness office is a branch of the Amer-
ican Opinion Library. The AOL is full of
books'and pamphlets printed or endors-
ed by the Society: Masters of Deceit by
PBI Director J. Edgar Hoover outlines
the "Red Peril" facing Americans.
The Great Prison Break "documents"
the ways in which the Supreme Court
has allowed .criminals to run uncheck-
ed. A number of books explain in de-
tail how George Wallace stands up for
On a large table, small pamphlets
selling for 15c, some for a quarter, claim
to tell "The truth about Vietnam" and
even "More truth about Vietnam".
Donald E. Van Curler is a tall, hand-
some man. His wavy black hair softens
the harshness of his clean cut, solid
features. Like anyone with firm, con-
troversial political views, he is happy
to expound on them, to argue, to be de-
fensive and self-assured at the same
SO, DONALD VAN CURLER, what is
the John Birch Society?
Seated at his desk in his inner of-
flce, he reaches behind him and pulls
out a pamphlet entitled, "What is the
John Birch Society?" by R o b e r t
Welch, founder of the Society.
I glanced at it briefly and stuck it n
my notebook, for later reading. When
I did read' it later, I was struck by the
similarity of the phrasing used there to
that used by Van Curler during our two-
hour discussion. Van Curler does his
"We all follow a certain set of prin-
ciples,", he says. "We don't get together
in conventions. Our principles don't
change. Nobody in the Society wants
political power. Simply, we have set
out to save a civilzatioh."
Birch members genuinely believe that
"civilization" is in danger in Amer-
ica. In the pamphlet by, Welch the pur-
poses of the society are listed:
- To combat more effectively the evil
forces which now threaten our freedom;
- To prevail upon fellow citizens to
start pulling themselves out of the deep-
ening morass of collectivism . .
- To restore the spiritual sense of
values and the enobling aspirations on
which our Western civilization has been
The long range objective of the So-
ciety has been summarized as "e s s
government, more responsibility, and a
Despite the rhetoric of its pamphlets
and its members' speeches, it is not be-
ing unfair to the John Birch Society to
say that everything it stands for is ulti-
mately based on anti-Communism.
".... it is the grip of the Communist
conspiracy, which engages out atten-
tion so urgeitly today. Stopping the
Communists and destroying t h e i r
conspiracy, or at least breaking its
grip on our government, and shat-
tering its power, within the United
States, not only must occupy t h e
most important spot in all of our
thinking: it is -the driving danger'
which should determine our thoughts
today about almost everything else,
and most of our actions, for the for-
All the literature of the JBS is simi-
larly peppered with parapoid illusions
to the Communist "conspiracy".
AND WHERE is the Society's energy
being focused in this anti-Commun-
The Vietnam War.
"We're opposed to the war, as it's
Johnson and Nixon," Van Curler says,
"I can only look at the results.",
VAN CURLER has his own plan for
winning the war, guaranteed to
work if it can get past the "politicians."
It included a naval blockade of Hai-
phong Harbor in North Vietnam, and
the cessation of all trade with the Sov-
The last point is important because
Van Curler claims the U.S. is cur-
rently sending gunpower, General Elec-
tric engines, radar equipment, and other
hardware to the Soviet Union and other
Communist Bloc nations. He hammers
home an argument based on the fact
that America has lifted export restri-
tions to European Communist nati ns,
and thus has allowed the Russians to
gather resources to supply money and
equipment to North Vietnam.
Trade with Eastern European Nations
is a tender issue to the Society. In
Washtenaw County, and all across the
country, an auxiliary organization, the
TRAIN Committee, has been organized
to fight against those who allow trade
with the communist bloc nations to go
on during the war.
TRAIN - To Regain American Inde-
pendence Now - has organized a peti-
tion drive protesting the "treason" in-
herent In the trade with the East.
In the petition's conclusion, TRAIN
interpolates that "'None dare call it
treason', at least we don't, because we
are in no position to identify the traitor.
" But the Constitution very clearly does,
(Article III, Section 3)."
TRAIN committees across the nation
have sent nearly'1,100,000 copies of the
petition to Washington, its spokesren
say. They call it the largest petition
drive in history, and brag about the
power of the pen they hold. "Do you
think you could get 50,000 letters to
your congressman in, a 72-hour period?"
TRAIN 'HAS inaugurated "educa-
tional" efforts, examining the ~pur-
poses and conduct of United S t a t e s
foreign police, hosting a series of
speeches open to the public.I
One, for example, held last October
during the height of the presidential
campaign, featured Sgt. Tom flollings-
worth, a former Green Beret. Accord-
ing to the advertising, Hollingsworth
had spent "forty-nine months in t h e
Communist infested jungles of South-
The topic? "We Want To Win In
The audience was treated to a polish-
ed political speech, from. a man who
had given the same rock 'em sock 'em
talk on the dangers of world commun-
ism in 24 states of the Union - 36
times in Indiana alone.
He warmed up his audience by warn-
ing ,that while they were free to ask
questions, they should understand. he
could not get onto "top secret" topics.
"They don't call Spock and -,Car-
michael and Brown's actions treason,"
he said, "but they'd shot me for sure
if I revealed classified information.
Hollingsworth talked about the atro-
cities of the INietnam War, all pom-
mitted by the Viet Cong. Hollingsworth
also defended the use of napalm by
American troops. "We tell them about a
napalming raid three days in advance,"
he said. "We're involved in this war
up to our necks, and if they don't
get out, that's tough."
Hollingsworth went on to the "take-
over timetable now being followed by
"1973, my friends. In 1973 they plan
to complete their take-over of our coun-
"It was originally planned for earlier
in this decadie. But the Vietnam War
has for'ced them to reschedule it."
ACCORDING to Hollingsworth, the
plan goes like this:
1) Divide the people: Hollingsworth
claims the Communists are responsible
for inflaming the racial strife in this
country. He admits that it has always
been a problem, but says it was pur-
posely made worse by Communist rev-
olutionaries to take advantage of the
2) Create the appearance of popular
support for rights for Negroes: Hol-
lingsworth called publicized civil rights
workers, like Viola Liuzzo, (killed by
white Southern racists in the early 60's),
"props" for the Communists.
3) Neutralize the opposition: Hol-
lingsworth claims that revolution is the
name being given to the dissent in the
streets of our cities 'so that when the
1973 takeover cdfnes, the enemy can
"claim they-are prisoners of war when
'we put them in jail."
Hollingsworth refrained from calling
all of the Chicago Convention demon-
strators Communists.' He simply de-
manded that "we ask ourselves why
we let kids in Chicago tear up te city
when they aren't old enough to vote."
Hollingsworth also said that gun con-
trol laws were being proposed by Com-
munists to "neutralize" Americans.
"They are slowly but surely passing
haws that neutralize us. Free speech?
You've got equal time laws. The right to
bear arms? You've got gun registration
laws. The right to dispose of your prop-
ert? You've got fair housing laws."
4) Precipitate mob violence: Just'look
around you," he says. "Look at your
college campuses today."
5) Create the semblance of a revolu-
tion: Hollingworth says that when this
is accomplished, the Communists can
turn it into a real revolution when-
ever they're ready.
YET, HE IS not afraid of this omni-
present plot. "Collectively, (and
here Hollingsworth stops to apologize
for inadverta'ntly using that word) we
can come up with the solution," he
tells his audience.
Hollingsworth ended with a political
pitch. "Train doesn't support anyone
officially," he says, "We're an educa-
tional organization. But I'll tell you, on
November 5 I'm voting for George Wal-
lace. General LeMay? You couldn't have
a better man in the office."
Ringing applaus from a standing
audience of 70 announces the end of
A yosing prayer is given by a Chi-
nese minister, formerly from Peking
("which I left because the Communists
do not allow religious freedom.")
"Dear Lord, save us from Communism,
save our nation from Communism, save
the world from Communism. Amen."
Marty Washington, '69, and Koren Lyons, '71
Third World Iook:~
Tisis the dawcning of an age
Sgt. Thomas Hollingsworth
By LORNA CHEROT
NEW BREED INC is black capitalism.
Specializing in African dress, New Breed now
has stores in Harlem, Detroit, Oakland, Bridge-
port, Washington, San Francisco and Los An-
New Breed is an all-black business, founded
by Jacing Benning and Howard Davis, with its
own wholesalers, factories and retailers. Black
designers do all the creating.:
Because the black fashion field in America
does not have an onerous tradition, black de-
signers are free to express themselves outside
the normal patterns of fashion-setting. Many of
their creations are extensions of historical Afri-
can styles cued to 1969 consumers.
To a certain extent New Breed has predicted
its business on the black search for a cultural
identity.. "Black is Beautiful" reads an adver-
But a Harlem shopowner claims that the
fashions are equally popular among black and
white. He credits white sales to the new middle-
class fad of "black awareness" - from soul food
to soul music to Afro-dress, - vicarious living..
However, he believes that New Breed fash-
ions in clothing, jewelry and household furnish-
ings will not be a passing phase, like the granny
dress was, among blacks.
IF YOU'VE become disenchanted with s u c h
Western propagandist ,notions as something
green and something yellow at every meal, tired
of white levis, maroon pea coats, red berets and
six-foot scarfs - try the Third World look.
In Ann Arbor two small boutiques, Parapher-
nalia and Medina Shop, carry the New Breed
line of clothing.
Medina also has the Yurgat line, which in-
cludes threads from Africa, the Middle E a s t,
India, South America, Mexico and Poland -
threads which are dazzling to the eyes, confus-
ing to the mind and depressing to the pocket-
For the man who is still bound to the "es-
tablishment" there are dashiki suits in business-
man grey or chestnut brown.
For a lighter, springier mood, there are dash-
ik~i shirts that look like burlap but are actually
soft cotton - made especially not to chafe or
irritate the skin. One has blue, red and green
stripes merging together for an optical illusory
effect. Red and black snowflake stars peer out
from behind the stripes.
For the hipper types there are embroidered
dashiki shirts in mood colors like burgundy wine,
soulful black, sizzling orange, or dreamy char-
tlE DASHIKI dress has varying shades of
gold and orange, with puffed sleeves, which
contour to the waist. Another optical-illusion-
type-spiffy number h a s, a series of triangular
hearts engulfing each other so that it appears
to be a shawl over the dress. The orange-red,
blue-green hearts are cast on a background of
rich pine green.
For inclement weather there are Moroccan
dilaba and Polish shika. The shika are made of
wool, surlan, sheepskin and fur.
For at home entertaining, .the Persian prints
are excellent. They too appear to be made from
burlap, but they are actually cotton that fee~s as
if it was just washed in Ivory Snow.
If you don't want to clutter your walls with
the latest in Op or Pop art, you can return to
the rustic and cavelike atmosphere of the prim-
itive era. Hang the hide of a Swedish reindeer
and a burlap tapestry fringed in orange with an
antelope-headed witch doctor in the center on
the walls. Let a miniature panther (Rumplestilt-
skin) sleep on an Indian numda rug embroidered
with elephants, birds, lions and deer.
AND IF YOU just want something to marvel
at, try the jewelry.
Instead of writing to her hometown society
column or sending out nuptial announcements,
a girl can wear Indian wedding bells. They're
on a gold chain; and each link is a daisy-shap-
ed flower with an orange stone in the center. On
the ends of the chain are tasslelike bells that
jangle. Around the top of the bells are the same
'Phn ha,.n ic he ii rlp h',nnri" 4T is A'
generally being fought," says Van Cur-
ler. "I can thoroughly understand why
young people wouldn't want to fight
over there. I wouldn't want to go over
Van Curler talks with an almost bitter
voice as he describes how the American
government has betrayed -its fighting
men to the Communists in Southeast
Asia. "Our government won't let our
soldiers win the war," he says.
However, Van qurler does not favor
withdrawal. Although he says that "We
shouldn't have been in Vietnam to be-
gin with," he believes that abandoning
Vietnam now would only put the Com-
munists in the Saigon government.
"Besides," he adds, "why should we
turn over everything we've built there to
Does 'Van Curler think the U.S. is
"not letting our soldiers win the war"
because it wants to turn Vietnam over
the the North? r
"I can't read what's in the hearts of
Mark Sedgeman is a sculptor, A
1 965 graduate of the University's Art
School, he has since taught and
worked as an artist in Ann Arbor.
Included among his many projects
was the design and execution of the
costumes and sets for two productions
by the. department of comparative
literature: The Blacks in 1966 and
Intermezzo in 1967. Although pre-
sehted with opportunities to work else-
where, he has chosen to remain in
Ann Arbor; which he feels is close to
the artistic "mainstream."
His latest piece, a massive stainless
steel sculpture named Cantata, was
put up recently in front of a car-wash
on Packard just east of Platt Rd.
"Cantata is really my first big
piece in a finished medium," Sedge-
man allows. "I've done things nearly
that size in plaster, but working in
stainless is really quite expensive.