Everything was hu'e and people had to stand in line fr hours
I befoire joining the mass. And then the crowd didn't mnoxe because there
weie just too many. But, as cold as it was, the mnarchers weien't com-
plaining. They shouted to keep warm- "Peace Now" again and again
with digs at Agnew interspersed. Some people hopped-a hundred
people hopping to fight the freezing wind. Others warmed with wine
while a few with the definitely unfurtive pas*sing of joints.
The crowd was big and it was happy too. The happy ranged from
unbridled skipping joy to the feeling that comes from determination
and resolve. But for nearly everyone a part of being happy was a quiet
sense of accomplishment.
4 Standing in the midst of Saturday's mass march, with people
~. crowded out of sight in both directions or watching the agonizing
solemnity of the March Against Death, thei'e was an overwhelming
feeling of being part of a group doing something very ireal.
Nearly everyone seemed aware that the marches would have little
immediate effect on the administration's policy. Indeed the talk of the
wxar was limited to chanted s logans and the speeches from the platform
~~ORE IMPORTANT was the sense ol unity in being part ol the
O mas:. All 'orts of people marched together-they were part of the
same crowd. And, if just for afew moments, even the purists were glad
to see all those different sorts protesting the x'war.
And that was a large part of the accomplishnent-the act of
protest. The going to the hone of the villains to voice dissent was
catharsis and satisfaction-simply to speak out and be glad that so
many others had chosen to speak out too.
But the speaking out has come to be over and people gone home.
There is, before anything else, bitterness. 'The newspapers say that
men are still dying. Nixon is still president and Agnew still an ass.
THE CHANGES, if any, resulting from the mobilization were in the
attitudes of people. Among the gream silent who-ever-they-are
that Nixon thinks he appeals to, the changes in attitude were very few.
Hardly anyone realized, who didn't know it before, that this country
has been fighting the wxrong fight all along.
The only significant reaction of the country at large will be in
their general feeling toward tht anti-war movement. It appears now
N ~if the administra tion's desper'ate attempts to polarize the nation have
failed. The Pres'ident's wrapping himself in the flag on November third
-telling millions of television viewers of his valiant efforts to stave
- off the tide of communisnm-did not keep anyone away from Was'hing-
ton nor did it make the marchers appear evil to anyone but those who
would have thought so anyway. Even Agnew's forays into his daughter's
high pow ered vocabulary cards seem only to have lprovided a public
- ~voice for the nation's lpolitically degenerate.
There was violence in Washington but it was not of the sort the
administration could point to with glee. The gas in the streets was
directed at a small portion of those who went to Washington. For the
most part the message of the mnoratoirium was firmly but non-violently
stated. The gas battles were clearly peripheral, even in the eyes of the
conservative press and Washington's police chief.
BUT FOR TH1-E PEOPLE in the movement the violence in the streets
may have had greater' importance. Beyond the unity which the
overwhelming numbers in the capital represented, there was an emner-
ging discomfort and a more prooundc disunity over the direction and
Wtacticss of the movement.
The Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam wa. a rood thing. Lois
of lpeolple came a nd the point wvas made. But it didn't end the war and
it wvon't. It was clear as well that the violence which did occur will not
~ '~/~stop the war either. But many at all level: of the anti-war movement
will be thinkina, in the aftermath of Washington, about the implications
of this general lack of results.
The street disturbances were disorganized and essentially without
political significance. Rocks tossed and windows broken, a whole lot
of team' gas ca nister: thrown -it didn't mean too much either wxay.
What the Washington Post appropriately termed a "mini-riot" could
just as well have been in another town at another time for all it said
7 a° about the war. But leaders of the movement or new leaders in a
<Tradically changed movement, may begin to see violence--directed and
organized--as a more effective course of action. With public demon-
stration of dissent thwarted and avowedly ignored by the administra-
tion, new forms of dissent may soon emerge.
ALL THE WAY HOME from Washington the roads were crowded with
people who had marched. A little way into Pennsylvania the traffic
sloved. It looked like there might be an accident ahead. But as the car
crept along there were happier signs. Someone said it was a demon-
'' stration and looking up at the hillside there were a hundred people
,,.fputting the last touches on a human peace sign.
_ The movement against xxar is still alive in America but where it
, - y x t't ;
will go after Washington remains to be seen.
Editorial Page Editor
1 y y