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March 24, 1978 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily, 1978-03-24

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Page 2-Friday, march 24, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Activists assess

anti-war effort

By MARTY LEVINE
The anti-Vietnam war movement of
the 60s and early 70s was instrumental
in dampening and ending the war, ac-
cording to speakers who assessed "The
Movement" at last night's final Viet-
nam Teach-in panel.
' Bob Ross, one of the founders of
Students for a Democratic Society
(SDS), said "the anti-war movement
did not make a revolution, and it did not
end the war, but it blunted the
viciousness of the war, and made im-
possible the kind of military effort that
would have extended the war."
ACCORDING TO Ross, popular op-
position to the Vietnam War in the
United States frightened the various
administrations, and the movement
was "critical" in not letting them gain
"totalitarian" rule. Ross said he saw
evidence that (former Secretary of
state) Henry Kissinger had considered
using nuclear bombs on Vietnam in
1969, but Ross feels the movement,
prevented such an occurenpe.
The anti-war movement had a
"major part in ending the war and

preventing other wars" according to
Barbara Murphy, who was involved
with early SDS activities and now
works with Vietnam veterans in Affir-
mative Action at the University.
Both Murphy and Marilyn Katz, a
founder of the Chicago Women's
Liberation Union and a former SDS
member, said they felt feminism and
many other current movements are
inexorably linked to the anti-war effort.
"You couldn't put off one revolution in
the hopes of having another one," Mur-
phy said. She added that a "terrible
conflict" arose out of the anti-war
groups.
"WE HAD OUR own hard choices to
make about the extent of joining a
movement which really oppressed us
on a day to day basis; you know-"Af-
ter the revolution you'll be okay,
honey."'
In the years when the men made the
speeches and the women ran the
mimeograph machines, as Katz
characterized it, Murphy said she feels
"a kind of personal consciousness
developed that was very clearly

political."
Katz contens that the germ for
today's major feminist, anti-racist, and
other movements was the student
movement against Vietnam. This "in-
ternationalism" that the movement
embraced is the basis for today's
world consciousness, she said.
"The major difference (being in the
movement made) for me was that it
allowed all of us to be alive t6 the world
that existed, not just a cog. . . . History
was not over-we were making it," she
said.
"WE FELT LIKE winners," she said.
"We were the moral authority, we had
no hesitation . . . (we were) learning
that we could change the world and
change ourselves."
Ross holds that it is "demonstrably

v of
false to say that student participation in
the anti-war movement was due solely
to the draft." Ross holds that the end of
the movement from 1969 to 1972 came
when those involved made a number of
inaccurate conclusions. He said they
thought increased militancy would
bring them victories and then became
disappointed at its failure to do so. He
also said that terrorism, such as that
done by the Weathermen, caused frac-
tures in the movement.
Ross summed up the hopes of last
night's audience best when he said "the
movement, in it's own way, was a
deterrent to some of the more crazy
notions in the minds of the American
policy makers" during the Vietnam'
era.

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Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
Bob Ross, a founders of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), assessed the
value of the anti-war movement in bringing about disinvolvement in the war at
last night's final panel of the Vietnam Teach-in.
Vietnam novels called
inaccurate views

By MARTY LEVINE
The recent spate of novels written
about the Vietnam war do not tell the
whole truth about the era but only some
individual's feelings about his ex-
perience, according to University Asst.
Professor Norman Owen.
Owen, who spoke at the Vietnam
Teach-in panel on "American Images
in Vietnam" yesterday, said "Not a
single novel that has come out of the

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war" captures Vietnam as it really
was. He characterizes several of the
major war novels as "badly written and
full of ugly stereotypes."
OWEN FEELS that Vietnam lovels'
written by the soldiers themselves
present the best views of the war. "A lot
of these are honest accounts of what
particular GIs felt," he said, "though
none sold well because no one wanted to
know what was going on."
Part of being in the midst of the
fighting in Vietnam meant being con-
fused, Owen said. He found that most
soldiers' novels do embody the cons
fusion of being there.
But "where are the Vietnamese
characters?" Owen asked. "Across the
board," he emphasized, "Vietnam
novels have failed to portray the Viet-
namese reality." Owen disdains the
portrayal of the Vietnamese as "the
faceless enemy" in most novels.
OWEN FOUND that in those few
works with Vietnamese characters they
were mostly passive, mysterious,
women, never to be understood by the
west, and largely apolitical. These
characters, he said, only have a choice
between old English colonialism and
the new American colonialism, as ex-
pressed in Graham Green's 1950's Viet-
nam tome, or between two types of
Americans.
"It is never suggested that the
character has a choice to reject both
options."
"In order to get a correct view" of the
Vietnamese opinion, he said, "you have
to read Vietnamese fiction."
According to Prof. Marilyn Young,
the good war novels have succeeded in
"transcending the war experience and
writing about the experience of the
Americans. . . that's all any of the war
novels are -about, the American
issues."
YOUNG IS troubled by the tendency
of Vietnam war book reviews to con-
cern themselves with the ideologies ex-
pressed in the works. "A tremendous
urge to re-shape how we think about the
war and how we remember it is found in
all the reviews," she said. Young cited
a reviewer's anger at Gloria Emerson's
Winners and Losers for demanding that
people continue to respond to Vietnam.
The major accomplishment of the
many war novels Young said, "is to
capture the pain of frustration, the
really mind-blowing frustration," of the
Vietnam soldier for the American
people.
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