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July 26, 1974 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-07-26

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Oh...the good old days:
with the V.V.W. in D.C.

Michan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Friday, July 26, 1974,
News Phone: 764-0552
Pb hi 1tf1 res'*e
CONGRATULATIONS, Mr. President, again you have
managed to pull your your political chestnuts out of
the fire-for the moment.
White House Counsel' James St. Clair made a wise
move Monday night by promptly responding to the Su-
preme Court's unanimous "Hand over the: 64 Tapes" rul-
ing. Your apparent act of sncerity gives your supporters
heart; and Congressional fence-sitters keep sitting while
the House Judiciary Committee crawls down Due Process
Road at. a snail's .pace.
Yesterday's impeachment hearing was just a begin-
ning-an uncertain step toward ultimate justice. While
the nine Watergate articles are quite explicit-accusing
Nixon of acting "directly and personally in the coverup"-
many Judiciary Committee members have used the pro-,
ceedings as a type of reelection forum, proclaiming the
historic impact of it all, but still withholding, judgment.,
And each hoUr wire reports offered new estimates on
the Committee vote: "26-12." or "Six GOP for impeach-
ment-almost certain."
APPARENTLY THE "CONCLUSIVE evidence" afore-
mentioned is not imnressing many Republican con-
gressmen. Somethine bigger than "stonewalling", break-
ins, and seas of pertinent transcripts is needed to impress
these gentlemen.
If they are still unmoved, the -madness will continue
until:
1. The taxpayer's money runs out, halting. the Im-
peachment Committee;
2. Citizens and their elected representatives grow
too tired to care;
3. An irate public somehow impeaches. the entire
government; or
4. Another' Woodward and Bernsteinian expose con-
vinces the uncommitted.
In the words of White House Communications.Direc-
tOr Ken Clawson, yesterday's hearings were "chock full
of generalities, lacking any substance.", We know ..he Is
wrong, and we hope the Judiciary Committee will not
dawdle.
-BILL HEENAN

By DAVID STOLL
JULY 1-4 some 400 members of the Vietnam
' Veterans Against the war / Winter Soldier.
Organization (VVAW/WSO) camped illegally on
Lafayette Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol. They
were there to demand unconditional amnesty for
all Vietnam War resisters, better treatment for
Vietnam veterans, and an end to U.S. military
intervention in Southeast Asia.
The last time the VAW/WSO came to Wash-
ington and camped on the Mall was in 1971
for Operation Dewey Canyon II.
When the veterans threw their medals up
the capitol steps, their action may have reach-
ed a wider range of Americans than most anti-
war demonstrations. Since then, however, the
organization has evolved into a tightly disciplined
New Left confrontation group, a "mass anti-im-
perialist movement" rather than a "revolution-
ary veterans movement" as one member put it.
The organization is open to non-veterans; per-
haps only one third of the people camped on the
Mall have actually been to Vietnam.
IN THE COURSE of four days, VVAW/WSO
members marched and demonstrated, were push-
ed off their campsite in the middle of the night,
fought with police and, on July 4, were joined
by another 1,000 people for a march to the Lin-
coln Memorial. What follows is a memoir of
approximately 24 hours of the action on July
2 and 3.
Clutching their bedrolls, the demonstrators
quietly fell into line by regions, then into a
column of threes and marched away into the
floodlit wasteland of pre-dawn Washington D.C.
'Is this a para-military organization?" asked a
young man who had evidently never been to
Vietnam.
"One thing veterans sure know how to do is
take orders," answered the woman from Ohio.
And in fact, when the Interior Department had
the VVAW/WSO thrown off the Mall at 1:30
Wednesday morning, July 5, its members showed
a great deal of discipline for a while.
THEIR OBJECTIVE was the Capitol Hill Pres-
byterian Church, in whose basement and tiny,
brick enclosed courtyard 400 people were sup-
posed to spend the rest of the night. During
the long climb up the Pennsylvania Ave. hill be-
side the capitol, songs gave way to police-taunt-
ing ("pigs are the tool of imperialist rule") and
then on appeal to the masses, as the chanting
brought scores of citizens to windows in their
bedclothes.
The column backed up in front of the church
gate, calling off:
"Ohio!"
"California!"
The courtyard filled with people rolling out
their bedding, and an argument broke out in
the rear.
"I never voted to leave."
"We been kising ass so much my back is
hurting," growled a disabled veteran with a cane.
"We're acting lie a bunch of cows," bitched
a woman from Wisconsin. "Just running from
the f g pigs."
"AND NOW WE'RE in the barnyard," mocked
a male voice from among the people already
lying down.
"We're trapped in here," wailed the woman.
There were some menacing groans, s o me
laughter.
"We just want to sleep."
"Anyone going back to the Mall with me?"
cried the woman.
"Just yourself lady.".
"I came here to fight, not to do every
dgmn thing the pigs tell us. We should be out
there demonstratingl"
"It's three a.m. in the morning."
."You can sit here then. I'm going down to the
Mall again. Who's coming with me?" exorted a
big, black-haired male. with a burly wave of
the fore-arm.
"You're all so damn stupid, go out and demon-
strate then," yelled a woman. "I don't think
it's going to accomplish anything at three a.m.
in the morning, but go out there anyway." She
caught her breath and began to break into tears.
"Knowing riot control; knowing how it's practiced
in this country, and most of us know it
because we've been through it, did anyone
seriously wnt to hold the Mall?"
JUST DISCERNIBLE under a line of trees are
25 horsemen, spaced evenly between the trunks.
From behind the headquarters tents the head-
lights of eight squad cars are shining into the
camp. In front of the headlights pace thirty hel-
meted National Park police with dull tread. On

an order they stop, turn and stand at ease with
their billy clubs - gripped before them. They
cock, their heads ,at each other, exchange wise-
cracks and talk quietly,. Knowledge of buses fill-
ed with reinforcements seems to whisper out
of the darkness beyond the mercury vapor lamps..
Behind the cars a knot of men stand confer-

ring with arms folded, three in business suits
and two in uniform.
"We don't want to play a cat and mouse
game with them anymore," Interior Department
Attorney Richard Robbins told reporters late
Tuesday night. "We should't have to go in
there every time they're in noncompliance and
wake them up. I think we're going to have to
change, the scenario now. They should be re-
sponsible for their own compliance."
EARLY IN THE evening Robins had found
"general compliance" withthe "-ule against camp-
ing but later found that "too many people had
fallen asleep." Children were removed to the
Capitol Hill church after he threatened selective
arrests.
"I'm not here to fight for a piece of turf,
I'm here to fight for our unconditional demands,"
finished tIre woman in the courtyard desper-
ately.
"We're just siting here yelling at each other,"
yelled someone else, "which is just what the pigs
want." His voice settled into a serious-minded
tone: 'I have three proposals to set forth . . ."
"Those people downstairs are asleep. They've
voted already."
"No they're not. A lot of them are awake."
"I'll go down and check."
"We'll send down a committee of fact."
"No lossesl" announced a fatigue-dressed hip-
pie jubilantly as he bounded up to the Capitol
steps the next morning. Marchers took over the
street, swept past several undermanned police
roadblocks; and soundly thumped a police car
which shoved into the line of march.
"'We don't want to play a cat
and mouse game with them
any more,' Interior Dept. At-
torney Richard Robbins told
reporters. 'We shouldn't have
to go in there every time
they're in noncompliance and
wake them up. I think we're
going to have to change the
scenario now.
THAT AFTERNOON there were some losses,
however. Attempting to leave the campsite for
a second demonstration at the capitol, the march-
ers had been hit by a police charge. Now they
were turning back, retreating across the street
but shouting, cursing and letting fly a few
bottles and clods of earth. A police van with
light flashing was pulling away; a man on a
stretcher was being carried back to the medical
tent.
When the marchers finally reached the Capitol,
some 75 National Park and Washington D.C. po-
lice were strung up and down the steps. A squad
taped a Vietcong flag to the hand of John
Marshall and placed a placard in his lap:
No more broken treaties
Honor the
peace agreement
"We've learning a big lesson," said the speak-
er. "When we came to Washington in 1971 for
Dewey Canyon III, we came to petition Congress.
This time we've come, not to petition Congress,
but to petition the American people."
BACK AT the camp that evening one kept
running into disconcerting little patches of blood
on t-shirts, towels and bandages. Several people
sat around holding their ears or their knees a
few people had been maced and were lying down
- the people who were seriously hurt were in
the medical tent or being dispatched in ambu-
lances.
AT NIGHT TWO red eyes shine from the apex
of the Washington Monument. Floodlights illum-
inate it and in their beam flap American flags,
casting giant, wavering shadows over the smooth,
white flank of the needle. Around the base clus-
ters a crowd of tiny figures, come to worship
monumental Washington by night.
But off in the shadows under the trees where
it isn't safe to walk alone at night, the regions -
Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa, Wisconsin, New York,
Colorado, California and West Coast - are sitting
in tight circles debating policy decisions and tac-
tics. "What this is doing," explains the women
from Ohio, "is getting political, people from
across the country together so that we learn to
work with each other.

"WE THINK there is going to be a revolution
in this country,' continues the young woman from
Ohio, trying to summarize the feeling of the
people around her, "and we think it's going to
take guns. But the time hasn't arived just yet."

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