Today the Vietnamese people are fighting for the right to choose their own society. Their demands are human; food, a decent place to live and work, political and private self determination, and a life of dignity and self respect. They are engaged in a struggle for human rights, a struggle which affects us all. Their demands reach into Chicago, Mississippi, Selma, Detroit, Los Angeles, South Africa, the Congo. America is waging an actual military war which prevents them from achieving these aims.
As the war in Vietnam escalates, the rights of those who demand real freedom in this country are increasingly denied. While silence has become synonymous with democracy, free speech has become subversive. Senator Dodd has already called for an end to expressions to protest against American foreign policy. President Johnson and Attorney General Katzenbach have called for an investigation of the peace movement. Increasingly stringent laws concerning the draft have been passed. The mass media has hesitated to print dissenting views and, at the same time, has altered reality and the issues in a torrent of words and pictures out of context. The American people have not only been denied a voice in the decision making process of their country; they have also been isolated from the very facts and opinions which go into making these decisions. As the war in Vietnam increases, as a murderer is acquitted in Alabama, as American troops are sent into Santo Domingo, and as demands for social reform are thwarted, protest and the desire for real freedom become subversive and undemocratic.
Often those who protest and dissent find themselves isolated and confused. The isolation of protest and the fragmentation of peace groups are effective means to halt a growing and decisive movement. To overcome this fragmentation, the National Coordinating Committee, to End the War in Vietnam calls for a national convention to be held in Washington, D.C., November 25–28, 1965. the concern of the convention is not Vietnam alone, but Vietnam viewed in the context of American foreign policy, of human rights, of freedom, North and South. Decisions must be made and programs formulated. Thus for a moment, we ask not for action, but for talk and thought; talk which shall hopefully lead to clarity, to the recognition of a common purpose, and to action.
The convention is open to all interested groups. We urge all organizations interested in any or all of these programs to attend or send a representative. For information, write to the Detroit Committee To End the War in Vietnam (DCEWV), 1101 West Warren, Detroit 2, Michigan, or call 932–4791.