Title: The “Bad” Americans
Subtitle: Editorial
Author: Frank H. Joyce
Date: 1967
Notes: Fifth Estate #41, November 1–15, 1967


The events of the week of anti-war resistance which began October 16, and which have continued to this writing—including the assault on the war profiteers at the Rackham Building on Wayne State’s campus on October 24 and 25—are of profound significance for the nation and the Movement.

Thousands of whites have in fact moved from protest and dissent to resistance. As many black people were forced to do some years ago, increasing numbers of whites have been forced to conclude that the government is illegitimate. The “legal” structures for change which are presumed to exist in this country are in fact meaningless. White people, in short, do not have any power either—or at least they do not have the power to change anything, only the power to acquiesce. Congress has been petitioned. The Executive has been implored. And still babies die. “Napalm is Johnson’s Baby Powder,” said one sign.

We come then to resistance, to disruption. For the first time, the Washington Police and the National Park Police and the Washington National Guard and the U.S. Marshals and the 503rd M.P. Battalion and the 82nd Airborne were there not to protect us, but to protect their government. It was as though for the first time the government was forced to admit our existence. Four hundred thousand people in New York were invisible. Thirty thousand at the Pentagon were not. Nor were the thousands in Oakland, Madison, Brooklyn and elsewhere.

Much of the success of Washington had to do with the Pentagon. Never before had the anti-war movement had a physical objective to attack. Never before has it meant something to get from point A to point B. Point B meant something. Enough that the government spent $1,000,000 defending it badly against a few thousand angry white people who will not tolerate the Vietnam manifestation of American Imperialism any longer.

The Pentagon was surrounded. If not by us, then by troops who were forced to use clubs and tear gas and bayonets to defend their building. Their building. Their war. Not ours. Of course, they can defend the Pentagon. But it means something that they have to.

There is a distinction now between good peaceniks and bad peaceniks, just as there were no good “niggers.” Now they must make a distinction. Some of us can no longer be trusted. We are not rational No more are we content with ineffectual dissent and protest.

We have learned too much. M.P.s are just us with uniforms. They can be persuaded to join our side.

Three of them did. More of them will do so at the next confrontation, and they cannot stop it. We know that since Detroit and since Washington, the 82nd Airborne will not be available for the service of American Imperialism abroad.

They are the new national police force. They are necessary to defend the government against its citizens.

Draft cards are only pieces of paper. They can be burned or returned. Even the military can be thwarted. No one was supposed to reach the doors of the Pentagon. But they did. And they will do so again.

Draft boards will mysteriously be destroyed. War criminals’ meetings will be broken up. M.P.‘s and other troops will defect. The Army will all smoke reefer and forget your war.

End Imperialism. Stop racism. Or watch out for the “bad’ Americans. We are not afraid as we once were. We have found you out.

You are weaker than we thought.


See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.