By Peter Barry Chowka
Fifty years ago last Saturday – Saturday October 21, 1967 – was a landmark event in the modern history of the United States. On that day in Washington, D.C., a crowd of up to 100,000 people assembled in the largest anti-war demonstration in American history up to that point. The event was called the March on the Pentagon.
It was a significant part of and an escalation in the attempt by the left to shut down the U.S. military and political involvement in Vietnam – and in so doing, to accelerate the eventual transformation of America to a collectivist, socialist model.
Why is this event from long ago significant now? For one thing, it helped to set the stage for profound policy changes in the years to come (paving the way for the U.S. retreat from Indochina and the ignominious defeat in Vietnam) and it also provided “evidence” for the historical revisionism that has been dominant for decades since the 1970s and has now come into full force in academia, popular culture, and historical books and documentaries – most recently on full display in filmmaker Ken Burns’ ten-part series The Vietnam War on PBS.
Like many other events of the sixties, interpreted by the go-to collectivist minds of the 21st century, the 1967 Pentagon March helped to set the stage for what we see today: The triumph of the know nothing punk ethos; the collapse of courtesy, communication skills, and competence; the destruction of morality and traditional religion and their replacement with narcissism and peacenik gaia-worshipping New Ageism
The 50th anniversary of the March on the Pentagon has a special and personal meaning for me. I was there on October 21, 1967, attending the event and reporting on it. That fall, as a freshman at Georgetown University, which was two or three miles up Pennsylvania Avenue from the D.C. Mall, I was working for Georgetown’s FM radio station WGTB, which had a broadcast signal that covered the entire District of Columbia and could be heard in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, as well. Later that night, 10/21/67, I was anchoring the station’s live newscasts at 10 and 11 P.M. and 12 A.M., and the March on the Pentagon was my lead story.
In the years since then – especially this year – I have studied the events of that era and the events of October 21, 1967, in particular.
The leftist counter culture of that period was not initially political – it was cultural. In that sense, it was similar to and influenced by what was going on in communist Red China at exactly the same time – the Maoist Cultural Revolution.
Influencing, capturing, and ultimately transforming a nation’s mainstream culture is the ticket to transforming the society as a whole including politically – until one day in the future (like 2017 America) the country has become virtually unrecognizable.
In light of the fake news that has been generated to rhapsodize this and other events of the sixties, it’s possible that I am one of the only reporters left who actually attended the Pentagon March who has not succumbed to the leftist revisionist meme surrounding the 1967 March on the Pentagon.
The March was organized by something called the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. This was a group whose leaders were socialists, communists, or steeped in socialist, Marxist, and communist ideology. They were heavily influenced by SDS – the Students for a Democratic Society. The “Mobe,” as it was called, was succeeded by another communist-infused organization that organized the violent demonstrations at the August 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the large anti-Vietnam War Moratoriums in October and November 1969.
The precursors of these Mobes in the cultural realm, even before the counter culture of the sixties began to flower, were the Beats and bohemians who started their dirty work way back in the 1940s.
In the mid-1940s, the Beat movement (which eventually blossomed into the 1960s Cultural Revolution), got its start at Columbia University in New York. There, a wealthy trust fund drop out, William S. Burroughs, became the mentor of new Columbia University undergraduate students Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. In the 1950s, Kerouac and Ginsberg, in their published novels and poetry (respectively), would plant the seeds for the 1960s Cultural Revolution to follow.
The Beatniks, the bohemians, and the hippies who emerged – inspired by the works of Burroughs, Ginsberg, and Kerouac – would provide the cultural jet fuel for the rocket that was the agenda of the Marxists who planned to transform America as part of a long march to power and influence.
The March on the Pentagon itself, like many of the anti-war activities of the period, relied on leading cultural figures. Speaking at the rally that preceded the march that day in 1967 were writer Norman Mailer, comedian Dick Gregory, musicians Peter, Paul, and Mary and Phil Ochs, and poet Robert Lowell.
This reflection is a bare bones introduction to a complex topic. For additional information, please consider that:
These and other subjects will be discussed by the author, Peter Barry Chowka, in his scheduled appearance on The Hagmann Report on Monday October 23, 2017 during the first half hour of the program from 7 to 7:30 P.M. E.D.T.
Peter Chowka is a widely published author and journalist. He writes most frequently these days for American Thinkerand The Hagmann Report. His Web site is AltMedNews.net. Follow Peter on Twitter. Peter’s most recent video appearance on The Hagmann Report on September 19, 2017 can be watched here.