Re: [sixties-l] Vietnam War Memorials

From: Joe McDonald (
Date: Sat Jun 17 2000 - 01:58:46 CUT

  • Next message: James T. Curran: "Re: [sixties-l] Vietnam War Memorials"

    Back in the American War in Vietnam years i worked with Jane Fonda on her FTA (free or
    fuck the army) SHOW. We performed anti-war entertainment at GI coffee houses around the
    USA. GI coffee houses were run by a group of anti-war people who mostly were motivated
    by moral concerns as opposed to political concerns of war. Myself i just did my Country
    Joe act which consisted of anti Vietnam war songs and anti laissez faire capitalist
    songs. The rest of the troupe: Donald Southerland, Ben Vareen, Robin Menken, Jane Fonda
    and others did improv theater skits they had worked up to challenge the establishment
    take on the war.

    i left the FTA SHOW in 1971 when Jane Fonda told me that we could not make the show too
    complicated because the audience was "just GI's who didn't know how to spell". i took it
    personally being a military veteran, a very bad speller. i was also a person who became
    working class as a result of the FBI communist witch hunt in the 1950's which cost my
    father his job with Bell Telephone Co. California branch. Jane Fonda asked me to go
    with them on their infamous tour of the South Pacific. I declined on the phone. She hung
    up the phone on me.

    That tour was filmed and the film titled FTA SHOW. The film was later destroyed on
    orders by Jane but i am now the sole holder of the 3/4 inch video master. The film is
    evidence of her period of wanting to "be a good communist" as she expressed her frame of
    mind to me.

    Mr. Mandel's remarks below about military personnel reek of elitism of the same kind as
    Jane Fonda's. i am guessing that he is NOT a military veteran because if he was he
    would not dare to generalize on the composition of military ranks. Plenty officers had
    plenty in common with "the ordinary draftee or for that matter volunteer". That group
    does not exist but in the mind of the civilian population who enjoy the benefits of
    civilian life in every country on the planet and at the same time encourage young people
    to enlist in the ranks of regular or irregular armies of the world. Sometimes they
    become "camp followers" always outside the jurisdiction of the Uniform Code of Military
    Justice, which is uniform only its universal denial to all military personnel of basic
    human rights.

    It is sad that such ignorance and haughty contempt exists and in my humble ex GI
    volunteer opinion guarantees an endless future of war upon war and endless civilian
    pondering of why did it happen and what could have happened. It is striking that no
    segment of the civilian population right, left or center, including of course the
    liberal, progressive left wing, pro union, group, has ever had the courage to advocate
    job security, job safety, and collective bargaining rights for "ordinary" GI's! Yes,
    good pay and benefits for war factory workers but nothing for rank and file military.

    i wish to thank Tali Kal and the new moderator of the Sixties List for this brand new
    online fray. As my good GI buddy Jan Scruggs Esq often says this is "good clean fun"
    compared to daily 24/7 military "fun".

    cheers, country joe mcdonald

    William Mandel wrote:

    > I was not concerned with those who were concerned with securing
    > "the non-Communist coalition we desperately need to build in
    > Europe or "hopefully mak[ing] some good money", but with the
    > ordinary draftee or, for that matter, volunteer. He had the
    > capacity to think about whether Vietnam was capable of hurting
    > this country. [Under international law, he had the duty to, but I
    > am putting it in terms of the ordinary guy who knows nothing of
    > Nuremberg trials.] So either he was a good German: "when my
    > country calls" or he believed that we had the right to tell
    > everyone else how to behave. I will not honor either of those
    > attitudes.
    > William Mandel

    -- "Ira Furor Brevis Est " - Anger is a brief madness

    country joe Home Pg <>
    country joe's tribute to Florence Nightingale <>
    Berkeley Vietnam Veterans Memorial <>
    Rag Baby Online Magazine <>

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