Monday, October 15, 2012

The Unlawful Concert

Today remains Sunday, 14 October 2012.

On this date in 1968, 27 prisoners at the Presidio stockade in San Francisco staged a sit-down protest, singing "We Shall Overcome".  They were protesting their brutal mistreatment in particular (one prisoner had been assassinated by a guard on 11 October for walking away from a work detail) and the Vietnam War in general.

The Presidio 27 were charged with mutiny, which carried the death penalty, and initially sentenced to terms of 14 to 16 years at hard labour.  On appeal, the charges were reduced to willful disobedience of a superior officer, and sentences drastically reduced.

The best source is The Unlawful Concert by Fred Gardner (Viking Press, 1970).

To belabour a point I often make, almost none of those civilians who advocated the Vietnam War (or the Afghanistan or Iraq wars) saw fit to put their money where their mouth was (a quintessentially American expression!) and enlist, demanding combat service.


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