The spirit of the anti-war movement of 1968 has returned

At the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, clashes broke out between anti-Vietnam War protesters and cops – whose brutal role within the confrontation was later described by a federal commission as a “police insurrection” – and took over the main target of the convention.

These young demonstrators had come of age and seen life in the course of the civil rights movement and the national mourning following the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continuous – and effective – protests. who had made clear his opposition to the war a yr earlier, saying that while he was not attempting to “make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue,” he wanted to emphasise his belief that “America would never invest the necessary resources.” .” or energy into the rehabilitation of its poor, as long as adventures like Vietnam continued to attract men, skills and money, like a demonic, destructive suction tube.” He said he was “forced to view the war as an enemy of the poor and to view it as such to attack”.

This was a generation primed for protest and whose outrage over the Vietnam War – the primary televised war wherein Americans could see the horrors of war almost in real time – and the military draft, wherein some 2 million Americans were drafted during that point . The movement against it began totally on university campuses and grew.

Of course, the semesters end and students go home for the summer. But their resistance to the war didn’t end with the educational yr. In the months leading as much as DNC '68, which took place in August, organizers planned a big protest to happen no matter whether it was approved and to draw students from across the country. Before the convention, Rennie Davis, one among the organizers, told the New York Times: “No denial of a permit will stop the tens of thousands of people coming to Chicago from expressing their beliefs on these issues.”

This is all happening again.

Preparing for Chicago

Young people specifically are following the Israel-Hamas war on social media and lots of are horrified by what they see. They also grew up with protest movements — Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Parkland, Florida, the coed campaign for gun control — because the backdrop to their lives. More than 1,000 Black pastors have called on President Joe Biden to push for a ceasefire within the Gaza Strip. And we’re seeing anti-war protests spreading across campus.

As in 1968, the semester will soon be ending and these students will probably be leaving for the summer, leaving them more time and energy to concentrate on the August DNC ​​in Chicago.

Anti-war groups are already planning large protests on the convention. Hatem Abudayyeh of the US Palestinian Community Network recently told the Chicago Tribune: “We will march with or without permission. This DNC is the most important since 1968, including in Chicago, when Vietnam War protesters and the black liberation movement organized mass demonstrations that were violently suppressed.”

And you possibly can clearly see that their cause receives great support. Although the Spring 2024 Harvard Youth Survey found that 18- to 29-year-olds tended to rate most other major issues, including inflation and immigration, as more essential than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the poll found that “young Americans need a everlasting Ceasefire in Gaza by a margin of 5 to at least one.” And in accordance with a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 53% of Democrats oppose sending more military aid to Israel for its efforts within the war with Hamas.

Despite all odds

There appears to be a sense within the Biden campaign that you may just wait out the protesters, that passions will eventually subside and that Democratic voters will take part as Election Day approaches and the alternative between Biden and Donald Trump becomes increasingly clear becomes .

It's difficult to miss the limp body of a dead child in a mother's arms. It's difficult to miss hungry people running for canopy once they come under fire. It's hard to miss the rubble after a convoy of food aid trucks got here under fire, killing several aid employees. People saw all this stuff on their TVs and phones.

On October 7, a Hamas attack in Israel killed about 1,200 people and took about 240 people hostage. At this point within the war, greater than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed and greater than 77,000 injured, in accordance with local health authorities, in an area with a population of only about 2 million people.

The numbers are breathtaking. The level of suffering is unacceptable. Young people will make that clear in Chicago this summer.

Charles M. Blow is a columnist for The New York Times.

image credit :