GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee

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The GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee was a front for the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). It was a successful effort to counter the Communist Party USA's fronts concerning soldiers and veterans, including the Fort Hood Three, GI Defense Organization (GIDO) and Veterans for Peace (VFP)

A number of primary and congressional sources have detailed what the GICLDC actually was, as well as from their own "self-descriptions", at least one of which will be reprinted immediately below. Because some of their documents were not "dated" or dated when retrieved by observers, close-enough dates will be given to them when possible.

- - - - - - - - Document: "GI CIVIL LIBERTIES DEFENSE COMMITTEE" - "AN APPEAL: For your support in extending the protection of the FIRST AMENDMENT of the CONSTITUTION to include AMERICAN CITIZENS IN UNIFORM" (handwritten note says NR 12/2969)

We believe: 1. That the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States apply equally to all citizens, in uniform and out. 2.That, as your first line of defense against tyranny, the American Servicemen is defending you whenever he speaks out against injustice whenever he encounters it. 3. That servicemen at Fort Jackson, Fort Dix, Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Fort Benning, and throughout the armed Services have the right to peacefully assemble and associate, and to speak out against unpopular and immoral wars like the one in Vietnam. 4. That the actions of the Federal Government, including the harassment, the trumped-up charges, the McCarthyite court martial proceedings, and the use of undercover agent-provocateurs against the Fort Jackson 8 and other anti-war personnel is intolerable. AND UN-AMERICAN.

We acknowledge: 1. That the awesome might of the Federal Government shall not be easy to defeat in the courts martial and in the court proceedings we have instituted on behalf of these fighting men. 2. That the costs already incurred in the trials the Committee has already won far outweight our present ability to pay.

We therefore ask:

That you send a donation to the GI CIVIL LIBERTIES DEFENSE COMMITTEE to help cover the extremely high expenses involved in these cases and in the continuing fight for support of your fighting men.

"Statement of Aims of the GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee" (all caps)

"The purpose of the GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee is to defend the rights of American citizens in uniform to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and association, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. It supports the right of GIs to use these and all other constitutionally guaranteed liberties to express their opinions on public affairs and political issues, including the war in Vietnam.

It extends this support by obtaining legal counsel for GIs whose rights are violated and by publicizing their cases.

Toward this end it raises funds and solicits the endorsement and support of all those who uphold the constitutional rights of American servicemen".

SPONSORS: (Partial List Only)

This ad contributed by COUNTER_DRAFT MAGAZINE, an information exchange for draft counsellors and resisters. Subscriptions $3. P.O. Box 74881, Los Angeles, California, 90004

Clip Out coupon for donating to the GICLDC

KW: NB: There is a slight possibility that there was another page attached to the above.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Another document and list about the same time had as The Honorary Chairman of the GICLD at that time (1969) of this huge list as:

  • Lord Bertrand Russell - the very anti-American, pro-communist philosopher from England
  • Matilde Zimmerman - National Secretary, an SWP member, and eventual wife of SWP leader Andrew Pulley, one of the SWP's GI protestors Fort Jackson 8 featured in SWP leader Fred Halstead's book "Out Now! A Participant's Account of the American Movement Against the Vietnam War", NY, Monad, 1978. Another book by Pulley on the anti-war protest groups amongst soldiers was "GIs Speak Out Against the War" - The Case of the Ft. Jackson *", New York, Pathfinder Press (the SWP's printing company), 1970.

Sponsors

Sponsors circa 1969 were:[1]

  • (*)= open or identified member of the CPUSA (some were not publicly identified as CP members at the time of the list, 1969)
  • (**)= open member of the Socialist Workers Party SWP and/or its youth arm, the Young Socialist Alliance YSA Some later became open members of the SWP, graduating out of the YSA. At least two people marked with ** were the attorneys for the SWP and supported their fronts.

Other marxists were not marked though there was a significant number of them on this list.

References

  1. undated, GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee letterhead circa 1969

[[Category:GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee ]]