Partial Transcript: What year were you born? Where did you grow up?
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio begins the interview talking about his early life, school, parents, and what led him to be where he is now. Born in 1948, he grew up in Keansburg, New Jersey, on the Jersey Shore on Raritan Bay. He notes his father's occupation at a chemical plant. Paul was one of five children, he played sandlot baseball, rode his bike, went swimming, and camped as a youth.
Keywords: High schools; Hobbies; Middletown Township; New Jersey; Urban areas; Hercules Powder Corporation
Subjects: Families; Keansburg (N.J.); Middletown (N.J. : Township); New Jersey; Raritan Bay (N.J. and N.Y.); Segregation; Education
Partial Transcript: When you use the term segregation and urban areas, you mean specifically like they would segregate it away from black people?
Segment Synopsis: He recalls some of the Jersey Shore amenities, including ferry boats and a midway, and how people would come from New York City and Newark on day trips to enjoy the sites. The swimming pool his family used was a club, however, which was designed to keep out people of color because of the high membership fee. Carluccio recalls how Hurricane Donna devastated the area in 1965, and how the community came together to help storm victims, and how there was another instance of damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Keywords: Belvedere Pool; Catholic parishes; Exclusion; Hurricane Donna; Hurricane Sandy; Jersey Shore; People of color; Belford, New Jersey
Subjects: Discrimination; New York (N.Y.); Newark (N.J.); Racism; Raritan Bay (N.J. and N.Y.); Segregation; Urban renewal.; Keansburg (N.J.)
Partial Transcript: Did you start activism when you were in high school?
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio credits older siblings, uncles, and cousins who went to college with inspiring him to get a good education as well, and also remembers a high school history teacher who was a World War II veteran as being inspirational. He says Mr. Marian, the teacher, showed up to class and read the students a New York Times article about the Vietnam War. He also had a Green Beret come as a guest speaker at the end of the school year who spoke about fighting against communism
Keywords: Neville Chamberlain; New York Times; The Geen Berets (motion picture); US History; WW2; WWII; World War 2; World War Two; Green Berets
Subjects: Apocalypse now (Motion picture); Communism; Deer hunter (Motion picture); Korean War, 1950-1953.; Vietnam; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; World War II
Partial Transcript: What were the reasons the movie said we were in Vietnam for? Like, what were the origins?
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio remembers a film that he had watched at the end of high school which shared an inaccurate portrayal of the start of the Vietnam War and what America's role was during the war. Carluccio notes that the film was designed to play on one’s emotions and get young men like him motivated to go and fight communism.
Keywords: CIA; Dien Bien Phu; Colonialism
Subjects: Imperialism; United States. Central Intelligence Agency.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Điện Biên Phủ (Vietnam); Communism
Partial Transcript: I remember being a kid and taking my catechism
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio discusses his experiences seeing anti-communism within the Catholic church during his childhood. He also talks about expectations around young men and military service during that time, and his own feelings about it. Carluccio goes on to talk about the religious politics in Vietnam at the time, and how that was represented in America by Catholic campaigns to save "Pagan Babies."
Keywords: Anti-communism; Catholicism; Pagan Babies; Benedictine priests
Subjects: Benedictines; Buddhism; Buddhists; Christians; Communism; Jesuits; Missionaries; Nuns; Vietnam; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Religion
Partial Transcript: I want to talk about more about you being draft age and I want to ask about that guy’s militant activism
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio talks about the religious aspects of why people were against the war, like the Buddhists having their national and religious reasons. Meanwhile, the Catholics weren't taken as seriously as they should have been during these times. He also mentions activism going on within North and South Carolina, and how it had an effect on the student organizations on college campuses. He mentions that a lot of racists actions towards Black people had taken place, such as dormitories being sprayed down with machine guns.
Keywords: Anti-war movements; Religious activism; Student organizations; Activism
Subjects: Black people; Buddhists; Catholics; Christianity; Draft; Racism; South Carolina; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; North Carolina
Partial Transcript: You mentioned nonproliferation, nuclear nonproliferation, civil rights, and obviously--
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio recalls when he personally experienced different movements happening within the United States at the time. He says that from dress codes, to work environments, to military activity, many people were forming unions to fight for their rights and against mistreatment.
Keywords: Civil Rights Movement; Dress codes; Nuclear non-proliferation; Unions; Anti-communism
Subjects: North Carolina; Nuclear warfare; United States; Vietnam; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; South Carolina
Partial Transcript: Was the organizing on the West Coast different than the organizing on the East Coast?
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio discusses the union systems on the East and West coasts, and how they were trying to negate one another. He says that the West coast wanted to use their unions to counteract what the East coast unions were standing for. He also mentions many events that had taken place around the world relating to the issues of both unions as well as communism, mainly in locations like New York, China, and England.
Keywords: Unions; West Coast; East Coast
Subjects: China; Communism; Communists
Partial Transcript: Which came first, like, discontent of the war or the activism based on the discontent?
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio talks about the struggles that men faced during wartime. He compares the numbers of men from World War II to the Vietnam War and spoke about how millions of men in this time period were transitioned from high school to a military based to be trained to fight.
Keywords: Discontent; WW2; WWII; World War 2; World War Two; Activism
Subjects: Vietnam; World War II; Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Partial Transcript: Are there any urban legends you can think during your time in activism?
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio brings up many important figures during the times of his activism and mentions that they all have been inked out of history, so no one to really know about them. An example he makes is mentioning David Dillenger and the Bargain Brothers, and how they were responsible for the great marches during the anti-war movement.
Keywords: Activism; Activists; Anti-war movements; David Dillenger; Urban legends; Bargain Brothers
Subjects: Peace movements
Partial Transcript: What do you want people to know about the Vietnam War?
Segment Synopsis: Carluccio mentions that the Vietnam War was a war crime and could've been avoided with different and better strategies and policies. He says that many people senselessly died during the war from it being dragged out for another five to six years. He feels as though there were a lot of negative consequences to come out of the Vietnam War.
Keywords: America; War
Subjects: Vietnam; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; War crimes; United States
Thomas: All right. My name is Thomas Wood, and I'm here with Paul Carluccio.We're in his home in Ringo. Ringo's. (laughs) Paul: New Jersey. Thomas: New Jersey. Yes. Yes, in the Sourland Mountain Range. And I'm here on behalf of Westchester University doing an oral history project on the Vietnam War and activism during the Vietnam War. It is July 12th, 2022. Let's get started, shall we? Paul: Sure. Thomas: So, what year were you born? Paul: 1948. Thomas: 1948. 00:01:00And where did you grow up? Paul: I grew up in a small shore town on the Raritan Bay in New Jersey called Keansburg. It was a small working-class town which uh blew up to uh maybe ten times its population in the summer. Because of uh fun seekers from the metropolitan area in and around New York, Newark and all the cities in and around that region. Thomas: What did your parents do when you were younger? Paul: My dad worked in a chemical uh plant in Hercules Powder Corporation, and my mom was basically a housewife. Pictured that. (Chuckles) Thomas: (Laughs) Where did you go to school? Paul: I went to school. We had an 00:02:00elementary school in Keansburg in which me and my uh four siblings all attended, like K through eight. And then we would graduate and go to a uh high school or kind of a regional high school for, that was actually in Middletown Township, New Jersey. And uh.. you know, since our little town didn't have a high school, they uh formed us out there. Thomas: Hm. I'm sorry, how many siblings did you say you had? Paul: four. Five children in the family. Thomas: Were you close to the siblings growing up? Paul: Oh, yeah, very much so. (inaudible) There was four boys and one girl. My sister was all spaced apart about three and a half years. And uh.. it's kind of like well-organized in terms of the uh.. the age 00:03:00and the grouping.
Paul: And uh but that seemed to work very well because we we were quiteindividuated. Uh as a result, it wasn't like we were uh palling around with each other when we, when we got older. But uh when we were younger, of course, we were tight. Thomas: What sort of hobbies did you have growing up? Paul: Well, the usual, really. We you know, we would play uh baseball. Somewhat organized sports, which wasn't as uh stressed as it is today. I mean, we would we would organize ourselves to play like what they used to call sandlot baseball. After school, you do that, or in the winter you would play basketball mostly outside all this stuff. When I got a little older, we would get interested in different things. When I was younger, I would actually, you know, get in. We, we there 00:04:00were people around that were still, like, interested in hunting and trapping. And this is not this is really a suburban area. But there were, you know, woodsy areas around. And so, you know, when I was, you know, probably in the fourth, fifth grade, I was interested in stuff like that. And then I kind of grew out of that and just went on to uh the normal uh hell raising basically (laughs), you know, and it came of age and your friends got cars chasing girls. And um again uh, boating was big. Also, people would have uh, you know, small boats and fishing because we were on the shore and there was an availability of uh, you know, access to all that type of thing, nothing, you know, really motorized, 00:05:00but, you know, and.. and uh kind of all self-actuated, there wasn't very much parental involvement. You know, all these things that I'm mentioning, bicycling was big. We would, you know, take bicycle trips and scouting also because they would like they would get us interested in camping and going on, you know, uh kind of self-organized hikes.
Paul: And you would go uh take a bicycle ride several miles away to a woodsyarea and make a little fire and catch uh frogs and cook them and eat them and things like that, you know. So, so that was our uh, you know, our recreation, basically. But it wasn't like, you know, we were in a country club. We did go swimming a lot, which was considered a club by the um people that went there or the owner because it was basically a ploy to segregate it so that people that 00:06:00would like I would say, who would be coming from urban areas would be excluded from coming into the swimming, swimming pool. But, you would like families would get a pass for their family and uh everybody in the family could go on a daily basis. And we, you know, basically live there all summer with the with the swimming and diving and all that type of thing. Thomas: When you use the term segregated in urban areas, you mean specifically like they would try to segregate it away from black people? Paul: Yeah. Yeah. Like because there would be things going on like this town had a pier and the pier was.. gave access to what they called an excursion boat or a ferry that could leave Lower Manhattan loaded with like a couple thousand people and then just like empty out on the 00:07:00pier, I'm talking about throughout the fifties and up until the mid sixties. And, and, and then this grouping, it was like anybody who had the fare or what, a dollar-fifty or something to get on the boat to get. And then there was the the town had a midway with rides, kiddy rides. And.. it, you know, it was like a typical boardwalk type thing of which, you know, got destroyed every so many years as a result of various hurricanes, Donna being a big one around 1965 or so and then, you know, later on.
Paul: But uh.. so and then busses would come in to uh.. from the city, you know,to bring people in to uh get some fresh air, sunshine and the beach, of course, the beach was on the Raritan Bay and that was, you know, operated by the municipality. And people would come to do that. So Thomas: Were the beaches and 00:08:00the pier, were they segregated? Paul: Uh not segregated by people. No, no. But what I'm saying is that's what would give people of color access to the town. And they would often just go home by, you know, an early evening because it was a day trip, basically. So. The uh swim pool. It was called uh Belvedere Pool it was called was owned by a guy named Colicchio who was like dabbled in politics and eventually got himself elected mayor at one time. But, you know, he had this policy where if people of color showed up, you know, it was like under the it was understood that they weren't going to be allowed to come in because they would be told that they'd have to join the club and pay $100 or something, and 00:09:00therefore they'd just turn and walk away. But then there was another swimming pool, which was even bigger, closer to the midway on, you know, adjacent to the boardwalk. And that was actually like an older, much larger swimming pool, and they would have access to that. So it wasn't like they were totally excluded. And of course they could go to the beaches and they had picnic areas that they would use. And, you know, these are, you know, working people that they bring food with them rather than spending, you know, a dollar on French fries or whatever it was that, you know, the food that was serving up on the midway.
Paul: But they put, you know, everything else was open to them that I knew ofother than maybe some taverns or something. But the town had something like 14 taverns, and it was a square mile. And there were a lot of people working hard 00:10:00and, you know, getting out of the city and trying to have some fun in a short interval. Then a lot of people had a little more means would rent a bungalow or something which were very like modest places. And this went on like from like probably to early 1900s up until what became known as urban renewal. And like I said, some of the hurricanes really set the place that whole regime back and it took a while to recover. And it's still puttering along, I'm sure. And now there's somewhat of a revival going on there because like everywhere, every piece of real estate is like being looked at and developed. Thomas: You mentioned the hurricane in 1965, Donna-- Paul: Donna.. Thomas: ..did a nummber 00:11:00on the town. Paul: Oh, yes. Yeah, it took it. Well, the big piece was it took out the pier and then there wasn't any, you know, funds really forthcoming like now they have for lots of hurricane relief that's always available and uh.. I don't know whether it's a function of the pier being privately owned, the boardwalk was privately owned, and like basically all the little stands on the boardwalk was like, you know, pretty much destroyed. It was a ferocious hurricane. And there were other hurricanes also of which I can't remember their names, but but they would just come periodically and the town would flood periodically as a result of these storms, because the town, I mean, to this day is, you know, it was like 12 inches over the um..
Paul: What is it? The the what? Thomas: The sea level. Paul: The sea level. Yes.00:12:00And then they would do reclamation projects after these events where the beaches were just like they do now in the ocean and lots of places where they would pump all this sand back in and try to create dunes to hold up against the next storm. And that was just the way things were. Thomas: Were you in the town for, Donna? Paul: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we were. We wouldn't go anywhere during a hurricane because luckily our house was kind of on a little embankment, and it wasn't anywhere, and it was like a mile away from the shore or three quarters of a mile. The town was only basically a mile by a mile and. You know, we you know, I remember seeing water in front of my house, which we were going. People were going, walking through water up to their chest. So. And this was at the high end of the town. So our house were was like, you know, had a basically a basement 00:13:00that was built up on and and it was like, say, a, like a mound. It was built on where was some elevation. So it was maybe like six or eight steps up to the floor of our house, but the water, you know, wouldn't really get there. So but where we, you know, my parents would try to provide support to people that were like basically trying to get to the public school, which was very near our house also because they would just like now have to evacuate, go in there and spend a few days. And this happened in Sandy, too, because I heard about it on the news and there was and there is a nun who has a program.
Paul: There's an active Catholic parish there and they, you know, providedrelief. And were collecting all these things for people because they basically 00:14:00it was it was a terrible disaster Sandy, for that town along with other towns nearby East Keansburg, Bel- Belford to the east and to the west. You had Union Beach, which was another town which was badly hit. People, you know, news reporters and networks went down there to document and report on how bad it was. Thomas: Did you start your activism when you were in high school? Paul: No, not really. I was just, you know, a working-class kid trying to kind of balance raising hell with trying to, you know, getting- getting by in high school and maybe entering college. I was lucky enough to have two siblings older than me 00:15:00that were good students and knew enough to get an education. And it was drummed into us early on that we should get to college. And I had uncles that were educated and uncles that weren't and cousins that were educated and you know, you had direct experience of the difference and people would try to push you in that direction, but uh.. I think the only like activision I ever or moments I experienced when high school was like the last was the last day of high school. Actually, I had a history teacher was a real sharp guy. He was a World War II vet. And he was always very snappy and well-dressed and articulate. He actually would stand in front of a lectern and he was approached the class more like a like a professor. And he was like teaching like the class was, you know, U.S. 00:16:00history. And typically at the end, you know, you had a US history I book and a U.S. history II book.
Paul: And at the end of the book, the last week of school, you had like a halfhour on the Korean War and, you know, an hour on World War Two. And this guy took it upon himself. His name was Mr. Marion, this great guy. And I mean, he held our interest and he was what he was. He was a stern guy. I mean, you didn't play in his class and he ran bringing in a New York Times. You know, he folded it over and he read the story in which it was kind of like that scene in the in uh.. I don't know what the movie is, Apocalypse Now or one that one of the movies where the guy, the guys who are about to go or are meet this guy with a 00:17:00Green Beret at a bar and they ask him, you know, what they think should be done or what it's like. And he just said something like, "Just screw it" in the deeper vernacular, in the movie, like that was just two words he said to us, to the fellows that were about maybe it was the Deer Hunter that were about about bout to leave for the war or sign up for the war. And that's all he would say to them. You know, it's like obviously traumatized or something. But my teacher read this article and in the article. There was an interview of like a sergeant or some kind of officer, and they asked him what should be done in Vietnam. And he said, "I'll tell you what, pave it" that's what he said. You know, that was his solution. I mean, and being cynical, of course, he was being cynical. So, 00:18:00any rate, that was my- you know- one line introduction into what was going on in Vietnam, didn't really read The New York Times or much of anything, just heard the news.
Paul: Where I'm talking 1966 into, you know, going into the summer of 66, inwhich, you know, the war had just started to really heat up as far as America was concerned. And then. You know, that wasn't really the last that you know, that was like probably in the spring some time. And this guy was trying to give us like some parting advice, you know, of which he wouldn't, like, directly tell us. But I remember like, you know, how at school peters out and then he'd start having these little events. You know, you can go to this club or that club and, you know, just two days left to school. And they had a guy come. To talk about 00:19:00the war in Vietnam. And he was a Green Beret. And he comes in and it was actually after school. And I went there over the last period and there was about a dozen guys in there, kids, students. And he's showing us a movie about the Vietnam War. And then the movie it's it depicts Chamberlain. Neville Chamberlain, former prime minister of Great Britain, prior to World War Two, supposedly at Munich with and it showed the whole thing with the umbrella and you know and that was the prop that people used later to basically call people out on being too soft on making war. And anyway, he shows us this really propaganda form and and but in it they give the, you know, the rundown of how the war had, you know, metastasized and and the origins of it. So I, you know, 00:20:00ask a question. I said, "but isn't the war like really a civil war? Isn't it? Isn't it like you, you know, is an act of what the situation is as depicted in a movie?" And his response was something to the effect of, well, "that's what the Communists want you to believe"
Paul: And that's end of conversation. You know, like back in those days, ifanybody mentioned that word or, you know, insinuated that you were, you know, soft on something or ready to give up or whatever or supportive of the enemy. Same thing that's going on right now in terms of this Ukraine debacle. You know, people look into the causes behind this excursion that we are financing 00:21:00currently, that's the same thing that that takes place. You know, you are called a some disloyal in some way or on on empathetic to humanity. Thomas: What were the reasons the movie said we were in Vietnam for? Like, what were the origins? Paul: Oh. Thomas: Postulated. Paul: Know, I can't remember it completely, but basically it was you know, they were gonna. They had elections the you know, gave the background of the history of the Japanese invading and taking the country over from the French. And then the French valiantly trying to resist the influence of the Chinese and the Japanese, which was really all wrong, because 00:22:00the French cooperated with the Japanese before, during and after the war, and then, you know, told the story of the Dien bien phu and uh I guess that I think the guy's name was Colonel Don- Donnelly or some somebody, one of these early gung ho. You know, CIA military guys that was in there in trying to prop out, prop up the mess that the French left behind and how the you know, the Chinese communists are trying to upset this march of democracy and so on and so forth, and, of course, made no mention of the fact that the elections were. In 1955 00:23:00were supposedly to reunite the country, and they were just the results of that were just deep sixed and, you know, the United States.
Paul: You know, set up their own little regime and to to resist the, you know,the the popular uprising that was taking place and ensued. But you know, that's. You know, but, you know, the film was basically geared to show emotion, you know, get your emotions ready to go over there and fight communism, which which was not an uncommon theme and growing up now I remember now like in saying this is telling the whole story. I remember being a kid and taking my catechism. I 00:24:00must have been like, Oh, Jesus. I mean, you get confirmed when you're seven or eight years old. And I remember a nun, a nun telling us how the communists they used to have these fundraisers. The word is a better term for it you know, to help the starving Asian. What they what they call pagan babies. Okay. So that was the the tagline for the fundraiser. And the pagan babies were under siege by the communists, and they needed our help. And they were you know, the church would collect money and send priests and missionaries and all this stuff. So, she told a story to us that the kids had the communist soldiers come into their classroom and take their their catechisms or the Bibles away. And and what they 00:25:00did was. This is gross but this is the story. They they they took the nun and cut her tongue out in front of the class. And then they took chopsticks and drove them through the ears of all the children. Right. This is like medieval. And then they made a statement, "you will never say this again and they will never hear it again" and that was like, you know, the pitch for and we also would have missionaries come
Paul: and give talks. You know, I what they would call in the Venus in thesummertime, they would open up the church, the traveling missionaries who were also there to raise money. And they would give these tell horrendous stories and to get this hate and fear going about communism and Chinese people and, you 00:26:00know, you name it. And that went on for quite some time and actually followed suit- these memories are coming up about into college when we once had a I guess he was a Jesuits who came because I was in a Catholic college. And he came to give a talk. And of course, my political science test teacher who was a. A priest, a Benedictine priest. You know, he invited him in to give us a talk about and we're like all draft age and we're sitting there and we're by this time, you know, we're like not happy with the war and we're not, you know, like, ready to. You know, think of and do something else. And this guy described a situation where he was in a plane in which they were taking Vietnamese soldiers 00:27:00or Vietcong up in a helicopter or a plane and then, like asking them questions. And and he was saying that this was this operation was being taken was being going on handled by the South Korean army, you know, because, you know, there was a so-called coalition fighting in this war in Vietnam, South Vietnam. This is probably in like 68 or something like that. And he was saying that, oh, they were he just like said, "oh, oh, they didn't they didn't fool around. They were very harsh and serious" and as if it was like the thing to do. And then they would interrogate people, these soldiers, and then throw them out if they didn't like what they were saying, throw them out of the plane.
Paul: So this is, you know, some of the what I call war stories, you know, true00:28:00or not? Probably not true. Maybe some somewhat true. The one about with the priest, I tend tended to believe because of the brutality that was taking place at the time. So that's like, you know, that's that's kind of an orientation. That's like the background of the, you know, these are your authority figures growing up and this is what they're pushing you toward and I remember my dean of students like having me in his office for some reason. Like, I mean, the school was like, you know, you had to they were strict. They had me in there for I don't know, I didn't keep my room neat enough. I didn't make my bed or something. And, you know, so I had to go see them. He's like the principal and he's going to like straighten you out. "I'll tell you what you had to do" No big thing. But he he said he commented to me that you had to make your bed just so just right. Because it was a guy it was another student called the Proctor. He'd come in and inspect and it wasn't right. It handed over to the dean. The dean 00:29:00said, Well, after he corrects me, he says, "Well, after all, you know, we're training you for the military and when you get in the military, you're going to have to, you know, you know, toe the line". So, this is what I was supposedly paying for a liberal arts education to be told, you know, like so this stuff, like, I mean, I was too far gone at that point, but we would just laugh at these people that thought we were going to get out and, like, join up.
Paul: But there were lots of guys that were willing to do that. And then therewere guys that would like flunk out or get in trouble and get kicked out of school and that that was a serious conundrum because I actually knew guys, I have one guy in particular who's black from Newark, New Jersey, played on a 00:30:00basketball team. He got thrown out for I mean, it's another long story. Activism, basically. But militant activism in the school and he I mean he was kicked out in May and by the like. That was my junior year but by the middle of my senior year by December, he he had been killed in Vietnam. So that's you know, you kicked out that send your name to the draft board. The draft board, you know, send you out into the Selective Service and you'd be in the Army. You'd be in Fort Dix for a few months, and then you'd be in Vietnam. Unless you were, like, slick enough to work the system. Thomas: I have a lot of questions from that. I want to talk about more about you being draft age and I want to ask about that guy's militant activism, what the exact story was. But first, I want 00:31:00to just talk about your Catholicism and what was going on in Vietnam, because of course, the Zam regime was largely Catholic and Paul: Yeah. Thomas: ..repressing that at the time. And there was the religious conflict between the communist north and the religiously- I don't want to call it religiously free because obviously that's not true, but.. Paul: Well, the Catholicism in that country was kind of in possession of the West and the French. It was a typical white man's burden scheme. I mean, it wasn't like the mass of the population or any portion, to my estimation, was Catholic or Christian.
Paul: The Buddhists, of course, were lined up against the war for lots ofreasons, nationalist reasons, religious reasons. And, you know, everyone knows 00:32:00about them and emulated them themselves in a long struggle. But Diem was like, you know, he's like this him and his family. And I believe his brother also was a prime minister at one time or the other, thoroughly corrupt. And their Catholicism wasn't really taken seriously by anybody. It wasn't really a factor in terms of, you know, lining up support for the war. He was he was just basically a, you know, a, you know, fronting for the US interests. And before that, the French and the, you know, his Catholicism and the church probably gave him a fig leaf at best to operate his or his kleptocracy, let's call it. And 00:33:00but, you know, the bottom line is, anything that was would help would be acceptable, because, you know, the West was interested in rubber plantations and their interests and all other kinds of, you know, agricultural and exploitative labor base. And and, you know, anything that would kind of have allow the French because, you know, in spite of the United States being in there fighting this war, the French are still there with ownership, the vast resources. And and that's what they were doing while, you know, post-World War Two trying to reestablish their former colony, of which had been taken away by the Japanese, but since it had been taken away by an Asian power, the local Asians realized 00:34:00that they didn't have to go back to that anymore, that they could actually prevail in resisting. That kind of broke the whole mistake of the Japanese driving out the French and then the French having to go to
Paul: I guess what was what was Burma then and then trying to re invade thecountry and, you know, take back their colony. That was something, you know, after along with all the peace deals that were made in Paris and during and after the war. And, you know, the locals weren't going to have it. And that is where the you know, the Viet Minh came from. And then you had the North 00:35:00Vietnamese regulars and and the National Liberation Front also in the southern part of the country, resisting the French re colonizing. And of course, the United States lumps on to that as it's like, you know, sees it as a threat to what they taught in assistance school that so-called domino theory. Like like, you know, the Vietnamese were going to get in their paddle boats and run to the Straits of Malacca and disrupt global trade or something. And that's what we were doing over there, trying to stabilize the whole region. And that's you know, I don't I don't you know, Catholicism did exist. They they you know, they they they but but it was mostly as in my estimation, was like an upper class. It was an elitist institution, institution in the country. It wasn't like the the 00:36:00average Vietnamese was, you know, in in part and parcel part of the church. But if you were an officer or a general or a landowner or something like that or a businessman, you might be gravitating toward the church. Thomas: You're you're exceptionally well read and well versed in the history of Vietnam. I want to try to tease out what you would have known at the time versus what you learned after the war. Paul: Hmm. Thomas: I know it's a tricky subject, obviously human memory.. Paul: Yeah, well, we were educating ourselves day in and day out.
Paul: My like, my, like, my knowledge was coming on to my.. I went into thecollege in the fall of 1966, of which I knew very, very little other than, you know, I, you know, I didn't want to get involved or I'd rather go to college for 00:37:00a while. And I was also working my way through college. So I was getting educated and I was around a lot of the like knowledgeable, street wise people because when when I graduated high school, I got a job on a ship and I and I would work on passenger ships and for the summer and I'd be around a lot of guys of color living with them in the, you know, the bowels of the ship and working with them. And, you know, they certainly weren't there were all all different kinds of guys black Muslims, Bible bangers, you know, union organizers, all thirties leftists, all kinds of people of which I didn't like, you know, I wasn't like down with them, you know? But, you know, you'd learn certain things and you'd get street smarts also be being taken around by them. They'd take you under the wing and show you what poverty really look like. If you were going to 00:38:00say a place like being oppression was Cartagena, Colombia, or you're going to Guayaquil, Ecuador, or you're going to even Genoa, Italy, and you know, hell, you know, the Mediterranean itself. It was just, you know, so there were it was just kind of recovering from World War Two. So there was a little, you know, poverty around and people not willing to toe the line. In fact, I was on a ship that in the summer of 68 when they when the students shut down France completely.
Paul: And that was. I forget I forget the tag line on the name of the protest,but it actually almost brought down the French government and it shut down the 00:39:00country. So completely that you couldn't get off the ship. You know, it's like, don't get off the ship because the country is off the hook. You know, it's like chaos out there. And it was just like strikes everywhere in the whole country shut down. But so there was a lot of activism going on in and around just, you know, like swimming in it. But I remember in particular my older brother, who was by that time in law school, and he he would give me the his Ramparts magazine. And I remember being on a plane flying back to school, maybe the beginning of 67 or the end of 67, like you're going back to college or something or. And. And looking. They did a famous photo exposé of people injured and wounded in the war in Vietnam, and they were like full page color pictures of 00:40:00zipper scars and napalm burns and all. I mean, it was it was radicalizing. It was like really powerful stuff. And you know, that set me back. And, you know, I made and I also would read my brother would give me this was where I really started getting informed. I have Stone Weekly. You look that up. I have Stones weekly newsletter. And he would write. You know, it was like a four page on, you know, like copy paper, paper, black and white. And he would just give you all the statistics, you know. I just read recently that, you know, in 1960. 768. And the soldiers being killed were like 300 Americans a week. You know, people here 00:41:00are like, you know, a guess that like two or three people getting killed a day.
Paul: And, you know, not that it's nothing, but in one theater or the other, youknow, you name it. And that's kind of like, oh, like, you know, let's put their their face on television and tell all about them and so on. But there were 300 a week being killed, and this guy would be writing stories about this and writing stories about, you know, the whole the whole bit, the the massacres, the napalm, the the corruption, the bombs, the bombing, the numbers, you know. And it was really. It was way out of control and. So that was a real eye opener. So, you know, so from there, you would. Of course, I'm studying political science. So 00:42:00like I would be reading and writing and trying to work this into my studies or. And, you know, we had a little group of people, -excuse me- that would do things like, you know, organize little protests and. But it was all really self-taught. One thing happened in my junior year because it was a Catholic school. The of course it was like I say, conservative oriented. I mean, most priests were like, you know, just like on blessing, the whole thing. We had Daniel Berrigan come to speak at our school. And actually. And we also had a recreation committee on our school. And so that the activists took the time to take control of that. So we 00:43:00had a budget. And what we would do is we would rent these newsreel films. It was a series. It was a company in New York that sent films around that were made like clandestinely or otherwise, document a little half hour documentaries about the war or about some other debacle like the invasion of Santo Domingo in this that happened in 66, 67, and all the things that were that the U.S.
Paul: is doing around the world, but mostly Vietnam. So this newsreel filmcompany, we would we would pay like $52 or something, plus shipping and get this thing. And then we'd show the films under the guise of the recreation committee. And of course, they found us shortly, but they couldn't directly stop it because it was a student's money and we were the elected reps. But anyway, we got Daniel 00:44:00Berrigan to come. I think we did it. I invited him and not the school, not the priests. And he gave this talk. You know, the whole. The whole nuts and bolts. And I'll never forget that at the end of it, he said, "Now I know a lot of you are upset about this and willing are interested in activism and want to do something to stem the war in Vietnam. But what I'm here to ask you is how many of you are willing to go out and create some serious civil disobedience?" And it's like, wow, you know, so this is coming from a priest. So this is like like what I'm saying is like, it wasn't a one way street. You know, there were priests, there were activists, of course, in this area in particular. You know, 00:45:00you had a Klansville nine or whatever, who they are and the Berrigan brothers and people related doing things. But that went on somewhat later than all this. I mean, in and around that period, they were because they were also into, you know, antinuclear proliferation and trying to shut down nuclear production of weapons of mass destruction and a lot of that went on after the war. So they were really dedicated people who risked a whole lot and and lost a whole lot as a result of, you know, what they what their beliefs were
Paul: but, you know, he made an impact, too. And and it also was like gave ussome cover for, you know, our beliefs. But as far as, you know, enlightening ourselves, like, you know, like anybody else will like at the time we were kids 00:46:00raised on television and media played a huge-- would have a bigger impact than sitting in a room reading, you know, why are we in Vietnam by, whoever. But then there were there were politicians, too, that, like, we would read, uh, what was his name? Uh. It'll come to me, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee at the time. He was like from Arkansas. And he wrote a book which was like kind of like nuts and bolts, a short little book. I can't. I'm sorry. I can't remember his name, but he I mean, that that was like a track that we picked up on. And then meanwhile, we would also be reading, you know, of course, the civil rights movement would overlap. You know, we didn't really know about Martin 00:47:00Luther King being against the war. Like that thing was so thorough, thoroughly, thoroughly buried. But we knew Malcolm X just, you know, raving about the needs here. And of course, we put it together like, you know, that we need to do things here or not, you know, you know, the famous quote was, I think Rap Brown or Stokely Carmichael. Somebody said, you know, over Vietnamese, "Never call me *racial slur*". So that was that was I mean that hit on the point. But, you know, so so things were crossing over because we were in the south and we had some issues with that. That came along somewhat later. Where we would be going, you know, to demonstrations related to civil rights as well.
Paul: And people also were catching hell at like different schools, like black00:48:00schools. Terrible. It was a you know, we all hear Kent State, but there was also a people were murdered in Orangeburg, South Carolina, at a black school where 00:49:00they you know, they literally came in and sprayed the dormitory with machine guns. You know, and I'm not saying like like like like from the ground, they have like a freaking tank or, you know, like there were like it was a war. War, and people got killed. I I'm sorry. I don't remember the exact numbers, but that was kind of we were a small college in North Carolina. That was a small college in South Carolina. And then in between, there were activists. That were organizing events and and and actions we would call them actions that people 00:50:00that would come from other schools or other organizations, not necessarily SDS, but there was something called a south- Southern Student Organizing Committee that, as opposed to the student nonviolent org- I think the southern student organizing committee was I don't want to say it was a white group, but you know, the guy that came to our school, I remember he was he was a white student from somewhere else. And, you know, they would pass around information and try to get us involved in different events that would take place and get us to do things. One of which we would go we would get into. Trying to disrupt a draft board in Charlotte. We would like flood them with phone calls, ask stupid questions and things like that. And, you know, poor clerks, you know, it's just some woman trying to make a living and they got to put up with us, calling them up and 00:51:00bugging them.
Paul: And then we would actually go down there like on a Saturday or somethingand you could like ask questions directly and just tie the place up so that. So they, if they were doing a draft or something, they would have to deal with us too, because it was a public place. They couldn't, you know, unless they were planning on us coming, they would have us have to answer our questions in writing. We would want them to sit and answer our questions and do this type of thing. But they weren't like we weren't all that dedicated, but we jump around. We'd do different things like that. And you know, along with put up signs leaflet, we published a newsletter, we organized a group called It Wasn't the SDS, it was called Concerned Students organization Thomas: When you say, when 00:52:00you say, just to clarify, I mean this Concerned Students organization. Paul: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It would be like a matter of maybe six or eight guys and maybe a couple of women. There was a sister school to our school, which was run by nuns and some of those women were involved or interested also. But but since the, you know, the coordination had to take place in somebody's room, you couldn't have girls in your room. So it's like it was mostly us cranking something out on a mimeograph telling story. Everybody gets to write a story and basically whatever came up. I mean it wasn't. People had buy that you know, people would hear plenty of stuff about the war, but we would also do things about labor unions in the area. Like, I remember I caught hell big time for 00:53:00writing because I worked in a cafeteria sometimes, and you would be working with the poor African-American women that were in, you know, had to go to work there.
Paul: People that were like basically couldn't work anywhere else. They werelike maybe disabled from working in a textile mill, you know, that work there for 40 years or something. And you're like kind of your nerves are shot. So they would they would have to work and they would be working in the kitchen to make something like, I think it was under $0.50 an hour, something like that. Maybe it was little more, but it wasn't $2 an hour. So. So anyway, I wrote this story. I was like washing dishes or something, and I got to talking to some of the women that work there and what it was like. And, and I wrote a story about it. And, and I remember being in my political science class. This is like pushin my last year. I'm looking at these people can like drop me and tell me I can't 00:54:00graduate or whatever. And then I'm like, I'll be in the freaking army. So anyway, the, the professor, the same guy who brought in the, the Viet, the, the Jesuit who worked with the South Koreans in the airplane. He, he holds up our newsletter and is like berating it as garbage, trash and this and that. And like looking at me and like pointing to me because it touched a nerve, because I was like I was calling them out on exploiting people. And right there it wasn't like some mill down the road or something or somebody, you know, getting evicted or 00:55:00something or whatever else we were writing about it at the time. So, I mean, this guy was like he was out for me and he really showed his hand when he uh summer of 69, he sent me a letter telling me I was an undesirable member of the school and I would do myself justice if I would not return and not, you know, this, but that
Paul: that could have been a death warrant to me, you know, and I could havebeen like I wasn't ready to. You know, deal with the draft and all the rest of it and everything. And plus, I was three years into it. I mean, I was just working my way through school and borrowing money to do it. And. You know, I was trying to get through. Anyway. That's the kind of thing that would go on where they would set you up or have you. You know, kicked out if they really went around, didn't like you. But since we had a little newsletter and we had a 00:56:00little organization and we also are reaching out to other activists, people like. And at the end of that year, we this event happened where like, I'm alluding to why that you asked me about why that African-American friend got bounced. They they you know, we had brought. To, you know. To the campus, a radical speaker name Howard Fuller, who is civil rights. He he worked with Ben Chavis, who Ben Chavis is like he has a talk show now on television and on on PBS or NJN TV. And he does all this like, you know, interviewing black people 00:57:00and about all these different issues and stuff. It's a good show. And anyway, this guy, Howard Fuller, was involved in this case where some activists were turned away at a horse stable for horseback riding, right, or just maybe they weren't activists. I don't even remember but they, but they were for. Race is kind of like the swimming pool story. You can't come in here. So they had warrants with the owners and the I'm talking about this case that he was at the time of
Paul: Uh, pontificate upon, you know, and exposing. So they they leave the siteand then the next thing you know, overnight, the place burns down. The stable burns down. Horses die or something happens. I don't remember the details. So then, of course, they're getting indicted for arson and all these other things, you know, horse murder or whatever. And so he was on this circuit speaking and 00:58:00he comes around and he speaks to the student body, whoever wants to show up. And, you know, he tells his story and he's looking for support. Then afterwards, he has a private meeting with the black students in our school, which are basically the basketball team and, you know, I never knew anything about the organization of this, but they organize among themselves. It was very nice of them to do that. This this plan, this to occupy, which sounds like nothing now, the science building. Okay, so they go up into the science building on a Friday or something and they chain the door shut and they go up into the balcony and up into the roof. And the next day there's classes. It must have been like in the 00:59:00middle of the week or something. And all these students are like, you know. Just average locals and average student, you know, people living in and on the campus. And for the most part, they're pissed off that they can't get in and do their class. They came to school to go to to do the class or, you know, waste of time and so on. So that that was the forum that they created. And, and and then they refused to come down. You know, they're they're going to they're going to occupy it until they have these demands met.
Paul: They want they want the black studies. They want black history. They wantcertain you know, they want people recognized. They want different support because they were basically the basketball team, which are they're on primarily 01:00:00scholarship, but they were, you know, they weren't going to be accepted in the fraternities or whatever. Not that they wanted to be or they were just, you know, alienated to the degree that they did this. And this went on for like a day and a half. And so I put on the like the second day, it was like people were congregating and there were like Klan members driving around the the outskirts of the college waving the flag. There was a whole army of police like, you know, 30 cop cars, state police, they were ready to bust in there because a rumor was, is that also that the students were armed and that they were going to defend themselves if they were going to be put under siege and all this. And so it was 01:01:00like on the edge of getting ugly. And what happened was one of the priests went in and negotiated and got them to come down and pack up their stuff. And whether there were guns or not involved was always a strong possibility, but never revealed. And. Because the word was, is that if nightfall fell. The Klan was going to like attack the campus, attack the school, attack the building. And it would you know, I mean, this this is like. It was the new South. North Carolina and not too far from Charlotte. But you know, it was still in the middle of the surrounded by mill towns and local people that were, you know, in and of that 01:02:00inclination, let's say.
Paul: So that's, you know, that. And that was the grounds for one of these guysor maybe a few of them not to come back or not and end up in the army. Thomas: Was that their choice? Paul: Uh no, one of them actually was expelled. It may have been for that particular reason. I don't remember what, but it was implied. You know, it's like they pull your scholarship, you know? You know what I mean? I mean, it's their right to do it, but. They uh, there were a few black people that didn't go up there that were supportive, but, you know, they survived. And so they had to rebuild a basketball team. Thomas: You talked about intersectionality between the two movements like civil rights and the antiwar 01:03:00movement. Paul: Mm hmm. Thomas: But you're, you were Catholic, and you were going to a Catholic school. You don't normally think of Catholicism and activism during this time period. So I wonder how you interacted with the, um, the, what was it? Evan- Paul: Evangelicals? Thomas: Or that's no Martin Luther King Jr was um.. Paul: He was a Southern Baptist. Thomas: Yes. Yes. Paul: Yeah. His his church was in Atlanta. His father was a pastor there. What's the question? Thomas: Was there interaction between the different.. Paul: Oh, no, we we we kept it secular. I mean, we didn't bother with any kind of churchy stuff. We, I mean, we weren't where we were or like we were raised Catholic, but we didn't go 01:04:00to church or anything like that. And, you know, we we kind of resented the church at that point because we saw the church as a big part of the problem. Big part of the problem. Thomas: In what sense? Paul: Well, and in sense of colonialism in general and good sense of, you know, supporting the power structure, you know, not standing up for us, not not like being supported of any of our any
Paul: movement toward conscientious objector status. You know, just the wholething. We just saw them as kind of a parental institution that just stood for 01:05:00themselves. Thomas: You mentioned nonproliferation, nuclear nonproliferation, civil rights, and obviously-- Paul: William Fulbright. That's the name of the head of-- his face came in front of me. I'm sorry. Go ahead. Thomas: You mentioned nuclear nonproliferation. The civil rights movement and the antiwar movement, was there any other activist movements that you were a part of at the time? Paul: Let me see. Uh. Well. Union movements. Yes. People organizing unions because, I mean, some of the students I went to school with, I mean, they came from very humble backgrounds and they were catching hell from way back for 01:06:00trying to organize or be be anything different, you know, because they were just being in there. They were just basically being exploited by the system down there was like, the mills or the companies own the towns that the people lived in. They owned the house that they lived in. They owned the work site. And so if you lost your job, you lost your house or they didn't even have the fire you to take your house. And so a lot of these people were, you know, imbued with this system of, you know, like it was like a prevailing it was like feudalism. Okay. So so they they were very supportive of union causes. And we were we had a move 01:07:00on to unionize the workers at the cafeteria. I mean, they were the most direct we had contact with. They didn't really have groundskeepers and stuff like that, but they had, you know, students doing things like that. But I mean, we did have a little move on like that
Paul: We were calling for higher wages for people like that and other movementslike like
Thomas: You mentioned-- Paul: The women's movement that was that was that was aplayer because by like 68, 69, there were women, you know, reading this, this stuff. And they were they were doing things, you know, for women's rights, rights, you know, for wages. You know, dress codes because we live with all that 01:08:00stuff. I mean, if you went to the when I know when you first arrive in college, you had to wear a sport coat to go in and eat dinner, you know? Yeah. I mean, you couldn't wear jeans. Jeans were not allowed, you know. So. So we actually had to challenge stuff like that as well. I mean, it's all part of the program. You know, they're trying to make turn out a little corporate clones ready to go in the army and, you know, be finished off and then come out and work for Procter and Gamble or somebody or maybe go to law school or medical school or something. Thomas: So, you mentioned your dad was he worked in a chemical factory, right? Paul: Right. Thomas: Was he a union man? Paul: Oh, yeah. He he was a member of the Atomic and Chemical Workers Union. Not a real strong union. Not as big as the UAW, but a substantial bargaining unit. And as a result. I 01:09:00mean, he he was just, you know, a worker in a plant. He was like what they call a chemical operator. He would be making this stuff, which was used for, you know, polyvinyl chloride and all these other chemicals mixing in vats. And he was a chemical, the chemical operator. And he was also being exposed to, you know, all kinds of toxins and horrible carcinogens and probably died as a result fairly, probably around and not much older than the age I am now.
Paul: And this went on routinely. And he. You know what I'm saying? What I wastrying to say, he raised a family with five children and sent three of us to college. I mean, they all could've went to college if they really wanted to 01:10:00manage to. Things sort of changing around when I was, you know, in the late sixties made it, it was a little bit more difficult, but there were still loans available. And, you know, my grandmother would help us because she had a Social Security check. Like, that was what people had to do. But going to college at that time it was like two different worlds. It was like for a year, but room and board, it was like 1500 dollars. So you could get there and you could get through. You know, if if you could live without drinking or smoking or eating candy or whatever, but you could get a little job or something for that stuff. So that's that's basically that was the economics of it all, which is all down the drain now. You know, this is all part and parcel of what's going on today and why people need to wake up and realize that we can't afford the militarism 01:11:00we had back then. We couldn't afford it then. You know, that was the reason why the civil rights movement imploded. It didn't it wasn't the movement or the it was the result that imploded. They basically said, well, we can't really deal with childcare, health care, early childhood education. The rest of it. You know, I'm trying to think of what the program was for caring for babies and carrying a little care for children. And because we had borrowed too much money for the war effort, which was like, way...
Paul: Expensive. I'm doing this backwards I'm probably making very bad sound.Thomas: That's all right. Paul: So, yeah. Thomas: Um, let's see. There's, uh. 01:12:00There's a lot I want to break down that. Let's. We'll go back to that in a little bit. You use the word afford. And I think that's especially pertinent right now because the economic effects of the Vietnam War in the 1970s was inflation. Paul: Mm hmm. Right. So that that was like I graduated college in 1970 and the way that it affected me was like you really couldn't get a job with your education. I mean, I we first went from North Carolina. I got married, like, in the in the last year of my college. To Tracy, of course. And we went. You know, we were going to go out West because I had been out west to San 01:13:00Francisco the summer before looking for work because the I mean, was it was a precursor to a lot of this was seeing like the shipping industry was heavily subsidized. I think about this now but back back but so so like. And of course, the jet age was like very well here. And it was expensive to operate passenger ships, and they were heavily subsidized by the federal government. In order to be converted to troop transports in the event of. So the government would actually use them to transport a lot of military people anyway. A lot of State Department people, a lot of you name it, anybody connected to the government, they would they they would basically be subsidizing their own subsidy. And we would be working I'd be working in a storage department, waiting on tables in 01:14:00the dining room, let's say. So what I'm saying is that like these, that industry kind of started drying up, closing down and imploding.
Paul: They were, you know, docking some of these ships. In and around that area.You know, by the summer of 69. Or, actually the summer of 68. And 69. But what I my idea was to go out west and get a ship. Not also to be like I kind of exploratory. And also for the monetary end. So it would be both and I would be also risking my life getting on a ship to go to Vietnam and sit somewhere because of chances are that's the kind of ship you would get on if you went to the union hall in San Francisco and got a job. But that was very tough to do. I 01:15:00mean, because people there weren't things were already receding there, you know, they were you know, they were they were kind of like. I don't know if the war was slowing down or they were shifting to a different type of transport for bringing the weapons over there. But, there weren't a lot of jobs available there. And in that union hall and I met some guys over there that, you know, in San Francisco, they took me home and gave me a place to sleep. And this is like the tail end of the Haight-Ashbury and all that stuff. And these guys were they were actually from the East Coast, too. They were like they were kind of like from Ivy League schools out there. And they're trying to do the working-class union organizing thing and the MNU and writing a Wildcat newspaper and, you know, also hanging out at the union hall and shooting heroin on their days off, 01:16:00you know? So. So this is. You know, kind of what was going on in there.
Paul: And I just. So but anyway, they got a taste of San Francisco and I likedit so that when we finished school, we decided to go out there and see if we could, you know, do something there because we were, like at odds with everything and everybody on, you know, our families, the East Coast, the job situation and, you know, you know, like what could you possibly do? You know, it was very slim. So actually it was just a slim out on the West Coast. But we managed to, uh, we took some civil service tests and, you know, we got some, like substance jobs as and social services as like part time. It was like being a part time teacher for the social service agency in the East Bay Area that took 01:17:00care of like abused children. So we were basically glorified babysitters, taking care of these kids that were like had been treated horrendously for one reason or another. And. But we make a little bit of money and. You know, we kind of hung on for a while. Yeah, that was kind of after we lived in San Francisco. For like the fall and winter of 60. Of 70. This is like 70, 71. So of 1970. But like I remember work getting a job as a school bus driver and had to take a test and do this training and all this shit had to. I end up with a like a kind of like one of these little shorty school busses taking the special ed kids to school. And I was like 140 pounds and I was, I had to like lift up, you know, kids that 01:18:00are wheelchairs that like way more than I did, that you help lift them up, get them onto the bus and drive them to school.
Paul: And that was my job. In this job there was a big union because so manyeducated people were doing things like this. Like that one guy who I met. He was a p h d from Columbia University, and he was like, you know, trying to get a job with the bus company, you know? And he would I mean, he was a literary guy and he would he would just joke about it and like, you know, this is what I'm going to have to do or but that's how it was. There are engineers from all these defense companies that were closing down. This was 70, 71 because they weren't they didn't want to be they didn't need to design new weapons or whatever it is 01:19:00they were doing. And they were doing these things. And I remember these guys had a newsletter and they had a they were organizing a union for the school bus drivers. And they and they were like planning job actions. I mean, I didn't stay there that long. I my heart really wasn't in it because to me it is like kind of ridiculous, you know, like, I mean, a school bus driver is mostly like a part time person who's, you know, just like my idea of a union was like, you know, the NMU or the, the, you know, a, you know, the atomic energy workers or, you know, or hell, the longshoremen, I was from the Northeast, you know, and but I mean, I mean, it was valid enough, but I just wasn't going to like join in and, and get myself a red book. And, I mean, these guys were, you know. They were 01:20:00union organizing, but they were also like intellectuals.
Paul: And they were they were they I mean, nothing wrong with being anintellectual and organizing union, but their approach was like a revolutionary footing, you know? San Francisco had a they had a mao bookstore, you know. I mean, we went down there and like for like a quarter, you could buy the complete works of Chairman Mao, which was like, you know, not a quarter, but they would sell books for like $0.50 and a quarter, you know, the little red book and posters and the slogans and the buttons and all that stuff. And that's that's what it was like. You know, people were like kind of gung ho on this revolutionary thing. But it's kind of tough to do when the system doesn't even 01:21:00need you anymore. Once you, you know, it's seizing up. So anyway, we didn't last in the East Bay and we, because we couldn't get a full time job and we decided to come back east and couldn't hardly get a full time job here either. So. So we struggled for a while, but then again we did other things. Thomas: What was the reputation of China for-- not Chinese-- but Asian communists in the East Bay area at this time? Paul: Well, these weren't Asian people. These were like these are like privileged-- Thomas: I mean-- Paul: --educated white boys and girls. Thomas: I mean more so like-- Paul: Worked for a school who had to be school bus drivers because they couldn't get a job at the Berkeley as a teaching assistant 01:22:00or something or whatever. Thomas: I mean, more so as in like what did they think of like Ho Chi Minh or Chairman Mao? Paul: Oh, yeah, they they were they were Maoists, you know. Of course, the whole thing was about people's liberation. And, you know, that's what they would know about.
Paul: They would then write articles about it because, of course, the war isstill going on, you know, and and they were trying to organize people against the war as well. And, yeah, they everybody knew that not everybody, but the people that were schooled in this and that were I'm not saying they were all Maoists, but usually the person that would step up, you know, they they were they were imbued with the theory and methods of, you know, a whole organizing, 01:23:00you know, I mean, they would they know about criticism and self-criticism. They knew about, you know, the struggles of the Chinese revolution. They knew about Ho Chi Minh, his history, his biography. And and they and they also and they also knew about people organizing everywhere in the military. You know, I mean, that was a big piece, too, or not that I had any contact contact with it. But there were people in the military that were you know, they were they were disrupting ships, ships or whatever they were doing, supposed to be doing, going back and forth to Vietnam. And so it was just like a common thread everywhere you went. Thomas: Was the organizing on the West Coast different than the 01:24:00organizing on the East Coast? Philosophically. Paul: I would say yeah. I would say they're they're more theory oriented. Here they're more like just, you know, the unions weren't being organized here. You see, they already everybody had a union. If you were I grew up with lots of guys that were like that. Like I was told, you better go to college. Well, my father, where he wasn't going to take me under the wing and get me a, you know, a $5 an hour job, you know, because it didn't work that way in his union.
Paul: But if you were an ironworker, steelworker, a Laffer, you know, anelectrician, and you lived in my town, you're basically, your father worked in New York on a bus every day at 5 a.m. and went into Manhattan and worked on a 01:25:00building. And I came home every night at six, usually with a six pack on the (inaudible). But I mean, they are in good money, a supportive family. And but they were in a union. And the union, like you didn't you didn't try to organize, you know, a wildcat strike in unions like that. You know, you would you would be you'd be out on a street or you'd have your your arms broken or I mean, I saw, you know, some of that going on in the NMU because the NMU was a very corrupt union, and that's what these guys out in the West Coast were trying to do. They were trying to have like a parallel union within the union. So if you were organizing a union, you had to be very in a place that's already organized. 01:26:00You've got to be pretty. It's kind of like going into the Teamsters and ending up like Jimmy Hoffa or something, you know? But I mean, that goes on with the Teamsters where there are, you know, challengers to the leadership and reform movements. And there are a lot of courageous guys that did that throughout the years. But around where I was coming from in the East Coast for basically the metropolitan area, people were fat in the union. You know, they weren't they weren't like griping. They were kind of status quo. And if anything, they were hostile to antiwar, anything. They were they were very supportive of, you know, like Nixon and the policies around him because they saw that as job creation.
Paul: And I mean, there were famous protests in Lower Manhattan where marches01:27:00got like shit rained on them from guys up in buildings and people got beat up on the streets by what they used to call hardhats union guys, maybe the everything from steam fitters, pipefitters, sheet rock hangers, you name it. They they they were they were ready to kick ass and throw garbage at people who were trying to, you know, tell them other than the government was doing the right thing. Thomas: What does the NMU stand for? Paul: National Maritime Union Thomas: Oh, because you are on a ship. So you were-- Paul: Yeah. That was the union. Yeah, that was the union that covered the workers on the ship. I mean, they had they had another union, forofficers. And then out out west, they had two unions. I mean, 01:28:00these are the guys that working on the ships. And then they have the SIU, which also organized people on ships. So there was like two unions for organized people. But you hear about the SIU now, very radical, you know, progressive, radical union from the past. And these are the guys that how they staged shut downs of the port over the Iran Iraq war. You know, in in in 2002 and one. And they're still active, you know, like they were pretty powerful, well-organized union. But the MNU see, they I don't know if they were I think I think they were organized. When the unions were organized, the east and West were not together. Famous radical I remember his name because I knew his daughter. Harry Bridges. Right. Organized the SIU Siemens International Union. I think it is. This is in 01:29:00the forties into the fifties, and this is during the Red Scare and everything else.
Paul: But he was one of these typical communists or members of Communist Partymembers who organized the union and, you know, fought for the rights of all the workers. The conditions were horrible. These people were these people. There's like hardly a step up from slavery and just the way people were treated. I mean, it's like living in a dungeon or something. And when you were back then, you're working on these ships. But on the East Coast, it was. There were progressives organizing, right. The the NMU because the enemy was out West Coast also. But 01:30:00the SEIU came up as an alternative because the NMU was infiltrated by the FBI because and they did all kinds of other stuff. And you know, you read the fine print in books. The FBI was was commissioned to do something about securing the docks for World War Two. They couldn't have strikes going on in the middle of the war because everything had hinged on shipping. So. Of course, Harry Bridges and his wing and. I don't even know if Harry Bridges was was the primary organizer, but they were leftists. They were you know, they were communist organizers organizing a union originally. They were basically pushed aside or. What you call, you know, alienated, somehow sidelined by a faction within the 01:31:00NMU, headed by this kind of dopey guy who was an ordinary seaman named Joe KIRN, who was again, he was he was taken under the wing by the FBI, had to head like some Jesuit school, take him under the wing and polish him up to make him into something that looked like a union leader or or a leader, you know, and a how to speak. I mean, the guy he was an ordinary seaman. All right.
So so but he was like one of these tough guys that the other guys could relateto. So anyway. That Union was was brought into fruition through the help of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. And same way with stevedores. But it was so corrupt that 01:32:00they they made a deal with. Charlie Luciano, Lucky Luciano, who actually controlled the stevedores union. Right. Because they basically gave him free rein to do his thing so long as he secure the ports for for in New York. The FBI made this deal with and they made this deal along with, you know, in tandem, because, I mean, talk about like, you know, a tough union that was like, you know, it's like that movie On the Waterfront only ten times worse, you know, seeing that, you know, you you you know, you had you had to toe the line and everything. I had some dealings with that union. I mean, with Joe Kernen being president, I mean, they basically would shake down the membership. You know, 01:33:00they had something like like I mean, even as a college student, like when you got paid, they were around. They wanted you to buy, make a contribution to something called the Fighting Fund, which was basically a legal fund to protect the president of the union from now the feds coming after him for corruption because he went too far. He stole too much. Right. I mean, these people were and. Oh, there was another other and you know, ancillary part of that where. The. The you know, the unions corruption was was really evident where. You know, you had you had to play along to get along, you know, because otherwise you wouldn't you wouldn't necessarily get a job, you know, not not that they they didn't bother us too much.
But the regular guys, you know, they had to live with them like we, we, we were01:34:00on and off the ships. You know, we'd take one cruise and, you know, we were what were they going to get out of us? But but there were people that like I remember a student from Maryland who bought into this whole thing, like he was trying to be good, be a good union member and collect money for this. This freakin hood. Right. And. Yeah. Luciano, he. He had the stevedores union under control. And this stuff still goes on to some degree. I mean, it went on so long that. I'll tell you a story about real union related. I mean, this is why you wouldn't try to organize all under the guys. You wouldn't organize a union inside one of these unions because you end up with it, as I would say, with a cement block around your feet. They are. The union that supplied the concrete for Shoreham 01:35:00nuclear power plant on Long Island was owned, owned by one of these characters, one of these Cosa Nostra Mafiosi, whatever you want to call Goodfellas. He owned it and he controlled the trucks, and he also owned the company that made the concrete. So as a result, they would sell concrete that wasn't strong enough to withstand the pressure of what they were building at Shoreham. And when after they finished this billion dollar operation, building it, they could never operate it. I mean, chalked it up to saying that it was unsafe because of nuclear power protesters or whatever. You know, that's what's in the public mind. But in actuality, the plant was built with faulty materials because this 01:36:00guy was skimming at the cost of 50% of the cost of the cement, which wasn't there.
It was in his in his pocket. So this is the kind of shit that went on. How didyou how did you find out about that was written up in The New York Times years ago. I mean, that's. Common knowledge. You know, the you know, the plant was I wouldn't be surprised. They're making noises about reopening or extending the lives of this thing had no life. It never, never even opened, you know. But maybe they'll revisit it and try to rebuild it or to make it. Feasible to put it, get some of the 6 billion that President Biden is shoveling toward the nuclear industry at the moment. It seems like a good leeway in to your nonproliferation activism. Oh, yeah. That that was a that's. That was a big 01:37:00piece of the early eighties. Uh. That, you know, that really came out of. The fear that was generated in Europe over short range and medium range missiles that were sprinkled all over Western Europe to supposedly force Russia to the negotiating table or annihilate them in a in a in a war that could take off in six or 8 minutes. So, you know, the the the original marches, I think, took place in excuse me, in were women's marches in England. And they they they did these, you know, they occupied areas and raising hell. And then there were lots 01:38:00of protests and all those, you know, European countries where the cruise missiles were stationed. And until the treaty, a treaty was negotiated, which was recently abrogated by Reagan and Gorbachev, but in between. They had I think the original treaty was a START treaty and then it was the subsequent treaty was the IMF treaty, intermediate range missile. But. Both, you know, wonderful.
Pieces of political construct done by Reagan and Gorbachev. But in between, weyou know, there were there were marches. Huge marches. I think the biggest march ever to take place in New York City was the ban march or. The ban, the bomb or 01:39:00the I forget the technical name of the march, but yeah, people went there and then and watched and it was, you know, it was it was a monumental thing and. You know, I read recently. That Reagan, you know, was more influenced by by being shot and in D.C. and not by being shot, but being shot. He was recuperating in a hospital and they had that program the day after, which was a documentary about the possibility of nuclear war and the outcome. And he called his aides in the room. They were like, there to see him or something. He's recovering. He says, 01:40:00Is this real? Is this true that this could happen? He said, Oh, no, it would be much worse if that happened. And they and he says, well, we have to get on this. We can't let that happen. And that's what motivated him to go when he met with. I couldn't I couldn't believe I just read this Gorbachev in Iceland. And then they sat down and he and book and he's over Trump or we tried put it further down if you want to pull it off said thank you. So there. Say so Gorbachev makes a proposal to to draw down nuclear weapons. And he said, why are we just drawing them down? Why don't we just get rid of all of them? Eliminate them all? Reagan says. And Gorbachev says, Oh, sure. Well, for it. Yeah, that's great. Yeah. So 01:41:00that's that's how it rolled.
He he actually but being the leader, he was I mean, he actually had the thejuice to pull it off and make all these arrangements and and do the verification and everything else. Of course, it's all been put by the wayside by a combination of Trump and what's happened subsequently, mostly Trump. So that's that's an irony of history. So you mentioned prior to when we started the interview that you didn't think your activism with the Vietnam War had an effect on the outcome of US pulling out troops. And I wonder if it's the same thing for this nonproliferation. Well, that's what I was kind of alluding to. You know, it's it's like it's almost like the personal end of history. But I do think activism played a big part and act, you know, activist organizations and. People 01:42:00documenting this end of history because they believe in, you know, trying to, you know, that mass action and try to keep people fired up and motivated, which is important and. Very useful. But I thought that like a combination of the economics, like you alluded to, just kind of drawing fatigue of the war and a big point that the army was unraveling. People. Not only on ships doing, I mean, fragging in Vietnam, shooting officers or order givers was becoming common. People were. Using a lot of drugs over there. You know, it was it was a whole 01:43:00like and in the same way here, people were becoming just just disenchanted. That's the thing. They they called it the generation gap, you know, or but people being being driven apart from a mainstream, dominant culture with. Or, you know, counterculture drugs, alienation, lifestyles, communes, all these different elements where people were turning away from, you know, traditional roles in society and the and to what we're living with now, like we're to the point where people don't believe the government for anything, you know, or or 01:44:00the power structure.
So I think I once read that. People up in the military were saying, like, youknow, we got to get the hell out of here and end this. This is because we're not going to have an army if we keep going like this, because if something like that metastasizes and as soon as it becomes, I'm cool to, you know, have a guy haircut and salute the flag, you're finished. So I think that was, you know, just the people being asked to do things. They didn't want to do it anymore. You know, and I mean, people were coming back hooked on heroin and they were coming back. Totally, you know, divorced from anything that they would expect, that you would expect to come back a war hero or something, or you were like, basically, 01:45:00they were hiding the fact that they did participate and defend that so-called defend their country and, you know, serve and all this other stuff. And so they so that. So what would be the point of participating? So and another thing in terms of organizing here in this country. There was like a divisive thing going on within being organized or organizing where the FBI was constantly sending out and police agencies sending out people to to spy on people, to undermine movements, to try to make movements overly active or do crazy things or be violent, and therefore, you know, discredit themselves. And this is this all comes out of, you know, the Nixon White House. And before that. There was a guy named Tommy Travel who like was like an FBI and he was an agent or he was a 01:46:00provocateur. He was an employee, I'll put it that way. And he like he went to dozens of schools on the East Coast and to try to gin up, you know.
Activities that weren't that weren't that were not peaceful. And I worked withto a to a large degree because a lot of people left the the antiwar movement because of things that happened. Along those lines, people doing stupid things. I mean, at one point there were. Hundreds of bombings in the United States related to antiwar activity like, you know, coming out. A lot of this stuff came out of Michigan, Ann Arbor. That was the big one where people got killed. Of 01:47:00course, the weathermen, you know, blowing themselves up and blowing up this and that and other people working in universities and labs, being doing all this disruptive stuff. And a lot of that stuff was being encouraged. And so that's what so it kind of divided the anti-war movement. So, like, as the war was being bled down, it wasn't like it was hooray. You know, we you know, it wasn't being overcome by the movement, the anti-war movement, because the anti-war movement was disintegrating, just like the army was disintegrating. I, I think you kind of implied this earlier when you were talking about the role of activism in ending the war. But I wonder if you can talk more about, like, the the idea of the chicken versus the egg, which came first, like our discontent with the war or the activism based on the discontent. No. It wasn't the activism. It was 01:48:00just. The fact. For males that you are going to get out of high school and go to some. Crappy military base and being handed a gun and being told that, you know, it's the height of the war. There were 560,000 people in Vietnam. Now, when you say there's a half a million people fighting in a war, that's like World War two.
Right. That's how many. That's how many died in all of World War Two. But. Butwhen you're rotating that over like a 20 year period. Keeping 560,000 people or. Or something. Around 300000 to 500, whatever these numbers are, they're big rotating around. You're talking about millions of people looking at being 01:49:00inducted into the service and looking at that. Who who wants to look at that? You know, so so that's that's the basic inclination. Now, when you take the population, the thinking population, you know, or the educated population, they're going to gravitate toward being the the middle class or the money populate the elite. Right. I mean, let's face it, all these big things happen. And where Ann Arbor. I couldn't get in Ann Arbor. Columbia. I mean, you go to Columbia, don't ask. You know, these are the elite institutions in the country. And then you have on top of that, the intelligentsia, the people writing the books, you know, the David Dellinger, Norman Mailer. He was like the most popular writer in the country, you know? But this goes back all the way to Jean-Paul Sartre. Who's. I can't think of who founded the band, the bomb 01:50:00movement in Great Britain. But back into the beginning of the bomb, you know, I mean, us. So that was. You know, that was a nucleus that was already there that people were against blowing ourselves all up. And then people had this. I mean, you could turn to that for background or think about that in the meanwhile, because we were we grew up with duck and cover, you know, worrying about a nuclear war at any minute that now that's coming back and. Then it's a small step from going from being blown up in your living room to being blown up on some jungle that both of them are relatively senseless acts.
You know, like, why would you? Why would you want to put yourself in thatsituation? So I think. You know, and women were a big part in it all. You know, 01:51:00women didn't you know, they don't want to see their boyfriends come back in a wheelchair or this or that or. There was no end game that was. Now, we didn't know about PTSD, but that that was a big piece of it. I mean, 50% of all the guys that came back from Vietnam. And in the late sixties were dead within a year for one reason or another. Suicide, typically. Risky behavior. You know, because you're going to have you're addicted to that adrenaline high 50% debt. And then over a long term period, it's probably like 90%. I mean, like you, you, me, Vietnam vets that are damaged all over the place to this day. So people 01:52:00people knew this and people in the know, yeah, you're not going, you know, I mean, this went on in civil war. People would by people with money, with brains would buy their their child's way out of this situation. And, you know, people had all kinds of strategies to get out of it. And I only luckily got out of it because of the lottery number system that came into use at the end of my year in college, last year in college. And the number was very high and I didn't, I didn't have to sweat it. But everybody else below 150 or something was going. So I do think, you know, it's a drawback from like an educated. Constituency is a 01:53:00word because people also voted and people also knew that they could go to their congressperson and raise hell with them and and all the other kinds of ways of.
But just sheer, you know, marching around and writing news newspapers, informingpeople was was a good thing. But it didn't hit the nerve like the the prospect of really participating and. The prospect of like Lyndon Johnson had a saying which which you can apply to this on a mass scale. He once called a congressman and I always said, this is what Biden is lacking. And like what? You don't want to go along with the Voting Rights Act. Your district is not ready for this. Well, you know, it's not what you're going to get. It's what you're not going to get. Right. And and that's the way it worked with with with, you know, on a 01:54:00grand scale as well. You know, it's it's. You know, you're you're not. You're not going to be driven into a situation like this because. There's no there's there's no payoff in the end. You know, you're not going to get anything out of it. So. So you don't. Don't bother. So just go get along with it. Go along with it. And. You know, you might. You'll survive something else. I want to start winding down the interview, but I have a few more questions for you. Okay. You mentioned when you were talking about I think it was West Coast Organization for Unions that you also felt that college education led to this organization in a similar way that you talk about the anti-war movement, how the education feeds 01:55:00into that college level education. Yeah, well. You're talking about. Of, you know, any any organization process requires. Some people with certain skills. Which which. Very often working class people won't have, you know, they're not going to sit and write, you know, a tree to see or or do research or or or even even, you know, know about the possibility or something about how history unfolds.
So what I'm what I was alluding to was like the like a group of guys, like, Icall them wildcatters. Who? You know, who knew? You know, they know something 01:56:00about the history, you know, they might know about, you know, how unions were organized or the history of. Political activism. You know, Eugene Debs or or other people that have been put upon by the system for for stepping up. So. They they, you know, and this this is a theory of revolution. You know, they they call those people the vanguard, right? This is what like like like Lenin. Like, I read all this stuff in college and I thought, I'm a dyed in the wool communist or something or Marxist-Leninist. But he, you know, they recognize that, you know, you have to have an educated vanguard and and then they lead the masses and then the masses get some benefit and educate themselves in the process. And then you have a, you know, a political base for action and then you can get some 01:57:00rights or some benefits out of it. So that that's the model that is always followed. It's a natural model, you know, is that, you know, a few people have to be highly motivated. A few people have to be educated, not highly educated, but or learning, you know, or wanting to learn in the process and the you know, and then the struggle creates the program. You know, it's not the other way around. You don't say, you know, here's the program. You know, we were going to get this, this, this and this and it's going to be this way. No, you know, you basically you know, you point out, you know, you're getting screwed here. This has gone on for far too long.
And look at this. Look at that. You know, your grandmother died of cancer orwhatever. On and on like that. So these guys that I was in contact with and, you 01:58:00know, I was engaged with somewhat. Right. That that's their role in in facing down a union. Now, what happens in here is that, you know, you in other words, you have a better way to have a fairer way. And you you want to inform people. So you bet you basically got to publish something. So in order to publish something, you got to have a certain amount of skills, sketch sets and be motivated to follow through on them and stick with it. That's that's the big piece is sustaining the effort because. Most union members are like the guys I grew up with. Go to sleep. Give me that six pack. You know I got a paycheck. What do I care? Shut up. Don't bother me, you know? And I'm not going to make waves in. They and they fall victim to opportunists like the guy with the cement 01:59:00trucks or everything else that can, you know, gain ascendancy and power over, you know, an organizing activity. And that's why, you know, the union wants it. It prevails. Needs to hold on to. You know, it's it's precepts, engagement. You know, they they can't just say, well, that's the problem with our system of government. You know, we it's it's it's it's not really a democracy. It's a republic. You elect somebody to do for you, and then you go back to sleep. And then you hope. And then when he doesn't do it, you elect somebody else to do for you and go back to sleep. So that's hard dilemma. And, you know, we know better, but. 02:00:00
Very often people just don't have the luxury of a and an education. Be like,who's going to do this? College kids with their summer off. I mean, the average person. No, I got I got to like get the kids to the baseball game and fix the car when I come home and on and on like that. So people can fill certain slots for sure and and and make a contribution and even like, you know, plod along for 50 years like Ralph Nader or or, you know, or other other leaders, Chris Hedges or different people that are incredibly dedicated, gifted and talented. But they're also also always being sidelined, alienated and pushed aside for by the 02:01:00power structure because they really don't want to hear it. They just want the nice little drones. Are there any urban legends you can think of from your time in activism? Hmm. Well. You know. There are there are people that stood up in certain times and. You know, they basically are fell by the wayside. I was talking to a guy who had. We were at a flea market and he had this button, this black. I asked him about a button that he had on and he he gave you like awarded it to him and it was like some Stokely Carmichael button or something. And these 02:02:00people are urban legends. But even though they're in the mainstream, somewhat. But this guy didn't know who he was. He never heard Stokely Carmichael. He never heard of H. Brown. You know? Yeah. You might know who Malcolm X's, but you wouldn't really know who they are. The people. The people that led the. The great marches and the anti-war movement. David Dillinger, the Bargain Brothers. There's this. This stuff has been inked out of the vernacular.
Okay. They don't want you to know about these people. These people make greatcontributions. Even some demagogs. You know who use the tools in the method. Huey Long, you know, read a biography of him, you know, like where he he came from over here, and he ends up kind of in the wrong place. But. The process, 02:03:00again, was was correct the way he went about it. Well, certainly this guy, Howard Fuller, who we knew in college. There are. It's hard to I'm trying to think of some anti-war activist, Tom Hayden. I mean. Some people. Who? You know who caught hell? Weren't trapped. Unknown people. Abbie Hoffman. You know, I knew a guy once. We once went to Mexico. Right? And we're staying at this little, like, little cabana place, you know, and eating at this restaurant. And we meet this guy named Joe, who's from Chicago. Right. This is a place called Z. Want narrow. It's on a west coast north of. That's. What the hell's that town? 02:04:00It'll come to me. You know, a West Coast. Big resort in Mexico. But anyway, it's a small place on a bay. So anyway, this guy is down here with this nice good size. Like local themed restaurant and we get to talking. And so Traci, she had experience with Abbie Hoffman because he came to help organize that the dump, the pop punk fight. And so this guy knew Abbie Hoffman. You know, he was with Abbie Hoffman in Chicago. Right. And he. He and. And he had bad feelings. This guy, Joe. I can't. I'm a crime. I can't remember his name. Come to me. And he's 02:05:00he's got bad feelings because he did time for for like punching a cop. And in the middle of all of all that mayhem at the Chicago riot demonstration at the Chicago convention in 1968.
And so so in his estimation, yeah. Yeah. Abby went out and became famous and allthis stuff. Grandstand went to court and I and was acquitted and I went to freakin jail. But I mean, if what he followed through on it by going back down there and by, you know, basically banishing him, banishing himself and he along with other people down there, like when Abby was a fugitive for years, I mean, that's where he went and lived. He lived down there with other people that were fugitive, all these people that were wanted, like we when we were in college, we 02:06:00were living off campus and. The FBI. Oh, they were hot. After that bombing in Greenwich Village, the townhouse famous. They. They were just going around everywhere and anywhere where any people had long hair and were living in like what? Look like a group setting or something. And they were doing things like opening up briefcases, showing you gobs of money. What can you tell us? Because they had no agency to crack this this case. Right. Because they didn't have their typical stool pigeon network or anybody else willing to tell them anything. So anyway, they they saw a picture, you know, on on our on our friend's wall or something. And it and it looked like, you know, there's a woman in a picture who was just like an Irish looking girl in her twenties who who 02:07:00they swear swore was Bernardine Dohrn, who was like one of the people who was wanted. I think she just got out of jail or died in prison or got out and actually. Yeah, I heard that recently. And at any rate, they were they're dying to look for her, you know, so that that's what they were doing.
They were just fishing. So but they were going around bribing people, shakingpeople down, scaring people, intimidating people, you know, come to your workplace, whatever. That that's that was their M.O. And that in itself pissed a lot of people off and made people, you know, hardened their attitudes toward. You know, what was being done, which was basically government overstepping its itself and doing a whole lot of things it shouldn't be doing. So, you know, it's basically the, um, you know, I would try to elevate the, the unknown, the unseen 02:08:00and the people that that sacrificed because everywhere you went there was, there were underground papers, you know, like, yeah. And you could just submit a right. You had a story, you could submit it. When we went to San Francisco in 1970, I remember I had had a job selling Cablevision door to door. This is at the beginning of Cablevision. Until earlier was that you had to sell it to people. And anyway, they explained the technology to me. And it turned out that, you know, it sounded like it could be like a listening device in your house is the way this exec described it to us and how, like fantastic it was in terms of the bandwidth on it. You know, we go this way, but it could also go that way. And so to me, that sounded like Big Brother. So, you know, I wrote an article 02:09:00for the the San Francisco Underground paper. They publish it. You know, I tell them this whole story about they call it Big Brother and the cable company. You know, and I how true it all turned out to be or whether the technology was really there for that. But that's the way it was.
And everybody, you know, and they had all these instructions. You know, theywere constantly be educating people how to survive, how to how to get by everything from like, you know, how to deal with the police if you're stopped, what to do if you were arrested, what to do if you, you know, you want to smoke pot or whatever or. You name it, you know, like, you know, and some stuff, very shaky stuff, you know, like how you know, all these economic scams that you 02:10:00could do if you had no money and you couldn't, you know, couldn't make it. So they would actually publish all this stuff. And along with the news of the war and the outrage that people were. Suffering. But it was basically the culture. That's that's the. As you put it. What did you caught on? On. Unknown heroes. On. The small stories that nobody hears about. Yeah. Or, you know, personages who, you know, unrecognized. Hmm. So that, you know, it was. It was truly a culture, you know, and it wasn't just, you know, people said, oh, well, that wasn't happening in Omaha. It was, you know, it was happening and it was happening in Belmont, North Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina, and Orangeburg, South Carolina. And then we visit Virginia, you know, like. It was everywhere. Do you remember any jokes from the time period? Oh, God. Awful with jokes. Oh. I'd have to think about that one. Really? Sorry. That's fine. Get back to me if you think of any. All right. And what do you want people to know about the Vietnam War? Well. The big piece. As it was. A massive war crime. Perpetrated by. Opportunist politicians. And defense contractors. I don't know 02:11:00how else to put it.
You know, it would have been avoided just like this war in Ukraine could havebeen avoided with with some a different strategy, a different policy, you know, a little give and take. Because in the end. That's what we did. But in the process. We wasted. A whole generation. A couple of generations of wealth. Right. And stuck with that with the afterburn the lack of development that could have been. Addressed with those resources and probably 6 million people dead. Along with, you know, a whole country polluted. And. And a less stable war. A more. I mean. Like. The atomic bomb was dropped. On Hiroshima, supposedly not 02:12:00really the end. The Japanese war were to beat the Japanese down. They were already beaten down. And they tell you they didn't want to invade Japan and have people fight door to door. But it was really done. By in order to show. The Russians that we not only had the bomb, we would use it. And that's kind of what that's what deterrence is about. But this was this wasn't this is way beyond deterrence. This was actually using people as fodder to make a point. Okay. So that we could back the Russians off. Didn't work because we ended up fighting the war in Vietnam anyway. Because the French didn't get back their colony anyway, because, as I said earlier, Asian people saw that Asian people could 02:13:00dislodge the white colonists and prevail. And we thought we were going to turn that back around again. That was. A total waste base. Because we are. Where are we now? Where we're like looking at facing down the Chinese over the same issues, essentially. Whether they're going to. Be or carry or water for us or be their own nation.
And the and they prove something that we should have learned in Korea, thatyou're not going to muscle them down. And then we didn't learn it in Vietnam. And now we're we're we're have to be taught it again, because we think we're 02:14:00entitled to say what goes everywhere to everybody. And we don't we or if anything, we're in decline. And we're in decline because of these policies. Because of the waste and the. You know, they. Well, the the animosity that the rest of the world has for us as a result. You know, there's there's there's payback involved here. People do not. Are not going to look up to or, you know, appreciate anybody who's, like so cavalier with this kind of activity, massive destruction, war crimes and waste, you know, so that's that's that's the thing that we we need to learn that that we really can't afford it. We couldn't afford 02:15:00it then. We can't afford it now. And it's pointless because in the end, what do we do? We make nice with Vietnam and they make our genes for us now. And we we try to sell them nuclear power plants or whatever else they want. And I mean, hell, I read recently that. In the late sixties when the big marches were going on, like 68, 69, the number was 45,000 dead right. And for American soldiers, a couple million Vietnamese folk by the end. So so they had to drag the war out for another five years or more. Six years, seven years. And they end up with 65, 64, 60, whatever it is. Nearly a thousand people that practically double 02:16:00probably doubled because of the people that died of their wounds who were, you know, not counted as dying in battle.
They come back and die in a hospital a few years later. So that's a disgustingfact. But on top of it, the political relations. Would have, you know, ended up being the same as they would have been if we ended it in 1967. I would normally end the interview here, but I have one more question for you. Are you I think you opened the door and alluded to something. And I think it's been a theme that's been going on throughout this whole conversation we've had. How did colonialism factor into the Vietnam War? Oh. So making money. Simply, the French owned what was called Indochina, North and South Vietnam. The automobile needed 02:17:00rubber tires. They had massive rubber plantations for 150 years. This wasn't like, you know, they went down to Columbia in the 1920s and took over some coffee plantations. And now they have some, you know, what were they what they call a fair trade agreement? Now now those people that were slaves worse than slaves because they weren't owned by anybody and they were work to death in those places, in those jungles. It's not like it ever got cool there like it does in Alabama. They know and. That's what they wanted. And then they. They, along with you, intimate. What could they grow there? Everything that they don't 02:18:00get. Like I mentioned, coffee. Tea. Holy God. What is the to? Great Britain practically invaded China for tea. They did gunboat diplomacy. Used to be called way back then. But. But the French, they had an out now colony. They occupied it. They ran the government. The Vietnamese were in their own country. They were treated worse than a sharecropper in Mississippi. The wealth being extracted. Enormous. It's basically they had a what's a monopoly of the tire industry for 50 years.
They so they had all that. They they probably grew pineapples and persimmonmangoes and you name it. You know, anybody who could get there could look at 02:19:00these old movies on Saturday. They show you show the the the volunteers running this show in different colonies in Africa or South America or wherever. And the way that people are portrayed is like a step up from a trained pet or something, you know? So. They they they lost it, like I said. And the guy who who put this idea in my head was Louis Mountbatten. He was the first viceroy of. Not the first, but one of the before World War Two. Advice for giving. And. And the member of the royal family. Later in life. And a victim of the IRA. He. Said, like the genie cannot be put back in the bottle after the French were driven out of Indo-China. And and that was his analysis. That thing about the Japanese, the 02:20:00Japanese literally came in there after the French sucked up to them for a couple of years doing all their policing and running the tax collection. And then they just said, you know what? Screw you. You know, you get down on your knees and crawl. You are going to have a parade. They did that. They walked them. They made them crawl through. You know, the streets of Saigon and lock them up and hold them in jail, which is what, you know, the jails that they have been running for, the for the Japanese. And then, you know, banish them. And they went and like I said, they won two camps in Burma. And then at the end of the war, they kind of like tried to reorganize themselves and march back and.
And they and they did. And the United States supported their efforts and until02:21:00and up to and passed the NBN in full in which they were totally, you know, given an ultimatum, you know, give up or die. And then. You know, then the United States came under. Eisenhower came in with both feet thinking that, oh, no, we can't have this. This is this is the Chinese communists or something, which is total nonsense, only because only in America the people make policy who have no inclination or or knowledge. Inclination to get or have knowledge of the people that they're about to go to war with. Like us right now in Ukraine, you know, like a war or a you know, how many how many people speak Russian? You know anybody around here or speak Ukrainian? You know, you're going to support an effort over there. And like we did in Iraq, where we can hire interpreters and 02:22:00bring them home with you and come on. It's just it's just a a cash cow for the defense industry. Like it was then. Like the movie JFK says said it. You know, they want to sell a lot of Bell helicopters quick. And, you know, of course, they didn't they didn't really see it's just like it's one one toe, then the foot, then the ankle, then the whole thing. Then you're up to your neck, then you're swimming to get out and then you get out and you're just like where you were. And that's what we're looking at currently. Another massively massive loss. For some, you know, reasons that could have been avoided very easily. You know, just, you know, okay, everyone makes a thing out of these dictators being 02:23:00corrupt and this now, okay, we'll pay them off.
That's. That's what you do. I mean, that's what you do is a lot better thanhaving a blood bath. All right. Well, thank you. You're welcome. Sorry about the break up in the sound here, I.