Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Paul Robeson Opposed U.S. Military Intervention In Vietnam In 1950's

Long before a mass-based U.S. anti-war movement against U.S. military intervention in Vietnam developed during the mid-1960's, U.S. protest folk singer and civil rights movement/anti-war activist Paul Robeson expressed support for the Vietnamese people's struggle for national independence from foreign domination and full self-determination rights; and he also opposed the U.S. government's policy of providing military aid and militarily intervening in Vietnam in order to perpetuate foreign domination of that country. In an October 4, 1953 speech in Chicago to the Convention of the National Negro Labor Council, for example, Robeson said the following:

"...Will dropping some bombs on Vietnamese patriots who want to be free of French domination help American Negroes reach a plane of equality with their white fellow-citizens?...To ask the question is to answer it. No!...We must not approve the squandering of billions of American taxpayers' money on the `dirty war' in Indo-China--we must insist that the French rule in France and leave the Vietnamese to govern themselves...What Negroes need, and all America needs, is PEACE..."

And in the March 1954 issue of his Freedom journal, Robeson also wrote the following:

"As I write these lines, the eyes of the world are on a country inhabited by 23 million brown-skinned people...It's a fertile land, rich, in minerals; but all the wealth is taken away by the foreign rulers, and the people are poor.

"I'm talking about Vietnam...

"Vast quantities of U.S. bombers, tanks and guns have been sent against Ho Chi Minh and his freedom-fighters; and American GIs into Indo-China in order that the tin, rubber and tungsten of Southeast Asia be kept by the `free world---meaning White Imperialism...

"That's the picture, and I ask again: Shall Negro sharecroppers from Mississippi be sent to shoot down brown-skinned peasants in Vietnam--to serve the interests of those who oppose Negro liberation at home and colonial freedom abroad?

"What are our Negro leaders saying about this? They are all too silent...

"Today, more than ever, is the time for plain speaking.

"Peace can be won if we demand it. The imperialists can be halted in their tracks..." 

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