December 17, 2017
TOPIC: GI Resistance and Rebellion and
Breaking the Chain of Command
GUEST: John Catalinotto
Mr. Catalinotto has been active in the anti-war movement since the October 1962 missile crisis and has worked on some of the peoples' war crimes tribunals that the IAC organized regarding the U.S. wars against Iraq and Yugoslavia. Since 1982 John has been a managing editor of Workers World newspaper. And specifically from 1967 to 1970 he was a civilian organizer with the American Servicemen's Union, a circulation manager of the newspaper, The Bond, and must have read and answered some thousands of letters from GIs around the world, and once in a while got into the direct struggle.
Draftees and enlistees — eighteen-year-olds from the South Bronx, factory workers from Buffalo, miners’ sons from Kentucky, unemployed youth from Watts — hate the military and the Vietnam War. They throw a wrench into the Pentagon’s war machine, becoming leaders of the anti-war movement and organizing a union in the conscript military to battle war, racism and their officers.
In three other wars — the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 that sparked the Paris Commune; World War I, which sowed revolutions in Germany and Russia; African liberation wars of the 1960s that incited a captains' revolt in Portugal — ordinary soldiers turn their guns around to make revolution.
Weaving together letters from servicemen and servicewomen, interviews with GI war resisters and first-hand narratives, memoir and historical research, author John Catalinotto — as participant and historian — highlights the relation between rank-and-file soldier resistance and the struggle for state power.
From the first napalm bomb dropped, Catalinotto hated the U.S. war against Vietnam. By 1967 he was organizing rank-and-file servicemen to resist the war. For the last 50 years he pondered that experience and its lessons for humanity. Now he wants to share this history with all who want to fight injustice.