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A suburban Los Angeles housewife walked up the steps of the new Federal Building, doused herself in gasoline and struck a match. A man nearby saw herjwalking slowly back down, moaning, "low and terrible," before she died. The antiwar sentiment ignited the San Francisco Bay Area, tinderbox of every anti-movement of recent years. Boiling out from the University of California campus at Berkeley, aggressively nonviolent protestersmany of them nonstudents, descended 10,000 strong upon Oakland and surrounded the city's draft' induction center. On the first day, Folk Singer Joan Baez, the nightingale of nonviolence, sang I'm Going to Lay Down My Green Beretthen was arrested along with 124 other pickets, when the Oakland police moved in.
Next day, still intent on shutting down the induction center, the crowd defied police orders to move out and was subdued by a flying wedge of helmeted patrolmen wielding billy clubs and squirt guns loaded with Macea chemical crowd-dispersal spray that stings, sickens and temporarily blinds anyone it hits in the face. Shattered and shaken, the dissenters broke and ran, leaving bloody-headed buddiesand a dozen hapless newsmencrumpled in the streets. The picketers resumed their vigil, forcing the draft center to bus its inductees right to the door, then double-time the soldiers-to-be through the crowd under escort of bayonet-swinging troops. It was an ugly image, and one that could cozily be interpreted outside the U.S. to imply that American draftees must be marched into service at gunpoint.
Nudity & Napalm. An induction center and a federal building were targets of antiwarriors in Chicago, where 200 sympathizers of CADRE (Chicago Area Draft Resisters) and Women Strike for Peacecarrying posters of "Bloodfinger Johnson"tried on and off over three days to embarrass the Government with wads of turned-in draft cards and pushy petitions. Police turned back most of them and arrested four, but some 30 housewifely pickets made it to the door of a Chicago induction center, where they recoiled in horror on being informed that inside there were nude inductees undergoing physicals. "Don't touch me, don't you dare touch me!" shrilled one woman. "Why don't you sing The Star-Spangled Banner?" heckled an onlooker. "All right, if you won't, I will," he cried, and piped out: "My country 'tis of thee/Sweet land of liberty . . ." An incoming draftee had the last word. Turning to the hot-eyed housewives, he said: "I'm ready to go fight in Viet Nam. I'm ready to serve my country."
No such willingness was evident at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where 2,500 demonstrators clashed with police over the right of the Dow Chemical Co. to recruit job applicants on university turf. (Dow's crime, as seen from the campus, is that it manufactures napalm.) Although University Chancellor William H. Sewell canceled further interviews by the Dow recruiters "pending a special meeting of the faculty," the issue had already shifted to "police brutality" and the charge that the university had sold out by calling in outside force.