ONCE again, on main streets and Broadway, in village halls, Statehouses and the national capital, at coliseums, campuses and churches, Americans turned out to march, argue and declaim over Viet Nam. The spectacle in many ways resembled the October Moratorium, but with a major difference. This time, answering Richard Nixon's call, the opponents of dissent also demonstrated in force, making a counterattack and a purposeful counterpoint to the antiwar protesters. For the President's "silent majority," Veterans Day provided a natural opportunity to sound the trumpets of loyalty and patriotism as defined by Nixon. No less patriotic by their own lights, the antiwar forces also blossomed with American flags in three days of nationwide activities that were anchored by mass marches in Washington and San Francisco.
Every viewpoint found its defenders: militants who would fight to the end, those who back the President's gradual disengagement policy, others who want him to move faster, advocates of instantaneous and total U.S. withdrawal from Southeast Asia. During much of the time that tens of thousands of young marchers against the war filed past the White House, the President remained aloof inside, showing no sign that he was moved to consider any policy change. He seems under no immediate compulsion to do so. The massive demonstration in Washington showed the continuing momentum of dissent. Nonetheless, the week's activity nationwide served to emphasize that those who want an immediate end to the war, regardless of consequences, still represent a minority. The week showed one marked change in the national ethos —a more sharply defined split not only over the war itself but over the legitimacy of dissent. Activists both for and against the Administration promised to increase their efforts; if they do, it seems inevitable that the national division over the war will widen.
Prominent Dropouts. The two mass antiwar demonstrations were the creation of the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Viet Nam, a conglomerate that includes pacifists, Trotskyites, clergymen, socialists of various stripes, Communists, radicals and non-ideologists who simply want out of the war. Though there is some overlap of leadership, the New Mobe is distinct from the Viet Nam Moratorium Committee, a more moderate organization that began the M-day series last month and plans to continue them monthly as long as the U.S. remains in Viet Nam. The Moratorium leaders supported the New Mobe's marches, though the mass demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco drew manpower and spirit away from smaller observances elsewhere.