HAW at the AHA
Resolution on the War and Repression prepared for presentation at the 1969 convention of the American Historical Association:
Resolved, that as citizens and historians, we recognize and find intolerable the present direction of the American government. In order to extend the modern American Empire by waging war against the people of Vietnam, the government has increasingly movedto repress political opposition at home. Moreover, the physical and cultural destruction of the Vietnamese people reflects a much older and deeper policy of physical and cultural destruction of the Black community at home, and is now being carried into new versions of racism by the Administration in its betrayal of civil rights and its aid to counter-insurgent police forces in the great cities. The political assassination of the Black Panther Party is the most blatant example. The Justice Department is acting as the domestic Pentagon in this repression.
These murderous policies and the repression which enforces them are increasingly restricting our freedom as historians, have turned even our classrooms and grade books into channels of conscription and death, have affected the life of our campuses, and have deeply disturbed relations between teachers and students of history. Even more important than the damage they have done to our profession, they are undermining the possibility of self determination and democracy in the American and world society whose history we study.
We cannot stand by in silence. To do so is to condone the abuses to which history has been subjected in the service of power, to condone a kind of intellectual pacification program. To say nothing at this point in our own history is to express our indifference to what is happening around us. The business of this convention is history. We must renew our commitment to one of the great historical tasks of independent historians in the time of crisis: We must expose to critical analysis and public attack the disastrous direction in which our government is taking us.
We therefore demand the immediate withdrawal of all American troops from Vietnam, the immediate end of all harassment of the Black Panther Party, and the release of all political prisoners such as the Chicago 8.
Source: Newsletter of the Radical Historians’ Caucus (Spring 1970), n. 2, p. 11.