21st July 1968: the forgotten London demonstration against the Vietnam War

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2018 by kmflett

July 21st 1968: the forgotten London demonstration against the Vietnam War

This picture is from the 17th March 1968 demonstration but interesting because it shows a YCL presence

A recurring theme of the socialist history seminars held at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, in recent terms has been archives and issues about what is happening to documents and memories of those on the left from the 1960s on who are now retiring and in some cases sadly are no longer with us.

There is a particular problem with the rise of the interweb. As a research historian I still delve in physical archives but like most I will usually google a subject first to see what might be available on-line. There is an assumption that material will be on-line and if it relates to the recent past that is likely to be the case (even if unreliably so).

Previously pre-interweb days, papers (hard copies of) would in at least some cases be kept, collected and eventually deposited in a library somewhere. Of course austerity has meant hard times for libraries and loading something on-line is much easier than cataloguing material and storing it away, although on-line doesn’t always last forever and can get taken down.

The core of the issue however is the crossover between the days of the physical archive and on-line. The assumption is that material from the 1960s must be on-line now, but often it isn’t. In fact it is in danger of being lost.

I mention this in the context of the 21st July 1968 demonstration against the Vietnam War in London because it is case in point. There were two large and well-known London protests on Vietnam that year in March and October. The July demonstration was not as large (although still a fair size) and it was not organised by the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign (VSC) but initially by the CPGB and then it appears a Maoist grouping.

There are reports in the daily press of the demonstration and one brief reference on-line but I have been able to find little else.

I will post separately on the actual demonstration which appears to have reflected considerable tensions in the anti-Vietnam War movement as well as securing one of the early appearances of the notorious police Special Patrol Group


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