Talk:1971 May Day protests

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This article was cited as a source here. zafiroblue05 | Talk 18:09, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

"Citation needed"[edit]

I'm not sure why the citation is requested in the next to the last paragraph, but here is one for anyone who cares to enter it properly:

Valentine, Paul W. (Washington Post Staff Writer). "7,000 Arrested in Disruptions," The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973), May 4, 1971; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877-1990), page A1.

"Busloads of prisoners were shuttled to jails, including an emergency outdoor detention center haastily set up at a Washington Redskins practice field near RFK stadium. Later, 2,481 of them were transferred to the Washington Coliseum.
"At 11:o'clock last night, Chief Judge Harold H. Greene of D.C. Superior Court ordered police and National Guard authorities to justify the mass arrests of demonstrators without listing names or details of where, when and how they committed their alleged offenses."

Notice that this article falls into the collection mentioned in the References: The Washington Post, various news articles, May 1-7, 1971. I'm sure a law student in DC could find the reference within the records of the various courts that handled the 7,000 detainees ["7,000 Arrested In Disruptions" By Paul W. Valentine, Washington Post Staff Writer; The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973); May 4, 1971; A1].

More important to me, the last sentence in the article has no citation. Yes, that's the way i remember it. I also recall that the compensation was not ordered until sometime in the 1980s. I don't think ALL of the arrests were declared unconstitutional, but memory is a tricky thing. [User:]

High Importance?[edit]

Besides being heavily POV, this article is listed as a High Importance District of Columbia article. Why is that? Heck, I was in the area then and I don't think of it as high importance. CsikosLo (talk) 15:49, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

I think the reason it is marked as high importance is that, from a historical perspective, the 1971 mayday protests will be one of maybe two or three demonstrations taking place in the DC area that people will care about 100 years from now. The very idea that military forces were used against citizens, and used to the extent that they arrested 12,000 people is a very important part of not only DC but US history. Ethyr (talk) 22:43, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Clean up[edit]

Did a major Wikifying of the article. The article hopefully reads less like a fan article now. While I deleted some material for Original Research I was forced to leave a lot of material in (and maybe delete material I should not have) because I don't have the 1971 Washington Post articles and the book used as sources in front of me. Big issue is to find out what the government was held libel for and how much. Also the time line is probably out of whack. Edkollin (talk) 00:17, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Gutted the "Overview"[edit]

I removed the following from the section "Overview"

The combination of the protesters desire to shut down the government and the desire by the Administration of President Nixon to keep the government running created a state of siege in the United States capital. Despite a massive show of force that kept the government open the Nixon Administration would come to view the events as very damaging. The protests resulted in the largest amount of mass arrests in the US history, and its government to be held legally libel.

Besides being PoV and unsourced and unencyclopedically vague, it is so clearly ignorant of its subject matter as to disgrace WP every hour that it stood:

A recent editor found "virtual state of siege" and changed it to "state of siege", linking via Rdr to State of emergency. That article makes clear that "state of emergency is a quite specific legal provision that was not claimed in that event (in fact, so specific that (altho IANAL) i think the Supreme Court ruled (re Lincoln's use of martial wall in the North) does not exist except where civil courts are unable to function, far short of the DC situation.)
The passage used "libel" as an adjective; clearly what was intended (whatever the facts may have been) was "liable.

What i really want to do is take a shower, or maybe vomit, to put this behind me. But i'm taking another look, beyond the first headinged secn.
--Jerzyt 21:48, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Changes to "Background" (now "Planning") secn[edit]

  • Renamed to "Planning"; "Background" would be the history of VN protest, and maybe of the war. Should be non-controversial.
    --Jerzyt 08:26, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Rem'd "and representatives of the communist North Vietnamese government began [taking part in] planning the actions [emphasis added by Jerzy]". No basis in source for that; what it seems to say is that PRVN had discussions about peace terms acceptable to them.
    --Jerzyt 08:26, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Rem'd "[objective set to] 'shut down the government' by". It may be possible to show that was a slogan, but it is libelous to say they believed they could conceivably do that on May 3. Completely stopping the USG from functioning is harder than forcing a president to step down, and we know how long it took for a stake to be driven thru RMN's heart, even by insiders. "[S]top[ping] workday traffic from coming into the city" in normal fashion and level may have been an objective, but harder tasks, even, say stopping all private cars from entering, were way beyond what they could muster, esp since it was clear the admin could use an elite division to, e.g., demonstrate that they could clear a four-block-wide corridor with riot chemicals and clubs (and i'll bet they had contingency plans that included possibly returning fire), and escort even inward bound bicyclists safely down the one street in its center, if that's what they wanted badly enuf to be on the evening news.
    I assume the NPoV consensus would be that the objective, which i assume succeeded, was to provoke enuf in the way of injuries and civil-rights violations to energize more support for their faction of the movement. I don't have a reliable source for that, but then, i'm not trying trying state their actual objectives (beyond the portion of their propaganda that they verifiably got close to achieving).
    --Jerzyt 08:26, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Lerner was a rabbi-to-be, but at that time not even pursuing the rabbinate, and even if he had been, it would be tendentious to mention it in this context. We lk to his bio, and anyone who wants to know his later career, or where he went to school, can find it all there.
    --Jerzyt 08:26, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Rem'd "The Nixon Administration became determined to keep the city open at all costs." Get a source on what costs they were willing inflict and sustain. I would bet they had at least implicitly ruled out chlorine and nerve gas, but without a reliable ref we can't say diddly.
    --Jerzyt 08:26, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I am relatively new to editing or contributing to Wikipedia, but on this topic I have some first hand knowledge. I will return with citations in the coming days, but want to say as a participant in both the planning and carrying out of this demonstration, this article is very week on all counts. The presentation is historically weak or wrong in many aspects. So far it seems to be an effort to construct a description of a major, complicated series of events under the title Mayday 1971 using a very small selection of sources. Keep in mind that in 1971, the major newspapers were very unreliable sources about any anti-war protest. Further, there were extensive government efforts to prevent, diminish and destroy this event. Further, the people involved in the extensive and unprecedented for the anti-war movement pre-event planning were at this point experienced and determined to construct a major event that could have a multi-facited effect on the prosecution of the war. For example, the slogan calling on the government to Stop the War or they would stop the government was never expected to actually stop the government. In fact, many government offices were shut for the opening of the demonstration and workers allowed liberal leave. This exceeded the planners expectations. The number of verified arrests show that even with duplicate arrests over several days, the numbers of participants were significant even after extensive efforts by the government, both overt and covert (An I will return with more on that later) to undercut the turn out. Also totally left out of this article are the efforts to recruit major bands and performers which initially was successful, but then was countered by the governments efforts to malign the demonstration via the subpoena of Leslie Bacon to a Grand Jury in Washington State. This is just to indicate how much is left to be covered if you want this to be a historically relevant article. Wdteague (talk)! —Preceding undated comment added 20:17, 27 May 2011 (UTC).

The 80's[edit]

sounds to me that this: "Undercover infiltrators were so transparent they were easily neutralized by overwhelmingly generous offers of drugs, sex and rock & roll" is actually offering the 80's heavy metal music scene. Is there a way to change the words in order for them not to be misleading? or better yet, provide an external reference? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:35, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
"Undercover infiltrators were so transparent they were easily neutralized by overwhelmingly generous offers of drugs, sex and rock & roll". That is plausible for this era. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll was a reality then Hippies, Woodstock etc. Don't exactly remember exactly when the expression started but when Ian Dury had cult hit with it in 1977 the expression had been around awhile. And the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover used undercover and infiltration tactics often. And a lot of times they did stick out like a sore thumb. The external references are a big problem. Eventually the article needs to be cut down to a couple of paragraphs if no more references are found which might be because this is kind of a forgotten protest. The protests did quickly taper off after Kent State and most histories write it that way glossing over this exception. (talk) 19:24, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 14:57, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Link works at this time. I added an archive link, just in case it goes out again.
-- Randy2063 (talk) 03:08, 17 August 2011 (UTC)


Is this the demonstration about which Nixon famously proclaimed that he would completely ignore it and watch a football game instead? -- AnonMoos (talk) 12:53, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

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