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Anti-Vietnam War movement, Britain

Sylvia Ellis


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In the 1960s, opposition to the Vietnam War provided a focus for political protest and cultural rebellion in Britain, uniting students, dissident MPs, activists, and cultural rebels into a single-issue campaign. The movement began as early as 1953 when a communist sympathizer, Commander Edgar Young, formed the British–Vietnam Committee (BVC) and began publishing the Vietnam Bulletin. In 1962 the BVC held a rally with 70 protesters outside the US embassy in London. The movement grew in intensity after the US began bombing North Vietnam and introduced ground troops in February 1965, sparking protest demonstrations at universities around the country and the formation of the communist-run British Council for Peace in Vietnam (BCPV) in April 1965. Labour MP Fenner Brockway served as its president. The BCPV was an umbrella organization that attempted to pull together the spiraling number of religious, labor, and political organizations that opposed the war, calling for a negotiated settlement and British dissociation through a concerted poster and newspaper campaign. In 1966 a more radical anti-war group, the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign (VSC), was formed with Bertrand Russell as one of its supporters. The VSC, led by Trotskyists Tariq Ali and Pat Jordan, supported the National Liberation Front (the Vietcong) and campaigned openly for their victory. Ali was a member of the International ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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