14 thoughts on “United States ‘War on Poverty’ during the Vietnam war

  1. Pingback: Nobel Prize winner Malala’s views, don’t drown them in hypocritical praise | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: United States civil rights movement, Selma film review | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Child poverty in the USA, update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. 50 years ago: First US demonstration against Vietnam War

    Handbill for Vietnam War protest

    On April 17, 1965, the first mass US demonstration against the war in Vietnam was held in Washington, DC, organized by the liberal Students for a Democratic Society. In line with their orientation to appealing to the Democratic Party and the Johnson administration, march organizers prohibited banners demanding the immediate withdrawal of US troops.

    Protesters carried signs calling for a negotiated settlement in the war of national liberation being waged by the Vietnamese workers and peasants against US imperialism. They picketed in front of the White House before marching to the Washington monument to listen to speakers, including Democratic Senator Ernest Gruening of Alaska and liberal journalist I.F. Stone.

    Gruening, one of the two US senators who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, called for a cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam. The marchers later walked to the Capitol to deliver a petition to Congress.

    The protest march was far larger than organizers expected, reflecting the radicalization of layers of students as US imperialism escalated its intervention in Vietnam. SDS had supported the election of Lyndon Johnson in 1964 as the candidate of “peace” against Republican Barry Goldwater.

    In 1962 the organization, which evolved out of the League for Industrial Democracy, a right-wing social-democratic grouped backed by a section of the trade union bureaucracy, adopted a reformist platform authored by Tom Hayden calling for the formation of a “New Left.” It explicitly rejected the revolutionary role of the working class in favor of middle class radical protest.


  5. Pingback: Orchids saved by whisky | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: African American history, depicted in Jacob Lawrence’s paintings | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Fellow progressive,

    Happy 80th birthday to the most successful safety net program in U.S. History: Social Security. On August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt put pen to paper and signed the Social Security Act into law. Social Security remains a critically important program, and we must fight any and all attempts to weaken it.


    Before Social Security, poverty was a fact of life for elderly Americans. Today, Social Security puts food on the table, buys essential medicines and keeps the lights on for millions, most of them retirees. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that without Social Security, more than 40 percent of Americans aged 65 and older would live in poverty. With Social Security, less than 10 percent do.

    But Social Security is not just for retired workers: It is our nation’s largest and most secure disability insurance policy and life insurance policy. One in four Social Security recipients are disabled or the surviving partner of a deceased worker. In California’s 13th district, Social Security helps nearly 51,000 retirees, as well as 13,000 people with disabilities and 6,000 children whose parents have died or are disabled.

    In this way Social Security keeps millions of Americans from falling into poverty and provides a much-needed boost to those who find themselves struggling. According to data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Social Security lifted 22 million people – including more than 1 million children – out of poverty in 2013. Without Social Security, the current poverty rate would be at almost 22 percent.

    The story of black America’s middle class is also inextricably linked to the establishment and continuation of Social Security. Because lifetime earnings for African Americans tend to be far lower than lifetime earnings for whites, Social Security provides the only income for 40 percent of African American retirees.

    It’s obvious that Social Security benefits touch the lives of every single American. So why is Social Security constantly under attack?

    Because there is a small-but-growing faction of hard-line Republicans who believe that Social Security is insolvent and contributes to our national debt. That’s flatly untrue: The Social Security Trust Fund is $2.8 trillion-strong. Without any adjustments, Social Security can continue to pay benefits for decades.

    And there is another reason. Many Republicans would simply prefer to prioritize millionaires and billionaires over our most vulnerable citizens.

    We must fight these attacks on Social Security. Our most vulnerable citizens are counting on us. Will you join the Progressive Fund and stand with me to protect Social Security?


    Barbara Lee
    Member of Congress

  8. Pingback: Militarist propaganda in United States sports | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Rosa Parks and other civil rights fighters in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: David Cameron’s expensive bombing of Syria | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. 50 years ago: Johnson cuts social spending to fund Vietnam War

    On December 10, 1965, US President Lyndon Johnson held talks at his Texas ranch with cabinet members and other government officials in which he approved, for the first time, major cuts to social spending, including in his own Great Society programs, in order to fund the war in Vietnam and other new military initiatives.

    Present at the day of talks, in addition to Johnson, were Defense Secretary of State Robert McNamara, Deputy Defense Secretary Cyrus Vance, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Commerce Secretary John T. Connor, Agriculture Secretary Orville Freeman, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration chief James Webb, among others.

    Connor announced after the meeting that Great Society programs, including a fund to help economically distressed areas, would fall victim to as much as $200 million in cuts. Freeman said cuts to agricultural programs in his $6.9 billion budget would be “substantial,” and confirmed that the rollbacks were necessary to fund the Vietnam War. Webb said his proposals for increased funding to NASA’s current $5.2 billion budget would also suffer. Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced he would request $1.75 billion in new funding to develop a nuclear-capable strategic bomber called the FB-111 to replace the Air Force’s B-52 and B-58 bombers.

    The Johnson administration’s combined military and domestic spending, its so-called “guns and butter” program, was beginning to fuel inflation and accelerate the outflow of dollars from the US economy. Johnson moved to counter this at the expense of the working class.

    A day before meeting his cabinet, on December 9, 1965, Johnson delivered an 11-minute telephone speech to the annual convention of the AFL-CIO, being held in San Francisco, in which he appealed to the assembled labor bureaucrats to tamp down against workers’ wage claims in order to fight inflation, which Johnson referred to as the “price-wage spiral.” A week earlier, the Federal Reserve Board had raised interest rates in order “to reinforce efforts to maintain price stability.”


  12. Pingback: FBI spied on Martin Luther King for ‘I have a dream’ speech | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. On April 18, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson proposed a significant slowdown in the expansion of social programs as the cost of the war in Vietnam skyrocketed. The budget proposal came after two consecutive months of sharp increases in the Consumer Price Index, signaling the inflationary pressures arising from increased federal spending.

    Warning that the Congress was going “too far, too fast” in funding antipoverty programs, Johnson called for an outlay for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare that was $500 million less than proposed by Congress. The administration also called for cutbacks in the budget for the Department of Agriculture. Among the cuts proposed by Johnson were reductions in the school lunch and school milk programs.

    Liberals such as Senator Robert Kennedy called the proposed cutbacks “unfortunate” and insisted that the war in Vietnam could be sustained while maintaining domestic social spending. Defending a program of “guns and butter,” Kennedy declared, “We must do what needs to be done in Vietnam and what needs to be done at home. We shall fail as a society if we do not do both.”

    Meanwhile, the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Gerald R. Ford, launched an attack against Johnson’s policies in the Vietnam War, declaring that the administration was guilty of “shocking mismanagement.” He called the recent actions by South Vietnamese workers, in refusing to unload US ships, a “national scandal” and deplored the reported shortages of bombs for US warplanes.

    In committee meetings held during the week, congressional Democrats voted to restore most of the cuts in social spending proposed by Johnson, amid growing opposition in the working class to the war and criticism of the “shift in emphasis” of the administration that threatened a retreat from his grandiose promise of “Great Society.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s