Spirit of ’68 Week 4–The Long War





(return to TOC)

  • The Vietnamese defeat of the US was pivotal in the ’68 period. Overwhelming military might does not equal invincibility.
  • Understanding war-making in the ’68 period informs how we think about war-making now.

    Melanie Cervantes

  • The counterinsurgency wars waged by the US in the ‘68 period are part of long counterinsurgency over decades, up to the present.  Understanding counterinsurgency helps us understand contemporary policing, imprisonment, courts, surveillance and detention (prison industrial complex).
  • Repression is met with resistance.  Resistance creates possibilities for alliance and movement-building.

Questions to Consider in Relationship to this Week’s Assigned Materials:

  • Why in Che’s Message to the Tricontinental does he advocate for “two, three, many Vietnams”?
  • In Che’s piece or in the “Creation of National Liberation Front (NLF)” section of the Viet Nam timeline, how do we see a Third World perspective in how militants think about war?
  • What does Khalili mean by “liberal internationalist”? In thinking about counter-insurgency how might that be a relevant concept for today?
  • How do we see the interplay between US war-making and counter-insurgency abroad and domestically? How do soldiers, police and prisons play into this?
  • How do thinkers like Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt and Angela Y. Davis think about repression? In their view, what does or could repression lead to?
  • How do these materials provoke or encourage us to think about war, repression, insurgency, and counterinsurgency in the our contemporary moment or in the political work we do?


Che Guevara Message to the Tricontinental (text)

Laleh Khalili excerpt from Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies pp.39-43 from Chapter 1, “The Forebears: Imperial and Colonial Counterinsurgencies” (text)

Geronimo Pratt on Viet Nam and the Detroit Rebellion (3 min.) (audio)

Freedom Archives Vietnam Timeline (interactive timeline)

Angela Y. Davis and Bettina Aptheker, “Preface” If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (text)



CPE’s ‘68 timeline video playlist (video)

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz “’Indian Wars’ as a Template for the United States in the World” (pp. 192-195), excerpt from Chapter 10 of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (text)

Jordan T. Camp “The Explosion in Watts: The Second Reconstruction and the Cold War Roots of the Carceral State”, Chapter 1 of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (text)

Constraints of the Negro Civil Rights Movement on American Military Effectiveness: A Survey (text)

Sir No Sir (video)



Leila Khaled’s auto-biography, (text)

Documentary about Leila Khaled (video)

Fidel Castro talking about Viet Nam (video)

Mao Tse Tung on people’s war, (text)

VietUnity teach-in on Viet Nam. (audio)

Dan Berger talking about imprisoned organizing (video)

Interview with Georgia Jackson (video)

SNCC statement denouncing the US war in Viet Nam (text)

On Phil Hutching’s work with SNCC. (text)

Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans, HOBAK  (website)

On the Gwangju Uprising and March of the Beloved.  (text)

The photo Io shared in class. (image)

Statement from PYM on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. (text)

Freedom Archives  (website)