1972 And After - -Winding Down the Movement
Click on the thumbnails for larger images
Left to Right:
1. Imperialism--Bragg Briefs, February 1972
2. Pushers are Pigs--Bragg Briefs, 1971
3. GI Center, Spring Lake-Newsletter --Fall 1972
4. GI Union flyer--1973?
5. "Being a GI Wife"-- late 1972
After the frenetic spring and summer of 1971, something changed in the movement, in Fayetteville and elsewhere. There was a turn toward traditional left-wing political concepts and organizing strategies. Several factors took a steady toll: continuing repression by military and police authorities; rapid turnover among GI activists; and hard drugs became a deepening and divisive movement phenomenon.
This issue of Bragg Briefs, from early 1972, starkly illustrates these trends, and in these images can be seen the turning which the movement was then facing.
As 1972 continued, draft calls went down; US troop strength in Vietnam was steadily declining; and the approach of a presidential election drew energy away from public protest.
In Fayetteville, the GI movement was clearly on the wane. Its program refocused on an effort to organize a GI labor union. Bragg Briefs appeared irregularly; in February 1972, the Haymarket Square Coffeehouse was closed down.
A month later, an alternative GI Center was opened in Spring Lake, but it was only able to stay open for about a year. The notice of its closing (see below), typed on a barely functional typewriter and slipped into an issue of Bragg Briefs, tells much of the story in a few words.
|The "GI Center" closed in mid 1973. This notice was
inserted in an issue of Bragg Briefs:
"The GI Center Bookstore has been forced to close because of financial reasons. The money pressures of rent, lights, water, telephone, etc.had been totalig [sic] $250 per month or more; we just couldn't handle it any longer.
BRAGG BRIEFS and the GI UNION LIVE!
We have moved to a smaller place in Spring Lake. You can still reach us at 497-8062 or Box 437 Spring Lake.
Wesy We [sic] still are organinzing the struggfle for GI rights and a just society
FIGHT FOR JUSTICE AND GI RIGHTS
STICK WITH YOUR BROTHERS, BUILD THE GI UNION"
1975: The last issue of Bragg Briefs?
Is this the final issue of Bragg Briefs? It
is the last one in the Quaker House archives. Certainly by 1975 the situation which called
forth GIs United had changed utterly: the draft was ended, the Vietnam War was almost
over, Nixon was gone, mass peace protest was in hiatus, and calls for a soldiers
labor union were stalled in the face of military and congressional resistance.