Guest Post: May Day 1971 And 2011

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

May Day 1971 and 2011

Forty years after massive demonstrations rocked Washington, D.C., the public is passive and complicit: do whatever it takes to keep my share of the swag flowing.

Forty years ago, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Washington, D.C. to shut the city down. Their goal was to end the war in Vietnam. The National Guard was called out, and a huge melee ensued between the citizens who opposed the government's policies and the government itself, which viewed the citizens as impediments to its plans and ambitions.

Six weeks later, the 7,000-page secret history of the government's deceptions of its own citizenry, The Pentagon Papers, was published. The documents detailed how the Federal government and the nation's elected leaders had purposefully misled the public for decades about their goals, intentions and policies.

It made no difference. The war dragged on as the U.S. combat role was replaced by "Vietnamization" and wholesale bombing of Indochina. President Nixon won re-election by a landslide in 1972.

As many readers know, Nixon was dealing with the blowback of a "guns and butter" borrow-and-spend Federal policy which had lit the fires of incipient inflation. Sensing trouble, the stock market had topped in 1969. It would take 14 years to recover in nominal terms and even longer in real (inflation-adjusted) terms.

To inoculate itself from inflation, West Germany exited the Bretton Woods currency agreement that same May in 1971. In August of that year, Nixon imposed a 90-day wage and price freeze, a 10 percent import surcharge, and, most importantly, “closed the gold window”, ending convertibility between US dollars and gold.

This marked a new level of manipulation and intervention by the Central State in the post-war economy. Not coincidentally, real wages topped out about the same time as the stock market, in the 1969-1971 time-frame. Measured in purchasing power, i.e. the number of gallons of gasoline or loaves of bread an average worker could buy with one hour of labor, American workers have experienced a steady decline in the value of their labor for the past 40 years.

In 1971, the American people welcomed wage-and-price controls, surcharges and the inflation of the nation's currency. It was a short-sighted way to stabilize the Status Quo, as history would prove; inflation roared ahead, decimating stocks, bonds, savings and wages, until Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker raised interest rates to 16% a decade later in 1981 to choke off runaway inflation.

Today, the nation pursues two hot wars launched under the same cloak of deception as the Vietnam War, and a policy of similarly masked financial manipulations and interventions by the Central State and the Federal Reserve. The number of classified documents has soared since the Pentagon Papers as the Central State seeks to hide all of its misdeeds and dodgy policies.

The Federal Reserve invoked the threat of financial calamity and national security it its failed bid to keep its 2008 machinations secret. Only recently has the public learned the nation's central bank devoted 70% of its interventions to "saving" foreign banks.

Once again, nobody cares. The public has forgotten about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; only the family and friends of those deployed there care. Bradley Manning, who allegedly released thousands of secret cables, sits forgotten in prison, awaiting a kangaroo-court trial for his crimes against the State's classified wars.

The 250,000 diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks were embarrassing to various people and nations, but they were not a history of government deception like the Pentagon Papers; they were the daily chatter of Empire, interesting but not definitive.

The American public are quiet about everything but their own perquisities. Unprecedented global interventions and manipulations of the economy are accepted without comment, with the implicit faith that it's all justified as long as my personal perquisites of Empire keep flowing to me: the cheap gasoline, the cheap food, the retirement checks, the Medicare, the Medicaid, the fat government contracts, the tax breaks, and all the masking of risk and the cloaking of all the lies at the heart of the American financial system.

Just as in 1971, nobody cares about the deception at the very heart of the American government and economy. But the seeds sown by the mismanagement, the misdirection, the bogus statistics, the intentional cloaking of intentions and policies, the unprecedented interventions in the economy and financial system, and mostly saliently, the Central State-wide dependence on deception, has a price.

In the 1970s, the American public got exactly what it deserved. It was pleased to accept Central State lies and intervention as long as the crumbling sand castle continued to send out the checks and contracts.

Forty years later, we find ourselves in the same place, complacent about a reliance on fraud, deception and lies, complicit in our desire for the music to keep playing as long as we get our serving from the punchbowl and accepting massive intervention and manipulation as long as the Status Quo keeps supplying us with the perquisites of Empire.

But history is clear: it doesn't work that way. You can't lie your way to prosperity, any more than you can lie your way to honesty. You accept the fraud, you join the fraud. You accept the deception as policy, you join the deceivers.

There are a few voices calling for wholesale change, but in the main, the hue and the cry, the sound and the fury, are all about keeping the perquisites of Empire flowing. Just as in the last days of the Roman Empire, the Central State is pursuing a dual policy of increasing the number of days of free circus (by the end, almost half the year was devoted to circuses and entertainment for the masses, and roughly 40% of Rome's populace received free bread) while squeezing the remaining productive citizenry for additional taxes.

It was a doomed policy then and it remains doomed now.

The citizen who released the Pentagon Papers which essentially blew away the last pretense of an honest system of governance, Daniel Ellsberg, observed that the documents "demonstrated unconstitutional behavior by a succession of presidents, the violation of their oath and the violation of the oath of every one of their subordinates." He added that he leaked the Papers to end what he perceived to be "a wrongful war."

May Day, 1971 was marked by a vast public display of outrage and revulsion against an oppressive Central State which sought to protect itself and its minions from the public it was pledged to serve with an unstated government-wide policy of deception and lies.

May Day, 2011, the public is quiescent. Few care about anything but their share of the swag. There is a price to accepting deception in the flawed notion that it will serve you to remain quiet. We seem fated to re-learn that the hard way.

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DavidPierre's picture

First the story was "Osama did it."

Then the story was "he's unfindable and
he taunts us from his hidden cave."

Now the story is "We got him!" and Obama
called in the strike personally.

Why they are playing this card now is
open to question.

Could it have something to do with the
badly botched birth certificate forgery? 

In the meantime, the mostly untold
9/11 story. One you probably haven't

It's hair raising in its implications and
100% nailed down accurate.

Core Of Corruption, Volume 1

In The Shadows

{Full Film}

zaknick's picture

Ah DP but don't you see the little KKK goose-steppers of empire don't care about truth or the deep state; they just want their imperial perks!

AmeriKKKa! I can't wait for all those blacks you put in jail with ur war on drugs come streaming back into your neighborhoods to brutalize your KKK families and then the circle will be complete.


Calmyourself's picture

I do feel bad for the poor neighborhoods they will ravage if released en-masse. Any ideas on how to prevent it?

blunderdog's picture

Most of the drug offenders are non-violent. 

Well, at least they WERE before they were locked up.  XD

jtaskinen's picture

it is so sad, the largest superpower in the world, and they even do not bother to lie properly.

Is that a bad sign?

aerojet's picture

Don't think I can answer the "why now?" question, but I'm glad others are thinking along the same "medium is the message" lines--the whole "we got him!" meme has to be a distraction effort for some reason.  Maybe the coming debt ceiling increase?  Or perhaps a pretext for getting the troops home? 

High Plains Drifter's picture

go watch the video called   missing links.  then come back and talk to me about this bullshit. this movie is disinfo?  who put this garbage out anyway, he asked facetiously.....

gwar5's picture

I remember 1971 well. "Stagflation" was added to the lexicon of economic words that made us think the government was really smart. Nixon was president, soon to become legend. Deep Throat wasn't even a movie yet.

decon's picture

I'm proud to say I heaved a rock through a window at the DOJ on May Day 1971 and was promptly arrested.  They put thousands of us on buses and sent us to JFK Stadium where they had portable fences set up in the parking lot to hold detainees for proccessing.  We all charged the fences and broke them down and many escaped, including me before I was booked.  Those were the daze!!

Segestan's picture

Forgot to address the issue of American Industry and government outsourcing manufacturing and bankrupting the US in the name of multicult/globalization..... aka.. Communism!

A Lunatic's picture

I fucking care. Now what exactly the Hell do you expect me and the other three people who care to do about it?

Winston Smith 2009's picture

Be an "ideal citizen" and keep your mouth shut.

A Lunatic's picture

Of course, that after all is what lunatics do best..........Tell ya what, why don't you just save me a spot in the gas chamber, I'll be along shortly..............promise.

the mad hatter's picture

the price of basic commidities doesn't lie

disabledvet's picture

"I knew the war was lost in 1965."  Robert McNamara's testimony before Congress in the 90's.  Next question please...

SoNH80's picture

If you haven't seen it, see "The Fog of War," a documentary with McNamara rapping about his own intellectual self-indulgence over a Philip Glass soundtrack.  Bring a barf bag, but you will learn much.  He was the prototype of many that followed him.

11b40's picture

40 years ago...reflection is not so pleasant.

I was back in the relative comfort and safety offered by the beautiful Cam Rahn Bay peninsula, after a TDY stint running convoys up route 9 from Phu Bai to Khe Sahn during the Lam Son 719 offensive.

Like many others of that time, I knew the war was totally screwed from about 1967 forward.  LBJ knew it and quit.  Nixon and that uber war criminal Kissinger had a secret plan to get us out.  I couldn't wait for that plan to unfold, but what unfolded was the Draft Lottery System in the fall of 1969.  My notice finally arrived in August of 70, -the system's revenge on me for having hair down to my shoulders and participating in anti-war & civil rights 'activities'.

So, every day I kept waiting for the secret plan to unfold.  Four years later, I had already made a round trip, we were still there, and Nixon was re-elected in a landslide.  That is when this 24 year old realized truly what a bunch of sorry-assed, ignorant, complacent 'citizens' we have in America.  My idealism (Army Brat, Explorer Scout, Paper Boy, worked my way all the way through college with zero debt) was already badly wounded, but I kept thinking the country would wake up.  All we had to do was pay attention - do a little reading, ask a few questions, then question the answers - but, alas, this was not to be.  Not then; not now.  It has only gotten worse.

I love the promise of America, but the old promises have been turned into lies.  I have a lot of trouble with big conspiracy theories, but if our government was not involved in planning 9/11, there were some very powerful forces earger to take advantage of the situation.  President/General Eisenhower told us on his way out the door in 1959 "beware of the military/industrial complex."  He should have warned us about the financiers of the military industrial complex, too....but we still would not have listened or learned.


As much as I hated the Vietnam war, and as divisive as it was, what has happened in the past decade since 9/11 is much worse and more sinister.  Too bad we did away with the draft.  Had we not, this Middle East adventure would have been over by 2004 - certainly in time for the elections - or the college campuses would have exploded.

Nice article, very sobering.  We do, indeed, live in interesting times.

Peace, 'bro.


Azannoth's picture

America will end like Rome, no doubt about it, people have fallen too low to pick them selves up, they are now just food for the vultures

tmosley's picture

Not like Rome.  We are a military hegemony with no powerful neighbors to attack us.

Our end will be more analogous to the end of the Yuan dynasty in China (ie China under the Mongols).  Basically widespread suffering and economic hardship brought on by constant foreign war (the Mongols were actively engaged in Eastern Europe and the Middle East) and money printing (hyperinflation in the world reserve currency of the day--they had two breakouts of hyperinflation that ended in reissuance, and a third one that went on as civil war progressed.

The population of China decreased from a peak of 89,000,000 to a trough of 65,000,000 during the transition to the next government.  This despite numerous annexations of additional lands by the following Ming Dynasty (the previous 89 million number counted only those sections considered "Chinese" by the Mongols, and excluded the population of the rest of the empire, which was considerably higher. 

Cpl Hicks's picture

Methinks you're talking about the Han dynasty.

Isn't the Yuan that greasy piece of paper they all carry around to buy food?


"You accept the fraud, you join the fraud. You accept the deception as policy, you join the deceivers."

You're either with us or you're against us.

I'm tired of apologizing for not accepting the fraud.

My friends are going to have to come to terms that they're either a part of the solution or they're a part of the problem.  The end game is too close for comfort.  

Internet Tough Guy's picture

May Day wasn't nice to the soviets either. Empire is a cycle, deal with it.

lynnybee's picture

Yes !  I remember a time when no one trusted the government !   I tell you, there's been a con job done on the youth of America through media that I just can't believe !     Our young people especially are clueless & the boomers are too old to fight back (unless we invade Washington wearing our othopedic shoes ! )   

My signature statement :    My Grandma Jo (born 1915, god rest her soul) :   " Never trust the government & do not go into the stock market."   ....... she learned her lesson early, when are we going to learn ours .

AchtungAffen's picture

Well, when I turn the TV and see all these American ent. channels, all the movies and series are about corporation. The military, police, CIA, FBI, secret government agencies, the government itself, private companies; all entertainment is about people in their corporate environment.

tawdzilla's picture

"Once again, nobody cares"

Most people don't understand WTF is going on.  They notice the treadmill keeps being turned up a notch, but they keep trying to run a bit faster to keep up.  They are now in full sprint mode.  If the treadmill gets cranked up any higher, they will either fall off or die of a heart attack.  That is when they will notice that something is wrong.

1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

They don't want to understand, denial is much easier... 

Winston Smith 2009's picture

Exactly.  "Why concern myself with something that I can't individually do anything about."  And they are correct.

Ignorance is bliss.

Apathy is post-ignorance bliss.

lynnybee's picture

"Once again, nobody cares"     That is correct.   I'm amazed at how many people don't have a clue.    I feel like I'm the only one who knows the secret.    My friends laugh at me, my family wants to commit me, my sister dismisses me as a 'conspiracy theory nut' . ..... do you know what it's like being called a nut when you know the truth ?    sometimes I feel like crying.

SoNH80's picture

Be selective in who you talk to.  Feel free to back-pedal with relatives to preserve your autonomy.  They'll forget after a few months.  This is life during wartime, it pays to use camoflauge sometimes.  Mind your own affairs, and if someone rejects your advice, or attacks your credibility, don't bother warning them again.  You are not alone,  Peace

whstlblwr's picture

Maybe it's where you live? All around us talk of food stamps go up, fake economy, too much debt--corporate bought government, I hear this from neighbors after nuclear accident/coverup and GOP talk of drilling in parks.

doggings's picture

"Once again, nobody cares"     That is correct.   I'm amazed at how many people don't have a clue.    I feel like I'm the only one who knows the secret.    My friends laugh at me, my family wants to commit me, my sister dismisses me as a 'conspiracy theory nut' . ..... do you know what it's like being called a nut when you know the truth ?    sometimes I feel like crying.

you have to keep trying.

randomly, i'm getting traction on Facebook of all places, people see other friends listening and not ridiculing and are sometimes more open to talk after that. this ones had some interest today.

11b40's picture

In 1972, in the South Georgia town where I lived at the time, exactly 9 people voted for George McGovern against Nixon.  9 people!  WTF. 

I have been feeling a lot like you, lynnybee, for long time.

Not that I was especially fond of McGovern...but he was not Nixon, and was a decent human being with quite a lot of experience.  The smear masters (Erlichman & Haldeman) really did a number on him.

They proved that you can fool enough of the people to win, and that was all that mattered.

Sudden Debt's picture

Average people are like goldfish.

They forget what happend 3 seconds ago

And don't care what will happen in 3 seconds from now.

If it isn't happening now, at this exact moment, it never will and nobody should care...


Cpl Hicks's picture

Looks like a shitload of average people just remembered what happened 9 1/2 years ago.

Sudden Debt's picture

If you tab the feeding bottle to the aquarium, the goldfish will come. They don't really know why but their instinct say: food.

Same with a party :)


NotApplicable's picture

Well, I don't care much for the mob rule d.b.a. the nation state.

Perhaps if people could only stop empowering criminals...

koot's picture

Mr. Smith, your right of course, but as we both know, this time is much much worse because when Uncle Sam and his children desparately need help, no one will give it.  This will likely plunge the US into tyrrany, despotism and aggresive war against the World.

WW3 will be fought here in the US.  There will be an underground who seek help from the outside world to defeat what the US government has become.  This evil will be purged and defeated, but not without tens of millions of deaths in the US.

Hushups's picture

As long as silver keeps going down so that I can keep buying. It's gonna come in handy 10 years from now.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

margaret and erin don't need to know the number of states, all they need to know is what to swallow and from whom, and they know that is all they need to know to keep the six and seven digit paychecks coming. It ain't who you know, its who you blow, could be changed to it aint what you know, etc.

zaknick's picture


You're going down, bitches!!

The KKK empire!


sangell's picture

A lot of the people marching in 1971 were not marching on behalf of America, they were marching against it, many on behalf of the Soviet Union!

Others were merely opposed to the war because of the draft. When Nixon wound that down much of the opposition to the war dissipated.

hobgoblin's picture

That's how I recall it as well. The north vietnamese admitted to funding some of the anti war groups much later. I'm not sure that really changes much.

Without fiat all these wars are not possible. Without fiat citizens can save with a solid expectation that the savings will buy the same tomorrow as it does today. Withhout fiat the banksters have little power unless they succeed in stealing away with all the gold. That's why Fort Knox requires auditing.

Winston Smith 2009's picture

"A lot of the people marching in 1971 were not marching on behalf of America, they were marching against it"

No, they woke up to _reality_ because there was a draft that put them and their friends at physical risk instead of like now where a volunteer centurion underclass is paid to do all the dirty work and take the risk to life and limb. I'm sure that's one of the major factors behind the push for volunteer military forces after Vietnam. The ruling classes generally aren't stupid.

Jim B's picture

Putting the political spin aside.....

Too big, too controlling, too captured by special interests!

the grateful unemployed's picture

the antiwar movement disbanded after Kent State (Nixon showed he was ready to spill our blood) the POTUS disabused his opponent to win the election. The continuation of Vietnam-like wars, came about because 9/11 was an attack on American soil, (though not necessarily an attack on American interests, that happened too, but usually it is done on foreign soil, or as the Islamics purport, sacred ground)

after OPEC broke up, due to the recession and lower gasoline demand, (funny how that works) Americans went on a materialistic buying spree, forget the frugal microeconomics of the depression generation, or the anti-materialism of the 60's, America said lets shop.

rather than raising the global standard of living it merely shifted the remaining factories to foreign countries, and enriched the leaders of these countries, where the command economy was built into the system, not arrived at later, after a cycle of financial crisis-eez. That said some people think they are ahead of us, (in the race to the bottom they are) but Americans have a way of remembering what matters most. 


Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

The drug pusher scored great Horse this time around. 

The same ones who were able to rehab themselves in the 70's couldn't escape its allure. All my friends tied off and are now hopelessly lost. I used to be indignant, but lately, accepting. The best you can do now is help yourself, so that you have the strength to pull the ones around you out of the gutter when the night gets long. 

lynnybee's picture

I need my ANDREW JACKSON fix for the day ..... am going to do more research & read more of his quotes .......