- Monash Labor Club, Melbourne, July 1968
Two-paged gestetnered news sheet of the Monash Labor Club. Distributed at Monash prior to the demonstration at the U.S Consulate in Commercial Road. July 4, 1968 was the first in a series of violent July 4 protests against the war in Vietnam.
The Tet Offensive launched by the NLF on January 30, 1968, destroyed the credibility of Johnson’s Vietnam policy. Students in lecture theatres were able to watch LBJ’s tearful ‘abdication’ from the Presidency on closed-circuit television. To the Monash Labor Club, Tet represented a further indictment of the Gorton Government’s position and vindication of their own. A revitalised anti-Vietnam movement advanced on a wider front with students taking up a leading position and using increasingly militant tactics of resistance. In Melbourne, the formation of the Draft Resistance Movement in January 1968 marked the onset of a new confrontative phase. Nationally, fury at the imprisonment of draft resisters and the Gorton Governments ‘pimping provisions’ led to a national mobilisation of students (and a sit-down in May 1968 at the Lodge in Canberra) and to a spate of ‘sit-ins’ in Commonwealth offices. But the events in Melbourne outside the United States Consulate on the evening of July 4 took matters into an entirely different dimension. - [Ken Mansell]