May Day 1971: Daniel Ellsberg on Joining Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn at Historic Antiwar Direct Action

Democracy Now! – May 3, 2021

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the 1971 May Day protests, when tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C., and brought much of the capital to a standstill through acts of civil disobedience. The mass demonstrations terrified the Nixon administration, and police would arrest over 12,000 people — the largest mass arrest in U.S. history. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who attended the May Day protests, says it was part of a wave of popular discontent about the war that mobilized millions.

“There was a movement of young people who felt that what was happening in the world … was wrong, had to change, and they were ready to risk their careers and their lives to try to change it. And we need that right now,” Ellsberg says.

He recently spoke with Amy Goodman at an event marking the 50th anniversary of the release of the Pentagon Papers. We play excerpts from that conversation, which also included National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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