In 1951 Lowenstein was president of the National Students Association.
In 1967, Allard Lowenstein convinced Senator Eugene McCarthy to challenge Lyndon Johnson in the Democratic primaries. McCarthy demonstrated that anti-war politics could be winning politics and brought along Robert Kennedy, not to mention hundreds of thousands of new political activists.
Supporting the Moratorium
Two alumni of Stanford returned to the area November 1969 to voice opinions on the Vietnam War and the Moratorium at a press conference preceding a Democratic fund-raising dinner. Senators Alan Cranston of California and Frank Church of Idaho began an informal news conference at a Los Altos residence by citing examples of recent teamwork in the Senate. Cranston pointed out that he had supported Church's attempts to nullify Rule 22 of the Senate procedures, the filibuster regulation. "As usual, we lost," Church said. The senior Senator from Idaho praised Cranston's efforts supporting a resolution of Senator Aiken of Vermont which would clarify a long-standing misinterpretation of US foreign policy.
Cranston's amendment to the resolution states that this country's diplomatic recognition of another nation does not constitute American approval of that nation. This resolution could ease the way of future attempts to extend US diplomatic recognition to Communist China. Both Senators were in substantial agreement as to the withdrawal of US forces from South Vietnam. Senator Cranston clarified his position by stating that he would not support a unilateral ceasefire, because that would leave US troops at the mercy of an army which has shown little respect for past ceasefire agreements.
Senator Church, while commending the Moratorium, said that it had "dangerous potential," and that the Administration would probably continue attempts to "defuse" the grass roots movement. Such an attempt would consist of two steps: First, a stepped-up withdrawal rate of US combat forces, and second, a full, complete military disengagement from the conflict. The Idaho legislator said that no "halfway attempt" of the President would placate Americans in regard to the cessation of hostilities in Vietnam.
Church felt that Nixon's announcement of a speech on the subject (set for tonight) was meant to take some of the steam from the October 15th protest. Cranston added that the President probably does not know exactly what his talk will propose even at this late date. Senator Church favored a pullout of all US combat troops from Laos and Cambodia at the same time as the Vietnam disengagement. He criticized the fighting in Laos as the "first time the United States has engaged in an undisclosed foreign war." In conversation later, Senator Church stated that if public opinion had not been so intense against the policies of the Johnson Administration in Southeast Asia, "we would now be involved in a land war with China."
A member of the Senate for ten years, Church said that he would support the Moratorium as long as it remained peaceful and as long as the President did not substantially change his policies on the war. Senator Cranston reported that he had been working with members of the House, including Representatives Reid (R-New York), Don Edwards ( D-Ca li fornia), and Allard Lowenstein (D-New York) to sustain the Moratorium as a "peaceful, non-violent" protest.
In response to a question as to whether he conceived of America's purpose as one to act as "policeman" of the world, Church replied that, while the US should remain free to offer non-military assistance to foreign nations, foreign governments "should look to their own resources." To substantiate this view, Church reported that President Kennedy's original intention was to aid the South Vietnamese regime with everything but combat troops.
Vietnam Veterans Against the War/Operation RAW
During the Labor Day weekend of September 4-7, 1970, Operation RAW ("Rapid American Withdrawal") took place. It was a three day protest march from Morristown, NJ, to Valley Forge State Park by over 200 veterans. It was sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. They were joined by members of Nurses for Peace and other peace groups. Dressed in combat fatigues and carrying toy weapons, the march was designed to dramatize a Vietnam-type search and destroy mission to the Middle America they passed through. Upon entering each town along the march, sweeps were made, prisoners taken and interrogated, property seized and homes cleared with the assistance of previously planted "guerrilla theater" actors portraying civilians. The 86 mile long march culminated in a four hour rally at Valley Forge that over 1,500 people attended. The honorary commander during this event was retired Army Brigadier General Hugh B. Hester. Sponsors included Senators George McGovern and Edmund Muskie, Rep. John Conyers, Paul O'Dwyer, Mark Lane, and Donald Sutherland. Scheduled speakers were John Kerry, Joe Kennedy, Rev. James Bevel, Mark Lane, Jane Fonda, and Sutherland. Congressman Allard Lowenstein, Mike Lerner, and Army First Lt. Louis Font also spoke.
National Youth Caucus
Over 250 students from 71 Northern California colleges gathered at a National Youth Caucus (NYC) conference Saturday in an effort to insure maximum representation of 18-24 year-olds at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. The conference was held at San Jose State College. A California Black Caucus also met Saturday at Garden Oaks School in East Palo Alto, drawing about 300 blacks from Northern California. Assemblyman Willie Brown (Dem—San Francisco) told the delegates that a solid concentration of black political power could give them considerable influence at the Democratic National Convention in Miami in July. He encouraged them to vote for a black candidate on the first ballot at the convention, no matter who they might actually be supporting. Rep. Shirley Chisholm (Dem—New York) is the only black candidate so far. Both meetings discussed youth representation at the February 12 district caucuses which each presidential candidate will hold to recommend a slate of pledged delegates and a representative to the candidate's state organizing committee.
Leading the Stanford delegation to the youth conference were ASSU Co-President Larry Diamond, Paula Johnson, Joel Kenwood, Connie Peterson and Zach Zwerdling. They are the five members of the central committee of Northern California's NYC Conference. Diamond also serves as State Chairman of the California NYC. Sen. Alan Cranston (Dem—Calif.) told the opening session of the conference that the NYC "can do a lot to shape the choices this nation and this state make next year." He added that he shared young people's "frustration over the way things are going", but that he also believed that "change can be achieved with a little more effort and organization."
Like Cranston, State Assemblyman Ken Meade (Dem—Berkeley) spoke of the power of young people in the elctoral process. Meade noted that in 1968 President Nixon carried California by 500,000 votes and that there will be at least 1.5 million 18-24 year olds casting their first votes in 1972. Taking these figures into account, Meade said that "without carrying California, Nixon would not have been elected President in 1968 and the youth vote assures that he will not win in 1972." He advised "Don't just work within the system, take advantage of it." San Francisco Sheriff Richard Hongisto claimed that "policemen are moving us towards a police state from the bottom all the way up to Attorney General John Mitchell." Hongisto, who has been a law enforcement officer for several years, was the upset winner in his race to be elected Sheriff last year. He urged his audience to "work to destroy those racist, sexist stereotypes of our decadent society." National Chairman of Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) Allard Lowenstein, a former New York Congressman and organizer of the 1968 "Dump Johnson" movement, said that "four more years of an administration steeped in deception" would be severely damaging to "the whole fabric of freedom in this country."
Speakers at the closing session of the conference were state Assemblyman John Burton, former Stanford Black Student Union president Leo Bazile, and Yvonne Westbrook unsuccessful candidate last year for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
"Emergency Conference of New Voters"
In an effort to increase student power in electoral politics, an estimated 1600 Bay area students will gather November 18, 1971 at 8:30 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium to voice their opposition to President Nixon and the Vietnam War. Main speakers at the rally will be Republican Congressman and Presidential candidate Pete McCloskey, (R-San Mateo); former New York Congressman Allard Lowenstein (now Chairman of the Americans for Democratic Action); Senator Alan Cranston (Dem.-Calif.) and John Kerry, spokesman of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The "Emergency Conference of New Voters" is being organized by the student body presidents of 19 local colleges and universities to "ignite students into seizing the political process to change the country," according to ASSU co-president Larry Diamond. The student leaders feel that although President Nixon is winding down that war for middle class American college students, he is increasing the horrors for the victims of our bombing policy in Cambodia and the two Vietnams. They assert that the President has no moral justification for his policies and that he has been dishonest in presenting those policies and their effects to the American people.
In keeping with the goal of increasing student political power those attending the rally will have the opportunity to register to vote in California elections. Between 7 and 8 p.m., a preliminary conference will be held on registration laws and on 1972 convention delegate selection and party reform.. Explaining that the 19 colleges to be represented at the rally have 189,000 potential voters enrolled as students, a rally organizer warned President Nixon that "We've got the votes, we're getting organized and by 1972, we'll drive you out of office." In addition to the four main speakers, those scheduled to appear at the rally are Congressman Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (Rep.-Mich.); State Senate Majority Leader George Moscone; Assemblyman Willie Brown, (Dem.-San Francisco); Assemblyman John Vasconcellos (Dem.-San Jose); and Yvonne Westbrook, the 18 year old black woman who ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors this year.
The Conference is the twenty-fourth and last in a series of local rallies held across the nation since May in such diverse locations as Providence, R. 1.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Austin. Texas. ADA Chairman Lowenstein, who led the "Dump Johnson" movement after 1967, has been providing volunteer manpower to aid most of the local rallies. A national conference of new voters will be held at. Loyola University in Chicago December 3-5. A similar conference in 1967 endorsed Senator Eugene McCarthy's candidacy for President. The ASSU is now raising funds from private sources to send Stanford delegates to the Chicago conference.
- Democratic left, Spring 2005
- [The Stanford Daily, Volume 156, Issue 27, 3 November 1969]
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 8, 1970, page 33
- [The Stanford Daily, Volume 160, Issue 64, 25 January 1972]
- [The Stanford Daily, Volume 160, Issue 38, 17 November 1971]