John McAuliff. is Executive Director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development and a contributorto the website Havana Note, with Steve Clemons, Larry Wilkerson, Patrick Doherty, Anya Landau French, Jake Colvin, Sarah Stephens, Phil Peters, Timothy Punke, and Gail Reed.
John McAuliff has been an active participant in the civil rights, peace and equitable development movements in the United States since the 1960s.
Education, early activism
- While an undergraduate at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, I confronted Jim Crow discrimination in Texarkana during a bus trip to a Quaker work camp in Mexico. During a subsequent holiday, a friend and I hitchhiked around the south, visiting a classmate at Tougalou College; meeting in Mississippi with Medgar Evers and Ross Barnet; in Georgia with SNCC staff and Staughton Lynd and Howard Zinn and the axe handle guy with the restaurant who later became governor...
- As a result I did SNCC support work at Carleton for my last two years, organizing fund raising activities, leafleting at polling places and bringing in speakers and the Freedom Singers. I organized a large group of Carleton students who went to Mississippi for Freedom Summer after graduation...
- Originally I was assigned to Vicksburg, but after an intense conversation with Bob Moses was transferred to the more "challenging" delta area, focusing on voter registration and the Freedom Democratic Party in Shaw and then in Cleveland in Bolivar County. At different times Iworked with Stokely Carmichael and Ivanhoe Donaldson. I stayed in Mississippi during the FDP challenge at the Democratic Convention.
- Mississippi taught me that there is a usually hidden unjust and violent underside of American history and politics that can be overcome with determination, courage and support from the better side of our national character. Arrogance and ignorance in U.S. international behavior can lead to even more violent and unjust actions but they also can be overcome when Americans recognize their common identity and fate with other peoples and nations.
Peace Corps in Peru
After much internal debate McAuliff left SNCC for Peace Corps training and then service in rural Peru for two years.
Institute for Policy Studies and Anti-War activism
McAuliff returned to Washington in 1966, becoming responsible for Latin American programs at the International Secretariat for Volunteer Service.
- When I returned to the U.S. in 1966, the war in Vietnam had escalated dramatically and I successfully filed for conscientious objector status because of my strong opposition. I became involved in anti-war activity in the Washington area and spent a year at an experimental graduate program of the Institute for Policy Studies. When one of the directors, Marc Raskin, was indicted for counseling draft resistance, I turned in my draft cards and refused to do alternative service.
- For several years I headed a national organization of former volunteers opposed to the war and we participated in most of the major anti-war demonstrations. I became part of the national leadership of the evolving anti-war coalitions, and was arrested three times for non- violent civil disobedience, with all charges dismissed. After I agreed to do alternative service, an indictment for draft resistance was dropped.
- While carrying out alternative service in Indianapolis, I also worked on an "underground" newspaper and remained active in the national anti-war leadership, meeting the Vietnamese for the first time at a conference in Stockholm.
McAuliff was elected as the first national President of the Committee of Returned Volunteers (CRV)in 1968, he led the group's participation in national anti-war demonstrations and publication of educational materials about equitable development, and represented it in the national leadership of the peace movement.
From 1972 to 1982 McAuliff directed the Indochina Program in the Peace Education Division of the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), making his first visit to Hanoi and Vientiane on April 30, 1975, and to Phnom Penh in 1981.
Irish roots, ADA
McAuliff spent a year as Assistant Editor of The Irish Edition, a Philadelphia monthly newspaper.
- Along the way I explored my Irish roots, both culturally and politically, discovering in Protestant-Catholic relations in northern Ireland the closest parallel I have ever found to white-black relations in Mississippi, and in Sinn Fein a more successful version of SNCC..
He also spent a year as the acting director of the local office of Americans for Democratic Action.
Fund for Reconciliation and Development
In 1985 McAuliff founded the US-Indochina Reconciliation Project to work with other non-governmental organizations on behalf of the normalization of U.S. diplomatic, cultural, educational and economic relations with Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam.
McAuliff has traveled to Southeast Asia over fifty times, is recognized as an expert on the history of US-Indochina relations and maintains strong contact with key people in the region and in Washington. He organized two successful concert tours of Vietnam by folksinger and activist Peter Yarrow that focused on legacies of war such as unexploded ordnance and Agent Orange.
Later the US-Indochina Reconciliation Project morphed into the Fund for Reconciliation and Development focusing on achieving "normalization" of relations with Cuba, a goal FRD took up in the latter 1990s.
McAuliff organized the first trips by former Peace Corps volunteers to Cuba in 1969 but was not able to go himself until late 1971 after completing alternative service.
McAuliff has traveled to Cuba annually since the mid 1990s, organizing visits by the World Affairs Council of Long Island, Columbia University SIPA graduate students and a representative of Atlantic Philanthropies.
McAuliff serves as coordinator of the Travel Industry Committee on Cuba, collaborates actively with the American Society of Travel Agents and participates in a coalition of religious and public policy groups seeking to end all restrictions on travel by Americans to Cuba.
Progressives for Obama
2015 Vietnam Tour
- Statement by the US peace activist delegation to Vietnam for the 40th anniversary of the end of the war (April 19-30, 2015)
- Visiting Vietnam today, it is sometimes hard to remember the long and terrible US war that ended 40 years ago. Today's Vietnam is a proud socialist nation growing its economy toward prosperity and responsible integration into the global community.
- Vietnam and the US are today building a warm multidimensional relationship. Since normalization of relations in 1995, there have been substantial US investments and bilateral trade as well as significant cultural and educational exchanges ,tourism and family visits by Vietnamese Americans.
- This historical development makes us wonder even more about the terrible US policy decisions that led to such widespread destruction and the loss of millions of lives--Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodians as well as Americans and by allies.
- The legacy of the war is the darker side of today's Vietnam. Unexploded ordnance--land mines, shells and bombs--continue to injure or kill thousands of people every year. Dioxin laden herbicides, such as Agent Orange, are now affecting a third generation with birth defects and severe developmental disabilities.
- We call upon our government to increase aid to Vietnam for the clean up of unexploded ordnance and Agent Orange as well as to treat the victims of both.
- It is clear to us that the situation today in the region is of great concern to the Vietnamese. Officials of the Vietnamese government and friendship organizations in the north, center and south expressed great concern about China's recent aggressive behavior in the East Sea (South China Sea) and welcomed support from the international community for stability and the peaceful resolution of regional conflicts.
- We worry about how the US in future administrations will exert its role in this complicated situation. We call upon US policy makers to help resolve issues through multilateral regional and global diplomatic efforts, including close cooperation with the ASEAN nations.
- Our Vietnamese hosts were very clear that the role of the anti-war movement was a critical element in the successfully liberation and reunification of their country.
- Our struggle continues, both to teach our own history and to help Vietnam continue to recover from the damage inflicted by our government. It is critical that generations born since 1975 learn the truth about this war so they can ensure it never happens again.
Harriet Applegate, Steven Ault, Sally Benson, Ross Canton, Kenton Clymer, Frances Early, Janet Gardner, Anne Hill, John McAuliff, Rick Nagin, Ann Pallotta, Danis Regal, Mike Rubicz, Pari Sabety, Mark Shanahan, Larry Wittner
The 12-day visit to Vietnam in April 2015 consisted of former anti-Vietnam-War activists organized by the Fund for Reconciliation and Development in coordination with the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the end of the war. 
- Progressives for Obama
- Viet Nam Today, WEDNESDAY, MAY 6, 2015, Statement by the US peace activist delegation to Vietnam for the 40th anniversary of the end of the war (April 19-30, 2015)
- [http://www.peoplesworld.org/the-vietnam-war-a-visit-after-40-years/, PW, The Vietnam War: a visit after 40 years by: LAWRENCE S. WITTNER may 20 2015]