SS144 Unit 9 Assignment: The Anti-War Protest of 1965

The Anti-War Protest of 1965


The Anti-War Protest of 1965

The anti-war movement began small among peace activists and leftist intellectuals throughout college campuses in the U.S. But the antiwar movement gained national attention in 1965 when the United States began bombing North Vietnam after an attack on the United States. One major issue that caused the protests and resent was the draft. It started with college students, then some received deferments and it the lower class and less educated citizens started getting drafted at the age of 19. Mostly African Americans and Latino males. In this paper, I will be focusing on a draft protest from the antiwar movement. The analysis from the video footage will be based on a 1965 PBS/KET news report of a protest in New York City, NY.

In the news footage “Anti-War Protesters”, it starts out with thousands of people flooded in the streets of New York City on October 15th, 1965 burning their draft cards. The first to publicly burn his draft card was David Miller a member of the socialist catholic worker organization (Allen, n.d.). Another speaker at the rally by the name of Barry Basin spoke out and explained his opposition to the draft (Allen, n.d.). He stated that the draft was an involuntary attempt to make slaves out of its citizens and the only danger or threat to the United States was the government (Allen, n.d.).

The type of social movement demonstrated in the video would be a transformative social movement. According to Henslin (2019), a transformative social movement is a “movement that seeks to change society totally to transform it” (p. 648). Some tactics being used in this video were the burning of their draft cards and marching in the streets. Marching in the streets is considered a nonviolent tactic and burning your draft cards are also nonviolent but could get violent very quickly.

I believe the relative deprivation theory best explains the behavior from the video analysis. According to Henslin (2019) relative deprivation theory “provides excellent insight into revelations: Because improved circumstances can fuel the human desire for even greater advances” (p. 652). Relative deprivation theory seems most fitting to me in explaining the behavior in the video because these people wanted better lives and they wanted the choice as to whether they were drafted or not and not made into a slave for the American government when they were citizens. They also wanted their family’s home from Vietnam and for the war to end.

After analyzing this news footage, I have concluded that the protesters did that right thing. They may not have been heard for years by the government, but they were standing up for what they believed in across the United States of America. I believe if I was alive and able during this time I would have also protested for the war to end, for peace and to bring our troops home without treating them as slaves at the tender age of 19.


Allen, V. (n.d.). Anti-War Protesters [Video file]. Retrieved from

Henslin, J.M. (2019). Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach. Boston, MA. Pearson Publishing. Retrieved from!/4@0:0!/4@0:0

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