Friday, May 08, 2009

Sacravatoons 1395 :" The Dead Elephant "

Vietnam and the women's liberation movement
interview with Sandra Hawker and Helen Jarvis

Can you describe your experience in the antiwar movement in Canberra?

HJ: We had to fight for our right to protest. For instance, there was one demonstration outside the Lodge in 1966, where we burned an Australian flag. About half a dozen of us were arrested for that. Unfortunately for the authorities, when they went to charge us, they found there was no law against burning the flag. The only possible charge was the misdemeanour of " burning rubbish in a public place". They couldn't call the flag rubbish, so they decided not to charge us.

Was that your only political activity?

HJ: I joined the ALP at the time, but it was mainly in order to oppose the war. There was a Liberal government prosecuting the war, and there was opposition to the war within the Labor Party, at least from its left wing, though the right was trying to water down or overturn the policy. We were also involved in a group called the Pluralist Society that linked together leftists of various hues, from Fabians to communists to libertarians, who had been strong in the Sydney Push in the 1950s.

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