Racial Tensions in the Military

Billy Dean Smith

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Voice of the Lumpen. [Frankfurt, Germany]: Revolutionary People's Communications Network, 1(8), October 1971.

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Source: Voice of the Lumpen. [Frankfurt, Germany]: Revolutionary People's Communications Network, 1(8), October 1971.

In February 1971, Brother Billy Smith, a black GI from Watts, was thrown into pre-trial confinement in Long Binh Jail in South Vietnam. He is presently being held in solitary confinement in Ford Ord (California) stockade, which preparations are being made for his court martial. Brother Billy is being charged with: 2 counts of premeditated murder of two pig lieutenants, 2 counts of attempted murder against another pig lieutenant, and a 1st Sgt., 1 count of assault of another pig officer wounded in the explosion and 2 counts of assault against two military pig police. These charges stem from an alleged "fragging" at Bien Hoa Army Base, South Vietnam, on March 15, 1971.

The evidence that the pigs are using against brother Billy is one grenade pin, which the pigs have stated: "we found in his jacket pocket". Even though the pin was sent to a laboratory to compare it with the grenade handle which was found near the incident, the pin was found to be completely different. However, the pigs still intend to hang brother Billy.

The criminal and barbarous war that the U.S. government is waging in South Vietnam is heightening the political consciousness of thousands and thousands of GI's. They clearly see the contradiction between the oppressor and the oppressed and they are demanding that the U.S. imperialist aggressors put an end to the war. Even within the ranks of the U.S. military, there is widespread rebellion. Black GI's in particular are repudiating their role as puppets and cannon fodder for the U.S. ruling class and their military authorities.

Because of his political beliefs, brother Billy is being held as a "prisoner of war". Some people like to refer to it as "the war between the enlisted men and their officers", but black revolutionary GI's have taken their struggle to a higher level. They are fighting solely for the liberation of the Afro-American people. And they see no difference in the oppression of their people in the black communities and the oppression in the racist military institution. The military stockades are full of black political prisoners who have spoken out against the criminal policies of the U.S. government, and the institutionalized racism that they suffer under. In many cases, they have turned their guns against their racist officers, their true enemies. They have become aware of their strategic position in the U.S. imperialist military and they intend to deliver death blows to the whole system of oppression.

We call upon the peace loving peoples of the world in general, and Black and oppressed GI's in particular, to show solidarity and support for brother Billy Smith. For further information contact:

Billy Smith Defence Committee
288 Alvarado Street
Monterey, California



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