Fred Halstead Papers, 1956-1978

Scope and Content Note

The papers relate almost entirely to Halstead's activity in the Vietnam War-opposition movement and his research for Out Now: A Participant's Account of the American Movement Against the Vietnam War. There is very little personal information on Halstead included in the papers which reflect the involvement of the Socialist Workers Party in the anti-war movement rather than that of Halstead himself. The papers are divided into the following series: Correspondence, Writings, Organization Records, and Subject Files.

The CORRESPONDENCE series (1956-1978 but primarily after 1963) consists principally of incoming letters compiled by Halstead in the course of his research for Out Now. Included is a letter from James P. Cannon (August 1, 1960), a draft of three chapters of Farrell Dobbs' Teamster Bureaucracy (1977), and a number of letters from the Japanese Congress opposing nuclear weapons (1969). The most consistent correspondence dates from 1975, when Halstead was completing Out Now. During this time he corresponded with Jerry Gordon, Gus Horowitz, and several other leading activists concerning their recollections of particular events.

The WRITINGS series (1968-1975) consists of all of the source material that was directly cited in footnotes to Out Now. The material is arranged according to the chapter to which it pertains. General research material that was not cited in the book has been included in the ORGANIZATION RECORDS and SUBJECT FILES. Also included are writings about Halstead as well as a tape and transcript (1968) of an oral history interview of Halstead while he was the SWP Presidential candidate, conducted by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The ORGANIZATION RECORDS series (1962-1974) consists of the steering committee minutes, correspondence, publicity materials (such as flyers and posters), press releases, publications, agendas, memoranda, and occasional financial records of organizations with which Halstead was directly involved or which he researched for Out Now. The documentation here is not complete, and some files are quite spotty, with materials pertaining to a single event or aspect of the organization. The papers are most thorough for the Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade Committee, New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC), National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), and the Student Mobilization Committee (SMC).

The Fifth Avenue Vietnam Peace Parade Committee (1966-1973), established in 1965, was an umbrella organization in New York City composed of over 80 groups and numerous individuals prominent in the anti-war movement. By the end of 1966, the committee came to include over 150 organizations and was generally acknowledged to be the largest and most important local anti-war coalition in the country. The committee records include minutes, correspondence (mostly outgoing mass mailings), press releases, publications, flyers, and statements. In 1970 the organization shortened its name to the Vietnam Peace Parade Committee.

The New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam was the successor to the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. These records (1969-1970) consist of correspondence, financial records, memoranda, minutes, publicity materials, press releases, committee reports, statements and proposals. There are a number of materials pertaining to Anti-Draft Week (March 16-22, 1970) and the demonstration in Washington DC (May 9, 1970)

The National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC) records (1970-1972) consist of correspondence, publicity materials, membership lists, lists of event sponsors, press releases, minutes, statements, conference agendas and proposals, and financial records. A significant amount of material concerns the NPAC Convention in Los Angeles (July 22-23, 1970). Also of note is correspondence (1972) regarding the relationship between NPAC and the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ).

The National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) was founded in 1957 and the records (1962-1969) include correspondence, minutes, press releases, publicity, reports, statements, and leaflets regarding upcoming events within the organization, as well as calls to action regarding contemporary political events and policies.

The Student Mobilization Committee (SMC) was one of the longest running and most successful organizations opposing American involvement in the war in Vietnam. In Out Now, the history of the SMC and its relationship with other national mobilizations as well as with the Socialist Workers Party and the Young Socialist Alliance are described. Of note is correspondence from 1968 regarding a power struggle within SMC in which two members of its national steering committee, Kipp Dawson and Syd Stapelton, were removed from, and eventually reinstated in their positions.

The SUBJECT FILES series (1965-1973) is arranged alphabetically by topic and chronologically thereunder and are divided into the following sub-categories: Conferences (1966-1971), Demonstrations (1965-1973), Draft Resistance (1966-70), GI Anti-War Movements and Defense (1966-1972), House Investigations of the Anti-war Movement (1966, 1971), Miscellaneous Publications (1969-1970, undated), and Vietnam Summer records (1966). The bulk of the subject files consist of publicity materials, posters, press releases, correspondence (in the form of outgoing mass mailings), calls to action, as well as leaflets, fact sheets, and conference agendas and proposals.