June 13, 2007

ALA Council Resolution on Southeast Asia Conflict (1971)

Resolution on Southeast Asia Conflict

Whereas, the stated objective of the American Library Association is the promotion and improvement of library service and librarianship, and

Whereas, continued and improved library service to the American public requires sustained support form public monies, and

Whereas, the continuing U.S. involvement in the conflict in Southeast Asia has so distorted our national priorities as to reduce substantially the funds appropriated for educational purposes, including support for library services the American people, and

Whereas, continued commitment of U.S. arms, troops and other military support has not contributed to the solution of this conflict, be it therefore

Resolved, that the American Library Association call upon the President of the United States to take immediately those steps necessary to terminate all U.S. military involvement in the present conflict in Southeast Asia and to insure the reallocation of national resources to meet pressing domestic needs.

Passed 145 to 21 by roll call vote at the 1971 ALA Annual Conference.

Al Kagan sent the text of this resolution to the ALA Council listserv just now, in the midst of a debate over Council’s role in addressing political issues. The United States’ pullout of Vietnam certainly came too late, but would have come later if not for the the willingness of cultural and professional leaders in the mainstream, like ALA, to take a stand.

1 Comment »

  1. What’s really interesting about this is how it justifies ALA’s involvement in the Vietnam War as an economic issue. (Monetary support for the war means less money for libraries.) The actual political issue, that “continued commitment of U.S. arms, troops and other military support has not contributed to the solution of this conflict” seems immaterial to the argument.

    I suppose this is a pragmatic approach, and given all the debate going on now about whether ALA should be involved in political issues, it makes sense. But it seems somewhat defeatist to say, essentially, “we should be involved in this political issue because it’s not actually political.” Plus, I hardly think this sort of argument would fly these days, do you?

    I think this resolution is worth reading not just to see that ALA has tackled controversial political issues before, but to see the method in which it was handled. Thanks for sharing this.

    Comment by Bo Kinney — June 18, 2007 @ 12:32 am

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