How far would you go to stop a war? On August 22, 1971, 28 men and women in Camden carried out a powerful act of civil disobedience against United States involvement in the Vietnam War. The group was part of a nonviolent antiwar movement popularly known as the “Catholic Left.” One of the most dramatic tactics utilized by this movement was breaking into draft board offices to remove and destroy government records that identified young men available for military service. The activists claimed that their actions were meant to show their belief that killing — even in war — was morally indefensible. And by conducting their raids mostly in inner cities, they hoped to call attention to war’s damaging effect on some of America’s most vulnerable populations.
“Camden 28,” a newly-released documentary by filmmaker Anthony Giacchino, tells of the activists’ covert preparations, government intrigue, a government raid and arrest of the protesters, and an ensuing legal battle that the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan called “one of the great trials of the 20th century.” Thirty-five years later key participants openly discuss their motives, their fears, and the tremendous personal costs of their actions. It is a story of resistance, friendship, and betrayal played out against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent periods in recent American history. “Camden 28” is the winner of both the Jury Prize and Audience Award for Best Documentary, Philadelphia Film Festival 2006.
“Camden 28,” Thursday, May 31, 7 p.m. Coalition for Peace Action, Princeton Public Library Plaza, Witherspoon Street. Screening of newly-released documentary about the individuals of the Camden 28, and their trial and vindication. The event includes talks by the filmmaker, Anthony Giacchino; Eugene Dixon, a member of the Camden 28; and David Kairys, one of the attorneys. Open to the public. Free. 609-924-5022.