Robert H. Abzug

As Interviewed by Dean Wysocki, March 8, 2017

Robert H. Abzug: In His Own Words

The heart of the worst part of the war took part in a non-violent demonstration at the Oakland Induction center. The Oakland Induction Center was where draftees went in to get physicals and then to be given their orders to where they were going. It opened up at usually at 4:00 AM or maybe 4:30 AM and a bunch of us, non-violent protesters, surrounded the building and laid down. I didnít think the police or the army was going to come out and give us all breakfast but what happened was that we were blocking the door, I mean where were literally blocking the door. We assumed there might be an arrest, whatever. There were arrests, I didnít get arrested that time, but those arrests happened after police and the equivalent of the Texas Rangers here served the more county-wide force, the County Sheriffs of Alameda County (place in the Bay area), came after us with clubs, and gas, mace, tear gas, That morning I got clubbed and gassed and took about 2 or 3 days to recover myself. It was pointless, it was no reason for the violence. They couldíve gently picked us up and put us in a police van but instead they went at it. Those were some of the risks and I donít think it discouraged anyone, I think it just hardened us all to the fact that this might be what was happening and it was all the more important to protest the [Vietnam] war.