During the night of August 23-24, 1969, a conservative American terrorist group calling themselves “the Minutemen” (an offshoot of the John Birch Society) conducted an armed attack on the headquarters of the New England Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA) in Voluntown, Connecticut. At the time, the New England CNVA was one of the most active US antiwar groups of the time, and despite FBI and State Police intervention, it has long been suspected that law enforcement purposely allowed the first part of the attack to commence. After all, the FBI had tabs on both the Minutemen and the CNVA, and if as a result of the Minutement attack (even an interrupted one), CNVA morale declined enough to collapse the organization, all the better for the Bureau.
As it happened, one CNVA resident did get hit in the crossfire between Minutemen and the police (many plain-clothed, adding to the chaos of the night). Morale did flag for a time. Two members left. But on the whole, the New England CNVA members came together stronger, with a renewed sense of purpose and urgency, and funneled their frustrations and energies into repairing their facilities and building new ones.
While the former New England CNVA headquarters has changed organizations over the decades and is currently known as the Voluntown Peace Trust, it has always remained a place dedicated to ecological sustainability, social justice, and war resistance. As we continue to evolve as an organization and a movement to meet future challenges, it is important to examine our history to remind ourselves of when we have encountered unthinkable events — both good and bad — and how we emerged out the other side.
(Click the image below to download the PDF version of the original clippings)
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Suzuki, Mary. "Minutemen Attack On New England CNVA: A Report." New England Committee for Nonviolent Action. September 1968.
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