Leader of the feminist movement, strong supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and opponent of the Vietnam war, activist Jane Fonda is a woman who used her influence to act in defense of underrepresented and persecuted people.
It was in the late 1960's that Fonda became involved with politics at Vasser College. Her participation began in anti-war activities around 1967, allegedly after meeting with Communists while in France and with American citizens who were revolutionaries. By 1970 she was telling college students: "If you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would some day become communist. . . . I, a socialist, think that we should strive toward a socialist society, all the way to communism." The dual villains of Southeast Asian conflicts were, in her view, "U.S. imperialism" and "a white man's racist aggression".
In July-August 1972 Fonda made her famous trip to North Vietnam. By this time, over 50,000 Americans had been killed in the war. While there, she posed for pictures on an anti-aircraft gun that was used to shoot down American planes, and she volunteered to do a radio broadcast from Hanoi. She made approximately eight radio addresses, and these radio addresses were broadcast repeatedly. Decades after the Vietnam war, many Americans still abhor Jane Fonda as a traitor -- "Hanoi Jane". Fonda has never apologized for her opposition to the Vietnam war, and she says she never will. She still asks why the US killed millions of Vietnamese people, and what more than 50,000 American soldiers died for.
Fonda's activism was not limited to protests against American military involvement in Southeast Asia. She also supported the American Indian and Black Power Movements. When American Indians occupied Alcatraz Island in 1969, Fonda visited to show her solidarity. Fonda was also a strong supporter of Huey Newton and the Black Panthers, and campaigned for the incarcerated Angela Davis and other Black political prisoners.
Fonda spoke frequently and proudly about her radicalism, saying in 1970: "Revolution is an act of love; we are the children of revolution, born to be rebels. It runs in our blood". In 1972 she declared, "I am not a do-gooder. I am a revolutionary. A revolutionary woman."