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Pacifism and Dissent

This guide is intended to provide useful resources to faculty and students researching nonviolent resistance movements and political repression in the Vietnam War Era.


This guide was created to supplement "Traitors, Burglars, Whistleblowers, Patriots? The Legacy of Exposing Government Surveillance," a special event held at La Salle University on February 24, 2014. This event welcomes John and Bonnie Raines, two of the eight activists who called themselves the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI. The group burglarized the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania on March 8, 1971, stealing files that revealed covert government surveillance of anti-Vietnam War groups and other "subversives."

After 43 years the Raines', having never been discovered for the crime, revealed their involvement in a new book by Betty Medsger, The Burglary: The Discovery of J Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI; which was released in January 2014. The Raines' will join Betty Medsger in a conversation with the La Salle community in the Dan Rodden Theater.  

Use this guide to learn more about resistance to political repression in the 1960s and 1970s. Discover the motives of the activists who fought for social change through radical, and sometimes illegal methods. 


Anti-Vietnam War lapel buttons from the

Imaginative Representations of the Vietnam War Collection, Connelly Library.

The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI

burglary_cover"The never-before-told full story of the history-changing break-in at the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, by a group of unlikely activists—quiet, ordinary, hardworking Americans—that made clear the shocking truth and confirmed what some had long suspected, that J. Edgar Hoover had created and was operating, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, his own shadow Bureau of Investigation.

It begins in 1971 in an America being split apart by the Vietnam War . . . A small group of activists—eight men and women—the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI, inspired by Daniel Berrigan’s rebellious Catholic peace movement, set out to use a more active, but nonviolent, method of civil disobedience to provide hard evidence once and for all that the government was operating outside the laws of the land." (

Event Flyer