Mr. Kunstler: The evidence will show as far as the defendants are concerned that they, like many other citizens of the United States, numbering in the many thousands, came to Chicago in the summer of 1968 to protest in the finest American tradition outside and in the vicinity of the Convention, the National Convention of the party in power. They came to protest the continuation of a war in South Vietnam which was then and had been for many years past within the jurisdiction of the party in power which happened to be the Democratic Party at that time.…

There was, as you will recall, and the evidence will so indicate, a turmoil within the Democratic Party itself as to whether it would enact a peace plan, as part of its platform. This, too, would be influenced by demonstrators. The possibility of this plank was what motivated many of the demonstrators to come to Chicago. The possibility of influencing delegates to that National Convention to take an affirmative strong stand against a continuation of this bloody and unjustified war, as they considered it to be along with millions of persons was one of the prime purposes of their coming to Chicago.…

At the same time as they were making plans to stage this demonstration and seeking every legal means in which to do so, the seeking of permits would be significant, permits in the seeking of facilities to put their plans into operation in a meaningful and peaceful way.

At the same time as all of this was going on, the evidence will show that there were forces in this city and in the national Government who were absolutely determined to prevent this type of protest, who had reached a conclusion that such a protest had to be stopped by the—the same phrase used by Mr. Schultz—by all means necessary, including the physical violence perpetrated on demonstrators. These plans were gathering in Washington and they were gathering here in this city, and long before a single demonstrator had set foot in the city of Chicago in the summer of 1968, the determination had been made that these demonstrations would be diffused, they would be dissipated, they would essentially be destroyed as effective demonstrations against primarily the continuation of the war in South Vietnam.…

We will demonstrate that free speech died here in the streets under those clubs and that the bodies of these demonstrators were the sacrifices to its death.…

… [T]he defense will show that the real conspiracy in this case is the conspiracy to which I have alluded, the conspiracy to curtail and prevent the demonstrations against the war in Vietnam and related issues that these defendants and other people, thousands, who came here were determined to present to the delegates of a political party and the party in power meeting in Chicago; that the real conspiracy was against these defendants. But we are going to show that the real conspiracy is not against these defendants as individuals because they are unimportant as individuals; the real attempt was—the real attack was on the rights of everybody, all of us American citizens, all, to protest under the First Amendment to the Constitution, to protest against a war that was brutalizing us all, and to protest in a meaningful fashion, and that the determination was made that that protest would be dissolved in the blood of the protesters; that that protest would die in the streets of Chicago, and that that protest would be dissipated and nullified by police officers under the guise of protecting property or protecting law and order or protecting other people.…

Dissent died here for a moment during that Democratic National Convention. What happens in this case may determine whether it is moribund.

The Trial of the Chicago 7: The Official Transcript