Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). "Statement on
Vietnam, January 6, 1966." In Joanne Grant (Ed.) Black Protest:
History, Documents, and Analyses, 1619 to the Present. 2nd ed.
Greenwich, Connecticut: Fawcett, 1974. P. 416-418.
Insert abstract here....
"Statement on Vietnam, January 6, 1966."
The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee has a right and a
responsibility to dissent with United States foreign policy on an
issue when it sees fit. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee
now states its opposition to United States' involvement in Viet Nam on
We believe the United States government has been deceptive in its
claims of concern for freedom of the Vietnamese people, just as the
government has been deceptive in claiming concern for the freedom of
colored people in such other countries as the Dominican Republic, the
Congo, South Africa, Rhodesia, and in the United States itself.
We, the Student Non-Violent Coordingating Committee, have been involved
in the black people's struggle for liberation and self determination in
this country for the past five years. Our work, particularly in the
South, has taught us that the United States government has never
guaranteed the freedom of oppressed citizens, and is not yet truly
determined to end the fule of terror and oppression within its own
We ourselves have often been victims of violence and confinement
executed by United States government officials. We recall the
numerous persons who have been murdered in the South because of
their efforts to secure their civil and human rights, and whose
murderers have been allowed to escape penalty for their crimes.
The murder of Samuel Young in Tuskegee, Ala., is no different than
the murder of peasants in Viet Nam, for both Young and the Vietnamese
sought, and are seeking, to secure the rights guaranteed them by law.
In each case the United States government bears a great part of the
responsibility for these deaths.
Samuel Young was murdered because United States law is not being
enforced. Vietnamese are murdered because the United States is
pursuing an aggressive policy in violation of international law.
The United States is no respecter of persons or law when such
persons or laws run counter to its needs and desires.
We recall the indifference, suspicion and outright hostility with
which our reports of violence have been met in the past by government
We know that for the most part, elections in this country, in the
North as well as the South, are not free. We have seen that the 1965
Voting Rights Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act have not yet been
implemented with full federal power and sincerity.
We question, then, the ability and even the desire of the United
States government to guarantee free elections abroad. We maintain
that our country's cry of 'preserve freedom in the world' is a
hypocritical mask behind which it squashes liberation movements
which are not bound, and refuse to be bound, by the expediencies of
United States Cold War policies.
We are in sympathy with, and support, the men in this country who are
unwilling to respond to a military draft which would compel them to
contribute their lives to United States agression in Viet Nam in the
name of 'freedom' we find so false in this country.
We recoil with horror at the inconsistency of a supposedly 'free'
society where responsibility to freedom is equated with the
responsibility to lend oneself to military aggression. We take
note of the fact that 16 per cent of the draftees from this country
are Negroes called on to stifle the liberation of Viet Nam, to
preserve a 'democracy' which does not exist for them at home.
We ask, where is the draft for the freedom fight in the United
We therefore encourage those Americans who prefer to use their
energy in building democratic forms within this country. We believe
that work in the Civil Rights Movement and with other human relations
organizations is a valid alternative to the draft. We urge all
Americans to seek this alternative, knowing full well that it may
cost their lives -- as painfully as in Viet Nam.