The Draft

Resisting the Draft

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Source: Hell No! Washington, D.C.: Draft Couselors Training Institute, 1968. Hell No! Washington, D.C.: Draft Counselors Training Institute, 1968.

Insert abstract here....


To the Afro-American People:

In the stirring atmosphere of their general offensive and uprising the South Vietnamese people are glad to learn that the struggle of the Afro-American people for freedom is powerfully developing. The war waged by the U.S. Government has caused so much sufferings, not only to the Vietnamese people, but also to the Afro-Americans; therefore your struggle against the draft and for liberation is ours.

Dear Afro-American friends! We salute you ad congratulate every victory you have won. Your brave acts constitute a great encouragement to our freedom fighters.

We hope you will act more effectively to bring the U.S. troops home now, to end the war in Vietnam. This is for the interests of our two peoples.


(Head of the FNL delegation to the International Union of Students in Sweden, March, 1968.)


Brothers must seriously begin to resist the draft in an organized fashion. Today, we have thousands of brothers who are resisting, but there is no contact with the brothers nor among the brothers. There are those who feel that this is correct because no communications network provides for resistors' safety. Others feel that it is extremely important for these brothers to BAND (Blacks Against Negative Dying) together for the purpose of explaining to our people why they refuse induction into the military-industrial complex. By so doing, they can reach younger brothers to encourage them to direct their energies to the black community in lieu of a racist, imperialist army. Also, this will heighten the consciousness in the black community, and with correct organizing the community will provide sanctuary and protection for the resistors.

For brother resistors who want to organize and to mobilize other brothers to resist please write a fellow brother resistor:

Jan Bailey
P.O. Box 3215
Washington, D.C. 20010

Source: Hell No! Washington, D.C.: Draft Couselors Training Institute, 1968.

Statement by JAN BAILEY
Position Against the Draft

I am historically, politically, psychologically, and morally unfit to serve in the armed forces. I have no anticipations nor expectations of saluting flags or officers, wearing uniforms, singing a national anthem or obeying orders from a supposedly superior beast. Frankly speaking, I see no place in Uncle Sam's army for this angry black man. Let me be plain. I will not support an imperialist and racist country. I am not for imperialism but against it; my allegiance with this country is to help build it through change and self-determination for and by black people. We are related by blood, culture, and common experiences of hardship suffered by this racist system. On the international scene there are two groups of people: the haves and the have-nots; the whites and the non-whites. The whites are the haves and the non-whites are the have-nots. The same is true for this country. Blacks have been disillusioned, frustrated, humiliated, alienated, and brutalized by white people and this is the issue I speak to. Following the dictates of my black consciousness, I have no other alternatives but to refuse to be inducted. I think it foolish to embrace a system that destroys laws, customs, and people of color for capitalistic ends. Therefore, it is inconceivable that I go out like a fool and fight my non-white brothers in China, Vietnam, Africa, Latin America, and South America for white devils. Your enemies are my friends ... I support everything you oppose and oppose everything you support.

At this juncture I would like to make a plea for our brothers in Vietnam to come home ... AMERICA IS THE BLACK MAN'S BATTLEGROUND ... Our mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers are being shot down like dogs and we earnestly need their protection and their skills. The white man has built tanks that will roll in our communities ... The mission of those tanks is to DESTROY BLACK HUMANITY ... Those tanks must be stopped ad they will be stopped ... by any means necessary.


The United States Supreme Court turned down a special appeal on behalf of Edward Oquendo who is now serving the maximum sentence of five years in the Federal prison at Danbury, Conn.

Eddie is a founder of Blacks Against Negative Dying, a member of Youth Against War and Fascism and a strong anti-imperialist and militant fighter in the black liberation struggle. At his sentencing he affirmed his solidarity with the Vietnamese National Liberation Front and his refusal to go into an army which shoots down his black brothers on the streets of the U.S.

Eddie's statement while being sentenced:
This is a kangaroo court so familiar to black people. This so-called jury of my peers, selected by design which behaved as nothing but ‘lackeys and flunkies of imperialism'. These are not my peers. I want to make it clear that I support the National Liberation Front in their struggle against 500,000 troops armed with the most barbarous weapons in the world has ever seen. Long live their struggle! I support all oppressed people. A man who goes into the army, if he is Black, is asked to kill his mother, brothers, sisters, like Detroit and Newark ... I say, hell no, I won't go!

On Eddie's Arrest
One warm night a year ago last July, two FBL agents approached Eddie on a Brooklyn street and asked him to get into their car " for a talk". Eddie, a 21-year-old (Negro) who had refused to take a physical examination for the draft, tells the story, "I refused and said that if we had any talking to do we could do it right there. I spoke in a manner which caused the neighbors to gather." Surrounded by a dozen bristling Negroes, the agents hastily left. When they finally arrested Eddie, it was early in the morning before anybody was on the street, and this time there were four agents, two cars and handcuffs.

(taken from Esquire, November 1967)

You can write Eddie at:
Eddie Quendo
#22072 Besidamne
Federal Correct Institution
Danburg, Conn. 06813

Puerto Rican Draft Resistors

Over 1000 draft age youth went to Lares, Puerto Rico to commemorate that struggle of 1868 which called for Independence of Puerto Rico and to proclaim anew the struggle for independence and against the colonial draft. Over 1000 signed the declaration which was headlined "We Refuse to Go into the U.S. Army". It read in part:
On this 23rd of September, the 98th anniversary of the republic of Puerto Rico in Lares, we Puerto Rican youth declare before the world the resolute and singular purpose .... (of) not serving in the U.S. armed forces under any circumstances. We also declare our solidarity and support to the heroic struggle of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam for national independence, neutrality, peace and territorial integrity.

This statement supported a number of court cases of Puerto Ricans who are fighting the draft. Prosecution of these cases has been shelved up to this time for fear that the fight against the draft would spread.

A pact has been signed between blacks and Puerto Ricans calling for concrete cooperation between the Puerto Rican and Afro-American peoples against the common colonial draft.

SNCC Statement on the War and the Draft

We believe the United States government has been deceptive in its claims of concern for the 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 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 rule of terror and oppression within its own borders...

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 aggression in Vietnam in the name of "freedom" we find false in this country...

We take note of the fact that 16 percent of the draftees from this country are Negroes called on to stifle the liberation of Vietnam, 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 States?

(written in January, 1966 after the murder of Sammy Younge by a racist in Tuskegee, Alabama. Sammy was a navy veteran.)

CLEVELAND SELLERS talks about Terre Haute and Tallahassee (Cleve was sentenced to five years in prison for refusing induction into the armed services. He faces up to 78 years on charges stemming from the Orangeburg, So. Carolina Massacre in which 3 students were murdered and 28 wounded by police.)

I was mostly in isolation. I was not allowed newspapers and magazines. Eventually I was moved from Tallahassee to a quarantine area in Atlanta and then to the Federal Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana. Terre Haute is a penitentiary in a transitional state - it will become a breaking institution. Now it consists largely of a lot of racists in the guards and administration. They have a habit of using what they call strong arm techniques - practices not uncommon in black penitentiaries. What they are trying to do is to send people who have been affiliated with the black power movement through Terre Haute first so that they get rigid conditioning. As funny as it sounds Terre Haute turns out to be the playground for the Klan in the sense that a large proportion of Klan prisoners are sent to Terre Haute. They are allowed a lot of privileges that black prisoners are not. It's rough psychologically as well as physically - you're not allowed to get exercise or move around. At Tallahassee they held the mail going, in and out - sometimes nine days, sometimes seven days. I think that what they were trying is a tactic to break you, to cut you off almost totally from the outside community, to isolate you inside, so that you are not able to talk to other prisoners. When I came back to Terre Haute the guards greeted me with, "We hear that you are a black agitator. We do not like that here. We do not care for people who want progress for blacks, and we will beat - that was their attitude - your head in if you get out of step at all." And after I got that introduction I was immediately placed in a detention area in the hospital until I could meet with the administration. And they said that I would be the first one that they would personally make sure did not survive whatever situation occurred. This was the general attitude they had to all blacks who were transferred to Terre Haute, and I think that was a general pattern for that particular institution - and that's why I think it is being transformed into a breaking penitentiary. Prisoners have witnessed beatings, detention, and isolation of blacks. All blacks have to wear their hair a certain length. A couple of years ago, there were a lot of black muslims who wore their hair bald. Because of that, they outlawed blacks wearing their hair bald. Now the brothers wear their hair long, and they have outlawed hair over three inches. And so everything seems to change in order to control black awareness. I think the interesting thing is that the situation inside the prisons is paralleling the reactionary racist movement of the society outside.

(taken from the wires of Liberation News Service from the Prisoners' Information Service.)

On Vietnam

A country that has to hassle to pass a bill to exterminate rats, but at a bat of an eyelash, will appropriate billions of dollars to exterminate people is the enemy to mankind, and; therefore, has to be dealt with in a revolutionary manner if we are going to talk about the survival of mankind.

It should be clear to black people today that the Vietnamese people are not the enemy, but it is those people who make up the capitalists of the world who derive benefits from oppressing other people. Black people must understand that the fate of the Vietnamese people is also the fate of other oppressed peoples of the world, and that includes us who are colonized within the structure of imperialism. We should realize that if this country will travel thousands of miles to wipe out a nation of people because they wish not to be exploited, that that same country will very sufficiently deal with its black population who are seeking human rights ... the right of self-determination to live a decent life within the confines of the world. We must realize that those oppressed people who wish a decent living is against the American ideal of exploitation, imperialism, and racism.

Black people must realize that this country is making a conscientious effort to annihilate any black movement in this country or any revolutionary movement in the world. It is no mistake that Sammy Younge and other civil rights workers were murdered in cold blood; it is no mistake that SNCC men are being classified as I-A with immediate induction; it is no mistake that Muhammad Ali received the maximum penalty for refusing the draft based on his ministerial duties in the Muslim Religion; it is no mistake that Nkrumpah is in exile; it is no mistake that Lumumba is dead; it is no mistake that Che is dead; it is no mistake that Debray has a thirty-year prison sentence; it is no mistake that Lee Otis Johnson and Sostre have a thirty-year prison sentence; it is no mistake that Rap Brown is confined to the southern counties of New York State; it is no mistake that Bill Epton and other brothers are [in] political prisons; it is no mistake that Julian Bond had to go to the Supreme Court before being seated in the Georgia Legislature; it is no mistake that Adam C. Powell was unseated in the U.S. Congress; it is no mistake that the U.S. patrol is turning back black men who are seeking political asylum in Canada. These men are not only resisting the draft, but they are also resisting the system which wants to draft them. Black people are going to have to realize that the only way for us to get out of our dilemma is to look internationally - not only at our victorious Vietnamese brothers and sisters, but also to the liberation forces in Zimbabwe, South Africa and other countries in southern Africa, and in Latin and in South America.

In our struggle to end the Vietnamese War which is also a struggle to stop exploitation and imperialism draft resistors play the most important role. The Vietnamese people have asked for us to refuse induction and if drafted to refuse to embark to Vietnam.

Trapping us in slums, starving us to death, and keeping us illiterate are not enough; this system is preparing to move from psychological genocide to physical genocide by drafting our brothers in a genocidal war. Black people must understand that this system will exterminate a nation of people with the pill or with the bomb ... we must gather among ourselves. Black people must understand that they must confront counter-revolutionary violence with revolutionary violence. We can first do this by resisting the draft system and joining the anti-Vietnam war forces.

Vietnam for the Vietnamese ... the right of self-determination for all oppressed peoples, including us!!

Source: Hell No! Washington, D.C.: Draft Couselors Training Institute, 1968.

On Going to Prison for Resisting

The one to five year prison term over the heads of the brothers who make the ultimate decision of preserving their lives to fight for Liberation looms heavily. My experience in Southern jails for periods of time helps me understand this ugly plight. But to choose between killing or being killed by our Vietnamese brothers and sisters or spending five years in prison where you might be able to plot a course of action (in your minds) should not be a difficult decision to make.

If it meant that we had to go to jail in the South in the early sixties to heighten the contradictions of the system and to raise the level of black consciousness and dignity, then going to jail was merely a sacrifice in the correct direction. Going to jail was a positive action because it eliminated some of the fears around fighting for human dignity. It proved to the blacks in the South that there were people who will confront and defy honkies and the racist system. By going to prison for refusing induction into a racist, imperialist army will become a resounding board for young blacks who will learn and take heed from the resistors' experiences to not cooperate with the SSS including to not register for the draft.

Our present-day draft resistors will become Heroes to our youngbloods.


National Black Anti-War Anti-Draft Union

(Resolution passed at its first Conference on the War and the Draft

Let it be resolved that we cannot accept the alternative of the system for Black people because this would lead to the death of the revolutionary struggle at home and to ultimate genocide and total annihilation of black people in racist America.


  1. Mass refusal to register upon reaching the age of 18 in some organized manner, secretly without publicity. (This is illegal, however it is mandatory for survival.)

  2. For those of our brothers who have legal expertise (black lawyers) must take the initiative to manipulate the law for the defense of our black brothers. These black lawyers either must perform this duty through the necessity of unifying for the survival of our people or they will suffer political consequences from the black community.

  3. Constructive strategy and tactics should be devised by pre-induction draft counselors for the brothers who are going thru the inductive process. They must move to the non-cooperative, thus moving to disrupt the process in different methods which are relevant to the characteristics of regional areas. (In other words each geographical area must know what is necessary to disrupt its local draft board or its court procedures.) The disruptive activity must be conducive to the personality of the brothers involved.

  4. For those 18 year olds that register: be sure to check in Series VIII on form 110 SS and the form certifying CO status.

  5. All information concerning counseling and legal facilities be at the disposal of black high school and college students.

  6. A concerted effort be made to abolish ROTC completely.

  7. In the last analysis resist the draft and the war by saying, "Hell No, I Won't Go!"

Source: Hell No! Washington, D.C.: Draft Couselors Training Institute, 1968.

On Communism

Sometimes it seems that my people are the most patriotic people (for the wrong cause) in the world. It seems that since this country has reserved the role of "superman" for whites, we have taken up the banner to be "super-patriots". It seems that we are deluded to think that communism is a red monster with horns when the real monsters are those persons who are trying to delude us. It seems that we have been deluded to think that we must contain communism, when we should be containing the monsters, their system which maintains them as monsters, and their cohorts. And if need[ed] we must do this by any means necessary.

The insane cry of "fighting communism to make the world safe for democracy" was geared to white people because blacks were and still are of the wrong colors.

As a result we had some fanatics who felt that blacks should have an equal opportunity to die and fight for this racist, imperialist country. Consequently, we developed "super-patriots" who were given the chance to demonstrate their might and to prove their dignity during World War II in spite of living in separate and unequal conditions.

Blacks began to question fighting for this country, but the "super-patriots" fought for desegregation and a member of the monster team granted the request. However, the monsters needed another rallying cry because whites were getting more difficult and harder to convince on the communism line. McCarthy had his "era of fear" and Dulles formulated the "balance of terror" known as the cold war. This helped some, but they needed something special for the blacks because the Korean War proved that the monsters will have a serious problem in fighting people who are determined to fight for their liberation and their right to self-determination.

The monster system had to create a "super-patriot" soldier who can withstand all kinds of insults, degradation, and other forms of inhuman treatment. The monster system had a two-fold program: to delude people to they can prove their human worth and dignity and their right to justice by killing others and then have the deluded killed off by the war machine who will never know the realities of the monster system. The monsters had to have a rallying cry for the deluded: "We must destroy communism, especially the yellow communists, in order to protect the United States so black people can have a country to fight racism!!" Unfortunately, some of our brothers fell into this trap bag and have been fighting Vietnamese and Koreans instead of white racist monsters who have raped our mamas, whipped our daddies, and prostituted our children.

We must begin to understand that the monsters call all people communists who fight for their liberation. We witnessed the monsters' insanity in the South when black people marched and demonstrated for justice. They red-baited all earnest freedom fighters, thus pitting the blacks against the "super-patriots". Now, the monsters are internationalizing its psychotic scheme by pitting the "super-patriots" against our colored brothers of the world who are, like us, fighting for human dignity, justice, and freedom.

We can no longer allow our brothers to get hung-up in the monsters' neurotic psychosis. We must destroy the myth of "communism". Now is the time for our brothers to choose between being a "super-patriot" or being a MAN.

On the Church

Some of our ministers are trying to make the Church relevant to the needs to black people, but there are many things that we can do as black people and as church members.

We have always had the Church as one of the free agents whereby we can release our "juju" in its most natural and spiritual form. We have always sought the Church "to steal away" from the daily oppressive life that has been forced upon us.

The Church in its early history served as a sanctuary and as a meeting place to discuss how we could take care of business of lifting the yoke that was (and still is) binding us into this colonized position. It should not be a surprise to know that in true black history we will find that many of our slave revolts were plotted in the Church. We can note recently in the early civil rights movement that the Church was the meeting place for rallies, demonstrations, etc. Many of us still remember the weekly Mass Meetings on Monday nights in our local churches. We also remember when the Church served as a sanctuary to protect us from the vicious, brutal cops who were waiting to beat us on the outside.

Now, the Church must move to continue its role in our resistance to oppression. The Church must become a sanctuary for our draft resistors who are now running and hiding from henchmen in the FBI and from Federal monsters. It is clear that these monsters wish to oppress our brothers further by forcing them into an obvious genocidal situation. The Church must open its doors to offer the brothers protection and safety.

The Church must continue its role in the total resistance movement of black people against oppression. The Church is one of the few institutions which is owned and controlled by black people. We have a right to see to the Church becoming relevant to us and to serve our needs. If the Church refuses, then we have the right to alter or abolish it according to our consciences.

Source: Hell No! Washington, D.C.: Draft Couselors Training Institute, 1968.

Black Women and the War and the Draft

In our struggle to end the Vietnam War which is also a struggle to stop exploitation and imperialism black women can play a significant role. They first take our husbands through welfare by forcing them into unemployment, and they are now taking our sons and loved ones through the draft. Black women need their MEN at home now!! Mothers should not allow their sons to be drafted and they should tell the draft board this. Sweethearts should not allow their loved ones to be coopted by the draft system. They should want their loved ones to join those forces that are fighting for the liberation of black people and other oppressed peoples of the world. Young black women must not play up to the mercenaries that walk in the black community with the green suits. They are not protecting our community; they are protecting and re-enforcing white supremacy.

Resolutions passed at the NBAWADJ conference

Victory for the Freedom Fighters in Vietnam!!

  1. Women must organize a sanctuary network to house and feed brothers who are on the run.

  2. Mothers must move to disrupt the draft boards to keep their sons out of the army.

  3. Sisters must move to counsel draftees. We must go to court to support our resistors, raise funds for legal expenses, etc.

  4. Go to families who have lost sons in the war to explain why their sons were killed in Vietnam or in any war created by the U.S.

  5. Efforts should be made to contact women who join the military establishment.


We wish to make this a demand, but we can only ask you not to comply with the Selective Service System because we do not know, except with empathy, the agonizing pains and fears that brothers must confront when they make the decision to resist or not to resist.

The philosophy of resistance has prevailed in our history as black people in this country. We must understand that non-compliance with the SSS is only another form of resistance by black people to this country and its system. We have been resisting since jumping off slave boats, to slave revolts, to setting fires to the "big house", to demonstrating for civil rights and human dignity, to rebellions, to organized sporadic armed struggle. It is only consistent for us to resist the draft.

We must begin to define allegiance and loyalty in black terms. We must ask, "allegiance to whom, loyalty to what?" After repeated arguments with your consciences the only correct answers are allegiance to our people and loyalty to the Struggle for Liberation. And when those answers are seriously gotten you will fully understand that you cannot be drafted for a war that is completely contrary to the goals and aspirations of our Struggle. With this position you will begin to realize that you are already drafted for Liberation Army; it is contradictory, impractical, and infeasible to be drafted by an alien army.


Report to your local (relevant) BLACK Organization

How to Stay Out of the Army

by Attorney Conrad Lynn

Taken from the Introduction p. 13

Fortunately, not all Americans are sheep. The Youth of the sixties are not as silent, or apathetic as their immediate predecessors. Resistance to the draft has sprung up all over the country. World War II had its few absolute pacifists who refused to register and quietly submitted to jail. Their witness served largely to vindicate their own consciences. But the resistance to the draft system today serves a basically political purpose ... to compel the President to end the war. As Mary McCarthy says in Vietnam, "The worst thing that could happen to our country would be to win this war." The soul of America can be saved only by unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam. Although I write as a lawyer, it would be dishonest for me to conceal the fact that I have feelings in this matter. The war will be discontinued when the American people make it impossible for the war machine to function. Each of us can make a contribution.

The effort of the anti-war forces in the immediate future must concentrate upon finding alternatives to military service for unemployed men so that the armed forces can be deprived of replacements ... The cry "We Won't Go" must be supplemented with the demand of work for the unemployed. P. 104

(Film) "No Vietnamese Ever Called Me Nigger"

by David Loeb Weiss

A film about an anti-Vietnam war demonstration in Harlem, New York. There are also interviews with three black Vietnam veterans.

Says one: "An F-4 Phantom Jet costs $2,500,000. For that money Uncle Sam could build two beautiful schools right here in Harlem. Instead, they build a high-performance, multi-engine plane that will be shot down and end up on the scrap heap."

Army experience for militant efforts: "It was a white national guardsman who set the charge that killed those four school children in the Birmingham church. So who can blame me if I want to use the skills I've learned in the army towards a revolt in America?"

Another says: " Do you think we're going to sit through it? We've read Mao and his quotations. We know what we want and we're going to take. No one want war. No one who's seen a man with his guts hanging out wants war. But you're pushing us to it. We're just about out of patience. We're not going to ask anymore."

(Film) "Who Owns Tony Vargas?"

A film about a draft-age young man of Afro-American and Puerto Rican extraction who confronts an all-white draft board.

For more information contact:
Draft Counselors Training Institute
Gwen Patton
2115 S Street, n.w.
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 387-5100 ext. 60

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