1980.09.01: No Draft — No War: Why We Won’t Die For Exxon (UMass/Boston Anti-War Committee)


UMass/Boston Anti-War Committee
[By Michael Letwin]
September 1980


The Draft Means War

Carter says registration won’t lead to the draft. But throughout U.S. history, there has never been registration without a draft, or a draft without a war. Along with the massive nuclear weapons buildup and the new “Rapid Deployment Forces,” the draft helps give American business the power to wage another Vietnam.

Another Vietnam

The Vietnam War was accepted for so long because of the myth that the U.S. fought for “democracy” that is until millions of American soldiers saw first hand the misery they were forced to inflict upon the Vietnamese people in order to prop up a brutal dictatorship put in power by and for American corporations, courtesy of the U.S. government.

Now the government is churning out new myths. One is that the U.S. is the “victim” of Iran. What it doesn’t say is that for nearly 40 years, the U.S. has victimized Iran. It helped put the Shah in power in 1941. In 1953, it overthrew the democratically elected government, replaced it with the Shah, and from then on gave him the muscle to imprison, torture and murder hundreds of thousands of Iranians.

The U.S. knew in advance that hostages might be taken if it interfered with the Iranian revolution. Nevertheless, it did its best to help the Shah suppress the revolution in 1978-79, and then let the Shah into the U.S. when it didn’t work.

Rather than freeing the hostages by responding to Iranian demands — Carter won’t even apologize for U.S. crimes in Iran — the government and media has whipped up anti-Iranian racism, launched a military attack on Iran, and threatens another as a huge naval fleet sits off the Iranian coast.

Looking for yet another excuse for U.S. military buildup, the government jumped on the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Obviously, the Russian invasion must be condemned. But the U.S. has proved in Vietnam and Iran that its military would never be used to protect Afghanistan’s “freedom.”

And if American working class and poor people are made to fight over Middle Eastern oil, you can be sure that we will pay at least as much at the pump as we do now. The Oil Companies have been working hard for decades to make sure of just that!

At “best” the next war will be a repeat performance of Vietnam, designed to save the U.S. empire a ta time when a world crisis is causing it and its Russian rivals to lose their unchallenged stranglehold on the world. Or it could be a nuclear holocaust.

They Send Us To Fight

One kind of draft is already on: the poverty draft. The lack of jobs in poor, working class and third world communities has long forced young men — and women — into the military.

Add a draft law to that and these same communities will get hit twice as hard, just like when racism caused Black, Latino, Asian and Native American G.I.s, along with white working class kids, to die in Vietnam in numbers far beyond their percentage of the military or society as a whole.

Both kinds of draft mean that, like our fathers and grandfathers before us, it will be young people from Roxbury, Dorchester, South Boston, Jamaica Plain, Charlestown, Mission Hill, Somerville, East Boston, Cambridge, and Hyde Park who will die defending corrupt, U.S.-backed dictatorships in El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, South Korea or South Africa so that the GM’s, ITT’s, Coca Cola’s, Exxon’s and Wonderbreads may live and prosper, undisturbed by the demands of the workers of these countries for control of their own lives.

What About Women?

Carter and others have raised the possibility of registering and drafting women. We believe women are at least as capable as men in every way. But we don’t think that dying for an oil company’s profits is a “privilege” which in any way advances women’s rights or equality. Equality means no draft for women or men.

There’s A War On At Home

While Carter gets us ready to die abroad for the U.S. business empire, American business is killing us at home. While our housing crumbles, our wages fall and our jobs vanish, Democrats and Republicans alike are destroying already meager social services of all kinds: childcare, education, health-care and transportation.

A woman’s right to free and legal abortion has been denied. Racist police are murdering Levi Hart’s in every city in the country. The Klan is on the rise. Gay people are under attack. Our unions are in sharp decline.

In other words, we’re the victims of an undeclared, ongoing, aggressive war waged by and for American business to weaken and divide us so that we’ll bear the burden of their economic crisis. As in the past, the military will be used to keep us from fighting back.

Our battle isn’t with the people of other countries people like ourselves, who are fighting the domination of the U.S. government and the multinational corporations it protects. Rather, it’s with the same government and corporations that rule us all by keeping poor and working class people down — abroad and at home.

We’re Gone . . . Unless We Resist

Law or no law, the draft will be hard to enforce. The Boston Globe reports that approximately 25 percent (1 million out of 4 million) of all eligible men didn’t register at all, and the number is higher in many areas. It won’t be any easier to prosecute us all now than it was during the Vietnam war when only a small percent of the 1.5 million draft resisters were prosecuted.

But whatever our individual decision about registration, all of us third world and white, women and men, straight and gay, draft age/sex or not, have a stake in building a mass movement to stop the draft, the lunacy of the arms race, upcoming wars, and the offensive against us at home.

UMass/Boston Anti-War Committee, c/o SAC, UMB, Harbor Campus, Boston, MA. 02125. Join us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s