Draft Registration, Draft Resistance, and Health Care Workers and Women and the Draft
- What's the status of the draft, draft registration, and drafting women or requiring women to register for the draft?
- I don't want to be drafted. What should I do?
- Will women be drafted? Will women be required to register for the draft?
- Will there be a draft of health care workers?
- Why do some people resist the draft?
- Background on draft registration and "Selective Service"
(including the history of draft registration since 1980)
- Prosecutions of draft registration resisters in the USA since 1980
(including statistics on draft registration, resistance, compliance, and enforcement)"
- Leaflets about draft registration and draft resistance
- Draft resistance posters and graphics
- Other links about draft registration and draft resistance
- About the National Resistance Committee and Resistance News
[Front ranks of the West Coast mobilization against draft registration on Market St. in San Francisco,
22 March 1980. Photo by Chris Booth for Resistance News.]
What's the status of the draft, draft registration, and drafting women or requiring women to register for the draft?
There's been a lot of talk about the draft lately, but
most of the public discussion of the issue has been by people
unfamiliar with the history of the draft, draft
registration, and draft resistance since
the end of the Vietnam-era draft in 1975. This Web site
will give you some of the facts that the Selective Service
System won't tell you, that most reporters don't realize,
and that most politicians don't want to admit.
Back in the 1980s, the US government put me and eight other then-young men in prison for
refusing to agree to fight on the side of the people who would later become the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Now members of Congress are talking about possibly extending draft registration to women.
Are they smoking crack? Anyone who thinks they can wave their cheerleader's baton and
magically make every 18-25 year old woman in the USA sign up to kill or be killed
on command is lost in a naive and anachronistic military fantasy. They ignore both the lessons of the
history of draft registration and the likelihood of massive resistance by young women.
Massive, spontaneous, unorganized grassroots noncompliance has rendered draft registration of men
unenforceable since its resumption
(after a five-year post-Vietnam hiatus)
in 1980, despite a brief and unsuccessful (for the government)
round of show trials in the 1980s.
Noncompliance will render any attempt to get women to register equally unenforceable.
Women can (and some do) fight. But women also can (and many will) resist. There is certainly no reason
to think that young women will be more willing to agree to be drafted than young men have been.
Proponents of draft registration need to face the facts, and recognize that,
whether they like it or not, draft registration has failed.
It's long past time to end draft registration entirely and abolish the Selective Service System.
We oppose both the draft and draft registration, for women or for men.
We support legislation such as H.R. 4523 to
end draft registration and abolish the Selective Service System;
we support continued resistance to draft registration as long as it remains the law;
and we support resistance to any attempt to reinstate the draft or compulsory national service.
I don't want to be drafted. What should I do?
If you haven't registered for the draft, don't.
Don't panic. The government can't prosecute you unless they can prove that you knew
you were supposed to register, which requires them to get you to sign for a certified letter, or
to send FBI agents to personally notify you and give you a chance to register.
Make them work: Don't register unless the FBI finds you and tells you that you have to.
This isn't likely to happen:
All enforcement of draft registration has been "suspended" by the government since 1988.
If you don't want to risk being drafted, but you also don't want to risk being penalized later
in life for not having registered for the draft, wait until just before your 26th birthday, and register then.
If you have to register, give the address at which an induction notice will be least
likely to reach you. Don't tell the Selective Service System if you move. Don't give the
Postal Service a forwarding address to pass on to the Selective Service System (and other junk mailers).
Don't give the government evidence against yourself. "You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say will be used against you." Don't sign for any letters from the government,
and don't talk to the FBI. Tell your parents, family, and friends to do the same.
Ignore any letters about the draft from the Selective Service System, Department of Defense, or
Department of Justice that you don't have to sign for. They may sound scary, but unless you have
to sign for them, they are junk mail.
Don't sign for any letters from the Selective Service System, the Department of Defense,
or the Department of Justice. You are not required to accept or sign for their letters,
and you don't have to give the mail carrier a reason why you refuse a letter.
Tell your parents or anyone else who lives at the address you gave when you registered
not to sign for any letters for you from the Selective Service System, the Department of Defense,
or the Department of Justice. Tell them not to talk to any Feds who come looking for you
or asking questions about you. They are not required to say anything to the Feds, or answer any
questions. Anything they say can, and will, be used against them as well as against you.
Don't report for induction. As with registration, they can't prosecute you unless
they can prove that you got an induction order, which they can't do unless you sign for a
certified letter, or unless they send the FBI to serve you with an order in person.
Make them work: Don't report unless the FBI finds you and tells you that you have to.
Organize and speak out
against the draft. Let people know that you don't want to go.
Tell your Representative in Congress to support H.R. 4523
"To repeal the Military Selective Service Act, and thereby terminate the registration requirements of
such Act and eliminate civilian local boards, civilian appeal boards, and similar local
agencies of the Selective Service System." Urge Senators to introduce a similar bill.
Know that you are not alone. Most people don't want to register for the draft, don't want to fight,
and don't want to kill or be killed. Millions of people have violated the draft registration laws.