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Solidarity in Draft Resistance

A letter to the U.S. government

(scan of original document as PDF)

Peace. Freedom. Survival.

Edward John Hasbrouck
74 Elmwood Road
Wellesley, Massachusetts
U.S. of America 02181
3 October 1981

William French Smith, Attorney General of the United States of Amerika
James Bond, Acting Director of Selective Service
Warren Burger, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of AmeriKKKa
George Bush, Vice-President of the U.S. of A. and President of the Senate
Thomas P. O’Neill, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Edward M. Kennedy, United States Senator
Paul Tsongas, United States Senator

Agents of the Government of the United States of Amerika, and of the violence for which it stands:

According to reports in the public press—reports which I have neither reason nor inclination to doubt—you are now preparing to begin prosecuting some men who have not registered for the draft. I call to your attention the irrelevance of any such persecutions.

Draft registration was instituted by President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation of 2 July 1980, and continues with the collusion of President Reagan (who has let stand Carter’s proclamation), the Congress (which authorized registration and funded Selective Service), and the Supreme Court (which approved registration).

I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 11 January 1960, and, with those other men of my age who you claim as your citizens (subject) was supposed to register on one of the six days 21-26 July 1980. On 17 July 1980, at a press conference in Chicago, Illinois, I announced my intention not to register and urged others to do likewise. I continued to publicize my non-registration and to advocate non-registration at Post Offices in Chicago, Boston, and Wellesley, Massachusetts throughout the July 1980 and January 1981 mass registrations. Needless to say, I did not then nor have I since registered, and my statements to that effect have been published and broadcast throughout Amerika. I informed Brayton Harris, Asst. Director of the SS, of my intent not to register on the air in the studios of WBEZ radio, Chicago, on 22 July 1980.

The SS, meanwhile, continues to evade the draft. Although legislation and a Presidential commission report for a draft are pending, SS propaganda given to all registrants states that “there are no plans at this time for a draft.” A less obvious lie—and therefore a more intimidating one—is the SS claim that non-registrants will be prosecuted. There are nearly 1,000,000 non-registrants thus far, by SS estimates. But neither the federal judicial system (now at capacity—40,000 cases/year—nor the federal prisons (also at capacity—25,000 people) will be multiplied twentyfold, nor will they be dedicated exclusively to registration resisters. Knowing this, the SS knows that only a token fraction of those who don’t register can or will ever be prosecuted.

You are now preparing for just such token prosecutions of fewer than 200 selected non-registrants. This letter is an expression of my solidarity with all those who may be prosecuted. They are not alone: I shall place myself with them, and I pledge whatever nonviolent action that solidarity may require. In prosecuting any, you prosecute all, and I shall act accordingly.

I expect to be prosecuted for writing this letter. There are numerous constitutional, legal, administrative, and procedural defects in the registration laws, proclamation, and regulations, but I will offer no legal defenses. I do not expect rule-makers to follow their own rules. I have not registered, I have conspired not to, and I have conspired to aid and abet others not to. I owe you no apology. You are not my judges.

Judgement, in the end, is inherently introspective. I would no more enforce my opinions on you than have you enforce yours on me. I can only hope that you will judge ourselves by the test I apply to myself: Am I acting in the interest of survival? My life is being transformed by the realization that no life on Earth is likely to outlive what would have been my natural lifetime. There will be revolutionary change, where there will be nuclear omnicide.

In the spirit of survival, I urge you to act as I hope I would act in your place: not to use your authority for “better” purposes (i.e. to redirect your violence) but to renounce your authority and organize anarchically.

This is not to say that all draft resisters are anarchists (or pacifists, or communists, or atheist). Nor is it to say that I “advocate” anarchy, chaos, or violence. Anarchy—the absence of authority, the illegitimacy of violence—is a fact, a characteristic of reality. Our lives, in accepting authority, deny their nature, and in so doing have produced a chaotic and violently suicidal world. Realism demands anarchic organization — nonviolent, nonauthoritarian, cooperative, and loving.

Join me. Renounce your authority, throw down your instruments of violence (convert them to creative uses if you can, destroy their potential for violence if you can’t), smash the doors of the jails, skools, psychiatric prisons, and military bases,… Live Free Anarchically.

Yours in Peace,

With Love,

For Revolution,

Edward John Hasbrouck

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This page most recently modified 25 December 2021. This site is maintained by Edward Hasbrouck. Corrections, contributions (articles, graphics, photos, videos, links, etc.), and feedback are welcomed.