By Michael Stewart Foley
Laying off gentle on a misunderstood type of competition to the Vietnam struggle, Michael Foley tells the tale of draft resistance, the innovative of the antiwar flow on the top of the war's escalation. not like so-called draft dodgers, who left the rustic or manipulated deferments, draft resisters overtly defied draft legislation by way of burning or delivering their draft playing cards. Like civil rights activists sooner than them, draft resisters invited prosecution and imprisonment. concentrating on Boston, one of many movement's so much famous facilities, Foley finds the the most important position of draft resisters in moving antiwar sentiment from the margins of society to the heart of yank politics. Their activities encouraged different draft-age males against the war--especially collage students--to re-examine their position of privilege in a draft method that provided them protections and despatched disproportionate numbers of working-class and minority males to Vietnam. This popularity sparked the swap of strategies from criminal protest to mass civil disobedience, drawing the Johnson management right into a war of words with activists who have been principally suburban, liberal, younger, and center class--the middle of Johnson's Democratic constituency. analyzing the day by day fight of antiwar organizing performed by means of usual american citizens on the neighborhood point, Foley argues for a extra complicated view of citizenship and patriotism in the course of a time of warfare.
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Extra info for Confronting the war machine: draft resistance during the Vietnam War
John Phillips began to speak: ‘‘I am a paciﬁst,’’ he said. ‘‘I do what I believe as an individual. 20 to wa r d a move m e nt I believe in the law but when the law violates my conscience. . ’’ He did not ﬁnish. Just then a gang of about seventy-ﬁve high school boys broke from the rest of the crowd and rushed up the steps. The eleven paciﬁsts had little opportunity to brace themselves for the attack, and seven of them went down quickly. As the mob punched and kicked them, most of the victims tried to cover their faces; others, consistent with their training in nonviolence, went limp and fell to the steps as the youths stomped on their backs.
Very naive . . walking through the center of town and ﬁnding the whole center of town mobbed with people ready to do all kinds of things to mess us up . . ’’≥∂ On March 25, 1966, the group turned its attention to the Boston Army Base, a massive building on Boston Harbor, as its contribution to the Second International Days of Protest. They distributed leaﬂets and sat in the road to block buses of draftees and anyone else from entering or exiting the base. ’’ It did not last long. ’’ One burly longshoremen approached the group and offered them a gallon of gasoline, ‘‘so you can burn yourself,’’ a reference to Norman Morrison, a Quaker who had set himself on ﬁre outside the Pentagon several months before.
The protest in Southie, along with a few others the week before, constituted some of the earliest demonstrations against the war in Vietnam—and certainly the ﬁrst public challenge to the draft—that the city had seen. The mob response also took counterdemonstrating to a new, more frightening level, thus mirroring the reaction that so many social movements experience in their formative stages. More important, however, the public’s perception of these events as articulated in letters to the editor and comments made on the street quickly established the terms of debate that people not only in Boston, but across the country, would settle upon in evaluating draft resisters.