grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
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The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

Frances Crowe, 2004:
You have a Legal Right to be a Conscientious Objector

" You can work to bring them home and end this horrible war"

Hear the interview (38:32 minutes) and afterword (2 minutes) - 40:36 mp3 total - 14 mb
Download for radio airplay and other non-profit use. Real Audio version for lower bandwidths

Frances Crowe, now 85, is one of the founders of Traprock Peace Center. She answers questions for young people across the country, when Aaron Ford, a student at Greenfield Community College and Sunny Miller, Exec. Director of Traprock, sought out her depth of wisdom for this 2004 interview on conscientious objection.

With clarity and compassion, Frances lays out the facts, one after another, informing young men and women today how to establish their human right to not participate in killing, and their legal right in the United States to not participate in war. Eighty-three percent of US survey respondents say they don't want a draft, but last year draft boards were asked to fill vacancies at the local level. Frances describes immediate steps young people and supportive friends and family can take. She urges established conscientious objectors to speak up, bringing news everywhere that:

"Anyone who is conscientiously opposed to participating in any war facing them, on moral, ethical, philosophical or religious grounds, with the same degree of intensity as you would hold a religious belief, has a right not to be drafted."

Frances explains that Dan Seeger helped establish this legal standard by taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Previously, only some with a religious objection to war were not pressed into military service.

These are the four questions draft boards have traditionally asked. Writing your answers now helps you to get clear, and talking about your process may help others clarify their positions.

photo © 2004 Charles Jenks

1. What do you object to about war now? What is the nature of your belief-- is your objection moral, philosophical, ethical or religous?
2. Where did those beliefs come from? What influenced you?
3. How is that objection showing up in your life?
4. Would you be willing to serve as a military medic? (Many would not, because the priority of military medicine is not to heal the wounded, but to get people back to fighting -- and killing -- as quickly as possible.)

Frances asserts that young people have a duty to get clear about what it is about war they object to, (war now, not past wars) even as war propaganda is heavily funded, sweeps to find undocumented workers and threats of deportation intimidate many into signing up, and promises of money for college create tremendous pressure to submit to participating. Even though there is no place provided on draft registration cards, you can write in the margin, "I am a conscientious objector." Before you mail in your registration card, make a copy for yourself and date that by sending it to yourself, signed receipt requested. Leaving it sealed in the envelope helps create a paper trail of your history as a conscientious objector. Begin now to build a file where you can add poems, research papers, letters of recommendation, notes on conversations with family, soldiers, activists and clergy, or the music, movies, and cultural events that influence you to object to war. If the draft is instituted, you might have as little as 30 days to prepare to go before your local draft board. Exploring your conscience now or discussing your process in a group setting can support you as you develop clarity about your thinking and feeling.

With the influence of Quaker tradition and feminist thinking, Frances Crowe began doing group draft counseling in the basement of her home in Northampton in groups and circles, in 1967, despite the refusal of a newspaper to print announcements. She founded the Northampton Draft Information Center in 1968, which operated full-time until the draft ended. Young men, family members, young women and some active members of the military attended. In the first year alone, 2000 participated. During four years of thoughtful group discussions, no one decided to fake a physical or mental condition, cut off a finger, or leave for Canada. All were clear and empowered by positions and statements as conscientious objectors, as the misguided tragedies of the Vietnam war continued to unfold. Many went on to fruitful lives in healthcare, teaching or other public service.

Crowe describes her own progression from working in a factory during World War II, to working for peace after the bombings of civilian populations in Tokyo, Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now she works to reduce her reliance on oil - by car-pooling, riding the bus, walking to downtown and flying only in emergencies. Frances Crowe says she cannot pay for killing and has become a war tax refuser.

Hear the interview (38:32 minutes) and afterword (2 minutes) - 40:36 mp3 total - 14 mb
Download for radio airplay and other non-profit use. Real Audio version for lower bandwidths

The Afterword is summarized here:

Aaron: Is there anything I can do right away?

Frances; Yes! Write to your draft board today. You can hand carry your letter to the post office, make a copy or two to keep, and mail one to yourself, return receipt requested. At the post office you can get the address of the selective service board, because draft registration goes on at every post office.
This interview and the Afterword are offered to campus organizers and radio stations, or for use as a personal gift, as the fall 2004 school year begins. Please join us in celebrating 25 years of collaboration in a Neighbors Network to End War since Traprock Peace Center's founding in 1979. We appreciate neighborly wisdom, initiative and mutual support.

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For more resources on why you object to war, see and hear about the unfolding tragedy of uranium weapons, at http://www.grassrootspeace.org You can find many links to other groups, check the calendar, or post your meetings on conscientious objection on the calendar.

For other resources on conscientious objection, see http://www.objector.org
and http://www.nisbco.org

For campus organizing, see the Campus Antiwar Network

For a wealth of links on conscientious objection, see Norbert's Bookmarks for a Better World

For information on soldiers resisting war, see "US War Heroes of the Iraq War" For soldiers and veterans organizing, see Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace

In Western Mass, a Counter-Recruitment community group meets the first Tuesday of the month at First Churches (basement) on Main Street, Northampton, MA beginning at 6:30pm. Call Western Mass AFSC for more information: 584-8975.

Frances Crowe and Juanita Nelson. Our neighbor Juanita is a leading voice in the war tax resistance movement.
She was a civil rights pioneer with the late Wally Nelson. photo © 2004 Charles Jenks

Frances has been on one the key organizers in Western Mass who succeeded in encouraging local radio stations WMUA (at UMass) FM 91.1 weekdays, 8:00 to 9:00 am and Springfield College Radio, WSCD FM 89.9, Non. - Tues 11am and Wed. - Fri. 1 pm. to air Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.

September 13, 2004 - text by Sunny V. Miller; page formatted and audio edited by Charlie Jenks,

Photos © 2004 Charlie Jenks