I graduated high school in the summer of 1966 in Central New York during the tail ends of the Civil Rights Movement and during the height of the U.S.-led wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. That summer, almost 400,000 men were drafted. Having lived and been raised in two orphanages and a foster home, I left New York and hitchhiked my way to California to attend the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence. I was barely out of my teens when I was first arrested at the Oakland Induction Center in 1967, the same year Dr. Martin Luther King gave his Beyond Vietnam speech. While in jail I was invited by a War Resisters League West staffer to a potluck - my very first introduction to WRL.
A year ago today, the deadliest U.S.-based natural disaster - Hurricane Maria - devastated the island of Puerto Rico, home to over 3 million people. The hurricane shattered an already unstable infrastructure, crumbling from almost two centuries of parasitic U.S. colonialism. 3,000 people died because of an explicit strategy to keep aid from reaching the island. Boricua activism and calls from all corners of the world for decolonization and self-determination have only increased since Maria. The solutions aren’t coming from the U.S., but where they’ve always come from: Boricuas.
My name is Tory Smith. I’m excited to introduce myself to you as WRL's new National Organizer, making the connections between peoples' liberation movements everywhere by building a movement that isn’t broken down along artificial borders.
My name is Yuni Chang. I’d like to introduce myself to you as WRL’s new Field Organizer. I’m excited to work with an anti-war organization whose vision is resonant and principled, whose practice of revolutionary nonviolence is necessary for a healthy and ever-growing global Left, and whose commitment to building with and learning from frontline communities is genuine.
A great force for a peaceful world left the planet when WRL's—and the nation's—David McReynolds, who for decades was the best-known voice of American radical pacifism, died August 17 of injuries from a fall in his East Village home. He was 88 and had spent almost 40 years on the staff of the War Resisters League as a self-described “movement bureaucrat.”
It's been a few weeks since you helped us get folks out to Detroit for the Allied Media Conference to attend our workshop Liberate the Skies: The New Antimilitarism - thanks for helping us get folks there! The first of its kind at the AMC, the workshop was an intentional space for us to speak candidly with one another across movements, reviewing examples of disapora and homeland-led antiwar organizing, and illuminating the ways militarism shows up in all of our struggles.
War Resisters League is proud to announce and report back from the first of WRL's Zone’s of Forgotten Conflict teach-in series. We were honored to partner with the South Asia Solidarity Initiative, to hold up resistance to India’s occupation of Kashmir and to have Kashmiri scholar activists Hafsa Kanjwal and Mohamad Junaid as guest speakers, as well as Amin Hussain of Decolonize This Place.
As long as there has been war, there’s been those who are willing to fight and those who actively refuse to take part. Today, on International Conscientious Objector Day, we uplift all who refuse military enlistment morally, politically, spiritually, or otherwise.