Refuse and
Resist!

"Tonight, we look out on a rising America - firm of heart, united in spirit, powerful in pride and patriotism. America is on the move!"

Ronald W. Reagan, 1986 State of the Union Address

"Somehow Adolph Hitler was imbuing them with new hope, a new confidence and an astonishing renewed faith in the future of their country."

William L. Shirer, The Nightmare Years

Let us not mince words.

A political and ideological program of "Resurgent America" is being cultivated and guided from the highest offices in the land. Its prominent themes - a "moral awakening of the nation" and the drive for America to be Number One in the world by force of arms - have a distinctly fascist aura and raise the specter of a police state.

Some of us strongly believe in the principles and values to which this country has historically aspired; others of us find oppression and injustice to be rooted in these same principles. But ALL of us agree on the need to repudiate this new course of "Resurgent America." The transformation now taking place is not some periodic swing of the pendulum from "left" to "right," but a departure directly connected to preparations for war, repression of dissent, and promotion of U.S. global dominance and superiority over other people.

"America on the move" is nothing to be proud of. It has meant the "rehabilitation" of the Vietnam war and the glorification of war in general through the promotion of mindless Ramboism. It prepares and sponsors an invasion of Nicaragua, props up the Apartheid regime in South Africa, bombs Libya, seizes Grenada, labels any who resist as "terrorists," and prepares the doctrines and weapons for nuclear warfighting-with the Soviet Union identified as the "evil empire."

Domestically we see subway vigilantes made media heroes and a record of sympathy for white supremacy become the passport to high judicial office. Against women there is escalating violence, with compulsory child bearing and domestic servitude elevated as ideals. Xenophobic attacks are made on anything foreign, combined with calls for the compulsory use of English. A compassionless market economy is glorified, and for those who can't make it-tough. A new crack-pot biology champions creationism and a reactionary "socio-biology." And a new religious ideology preaches America as God's chosen people who will be "saved" in a nuclear Armageddon.

Under the call for a "war on drugs" there is a naked grab for new police and military powers. More jails and quicker executions are posed as the solution to "society's problems." While concern for the "rights of the accused" is deemed passe, the ability of people to defend themselves against the state is being systematically stripped away. Thought-and bedroom-police insinuate themselves. A progromist atmosphere is whipped up around AIDS, with open calls for registration and internment. Firings, drug tests and polygraph tests stamp the message "get in line and keep your mouth shut."

In short, this "Resurgent America" seeks
a fundamentalist right-wing morality imposed by the state as the vehicle to crush nonconformist behavior-political, social and cultural.

No one can afford to close their eyes to where this "Resurgent America" is heading - and thousands have already stepped forward to resist. Standing with them, we call on those who have remained silent until now to step forward before it is too late.

Twenty-seven years ago, a courageous group of 121 French intellectuals and cultural figures published a manifesto ending their adherence to the French government and its brutal colonial war in Algeria. They asked: "Are there not times when refusing to serve is a sacred duty, when treason signifies courageous respect for the truth?"

Likewise, we now declare
that we renounce all allegiance to this hateful "Resurgent America" program, and encourage all others in its vociferous and determined renunciation. There can be no commonality of purpose, healing of divisions. or coming together as one nation behind this new course. To acquiesce further in silence is to be complicit. It is not enough to hope that all of this will simply go away. There must be massive resistance.

To the Reaganites, racists, misogynists, televangelists, would-be Rambos, war planners, and America-firsters, we say the future is not yours. Because we see the potential of a different future, we will Refuse and Resist.

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."

- Martin Niemoeller

This statement, signed by over 3000 people, was initiated in early 1987 by:

Emile de Antonio New York, NY
Dore Ashton New York, NY
Michael Brown New York, NY
Dennis Brutus Pittsburgh, PA
Doug Cassel, Esq. Chicago, IL
Martha Conrad Chicago, IL
John Gerassi New York, NY
Abbie Hoffman New York, NY
Morris Knight Los Angeles, CA
C. Clark Kissinger Washington, D.C.
Claudia KoonzWorcester, MA
William Kunstler, Esq. New York, NY
Conrad Lynn, Esq. Naunet, NY
Charles Meconis Seattle, WA
Pat Norman San Francisco, CA
Karen Ryer, Esq. Oakland, CA
Sonia Sanchez Philadelphia, PA
Rev. Fernando Santillana Los Angeles, CA
Leonard Weinglass New York, NY

Refuse & Resist! is founded on the basis of this Statement

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[adopted 6/7/87]


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