Re: AntiDraft Policy - a failed standard of the Sixties

m.bibby (
Wed, 7 Aug 1996 08:24:42 -0400

The view that the end of the draft and the institution of a
volunteer army and the concomitant rise of a "professional military" are
negative outcomes of antiwar, antidraft activism--that these moves have
only served to further empower the military, and that they lead to
class-based military service--are important points for consideration.
But it's always seemed to me--and perhaps this is a minority perspective
not shared by the *supposed* (H. Bruce Franklin has some interesting
things to say about the myth of antiwarism as middle-class) majority of
middle-class antidraft/war resisters--that the ultimate goal of antiwar
activism was also anti-militarist, i.e., a fundamental restructuring of
the role the military plays in US political economy. The positions
expressed by drieux, John, Ed, and others *presumes* the legitimacy of
the military's role because it presumes that only by having all young men
eligible for service can the public have a legitimate right to monitor
and critique the military. It presumes a sort of "have to be there"
perspective. Why can't civilians exercise authority over the military?
Isn't it precisely because the political is structured in an essentially
militarist way, i.e., because the state gives the military a great degree
of autonomy? I don't mean to dispute the *description* of the current
situation offered by drieux, et al--but I'm wondering if we can really
say that antidraft resistance *failed* because it gave the military what
it ultimately wanted or needed for more power in the system. In other
words, I see nothing *inherently* wrong with a volunteer army and with
an end to the draft--but it's rather the way volunteerism was deployed by
the state with almost no positive change in the military's role.

Michael Bibby