First Published: Progressive Labor Special Issue, December 1964
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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We, the undersigned, are young Americans of draft age. We are opposed to United States intervention in the war in south Vietnam. United States participation in that war is for the suppression of the Vietnamese struggle for self-determination and national independence. We herewith state our refusal to fight against the people of Vietnam.
While you are reading this statement, the Declaration above is being circulated on more than 100 University campuses across America by the May 2nd Movement With this Declaration, which all the world will know and see, we shall match, name for name, those thousands of unknowing young Americans that our government has transformed into murderers and shipped off to Vietnam.
Hundreds of young Americans have already died in the jungles of southeast Asia, and thousands, if not hundreds of thousands more will die there in an enlarged war, unless the American government pulls out of Vietnam now. Senator Wayne Morse (Oregon) has stated: “We should never have gone in, we should not have stayed in, we should get out...” 5,000 University teachers have signed a petition calling for the neutralization of Vietnam, and leading intellectuals, religious and professional figures have signed public appeals calling for negotiations. And while you are reading this statement “our” napalm bombs continue to burn out peasant villages, “our” chemical poisons defoliate their forests, destroying their crops, killing their cattle. And “our” artillery and machine guns, manned by “our” troops (advisory), are killing their patriots.
The May 2nd Movement is a radical student peace organization.
Radical because we are not merely embarrassed by “our” role in this war–we renounce it. The war in Vietnam is not our war, and we shall in no way be party to it.
Radical because we are aware that Vietnam is not the only place where young Americans have died, or soon will be asked to die, by the power structure. We will not wait for the atrocity pictures to appear in the New York Times. A burnt-out village and the orphans of massacred peasants look the same, be it Vietnam, the Congo, Cuba, Peru, Cyprus, Venezuela, Angola, or South Africa. The May 2nd Movement stands opposed to all armed intervention by the U.S. government, anywhere, anytime, in the world. Let the journalists and politicians quarrel as to whether that intervention be a “police-action,” “advisory-status,” “UN supervision,” or simple aggression.
Radical because the May 2nd Movement is an outgrowth of the May 2nd Committee formed at a socialist conference at Yale University during March 1964. On May 2nd, 1964, the Movement held the first mass protest in this country against the War in Vietnam. One thousand students and youth rallied in New York and marched to the United Nations. Participants in the demonstration came from at least fifteen colleges and universities, some from as far away as Maryland, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Students further from New York held simultaneous demonstrations in Boston, San Francisco, Madison, Wisconsin, and other cities. Membership is open to everyone interested and determined to actively participate in a peace movement that is conscious of the duplicity and guilt of the American government in its actions against peace throughout the world.
In Africa, Asia and Latin America the damned of the earth are struggling for justice and salvation Whatever they may choose to call themselves–nationalists, communists, socialists, separatists, anarchists, tribalists–we recognize and honor them as patriots fighting for liberation Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: “It is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.” Our government has chosen, alone or in alliance with other Empires, to spill the blood of these young men and women, many of whom are students. The May 2nd Movement is a radical student peace movement for we choose to call them Brothers.
The May 2nd Movement