Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

B.D. and J.W.

Hawaii Demonstration Draws 150 for March & Rally

Anti-Draft Protests Sparked


First Published: Modern Times, Vol. IV, Nos. 3-4, March-April 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

On Saturday, March 22, thousands of people rallied in nationwide demonstrations against the draft. In Washington, D.C., nearly 20,000 braved the brisk, cold winds and rains to march against the draft sponsored by M.A.D.–Movement Against the Draft.

In Honolulu, 150 people marched through Waikiki to Kapiolani Park where a dozen speakers denounced Carter’s saber-rattling and linked the proposed resumption of draft registration to a foreign and military policy which serves the interests of the large U.S. corporations and not the American people. Live and taped music with an antiwar theme lent the rally a festive spirit, reminiscent of anti-war rallies in the sixties.


While the march and rally sponsored by HCARD (Hawaii Committee Against Registration and the Draft) was an advance because it helped pull together and publicize Hawaii’s anti-draft forces, the analysis put forth by the speakers rarely went beyond a plea for peace and the now-dated perspectives of the old “New Left”.

Conspicuously absent was a clear socialist analysis which would link the government’s design for resurrecting the Draft with the current economic crisis and recent advances in anti-imperialist revolutions in Iran, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

The speeches that were given were generally well-delivered and well-received, and came from a good variety of viewpoints. The planners of the event had counted on a local activist physician to provide an anti-imperialist perspective from a socialist viewpoint, but he was unable to locate the rally.

The only “socialists” who made themselves obvious were the RCP members of the May Day Brigade who, with red flag and shirts, displayed their ultra-left and infantile tactics, marring the unity of the day.

Their idealist line of raising “the red pole” and proclaiming the need for a communist revolution with religious zeal further isolated them from the progressive forces needed to build the broad coalition essential for taking up important mass issues like the draft.

While maintaining the organizational independence and positions of their groups, socialists and Marxist-Leninists should adhere to the points of unity and discipline of coalitions in which they participate, help develop the skills and confidence of coalition participants and leaders, aid them in analyzing the overall situation and to arrive at good tactics and strategy for the unified campaign, and, within the context of the struggle, help people to see the need for a thorough-going revolution in the U.S.

Perhaps as an over-reaction to the antics of the RCP, our Hawaii Union of Socialist has too readily submerged its line on ultimate-needs and objectives of the mass movement and kept too low of a profile. Certainly a better style and line of revolutionary work in contrast to the RCP’s is urgently needed.


Another negative example of how not to do things was furnished by the RCP’s conduct in opposing the war-mongering nonsense of Sen. Dan Inouye, who spoke at a U.H. campus forum on the Draft. The demand to have an opposing speaker was fair, but as the RCP members began haranguing Inouye, the audience was manipulated by Inouye to sympathize with him over the unpopular RCP.

Unable to handle the many pointed questions hurled at him by anti-draft activists, Inouye cut his appearance short, proclaiming that the flak he received was “an excellent demonstration of the excellence of democracy”. At one point, an RCP May Day Brigader attempted to burn a small American flag but was stopped by another student who jumped him. The RCP is more caught up in inciting reaction and waving symbols than it is in persuading people of the need to oppose the war-mongering of the Inouye-type.

Inouye claimed he favors registration but is opposed to the draft at this time– ignoring the fact that the registration proposal is admittedly aimed at preparing lists for a military draft. He flashed his pseudo-liberal stance by citing the unfairness of a mercenary volunteer army which depends mainly on the “unemployed, the disadvantaged and the minorities”. He urged some kind of universal national service program in which young men and women would be compelled to perform service in the military, schools, hospitals or Indian reservations.

But liberals like Inouye disguise the true purpose of a large, conscripted U.S. military force and its thousands of military installations, ships and planes around the world. Under the control of monopoly capitalists, this large armed force aids in creating mass unemployment and soaring inflation, and acts to repress uprisings of the disadvantaged and oppressed around the world. The U.S. military serves as the major protector of unpopular right-wing dictatorships around the world. Compulsory service in this military is no real service to the American people and is merely a broader form of oppression of a greater number of young Americans, especially poor and working class people and minorities who historically suffer a greater casualty toll in war.

A universal national service program may well also undermine the gains workers have won through their unions at hospitals, schools and other public institutions into which the government might place its low-paid “service conscriptees”.