Streams

Protest and Prison During the Vietnam War

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bruce Dancis became the first student at Cornell to defy the draft by tearing up his draft card and soon became a leader of the draft resistance movement in the 1960s. He was the principal organizer of the first mass draft card burning during the Vietnam War. Dancis spent 19 months in federal prison in Ashland, Kentucky, for his actions against the draft. Dancis gives us an insider's account of the antiwar and student protest movements of the 1960s and at the prison experiences of Vietnam-era draft resisters. He writes about it in Register: A Story of Protest and Prison During the Vietnam War.

Guests:

Bruce Dancis

Comments [6]

Rod from New Jersey

There were millions of people who understood the reality of the Vietnam War and J Edgar Hoover's FBI by the end of the 60s. Some were willing to risk their futures up to a certain point. Few were willing to sacrifice their freedom. Bruce was one of the very few who had a deferment, but continued to risk everything to help bring to a halt one of the most destructive and unnecessary wars in American history. Knowing what we know today, the government should give him a medal.

Mar. 19 2014 02:01 PM
tom LI

Man, that sort of protest takes a few boatloads of courage. When you factor in how isolated and alone we truly were in those days when there was no internet, 24/7 news cycles hungry for stories, no PR firms for hire by the layperson, and no electronic pulpit for individuals to announce their causes...to do what Dancis and many others did, and did it alone...just amazing!

While I often bemoan the many failures of the Boomer Generation since then (and there are dozens of them, that they should be collectively ashamed of) as a generation they had some seriously bright spots among them...Mr. Dancis being one of them. The US could use some people like this now!

I look forward to reading the book.

Mar. 18 2014 04:45 PM
dick hughes from New York City

Bruce Dancis is to be commended for his anti-war work in the 1960s & this subsequent telling in "Resister". What is also important to remember, I believe, was the darkness of that period. Solidarity & youth helped ameliorate, but
the frustration at not being able to stop the carnage was palpable. I refused induction in Boston in '68, packed up & went to VN, on my own, to do any humanitarian work I could find to offset the destruction and see firsthand if my opposition to the war was more than conjectural [it was]. I was at Con Thien, an embattled fire zone, when the FBI agents came to interview my family in Pittsburgh & because of that, the Federal Attorney, who author Mike Foley tracked down decades later for his own book on draft resistance, decided not to prosecute me. But leaving my first professional job after school as an actor, the woman I was seeing at the time, my family, and facing five years in prison [like Dancis, I was not dodging the draft] and going - alone - into the chaos of VN was a grim enterprise.
For Dancis, and others, it was something of a happy ending but, for many others, young GIs included, it was not. - Yrs., Dick Hughes

Mar. 18 2014 02:13 PM

"Sir! No Sir!" is a must-see film about resistance within the armed ranks during the Vietnam War.

http://www.sirnosir.com

Mar. 18 2014 02:04 PM
David Mitchell from Spring Valley, NY

As a draft resister during Vietnam based on the immorality and illegality of the war (Nuremberg Trial precedents, etc.,) I wish to salute and express my solidarity with Bruce.

Mar. 18 2014 01:59 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The Berrigans were prophets.

Mar. 18 2014 01:43 PM

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