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Union Of American Exiles In Britain
The Union of American Exiles in Britain is a group which was formed in late February, 1969, in response to continuation of the war in Vietnam and the fact of a growing community of American political exiles in Britain as well as in Canada, France, Sweden, and many other countries. We are united not only in our opposition to any form of continued American presence in Vietnam, but also in the belief that effective opposition must take the form of resistance to the military machine. We have, therefore, refused to obey orders to serve in the armed forces of the United States.
We cannot forget that the destruction of Vietnam and its people has intensified since the beginning of negotiations in Paris; nor that more than 30,000 of our fellow citizens have been killed in the course of this war But escalation of the war has produced - escalation in the level and the nature of dissent: there were 53,000 deserters from the armed forces last year and 40,000 the previous year; there are more than 1,000 young Americans in prison now for refusing to fight in Vietnam, and more than 15,000 in exile - for the same reason.
It is our belief that the act of resistance is the beginning of a new political commitment, rather than the termination of an old one. For this reason we have chosen exile instead of imprisonment. Although these are two valid forms of resistance, we feel the struggle can be carried on most effectively if our voices are not muted by prison walls. The American exile communities in various parts of the world can and must constitute a unique political force working against America' a Vietnam policy and the domestic and foreign oppression which it symbolizes.
The UAEB accommodates a variety of opinion and endorses no particular ideological line. It was formed by a group of Americans who had made the same decision - to refuse service in the armed forces - but it is open to all who share our concerns. Our immediate aims are the following:
1) To provide a new focus for antiwar activities: We believe that the United States must withdraw its troops and close its bases in Vietnam, and end its support for the present South Vietnamese government. As a group which has made a definite political commitment, we will continue to oppose the war and to press for American withdrawal by undertaking public actions, by speaking with draft eligible Americans in Britain, and by making films and speakers available to interested groups.
2) To gain. from residents of Britain. support for American exiles here. The British government has not extended to American exiles --particularly deserters--the kind of humanitarian or political support which has come from the governments of several other countries. This means that support from concerned British individuals and groups is essential We hope to broaden the base of sympathetic public opinion in this country and to work for a more favorable government attitude toward specific problems which concern American exiles here.
3) To provide an information service for resisters and potential resisters: Wee are establishing case files which will document the actions of the American and British governments vis-à-vis exiles. The information service will also provide access to legal and financial support, and will give information on housing and employment (this will be done in conjunction with SUPPORT, the draft counseling service for Americans in Britain).
4) To publish a monthly newspaper This is the second issue of The American Exile in Britain. This paper will serve as a political forum; will provide news of other exile communities in Canada and Europe; and will disseminate current material on immigration policies and Resistance activities in other countries, and in America. We need help in gathering material, in distribution, and in suggestions on how the paper may be most effectively used.
American Exile in Britain, no. 2