Library - Reading Room
Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!
Why The Bond?
Dissatisfaction with the war in Vietnam, racism in America, and the functioning of American society generally has increased tremendously in the last two years, especially among the victims of the system— black people and poor people - and young people who are hip to what's happening. People are beginning to evaluate the whole society and to understand their position in it, and they are demanding some basic changes.
The men in the Armed Forces, who are mostly young victims of the system, are naturally no exception to this process of ferment. In fact, for servicemen the urgency of getting information and of organizing to protect themselves is very great, since they face the possibility of being sent to Vietnam to be killed or maimed before they have a chance to figure out the issues.
So far the peace movement which is centered mainly around college campuses, has ignored and often alienated the people who will actually have to fight the war in Vietnam. At the same time the military authorities have attempted to isolate and suppress dissent among enlisted men. Therefore the full strength of servicemen standing up together to defend their rights has not even begun to be felt.
The Bond intends to break down this isolation of the peace forces from the enlisted men and of the enlisted men from each other, and to establish a continuing cooperation. Since we are not subject to military law, The Bond can perform many useful services in assisting servicemen who are already turned on to what's happening in the world to spread the word and turn on the fellow servicemen to the same things. The Bond will be more than just a newspaper.
It will serve as a coordinating center for organizational activities throughout the Armed Forces by putting all service men on the same base who want to do something in touch with each other and by doing its best to publicize any attempt by the Armed Forces to suppress the servicemen's right of free speech. If you or your friends are threatened by the military authorities and you want to resist, we will do our best to get you legal help and publicity. We believe that every American, whether he is in uniform or not, is entitled to the freedoms of speech and political activity guaranteed by the FIRST AMENDMENT of the Constitution, and we will help you fight for those freedoms.
The Bond is published by socialists, but is not associated with any socialist or communist organization, either officially or unofficially. Unlike many socialist parties or organizations, which tend to be snobbish, we think that the basic concept of socialism can be understood by everybody and accepted or rejected on its merits. Therefore, we state our position openly, as people to people, and ask you to consider it. We believe that the best way to end war, poverty, and racial injustice is for the people of the United States to take the productive machinery of society out of the hands of its present owners and to own and manage it for themselves.
Needless to say, we will help everyone who is discussing the war with his fellow servicemen or helping them organize against it, regardless of whether they have arrived at the conclusions of socialism.
We will also do our best to make literature on the war in Vietnam, American foreign policy, and American society in general available to servicemen both in individual copies and in bulk for distribution among your fellow servicemen.
The Bond as a newspaper will contain news and history about Vietnam and editorials, but basically it will consist of articles and letters sent to us by servicemen themselves. We will print your articles and letters on anything that interests you: conditions at your base, what you are doing there to oppose the war, political ideas, anything that relates to people getting together as human beings and turning each other on. We are especially interested in firsthand accounts of what's happening in Vietnam. A soldier may not believe us about what is happening in Vietnam, but he will believe a fellow soldier who's been through it.
If you want to get The Bond regularly or you want someone else to get it, send us your name or his name and we will put you on our mailing list. If you are organizing on your base let us know; we will send everyone who is organizing on each base the names of everyone else who is organizing on the same base so you can get and coordinate your activities.
The Bond, vol. 1, no. 1