Library - Reading Room

Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!

Is It Legal?

The brass like to give the Impression that GIs don't have any right to oppose government policies, especially the war and especially by demonstrating against it.

But what they’ll never tell you is that even Army Regulations permit GIs to demonstrate. AR 600-20, paragraph 46, permits GIs to participate in demonstrations if they are off duty and off post, and if the demonstration is legal, peaceful, and not in a foreign country.

Furthermore, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee have filed a court suit which, if it wins, will allow GIs to participate in demonstrations while in uniform as well.
Last October, everyone at Ft. Dix was required to read a letter order saying that participation in demonstrations is “unauthorized” and “may” result in court martial. Lawyers informed me this letter order had “no legal value” at all, and just to prove the lawyers were right, I wrote a signed article in issue #3 of The Ultimate Weapon which admitted that I participated in the inaugaral antiwar demonstration in Washington on January 19. In issue #4, I called attention to the fact that I had not been court martialled, or even threatened with charges.

That situation still holds good; I am still running around free (or at least as free as anyone in the army can be). I have not been arrested because the army knows damn well that GIs have every legal right to participate in antiwar demonstrations.

We can expect that sometime before the April 5 demonstration in New York, the brass will try again to convince us we can't participate. They may charge me with participating in the January 19 march and then drop the charges after April 5. They may come out with some new regulation and try to persuade us that it's somehow different and therefore binding. But whatever they try, DON'T BE FOOLED. We have every legal right to demonstrate, and they can't take it away from us.
Sp/4 Allen Myers

Ultimate Weapon , no. 5

 

© 2005 Displaced Films. All Rights Reserved