Thursday, July 26, 2012

VVAW/OSS Launches Amnesty For Resisters Campaign

Vietnam Veterans Against The War

Old School Sapper Caucus

Honor The warrior ~ Not The War

Photo: Marcia Milam Westbrook

Who We Are

VVAW/OSS is a 41 member strong caucus of Old School VVAW types, most of whom, following the VVAW 40th Reunion in 2007, were listed as VVAW Regional Contacts in the VVAW‘s “The Veteran” newspaper. Many were members of the Veterans Advisory & Resource Group, a committee appointed by the VVAW National Steering Committee to review organizational policy and operations and make recommendations for reform. 

We came together as an active caucus of VVAW at the Kent State 40th anniversary because we believed that after a yearlong review, and input from VVAW members past and present and who hailed from throughout the U.S., that VVAW needed to be more focused on an anti-war agenda, and more actively outspoken regarding U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and in the affairs of other nations, under the guise of “building democracy”.  A concept and policy which our caucus believes is simply continuing U.S. and multi-national corporate imperialism, and must be brought to an end, just as we brought the war in Vietnam to an end; by taking our Truth, to the streets and winning the hearts and minds of the American people. 

What We Do

Since May of 2010, we have been active in two national gatherings at the White House, we held a caucus at the 2011 VFP convention in Portland,, Ore., we have been active with IVAW, attending two South East Regional Retreats regarding movement building,  and participating with IVAW in the recent March for Justice and Reconciliation during the NATO Summit, where VVAW/OSS represented the Toronto Resisters and one of our OSS members who had tossed his medals at Dewey Canyon III, stood in for the Toronto Resisters and tossed their medals back to NATO, for them.

In that same and continuing spirit of activism, and again initially on behalf of the Toronto Resisters, we have as a caucus set out for ourselves the task of initiating a grass-roots campaign for Amnesty for Resisters.   VVAW/OSS has developed this initiative from working with the current Toronto Resisters, upon hearing that they wanted to come home. We believe that they never should have had to leave in the first place.  In 1973, VVAW, after attending an International Amnesty Conference in Toronto, initiated its original Amnesty  for Vietnam Resisters that same year.  Amnesty was enacted incrementally, but successfully by both President Ford, 1974, and President Carter, 1977.  Carter’s Amnesty went further than did Ford’s, and met more of the demands of the Left, regarding the topic. We wish to do the same for today’s Resisters…we hope y’all will join with us in this important effort.

We will be attending the 2012 Veterans For Peace  Convention in Miami, where will launch our Amnesty initiative by presenting our case to VFP for support for our Amnesty for our campaign.  We will be seeking not only the support of  VFP as an national organization, but of its chapters and individual members from out in the grass-roots as well, as we begin to build a coalition of organizations and individuals who wish to actively work with us in bringing about Amnesty for the current generation of Resisters living abroad.

How You Can Help 

In support of furthering our initiative, we are attempting to raise the funds to bring our Toronto VVAW/OSS member, who many of you on FB know as Nick Velvet, down to Miami to speak for the Resisters. Nick knows these folks personally and works closely with them there in Toronto. Nick, who returned his own medals to the government at Operation Dewey Canyon III in 1971, represented the Toronto Resisters at the IVAW March for Justice & Reconciliation during the NATO Summit held there 20 May 2012.  Nick marched with the IVAW troops who were to return their medals to NATO, and at the medal toss he threw back the Toronto Resisters’ medals to NATO on their behalf, becoming the only two time medal toss Veteran in history. 

Photo: Ward Reilly
If you would  like to join us in launching the VVAW/OSS Amnesty for Resisters campaign, and get Nick to Miami, please donate whatever you are able to; no donation is too small…we will need at least $500.00…your donation is tax deductible, so print and save your receipt with Purpose annotated…if you are unable to donate, at least please share this letter with a friend…

If you able to donate, please simply click on the DONATE button located under "Join The Fight..." in left side bar of this page.

Unity - Struggle - Victory

Willie Hager
Operations Coordinator