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A Statement of Conscience: Not in Our Name


A Statement of Conscience:


Not in Our Name


Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their

government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures

of repression.


The signers of this statement call on the people of the U.S. to resist the

policies and overall political direction that have emerged since September

11, 2001, and which pose grave dangers to the people of the world.


We believe that peoples and nations have the right to determine their own

destiny, free from military coercion by great powers. We believe that all

persons detained or prosecuted by the United States government should have

the same rights of due process. We believe that questioning, criticism, and

dissent must be valued and protected. We understand that such rights and

values are always contested and must be fought for.


We believe that people of conscience must take responsibility for what their

own governments do  we must first of all oppose the injustice that is done

in our own name. Thus we call on all Americans to RESIST the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate. We choose to make common cause with the people of the world.


We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We too

mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible

scenes of carnage  even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama

City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam. We too

joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such

a thing could happen.


But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land

Unleashed a spirit of revenge. They put out a simplistic script of good vs. evil that

was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media. They told us that asking

why these terrible events had happened verged on treason. There was to be

no debate. There were by definition no valid political or moral questions.

The only possible answer was to be war abroad and repression at home.


In our name, the Bush administration, with near unanimity from Congress,

not only attacked Afghanistan but arrogated to itself and its allies the

right to rain down military force anywhereand anytime. The brutal repercussions

have been felt from the Philippines to Palestine, where Israeli tanks and

bulldozers have left a terrible trail of death and destruction. The government

now openly prepares to wage all-out war on Iraq  a country which has no

connection to the horror of September 11. What kind of world will this become if the U.S. government has a blank check to drop commandos, assassins, and bombs wherever it wants?


In our name, within the U.S., the government has created two classes of people:

those to whom the basic rights of the U.S. legal system are at least promised,

and those who now seem to have no rights at all. The government rounded up

over 1,000 immigrants and detained them in secret and indefinitely. Hundreds

have been deported and hundreds of others still languish today in prison.

This smacks of the infamous concentration camps for Japanese-Americans in

World War 2. For the first time in decades, immigration procedures single

out certain nationalities for unequal treatment.


In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society.

The Presidents spokesperson warns people to watch what they say. Dissident

artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked,

and suppressed. The so-called USA PATRIOT Act  along with a host of similar

measures on the state level  gives police sweeping new powers of search and

seizure, supervised if at all by secret proceedings before secret courts.




In our name, the executive has steadily usurped the roles and functions of

the other branches of government. Military tribunals with lax rules of evidence

and no right to appeal to the regular courts are put in place by executive

order. Groups are declared terrorist at the stroke of a presidential pen.


We must take the highest officers of the land seriously when they talk of

a war that will last a generation and when they speak of a new domestic order.

We are confronting a new openly imperial policy towards the world and a domestic

policy that manufactures and manipulates fear to curtail rights.


There is a deadly trajectory to the events of the past months that must be

seen for what it is and resisted. Too many times in history people have waited

until it was too late to resist. President Bush has declared: youre either

with us or against us. Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak

for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We

will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety.

We say NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we

will show our solidarity in word and deed.


We who sign this statement call on all Americans to join together to rise

to this challenge. We applaud and support the questioning and protest now

going on, even as we recognize the need for much, much more to actually stop

this juggernaut. We draw inspiration from the Israeli reservists who, at

great personal risk, declare there IS a limit and refuse to serve in the

occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.


We also draw on the many examples of resistance and conscience from the past

of the United States: from those who fought slavery with rebellions and the

underground railroad, to those who defied the Vietnam war by refusing orders,

resisting the draft, and standing in solidarity with resisters.


Let us not allow the watching world today to despair of our silence and our

failure to act. Instead, let the world hear our pledge: we will resist the

machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible

to stop it.




James Abourezk

Michael Albert

Mike Alewitz, LaBOR aRT & MuRAL Project

Aris Anagnos

Laurie Anderson

Edward Asner, actor

Russell Banks, writer

Rosalyn Baxandall, historian

Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange

Jessica Blank, actor/playwright

William Blum, author

Theresa & Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas

Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ

Leslie Cagan

Kisha Imani Cameron, producer

Henry Chalfant, author/filmmaker

Bell Chevigny, writer

Paul Chevigny, professor of law, NYU

Noam Chomsky

Ramsey Clark

David Cole, professor of law,Georgetown University

Robbie Conal

Stephanie Coontz, historian, Evergreen State College

Kia Corthron, playwright

Kimberly Crenshaw, professor of law,

Columbia and UCLA

Culture Clash

Kevin Danaher, Global Exchange

Barbara Dane

Ossie Davis

Mos Def

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, professor,

California State University, Hayward

Bill Dyson, state representative, Connecticut

Steve Earle, singer/songwriter

Eve Ensler

Leo Estrada, UCLA professor, Urban Planning

Laura Flanders, radio host and journalist

Elizabeth Frank

Richard Foreman

Terry Gilliam, film director

Charles Glass, journalist

Jeremy Matthew Glick, editor of Another World Is Possible

Danny Glover

Leon Golub, artist

Juan Gmez Quiones, historian, UCLA

Jessica Hagedorn

Sondra Hale, professor, anthropology

and women's studies, UCLA

Suheir Hammad,

writer Nathalie Handal, poet and playwright

Christine B. Harrington, Director of the

Institute for Law & Society, New York University

David Harvey, distinguished professor of anthropology, CUNY Graduate Center

Tom Hayden

Edward S. Herman, Wharton School,

University of Pennsylvania

Susannah Heschel, professor,

Dartmouth College

Fred Hirsch, vice president, Plumbers and Fitters Local 393 bell hooks

Rakaa Iriscience, hip hop artist

Abdeen Jabara, attorney, past

president, American Arab

Anti-Discrimination Committee

Fredric Jameson, chair, literature

program, Duke University

Harold B. Jamison, major (ret.), USAF

Erik Jensen, actor/playwright

Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback

Casey Kasem

Robin D.G. Kelly

Martin Luther King III, president, Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Barbara Kingsolver

Arthur Kinoy, board co-chair, Center for Constitutional Rights

Sally Kirkland

C. Clark Kissinger, Refuse & Resist!

Yuri Kochiyama, activist

Annisette & Thomas Koppel, singers/composers

David Korten, author

Barbara Kruger

Tony Kushner

James Lafferty, executive director, National Lawyers Guild/L.A.

Ray Laforest, Haiti Support Network

Jesse Lemisch, professor of history

emeritus, John Jay College of Justice, CUNY

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, TIKKUN magazine

Barbara Lubin, Middle East Childrens Alliance

Staughton Lynd

Dave Marsh

Anuradha Mittal, co-director, Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food


Malaquias Montoya, visual artist

Tom Morello

Robert Nichols, writer

Kate Noonan

Rev. E. Randall Osburn, exec. v.p.,

Southern Christian Leadership Conference


Grace Paley

Michael Parenti

Jeremy Pikser, screenwriter

Jerry Quickley, poet

Margaret Randall

Michael Ratner, president, Center for

Constitutional Rights

Adrienne Rich

David Riker, filmmaker

Boots Riley, hip hop artist, The Coup

Matthew Rothschild

Edward Said

Susan Sarandon

Saskia Sassen, professor, University of Chicago

Jonathan Schell, author and fellow of the Nation Institute

Carolee Schneeman, artist

Ralph Schoenman & Mya Shone, Council on Human Needs

Mark Selden, historian Alex Shoumatoff

John J. Simon, writer, editor

Michael Steven Smith, National Lawyers


Norman Solomon, syndicated columnist and author

Scott Spenser

Nancy Spero, artist


Bob Stein, publisher

Gloria Steinem

Oliver Stone

Peter Syben, major, US Army, retired

Marcia Tucker, founding director emerita,

New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY

Gore Vidal

Anton Vodvarka, Lt., FDNY (ret.)

Kurt Vonnegut

Alice Walker

Rebecca Walker

Naomi Wallace, playwright

Immanuel Wallerstein, sociologist, Yale University

Rev. George Webber, president emeritus,

NY Theological Seminary

Leonard Weinglass,

attorney Haskell Wexler

John Edgar Wideman

Saul Williams, spoken word artist

S. Brian Willson , activist/writer

Jeffrey Wright, actor

Howard Zinn, historian


Organizations for identification only - representative list as of July 17,

2002. Since then, 30,000 others have added their names. To add your name,

and for additional information: