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Not In Our Name

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A Stement of Conscience

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 anywhere and 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 has waged an all-out war on and occupied 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 President’s spokesperson warns people to "watch what they say." Dissident artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked, and suppressed. The so-called 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: "you’re 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.

The over 66,000 signers include...

James Abourezk, former U.S. Senator

F. Murray Abraham

Rudolfo Acuna, author of Occupied America

Dr. Patch Adams

Michael Albert

Jace Alexander

Robert Altman

Aris Anagnos

Laurie Anderson

Ida Applebroog

John Ashbery

Edward Asner

Kevin Bacon

Jon Robin Baitz

Thomas Balanoff, president, Local 1, SEIU

Russell Banks

John Perry Barlow, co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Neema Barnette

Rev. Willie T. Barrow, Operation Push

Sue Bauman, Mayor of Madison, WI

Rosalyn Baxandall

Joel Beinen, Professor of Middle East History, Stanford

Medea Benjamin

Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project

Jessica Blank & Erik Jensen, playwrights, The Exonerated

William Blum, author of Rogue State

Wayne C. Booth, professor emeritus, Chicago

Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, and the staff of 8th Day Center for Justice

St. Clair Bourne

Lawrence Brent Brilliant, M.D.

Oscar Brown, Jr.

Charles Burnett

Margaret Burroughs, founder, DuSable Museum

Judith Butler

Leslie Cagan, chair, Interim Pacifica Foundation Board

Kisha Imani Cameron

Rosemary Carroll

Sen. Gilberto Cedillo, California state legislature

Kathleen & Henry Chalfant

Celia Chang, chairperson, Wen Ho Lee Defense Fund Steering Committee

Linda Chapman, New York Theater Workshop

Rep. Maralyn Chase, Washington state legislature

Bell& Paul Chevigny

Mel Chin

Noam Chomsky

Deepak Chopra

Ann Christopherson, president, American Booksellers Assn.

Jill Ciment

Ramsey Clark

Jill Clayburgh

Marilyn Clement, Exec. Sec. for Economic Justice, United Methodist Women’s Division

David Clennon

Ben Cohen, cofounder, Ben and Jerry's

David Cole, professor of law, Georgetown University

Steve Coleman

Robbie Conal

Stephanie Coontz, historian, Evergreen State College

Paula Cooper

Carlos Cortez, "Koyokuikatal"

Kia Corthron, playwright, Breath, Boom

Petah Coyne

Robert Creeley

Kimberly Crenshaw, professor of law, Columbia and UCLA

Culture Clash

David Cross

John Cusack

Damon & Naomi, Musicians for Peace

Kevin Danaher, Global Exchange

Barbara Dane

Julie Dash

Rev. Herbert Daughtry

Angela Davis

Ossie Davis

Zack de la Rocha

Sheila DeBretteville, director of studies in graphic design, Yale

Ruby Dee

Mos Def

Tony Del Plato, chef/co-owner, Moosewood Restaurant

Richard Delgado, U. of Colorado Boulder School of Law

Rev. Gregory R. Dell, Broadway United Methodist Church of Chicago

Rosalyn Deutsche

Ani Di Franco

Diane DiPrima

Mark Di Suvero

Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party

Bernadine Dohrn, director, Children & Family Justice Center

Julie Dorf, International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Carol Downer, board of directors, Chico Feminist Women's Health Center

Roma Downey

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, professor, California State University, Hayward

Sandy Duncan

Bill Dyson, Connecticut state legislature

Michael Eric Dyson

Steve Earle

Barbara Ehrenreich

Deborah Eisenberg

Nora Eisenberg, author of The War at Home

Hector Elizondo

Daniel Ellsberg

Brian Eno

Eve Ensler

Riva Enteen, National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco

Martín Espada

Michelle Esrick

Leo Estrada, UCLA professor, Urban Planning

Robert Falls

Nina Felshin, author of But Is It Art? The Spirit of Art as Activism

James R. Fennerty, pres., National Lawyers Guild, Chicago

Frances D. Fergusson

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights Bookstore

Fifty-three Maryknoll priests and brothers

Norman G. Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry

Laura Flanders

Jane Fonda

Henry Foner, former pres., Fur & Leather Workers Union

Richard Foreman

Thomas C. Fox, publisher, National Catholic Reporter

Elizabeth Frank

Mary Frank

H. Bruce Franklin, professor of American Studies, Rutgers in Newark

Michael Franti

Glen E. Friedman

Bill Frisell

Frank Galati

Peter Gerety

Terry Gilliam

Milton Glaser

Charles Glass

Jeremy Matthew Glick, co-editor of Another World Is Possible

Corey Glover

Danny Glover

Danny Goldberg

Leon Golub

Juan Gómez Quiñones, historian, UCLA

Vivian Gornick

Jorie Graham

Robert Greenwald

André Gregory

John Guare

José Guerrero, director Taller Mestizarte

Guerrilla Girls

Allan Gurganus

Richard Haas

Jessica Hagedorn

Sondra Hale, professor, anthropology and women's studies, UCLA

Ann Hamilton

Suheir Hammad

Sam Hammil

Nathalie Handal

Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket)

Michael Hardt, author of Empire

Christine B. Harrington, professor of politics, NYU

Lyle Ashton Harris

David Harvey, professor of anthropology, CUNY

Stanley Hauerwas

Tom Hayden

Hazel Hernder, author of Beyond Globalization

Edward S. Herman, Wharton School, U. of Pennsylvania

Susannah Heschel, professor, Dartmouth

David Himmelstein, Harvard School of Medicine

Fred Hirsch, vice pres., Plumbers and Fitters Local 393

bell hooks

Walter Hopps

Warrington Hudlin

Doug Ireland, contributing editor, In These Times

Rakaa Iriscience, Dilated Peoples

Alfredo Jaar

Abdeen Jabara, attorney, past pres., American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Rev. Jesse Jackson

Ken Jacobs

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Fredric Jameson, chair, literature program, Duke

Jim Jarmusch

Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback

Virgil C. Johnson, chair, theater department, Northwestern

B.J. Jones, artistic dir., Northlight Theatre

Bill T. Jones

J.P. Jones

Sarah Jones

Melanie Joseph, artistic dir., Foundry Theater

Jeremy Kagan

Louise J. Kaplan

Casey Kasem

Evelyn Fox Keller, history of science, MIT

Robin D.G. Kelly, history and Africana studies, NYU

As`ad AbuKhalil, Professor, Cal State Univ, Stanislaus

Martin Luther King III, pres., Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Barbara Kingsolver

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

Bob Kinsey, Peace & Justice Taskforce, Rocky Mountain Conf., UCC

Sally Kirkland

C. Clark Kissinger, Refuse & Resist!

Yuri Kochiyama

Michael Konopacki

Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, pastor, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

Annisette & Thomas Koppel, Savage Rose

Barbara Kopple

David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World

Ron Kovic

Max, Joyce, and Nikolas Kozloff

Barbara Kruger

Tony Kushner

Rev. Peter Laarman, senior minister, Judson Memorial Church

Mike Ladd

James Lafferty, exec. dir., National Lawyers Guild/L.A.

Ray Laforest, Haiti Support Network

Beth K. Lamont

Martha Lavey

Lisa & Pilar Law

Spike Lee

Jesse Lemisch, prof. of history emeritus, John Jay College of Justice, CUNY

Harriet Lerner

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, TIKKUN magazine

Phil Lesh, Grateful Dead

Michael Letwin, co-convenor, NYC Labor Against the War

Richard Lewontin, professor emeritus of biology, Harvard

Lucy R. Lippard

James Longley

José Lopez, dir. Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Chicago

Raymond Lotta, author of America in Decline

Barbara Lubin, Middle East Childrens Alliance

Janet L. Abu-Lughod, professor of political and social science, New School

Staughton Lynd

Reynaldo Macías, dir., Cesar Chavez Center, UCLA

Jeff Mackler, Socialist Action

Jack Macrae

Arturo Madrid, professor of humanities, Trinity

Dave Marsh

Rabbi Robert Marx

Maryknoll Sisters, Western USA

Malachy McCourt

Rep. Jim McDermott

Aaron McGruder

Richard J. McIver, Seattle city council

Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. representative

Ellen McLaughlin

David McReynolds

Chuck Mee

Susan Meiselas

Richard Mellor, vice pres., AFSCME Local 444

W.S. Merwin

Arnold Mesches

Jay A. Miller

Paul D. Miller, DJ Spooky aka The Subliminal Kid

Susan Minot

Mary Miss

Edgar Mitchell, astronaut

Anuradha Mittal, co-dir., Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First

Malaquias Montoya

Tom Morello

Robin Morgan

Robert Morris

Toni Morrison

Viggo Mortensen

Walter Mosley

Min. Benjamín Muhammed, Hip-Hop Summit Action Network

Graham Nash

Jill Nelson, prof. City College of NY

Robert Nichols

Linda Nochlin, professor of modern art, NYU Institute of Fine Arts

Kate Noonan


Claes Oldenburg

Pauline Oliveros

Yoko Ono

Roscoe Orman

Rev. E. Randall Osburn, exec. v.p., Southern Christian Leadership Conference


Grace Paley

Michael Parenti

Ron OJ Parsons

Rosalind Pecheskey, professor of political science, Hunter College

Jeremy Pikser, screenwriter, Bulworth

Justice R. Eugene Pincham, ret., Illinois Appellate Court

Frances Fox Piven

Jeremy Piven

Sylvia Plachy

Assemblyman Mark Pocan, Wisconsin state legislature

Katha Pollitt

James Stewart Polshek

CCH Pounder

Harold Prince

Jerry Quickley

John T. Racanelli, Presiding Justice (Ret), California Court of Appeal

Peter Rachleff, professor of history, Macalester College

Bonnie Raitt

Margaret Randall

Marcus Raskin

Michael Ratner, pres., Center for Constitutional Rights

Amy Ray, Indigo Girls

Rev. George Regas, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace


Graeme Revell

Adrienne Rich

Judy F. Richardson, associate producer, Eyes on the Prize

David Riker, filmmaker, La Ciudad

Boots Riley, The Coup

Faith Ringgold

Sen. Fred Risser, Wisconsin state legislature

Kate Robin

Avital Ronell

Jonathan Rosenbaum, author of Movie Wars

Edgar Rosenblum

Naomi & Walter Rosenblum

James Rosenquist

Martha Rosler

Judith Rossner

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive

Ed Sadlowski

Bernard & Jane Nicholl Sahlins

Edward Said

Angelica Salas, director, Campaign for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles

David Salle

Angela Sanbrano, exec. dir., Central American Resource Center

Luc Sante

Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, Washington state legislature

Andy Sapora, Flying Karamozov Brothers

Susan Sarandon

Saskia Sassen, professor of sociology, Chicago

John Sayles

James Schamus, producer-writer, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Jonathan Schell, fellow of the Nation Institute

Paul Schell, former mayor of Seattle

Carolee Schneemann

Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology, Boston College

Michael Schultz

Annabella Sciorra

Kyra Sedgwick

Pete and Toshi Seeger

Mark Selden

Peter Selz

Peter A. Serkin

Frank Serpico

Richard Serra

Betty Shamieh

Alexander Sharp, exec. dir., Protestants for the Common Good

Rev. Al Sharpton

Wallace Shawn

Charlotte Sheedy

Martin Sheen

Ron Shelton

Alex Shoumatoff

Robert J. Siegel, pres., Seattle National Lawyers Guild

Russell Simmons

Zachary Sklar

Chuck Smith, artistic associate, Goodman Theatre

Kiki Smith

Joan Snyder

Paul Soglin, former mayor of Madison, WI

Miles Solay, NION Project

Norman Solomon

Scott Spencer

Nancy Spero

Art Spiegelman

S. Peg Spindler, dir., Sojourner Truth House, Gary, IN


Jean Stefancic, U. of Colorado Boulder School of Law

Bob Stein

Jack Steinberger, Nobel Laureate

Gloria Steinem

Pat Steir

Oliver Stone

Mark Strand

William & Rose Styron

Steve Swallow

Tony Taccone

Ron Takaki, professor of ethnic studies, Berkeley

Jonathan Tasini, pres., National Writers Union, NYC

Michael Taussig, professor of anthropology, Columbia

Studs Terkel

Andy Thayer, Chicago Anti-Bashing Network

Marisa Tomei

Jesus Salvador Trevino

Tuck & Patti

Marcia Tucker, founding dir. emerita, New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY

Lief Utne

Nina Utne

Luis Valdez

Coosje van Bruggen

Marcia E. Vetrocq, senior editor, Art in America

Gore Vidal

Anton Vodvarka, Lt., FDNY (ret.)

Kurt Vonnegut

Alice Walker

Rebecca Walker

Naomi Wallace

Immanuel Wallerstein, professor of sociology, Yale

Rob Warden, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern

Wavy Gravy

Rev. George Webber, pres. emeritus, NY Theological Seminary

Leonard Weinglass

Cora Weiss, pres., Hague Appeal for Peace

Cornel West

Celia Weston

Haskell Wexler

John Edgar Wideman

C.K. Williams

Saul Williams

Victoria Williams

Standish E. Willis, Chicago Conference of Black Lawyers

S. Brian Willson

Martha Wilson, Franklin Furnace

Bob Wing, WarTimes

Kryzsztof Wodiczko

Alice Woldt, Church Council of Greater Seattle

Steffie Woolhandler, Harvard School of Medicine

Jeffrey Wright

Dennis Zacek, artistic director, Victory Gardens Theater


Mary Zimmerman

Howard Zinn

Organizations for identification only (partial list as of 4/15/03)For more complete listing of signers, or to add your name to the statement, see: www.nion.us

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