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1973 Business Resolution

WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of Americans have unjustly suffered a loss of civil rights, liberty and jobs because they have been in opposition to the Indochina War or to the racism and oppression of the American military and draft systems; and

WHEREAS, according to Canadian Department of Immigration statistics there are tens of thousands of anti-war exiles in Canada alone while, however, the majority of war resisters are inside the US, where an estimated 200,000 live underground, thousands behinds bars, many with court records, and over 500,000 veterans suffer from less than honorable discharges issued during the Indochina War era; and

WHEREAS, any amnesty that separates for different treatment pre- and post-induction resisters (draft resisters and those who are resisted or separated themselves from the military) fails to recognize that class and race factors more than anything else resulted in these distinctions and that such an amnesty would essentially discriminate against working-class and a disproportionate number of nonwhite resisters, those who have already been forced to bear the heaviest burdens of the war;

BE IT RESOLVED: That the 1973 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges that the Congress of the United States enact a universal and unconditional amnesty (with no alternate service or other punitive measures, and to avoid unworkable, unjust case-by-case judgments) for:

  1. All military resisters including so-called "deserters," and draft resisters in exile or underground in the US;
  2. All people who, because of their opposition to the Indochina War, have been arrested, have been or are now in civilian and military prisons, or for this reason are now being sought for prosecution — this includes a clearing of their records;
  3. The more than half-million Vietnam era veterans who have been discharged from the military with less than honorable discharges who will suffer from permanent loss of civil rights, and discrimination in employment without an amnesty. The classification of military discharges as honorable or otherwise should be eliminated retroactively into one single category of discharges.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the UUA 1973 General Assembly urges member societies of the Association to give specific attention to the issues involved in, and the means toward achieving a universal, unconditional amnesty by initiating discussion within each society, guided by materials to be developed by the Department of Education and Social Concern, and by members of these societies individually and collectively communicating, educating and organizing on this issue to the limit of their energies, time and commitment until such a time as a universal and unconditional amnesty is effected for all of those who have been, are being, or would be punished for their resistance.

By supporting complete amnesty, we do not mean to imply lack of recognition of the hardships, heartaches and sufferings of all other citizens who were affected by US military involvement in Southeast Asia.

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