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by Jerry Elmer
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Leaders & Notable People
  • Author:
    Jerry Elmer
  • ISBN:
    0826514944
  • ISBN13:
    978-0826514943
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Vanderbilt University Press (September 9, 2005)
  • Pages:
    280 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Leaders & Notable People
  • Language:
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  • Rating:
    4.3
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Jerry Elmer's story spans the breadth of nonviolent direct action during the Vietnam War and after. A new generation of activists in the peace and global justice movements now emerging will want to read this book to reflect on the tactical and strategic choices open to us today.

Jerry Elmer's story spans the breadth of nonviolent direct action during the Vietnam War and after. Mark Rudd, last National Secretary of SDS and a co-founder of the Weather Underground.

Felon for Peace book. When Jerry Elmer turned eighteen at the height of the Vietnam War, he publicly refused to register for the draft, a felony then and now. Later he burglarized the offices of fourteen draft boards in three cities, destroying the files of men eligible to be drafted. After working almost twenty years in the peace movement, he attended law school, where he was the only convicte When Jerry Elmer turned eighteen at the height of the Vietnam War, he publicly refused to register for the draft, a felony then and now.

Other than John Balaban’s Remembering Heaven’s Face (Poseidon, 1991), memoirs by antiwar draft resisters and pacifists are relatively rare. The son of liberal Jewish Viennese refugees from the Nazis, he grew up in Great Neck, . a New York City suburb. A student rebel, he earned mediocre grades, wore an antiwar button in class, and when told to remove it by a teacher and principal he was supported by the local school board.

Book DescriptionWhen Jerry Elmer turned eighteen at the height of the Vietnam War, he publicly refused to register for the draft, a felony then and now. After working almost twenty years in the peace movement, he attended law school, where he was the only convicted felon in Harvard's class of 1990. This book is a blend of personal memoir, contemporary history, and astute political analysis.

When Jerry Elmer turned eighteen at the height of the Vietnam War, he. .

When Jerry Elmer turned eighteen at the height of the Vietnam War, he publicly refused to register for the draft, a felony then and now. After working almost twenty years in the peace movement, he attended law school, where he was the only convicted felon in Harvard’s class of 1990. Elmer draws on a variety of sources, including d FBI files, and argues passionately for the practice of nonviolence.

Berkeley, California: Jerry Rubin and Stephen Smale's Vietnam Day Committee (VDC) organize a huge protest of 35,000 . Felon for peace: the memoir of a Vietnam-era draft resister. Vanderbilt University Press. Oklahoma college students sent out hundreds of thousands of pamphlets with pictures of dead babies in a combat zone on them to portray a message about battles taking place in Vietnam. Retrieved March 12, 2011. James Lewes: Protest and Survive: Underground .

At the height of the Vietnam War, Jerry Elmer committed his first felony by publicly refusing to register for the draft

At the height of the Vietnam War, Jerry Elmer committed his first felony by publicly refusing to register for the draft. Over the next 20 years, using nonviolent tactics, Jerry worked for peace, justice, and the environment, from organizing draft board raids with Father Phil Berrigan to touring the killing fields of Cambodia to protesting nuclear power plants before and after Three Mile Island.

Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Felon for Peace: The Memoir of a.At the height of the Vietnam War, Jerry Elmer committed his first felony by refusing to register for the draft.

At the height of the Vietnam War, Jerry Elmer committed his first felony by refusing to register for the draft. Over the next 20 years, using nviolent tactics, Jerry worked for peace, justice, and the environment, from raiding draft boards with Father Phil Berrigan to touring the killing fields of Cambodia to protesting nuclear power plans after Three Mile Island.

The Memoir of a Vietnam-Era Draft Resister. There's no description for this book yet. Published September 9, 2005 by Vanderbilt University Press.

When Jerry Elmer turned eighteen at the height of the Vietnam War, he publicly refused to register for the draft, a felony then and now. Later he burglarized the offices of fourteen draft boards in three cities, destroying the files of men eligible to be drafted. After working almost twenty years in the peace movement, he attended law school, where he was the only convicted felon in Harvard's class of 1990.

This book is a blend of personal memoir, contemporary history, and astute political analysis. Elmer draws on a variety of sources, including never-before-released FBI files, and argues passionately for the practice of nonviolence. He describes the range of actions he tookfrom draft card burning to organizing draft board raids with Father Phil Berrigan; from vigils on the Capitol steps inside "tiger cages" used to torture Vietnamese political prisoners to jail time for protesting nuclear power plants; from a tour of the killing fields of Cambodia to meetings with Corazon Aquino in the Philippines.

A Vietnamese-language edition of Felon for Peace has also been published.


Xirmiu
review by david eberhardt-aged 68-poet and member "baltimore 4" (poured blood on draft files in 1967 with Father Phil Berrigan)- web site is google david eberhardt then poetry and prose- i discuss many of the same issues that Jerry does.

I feel priviledged to review Jerry's book.I began to read it on 9/21/9. Jerry goes over a lot of the ground that I covered as undoubtedly would George Mishe (of the Catonsville 9) when he got around to writing his book. Jerry knows or mentions many of the people George does- Joe O' Rourke, Jo Anne Malone. He draws some of the same conclusions about "elitism" about Phil Berrigan as does George.

Jerry discusses (on pg.88- a debate between WRL 's Jim Peck vrs Joe O Rourke of the draft actions and his remarks are priceless viz a viz "elitism".... it's worth quoting: "The gist of Joe's attack was, You have not done what I have done; therefore you have made no contribution whatsoever to the peace movement (can Joe have been that ignorant about Jim Peck and general peace movem,ent history?-de). I have found the one right tactic to end the war, raiding draft boards; nothing else has any value.

This was elitism at its most outreageous, but it was highly typical of the attitude of many (I would say- some (de) in the Catholic Left. To Phil Berrigan, the entire world was devided into two parts- actors (those what had taken part in draft board actions) , and everybody else. If you were not an actor" (and I, de, might point out- if you had only acted in one action and not more)- Phil had little use for you, unless he thought he could recruit you to be an actor. A word that Phil frequently used was "serious". People were only serious about anti war work if they took part in a draft board action." How true!

But you could say that about protest in general- that the world is deivided into actors and non- actors. We need more actors!

Me? I didn't see a bad side to Phil- (and I poured blood with him and spent time at Lewisburg Prison in the same cell and knew him at various times all his life); maybe I was blind- yes, Phil, had that single focus side- but I still thought of him as gentle enough- I knew he was after we got out of prison and while we were in it. We all have our faults. Certainly Dan is gentle. Jerry has a devastating passage re Phil being catty about Eqbal and his own brother Dan in his letters to Liz from Lewisburg re Harrisburg (I can only imagine what he said in private about me?!?!). Jerry was a precocious anti-warrior- active in high school at 16 years old. Jerry's book seems to contain good shades of grey- he is aware of the complexities.

In his book, Jerry gives a good rationale for what we draft action protestors did and a good history as well- e.g., in Feb. 1947! The "WRL and FOR organized Break with Conscription demonstrations in 36 states- among the organizers were A.J. Muste, Dave Dellinger, Bayard Rustin and Jim Peck". As a lawyer, Jerry has a great sense of legalities and legal precedents- dating back to his high school days- he was filing motions even at the age of 16!

I realized reading Jerry that my movement memoirs need a lot of editing and are anecdotal, lacking the connective tissue or skeleton or muscle to make a body- his book has it. He well discusses the most important issues- whether draft actions are a proper non violent tactic in the first place (old War Resisters League hands like Dave McReynolds (apparently Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton did not for the same reasons) did not apporve) (Jerry concluded "OK" because it is the property that is taken, not human life); whether to stay around like we and the C- 9 or to split- hit and stay? or hit and split?- whether to claim responsibility (a la Gandhi) or surface or just disappear-; the value of prison and the particul.ar Catholic view of suffering (the "suffering servant" that is Christ) and how he disagrees. George M's criticism of the Plowshares and Berrigans hinge on this very point- unbeknownst to George. When George reads Jerry's book- it will be a revelation- Jerry has already written George's book and mine!! to a degree.

I could see why my history of the actions, scanty as it was, became so much more murky after the Harrisburg 8 and Camden 28, because actions like the N Y and Boston 8 (let alone the Beaver 55?) werea actions where the perpetrators purposefully made it difficult for any one to have to be nailed for responsibility.. The Boston 8 would have been the Boston 9, but Jerry didn't surface.

Jerry's book is must reading- along with the Polner Disarmed and Dangerous (where is the underline feature?), and the books by Phil Berrigan- Prison Journals, and The Lamb's War, and the book on Plowshares actions by Art Laffin!
superstar
Memoirs are a mixed-bag. Some, like Bill Ayer's Fugitive Days are filled with pages of anecdotes and passion. They're endlessly interesting and entertaining, but may leave the reader feeling more like they've just read a novel rather than a memoir (read: history). They may even leave the reader with more questions than answers--not necessarily a bad thing. With Felon for Peace, Jerry Elmer has offered an analytical work that manages to be highly personal, entertaining, and informative. It leaves the reader with a perhaps more useful set of questions.

Elmer is a fearless writer: He takes on antiwar movement/scholar heavyweights like DeBenedetti and is not afraid to criticize his fellow activists. And he does not hesitant to criticize himself or admit when his own thinking was flawed.

Felon for Peace is an important work, as historians interested in the Vietnam War era well know--activists from the period need to offer up their versions of their history. They would do well to use Elmer's work as model (or inspiration). And despite that it lacks foot- or endnotes, any class on American history, peace studies, or activism would be better for using this excellent text.
Ielonere
This is a wonderful exposition of the power of direct action to effect social change. Mr. Elmer does a great job of showing how a typical, suburban, middle class kid can end up burning draft records and sitting in a tiger cage for the summer on the capital steps. He makes a convncing case for the efficacy of direct action for those closed out of the political process. In effect, while very few decision makers will directly change their position because of sit-ins, protests, hunger strikes,etc., they have the power to change public opinion. As he explains, 10,000 young people may not have had the votes to elect anyone, and certainly didn't have the money to play politics in the usual way of making campaigndonations, etc., what they did have was the power to show that the only way to fight the Vietnam war was to send tens of thousands of middle class kids to jail--something thqt this country ultimately was not willing to do (at least, given the reality on the ground created by the Vietnamese themselves, and the international climate).

Where Elmer over sells his case is in arguing that non-violence is always an appropriate (and seems to argue that it is always the best tactic). It is hard to believe that this would ever work in a society such as Somalia, iraq, Cambodia (under the Khmer rouge), etc. It is one thing to ask masses of people to risk a short (or even long) jail sentenceas the price of civil disobedience, It is quite another when the price is immediate death, and the torture/murder of one's entire family. In other words, civil disobedience assumes a certain level of commitment to law and openness which simply is not present in all societies at all times.

One final criticism--Elmer confuseses non-violence as a tactic for mass mobilization with pacificism as a way of life. While the civil rights movement certainly won great victories using nonviolent protest as a mass protest strategy, it is unclear that those demonstrations would have been possible but for a committed core of people who were commited to self-defense--including resort to violence. The civil rights workers we all know about--certainly including Dr. Martin luther King, Jr., himself, were constantly protected during the most dangerous days of the movement by body guards. Especialy in the deep south, it is not at all clear that anyone would have surived long enough to lead a voter registration drive without the armed protection of men with guns. Certainly, it was the risk of outright war that motivated the federal government to intervene.

One must ask, reading Elmer's account, where today's activists are. Is there a cause today for which you would be willing to defy the wrath of the entire federal government and spend years in prison?