Robert Levering comes to Nonviolence Radio this week to talk to Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler about the film “The Boys Who Said No!” and the powerful draft resistance movement that helped to end the Vietnam War. Robert is an executive producer of the film, a position he is well suited to as he himself was a draft resister in the 1960s. In the interview, we hear how Robert worked collectively to refuse the draft, and more, to stand up actively and nonviolently to an unjust and oppressive system
…the draft sort of makes it us vs. the government. It’s very frightening just individually to face the government and all the power it has. But the communities that we developed helped to give us the kind of strength that we really needed in order to do that confrontation.
I know that I never would have – I don’t know what I would have done. I mean, you never can tell. But it made it really much, much easier to do something as part of a community rather than just simply doing it individually.
Robert’s discussion of his work in the 60s reveals how groups like those opposing the war in Vietnam came together with the Civil Rights Movement to create a power that finally ‘overwhelmed’ the US government, pushing it to end the war and change some of its racist policies. We are seeing strong echoes of this kind of collaboration today, as shown in Michael’s nonviolence report at the end of the show: diverse groups dedicated to nonviolence in many different forms, directed at many causes are coming together, joining hands and actively building a better world.
Transcript archived at Waging Nonviolence [pending]