An article yesterday on the anti-draft protest contained a sentence which should have read that the Committee Against Registration and the Draft "is also attracting people who believe the draft is especially unfair to the poor . . ." Due to a typographical error, the word "attracting" came out "attacking." CAPTION: (NEW-LINE)Picture, Anti-draft leader Lynn: stepping up the pressure. By Joe Heiberger - The Washington Post
Many senators and representatives going home this weekend for the congressional Memorial Day recess are in for a jolt from the fledging anti-draft movement.
Protesters plan to picket the home offices of politicians, stage rallies and return to the street theater of the Vietnam era to dramatize their opposition to a return to the draft - or even registering for it.
"This is the biggest response to any issue since we got into the question of impeaching Nixon," said David Landau, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union office in Washington.
Because of the upcoming protests, politiicans who now favor draft registration or some form of compulsory government service for young people, "will come back to Washington after the recess feeling a lot differently" on those issues, predicted Barry Lynn, chairperson of the new antidraft coalition.
If they do not, the militant Students for a Liberatarian Socitey plans to escalate its activity, marking as a prime target Rep. Paul N. McCloskey Jr. (R-Calif.) and his bill to make all 18-year-olds vulnerable to government service.
One idea is to send students dressed in prison garb into McCloskey's congressional offices in California and Washington to empty waster baskets and bow deeply to mock his national service legislation.
The next several days will tell whether the protests will live up to their advance billing in breadth and effectiveness. But there indeed is an anti-draft movement taking hold in the country.
The closet thing to a national headquarters for this movement is a one-room, two-desk office on Capitol Hill supplied rent-free by the Friends Committee on National Legislation. The name of this new coalition is the Committee Against Registration and the Draft (CARD). It lists 30 national organizations as members.
Sitting behind the desk at CARD headquaters is 27-year-old Duane Shank, the executive director. He, like hundreds of others in the anti-draft campaign, got in on the tail-end of the Vietnam War protests and hopes he is now at the forefront of a similar movement.
"I refused to register for the draft or file as a conscientious objector," said Shank of his past activism. "I thought registering as a C.O. would be saying I don't want to go, but it is all right for others to go."
That was back in 1970, while the Vietnam War was still raging. Shank was a freshman at Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg, Va.
"I was opposed to the entire Selective Service System," he said. "I was arrested, tried and convicted" of refusing to register for the draft. But the federal judge settled for putting Shank on probation in 1971, ordering him to perform the same kind of public service he already was doing.
He sees CARD as continuing "the kind of think I've been doing for most of my adult life." But he said getting money and people to fight draft legislation is turning out to be much easier than he anticipated because "people react to it in an emotional kind of way."
In fact, leaders of CARD freely admit that many anti-draft organizations are sprounting all across the nation without their knowing anything about it until afterward. The Washington office, rahter than having to beat the drums for members, has turned out to be mostly a clearing for information about draft legislation and protest activities.
"I haven't seen anything like this catch on as quickly in as many parts of the country at one time," said Barry Lynn, legislative counsel of the United Church of Christ Office for Church in Society, and chairperson of CARD's national office.
The 30-year-old Lynn said CARD "is drawing in people who see the draft as increasing the possibilitiy of returning to an interventionist policy," symbolized by Vietnam.
"It you have a hugh manpower pool," Lynn contended, "you make it a lot easier to slip into military misadventures." He said CARD is also attacking people who believe the draft is especially unfair to the poor and who resent the invasion of privacy that registering for the draft represents.
Some House members said Lynn, "are going to lose their seats over this issue, even though it is totally unnecessary for Congress to require registration because President Carter already has the authority to do it.
Landua, 25-year-old ACLU lobbyist who helped organize an "impeach Nixon" campaign while at Brown University and was on the fringes of the anti-Vietnam war movement, predicted the congressional effort to require young people to register will explode in the politicians' faces.
"Vietnam hasn't gone away in people's minds," he said. "The words 'Army' and 'the draft' are buzz words that evoke memories of Vietnam, adventurism and interventionism in foreign policy."
The legislation that is further along in Congress is a section of the Pentagon money bill recently approved by the House Armed Services Committee. It would require all males who turn 18 on or after Jan. 1, 1981, to register with their draft boards. The House will vote on that after the Memorial Day recess.
Amendments in the works include one to require registration before the November 1980 election - thus increasing the immediate political risk of voting for registration.