"Wars will end when men have ceased to fight" was a popular slogan of the anti-Vietnam War movement. It sounded quite practical and almost true on its face. However, we now have considerable information about wars and how people have refused to fight, and the relationship between them is not well described by this phrase. The specific military technology in use, the social organization of military authority, and the division of labor in producing war, all make a difference in the possibility of stopping a war by many refusals to fight. Campaigns emphasizing this tactic may even strengthen the organization of military authority. This seemed to be the case in the anti-war campaigns directed at crewmen of attack aircraft carriers.
In 1971 and 1972 there were campaigns to stop the sailing for Vietnam of the USS Constellation, the USS Kitty Hawk and the USS Coral Sea. These were studied along with a later series of strikes of 130 Black sailors on the Constellation, a racial fight of over 200 on the Kitty Hawk and the anti-war movement defense of a sailor charged with sabotage on the USS Ranger (Connally 1976). The study was based on documents produced by people involved in maintaining authority as well as in resisting it. These accounts and analyses appeared in military journals, GI papers, campaign literature, daily newspapers and in a report of Congressional investigation of this resistance. Navy manuals and handbooks on ship organization and authority practice were also studied.
"Anti-War Work by Discouragement of Warriors: A Critique of Anti-War Tactics Used among Naval Personnel in the Vietnam War,"
The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare: Vol. 4:
8, Article 32.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/jssw/vol4/iss8/32
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