The first temptation, one which now affects the draft resistance movement, is to measure actions in the movement by a code of individual conduct. Some refuse to enter the army because no moral man could engage in combat in Vietnam; some disassociate themselves from the Selective Service System because association with the machinery of slaughter is unconscionable; others assume the jeopardy of draft refusal even if they are not subject to the draft because no moral man can let others suffer injustice alone.
In this country such an individual code easily becomes the primary or only standard for political conduct…Equipped only with a standard of individual conduct and a calculus of right and courage we lose sight not only of the many kinds of change needed but also of the motivation for change. So equipped, we easily confine our organizing to the campus. People there are not immediately threatened by the draft. One and only one main force can move them to assume jeopardy in order to protest it: a standard of individual conduct. We feel we must organize the campus.
But all the while men of Charlestown and South Boston and Riverside, of Roxbury and Dorchester and of the working-class parts of cities all over the country are threatened by the draft and are more gently coerced by the security of enlistment….
Our solution must be to begin to organize those most threatened by the US armed forces. How many people gave out information about the October 16 rally in Boston in poor and working-class neighborhoods? Who put up posters speaking the language of those communities? Who tried to counter, thereby, the image the press promotes of us as hippies, cowards, and peace finks? Who suggested in those places that we – not the US Army – speak to people's immediate and long-range interests?
Quoted in The Resistance, by Michael Ferber and Staughton Lynd, (Beacon Press, 1971).