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(We received the following communication from Steve Grossman, a draft resister who recently toured the Northeast. Steve spoke in 13 cities to the need to continue to fight for universal and unconditional amnesty. He came to the US to speak during the 15 day grace period in the Ford clemency. Steve refused to accept the plan and returned to Toronto on Thanksgiving Day where he will continue to work with AMEX-Magazine and the Toronto American Exiles Association.)
"The tour deepened my own understanding of the amnesty question and the necessity for strong unity among all groups in need of amnesty-those who believed the lies that surrounded the war or were forced by unemployment and poverty to fight it, and ended up resisting the war or the military's racism and oppression from INSIDE, and those who resisted by going AWOL or refusing to be inducted.
"The first group is now punished for their right and necessary resistance with a punitive less-than-honorable discharge. The others face civil and military charges. We are also joined by thousands of civilian resisters in prison or with records- they need amnesty too.
"The tour reminded me of the need to keep our demand for a single-type discharge up front in all our amnesty work. Getting rid of the present punitive discharge system will not remove one of the most repressive weapons the government has for controlling resistance to genocidal, imperialist wars. The single-type discharge will move us far forward in our fight for the right to resist unjust wars- that right is the very meaning of universal and unconditional amnesty.
"The tour offered me the chance to travel to 13 cities throughout the Northeast. Starting in Louisville, Kentucky where I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the nationwide amnesty movement through 12 other cities where VVAW/WSO arranged public meetings and media presentation I had the chance to see the REAL grassroots strength of the movement for universal and unconditional amnesty."