The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft Records

Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft Records

1979-2021 Bulk: 1980-1987
5 4 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1156

Formed in 1979 in the wake of a congressional vote on reinstating the draft, the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD) was formed by San Diego-based anti-war activists Bill Roe, Hoppy Chandler, Norm Lewis, Fritz Sands, and Rick Jahnkow. Originally a chapter of the national Committee Against Registration and the Draft (CARD), the group formed as a grassroots effort to defeat draft registration legislation, organize opposition to future drafts, and expand the network of anti-draft/militarism work. Early successes included organizing around legislation proposed by President Jimmy Carter to begin draft registration in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, leafleting high schools over military recruiting, and supporting draft resisters, including Ben Sasway, a college student from North San Diego County who was among the first indicted for violating the Selective Service Act since the Vietnam War. Sasway was a student at North San Diego County College and his prosecution was reportedly supported by Edwin Meese, a chief counsel to Ronald Reagan and a San Diego County resident. Sasway’s prosecution led to national protests in over 100 cities and S.D. CARD supported him throughout his trial and 6 month imprisonment. This work led to the formation of the San Diego Draft Resisters Defense Fund (DRDF), a sub-group of S.D. CARD, to support Sasway and other future indictments. The DRDF was reorganized in 1988 and became a task force within S.D. CARD.
In addition to fighting prosecutions of draft resisters, S.D. CARD focused its efforts on counter recruitment campaigns in and around local high schools. This consisted of running anti-recruitment ads in high school newspapers and leafleting. In 1982, S.D. CARD sued the local the school district over their efforts to prevent counter-recruitment ads from running in high school newspapers. The court case, which the Department of Justice joined as a defendant on appeal, ruled that if the schools ran ads from military recruiters, they had to give equal time to an opposing view. This ruling set a precedent that emboldened other counter-recruitment groups and is still cited today. In addition, COMD has fought ROTC programs in schools
In 1983-84, S.D. CARD began to broaden its focus beyond draft work to include the anti-nuclear movement, U.S. military involvement in Central America and the Caribbean, immigration, the militarism of the U.S./Mexico border, discrimination in the military, military impacts on the environment, and other militarism-related issues to become a more inter-sectional organization. This prompted the name change to the Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft. This led to COMD joining coalitions around these related issues such as the San Diego Military Toxics Campaign, a coalition of groups educating the public on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers docked in San Diego, and the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY). Today the group continues to fight state, local, and federal legislation related to the draft, including legislation in the 2020s that would expand draft registration to include women. COMD has also called for Congress to eliminate the Selective Service System and discontinue draft registration entirely.
The collection consists of a run of COMD’s newsletter, Draft NOtices from 1979 to 2021 as well as clippings, photographs, circular letters, fliers, and pamphlets primarily from the 1979-1987 period.

Gift of Rick Jahnkow


Draft resisters--United States


Rick Jankhow

Types of material