Midstate Tennesseans Turn Out Against the Draft

Nashville: Concerned citizens gathered at the corner of 21st and Division on Thursday, March 31st to oppose the Draft. This was the day the Selective Service System (SSS) was due to report to President Bush that it is ready to implement the draft within 75 days. Right now, the SSS is staffing local draft boards, training volunteer registrars to work on high school and college campuses, and streamlining its induction process. They have also gained access to the Department of Education's computer files, to ensure maximum registration. After the Nashville demonstration, commuters traveled to Clarksville to join the Clarksville Weekly Peace Vigil, which had its largest attendance to date. Clarksville is home to Fort Campbell military base, which has one of the highest casualty rates from the war in Iraq of any military base in the country.

The Bush Administration is preparing for a draft for new soldiers to continue the occupation of Iraq and to prepare for possible new wars against Iran, Syria, and elsewhere.

At the same time that Bush is looking to youth to supply cannon fodder for his wars, he is busy cutting financial aid and slashing social programs. The same young people that Bush wants to use to fight his wars are finding it harder to pay for their education, find jobs that pay a living wage, or obtain basic necessities, like health care or affordable housing.

On the same day that Nashville held a demonstration against the draft, organizers with "No Draft!No Way!" organized demonstrations in several cities around the country. Local No Draft, No Way organizers and other anti-draft activists planned protests, walkouts, and direct action at recruiting centers, selective service offices, and other sites.

After the Nashville Demonstrations, peaceful folks carpooled to Clarksville, about one hour from Nashville to join the Clarksville Weekly Peace Vigil. Residents of Clarskville surrounded the Eternal Flame monument on the town square of Clarksville, with at least 20 people, including six from Nashville. They listened to poetry, paricipated in a Reiki healing and had an invigorating finish of beating on pot lids with spoons. The message was: “Look! This is happening; it is visible!”

Debbie of the Clarksville Peace Vigil encourages peaceful folks to join their weekly vigil. "This is history that we are making in our town, on our planet. When you come you are making it too. When you come you process the numbers (of dead and wounded in Iraq), you feel what you feel. You say something or not. All that makes the vigil too. You are not invisible."

Clarksville hosts candlelight vigils every Thursday night, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in downtown Clarksville, Public Square and Main Street. They read poetry at the vigils and display the number of US soldiers killed and wounded and number of Iraqi civilians killed to date.

To contact the Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties write to freeinthesouth (at)

Chris Lugo
01 Apr 2005
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I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more
if only they knew they were slaves. - Harriet Tubman

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