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WASHINGTON, DC—The following statement was made by Paul Jacob, a political activist who was indicted by the Arkansas Grand Jury on September 23, 1982 for failure to register for the draft. Although he is the 11th person to be indicted for this offense, Jacob’s case is unique in that he is the only draft resister who has been indicted that the FBI cannot locate for prosecution, despite a nationwide search. Jacob left his home in 1981 (after receiving a threatening letter from the Selective Service System) and has been living underground in an attempt to avoid prosecution. His statement follows:

“I refuse to register for the draft. The draft is absolute state control over the individual. The draft is slavery and I will not assist the government in their attempt to take away my freedom. My body is not government property to be nationalized by those in power. At no time, nor for any reason, can the draft be justified. A free society has no slaves.

“I am not a pacifist resisting war; I am a free man resisting slavery. But I take great pride in any help that I may be to the peace movement.

“The 700,000 + men who have resisted registration have actually devastated the legitimacy and workability of a future draft. They have also made the law virtually unenforceable. The number of non-registrants is over 20 times that of the entire federal prison population. The government doesn’t have room for all of the ‘outlaws’ it has created.

“Only a select few—those who have received media attention or who have turned themselves in—will be prosecuted. Quiet resisters have absolutely nothing to fear. I speak directly to those who have not registered and those turning 18: continue to resist. Those who do not register will not be drafted, and will not be prosecuted.

“The Selective Service System is in serious trouble. Continued noncompliance, which is now 1 in 5, will soon mean the end to the registration process and may stop a future draft. I resisted registration for the draft because I do not want to be a conscript in the military. I’ve left my home and family to go ‘underground’ because I do not want to be a convict in a federal prison. I want to show, by my example, that the choice is not between registration and the draft or non-registration and jail. Obviously, quiet resisters won’t be prosecuted, but even vocal resisters, such as myself, can remain free.

“The issue is not: ‘Have I broken the law?’ I have. The issue is: ‘Have I done what is right?’ Again, I have. I proudly admit that I am guilty of placing my individual liberty above state coercion!”

(Jacob’s full statement and an interview with him is available from Contact Magazine, whose address appears in the accompanying article on the draft.)

Related in this issue

“Resistance Remains Widespread: Government continues efforts to enforce registration,” FE #311, Winter, 1983