The United States’ oldest secular pacifist organization, the War Resisters League has been resisting war at home and war abroad since 1923. Our work for nonviolent revolution has spanned decades and been shaped by the new visions and strategies of each generation’s peacemakers. Our political influences span the globe; central are the teachings of the Indian leader, Mohandas Gandhi, and of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., pacifist-feminist activist and theorist Barbara Deming, labor organizer Cesar Chavez, and peace agitators A.J. Muste and Dave Dellinger.
History tells us that the absence of war is not the presence of peace. We have seen time and time again that violence does not end when you put down the gun, that war is not over when you declare a ceasefire. We understand that there are interwoven systems of domination and exploitation at the roots of inequality and injustice, and that to “remove all causes of war” we must collaborate and stand in solidarity with oppressed people across the globe. We are committed to building a broad-based movement against war in all its multiple forms. We go deeper than that. Our philosophy of revolutionary nonviolence demands change at the very roots of our society. We believe in the transformative power of nonviolent action in our communities, in our world, and in ourselves. We invite you to walk this path with us, away from all forms of militarism and oppression and towards a world based on equality and justice.
What We Do: Today, as one of the leading radical voices in the antiwar movement, we challenge military recruitment, organize and train for nonviolent direct action, and offer on-the-ground education. We believe that, in the words of A.J. Muste, "There is no way to peace — peace is the way." We are pacifists but we are not passive: our current projects include the GI Resistance Support Project, the Bite the Bullet: War Profiteering Education and Action Network, the quarterly magazine WIN: Through Revolutionary Nonviolence, advocacy of and support for war tax resistance, and a number of local and regional anti-war organizing projects. We organize demonstrations, cooperate in coalition with other peace and justice groups, oppose military recruitment and all forms of militarism including war toys and ROTC, and support men and women who resist the military at all levels.
A major part of all our programs is to help people organize in their own communities, where real change begins. Our staff and members offer nonviolence and direct action training that helps groups develop strategic nonviolent campaigns and the skills they need to create change. We train people in civil disobedience, war tax resistance, and other ways to put revolutionary nonviolence into action.
Our regional office in New England offers active support to local organizers in the six New England states, and our local chapters are hard at work across the country. We have a network of local groups and contacts around the country, and offer many resources, including organizers' packets, videos, and a terrific collection of buttons and posters. In addition, we publish literature about revolutionary nonviolence, including the annual WRL Peace Calendar and our famous federal budget “Pie Chart.” While we continue to resist the ongoing war and occupation in Iraq, we understand that we have to build a sustainable movement for peace and justice that will last beyond this war. To this end, we actively support those who refuse to pay for war, as well as those who refuse to fight in it. Through our materials and resources on war tax resistance, conscientious objection, selective service registration, and GI rights, we encourage direct and active resistance to the war machine. Finally, the War Resisters League has strong international ties through our active membership in War Resisters’ International, an organization with affiliates in over 80 countries.
Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together.