Two FSAO Members share their experience as war resistors on active military duty

A brief account of soldiers affiliated to Chicago's Four Star Anarchist Organization attempts to organize within the military and avoid being shipped off to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on February 8, 2012

Recently, two members of FSAO were interviewed and published describing their experiences as war resistors on active military duty at Ft. Polk Lousiana 2004-2005.

The interview was published at Truthout:

GI Resistance Under the Radar

The FSAO members served in 1/131 INF (infantry) located out of Elgin, Il and began active and open resistance to the military when they received word while on active deployment in 2004-2005 at Ft. Polk LA, that their unit was gearing up for Iraq. While in Louisiana, their primary job was to train soldiers and participate in large scale war simulations. To hear more about their mission at ft. Polk watch the video:


The former soldiers resisted by individually filing for conscientious objector status and for hardship discharge. As far as collective action, they actively agitated and built strong relationships with other enlisted soldiers who came from working class backgrounds. Through dedicated organizing, FSAO members encouraged one soldier to file for Conscientious objector status (who was later discharged from service), and four others to seek discharge through other means.

On a day to day level, FSAO veterans took part in agitation and propaganda; which included graffiti of military poster at their barracks and on post, the creation of their own posters and flyers and movie nights showing radical films. Several soldiers activly displayed anarchist and anti-war materiel and went as far as refusing to take it down.

At the height of the deployment, FSAO members started a massive letter writing campaign to Illinois senators that created a massive investigation of the unit because 2/3 of the weapons were deadlined (non functional), and the soldiers would not be able to train with them before deployment. The deployment was halted after two months of investigation leading to a major victory for the anarchist soldiers.

Continuing political work until discharge after the deployment in 2006, these members further influence three soldiers to ETS (leave the military on their agreed commitment date) instead of re-uping for additional service and two others switched military units to avoid participation on their units next deployment in Afghanistan 2008-2009.

We hope that these experiences serve as a model and example of what collective resistance can bring.

Originally posted: August 4, 2009 at Four Star Anarchist Organization