a report by Theodore Olson and Gordon Christiansen *
On August 4, 1965, thirteen persons were killed while in custody on Grindstone Island in Canada. They died in the course of an experiment in civilian national defense. The experiment was an exercise, carried out under Quaker auspices. Those “killed” are alive today, but they live as chastened men and women. For few of them died heroically. Most of them died blindly. All of them died needlessly, brought face to face in the hour of their death with the failure of their own deeply-held attitudes and actions.
Yet all agree that the Grindstone experiment was a great moment. For some it achieved the level of religious conversion.
How did it happen?
What lessons for civilian defense and for human community can be learned from those 31 hours?
“The…inevitable crumbling of the assumptions. predications and attitudes of the participants in each group, the purging of dogma and…painful groping.”
“The beginning of a massive reconstruction”
“Destruction of the defenders’ community”
“Simulated openness and need to communicate when one is actually after another goal, be it freedom or the defeat of another or certain rights, is a fouler exploitation of human beings than the use of force.”
* from participants’ evaluations
Theodore Olson has written in the field of non-military defense for the Peace Research Institute, Oslo, and for publications in Canada, United States and Europe. He has participated in international conferences in civilian defense and UN peace-keeping and is a consultant to social action organizations. Under his direction the basic research and development was done for Upland Institute, a professional school of social action training, opened in Chester, Pa., in 1965. His 1962 doctoral dissertation at Drew University dealt with theological aspects of nonviolent direct action. He is currently minister of Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, Newburgh, New York.
Gordon Christiansen is active in the radical, nonviolent peace movement. He is a member of the executive boards of the War Resisters League and the Fellowship of Reconciliation and is chairman of the Executive Committee of the Committee for Non-violent Action. He has published articles on nonviolent direct action, in criticism of deterrence theory and on the United States civil defense program. He is author of an introductory textbook of Physical science and of numerous technical articles on biochemistry. He was formerly a consultant on life support systems for submarines and spacecraft and is now consultant to New England CNVA. Since 1952 he has been Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College, New London, Conn. In World War II he commanded a field artillery battery.
This report on the Grindstone Island Experiment on nonviolence and civilian defense is presented by its authors and by the sponsoring organizations to a wide and varied audience. It is presented first and most humbly to the fifty participants in the exercise, the human power that made the experiment happen. The authors enjoyed an opportunity denied all other participants—the opportunity to examine in great detail and at great length all of the records of the exercise. These include words spoken in the heat and tension of a deeply moving experience, personal comments in diaries, fragments of notes, and responses to analytical questionnaires, as well as more public documents. We have tried to deal with this material sensitively and honestly; and we believe that we have done so. Yet we recognize that our own biases—as deeply involved participants—are unavoidably a part of this report.
Secondly, we present this report to those deeply concerned people of the world that make up what is loosely called the “peace movement.” Perhaps the two most important questions in the concern of these people are nonviolence and the defense of their communities against imposed tyranny. The experiment described and analyzed in this report represents a growing effort to transform peace-movement thinking about these subjects from sentimental intuition to scientifically based rationality. The experiment is itself a minor advancement of our empirical knowledge of these subjects and their relation; more importantly it serves as an indicator for further such studies.
Thirdly, the report is presented to the community of scholars in the fields of social science. The body of material presented here, and the techniques used for the study of group interaction are offered for critical examination.
The fourth audience to whom this report is presented is that group of scholars of military strategy, sometimes called the “New Military Intellectuals” who have been applying such techniques as operational analysis, game theory, simulation, gaming out of scenarios, and socio-drama to the development of theories of national defense based on weapons, militarism and violence. The experiment described in this report has implications for an approach to national defense which heretofore may have seemed unthinkable yet must be thought about.
Finally, the report is addressed to the general public, the primary audience and the ultimate arbiter of any theory of national defense—and also of any message concerning the practicability of nonviolence.
The authors, while taking full responsibility for the content of this report, recognize and acknowledge that the production of the report is the result of the combined contribution of resources. effort, and personal support from a number of people and institutions. The contribution of our fellow Grindstone Institute participants has already been described. But their contribution was So great and so essential that it is not redundant to repeat here our acknowledgement of debt to them. The Canadian Friends Service Committee and the American Friends Service Committee, Program on Nonviolence, provided the facilities and management of the experiment and institutional sponsorship and financial backing both for the experiment and the production of the report.
Photographs are by Walter Freud. Drawings are by Barbara Bachovzeff.
Special mention must be made of the multiple contributions of Mary Christiansen. She helped first as a participant in the experiment as a member of the defender group. She transcribed 18 hours of tape recordings of the exercise proceedings. She served as a critic of both style and content and as an editor of the report. She contributed to the design of the book and set the type from which it was printed.
A final comment must be made about the correspondence in name of the island on which this experiment was conducted and the press that printed the report. Grindstone is the historic name of the island administered by the Canadian Friends Service Committee, and used for summer conferences, including the Institute on Nonviolence. Grindstone is also the name of the press operated by Gordon and Mary Christiansen as a recent addition to the institutions dedicated to furthering the cause of world peace through methods of nonviolence. The correspondence of names is purely coincidental; the only connection is that the proprietors of the press participated in the institute.
This document is both report and analysis of an experiment in social defense; it is also a source book. Its various parts need not be read in consecutive order. The text is sufficiently cross-referenced that most readers, beginning at the point of greatest personal interest will be led to read most or all of the report and supporting documents. In general, the narrative and analytical articles form the heart of the report. Narratives of the action are drawn from chronologies agreed upon by defenders and occupiers: from umpires’ notes, from personal diaries of participants. and from tapes that monitored most of the action. The analysis put forward in the body of this study is solely that of the authors. No attempt has been made to set forth a consensus of wie es wirklich war. Nonetheless, evaluations written by nearly half the participants tend to agree with our observations and conclusions.
The experiment described in this report resulted from the confluence of a number of factors. Grindstone Island Summer Institutes in Nonviolence had become annual projects. Institutes of the two previous years had included role-playing and limited socio-drama exercises. The isolated site and the commitment of the participants offered the opportunity for intensive controlled experimentation. Civilian defense seemed to be a subject amenable to investigation by extended socio-drama techniques. Some members of the institute planning committee had great interest in and extensive knowledge of the proposed subject and technique. The decision was thus made by the sponsoring organizations1 and the planning committee to focus the 1965 institute on the social defense refinement of the broader concept that has come to be called civilian defense.
After months of planning and preparation by the committee, the institute convened at Grindstone Island in Big Rideau Lake near Portland, Ontario, in late July, 1965. The institute lasted for nine days; the experiment itself lasted only thirty-one hours. Most of the fifty participants were badly shaken; some compared the experience to one of religious conversion; all gained new insights concerning nonviolence and social defense. But the real value of the exercise lies in the extensive detailed record of what happened. The purpose of this report is to state and analyze that record.
The Notion of Civilian Defense
As military techniques of defense have become increasingly dependent either on a scorched earth policy or on deterrence based on nuclear weapons—either of which, if used, results in devastation of defended areas and destruction of defended values and institutions—many persons concerned with defense of their societies have begun to examine the notion of civilian defense: a society’s defense of itself and its institutions by the civilian populace. Some of these inquiries have led toward new departures in guerrilla or partisan warfare. Others have emphasized un-armed defense capabilities. Encouragement from UN and national military establishments has led to sustained research in unarmed civilian defense in several countries. This approach has seemed most useful when applied in the situation of defense against large-scale armed occupation. The basic idea has recently been refined in the direction of “social defense”—defense not of territory as such, but of the characteristic institutions of a society.
The Grindstone Experiment
The planners of the 1965 Grindstone Island Institute recognized the opportunity to carry out a carefully observed and thoroughly recorded simulation experiment in social defense as a part of its nonviolence training program. Selection of participants was accomplished by announcing the program in bulletins stating as objectives “…explore and train for non-violent ways in which a civilian population can defend itself from tyranny.” In this way the planners assembled a group of about fifty people with some interest in civilian defense and nonviolence and a willingness to engage in an extensive socio-drama experiment concerning the relation between the two concepts.
After a period of general preparation, the group was presented with a scenario calling for the defense of the institute against a United States-supported right wing Canadian government. This government had occupied major portions of the Canadian heartland in the wake of the disintegration of Canada consequent upon a Quebec secession. [For a full text and analysis, see Appendix 1 and article, ‘Development and Use of the Scenario’.] The defenders of the institute did not know what attitude this government would take toward it or precisely when any action would be taken. After presentation of this situation, the institute’s formal leadership dissolved itself, leaving the group free to take whatever steps it deemed necessary. The decision as to when the exercise would terminate was left in the hands of a group of umpire-observers. A few participants left the island before the experiment began.
At 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 3, the second day after presentation of the scenario, six armed men representing the new government arrived on the island and announced that the institute people were temporarily in custody. The conditions of this custody were subsequently spelled out. The thirty-one defenders, armed only with their own experience and with a limited general background in civilian defense theory, reacted to their captivity. The umpires had thought privately that the exercise might well go as long as three days.
The defenders, after following a consistently disastrous course of action (as they subsequently judged), finally achieved at least partial insight into their true plight. But at that point both sides were swept by the inertia of their previous courses into a bloody confrontation that left a dozen defenders killed. The occupation’s political goals—maintaining an orderly custody—had been defeated, but their physical control was more secure than before. A number of participants, in the judgment of the umpires, were near serious emotional shock. There seemed to them to be real danger in allowing the experiment to run further. In any case it appeared already to have come to a complete halt, with the surviving defenders dazed and incapable of further sustained action. After thirty-one hours, the exercise was terminated at 10:05 p.m., Wednesday, August 4.
It required several days, sensitively programmed by the institute’s leaders, for participants to “de-compress” back to emotional and intellectual equilibrium. Gradually the main elements of the disaster took shape. The area of agreement was remarkably large for a situation in which whole value systems had been put in collision. Although there was considerable expression of guilt and self-accusation and some blaming of external factors, such as ground rules, no tendency to set up scapegoats was noted by the observers.
In the initial three sections of this report the events outlined here are set forth in detail. Sections five and six offer analysis of some of the events and relationships developed and exposed during the course of the exercise and some conclusions that may be drawn. It is recognized that neither of these categories is exhausted: the intention is that the reader make his own analysis and draw his own conclusions. In the final section is appended a selection of the more relevant and instructive original materials. Those wishing to inspect the entire corpus of materials from the experiment will find it in the Swarthmore Peace Collection, Swarthmore College.
Narrative of the Pre-Exercise Institute
The 1965 Grindstone Island Institute in Nonviolence convened on the evening of Friday, July 30, with about 30 adults and six children. This group represented a wide range of background and interests, with its principal common characteristic an interest in nonviolence sufficient to justify spending a long week in study of its theory, practice and applicability. The group included 14 students or student-age activists in the peace and civil rights movements; ten mature women, housewives, teachers, community workers; seven mature men, teachers, industrial workers, “old pro’s” of the peace movement; and children ranging in age from 2 to 15 years. The range of political views was representative of that encountered in the social concern movement in general. A number of Quakers were present, but also atheists, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, all of whom were close to and sympathetic with the Quaker ethos. The levels of knowledge and experience in nonviolence ranged from initiate through dilettante to professional. See Appendix 12.
The group assembled with the expectation of a relatively conventional summer institute that would almost certainly include some role-playing. [See article, ‘Socio-Drama and Role-Playing’.] Other than the planning committee of six people (three of whom later were designated umpires) no attenders had any knowledge of the particular exercise that had been planned. It was known that the institute would focus on nonviolent defense of a community against an alien tyranny, i.e., civilian defense. [See article, ‘Nonviolence and Civilian Defense’.] The early, conventional parts of the institute dealt with questions of nonviolent direct action, of civilian defense, and of their inter-relations by means of the usual methods of resource persons in informational sessions, and by small group workshops.
At the close of the Sunday evening meeting, after two days of conventional institute approaches to the questions of nonviolence and civilian defense, the steering committee announced an extended role-playing exercise. The scenario was read See Appendix 1, copies were distributed to each participant, and the content, meaning and implications of the scenario were carefully explained. Particular emphasis was placed on defining the aims of the defending group within a short time limit; that is “…two days before it was to have broken up and sent people home, the Unionists have decided to deal with whatever problems that might be presented by the Grindstone group.” General ground rules for the exercise were laid out [See article, ‘The Ground Rules’] and factual questions concerning these rules and the scenario were answered. The group was requested to defer discussion until the following day, leaving an overnight opportunity for careful, individual thought about the exercise and its implications. It was stated clearly that the exercise was on at the moment of disclosure and would remain on continuously until the umpires called it off.
Despite this request, about eight younger members of the defending community spent most of that night in discussion of the situation suddenly thrust on the group. This discussion centered in large part on examination of the rules, and was marked by overtones of criticism and reaction against the necessary arbitrariness of some of the umpires’ (and planning committee’s) decisions. Led and dominated by one young activist with considerable experience, this “rump session” produced a list of possible tactical approaches to the problem of community defense, intending to present this list to the whole group the following morning.
The Grindstone Island group—which promptly began referring to itself as a “community” [See article, ‘The Question of Community’]—assembled at about 9:00 a.m. in plenary session for its first discussions of possible responses to the imminence of outside interference with its study program on nonviolence and civilian defense. The spirit of the group was one of considerable excitement, without much sense of tension. The early stages of the meeting were confused, in part because of the chairman’s lack of experience and in part due to the strong urge to vocal participation felt by most of the group. The chairman, a young woman student with limited experience in direct action, asked to have an “assistant chairman” to help control the meeting. One of the older pacifist-actionists was delegated to this chore; he accepted only with the proviso that he not be excluded from participation in the discussions. This bifurcated chairmanship worked poorly throughout the morning session and was abandoned in subsequent meetings.
After the initial confusion, the meeting first decided to outline an agenda which would then govern the remainder of this and subsequent sessions. This plan introduced some coherence into the discussions. But the list of items for discussion became inordinately long and, after early efforts to group items into categories of “strategy,” “tactics,” “principles,” and “goals” the agenda degenerated into a catch-all of unclassified items plagued by redundancy, extreme detail, ambiguity and sweeping generality. The list of tactical suggestions prepared by the previous night’s rump session was introduced into the already unwieldy list, its advocates having joined the plenary session quite late.
Just before the mid-morning tea break the group delegated a committee of three, including two older pacifist-actionists and one young anarchist2 to draw up, from the welter of suggested items, an organized, coherent agenda for subsequent discussions. [See article, ‘Defender Committees’]
The discussion resumed after the break with an examination of the proposed agenda brought in by the subcommittee. Considerable time was spent in argument over the proper order for considering the different classes of questions. The most coherent point of view expressed in this argument held that it was necessary to reach agreement on the over-riding goals of the community before any meaningful discussion could be undertaken of the questions of strategy, tactics, or community organizational structure. Others argued that the primary need was to establish an organizational structure within which the group could operate; that this structure was needed immediately; and that without such a structure, the group could not adequately deal with the other major questions during the preparatory stage, to say nothing of dealing with an invasion. A third faction argued that the community did not need any organizational structure; that, indeed, an organizational structure would be harmful, destructive and possibly hazardous in the event of outside invasion or interference with the conference. Superimposed on this three-way argument was a steadily repeated interjection of minor, sometimes totally trivial, tactical comments and recommendations. [See article, ‘Decision-Making Among the Defenders’.] This three-way clash of viewpoints was formally, though superficially, resolved into a simple two-way split by the group finally giving formal agreement to a set of “goals” of the community:
“The entire group will continue the study of nonviolence and civilian defense and maintain itself as a community. This community will be open to all who are willing to join us. We will be guided by a concern for common humanity and will relate directly to the current North American Situation and to the World Situation, using openness and truth and nonviolence.”
Having attempted to dispose of the question of over-all goals without ever having achieved a consensus based on understanding and commitment, the group then turned to an intense, highly charged, but incoherent discussion of the question of community organizational structure. During this discussion, which lasted well over an hour without any resolution, a division of the group became apparent which affected its behavior throughout the exercise. This division of structured vs. unstructured approach, or “authoritarian” vs. “non-authoritarian,” as some saw it, was drawn roughly on the basis of age: the older, and in most cases more experienced, members of the community tended to argue that a meaningful group approach to the impending crisis could only be achieved by some degree of delegation of authority and acceptance of a concomitant degree of restriction of personal individualism. The younger members argued equally intensely and equally tenaciously that this simply erected a self-imposed tyranny in an attempt to avoid an alien tyranny; that the whole point of nonviolence lay in the fostering of individual freedom. Furthermore, it is sufficient that they all act nonviolently; then an effective group response would inevitably follow. Finally, any delegation of authority would simply put those authority figures in jeopardy when the Unionists arrived, offering the invaders a convenient handle by which to control the group. The deep emotional feelings of tension, and uncertainty which dominated the mood of the group until the final denouement were generated and made tangible during this session. The Monday morning session clearly established that the group was unable to agree on any type of structured approach to the problems it faced. This situation—later described by one of the older “authoritarians” as “nonviolently every man for himself”—came about not by any clear agreement on an unstructured. approach but rather by the clear refusal by many to agree to any alternative.
The group did manage to achieve two actions, both a form of delegation of authority. The more significant act was the establishment of an “ad hoc program committee” (later referred to as the ad hoc committee) which was given a very vague mandate, hedged with a number of restrictions. It was dampened by a clear threat to dissolve it at any time, but at the same time encouraged by the great ambiguity as to its purpose or limitations. This action was nullified by a temporary refusal of the group to name the members of the committee. (The ad hoc committee was designated later that evening and functioned intermittently throughout the exercise.) [See article, ‘Defender Committees’.]
The second act of delegation by the plenary group was an attempt to resolve a minor, heated and perhaps unresolvable discussion about the propriety of breaking laws either openly or covertly if in the opinion of the individual the act would help to maintain the community. A committee of three, including two young individualists and one older structuralist, met but were unable to reach agreement on a report to the plenary session and was never heard from again.
Scattered throughout the Monday morning discussions were many references to and some serious consideration of individual tactical matters. These ranged from consideration of schemes to disrupt the water and electrical supply systems and other specific acts of sabotage through specific tactical plans for greeting any unexpected visitors to Grindstone Island, to proposals for using the Gandhian “haunt,” social boycott and Schweikian non-cooperation techniques in dealing with an imposed bureaucracy. None of these suggestions or discussions were pursued to anything approaching group agreement.
Without any expressed decision and apparently simply from force of habit, the group held to the relaxed pre-scenario schedule, despite the imminence of invasion and the growing sense of urgency. The post-lunch free time period was spent in recreational activities and in considerable small group, informal discussions which did not appear either to lessen the steadily growing tension or to bridge the clear division of views within the group as a whole.
The next regular meeting was convened at 4:30 by the new chairman who was a young male actionist with considerable experience in both peace and civil rights education and demonstrations. He was clearly representative of the “unstructured” camp. The discussion of tactics immediately resumed; it made no more progress than in the previous session and produced still further confusion and tension. The lines of division were drawn even more clearly and no sign of re-solution appeared. In addition to tactics, the group considered principles. There was general agreement that success in dealing with an invasion depended on taking the initiative and maintaining it wherever possible. But no concrete strategic or tactical implementation was considered. There was considerable discussion of nonviolence as a principle, but again the system of recognizing speakers strictly according to priority of asking for the floor prevented a coherent discussion. A major part of this period was focussed on the question of “truth and openness,”3 a theme which dominated much of the thinking and discussion of the group throughout the exercise. [See article, ‘Obsessive Themes of Defenders’ Discussions’] While there was virtual unanimity that truth and openness were necessary and central parts of non-violence, there was great uncertainty as to how and to what degree they could in fact be practiced in the harsh situation of real oppression.
Early in this meeting the group managed to sandwich two decisions into the discussion of tactics. They agreed to create three regional sub-groups, dividing the community according to natural geographic distribution of sleeping accommodations. These groups were to prepare themselves to act autonomously in case the larger community broke down. It was also agreed to create a “housekeeping committee,” with responsibility for locating extra blankets, water containers, flashlights, etc. and distributing them to the three regional sub-groups for emergency use. Even this delegation of responsibility was accomplished only after extended debate. Also during this meeting, which progressed from a state of mild tension and uncertainty to one of total chaos clouded with open hostility, another committee, called simply the “emergency committee,” was set up. But the group failed to agree on its membership and the committee never functioned.
The nature of the tactical discussion is indicated by the minute taker’s outline of the topics covered:
- Children may be used spontaneously to break down barriers or in highly defined situations with their parents’ consent.
- Conversion of ‘visitors’ second priority to preserving our community.
- Fraternization—general principle
- - to relate humanly
- - cut down violence, etc.
- - conversion
- Social boycott—by group decision
- - used to disconcert
- - express moral condemnation
- Initial confrontation
- - informal
- - flexible according to advance notice
- - ad hoc committee to plan a confrontation later.”
The last half hour of this Monday afternoon meeting epitomized the tense, chaotic, dissension-ridden state of the defenders’ group. The discussion had touched upon a number of important points of strategic approach and guiding principle as well as possible detailed tactics; in a few instances the group had been on the verge of making substantive decisions. But at each crucial stage the forces of “participatory democracy”4 effectively blocked any clear expression of group will. The principles never became clearly articulated because they were smothered in interminable discussion; no conclusions were ever made because no topic ever was concluded; the strategies were incoherent because the discussion was incoherent; no tactic was implemented because agreement could not be reached. In the few instances where decision was achieved, implementation was blocked by the same tyranny of participatory democracy. [See article, ‘Decision-Making Among the Defenders’.] As time dwindled in fruitless discussion and the dinner hour approached, the mood of the group became desperate and the chairman lost control completely. There was a general sense of complete unpreparedness for an impending but unknown crisis and extreme frustration at the group’s inability to deal with the most rudimentary problems. Throughout the meeting the chairman had failed to control the anarchism of the young “unstructureds.” Suddenly, as the dinner bell was about to be rung, he began to take arbitrary, unilateral actions. Without attempt at ratification by the group, he tried to nominate members of the emergency committee and to state as group decisions his own opinion as to what the committee should do. He also tried to get quick agreement on several issues that had been controversial throughout the afternoon. He was shouted down and the meeting ended at a quarter past six by the members simply walking away to dinner.
The evening meal and a brief recreational period served in part to cool the feelings of most members of the group. Also, regional sub-group meetings, before the plenary session, were composed of smaller and more manageable numbers and served as a strong rationalizing influence. One group spent the hour of its meeting time exploring such items as an intricate means of escape from the main lodge building. They experimented with the possibility of communicating among the buildings by tapping on the plumbing pipes—and also explored for, found and prepared a cubby-hole which might be used for hiding a person. Another group happened to include all of the children (six ranging in age from 2 to 15 years). This group spent a good deal of time explaining to the children the situation to be anticipated and including them in the planning. Several tactical considerations involving the children were quickly agreed upon. These included naming of foster parents in case of loss of true parents and the delegation of messenger duties to the younger children. The 15-year-old was elected liaison person for this sub-group. All three groups nominated such liaison persons, each of whom would function as convenor of his sub-group in case of necessity and also function in other ways to be designated by the plenary group.
Immediately after the conclusion of the regional sub-group meetings at 9:00 p.m. the whole group met in plenary session in the main lodge, under the chairmanship of an experienced older person. A curious, unscheduled and unprogrammed activity occupied the first hour and dominated the remainder of the Monday evening meeting. It established a personalist tone and revived the schism of the afternoon, now partly healed. As the whole group was assembling in the main lodge, one of the dominant young anarcho-activists was leading a group of half-a-dozen other young people in a role-playing exercise. The theme of this demonstration was various tactical approaches that might be used in dealing with various hypothetical threats posed by an invading group. The role-players were extremely effective at holding the interest of spectators, but their actions, while relevant to an occupation situation, were tangential to the major problems faced by the defenders’ group.
Despite some protest voiced by a few of the older “structurists” and some efforts of the chairman to begin the planned meeting, the tactical demonstration continued until almost ten o’clock. The weakness of the efforts to assert even this minimal level of structure that the group had agreed to and had heretofore operated under was in large part due simply to the spectator interest-value of the proceedings. But a second major factor, which seriously affected all relationships within the group and its meetings, was the exaggerated reluctance of the Quaker-oriented types to express what they perceived as personal views that seemed to be in opposition to group views or the views of a significant number.
After the role-playing demonstration was finally concluded, another quarter of an hour was spent in evaluative discussion. Thus the meeting, which was viewed by many of the participants as the final opportunity to plan a defense of the community, was convened some time after 10:00 p.m., less than an hour before the agreed adjournment time. Some efforts were made to deal with the larger issues but these ran counter to the mood of the group and the discussion reverted to a continued consideration of tactical approaches. This tactical discussion was not concluded that evening and was finally put off for completion—hopefully—the following morning. The meeting also appointed the members of the ad hoc committee and instructed them to be prepared to report at the beginning of the next morning’s meeting. Some members asked for reports from the regional groups and for the disclosure of the names of the three regional coordinators. These requests were refused by the group; on the ground that public disclosure might place the co-ordinators in jeopardy, the group explicitly refused to allow the naming of the coordinators and also explicitly refused to allow any disclosure of the deliberations of the regional groups. The meeting did instruct the three regional liaison persons to meet privately after the plenary session and discuss among themselves any necessary aspects of coordination. This meeting of liaison persons proved impossible because one coordinator was a 15 year old child who had long since gone to bed.
At some time after 11:15 the meeting disintegrated, some members leaving in a state of exhaustion, others for a midnight swim, others doing assigned chores, and a few joining small groups in discussion of personal concerns. One such group continued late into the night in a resumption of the discussion of the breaking of laws in the context of attempt to maintain community. The housekeeping committee distributed the emergency supplies, gathered earlier in the day, to individuals who took them to their living quarters.
The ad hoc committee convened at about 11:30 p.m. for consideration of the agenda items delegated to it in the morning meeting plus a host of tactical questions that had hardly been defined by the plenary meeting but had been passed on to this committee. The meeting went on quite late and was resumed at 7:00 the following morning and continued through breakfast up to the convening of the Tuesday morning meeting.
Narrative of the Exercise
On Tuesday morning the regular institute schedule was maintained, with the same experienced chairman presiding. One participant opened the meeting with a plea for decision now on basic defense strategy: whether “pure” nonviolence or a resistance movement. Though she was supported by some, it was agreed instead to hear the report of the previously-appointed ad hoc committee. This report fell into two main divisions: first, recommendations for emergency measures to be followed should Unionist forces arrive before the next scheduled meeting; and second, proposals for a regular program to be conducted from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday. These latter included role-playing sessions, a musicale, a film, a discussion of civilian defense and world community, plus information sessions on Canadian problems and on nonviolent training programs being undertaken in the United States. [See Appendix 4 for text.] This report implicitly ignored the scenario-stated goal for the “defenders” of leaving the island within two days.
It was immediately objected that in proposing emergency measures the committee had far exceeded its writ. After discussion5 it was agreed to accept the institute program recommendations and to mimeograph these for distribution, but to debate emergency plans. The committee had recommended selection by itself of a delegation to meet the expected Unionists at the dock, sounding the fog horn as a signal of their arrival, designation of the ad hoc committee as an emergency decision-making body if the Unionists arrived while the defenders were in session, naming of the three “geographical” group coordinators plus the sitting chairman to act for the island if the Unionists arrived while the defenders were out of session, allowing the ad hoc group to name its own successors and empowering the geographical groups to carry on the institute program and resistance action if the defenders were prevented from meeting in plenum.
Discussion focussed on those sections of the report dealing with what should be done in the next six hours. This discussion itself required two hours, the group first agreeing that these debated recommendations would become operative if the Unionists arrived while the discussion of alternatives was still in progress. Questions of principle as well as psychological impact were raised in connection with the proposal to sound the fog horn, ultimately scrapped in favor of word-of-mouth. The question of a greeting delegation was resolved by opening it to everyone. But this brought once again into view the question of structure vs. no-structure. At length, with lunch impending, and with no consensus near, one determined proponent of no-structure proposed that a single person or a tight committee be empowered to conduct the island defense and make all necessary decisions. Others objected that the no-structure or participatory democracy group had blocked all substantive decisions on strategy and tactics up to the present time and that it was now too late to switch over to another framework of action; concession now by the no-structure group was “hollow.” The only other decision reached empowered the chairman of each meeting to select his own successor. The meeting closed inconclusively.
After lunch, committees and informal groups met briefly. By 2:00 p.m. people were wandering restlessly, waiting for something to happen. At 2:20 a sensation was created when a large launch swept by the island at close range. Tension began to build still further.
At precisely 3:00 p.m. a Unionist launch touched the main dock. Six uniformed men, fully armed and loaded with gear, sprang ashore. Ignoring for the most part random questions and comments, they made directly for the main lodge. Within minutes they had begun to seal off and otherwise secure various connected rooms and corridors. This was completed by 3:30 p.m. At 3:15 several defenders had entered the security zone and had attempted to ask questions and. register protests. They were told that explanations would be provided during the evening and that they must leave the area at once. When the defenders delayed, the Unionist troops slipped on gas masks and threatened the use of a disabling agent See Appendix 3. whereupon the defender group left the security zone. The whole incident took 7 minutes.
By 3:10 an informal meeting of defenders had begun. Amid the signs going up and the sounds of hammering, the defenders suggested, variously, a coffee break, volleyball and committee reports. Information was volunteered about Unionist uniforms and numbers (12). The protest group made its foray. Complaints were voiced about the ineffectiveness of the defender response to Unionist manners and actions. Twelve other defenders continued to play volleyball for another half hour.
At 3:30 the Unionists posted and distributed Proclamation #1 [See Appendix 2.] addressed to “Pacifists:” stating that the islanders were in custody indefinitely and that, as food supplies in the war zone were limited, ration cards would be issued at the Unionist office between 4:00-5:00 p.m. The document also asked the defenders “to contain all aggressive, unruly and irresponsible elements in your group.” In the main lodge the Unionist proclamation-poster was pleasant and responsive to defender probing, but did not offer further information.
Defenders rang a bell and convened a plenary session at 3:40, with 26 defenders present. No one disputed the statement that the defenders had lost the initiative. It was immediately proposed that no ration cards be accepted. Others called for concrete information and the story was related of the security zone confrontation. A chemist in the defending group explained the effect of various gasses. Individual participants told of making ineffective protests that remained unsupported. “I tried to challenge them, but nobody helped, so went swimming,” complained one defender. Others responded by pointing to the prior lack of agreement on a strategy for receiving the Unionists.
As time moved toward the 5:00 p.m. deadline for ration card applications, discussion finally returned to that question. It was agreed quickly that no ration cards should be applied for and that all proclamations should be handed back unread. Some participants stated that they would read proclamations. The suggestion was rejected of sending a delegation to the Unionists with the defender decisions; action should be by individuals. Twice the question was raised of persons, e.g., mothers with children, who might feel obliged to accept ration cards. Only tacit acceptance of this position was noted. Immediately thereafter, participants began to make protests to the Unionist clerk or, in the case of children, to fill out the complex form necessary to obtain a ration card. The clerk was patient and noncommittal with both approaches. The protesters tended to frame their statements in ritualistic pacifist protest language, then to have nothing more to say, no matter how long they lingered at the gate.
The whole group now met in full sight and hearing of the Unionists and engaged in various role-playing exercises which actually on physical techniques of resistance/non-resistance—including “going limp,” absorbing a beating while protecting head and genitals, how to keep a meeting going under conditions of vigorous harassment. The Unionist commander observed during the latter, “The Fools—they’re disturbing their own meeting because we won’t.” The meeting was characterized by nervous laughter and wry comments about turning defender disorganization into a positive tactic. The defenders determined just before dinnertime not to force a physical test of strength at this time but to attempt to wear down the Unionists at the dining hall through the use of relays of persons attempting gently to enter the dining hall. At this time, Proclamation #2 was issued, inviting written applications to the Unionist commander for personal interviews. [See Appendix 2 for text.] This proclamation was burned by the defenders.
The six umpires had had little to do but observe during the afternoon’s action. One had been with the Unionists continuously from their arrival in Portland, mainland supply base for the island. Others had monitored various groups of defenders and observed the initial contacts. Actual rulings were trivial: e.g., that a roped-off hallway was actually completely sealed with timbers. As dinnertime arrived, some umpires found themselves unwilling to eat. In general this was traceable to identification with the defenders and to a reluctance to eat under the eyes of the non-eating defenders.
After a brief colloquy at the dining room door, non-ration-card holders were turned back peaceably. Children and one mother (who did not eat) were passed through and ate without incident. The eldest child subsequently decided to fast with the defenders. After relays of would-be eaters had continued to approach the dining room door, it was locked by the Unionists. The defenders then set up a “vigil” outside. A number of participants seemed unfamiliar with this pacifist-action technique and so were neither silent nor attentive during this period. Those well versed in this sort of action found the occasion deeply moving.
Midway through dinner, one defender motioned to a child inside to raise a window and let her in. This was done. After being refused a meal and berating the cook, she attempted vainly to pass a plate of cookies and buns outside. After some minutes she was apprehended, went limp, and was gently deposited outside another door. Another child then attempted to open the main door but was frightened off by a vigorous display of baton on the part of the Unionist security chief. Children filed out without incident after the meal. The defender vigil ended with the singing of “We Shall Overcome.” There were indications of tension due to frustration, loss of dinner and the continued prospect of no food. The stipulated-neutral kitchen staff was soundly scolded by some defenders for “helping the invaders.” During the meal, Proclamation #3 [See Appendix 2 for text.] was issued by the Unionists. This document linked performance of “productive labour” and winterizing of the island to the ration card system as a means of obtaining food. Parents guilty of nonsupport of their children would lose custody of them and ultimately such children would be sent to the mainland to foster homes.
(#Heading17). Tuesday Evening
Before the evening meeting a group of younger defenders engaged the Unionist clerk, one of their contemporaries, in an extended conversation. The Unionist log [See Appendix 9.] commented: “Pacifists approached adm. sec. and engaged him in conversation about the legality of the Unionist presence. This topic seems important to the pacifists.”
It had been falsely assumed at the start of the defenders’ 8:00 p.m. meeting that an invitation to the Unionist commander to appear at 8:00 had been accepted. Discussion was mixed. One defender believed people were “dropping out of role.” Another commented on Proclamation #3, but was ignored, since defender strategy was to refuse proclamations and insist upon personal confrontation and discussion. Others commented that the Unionists had shown themselves untrustworthy by not appearing at 8:00 p.m. as promised. At 8:30 Proclamation #4 was posted, stating that after September 1, people would be free to leave the island under the following conditions: males of military age could volunteer for the Unionist army; females could join the Unionist Peace Corps; and others could apply for re-settlement in “suitable areas of the United States” upon agreement to report daily to local police officials. It noted that the commander would be present at 9:00 to discuss the contents of this and other proclamations. This too was not read by the defenders. The Unionist proclamation-poster remained in the meeting, refusing insistent offers of a chair, etc. Topical songs from the civil rights movement were sung, suitably altered: “If you don’t find me in the ration card line….”
At 9:00 p.m. the Unionist commander entered, flanked by his security chief. The defender then speaking did not acknowledge his presence and, upon concluding, suggested more singing. The chairman then noted the Unionists’ presence and the commander stated that he was present to discuss procedural points of the proclamations, noting that to ignore them would only produce hardship. He was interrupted and asked to introduce himself and his associate. He did and was stopped again and requested to do the same for the rest of his staff, standing in another doorway. Again he complied. Other interruptions were stopped by a defender who urged common politeness upon the defenders. The commander then presented the main points of the situation as the Unionists saw it and pointed out that this situation was much preferable to jail or the uncertainties of life as a fugitive in a war zone. A British defender delivered a diplomatic but forthright protest, condemning the Unionist policy of communication by fiat and requesting recognition of the community as responsible people able to order their own affairs.
From this point on the discussion was swift and vigorous, but always dominated by the Unionist commander’s calm air of reason and understated position and demeanor. [For a transcript of this discussion, see Appendix 10.] This disarming approach produced evidence in the defenders of great frustration; one announced that he was embarking upon a total fast, including water. After nearly an hour, the Unionists left. During the coffee break, one of the kitchen staff was discovered to have provided the defenders with kitchen equipment. This aroused great momentary anxiety on the part of one Unionist, who indicated that the kitchen helper was now banned from the security zone. This was later countermanded.
After the coffee break, it was asked, “Where do we stand?” One defender summed up to the effect that they had had freedom, a conference and community. They had lost the first two and the third was imperiled. He proposed that the first two could be regained in some measure through non-cooperation; mere inaction on the third, however, could kill the group. He confessed that he had no plan but to be aggressive. Another reminded the group that the Unionist commander had stated he expected in the end that nonviolent ideology would fall away and the “pacifists” would behave like anyone else. This defender counseled complete non-cooperation as the best way to give this the lie, even though a few might have to give in—those with children. Others suggested that defender non-co-operation and the attendant suffering would give the Unionists a black mark with their superiors and possibly with the world at large, thus bringing pressure for release of the defenders. The commander had agreed to forward all protests to governments, the UN and the Red Cross.
One participant urged strongly that it was in the interests of the defenders to winterize the island and grow food, but that this should be done as part of the defender program, on defender terms. This drew sharp dissent, at least one defender stating that such collaboration should be prevented through nonviolent obstruction techniques. Another wondered whether any of this would be possible for long if the defenders continued not to eat. Food-finding was then discussed: nuts, berries, apples. It was questioned whether this constituted a concession to the Unionists. A parent who wondered whether she would be too weak to care for her children was counseled to fish. The meeting concluded with a decision to issue a community bulletin, using a typewriter commandeered by the Unionists and a mimeograph stipulated as having been brought by the Unionists.
Meanwhile the Unionists had already agreed among themselves to relinquish the typewriter on request and to run off any bulletin. During the night, the bulletin group demanded entrance to the security zone, forced their way into the room where the office machinery was kept, asserted a claim to the typewriter and stated that they would produce the bulletin in that room. After a scuffle in which no weapons were used the defenders were ejected, telling the Unionists they might later break down the door. The Unionists placed the typewriter and supplies in the main meeting room. The bulletin group then brought it back to the security zone door. Later they retrieved it and informed the Unionists that no attempt would be made on the door. No bulletin was in fact produced that night. Action for the day ended with desultory conversation about moral responsibility between the bulletin group and a Unionist sentry patrolling the building. Time: 3:00 a.m.
The breakfast vigil began with three participants and ultimately reached a total of eight. The post-breakfast meditation period was attended by at least a dozen defenders, up from two the morning before.
After hearing a report on the typewriter incident, the morning discussion focussed, inevitably, on food. One defender wanted a list of fasters, as distinguished from those who were simply unable to obtain food. Others observed that fasting has its role, but that the group would be here for months.
At this point the Unionist commander appeared at the meeting and announced that, in honor of the birthday of the great American Negro scientist, George Washington Carver, a free meal would be served at 6:00 p.m., with no ration or work cards required. Some defenders saw the Carver Day dinner as an opportunity to open up genuine communication with the Unionists. They sought and received permission to turn the meal into a picnic, whose main purpose was fraternization. But others, more troubled over the Unionists’ continuing ability to set the pace, tone and circumstances of island life, more frustrated over the failure of standard nonviolent tactics to change this situation, reacted with greater vigor. Also, after his announcement of the free meal the Unionist commander had commented on the typewriter incident, warning the defenders not to provoke reprisals, that this would only harm the defenders’ community. He was immediately challenged by the assertion that the Unionists were weak; they numbered only six, while the defenders were over thirty; was the Unionist regime weak or over-extended, to send only six—and these holed up in a few little rooms? The commander was warned that his men could be picked off one at a time, nonviolently. The battle lines, it was said, were clear: nonviolent power against the power of the gadget. The Unionist commander replied, “Extend such a challenge and we’ll accept it,” and left.
Subsequent discussion in the defending group moved directly to questions relating to the Carver Day cook-out—it was not in fact Carver’s birthday—and to a number of tactical proposals that had emerged overnight. Many of these latter were addressed to the umpires, who became convinced. that the defenders were seeking illegitimate short-cuts to policy and practical decisions. The umpires referred the defenders to a study of the posted ground rules and stated that anything not covered there was “subject to play” and adjudicable only then. A strategy committee was appointed and told to bring in a report during the afternoon session. This group began to meet immediately. [See article, ‘Decision-Making Among the Defenders’.]
At this point the Unionists also requested guidance from the umpires. They had become increasingly disturbed over the clear sympathy for the defenders shown by the teenage kitchen staff. Though theft of unserved food was forbidden by the ground rules, the kitchen helpers had passed out utensils and had made no secret of their sympathies. Apparently the aggressive responses encountered among the defenders after the proclamation of Carver Day had increased significantly the latent security anxieties of the Unionists. They now requested the umpires to declare the kitchen helpers permanently neutral, like the cook, or to declare them defenders. Here too the umpires referred the Unionists to the ground rules and stated that the request did not call for an umpires’ decision. This led to prolonged discussion among the Unionists: could they serve the food themselves, could they remove the dining room itself from the security zone? During this period, the island-to-shore communications system, housed in the dining room, was removed to Unionist headquarters and subsequently destroyed. Using their own communications equipment, the Unionists radioed to shore, requesting a tow to shore for all island boats. This removal was accomplished by 11:30 a.m.
Shortly after noon, a Unionist soldier announced to the defenders, meeting away from the main lodge, that an announcement would be made at 12:20 in the main lodge. There was marked reluctance to seem to be dancing attendance on the Unionists, and the messenger was asked to request the commander to come to the defenders’ meeting.
He appeared at 12:20 and read Proclamation#6 See Appendix 2. returning to the “pacifists” control over the distribution of existing food supplies on the island. The Unionists would maintain themselves on their own rations. Restocking of food once consumed by the islanders would be contingent upon compliance with the terms of Proclamations #1-4. He noted that this in no way changed basic conditions; it merely postponed, if the pacifists wished, the day on which they would have to face reality. As he noted in the log, “The only alternatives are starvation and exposure.”
Reaction to the announcement varied widely. One defender wished to set up a joint defender-Unionist food committee. Another told the commander that defender deaths would be on his head. Rationing was suggested but not subsequently implemented. Others wondered whether the defenders might gain by not eating just yet or whether the proclamation might be a trick of some kind. But the group as a whole agreed to eat and see what happened. The Carver Day cook-out, aimed at fraternization, was scuttled without discussion.
Referring to the events of the morning, the Unionist commander wrote in the log:
“We now feel that we have indicated our position as clearly as possible without inflicting direct physical harm. This appears to be the next step. If the pacifists do not want to fall in with our programme they must, in keeping with their “heroic” stand, sacrifice themselves in a test of physical strength. We are prepared for the first casualties.”
Though a few defenders did not eat, the noon meal itself proceeded without incident. During the washing-up process, however, the defenders discovered that, contrary to pre-exercise practice, the sink formerly used for washing cups and glassware was no longer available, since it fell within the now-shrunken security zone. Viewing this as in some sense a matter of principle, the defender dish crew carried trays of unwashed crockery around the building to the Unionist office window and left them with the clerk. They then requested and received assurances from the umpires that the dirty crockery could not, by the ground rules, be shoved back into the kitchen wash-up area from the security zone. The Unionists washed the crockery, commenting, “If you won’t take care of yourselves, we’ll have to do it for you.” The clean dinnerware was put in a defender meeting area.
During the afternoon, defenders slept, swam, met in committees, talked and planned various tactical forays. Only one of these was actually carried out, after much whispered debate and after understanding—falsely—that the strategy committee had no plans as yet. On the chance that the Unionists had removed the radiophone to the security zone in order to protect it, several defenders undertook to destroy the antenna on a roof just over the security zone.
Arrangements were quickly made to congest stairways innocently and so impede possible Unionist pursuit. Other diversions were prepared and lookouts established. One participant, prominent in the earlier secreting of supplies, actually accomplished the destruction of the antenna, but made sufficient noise to arouse a Unionist security detail. This group, heavily-armed, discovered the sabotage group just as the tools and remnants had been stowed in a box on the ground and as the chief saboteur, in bathing dress, was coming off the roof at a point from which the antenna was not visible to either group. The Unionists had taken a route not covered by any of the diversionary groups. Seeing the Unionists, the descending defender remarked that the sun was gone, so she was coming down. Her confederate with the box stated that he had found just the thing for storing literature. They affected no notice of the Unionists, who at first appeared undecided about what to do and then to be unwilling to chase after the retreating defender group.
Most of the many defenders involved in the operation viewed it as a success [See article, ‘Dynamic Between Unionists and Defenders’]. When official notice of the action was posted on the umpires’ “prevailing conditions” board, the Unionist commander remarked, “Good! We have destroyed it down here and they have destroyed it up there. I hope we can always work together so closely!” But the Unionist log at 4:00 p.m. showed a different impact:
“Pacifists have destroyed antenna for the two-way radio we destroyed at 11:25. We are expecting further acts of sabotage and are taking in water. If power should be cut off we also have provisions. Our radio unit is portable and self-contained. During the antenna incident, our forces were on the alert. When confronted by us, pacifists indicated, without being asked, that they had been sun-bathing on the roof. This is backing us in our mistrust that pacifists will not in fact remain truthful but use methods of deceit. We must consequently view invitations to swim, to attend their meetings, film showing, etc—more than ever before as possible decoys for their real intentions.”
In the late afternoon session it transpired that the strategy committee had been far from inactive. Its intention, following the “fraternization” motif that arose out of the Carver Day proclamation, had been to evolve a total strategy that would provide the defenders with a sense of initiative to replace the mere reaction and confusion that heretofore had characterized defender response. The basic stratagem was to include the Unionists “in”—to treat them as part of the island community. Several means of doing this had been suggested. But during the day, the other dynamic expressed during the morning session, that of direct challenge to the Unionists, began to influence the content of what came to be called the “manifesto.”
This document was read to the defenders in plain hearing of a Unionist detail at work winterizing the security zone. The report, entitled “Strategy for Dealing with Occupation of Grindstone Island and Arrest of Its Occupants,” was presented by the chairman of the strategy committee, an older person greatly respected by the defenders. [See Appendix 6 for text.] It refused to recognize any Unionist rights on the island and repudiated arrest. It set up a zone north of the narrow neck of the island as a free area denied to the Unionists and asserted the intention to communicate from there to a neighboring island. The “manifesto” disarmed the Unionists by decree and declared them subject to the consensus decisions of the island “community.” It fixed charges for rooms occupied by the Unionists and made these payable each day at 7: 00 a.m. It also declared defender intentions to sweep out all areas of the security zone each day, promising to remain at the doors, brooms in hand, until access was permitted. This tactic was characterized in an aside as “smothering them with love.” The document also initiated unspecified “work camping projects.” As a symbol of the defenders’ new initiative, it also stated, “The Community will ring the bell every hour day and night to assert their freedom of action.”
After clarification of minor points, the “manifesto” was accepted with great enthusiasm. Amid the sounds of Unionist target practice with small arms, it was agreed to proceed with full mobilization, to set up a communications system and to move to a 24-hour basis of operations. A dissenting plea was made to consider what was worth protecting by these “exterior methods.” This participant expressed dislike for defending territory, like the Unionists, and for concentrating on “outward symbols.” Her plea went nearly unnoticed and the group now broke into three groups for further preparation.
There had been a brief flurry at the appearance of Unionists before the 5:00 bell was to be rung, but they disappeared and the bell was rung without incident. Later the bell was removed by a Unionist group which then tear-gassed a defender group meeting just outside the security zone. .
Unionist response to defender acceptance of the “manifesto” was noted in the 5:45 log entry:
“Pacifists have met and decided to move part of their operations to an adjoining island, and to establish their own rules and territorial borders. We have concluded that we are con-fronted with an insurrection which has to be thrown down by force. As a show of strength we have taken the bell from the main porch and have busted a pacifist meeting with gas. As part of their programme of reclaiming the island, pacifists intend to ring a bell every hour. Gas incident was last warning as to what will happen if they proceeded with the implementation of their programme. Before the use of gas we made up Proclamation #7 declaring our intent to meet the insurrection in all its manifestations by force and that we will shoot to kill. Proclamation is to be issued at 8:00 p.m.
“No one is to be killed before proclamation has been issued.”
The gas attack seemed not to indicate anything serious to the defenders, and dinner proceeded without incident after the ringing of an improvised gong. Though the first shortages in food supply became apparent at this meal, rationing was still not begun. The gong was rung again at 7:00 p.m.
At 7:10 a delegation headed by the chairman for the evening formally presented the “manifesto” to the Unionists. After leaving, the chairman remembered that as yet no direct representation had been made to the Unionists concerning the gas attack. She assembled several people and they returned to the Unionist office window. The protest included charges of unprovoked brutality, callousness and moral delinquency. The group then, with every show of friendliness, invited the Unionists to participate in the evening meeting. When the Unionists continued to remain unresponsive, one defender remarked loudly that no more could be expected from such childish people; they should be left alone to their own little games. The 7:25 Unionist log entry remarked:
“Some Unionists detected strong signs of aggressive condescension in the pacifist presentation and are strengthened in their resolve to meet insurrection and harassment in future by force and shooting to kill.”
Just after the ringing of the gong at 8:00, the evening defenders’ meeting convened. The Unionist commander and the security officer entered the meeting and read Proclamation #7:
“On the basis of the pacifist decision to ignore the rightful authority of the Unionist government and to usurp power, we have decided to meet the pacifist insurrection by force. From now on, the administration will meet any harassment by shooting to kill.”
They left, trailing behind them a number of defenders repeating questions. It was some minutes before the chairman was able to reconvene the meeting. Various suggestions were put forward as the next agenda item. Singing of defiant freedom songs was begun by some. At length the chairman called for committee reports. A sign was agreed upon to mark the new free area of the north end. The defenders agreed to march around the main building singing songs before each meal. Shifts were quickly designated for bell-ringing and sweeping out the security zone. Labor assignments were made for the work projects now disclosed. As in the afternoon meeting, there was no dissent from this method of assigning duties.
The chairman now proposed to show movies, but this was shouted down in favor of more reports. The gas attack delegation told of its “witness,” relating how the Unionists had remained silent. After fifteen minutes, they had “left it with a dilemma on their hearts and their consciences.” A small child had been involved in the gassing and two participants cautioned the delegation about playing unduly upon this angle.
Finally the group’s attention was directed by one member to the implications of Proclamation #7. At once the defenders began to discuss whether it constituted a threat or a bluff, whether one person should make the test by ringing the 9:00 bell or whether there should be a mass confrontation. Here questions were raised about the goal of such a protest. At least one participant saw the impending confrontation in terms of escalation. Another stated that there was no reason, given our goal of leaving, to risk all being shot. Then the discussion shifted back to how many should go out at 9:00. It was agreed that someone must; not to ring the bell would be to give in. The discussion continued over the possible effect and the amount of information to be gained if one, ten or all went out. The last speaker proposed that one should go; then, if he were shot, a small group should go out at 10:00. With no resolution in sight, but with the clock indicating 9:00, the previously designated bell-ringer went out, followed by one other defender.
The bell-ringer raised his gong and began to beat the strokes. A Unionist security detail emerged from the security zone. Quite calmly the security officer shot the bell-ringer, then tear gas bombs were thrown at the entrances of the meeting room and at the bell-ringer’s companion. The defenders apparently remained unaware that the bell-ringer had been killed. No one attempted to call through the gas or find another exit. Some sang “We Shall Overcome.” Finally, after the gas had dissipated, the bell-ringer’s gassed companion staggered inside and reported what had happened. Two women and a man came out, carried the body into a hall and covered it with a blanket.
One defender came out and remained for some time on the steps, head in hands. The chairman called for a memorial service. Others ignored this and discussion was resumed about what to do at 10:00. This continued without clear direction. The projectionist offered to proceed: “The film that I have on here is a very enjoyable film; it would tend to break the tension.” This met with no positive response, but another defender urged that they go on with the planned program. Others talked, without a clear sequence of expression, about the next deadline. One defender again asked for a memorial service and burial, after which, he said, he would go out to ring the bell, urging others to go with him. Another suggested that the Unionists’ doors be blocked during this action by six at each door. If the Unionists climbed over the defenders, they should go in and take possession of the security zone.
It was then pointed out that the 9:00 bell-ringer had gone out to find whether the Unionists “meant business “—and had found out. What was now faced was the prospect of mass suicide, itself an act of violence. To this was objected the thought that if the group failed to respond at 10:00, “…then we would have nothing else to lose. They’ve got us all.” This was supported but led to further disjointed comment. It was then asked whether martyrdom in another 35 minutes was the most meaningful act the group could do; this would end all chances to change the world or any part of it away from this beastly fact. At this point one participant quietly prepared a brief account of what had happened, intending to slip it under a rug if a mass confrontation took place at 10:00, so that some record for someone might exist. [See Appendix 7 for text].
Now several older participants spoke openly of a confrontation ending in mass murder, but expressing the hope that the Unionists might not in fact do this. Another noted that the Unionist goal was not this sort of confrontation. Another pleaded for some way to communicate with the Unionists. At this point the 9:00 bell-ringer’s widow, who had gone unremarked in the whole discussion, came outside to several umpires in great agitation and tears. At several earlier meetings she had counseled against a collision course over rights, face and territory and had urged a constructive response. Because this would have—or would seem to have—broken the stance of total resistance, she had been ignored. Now she felt she must put her whole being into a last appeal to the defenders, but was afraid that they would discount her tears and her message as merely the outpourings of the widow. The umpires were personally supportive but refused to make her decision. After a time she went in and, under a great weight of emotion, poured forth her message.
A reflective mood settled over the group, the participants variously taken aback, abashed or deeply moved. At length, one participant characterized the tactics used so far as “Young men’s tricks”—not helpful and not really nonviolent. Yet no one had disagreed, she said; still there had been no love involved.
As the silence deepened and soft weeping could be heard in several places, another mature participant pleaded, without actually addressing them, for the umpires to terminate the exercise. The lesson had been learned, he said, and for some, great psychological harm might result if it went on.
The umpires convened and agreed not to close the exercise; most differed from the evaluation just expressed and some feared a backfire if it were stopped, or seemed to be, on the plea of a respected but cautious leader. One umpire believed that several of the more emotional persons had already gone through the worst and would soon be able to carry on. She was asked to verify this and, in case of doubt, to remove them from the exercise.
By this time all those in the meeting room appeared to be in the grip of deep emotion. The respected elder, believing correctly that the umpires’ lack of immediate intervention meant that the action would not be stopped, had not pressed the matter. At about 9:50, one of the heretofore most vigorous supporters of the “heroic” stance described her own rigidity and lack of nonviolence, her artificiality when confronting the Unionists. She asked that “we dispose with this bell-ringing at 10 o’clock. At least at 10 o’clock. Maybe this isn’t the thing we should carry through.” No one dissented.
The Unionists had agreed, after the 9:00 shooting, to kill no more than four defenders at a time. Mass confrontations and the possibility of being rushed were to be avoided through the use of gas. Those to be executed would be selected from among the incapacitated, rather than by shooting into crowds. The Unionist log noted at 9:05:
“The pacifists still have not realized the full meaning and challenge contained in their proclamation. Our stand is becoming much easier now that they have presented us with a clear case of insurrection.”
But by 9:30, the Unionist commander began, according to the log, to feel that a new element might be entering the situation; it might be possible to sidestep the 10:00 bell, as it was not the chief issue and should not be made one. However, the commander let himself be overborne by his security officer, who felt that “the right climate has been reached for the full intent of our stand to sink in and to continue the shooting at this time.” Nonetheless it was agreed not to continue shooting automatically after the 10:00 confrontation, perhaps moving instead to meeting other forms of harassment or insurrection. The commander noted in the log the beginnings of an intimation on his part that now perhaps the defenders could be induced to comply with the proclamations, but he “did not communicate this possibility to the rest of the forces; it was still too vague and also fantastic.” He was also experiencing difficulty controlling his own men.
At 9:50, the tense Unionist security group of four moved out on the veranda around the meeting room. They were called back by the commander, as standing orders were to remain inside the security zone until actual provocation occurred. After five more minutes, he felt obliged to let them go again. They cleared chairs and tables back to the walls of the veranda, leaving a free field of fire. The security officer took up a position near the bell position. These preparations were audible to the defenders.
Shortly before 10:00, one participant rose from the meditation, ripped down the projection screen/sheet nailed over a door and walked out to the bell position. There she stood in the dimness facing the security officer, some fifteen feet away. Looking at him and speaking to him in a low voice with great intensity, she asked several times, “What are you doing? How can you do this?” She was unable to say more. The tableau seemed frozen. After a few moments and after a stir at the door behind him, the security officer raised his pistol and shot her. People began coming out the door between him and the security zone. Gas bombs were thrown. Shots were fired. In the meeting room, one participant said, “Our friends are being shot,” and headed out the door, accompanied by others. Shooting continued and more gas was thrown. The Unionists retreated toward the security zone, finding the way blocked by the dead, the gassed, and those still active. Some of these were shot. Others were thrown aside, then shot. One last participant, who had already lost at least one son in the action, burst through into the security zone. The Unionists surrounded him with weapons drawn, then hesitated a long minute as he spoke. Finally he was shot by the commander.
The umpires took a quick survey of the meeting room, in which the survivors, still a majority of the defenders, sat dazed and apparently utterly drained. The umpires agreed quickly and announced at 10:05 that the exercise was ended.
Endnotes for this section
1 The Grindstone Island institutes in Nonviolence were initiated and sponsored by the Canadian Friends Service Committee with the aid and subsequent co-sponsorship of the American Friends Service Committee’s Program on Nonviolence.
2 Anarchy (anarchist, anarchism, etc.) is used here with a meaning differing in important respects from the classical definition, but corresponding to usage in American social concern movements. Strong emphasis is placed on individual libertarianism, avoidance of physical and gross verbal violence and rejection of any hint of social structuralism or authoritarianism as being reminiscent of, if not representative of, the oppressive system being opposed.
3 Truth and openness (usually used together) is a technical term of nonviolence expressing the principled rejection of secrecy, subterfuge or duplicity in inter-personal or inter-group relations. Adherence to the principle is justified on pragmatic as well as moral grounds. It is felt that surprise of an antagonist is likely to engender violence in the response.
4 Participatory democracy (contrast representative democracy) is the decision-making process widely and successfully used in small community civil rights action projects. It has been carried over, but with less success, into deliberative activities of student projects and, with even less success, into mass demonstrations and short term mass projects. The central element is the principled rejection by able participants of any leadership role, the equally principled obstruction of assertion of leadership by anyone else and extreme reluctance to delegate authority; almost as important is the principle of obstruction of structuralism and centralism.
5 This account focusses on discussion because the defenders’ goal, strategy and tactics for the first full day of the exercise were not only reached through discussion, but seemed to comprise the defense.
Immediately after terminating the exercise, the head umpire advised participants there would be no formal session until the next day and that they should not attempt a premature evaluation. Some went off to be alone, but most remained for a period of hours. Despite the emotional jolt they had received, that had left them drained and passive, it required only minutes for most participants to return to a feverish level of talk. The Unionists joined the group at the earliest opportunity, having paused only to change into civilian clothes. The umpires were alert for signs of displacement and recrimination, but found very little. It required only a short time for most participants to include the Unionists in their conversations.
At breakfast the steering committee agreed that no plenary sessions should be held until the evening. Though there was no noticeable development of self-justifying stories, there was a tendency in most participants toward compulsive verbal re-living of the whole experience, centering on what came to be known as “the final hour.” The committee believed that a period of physical work, returning the island to pre-exercise order, would aid in quieting people’s nerves. No platforms were provided for compulsive recitation of personal experience.
Since there seemed no danger of either side laying blame on the other, it was agreed that each side should work at developing an objective chronology of the exercise. The committee hoped in this way to deflect the defenders from excessive introspection and to encourage the anchoring of interpretation in concrete event. Both sides were to attempt this work in the mid-afternoon session.
Work parties and chronology sessions were successfully carried out. The Unionists, basing their chronology on their own log, accomplished their task quickly and began to assist the steering committee in establishing a comprehensive exercise chronology. The defenders, with few notes from their lengthy meetings, nonetheless produced their version in a single session plus an hour after dinner, all without undue digression.
The steering committee agreed that the Unionist account should be the first presented to the plenary session, as being at once the most compact and the most revealing of the fatal interaction between the two sides. [See also the articles, ‘Dynamic Between the Unionists and Defenders’ and ‘Misinterpretation of Signals’.] Before the Unionists spoke, the steering committee described the documents it hoped would emerge from these sessions and from personal evaluations. It hoped in this way to remind participants that the institute was still in progress and that they were all still engaged in a common search for the truth of what had happened. In particular, those personally involved were asked to prepare studies of “critical incidents” for presentation the next day and for inclusion in the final report.
The Unionist presentation, particularly through the log excerpts read, brought home fully to the defenders the impact of their own behavior. In the grossest sense this had been communicated during the “final hour”; but now it was presented systematically. The subsequent discussion revealed more by far to the defenders than to the Unionists. Despite their chaotic behavior the defenders’ actions—until the last hour—had been generally understood and predicted by the Unionists. [But see the article, ‘Misinterpretation of Signals’.] The defenders, on the other hand, had never understood why the Unionists behaved as they did, even when those actions had been directly reactive to defender behavior.
Early discussion centered on the process leading up to the massacre. It was agreed that there had been no communication machinery built up that would have signalled the defender change of front in the final hour. One Unionist pointed out that matters as complex as this latter cannot be communicated except as they are preceded by numerous smaller acts of finding and utilizing common ground. This led to a defender comment that the ground rules artificially restricted defense efforts at self-resource. The commander replied that had the defenders adopted the course recommended early in the exercise of a parallel work program run by the defenders themselves, the Unionists would have fed the group without insisting on the ration card system. The previous speaker retorted that precisely this was included in the “manifesto.” The commander replied that this proposal came in a context of aggressive challenge, that this context was fatal to any consideration of the constructive program on its merits.
The initial contacts between the two sides were examined closely, both sides agreeing that the totalistic response had been a disastrous policy. The commander commented upon the defenders’ collective decision-making process, used despite the absence of group cohesiveness. [See article, ‘The Question of Community’.] There was no opportunity to resolve themselves into their genuine components and thus to grasp reality-until the last hours. He related this problem to the problem, in pacifist action or in civilian defense, of cracking the soldier’s role-identity, soldiering being a highly role-dependent occupation. In the exercise, he said, it was the defenders who assumed a role and it was they who were defeated when this role cracked under strain.
Responding to a defender question about whether a defender delegation at the start would have helped communication, the Unionists noted that they would have received such overtures only through the prescribed bureaucratic machinery. The Unionist clerk added that the defenders would have gained Unionist respect had they complied, for this system was what the Unionists understood as reality. Thus the two sides would have met on common ground—which in fact they never did.
Just as the session closed, with much self-congratulation about the degree of insight achieved, an incident occurred that demonstrated to some the persistence of those procedural flaws that had proved so fatal to the defenders. It was proposed that a communal observance be made, on the next day, of the twentieth anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, a commemoration common among pacifists. Without providing time or circumstances for a frank discussion of this suggestion, the leadership appointed a committee to bring in a proposal. This group met so late that at least one important member—the initial proposer—had already gone to bed. The committee reported back quite late to an informal session with a plan for holding a silent vigil in place of Friday breakfast. Again no provision was made for a regular program for non-participants. Unanimity was assumed.
The day opened with the vigil well attended, but with some institute members pointedly refusing to participate. A late breakfast was eventually served.
The balance of the morning was devoted to preparation of the reports on critical incidents and other relevant papers from participants.
The afternoon was free until after tea, when the group assembled to discuss the “incidents.” Of eight or nine presented to the committee in writing, five were selected, of which four were actually dealt with in plenary session: the behavior of one older child at the first meal after imposition of the rationing system, the typewriter incident, the smashing of the antenna, and the breaking into the dining hall during the first rationed meal. The typewriter and antenna incidents, being connected to the larger strategic questions, led to especially fruitful discussion.
This session showed, for the first time, the beginnings of balance on the part of participants. It was no longer necessary for speakers, once embarked, to carry through compulsively with a rehearsal of all that had taken place in the exercise.
Earlier in the day, two participants had asked the steering committee if they might use the evening session to open a discussion of the relation between nonviolence and civilian defense. The committee, still apprehensive about possible emotional explosions, established with them that their presentation should be “constructive,” rather than polemical.
In fact the presentation was highly charged with polemic. It was stated that the exercise had demonstrated that nonviolence and civilian defense were incompatible. The defenders, it was said, had accepted the civilian defense premises that a defense was not to cooperate with the machinery and purposes of an invader; that the invaders would be converted that a realistic defense must defend both “good” and “bad” elements in its society; and that, in the process of nonviolent or civilian defense, “bad” social commitments would be transformed into something better.
The presenters argued that the defenders had non-cooperated but in consequence had lost the power to communicate. Conversion had failed because there was no coherent defender point of view to which the Unionists might be converted. The defenders had not defended the good and bad together; instead they had defended first their individuality, then their group as such, and finally had become fixed on a mere symbol, the bell. Instead of bad social commitments being transformed to good ones in the course of the defense, the defenders had lost themselves to a symbol—the bell—which had no power to communicate. They concluded with the aphorism that “anything that prevents communication cannot be called nonviolence.” The defenders had practiced civilian defense. Civilian defense had closed communication. Therefore civilian defense was not nonviolent. Hence it was neither viable nor moral defense.
The discussion that followed was quite constructive and non-reactive, showing that even charged ideas could now be dealt with calmly by the participants. It was replied directly that civilian defense had not even been tried, that a total general strike is unanimously recommended against as an initial or basic strategy. Further, conversion of opponents is by no means vital to civilian defense. It is enough that the invader go home. At worst a synthesis of the best elements of both groups is envisioned. The defenders, it was said, had not defended the good and bad aspects of the given reality, but an unreal community solely of the good—imposed by fiat. Thus civilian defense had hardly been tried. For that matter, neither had nonviolence, the prime characteristics of which are supposed to be flexibility and an imaginative putting of oneself in the shoes of one’s opponents.
Other participants questioned whether nonviolence was able in fact to form the defense of a modern nation-state. All Western nations, it was asserted, are, by their mere existence, an affront to have-not societies. And even if defense of such societies were to be attempted, it was said, it would prove impossible to defend with nonviolence what was got by violence or fraud. Gradually distinctions were drawn between the juridically-defined nation and the concept of a “people,” defined as shared community of experience and values. It was stated that this latter, historically defined or given, really constituted a nation, rather than its juridical or economic structure. And, it was said, to restrict nonviolent defense to societies untainted by force or fraud would be to deny its relevance to all societies of which we know.
The discussion as a whole revealed clearly that the planners had not prepared the participants adequately, before the exercise, in the concepts of civilian defense. [See also the article, ‘Nonviolence and Civilian Defense’.]
Reports from the umpires had been scheduled for the Saturday morning session. In preparation for what was expected to be the most definitive of the evaluation session, the umpires had spent most of Friday night meeting as a group. A good deal of time was spent in rambling conversations and personal interactions among themselves—evidence that even the disciplined, detached observer-umpires were deeply affected by the human drama of the exercise. The group did plan out a comprehensive presentation of the exercise as viewed by the umpires.
When the morning session convened it was immediately set off in an unplanned direction by one participant reading a long, emotion-laden poem which led to comments relative to the poem but got in the way of umpire evaluation. The session proceeded with impressionistic, personalistic reports and comments by several of the umpires. The substance of their comments and the ensuing discussion has been dealt with in the various analytical articles.
After tea, the first hour was devoted to a definitive treatment of the exercise’s “final hour.” Here for the first time the Unionist ‘pedagogical motif’ (q.v.) was first isolated and discussed.
The balance of the afternoon was given over to personal statements centering on “what I learned from the exercise.” Some participants focussed on personal inadequacies. Others indicated that the experience would materially change their own lives in the direction of greater honesty and flexibility. Some were now ready to live with tensions identified as “non-cooperation vs. reconciliation/communication” or “the scientific approach vs. personal values” or those included in “meaningful, truthful and justifiable compromise.” Several focussed on the need to risk vulnerability and weakness for the sake of “the other.” One said, “You must lay yourself bare in nonviolence. We’re afraid.” Another commented, “This is the definition of loving and learning to love.” One young participant about to head into a term of work in the American South said of the whole institute experience, “I was complacent and I had my chair kicked out from under me. I was afraid to go to Mississippi. Now I’m afraid to open my front door and confront my family.” This motif of having been constructively unsettled was common to many.
The evening session consisted of informal music and skits, the latter prepared by the younger participants. Almost all the skits focussed wryly on defender rigidity and dogmatism. Once the skits were completed—too soon, as many said—the subsequent singing lacked spontaneity and zest. It seemed that participants were emotionally and physically finished. For many, the institute had ended.
With this session, the institute closed. A mid-morning session, modeled on Quaker practice, centered on participants’ responses to the whole experience. No comment was permitted on the statements of others. Once this ground rule was established there had been no disposition to quibble over procedure since the exercise had ended—a reflective spirit settled over the meeting. As is the intention in Quaker practice, those moved to speak seemed willing to open themselves freely, knowing that no comment would be made or verbal judgment passed.
At the conclusion, a number of participants commented that at last the group had established true community .
- Development And Use Of The Scenario
- The Ground Rules
- Socio-Drama And Role-Playing
- The Saturday Questionnaire
- Decision-Making Among The Defenders
- The Question Of Community
- Obsessive Themes Of Defenders’ Discussions
- Defender Committees
- Defender Attitudes Toward Government And Law
- Unionist Personnel
- The Pedagogical Motif Of The Unionists
- Misinterpretation Of Signals
- Role Of The Umpires
- Relations Between Umpires And Defenders
- Nonviolence And Civilian Defense
- Dynamic Between Unionists And Defenders
1. DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF THE SCENARIO [*]
* See Appendix 1 for text of scenario.
Selected only just before the institute, the Unionists had only two stipulated tasks. One, imposed privately by the planners, was that they include at least some uniformed and armed personnel. The second condition was stated in the scenario: “The Unionists have decided to deal with whatever problems that might be presented by the Grindstone group.” [See the article, ‘Unionist Personnel’ and Appendix 1.]
In general, the Unionists adapted quite well to the requirements of the scenario. They defined their task as one of custody. Within the island, the defenders were free to do as they wished, subject only to regulations aimed at their own physical well-being: saving food, keeping warm and developing a degree of self-sufficiency. Had the islanders followed these directives, there might have been no overt clashes between the two sides during the exercise, but only a cautious feeling out of positions, But as has been noted (in ‘The Pedagogical Motif’ and in ‘Dynamic Between Unionists and Defenders’), a pedagogical motif and other reactions began soon after their arrival to inform Unionist actions. In the end they departed quite widely from the tone, if not from the task, that had characterized the initial approach.
The Unionists also developed a serious contradiction in their political approach to the islanders. They began by assuming no political task; all the islanders were hostile, to be addressed as “pacifists.” Yet the fourth proclamation, dealing with leaving the island, revealed Unionist expectations of political responses from the defenders. But by secluding themselves, by making no efforts to allow individuals to express political preferences, the Unionists provided no means of encouraging the political responses they expected.
h(#Heading36). The Defenders
The basic decision to undertake a prolonged sociodrama experiment was made six months before the institute. Based on evaluations of previous institutes and influenced by the experience of some of the planners with the concept of “social defense,” the planners approved in May the scenario actually used.
It was intended to minimize the problem of role-playing, since only the few Unionists would be required to be other than themselves-in-real-life. And their role would be quite tightly defined. The political situation defined was thought to be not at all an impossible projection from known tendencies in both Canada and the United States. It was stated as it was, in part, to maximize existing or latent political differences among the defenders whom the planners expected to be drawn to all three power configurations given in the scenario. While few could be expected to espouse the Unionist cause, it was hoped that the Unionists themselves would make their political appeal consonant with the limited nature of their physical task, so making it difficult on rational grounds for the defenders to deny the reasonableness of Unionist requirements.
Only at isolated moments did the defenders ever consider the scenario in relation to their own tasks. In part this appears to have been due to reliance on habitual patterns of response. Many participants, and the most vocal and determined, were young veterans of pacifist-action demonstrations. The scenario, on the other hand, posed problems of political allegiance and degrees of cooperation. These problems are not easily dealt with from within the pacifist-action framework and so, contrary to the planners’ expectations, the scenario was quietly ignored by the defenders during the exercise.
Reference to the scenario appeared only in isolated comments about the scenario-stated ending of the institute within two days of the Unionists’ arrival. This stipulation had been made precisely in order to force some sort, of interaction in the event .that the Unionists’ demands were reasonable and the defenders cooperated. A “reasonable” defender course might have argued: “Since we cannot go home now within two days, we’ll either have to overpower them or to undermine them over a longer period in order to get on about our business.” In fact, neither decision was taken. The “two days from now we leave” stipulation was ignored whenever raised.
2. THE GROUND RULES
These rules for the exercise were posted, together with a large “prevailing conditions” map of the island, on blackboards in public view on Monday, August 2:
No water escape. No use of Crow Island.
No tamper with boats.
Kitchen and food supplies out of bounds.
Pump-house, electric supply, radio not to be physically molested or used.
Island staff neutral till they initiate and manifest different behavior.
Office equipment assumed to be brought by Unionists.
‘Wounded,’ etc. to be taken care of by own forces.
‘Dead’ and persons withdrawn from exercise or otherwise incapacitated will serve out the balance of the exercise in the Workman’s Cottage, in umpires’ off-limits area.
‘Canadiana by Gage’ notebooks to be used only as diaries; these will be invisible to Unionist eyes.
Umpires will wear white arm bands and will normally be invisible until one needs to address an umpire, as in true emergency for a decision. Umpire decisions are law. Exercise will end when umpires so indicate.
Other rules will be issued and listed here only if needed.
These rules were devised before the institute began and were designed to prevent the exercise from developing into a physical contest or a cops-and-robbers affair. Since the Unionists had a limited force, it was necessary to set the rules in such a way as to relieve them of the necessity to mount 24-hour guard over the food supplies or to maintain a constant patrol of the shore-line. Therefore it was stipulated verbally (and summarized in GR #1) that it was too far to swim to shore or to nearby Grindstone-owned Crow Island. It was also feared that some more venturesome participants might actually attempt feats of swimming beyond their abilities. Some participants had questioned whether log rafts would be allowed. So the rule was phrased “No water escape” in order to direct the eyes of defenders back onto the island and to force a grappling with the Unionists. Initially during the exercise much resentment was expressed at this rule. As defenders began to experience hunger, this sense of “unfairness” was shifted to the equally-arbitrary rule against attacks on the food supply. GR #2 merely prevented physical tampering with the island’s boats.
GR #4 attempted to make clear the difference between objects that could not form part of the field of play at all—the food supplies and materials for raft-building—and objects that were “in play” but not to be physically damaged. The listed objects were so stipulated at the request of the island management because of the danger of permanent damage, difficulty of re-priming pumps, etc. Thus an attack on the power plant or pump house was permitted, and if undertaken, was required to be carried out with all the cunning, equipment and time necessary to do the job stopping short only of actual physical dismantling or destruction—in order to be declared successful by the observing umpire.
GR #5 tried to place the island’s kitchen staff in a non-political or purely technical role, since they had been thrust into the exercise context without application on their part. Because of this and because cooks have a well-founded reputation for active resentment of “interference” with the kitchen, it was stipulated that the kitchen staff were there to serve food—they didn’t care to whom. Some defenders apparently assumed that this arrangement made the kitchen some sort of tertium quid, autonomous to the entire exercise. They expressed dismay, or betrayal at the hands of the umpires, when the Unionists took over the kitchen by force of arms and the staff acquiesced. At first the junior kitchen staff were reviled by younger defenders for “helping the enemy.” Later, after the junior staffers had made plain their sympathies for the defenders, the Unionists developed the security anxieties spoken of in “Dynamic Between Unionists and Defenders.”
GR #6 was merely a matter of convenience.
GR #7-8 were aimed at creating realism. Wounded persons would have to behave wounded and be cared for in fact and not by stipulation. Removal of the dead was to serve two purposes. With the dead actually gone, their deadness would have more impact on the survivors. But the permanent removal from the action of the dead also was intended to inhibit a false heroism of the barricades, since the very people most susceptible to this impulse would likely be those most eager to continue participation on some basis, even as passive observers. If the cost of blatant heroism were complete removal from the scene, it was thought that the net effect of this cost would operate analogously to the actual fear of death. When the ground rules were interpreted to the defenders, it was precisely the “young Turks” who sought most strongly to have this rule modified.
GR #8 also served to provide an area of the island to which other persons could be sent if, in the umpires’ judgment, they needed for any reason to be removed from the exercise. In fact, the off-limits area was never used.
GR #9 was included in the interest of producing participant observations that would aid the subsequent evaluation process. This rule also indicated that all other personal effects and luggage were subject to play. It was thought useful—especially among participants with the normal middle class attitudes toward “property”—to induce an appropriate insecurity by imperiling that property.
Umpire invisibility is dealt with in the two articles on the role of the umpires.
It was not found necessary to introduce other rules during the exercise, though on Wednesday morning, as noted in ‘Relations Between Umpires and Defenders’, both sides seemed to need re-interpretation of the distinction between “out of bounds to play” and “in play.” Subsequent to this explanation came the various radio incidents and the removal of the boats.
During the exercise, certain participants complained often of the rules and the umpires’ interpretation of them. However, none of this was brought forward in the evaluation. We attribute this to the fact, clear to all, that the points of contention with the umpires had had little to do with the denouement and on the lessons learned from it.
3. SOCIO-DRAMA AND ROLE-PLAYING
The scenario had been constructed to minimize the necessity for role-playing. Only the tight little group of Unionists was required to enact a role. It was specifically intended that the defenders should be free to be themselves, to react naturally to the conditions thrust upon them. That this freedom was not utilized was due to several factors.
The institute took place as the third in a series that began in 1963. Previous “invasions,” lasting for as many as five hours, had required the defenders to represent the whole apparatus of government and society. Though few 1965 participants had taken part in these earlier efforts, it appears that previous experiments did condition participants’ expectations.
The conference leadership failed to communicate the difference between role-playing and the sort of sociodrama envisioned for the 1965 experiment. Early in the institute, role-playing scenes were initiated in which both personal and invasion problems were dealt with. Participants may well have been led to believe—despite the scenario’s explicit statement to the contrary—that they were intended to “portray” some situation or some persons other than themselves in the situation stated by the scenario.
For two days prior to the exercise discussion had centered on the theory of civilian or social defense [See article, ““Nonviolence and Civilian Defense”:#Heading68.’] in which the main emphasis falls on the defense in depth not of territory but of the characteristic institutions and values of a society. Some may have been led by this emphasis to act out the defense of a community that in fact did not exist. [See article, ‘The Question of Community’.]
For others—schooled in the traditions of nonviolence, nonviolent direct action and/or personalistic anarchism—it was axiomatic that the defenders would constitute themselves a community of nonviolence, defending in effect their supreme value: nonviolence itself.
All these influences seem to have combined to create a situation in which the assumption of unreal identities and arbitrarily—defined or fuzzily delineated values became inevitable. The nonviolent anarchists insisted successfully upon the consensus mechanism for decision-making. This alone created by procedural decision a certain type of community—as it happens, the only type of community anarchists usually consider worth defending.
It was assumed that of course the community of consensus was a community based on principled nonviolence. The contents of this concept were not well-defined or agreed upon even among pacifists, and there were some participants who would not have described themselves as principled pacifists.
Thus a strong element of role-playing began to inform the actions of the defenders. From the beginning they considered what such people ought to do. This persona clearly inhibited frank discussion of genuine differences among the defenders and contributed to the rigid stance adopted toward the Unionists. The assumption of emotional and ideological solidarity was put under additional strain by a decision-making system that required almost continuous plenary sessions.
It may be conjectured that the adoption of these mechanisms and the easy assumption of these unities were attempts to avoid having to. face divergencies. Nothing in civilian defense theory or nonviolence suggests that notions of monolithic identity or group unity on goals are necessary. Quite the contrary: it is suggested that people defend what is dear or vital to them. not that an artificial unity be imposed. In actual practice, the anarchist element among the defenders sometimes threatened to move unilaterally; it was the others who seemed by their own accounts to have felt most inhibited by the persona. The “participatory democracy” element was composed principally of college-age people. It might be that this group unconsciously but effectively found a method of avoiding or stifling censure from or conflict with their elders, while retaining their own freedom and initiative.
The Unionists, perhaps having appraised all these possibilities, acted to maximize such tendencies, and so always addressed the defenders as “Pacifists.”
4. THE SATURDAY QUESTIONNAIRE
Illustrative of the tensions in the institute between personal pacifism and the requirements of national defense is a questionnaire filled out by participants on Saturday, July 31, a day after their arrival. It had been prepared prior to the institute as a means of focussing attention of participants upon characteristic situations in which nonviolence might inform action. It was intended, after discussion, to lead into role playing scenes arising out of the questions, scenes that would be relevant to the up-coming exercise, the character of which was still unknown to participants.
The questions were arranged in two parts, one dealing with “nonviolence and interpersonal relations” and the other presenting “anticipated situations in the occupation exercise.” In both parts a series of actions was given and respondents were asked to place the actions on two scales. Scale 1 offered a simple violent/nonviolent dichotomy. Scale 2 provided the following gradations: distinctly violent, somewhat violent, neither very violent nor nonviolent, somewhat nonviolent, distinctly nonviolent.
This form focussed the attention of respondents upon the feasibility and, implicitly, the desirability and importance of ranking their possible behavior according to this one criterion of violence/nonviolence, isolated from all others. No subsequent discussion or questionnaire brought forward other criteria or raised the question of context. The questionnaire itself raised implicitly the question of context in that a number of the actions given were impossible to rank until and unless one had supplied a context. Only a minority of participants showed awareness of this problem, either in writing or in oral comment.
The planners and resource leaders did not distinguish, either before or after the questionnaire and role-playing sessions, between this role-playing and the socio-drama of the exercise itself. Thus the rather different requirements of the two distinct modes of action were confused and conflated in the minds of participants. The personalistic bent of the questionnaire and of the role-playing may have furthered the individualism that formed so strong a motif in the defending community.
Presented below are the questionnaire, some tabulated results and some comments on the results which, had they been analyzed before the exercise, might have revealed the characteristic style and problems of the defending group.
Questions and tabulated results
|Scale 1||Scale 2|
|Question||Violent||or||Nonviolent||Distinctly Violent||Somewhat Violent||0||Somewhat Nonviolent||Distinctly Nonviolent|
|Listening attentively to another||0||32||0||0||5||3||26|
|Ridiculing and labelling another's views||31||0||13||17||3||0||0|
|Suggesting a course of action||1||28||0||0||12||10||11|
|Encouraging another to take part||0||31||0||0||10||9||14|
|Dominating a discussion||28||3||3||18||11||0||0|
|Pointedly ignoring another person||27||3||11||14||6||0||0|
|Accepting the criticism of another||1||30||0||1||0||6||25|
|raw perception totals; (see comment 7)||46||63||47||28||76|
|Scale 1||Scale 2|
|Question||Violent||or||Nonviolent||Distinctly Violent||Somewhat Violent||0||Somewhat Nonviolent||Distinctly Nonviolent|
|1. Spitting in another's face||29||0||24||7||0||0||0|
|2. Wrenching a person's arm to gain information||28||0||29||3||0||0||0|
|3. Gently but forcibly removing a person from the boat landing||15||11||2||12||10||8||1|
|4. Lying in order to mislead another||20||3||7||17||7||0||0|
|5. Lying to protect another||13||9||3||5||13||6||1|
|6. Preventing use of the boats by sinking them||14||13||2||11||9||7||1|
|7. Discussing "defense plans" completely openly||0||27||0||1||4||2||25|
|8. Doping food in order to incapacitate||27||2||22||8||1||1||0|
|raw perception totals; (see comment 7)||89||64||44||24||28|
* Written-in questions and duplicated answers removed from totals. Used both scales on both exercises: 27. Used only second scale in both exercises: 2. Used only first scale in both exercises: 2. Mixed use: 4.
Few respondents rejected the context-less scale 1 questions.
There seems no way to determine whether the unanimity obtained on exercise 1, scale 1 (1/1), was despite this lack of context or because of it.
In over half the 1/2 responses there was a marked disinclination to use the “0” category (neither-nor). This also holds true for responses to 2/2. But note that in 1/2, “0” responses always represented the extremity of response. In 2/2, this held true only on question 4.
In 1/2, the “0” responses came only on the colorless questions. In 2/2, they came on questions that confuse pacifists, e.g. 3, 4, 5. In 2/1, there was a marked drop in number of responses to the questions about lying. Note here also the influence of a word change. Both questions are about lying; question 5 is merely an instance of question 4; there is no principled difference. But question 5 introduces a note of altruism. Note, in consequence, the rise of “0 to NV” responses and the drop in “V to SV” responses! In the actual exercise, during the antenna incident, participants who had been most vehement on the supreme value of truth and openness proved to be brilliant improvisatory liars when faced by Unionist guns.
Some respondents noted that they would have responded more directly on question 6 in exercise 2, had they known whose boats.
Exercise 2 was aimed at the occupation situation; its questions dealt with actions, rather than attitudes. Note that of the listed actions, only talk was regarded as unequivocally nonviolent, i.e., licit.
Treating each response as a perception unit, one sees, in comparing exercise 1 to exercise 2, less inclination to see violence in speech and personal demeanor and more readiness to see violence in concrete situations. Exercise 2 shows perception totals falling off regularly from “V through to NV.”
These tabulated results reveal clearly the personalist-pacifist orientation of respondents. The respondents showed an inability to see violence in speech, so long as it preserved the decencies and avoided gross insult. Of eight suggested courses of action in exercise 2, they were able to see only one as clearly nonviolent: talking. Thus they presaged their own problems during the defense.
The whole questionnaire itself is open to serious question in that it focussed on discrete actions, rather than comprehensive strategies. And in place of contextual criteria it isolated only one means for evaluating these discrete actions: were they more or less nonviolent? The questionnaire thus taught what defenders apparently arrived already believing. These beliefs, consistently acted upon, prevented the emergence of coherent, realistic strategy among the defenders.
5. DECISION-MAKING AMONG THE DEFENDERS
The institute group had been recruited without any attempt to secure a broad range of representative community types. There was no intention to force a role on the defenders; they were to be themselves. While it is likely that quite different problems would have arisen with a group more representative of the general populace, it was not thought a liability for this narrower range of people to play themselves. Subtracting from the list of participants [See Appendix 12.] the umpires, the two who volunteered to become Unionists and those who left the island before the exercise began, the defenders, on an age basis at least, were not too far off a standard population profile. They numbered four of an age to have their children grown, ten of an age to have growing children, six young marrieds and young professionals, four college-age people, three high school students and five younger children.
Nearly all the participants came from a general or specifically Quaker orbit or from peace action circles. Our long-term observation in other contexts indicates that it is these particular sorts of social-action-oriented people who are most likely to from an ideological understanding of themselves and of their work. There was, for example, little representation from the comparatively pragmatic or ad hoc peace groups like SANE or from civil rights groups.
This background of sensitivity to ideological considerations, coupled with Quaker tendencies to hang back in non-Quaker-style discussions, helps to explain the ease with which the defending group came to adopt its characteristic style. It throws light on the way in which a numerically-dominant group of mature adults allowed the initiative to pass to a smaller group of young people.
From the beginning what we have called, for shorthand purposes, the anarchist element set the tone and style for the defenders. By this we mean that younger people, several with fairly broad experience in peace and civil rights protest actions, demonstrated a suspicion of all traditional forms of group structure and decision-making-by their elders, by committees or by majorities. They dominated initial discussion and without undue difficulty persuaded the group to adopt consensus procedures, thus assuring themselves a determining voice. Some participants, with less background in social action, appeared to look to these young veterans for guidance. Others may have assumed that the group-consensus method would reflect Quaker practice, in which advocates of given viewpoints or proposals do not hold the floor or make repeated rejoinders after advancing an idea, but let the “sense of the meeting” emerge after deliberation and non-repetitive comment by others.
In practice the young veterans and their allies used the floor freely to maintain their own ideas and to block decisions that might have contravened their own principled stand against delegation of authority or responsibility. This insured that the defenders were occupied almost completely from Monday through Wednesday with discussion in plenary session. There were many complaints about the length of meetings. And within meetings there were many wry references to the group’s feeling of being bogged down in procedure. Yet there was no coherent protest against the system itself.
Thus a procedure was adopted in a generally well-founded reaction against the often-cumbersome and manipulative-prone method of reports and motions. In practice the alternate style adopted proved to be even more cumbersome. With stronger chairmen the consensus system might have functioned more smoothly. But a tone had been established that made quite difficult any direction of discussion or cutting off repetitive speakers. Few chairmen were able to insist that a given topic be brought to a head and disposed of. As a consequence, many participants found it difficult to follow the main line of reasoning. Their own comments therefore tended to accentuate the discursive quality of discussion. Yet participants throughout displayed a remarkable tolerance for living under this frustration.
This tolerance may be related directly to the content of defender strategy. Since there was little beyond the most general principles to the initial defender strategy, and only a clumsy means of articulating this into tactics, many may have seen no alternative to continuing discussion in the hope that something concrete would emerge. When the defenders, contrary to the scenario’s indication that the group had intended to leave within two days, set up a strategy of defending their right to have meetings of their own, the mere continuance of these discussions became a kind of victory of its own.
Under ‘Defender Committees’ we have discussed the way in which delegation of tasks was actually attempted and accomplished. The key delegation was the setting up of the strategy committee on Wednesday morning. By this time, frustration over their own procedures was fairly pronounced among the defenders. They had just received a report on the typewriter incident indicating that random forays were unlikely to produce success. Some had questioned the nonviolence of the action. [In subsequent evaluation, one participant wrote: “The episode of the typewriter—the refusal to accept and use it outside the board room was a failure in that we were led into forgetting our aim of sending out the word in favor of a confrontation over our right to use the board room.’] The Unionist commander had introduced to the hungry group the unsettling prospect of a free meal. Under a skilled chairman, the defenders agreed to the appointment of a strategy committee, the chairman successfully resisting the attempts of many to volunteer and securing acceptance of his own nominees.
When the Unionists returned existing food supplies to the defenders, a sense of confidence returned to the group, even though no one had an explanation for the Unionist move. At the same time, many noticed wryly that the Unionists still controlled the emotional tone of the defending community: it was no victory, but a unilateral Unionist move that had brought this elation.
The antenna incident contributed further to the sense of new initiative. Thus when the strategy committee was able to bring in a fully-articulated plan and to present it through a highly-respected person not connected to the previous tensions in the group, the plan was immediately adopted. Some observers noticed a certain manic or headlong quality in the defenders’ enthusiasm for the plan. Anyone now bringing serious questions might well have seemed to be breaking this precious unity and sense of momentum.
As can be seen from the exercise account and from the text of the Wednesday evening discussion, information conveyed by the Unionists about their own decisions, as in the “shoot to kill” proclamation, was not readily assimilated by the defenders, who spent most of the hour between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. articulating further the decisions contained in their own “manifesto.” Only after 9:30 was there manifest deflection from the motifs and decisions reached up to that time.
6. THE QUESTION OF COMMUNITY
Early in its preparations for the exercise, the defending group began to describe itself as a “community.” From then on the word was used widely; and, though never defined, its meaning seemed clear to the members of the group. This meaning certainly included such concepts as cohesiveness, unity of purpose, sharing, mutual trust, mutual understanding, individual responsibility to the group, group responsibility to the individual, and strength in group action. Various members of the group placed widely different emphases on the various facets of meaning. During the discussions of goals in the early part of the Monday morning session, before the occupation, strong and repeated reference was made to the “Grindstone Island Community” and the need to preserve it; later, in the tension-ridden sessions during the occupation, many references were made to “the community,” to threats against it and. to ways of strengthening and preserving it. By the time of the final hour, the concept had become so habitual that there was little explicit reference to “community,” even though the basic patterns that had developed through the earlier discussions now dominated the unfolding of events.
The scenario made no suggestion that the Grindstone group was in fact a community nor did it suggest that the establishment or maintenance of a community was in any way relevant to. the exercise. There was no real evidence that the randomly selected group of people who found themselves together in this institute constituted a community in any important sense of the term or that the necessary conditions existed for creating or fostering a community. On the contrary, very early in the conference evidence began to accumulate that pointed in the opposite direction. On many important issues the behavior of individual defenders was warped and unnatural because of a false allegiance to this non-existent “community.” [See discussion of “role-playing” in article, ‘Socio-Drama and Role-Playing’.]
Two analytical questions, both with numerous ramifications, are suggested by this group behavior which deviated so sharply from reality. First is the question: Why? Second is the question: What were the effects?
The assembled group was not a community; conditions which might have led to the establishment of a community were not present; conditions which were present operated to prevent formation of a community.
The group was heterogeneous, had sharp ideological and methodological differences and had not been together long enough even to learn each others’ names. The differences were sharpened and polarized very early; there was insufficient time and very limited opportunity to work together (in contrast to talking together) at tasks that might tend to knit the group into a true state of community. Yet in spite of these difficulties, the group promptly, without hesitation or question, assumed that it was indeed a community. Almost unanimously the individual members of the group continued to the end not only to pay lip service to the “community,” but went so far as to determine their individual actions on the false basis of the existence of community. A few of the defenders on scattered occasions deplored the weakening of the sense of community and warned against forces which were destroying the community, but never was there clear expression or group realization of the true situation: that community did not exist and never had.
Why, then, in the face of such clear evidence and in the absence of any external need or requirement, did the group insist on pursuing the insuperably difficult task of transforming itself into a community? It is possible only to identify some of the factors that contribute to the total answer.
First, there must have been a strongly felt inner need. For some participants this was simply a manifestation of their Quakerism; for all, the Quaker ideology, which naturally pervaded a Quaker-sponsored institute, was a factor. Most participants had at least a degree of sentimental attachment to the idea of “community” as a part of the more general concept of nonviolence. Included in the group were a few dedicated communitarians who sincerely hold that the only proper social structure is the intentional community.
Another part of the answer, “why,” is that the group practiced a form of denial behavior. The prospects facing the group were exigent in the extreme and the group was clearly unprepared, either individually or corporately, to face these prospects and deal with them realistically. One of the most serious flaws in the defense posture was the immediately evident structured vs. unstructured division within the group. The virtually unanimous reaction was to deny the existence of the division by falsely asserting the state of community. Continued fascination with the idea of community fit nicely into the Quaker ethos of the institute, even though it totally denied the realities of the situation; it also served as a distraction to help avoid consciousness of the grim realities of the situation.
A number of participants undoubtedly recognized the strong desire of the group to be a community and accepted the group assumption that it was a community. They refrained from any action that might have weakened or dispelled this belief because they were reluctant to appear divisive; out of feelings of loyalty to the group and their fellow members they allowed the group judgment to prevail over their own and worked in a questionable context to achieve doubtful goals. For the older and more experienced members their recognition that this exercise was an important training experience for the younger participants was a strong contributory factor in muffling divergent personal views. They accepted the idea of community with its attendant participatory democracy [See article, ‘Decision-Making among the Defenders’] because they felt that a clear split of the group into separate factions would destroy the opportunity for leadership training.
The decision to declare a state of community and to function as if it existed certainly operated to the advantage of those who favored the unstructured approach. It is possible that the young anarchistic activists, who were consistently militant in their opposition to all attempts at realistic organization of the group, were quite conscious of the falsity of the community idea and simply used it in a Machiavellian scheme to prevent domination by the older “structurists.” It is certainly true that the younger members fostered the idea of community, tended to obscure the divisions within the group, and strongly advocated participatory democracy and consensus as decision-making processes. Whether or not it was consciously directed to that end, it was an effective means of blocking opposing views and disarming in advance any criticism of a structureless approach to the crisis.
The answer to the question: “What was the effect?” is brief and instructive. The first effect was that the anarchic, unstructured approach to the Unionist invasion prevailed almost totally. The advocates of structured organization were defeated, and in large part they cooperated in their own defeat. The second effect was to establish a strong current of falsity and unrealism in the on-going activities of the defenders’ group. The third effect was to worsen the schism within the defenders’ group by attempting to pretend that no division existed. Finally, the Unionists were presented with a constant image of non-reality which confirmed their conclusions that the defenders were unable to grasp the power realities.
7. OBSESSIVE THEMES OF DEFENDERS’ DISCUSSIONS
The defenders’ discussions of some themes showed a repetitiveness that can be fairly described as obsessive. The transcripts of the discussions during the exercise period [See Appendix 11.] give some indication of this group fascination with certain topics, but the pre-exercise discussions were even more heavily dominated by group fixation on certain themes. One participant commented prior to the invasion that “The group is obsessed with discussion of food because we are greedy, with discussion of truth and openness because we are secretive and untruthful, and with community because we have no community.” A fourth obsessive theme, more apparent to observers than defenders, was the continually repeated argument of “combative” vs. “natural” approach by the defenders toward the Unionists. All of these obsessive themes were intermixed in action as well as discussion. For example, three of the four major actions carried out by individuals or small groups without prior approval by the plenum had to do with food and the kitchen/dining room complex. All four incidents included large elements of deception and surprise yet were instigated or carried out by people who had spoken extensively about truth and openness. Also, all four incidents could only be characterized as combative harassment of the invaders; yet again, the participants included people who had spoken at length against an aggressive approach and in favor of naturalism. The three food-related incidents were: (1) the invasion of the dining room through a window during the first rationed meal; (2) the stealing of the coffee maker and supplies; and (3) the clash over dishwashing. The fourth was the antenna sabotage.
The contrast of these incidents with the earlier group discussion provides an instructive commentary on the discrepancy between rhetoric and performance. But the serious relevance of these actions to this exercise-and thereby to the broader study of nonviolent social defense—lies in their effect on the Unionists. In each case the Unionists indicated very clearly that the actions were considered to be hostile harassment and were taken as evidence that the “pacifists” were not to be trusted. [See Appendixes 9 and 11.]
The fixation of defenders’ attention on questions related to food was understandable after the first Unionist proclamation in which the ration card system was announced. The pre-invasion focus on this question could also be explained in part by the natural (and as events proved, highly justified) assumption that the food supplies would be used by the invaders as means of controlling and coercing the defenders. But even with these justifying circumstances, it is necessary to observe that the extreme devotion of the defenders to this topic prevented adequate consideration of other topics and that some decisions made with respect to food had long range effects determining the whole course of events. The major such instance was the quick decision that the whole group (some of whom may have been coerced by social pressures) should refuse ration cards. The effect of this decision was to set in motion an irreversible pattern of total and simplistic non-cooperation and to establish the image (to the Unionists) of non-acceptance of the realities of the physical power situation.
Truth and Openness
The extended discussion of truth and openness revealed a deep strain of ambiguity and uncertainty about this important aspect of nonviolence. It also served as a focus. of anxiety about the possible effectiveness of nonviolence in social defense. This questioning and uncertainty, both in discussion and in action, also tended to obscure from the Unionists the defenders’ true intentions and in some instances contributed to serious misunderstandings. [See article, ‘Misinterpretation of Signals’.]
The most probable cause of the deep ambivalence of the defenders’ group toward questions of secrecy and deception was the fuzziness of the decision to adopt a pacifist approach to the problems of invasion. There was never any significant discussion of the question, nor was a clear decision ever expressed. The group simply assumed the pacifist stance, largely by inadvertance and failure to consider alternatives. When this stance had become fixed (and had been reinforced by the Unionists’ use of the salutation, “PACIFISTS” in their proclamations) some members of the defenders’ group began to raise doubts. But these doubts were not expressed in the form of questions concerning the over-all applicability of nonviolent or pacifist strategies and tactics or whether a nonviolent approach were demanded by the situation; nor did the questioning take the form of an attempt to explore alternative defenses which could include elements of nonviolence or in other ways be acceptable to pacifists. Instead, a holistic pacifist approach was assumed to be axiomatic by both pacifist and non-pacifist defenders. Then nagging doubts were expressed (again by both pacifists and non-pacifists) in the form of questioning what seemed to be the most obvious weakness of pacifism in dealing with an imposed tyranny.
“Combative” vs “Natural” Approach
Much clearer to the observers than to most defenders was the significance of the clash of defenders’ views over the “tone” of the confrontation with the Unionists. One of the two divergent views can be described as combative, in which a vigorous nonviolent approach to the invaders was advocated. One participant repeatedly used the term “aggressive” in describing the type of confrontation he advocated; the same defender (and some others) insisted on using such terms as “intruders, invaders, usurpers, tyrants” in referring to the Unionists. This group constantly urged reassertion of initiative by the defenders, deplored the inaction and interminable discussions, and finally had a dominant influence in determining the tone of the “manifesto” of the strategy committee. The second group, who advocated the natural or non-aggressive approach, consistently referred to the Unionists as “our new friends” or “our guests”; they advocated a tempered, person-to-person approach and tried to block or modify actions that seemed to be deficient in a spirit of love. They influenced actions in such ways as blocking any coherent initial confrontation when the Unionists arrived (the volleyball game continued; no signal of arrival was used; the troops were invited to go to the main lodge and register). The naturalistic, non-aggressive, approach was also represented in the “manifesto” by inclusion of work projects similar to the Unionists’ work program but to be administered by the CFSC. During the highly-charged last hour the views of this group had the very positive effect of tempering the fixation on the strategic course previously agreed upon and was very nearly successful in turning the group away from its catastrophic confrontation with Unionist weaponry.
To some observers the advocates of the combative approach seemed to be groping for a stance of invulnerability while the naturalists were attempting to express their dimly-held understanding that nonviolence and love require a deliberate posture of vulnerability. The divergence of opinion arose over differences in emphasis on the two parts of the mutually accepted phrase, “the power of love.” The combatives emphasized power while the naturalists emphasized love. As the discussions continued, this divergence progressively developed into an outright clash of views. Each side steadily escalated its statement, first urging its truly felt views on the group, then, as opposing views were expressed, countering with ever more extreme statements until a real and deep schism developed. Again, the disastrously misleading impression gained by the Unionists was that they faced an insurrectionist group attempting to cover its rebellion by deceptive acts of false friendliness.
The fourth obsessive theme is treated more fully in the article, ‘The Question of Community’.
8. DEFENDER COMMITTEES
The defenders set up a number of committees before and during the exercise. These included: (1) an agenda committee (which brought in about 25 unranked items); (2) the “ad hoc” committee appointed to take over institute scheduling from the former institute steering committee; (3) a study committee on “law breaking”; (4) an “emergency committee” composed of the current chairman and the stand-by group coordinators; (5) a housekeeping committee; (6) a tactics committee; (7) the bulletin committee; (8) a delegation set up on the chairman’s initiative to act as liaison between defenders and Unionists; and (9) one committee setup during the exercise: the strategy committee.
At least one of the bodies never met. Others met only once. Two, the ad hoc and housekeeping groups, functioned fairly well, having been given fairly concrete tasks. The strategy committee was set up when the group had begun to realize its own paralysis in the face of Unionist initiatives.
In general, the movement of the whole group, with respect to its committees, went from a condition of near-complete mistrust to one of complete trust.
From well before the arrival of the Unionists up to Wednesday morning, it was difficult for many to accept any recommendations in whose preparation and discussion they had not participated fully. This meant that even petty decisions had to be made in plenary session or that committee work had to be re-done in plenum for it to be acceptable. After this process had produced near-paralysis, it was possible for a strong chairman on Wednesday morning to secure the appointment of a strategy committee which in that atmosphere took on executive qualities. Its far-reaching recommendations were not questioned by those formerly so insistent on “participatory democracy.”
The housekeeping committee functioned quietly and well. But in the absence of clear strategy its preparations went largely unused and un-noticed by the larger group. It was this committee which set up the smaller stand-by units, surveyed the water and electrical systems for both offensive and defensive purposes, dispersed blankets, water jugs and supplies throughout the island, produced applesauce for the children and made plans for fishing.
The ad hoc committee also bridged the two periods. Its institute program recommendations on Tuesday morning were accepted. But when it attempted to set up arrangements for greeting the expected invasion, these were rejected on principle and the committee was charged with authoritarianism and usurpation of function. Later, on Wednesday evening, in the context of the “manifesto,” the committee’s far-reaching recommendations about an assigned labor program were accepted without discussion.
9. DEFENDER ATTITUDES TOWARD GOVERNMENT AND LAW
Despite the assumption of a common front toward the Unionists, the defenders expressed quite divergent attitudes toward government and law. This was not clearly recognized among the defenders, since in practice a strictly legalistic appeal against Unionist actions sounded to the ear no different from an anarchist repudiation of the same action. The two impulses in this situation prescribed the same response: denunciation and non-cooperation.
The Unionists saw most clearly the law and order motif among the defenders, commenting in the log that legality seems important to them “because they assume that those who have legality have authority.” The anarchist strain [See article, ‘Decision-Making Among the Defenders’.] was not perceived by the Unionists as such. It appeared quite strongly in the typewriter incident. The defenders, by asserting the right to do absolutely as they wished, flew completely in the face of power realities. This right was not in fact based on loyalty to another regime but to a theory that apparently denied validity to any coercive regime, legal or otherwise.
Anarchist influences appear to have been most responsible for avoiding the important question, put in the scenario by design, of where defender governmental loyalties actually lay. Facing this question might have exposed divergent loyalties; it might have brought out the anarchists’ principled repudiation of loyalty to government. Answers would nonetheless have undergirded and directed more clearly the ineffective and largely pro forma defender protests against Unionist “usurpation.” The remarkable ability of the defenders to avoid a rather obvious problem can be traced in large part to their prior success in assuming a group persona that effectively cut off reference to the realities actually present or set out in the scenario.
[See article, ‘Socio-Drama and Role-Playing-.] In discussion—though this was never formulated on paper—it was often assumed that the “legal authority” on the island was the Canadian Friends Service Committee. This unusual notion had at least the short-run merit of avoiding the questions of conflicting loyalties or of loyalty itself.
The two attitudes came together in the “manifesto.” In setting up a non-governmental republic of consensus, freed from all governments, the “manifesto” achieved on paper an old anarchist dream. In setting up a counter-polity with its own juridical basis, in appealing to the UN and establishing its own foreign relations, the “manifesto” enlisted the support of the law-and-order pacifists.
So long as no clear relation to some polity had been stated—whether a real polity or one invented on paper by the defenders—they could formulate no concrete plans. To risk division by spelling out a relation to the “real” quadripartite polity—legitimate Canadian, Laurentian, United States, and U.S.-backed Unionist—was a price the defenders were never willing to pay. But once they achieved a group persona they were able to project by fiat an appropriate polity for that persona. Removed from reality—and therefore fatal—as this polity was, it led to the immediate precipitation of problems from the abstract to the highly concrete.
10. UNIONIST PERSONNEL
The planners of the institute recognized from the start that effective Unionists were the key to success of the exercise. They had tried first to recruit Unionists from among serving or former military personnel, preferably officers. They sought not only authenticity but an opportunity to observe the effect of the exercise on competent military people who had had little contact with peace action or pacifist ideology.
At a late date they were forced to look nearer at hand. They recruited the Unionist core from peace actionists in the Montreal area, of whom three had military experience, one as an SS officer-trainee. This was to be the Unionist commander. To make up the necessary six, two more were recruited from among the institute participants, one the island’s junior warden and the other an army veteran now with a long-term direct action project.
Aside from the stipulation that they include a military component, no limitations were placed on the Unionists. They chose to constitute themselves as a military unit with a semi-civilian or garrison task: temporary confinement of the islanders and preparation of the island for winter occupancy by those unwilling to comply with conditions laid down for leaving. [See Appendix 2, Proclamation #4, for these conditions.] To this end they provided themselves with authentic equipment [See Appendix 3.] and developed clear strategies and tactics, together with the discipline to carry these out.
In both preparation and execution the commander and his security chief were highly effective, in the judgment of all participants and observers. The commander’s German military background showed in the understated directness, competence and control exhibited by the Unionists at all times. His personal German-officer mannerisms were played down but provided a subtle counterpoint to his handling of his political task; he was disarming while taking all necessary measures to assure the success of his physical task. His understatement and ability to state reasonable conditions contrasted with the defenders’ tendency to arbitrary overstatement and their inability to state clearly the sufficient reasons for non-compliance with Unionist directives. They were never able successfully to picture the commander as a tyrant or to make him an adequate symbol of oppression [See the transcript of the Tuesday evening meeting, Appendix 11, for a vivid example of his ability to keep the defenders off balance in verbal confrontations.]
The security chief was a large, bearded person, exuding competence at military skills. Moving and speaking seldom, he always acted directly, swiftly and with success. His air of ruthlessness and pride in his work was an important part of the Unionists’ effect on the defenders.
The Unionist most in contact with the defenders was the clerk, a young man whose patience and non-committal understanding were important in keeping the defenders off balance. Among the other Unionists, the two ex-islanders had a difficult task: to establish themselves quickly as Unionists without over-reacting. Here the ex-soldier was authentic as the average soldier doing his job and finding irrelevant to his task the ideological stance from which most defenders began in their relations with him. The junior warden was effective as the zealous, dedicated soldier.
Since their task was strategically simple and since the defenders did not initiate tactics that divided the Unionists into small groups, the Unionists always formed an homogenous military unit, defined by its discipline and assigned task. There was little to distract them; and they remained in role at all times, thus reinforcing their natural cohesion. For the factors undermining their control of themselves and of the situation, see the article, “The Pedagogical Motif,” and Appendix 11 for a transcript of the final hour of the exercise.
11. THE PEDAGOGICAL MOTIF OF THE UNIONISTS
The militarily-experienced leadership of the Unionists were in fact radical pacifists. They had, as events showed, a shrewd appreciation of the pacifism they believed would dominate the defenders. This was indicated clearly by their advance determination—without having any knowledge of actual events on the island—to address the islanders as “Pacifists,” helping to create or further the identity problem for the defenders.
It is our opinion, based on observation of past contacts in action situations between pacifists and military personnel, that had the Unionists been military personnel in real life they would probably have developed substantially the same pedagogical motif that was displayed by these Unionists. That is, as the defenders began to act and react in terms of unreality, without reference to the empirical situation, any body of captors would probably have experienced a strong desire or need to correct them.
In almost any situation it is deeply disturbing to be placed in proximity to persons whose actions are inexplicable in terms of accepted reality. When vital issues are at stake, this unreal behavior will be experienced as anything from annoyance to serious threat. In the captor-captive situation, the captors must at all times insist that the captives agree that physical control rests in the hands of the captors. Without this agreement, vital interests are unshielded from an all-out confrontation. which it is in the interests of the captors to avoid. This interest is, in this case, defined by the captor-captive situation: when vital interests are at stake, the normal alternative to the prisoner situation is the subjugation and, if need be, the extermination, of the physically-weaker side. Hence it is vital to obtain the agreement of the prisoners as to their prisoner-status if the captor-captive situation is not to degenerate into war. This agreement, which alone could have normalized relations between the Unionists and defenders, was never obtained by the captors. They were therefore forced to plan consciously on forcing it, to make it a major objective. It became necessary to teach reality to the defenders.
The defenders expressed in many ways their lack of connection with reality as seen by the Unionists, from their diffuse reaction to the Unionist arrival to the interminable discussions, to the rigid stance of noncooperation that could only lead to disaster, to the abrupt alternation of militant confrontation and over-friendly concern, to the culminating absurdity, from the Unionist viewpoint, of the “manifesto” disarming the Unionists by decree. The positive rationale for these actions is examined in “The Dynamic Between Unionists and Defenders.” Here our concern is with the effect of these actions on the Unionists.
The soldier situation is even more defined by conventions and stipulations than is the captor-captive situation. When the Unionists were not treated as soldiers and hardly dealt with as living men at all, when their arms—heavily-freighted with symbolic value—were treated as non-existent, then personal pedagogical motives reinforced the impulse outlined above.
As these major and minor lapses from reality converged ultimately into what the Unionists called the “heroic stand” and as this moved toward insurrection, it became psychologically necessary for the Unionists to force the defenders to acknowledge reality and to begin to act in light of it. The actual physical situation was by no means yet lost for the captors. In this sense their reaction to the “manifesto” and to the bell-ringing was a blunder. But, given the psychological situation, it was imperative to force the defenders, by whatever means necessary, to recognize the captor-captive situation as real and to begin to treat the Unionists themselves as real human beings. In this sense the Unionists’ inhumanity was the cry of their humanity.
Only such a motive can explain the almost overpowering need of the Unionists to react as they did—to the point where their commander began to fear mutiny among his forces if he did not yield to it.
12. MISINTERPRETATION OF SIGNALS
A common characteristic of inter-group conflict is the failure of communication between the contending groups at critical junctures. Considerable evidence from peace and civil rights direct action projects confirms the generality of this observation and shows that communication failures are more common and tend to have more severe consequences as tension and criticality increase. Because complete records exist of the actions and responses of all elements, the Grindstone Island experiment offers important insights concerning the nature of communication failures in group confrontations.
Examination of the record of inter-group confrontation contained in this report reveals abundant instances—so many as to create the impression of a constant pattern—of actions by one group undertaken with a very clear message in mind yet viewed by the opposing group in a totally different light. The defenders adopted a posture intended to convey to the Unionists an attitude of human warmth, friendship and understanding; the Unionists interpreted this as juvenile denial of reality. The volleyball game was continued as an expression of naturalness and unconcern at the arrival of new people on the island; the Unionists took this as evidence that the defenders must be taught the facts of life in a power situation. Sincere attempts were made to establish person-to-person contact with the Unionists; but these efforts were rebuffed as calculated subversion and deception. The decision by the Unionists to return control of the kitchen and food supplies to the defenders was a tactical response to the feared defection of the kitchen crew; this action was variously interpreted by the defenders as (a) deceptive relaxation of the bureaucratic controls, (b) weakening of the Unionists’ resolve, or © success of defenders’ tactics. The Unionists gassed a group of defenders with the expectation that a lesson of power realities would be taught; the defenders responded only to the wanton brutality of the act. The Unionists attempted to reverse what they interpreted as a rising wave of insurrection by a measured intensification of violence; the defenders responded by intensifying their behavior which they did not view as rebellious.
One Example: The “Manifesto”
Of the innumerable instances of serious misinterpretation of actions by the opposing groups, two that took place almost simultaneously are chosen to illustrate the relationships. These are the Unionists’ gassing of a defender group and the defenders’ issuance of the “manifesto of insurrection.” The two incidents took place in the late afternoon of Wednesday, the second day of occupation, at a time when the spirits of the defenders (and, in their own eyes, their fortunes) were on the rise. Some contact had been made in random conversations with the Unionists through the afternoon; the antenna action had released some frustration of inaction; the strategy committee was obviously functioning; the kitchen and food supplies were again controlled by the defenders. All this seemed to the defenders to be evidence of a concerted defense at last taking shape. The mood of the Unionists and their view of the situation were quite different. Sharply insurrectionist statements had been directed at them in the morning meeting; the kitchen helpers were so near to defection that the tactical retreat of abandoning control of the kitchen seemed necessary; the pacifists had engaged in at least one act of intended sabotage in the early afternoon and had spent the remainder of the day in what the Unionists viewed as harassment through pointless, moralistic conversations with the enlisted men; they were persisting in their foolish, childlike rejection of authority and were showing many signs of shifting into open rebellion. The Unionists were in a state of siege mentality and began to make preparations for dealing with the impending insurrection. [See ‘Narrative of the Exercise’.]
Into this context of conflicting misapprehension by both groups, the strategy committee brought its report to the 4:30 plenary session—and to the Unionists who unavoidably observed and overheard the proceedings. The gentle, Quaker-elder, chairman of the strategy committee, chuckled as he read the report; he was reflecting the feeling of the committee—and also of most of the group—that this document which later became known as the “manifesto of insurrection,” [See Appendix 6.] was a grand joke. The report had originally included plans for a fraternization picnic centered around the Unionists’ own fiction of a birthday celebration for George Washington Carver; it made sly references to the irresistibly disarming behavior of the defenders; the text parodied the stilted humbug of the Unionists’ own proclamations; it went so far as to demand rent, payable in hard currency, for quarters occupied by the Unionists; it declared the Unionist troops to be part of the pacifist group; it mocked the Unionists’ “Off Limits” signs by fencing off (with an unattended imaginary line to be marked by a single facetious sign) a remote and unused part of the island; it projected a wildly fanciful plan for escape to nowhere; its final frivolous absurdity was a scheme to toll off the hours on a bell.
It was a splendid joke. Unfortunately it was taken seriously. The Unionists wrote in their log about impending insurrection, spoke of shooting to kill and polished up their weapons and their marksmanship. The umpires made notes about escape attempts in defiance of ground rules. The defenders began to set up rosters for sentry duty and bell ringing. Even some members of the strategy committee were later carried away by the swift unfolding of events and became seriously and irrevocably involved in ringing bells.
One adventitious event seriously distorted the tone of the strategy committee’s proposal. Unknown to the committee, the decision had been made to cancel the picnic and revert to the usual meal schedule. Thus, the half of the report least likely to be interpreted as threatening to the Unionists became irrelevant and was never made public. The tone of the remainder was undoubtedly more hostile than its authors intended. Certainly the harsh and sudden response of the Unionists was unexpected.
The strategy committee report was one factor in precipitating the Unionist decision to instruct the defender group in the realities of power relations by an object lesson in the use of force. But all the other incidents of the trying afternoon of harassment contributed.
Second Example: The Gas Attack
The Unionist log makes it clear that the reason for the gas attack was their sense of confronting open insurrection. It was undertaken “as a show of force” and as a “last warning as to what will happen if they proceed…” The action was sudden, arbitrary, unannounced and totally unexplained. A group of the Unionist troops strode through a sub-group of defenders who were meeting in their accustomed place; the troops seized the bell and returned through the meeting to their restricted area. As they went through the second time, they threw tear gas bombs and departed. The lesson of this pedagogical exercise was lost on the students. The whole incident was completely inexplicable to the defenders and their only response was indignation at the arbitrariness and brutality of the Unionists.
The Problem of Context
These two striking failures of inter-group communication raise many questions, but the one most relevant to this report is: why were the actions so badly misinterpreted? The first part of the answer to this question is immediately obvious in retrospect: the strategy committee made a joke, but it was a spectacularly bad time to be making jokes. The general principle is that any action takes place in a context; the response to an action will be determined at least as much by the contextual factors as by the nature of the action itself.
In this instance the important contextual factors were the moods of the two contending groups. The defenders had a profound need for a coherent plan of action round which they could rally; they also had great expectations that the strategy committee report would provide this focus for action. The evidence for these assertions is the sudden, unanimous, enthusiastic acceptance of the report without substantive questioning of its contents. In this context the defenders understandably discounted the humorous qualities of the report and chose to make their final heroic stand on the basis of its strategic content. The defenders’ inability to break loose from the dynamic set in motion by the “manifesto,” even when they began to realize its unreality and to sense its disastrous end, confirms that their misinterpretation was inevitable. The Unionists (and the umpires) also noted the humorous side of the report. Yet their perception of the mood of the defenders, as well as their own assessment of the over-all situation, made it inconceivable that the “manifesto” could be anything but a statement of a strategy of rebellion.
The strategy committee had been meeting through the afternoon and therefore was unaware of three factors that strongly influenced the Unionists’ judgment of any defender action. The capricious cancellation of the picnic, with its possibility of fraternization, has been mentioned; the strategy committee was also unaware of the antenna incident and of the almost continuous effort of individual defenders to talk with the Unionists throughout the afternoon. More importantly, none of the defender group was aware of the Unionists’ deep fear of a pacifist revolt nor of the whole complex of reasons for this fear. In short, the strategy committee tossed an inflammatory statement into a situation that was explosively charged—and were as surprised as anyone at the resultant explosion.
The defenders’ ignorance was only partly justifiable; many of the defenders had ample reason to be aware of the probable state of mind of the Unionists. But there was even less excuse for the Unionists’ undertaking their “educational” action at the time—and in the way they did—in the face of many contrary signals receivable from the defenders. Most of the Unionists had heard the reading and discussion of the strategy committee report; some (including the commander) had shared in the joke by engaging in verbal by-play through the screen barrier. Granting the Unionists’ concept of the defenders’ need for education in power relationships, [See article, ‘The Pedagogical Motif of the Unionists’] twenty-four hours of experience had demonstrated that these lessons were extremely difficult to learn—and therefore required careful and thoughtful teaching—even under the most favorable circumstances. At least some explanation of the gas attack at the time it was carried out and some effort to relate the punishment to a crime were the minimum essentials for transforming what was viewed as grossly wanton brutality into the intended pedagogical lesson.
Related to the flouting of context is the one-dimensional view that both groups took of the situation and each other. The defenders viewed themselves as nice friendly people with great wisdom about interpersonal relations; they attributed to the Unionists such qualities as supreme confidence in their own physical power, insensitivity to human values, lack of any true understanding of human relations, and readiness to resort to force and violence. The Unionists viewed themselves as representatives of authority and social order in an anarchic situation, in possession of all necessary power and of superior understanding of power relations. They considered the defenders to be extremely naive but crafty and devious. They came to feel it their duty, not only to impose authority on the defenders, but to instruct them in power realities; they became convinced that the defenders were on the verge of open rebellion. If either side could have grasped the other’s point of view the actions under inspection would not have been undertaken; if each side had had even partial understanding of the other’s motives in the actions, its own response would have been quite different and could well have changed the course of events.
A major reason for the inability of both groups to sense the mood and probable reaction of the opposition was the overpowering tendency to see all events and all actions as confirming one’s own expectations. The gas attack was not a lesson and was the basis for an indignant protest because the defenders expected brutal behavior. The strategy committee’s report became a “manifesto of insurrection” because the Unionists expected rebellion.
A final factor in the web of misunderstanding is the simple dishonesty of both actions. Despite the rather complete rationale by both sides for their action and also for their response to the action of the opposing group, there was a very substantial element of acting—of responding in ways basically inappropriate to the true situation but appropriate to the role each group had selected for itself.
13. ROLE OF THE UMPIRES
Three of the six umpires were selected from the planning committee itself, including the island warden, the program executive of the Canadian Friends Service Committee, and the developer of the scenario, who was designated “head” umpire. Three others were chosen from among the participants. Duties were assigned to each, so that the entire exercise would be covered on a 24-hour basis. One was attached to the Unionists before the exercise began. Another was responsible for taping as much of the action as possible, using a sensitive microphone that enabled him to pick up everything while remaining inconspicuous. Two umpires who could blend in well were assigned to rove, covering small groups and spontaneous discussions and action. The youngest umpire maintained close relations with the younger participants. The head umpire established liaison among the others and had the responsibility of terminating the exercise. This latter decision was in fact made by agreement, as were most others.
The umpires had a dual role: the obvious one of umpiring the action and the more demanding one of observing and recording. Actual umpiring was simple. [But see also ‘Relations Between Umpires and Defenders’.] Little took place that required decisions, although the defenders at first pressed vigorously for interpretation of hypothetical occurrences. Umpires were present at all physical events: the removal and destruction of the communications system, the raid on the antenna, the removal of the boats. For the most part they merely observed, making certain that physical motions were gone through in space and time that would suffice to bring about the result intended. The umpires had been prepared to make declarations and stipulations of other non-physically-reproducible conditions: this house has been set afire; it is well aflame; the fire has been put out; the house is partly or totally destroyed, etc. None of this became necessary, given the Unionists’ approach to their task and the defenders’ inability to carry out concerted actions until late in the exercise. In the final phase, of course, umpire decisions on death and effects of gassing came thick and fast, but did not appear in any way to skew the action itself.
It was recognized before the institute that umpiring and observing might well clash and that ideally the two might profitably be separated. In practice the combination worked out well; umpire notes formed the major framework for the account of the exercise and much of the analysis. The umpire with the tape recorder managed with marked. success to achieve the “invisible demeanor” the umpires had set themselves as a goal. The roving umpires blended in well. The umpire attached to the Unionists was perforce out of sight much of the time, though, as more obvious “authority figures,” he and the head umpire were more “visible” than others and thus subject to more overt pressure. After presentation of the defender “manifesto,” pressure on the umpires from both sides eased, since a clear direction for action had now been fixed .
14. RELATIONS BETWEEN UMPIRES AND DEFENDERS
Umpire relations with the Unionists were routine, requiring little actual decision-making and imposing no burdens on the umpires as a whole. But the other five umpires were among the defenders night and day. Defenders, because of their prolonged uncertainty about goals, strategy and tactics, often addressed themselves to the umpires. Some saw the ground rules and early decisions as “stacked” against the defenders, often pressing the point with great vigor. This situation forced more interaction between umpires and defenders than the planners had felt desirable. It inhibited the development of umpires’ “invisible demeanor” and made observation more obvious.
Three of the umpires had been drawn from among the prospective defenders. Another was a person of especially warm sympathies toward the defenders and their principles. Also the defenders were by far the larger group and the one with absorbing problems. Thus it was difficult at times for some umpires to avoid identifying with the defending community. This feeling was often strongest in just those situations in which some defenders saw the umpires as making common cause with the Unionists. Much of the initial no-food frustration spilled over into hostility toward the umpires [See comment on ground rule #5 in the article, ‘Ground Rules’] just at the time when at least one umpire found himself unable to eat because the defenders would not eat. In part because of natural and habitual responses, and in part because of this principled identification with the defenders, it proved difficult to avoid spontaneous greetings when meeting on paths, or comments by umpires in defender informal groups. In time these were nearly eliminated.
On Wednesday morning, the umpires intervened in the defender discussion in order to explain why there would be no more decisions or even explanations with regard to hypothetical actions or matters already covered in the ground rules. This proved effective as an admonition to both groups; no further speculative questions were put to the umpires.
As the defending group finally began to move toward a confrontation with the Unionists, on the basis of the “manifesto,” interaction nearly ceased between the defenders and the umpires as a group. When it aimed at physical contact with Plum Island, the “manifesto” ignored and violated the ground rule against water escape. At this point in the presentation of the “manifesto,” the umpires agreed among themselves not to rule in advance against this clear infringement of the ground rules, feeling that to do so would nip in the bud the developing dynamic among the defenders. The umpires would wait until contact with Plum Island was attempted, then stop it.
When on-the-spot decisions of fact were made—you’re gassed; you must run away from the gas; you’re dead-this seemed to have no skewing effect on the action at all. In the final confrontation, of course, the group dynamic was sufficiently strong that umpire decisions merely “registered” and were obeyed. By this time the umpires were truly invisible.
The one point at which the exercise was imperiled through address to the umpires came during the final hour. One highly-respected participant in that charged period, ostensibly speaking to his fellow-defenders, actually addressed the umpires directly, appealing to them to end the exercise. This appeal itself had the potential for ending the exercise. The head umpire, feeling strongly that an ending on this basis would be illegitimate, but fearing that other umpires might be swayed by the authority of this person and by the weight of emotion expressed, conferred at that point with the other umpires. The decision was to continue. The absence of the umpires at this time and—to the defenders—their lack of response to the appeal, may have aided in the re-establishment of authenticity in the exercise. It may also have been true that the symmetrical impulses of defenders and Unionists were by this time so strong that only direct, forceful umpire intervention could have interrupted this dynamic.
15. NONVIOLENCE AND CIVILIAN DEFENSE
The three Grindstone institutes have been centered on the theory and social application of nonviolence. Nonviolence is here considered as a positive doctrine and set of action techniques, not as the mere absence of violence. In this context it is derived from Christian and Western liberal religious sources as well as from the experience of Gandhi. * For a recent critical survey of nonviolent theory and practice, see William Robert Miller’s Non-Violence: A Christian Interpretation (New York: Association Press), 1965.
Civilian defense theory, on the other hand, while pioneered by advocates of nonviolence, has proved of interest to political theorists and strategists who have no prior attachment to nonviolence. As it has been explicated in conferences and papers in North America and Europe, it has often proceeded without explicit reference to the postulates and practices of nonviolence. Its terminology is that of strategy, of military models, of resistance and revolution, Of behavioral science. There has come to be a clear tension between civilian defense theorists and those primarily oriented toward pacifist nonviolence.
This tension was plainly evident during the 1965 Grindstone Institute. The intention to conduct a days-long exercise made this unavoidable. An exercise of from two to five hours, as conducted in previous years, can be carried on in the context of pacifist action assumptions and tactics. A much longer exercise, with a clearly political scenario, made necessary the use of civilian defense theories and tactics. The initial presentation to participants of the concept of civilian defense drew sharp reactions. It was charged by some that civilian defense was merely a form of guerilla warfare. Others asserted that to the extent civilian defense depends centrally on nonviolence, it can never be used to defend an exploitative or corrupt society; in a world of have-nots, nonviolence can never be used successfully to preserve a have society.
To this it was stated that pacifists often appear to want to defend only a society that does not yet exist: a society based on their own ideas. If this is so, they have no business at all talking about national defense; and their ideas are confessedly irrelevant to present and foreseeable circumstances of international affairs. If, on the other hand, pacifists are concerned with aiding existing men and nations to defend themselves by better methods than those presently in use, they must show men how to defend what those men presently hold dear, not what pacifists think they ought to hold dear.
This dilemma was never thoroughly explored, due to its novelty to many participants and due to time considerations. Much subsequent discussion and preparation assumed implicitly the validity, in a civilian defense situation, of personal pacifist techniques and assumptions [See article, ‘The Saturday Questionnaire’.]
After the exercise, which threw sharply into doubt the immediate applicability of pacifist action assumptions and techniques, some participants drew the lesson that the civilian defense context was the root of the problem; the two did not mix. In what seemed clearly in some to bean emotional retreat into old verities, some participants asserted the falsity of civilian defense and stated that, not the nonviolence used, but civilian defense had been shown as useless in the exercise. While not explicitly denying that they themselves had failed in the use of nonviolence, they tended to suggest that the civilian defense context had, in some manner, corrupted nonviolence and caused it to be of little use. It was countered that the defenders had hardly used the concepts and maxims of civilian defense at all; for example they had from the start placed principal reliance on the one tactic that civilian defense theorists warn against in the first stages of a resistance effort: the total general strike.
Others, with an anarchist orientation, returned to the argument that the national state was inherently exploitative and violent: that it was impossible for such a state to defend itself nonviolently or through civilian defense. People would either not accept it or would turn it into guerilla warfare when sufficiently pressed. It was replied that to say this was to break off the public debate about nuclear weapons and strategies of mass violence, to leave this field to the advocates of violence, and to retreat into the mere advocacy of a non-national world. [See also ‘Friday Evening’, in ‘The Post-Exercise Evaluation Period’.]
In the written evaluation form [See Appendix 10.] participants were asked whether there was a basic cleavage or a tension between nonviolence and civilian defense. They were also asked whether, in the exercise, the two ideas were adequately related. Finally they were asked to characterize the direction of any change in the defending group during the exercise: toward more nonviolence or toward more civilian defense.
Responses to these questions were quite mixed. Some answered that there was both basic cleavage and tension between nonviolence and civilian defense. Others responded that they knew too little of one or the other to answer the question. Nearly all were sure that the two had not been adequately related in the exercise. They did not agree on the direction of change in the defending group: toward nonviolence or toward civilian defense.
A recurring theme was that nonviolence as a philosophy or way of life, is positive; it builds. Civilian defense, on the other hand, merely preserves; it is negative; it is a mere tactic, not sufficiently spiritual. One participant repeated the belief that national nonviolence would preclude the necessity for a defense policy of any kind.
Only one respondent tried to avoid the either-or context. “There is a need to re-think nonviolence in the framework of civilian defense. Our experiences…have been with social change. Pressure tactics can be used in this situation because the forces we are opposing are amicable to change. But the civilian defense framework changes the situation. The nature of the enemy is not that flexible. Inherent in defense is survival. It is this elementary force, ‘survival’, that brings in tension. Nonviolence, as we have envisioned and practiced, encourages the giving up of life as an ultimate sacrifice. Whereas civilian defense encourages the preserving of life if possible…(we need to study this more than tactical considerations)…changes needed were all in the direction of more civilian defense.”
The exercise answered many questions with a kind of QED finality. But this central problem—the relation of nonviolence and civilian defense—remained a problem for many participants. For them, the answer at this point was ambiguous. Clearly, the distance remains great between an approach beginning from a set of principles and moral axioms and one beginning from the requirements of effective defense in the event of military occupation. It is perhaps not surprising that an adventitious group of inquirers failed to bring the two into serious or continuing contact.
16. DYNAMIC BETWEEN UNIONISTS AND DEFENDERS
Participants were asked, in the evaluation following the exercise, [See Appendix 10.] if they thought the end result of the exercise had in any sense been “fated” or fore-ordained, and if it had, to identify the point at which this took place. Most respondents agreed that a collision course had been set in motion as early as Tuesday afternoon when, as one respondent put it, the “defenders’ thinking and strategy centered on the determination not to accept the reality of the Unionists’ occupation and control of the island.” The point of no return was located variously, from Tuesday itself, to the acceptance of the “manifesto” on Wednesday, to the defenders’ failure after 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to take concrete action on the plea of the bell-ringer’s widow, neither seeking nor finding another symbol to replace the bell, to the final self-appointment of a spokesman before the 10:00 p.m. deadline had been passed. There is a good deal of evidence from both sides for this collision-course analysis.
Each side fully believed its course to be non-inflammatory and controlled by rational considerations. Neither wanted a showdown of the sort that finally occurred. Yet after the fact, each side saw that an apocalyptic ending had been building from the very start. [See article, ‘Misinterpretation of Signals’.]
Both sides implemented their initial strategies with fair success. The Unionists had determined on a low-keyed “kept in custody” arrangement, with the more stringent rationing and work program following logically from this “reasonable” occupation. The defenders, much less able to plan coherently, nonetheless had agreed to treat individual Unionists with kindness, but to refuse cooperation with unwarranted Unionist plans. (The problem of defender attitudes toward Unionist “legitimacy” is discussed under ‘Defender Attitudes Toward Government and Law’.) Both groups from the start wished the conflict to be low-keyed, to avoid major confrontations.
The Unionists secured their physical goals, but failed utterly to keep a major confrontation from developing. The custody motif, inherently reasonable, was too logically connected to an attack, as the defenders saw it, on their lives, through the rationing system. In order to make a stand against the rationing system, they were compelled to reject the entire Unionist package. The subsequent announcement of the work program only confirmed to the defenders that the Unionist goal was essentially to control every aspect of the defenders’ lives. The Unionists’ decision to cut themselves off from personal contact with the defenders made impossible any correction by experience upon defender projections in vacuo of Unionist intentions. In this sense the Unionist strategy guaranteed that only two responses were possible: capitulation at once or a fairly total resistance.
The defenders’ generalized but unarticulated advance program of response was, in effect, to deny the reality of the Unionists’ physical control of the situation. The very inchoate quality of defender initial reaction helped to carry this out. But, as has been pointed out in ‘The Pedagogical Motif’, the captor-captive situation requires, to avoid its degeneration into war, an acknowledgement by the captives of the captors’ control of the physical environment. The defenders’ advance strategy of acknowledging only personal relationships with the Unionists remained largely irrelevant, since the Unionists secluded themselves. The denial part of defender strategy could only induce the pedagogical motif: more pressure from the Unionists. The defender reaction to the Unionist package therefore could only be total.
Therefore the Unionists correctly foresaw war in the offing and the defenders correctly saw that the Unionists’ package was belied by their attitudes and style; they were confirmed in total resistance to any part of the Unionists’ plans. Thus the initial plans of both sides seemed to be justified by events, but actually induced the very thing both sides had wished to avoid: a major confrontation.
The Unionist commander’s virtuoso performance during the meeting of Tuesday evening only accelerated these developments. By dominating the scene, by being more reasonable than the defenders, he forced the defenders—already uneasily aware that the initiative had been taken from them—into arbitrary and aggressive actions. Since the defenders could not yet plan coherent action, their random responses, all within the non-recognition framework, further convinced the Unionists that they were dealing with people who were dangerous precisely in that their actions were not based on reality—a reality so obvious that it must be recognized by any rational person.
The commander could note in his log as early as 9:00 p.m. Tuesday that the defenders had apparently taken an “heroic stand” but he apparently did not understand fully the pressures on his own forces that the defender strategy had created. The aggressive actions of the bulletin group during the night could, however, only confirm the Unionists in their belief that the “pacifists” still had not grasped reality.
On Wednesday morning, the Unionists decided to drive home their own control of the food by offering a free meal. Some defenders understood at least part of this motive and wished to refuse the meal. Others saw it as a means of establishing man-to-man communication. It appears that this latter note among the defenders was drowned out by the hostile response. The commander’s announcement had come not long after a report on the typewriter incident of the night before, which was regarded as a defeat for the defenders. The commander—not having heard this report—concluded his announcement with a warning against repeating such ventures: “If incidents like last night repeat, we will be forced to take stronger measures. We realize that at the moment we do…the point of deterioration will have come and your community will rapidly decline and eventually disappear,” He emphasized the Unionists’ physical control and their victory in all physical confrontations.
In noting the group’s disintegration under further pressure, he had touched upon the rawest nerve in the defending group, which responded with a declaration of the defenders’ physical superiority and raised the specter of the defenders nonviolently picking off the Unionists one at a time. It was the Unionists who were prisoners, only six against thirty: “the power of nonviolence against the power of a gadget.” It was this message which came through clearly. The Unionists appear to have missed entirely the possibility of flexible defender response through the “fraternization cook-out,” as the free meal soon came to be regarded.
Then the problem came up, for the Unionists, of kitchen crew defection. What the defenders had just called “one small room [that] they don’t dare get very far away from” seemed to have its security imperiled. Now the Unionist response, in its turn, became rigid. Rather than live with this minor ambiguity in the kitchen, they abandoned the whole rationing and work system and began to dig in. The crockery contretemps and the antenna incident in the afternoon seemed to confirm to the Unionists that the siege was about to begin. On their part the defenders regarded the antenna episode as one small means of exercising initiative, of freeing themselves from rigid and reactive responses, of preparing the way for more thoughtful and effective community actions. The Unionists, however, took in water and looked to their ammunition. [See article, ‘Misinterpretation of Signals’.]
Among the defenders, the “manifesto” summed up their new-found ability to move and to determine events. Insofar as this was true it opened at least the abstract possibility of wider communication and flexible, realistic response. It will be remembered that one original impetus for the new strategy had been the cook-out and its possibilities. The Unionist abandonment of control over existing food seemed to cancel any felt need for the cook-out. It may be that this casual decision was the true point of no return; for without the fraternization motif, the “manifesto” stood alone as defender strategy.
The Unionists could only interpret the “manifesto” as the end result of a flight from reality. They accordingly laid plans to forestall the total confrontation likely to follow from implementation of the “manifesto.” Their intention in killing one or more defenders was to drive home the so-far-evaded reality of the captor-captive situation. The “wanton” gas attack before dinner was the first signal in this campaign. On the success of this campaign depended the Unionists’ control of the situation: their ability to function as captors rather than as warriors in battle.
Without the cook-out, there was no communication between the groups that could have modified the two collision courses. In any case it would have taken powerful forces to deflect the defenders away from a course they saw as having achieved a hard-won unity on a fully-articulated plan of action. And, as we have seen, the Unionist commitment to a demonstration of force was now well-nigh complete. The only contact between the groups from dinner until the issuance of the shoot-to-kill proclamation was the gas-attack protest, which only convinced the Unionist soldiers, as distinguished from their leaders, that a confrontation was highly desirable.
The Unionist seizure of the bell appears to have been a mistake. This act, intended to cue the defenders to Unionist rigidity—and so analogous to the “rationality of irrationality” argument in nuclear deterrence theory—caused the defenders to believe they were getting under the Unionists’ skins. Therefore by all means ring a bell of some sort, come what may. It thus became impossible for the defenders to develop flexibility over their symbols; they were now committed to the bell. After the killing of the bell-ringer it became even more difficult to think of shifting the focus of resistance and defiance; it would have looked like a retreat. To this point, the confrontation was not inevitable; now its style was becoming symmetrical.
With communication cut off, and with nothing to do in the Unionist camp after the proclamation but wait, the tension grew, making the 9:00 shooting quite inevitable, After this event and the initial period of denial and verbal heroics, the Unionists had to face the fact that their pedagogical strategy had failed. Events were now nearly out of control. By not submitting to reality, the pacifists had declared war. Still, the Unionists were uncertain. Another shooting might sink in. They therefore determined to shoot no more than four at 10:00 p.m. and then to await further developments; perhaps there would be no need to shoot more at 11:00.
Despite the commander’s intimations at about 9:30 that something new was working among the defenders, it proved impossible even to try to communicate this to his troops. As 10:00 approached, he discovered that it was difficult even to hold his men to the agreed procedure.
The text of the defender meeting between 9:00 and 10:00 is reproduced in Appendix 11. Clearly a new spirit was at work among these people as they faced ultimate choices. Just as clearly, these ultimate realities erased for many the consciousness of their acting within a socio-drama. Even the potentially jarring appeal to the umpires did not restore this perspective. Though many currents were flowing, not all of them articulated at the time, the decision to let the 10:00 p.m. bell go by was not challenged.
At this point, the movement toward destruction had been stopped. Not directly in reaction to the Unionists, but out of a confrontation with their own assumed roles, the defenders had deflected their own course toward collision. As the man who appealed to the umpires had stated, the lesson had been learned. Yet the umpires were aware of other currents and of the desirability of the exercise ending not with a “spiritual” insight, but with an empirical accommodation.
This decision appears to have been justified when the appearance of the Unionist troops, and their noisy arrangement of a field of fire, ultimately triggered off the swift events of the end of the exercise. Neither side had effectively internalized the insights of the last hour. Both now reverted without restraint to the dynamic that had brought them to this hour; and the massacre ensued.
- The Institute And Nonviolence
- The Institute And Civilian Defense
- The Institute And Experimental Techniques
- The Institute As A Training Experience
- Extension Of The Experimental Concept
1. THE INSTITUTE AND NONVIOLENCE
Most participants concluded that the experiment had been a defeat for nonviolence; all experienced the shattering of some cherished illusions. Yet there was similar unanimity that the experience had made valuable contributions to the understanding of nonviolence. Many of these lessons were of a negative character; that is, they pointed up limitations, failures, inadequacies and uncertainties. The narratives and analytical articles of this report emphasize this negative aspect: the failure of the unstructured approach to crisis situations, the inadequacy of communication, the ambiguities of defender actions, etc. The value of these “negative” lessons to the practitioner of nonviolence is obvious and will not be further developed here. In this section the emphasis will be on a few “positive” lessons for the understanding and practice of nonviolence.
In the assessment of the final outcome of the experiment it must be recognized that the defenders were in the most difficult situation possible. Although the defense used was largely unsuccessful, it is quite probable that any other defense would have been no more successful. The occupation of Grindstone Island was a combination of the Warsaw ghetto and Buchenwald. The participants in the Institute were expressly declared to be prisoners; they were to be maintained in a state of serfdom for the purpose of transforming the island into an extermination camp; escape was absolutely impossible; the only hint of an alternative was transportation to “resettlement areas” in the “Fatherland”—a classic Nazi euphemism for shipment of undesirables to already established extermination centers.
Against such a starkly absolute threat the defense was almost bound to take on reciprocally absolute qualities. The major alternatives would seem to be (1) total submission, (2) total violent resistance, and (3) total nonviolent resistance. Obviously, strategic variants exist within each of the three types, and the ideal defense would include tactical modifications responsive to the unfolding events and developing relations between the contending groups. But it must be noted that the Unionist strategy included in its totalism a virtually impenetrable wall of isolation from and unresponsiveness to the prisoners.
Of the three major types of response, the defenders chose one form of the third, i.e., total non-cooperation. It is instructive to examine the probable results of the use of either of the other major alternatives. In view of the grotesquely harsh Unionist response to relatively trivial harassment in which the extreme violence was a minor act of sabotage, it can only be concluded that the Unionist invaders would have instantly put down a violent resistance with a total use of their superior means of violence. thirty-one hours of talk, interspersed with a few incidents of verbal harassment and some bell-ringing led to the wanton murder of 13 people. It is quite probable that a very few minutes of violent resistance would have led to the murder of the whole group.
The fate attendant on submission to the Unionist program is spelled out in the proclamations and other statements of the Unionist occupation. Briefly, this fate would have been the progressive tightening of the bureaucratic stranglehold, leading ultimately to the establishment of the Grindstone Island extermination center—and the final destruction of its first group of occupants.
Thus, we conclude that the non-cooperation posture assumed by the defender group was no less successful than either of the other totalistic responses would have been. This is not to justify or recommend any totalistic response. From the point of view of defense of the community in the sense of survival a more sophisticated non-absolute variant, probably including parts of all three major types of response, is clearly required.
But there are elements of a successful. defense against tyranny other than simple survival. The most important of these is the prevention of the successful imposition of the tyranny. The mandate of the Unionist force was to deal with centers of dissent such as the Grindstone group “…where this can be done quietly.” See Appendix 1. The massacre of 13 people at the end of the second day of occupation can hardly be described as “quietly” dealing with a center of dissent. This aim of the imposed tyranny was thwarted. Also the longer term aim of having the Grindstone group convert the island into a permanent center was totally defeated. Thus the “heroic” stance of non-cooperation, faulty as it undoubtedly was in many respects, succeeded in blocking the imposition and the aims of the tyranny.
The defender group, in an effort toward a more sophisticated and imaginative defense, agreed upon a strategy of fraternization and human-to-human contact as the most promising approach for dealing with the Unionists. They also attempted (even though unsuccessfully and misdirectedly in most instances) to carry out this strategy. But all the relevant factors—some inherent in the form of the Unionist occupation and others due to the artificial qualities of the exercise—worked to prevent these efforts from being effective. The totalism of the occupation and the planned imperviousness to just such contact have been mentioned. The extreme and rapid escalation of responses by both sides was also a major preventive of human contact. But most importantly the extremely compressed time factor, which was deeply felt by all participants, prevented the steady and measured response that this strategy required. The two-day stipulation of the scenario, although not explicitly referred to by the defenders, had a very strong effect, on the one hand of preventing the time-consuming approaches that might have made human contact possible, and on the other hand forced the defenders—who, after all, had to take the initiative or submit to their own imprisonment—into hasty, often inadequately considered and poorly planned, actions. In turn, these actions then further interfered with human contact and contributed to the speed and intensity of the escalation.
While the totalism of their own occupation plans clearly required the Unionists to insist on defender recognition of the captor-captive relationship (see 2, below), it was equally imperative for the defenders to refuse this recognition. It is true that nonviolence seeks to avoid forcing an opponent into a situation where his only choices are total capitulation or resort to violence. But a prior imperative of nonviolence is to resist evil—nonviolently if possible—but resist in any case. In the absence of all other means—and the absolute totalitarianism of the Grindstone occupation left few alternatives—the simplistic, totalistic non-recognition which was used may be the only form resistance can take.
2. THE INSTITUTE AND CIVILIAN DEFENSE
The whole experiment proved very little directly about the value of civilian defense or its social defense variant. In part this was due to a large carry-over, in both planning and execution, of the concepts and style of Quaker and pacifist nonviolence. The scenario had not been set up to test the relevance of these ideas against the situation that was actually set. There was therefore no means built in to control or direct these notions once they began to dominate the exercise. Planners had attempted to jump too easily from one context of action into another. In this they failed.
One significant contribution to civilian defense theory was made, however. Theoretical discussions to date have paid little attention to problems involved in the notion of “non-recognition.” In the 1965 exercise, these problems profoundly affected the course of the whole experiment. In this sense, though the operation as a whole was somewhat tangential to the main lines of civilian defense inquiry, it illustrated how a relatively minor idea or operational maxim, if left unexamined, can undermine the presumably more important.
We believe that a sharp distinction must be drawn between the legitimacy of an occupier’s official aims and actions and his personnel as such. Defenders at Grindstone did acknowledge the presence of the Unionists. They even made sustained, though ineffective, efforts to breach the Unionists’ carefully imposed barriers against personal contact. But their consistent behavior tended to deny the reality of the occupation itself and thus to evacuate this recognition of substance. Ultimately this denial extended to the Unionists’ weapons. At this point the defenders had clearly lost sight of the fact that the soldier’s uniform, role and weapons in important ways are himself. This denial was at least a partial cause of what was, from the viewpoint of both sides, a gratuitous punitive exercise embarked upon by the Unionists.
Because this can happen; because defender response can become absorbed in meeting this problem which is essentially peripheral to civilian defense; because non-recognition, unless strictly specified, lends itself to petty legalism; and because of the potential disaster involved; we believe that the notion of non-recognition in civilian defense requires close and systematic attention. Those taking a position of basic nonviolence would also do well to scrutinize it carefully. As practiced, it appeared to do violence to the personalities of the Unionists and roused the worst in them. It closed communication, in that Unionists, when faced by this defender non-recognition, were faced with a dilemma. If they responded on defender terms, they were false to their mission. The alternative was to force a defender re-evaluation. Non-recognition in this context tended to require either violence or capitulation, a dilemma that nonviolence usually seeks to avoid forcing on its opponents.
3. THE INSTITUTE AND EXPERIMENTAL TECHNIQUES
Resource Persons as Participants
Sufficient attention has been drawn in the analytical articles to major planning weaknesses. But one problem, the use of resource people, calls for further comment. The period after announcement of the impending exercise lacked clear focus in part because the resource leaders of the first three days (those who had not become umpires) tended to hang back. They consciously let the group find itself and its own level. This involved subtracting their own contributions from the equation almost completely. Though this was done from soundly-conceived personal reasons, it produced a profoundly unreal situation, in which people of considerable experience and insight did little to aid the group—of which they were, in the last analysis, full members—in achieving workable plans to meet the emergency. In other experiments using this general format, some means will have to be found either to let these people take full parts, with the inevitable dominance this entails, or to provide non-participatory roles for them.
Socio-Drama and Role-Playing
We believe that role-playing was misplaced in the 1965 Institute. Instead of beginning the training with generalized role-playing situations, planners should have waited until after the announcement of the scenario before introducing role-playing, and then only as a matter of try-outs of specific tactical situations within the framework of a comprehensive strategy.
With regard to socio-drama, we believe that this device clearly indicated its utility as a training and investigational technique within the framework of non-military defense planning. Just as clearly, the more successfully it is utilized, the more sensitive to personal over-involvement the planners and leaders will have to be.
Length of Institute
The problem of time allocation is complicated by the inherent open-endedness of socio-drama. Adequate preparation can be made in four days, at least for experiments within the institute type of structure. But there are few means to determine the “proper” length of an exercise. Other experiments might well build more slowly to a climax or even avoid one. In some, the sheer passage of extended time would be an important item of input. In all, there would be the inherent possibility that the sense of time limitation would frustrate certain possible defender approaches. Since there is no way to predict the intensity of a planned experiment, there is also no way to calculate an optimum post-exercise decompression period. In this particular experiment, bad the same climax occurred a day later, there would not have been adequate time to decompress before the Institute ended.
The institute framework for these experiments, if extended beyond ten days covering two weekends, tends to attract only those economically able to be off work for this longer period. While more extensive planning and recruitment might meet this problem to some extent, we see two divergent courses open to further experiments in civilian defense. The first is to move beyond the institute framework into continuing communities, i.e., into “field” experimentation. The second is to stay within the institute context but to focus scenarios much more tightly than the one used at Grindstone in 1965. If limited to specific circumstances or problems in civilian defense, these exercises could over a period of years explore in depth problems that could be handled in no other way.
Recording the Experiment
Most observers and participants found extensive note-taking impossible. Aside from a few well-kept notebooks, one observer’s near-complete notes and the Unionist log, no comprehensive written documentation was made of the exercise. Subsequent recollection often proved to be sorely in need of correction by these notes.
The almost complete set of tapes provided the only authentic check on notes and recollection. Time and again the tapes proved indispensable in filling out memory and compressed or scrambled notes. Further, the ability of tape to catch and preserve the emotional tone or the significant aside adds a whole dimension to subsequent investigation. The mere fact that the tapes existed may have deterred the construction of self-serving interpretations of controverted events. To be useful in documentation and analysis, the tapes must be transcribed-a difficult and time-consuming job.
The equipment and techniques used are important. Crude or bulky equipment, requiring constant adjustment or obtrusive placement of microphones, would doubtless have inhibited action. It might also have encouraged a self-conscious “speaking for the record.” The equipment used required no adjustment. Tapes, run at the slowest speed, lasted for many hours. The microphone needed only to be generally “present” to pick up speech. The equipment was extremely well-handled.
The question of cameras is subject to the same criteria. Standard documentary techniques, with any sort of cameras would have been obtrusive. Camera people who would be content to shoot from out of the line of sight of active participants, who would forego the use of special lighting, who would make maximum use of long-lens shots and who would stay out of small rooms, might make a significant contribution to our understanding of what happened in future experiments.
Social Science Personnel
Though little has been done to date in this regard, it is important to involve social scientists at all stages and levels of experimentation in the areas of civilian defense and nonviolence. But there is a tension between those intent on training and experimentation and those primarily concerned to develop a sound research model. Social scientists are found on both sides of this problem. Planning to date has avoided this tension rather than grapple with it. And planning has been the poorer for it.
The exercise could have assimilated a larger number of observers, freed from umpiring responsibilities. The presence of such people was not missed in the immediate evaluation of the 1965 Institute. The chief issues were clearly identified and dealt with. Had the results been more ambiguous, social scientists’ contributions could have been very important, as they will be in subsequent evaluation. In the period of preparation, before the group became “defenders,” non-involved professionals might have been able to point out ways by which the leadership—all heavily involved—might have avoided the pitfalls.
We hope that social scientists will contribute to the planning, execution and evaluation of future experimental institutes, not only for the techniques they might bring to the process, but because a good deal of current research is clearly relevant to the problems of non-military defense.
Relevance of Pacifist Background
Because few non-pacifists were present in the 1965 exercise, little ground for comparison existed. Though many pacifists would argue that personal commitment to pacifism is a high-order desideratum in civilian defense, there is reason to believe this might not be so. Sustained and massive nonviolence in civil rights activities on the part of non-pacifists is at least one indication. But there are important differences between the two contexts. In an occupation situation, the hope of legislative redress would be absent. Highly-motivated leadership might be in short supply. Moral and financial support from a nearby populace would likely not be available or apparent to beleaguered defenders. These questions lead us to suggest that high priority be given to experimentation with non-pacifists.
4. THE INSTITUTE AS A TRAINING EXPERIENCE
Grindstone Island is an excellent site for experimentation in all aspects of nonviolence, including its relation to civilian defense; the attenders of the summer Institutes are excellent “subjects” for such experimentation; the administrations of the Island and the Institutes are an invaluable ancillary contribution to carrying out the experiments; the resources of the sponsoring organizations make such experimentation possible. But it must be recognized that all of these are committed primarily to training in nonviolence and secondarily to experimentation.
Research and teaching are related to each other by a subtle mixture of tension and interdependence. Good teaching requires original experimentation; research divorced from teaching (or other immediate human involvement) is in danger of becoming sterile. The 1965 Grindstone Institute achieved an excellent balance between these demands.
Short anecdotal role-playing exercises have long been used in the direct action movement for training in self -defense techniques. Limited socio-drama exercises have also been used for the demonstration of, and practice in, the application of nonviolence to many types of situations that might be encountered by actionists. Both techniques have proved to be invaluable parts of serious training programs. The extended socio-drama of the 1965 Grindstone Institute provided experience in depth for all its participants in a wide range of aspects of an extremely serious social interaction situation. Future Institutes should provide similar experiences for other trainees in different situations.
The main training value of the extended socio-drama exercise is the profound sense of realism that grips the participants. It provides the chance to test techniques, to prove or disprove concepts, and to practice both under conditions that differ from reality mainly in that the penalty of failure is metaphorical rather than actual. Perhaps the most valuable, though at the same time the most painful, aspect of this training experience is the harsh glare of experimental light it sheds on the preconceptions, illusions and favorite myths of nonviolence. These all must be examined and re-examined on the basis of the way they work out in actual practice; participants simply cannot avoid unpleasant issues by burying them in discussion.
5. EXTENSION OF THE EXPERIMENTAL CONCEPT
We are impressed with the amount of knowledge gained by participants and observers out of a contrived situation in a highly artificial environment. As was stated above, the “institute” format for experiments can carry out further valuable systematic investigation in ways not open to exercises more closely approximating actuality.
Communities and Military Units
We believe that responsible agencies, institutions, and government itself would do well to consider extension of civilian defense experimentation into wider contexts. Experiments should be undertaken within national military establishments, via “maneuvers,” into the adaptability of military concepts, discipline, personnel, organization and equipment to given facets of civilian defense.
The most logical extension of these and the Grindstone experiments is into living situations. If there is any validity to civilian defense, governments owe it to their people to use national and local resources for exercises with actual towns and cities. Among these resources is surely the latent and manifest patriotism of national populations. Often the less attractive aspects of patriotism on the part of a populace at large can be traced, we believe, to their remoteness from the actual tests of battle. Civilian defense is by no means a defense against every threat; it has little relevance to long range missile attack, for example. But what the average citizen seems to fear is occupation. If he had a direct part in a strategy designed to frustrate an occupation, he might be less inclined to agitate for those dangerous, totalistic strategies intended, in the final analysis, to accomplish the same end.
In any case, we shall never know whether civilian defense is feasible or not until experiments are conducted with those who would have to practice it: civilian populations. We hope that future experiments will aim at providing the expertise and insight necessary to move the site of experimentation into our towns and cities, under official sponsorship.
Direct Action Projects
As a final recommendation we propose that the experimental technique and attitude be extended into the direct action projects that are regularly taking place. Here are situations of social interaction differing only in degree of artificiality from the situation set up in the scenario of the 1965 Grindstone Institute experiment. The situations are contrived by the planners and coordinators of the projects; they would not exist unless the actionists set them up. Vast expenditures of material and personal resources are expended in staging these projects. Their primary value to the participants is the public witness and other “educational” and political effects they may have; their secondary value is training of participants. Without interfering with these qualities it would be possible to reap a major benefit of empirical knowledge of factors that determine the outcome of such projects by. the relatively simple extra expenditure of resources in keeping complete and accurate records and making careful analytical reports.
We recognize the difficulties and limitations of such a proposal. It would require the self-restraint and discipline of some actionists to “sit out” a demonstration in order to be an observer or recorder. For maximum objectivity, the majority of observers should be unconnected with the sponsorship of the project. It is also obviously impossible in a demonstration to get the total record from all factions that is a readily available part of the controlled experiment carried out in the institute context. Despite these difficulties and shortcomings the effort should be made. Empirically based understanding, as a guide to future planning, is one of the greatest needs of the direct action movement.
1. SCENARIO AND MANAGEMENT OF THE EXERCISE
Articles 1 through 3 of this document were read to the assembled defenders at the end of the evening session on August 1. Articles 1 and 2 establish the aims and rationale of the exercise; article 3, the scenario proper, establishes the context for the ensuing socio-drama. The whole document, including articles 4 through 10, was circulated among the planning committee before the institute began and served as the directive and plan under which the exercise was carried out. The leaders managed to adhere very closely to this plan in actual practice. The whole document therefore serves as a statement of the way in which the experiment was carried out.
GRINDSTONE 1965— EXERCISE IN CIVILIAN DEFENSE (CONFIDENTIAL)
1. The intent of this experiment in nonviolent training is to enable trainees to put to use the concepts, strategies and techniques of nonviolent action in such a way as to make them relevant to the situation of civilian defense. In order to do this we posit a situation in which the trainees will, by and large, play themselves: i.e., trainees at Grindstone. In an extended exercise it would introduce too many imponderables if, in addition to their resistance activities, trainees had to mock-up a national or metropolitan milieu, with their paraphernalia of prime minister, mayor, householders, etc.
2. The goal of the exercise is to demonstrate in as clear a way as possible, given the actual situation, what sketchily-trained people can do to defend themselves and their patterns of life against a likely sort of threat.
3. The situation posited is this: Vacillation at Ottawa has allowed the separatists in Quebec to gain the leadership of that province and to move it to effective independence. A Quebec mission in Paris acts to all intents and purposes like an embassy; it establishes far-reaching “trade agreements” with other nations. The French consul-general in Montreal functions as an ambassador. Emboldened by their success, the Laurentians, with Gaullist connivance, establish a national economic independence hostile to Ottawa and Washington. The Seaway is seized by Laurentian officials, backed by armed force. France, now out of SEATO and NATO and enjoying a thriving relation to Eastern Europe, recognizes Laurentian independence and announces a comprehensive aid pact.
Domestic and American pressures cause the Ottawa government to fall. A nationalist coalition government is formed and plans are laid to force a military solution unless Laurentia submits. Laurentia hints at French nuclear aid. A sudden mutiny wracks the Canadian armed forces; Ottawa itself is strafed from the air and the government retires in confusion to Toronto.
Invoking the Johnson Doctrine, the American president announces that American army and marine units are moving into the Seaway area to protect a vital communications link of the Free World. Attacking all along a broad front from Kingston to the Maritimes, the Americans soon control major portions of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. They show no signs of readiness to leave and their control spreads far out into the countryside. Behind the American lines, a right wing military-civilian group forms a new Canadian government. Working in close collaboration with the Americans, this “government” soon controls Toronto, most of Ontario and, in the face of fierce guerrilla fighting, is extending its control into Quebec. The legitimate Canadian government is now located in Winnipeg.
The American-supported “Unionist” government in Toronto is trying to rally the populace to its support and is suppressing dissent where this can be done quietly. Learning of the Grindstone training program, it views this as a potential danger to itself, should the trainees begin to organize local pockets of resistance. The training program had begun just before the American occupation and had remained in session. Now, two days before it was to have broken up and sent people home, the Unionists have decided to deal with whatever problems that might be presented by the Grindstone group. The Grindstone group is aware that some action by this “government” is likely.
4. Preparation by the trainees—On about Monday of the program, participants are informed that there will indeed be a rigorous exercise. A hiatus is desirable between this announcement and the actual onset of preparation for the arrival of the Unionists. It enables people to get “set” early on or to let themselves out gently or ease into a less demanding role with no loss of face. On Tuesday a.m. they are briefed to the extent indicated above in 3. They are given no details about what the Unionist government is likely to do. The balance of the day is devoted to organizing and planning for various contingencies.
Depending on factors at the time. this period can be lengthened or cut short. Since the presence of Quislings or spies can be assumed, some of the hard details will have to be arranged outside regular sessions.
5. The Unionists must do a fair amount of advance preparation before the end of July especially if they use uniforms, carry firearms, etc. Their degree of role assumption requires careful planning and rehearsal. Their identities should not be disclosed to other participants, since this would introduce an element of undesirable play-acting and self-consciousness into their actions before the prospective Unionists. Further, there would be a tendency to dissemble in their presence, especially in the period of actual preparation. The answer should be that though there may be Quislings or others present, nonviolent civilian defense has nothing to hide, at least in the way of ideas, general tactics and strategy. Since Unionists would be missed, and hence identified, if they were absent during sessions of defense preparation, it is necessary that Unionists meet outside the structure of regular sessions.
6. The on-going processes of the island must, in the main, continue during the exercise. But it is advisable that there be no persons exempt from the reality of the situation we are assuming. Thus messages will continue to be accepted from the mainland, but the radio set will be under the control of the Unionists. How much food is to be served—or even whether the defenders eat—is up to the Unionists. But it will be stipulated that the cook and any non-participant helpers she may have are non-political people. At least they will be treated as such by the Unionists; that is, they may eat, send messages, go to the mainland, etc. But if, in contravention of Unionist orders, they attempt to aid the defenders, they have thereby opted in and must accept all that entails.
7. People who must be withdrawn from the exercise can be handled in various ways:
a. It may be found before the exercise begins that some should not participate at all. These can be transferred to honorary or actual cook’s staff. Or perhaps one or more can function as observer-umpires, though this is doubtful, since the same qualities that make good participants also make good observer-umpires.
b. Physical casualties—people shot dead—might swell the ranks of observers or staff, though it would be better by far if they went off the island: the impact on the survivors would be far more realistic if the person shot were simply not seen again. An alternative would be to designate an area of the island as off limits—and invisible—and deposit corpses there, together with adequate amounts of food, books and mosquito lotion.
c. Psychic casualties will need to be dealt with individually. Some could join the staff; others, the dead. We may find people it is best to send home.
8. The observer-umpires will have free access to all meetings and cabals so long as the exercise is in progress, and of course they will monitor all events between the contending forces. It will be understood that in “public” during the exercise, the observer-umpires are invisible. They should probably number no less than five, since they will have to be on tap 24 hours a day. They must cover both sides at all times and still coordinate their own labors. The umpire-in-chief must have constant supply of data and evaluations so that he may decide how long the exercise should continue, whether given persons should be withdrawn, etc.
9. Duration of the exercise—It will be stated specifically that neither side knows when the exercise will be terminated; that planning and action must be done without regard to a possible stopping; we are pointing for victory or defeat or accommodation or escape—not for a time on the clock. It will be spelled out that when the exercise commences, it is “on” round the clock, without let-up or break, perhaps for days. Participants will be notified clearly by the observer-umpires when the exercise ends.
10. Evaluation should not follow immediately after the conclusion of the exercise. People will need time to unwind, to recoup themselves (especially if one side has been clearly down-faced). Casualties will need time to get caught up. And the irritation of the moment or the concern with what was merely one’s own will fade with the hours and need not therefore obtrude into the general evaluation. This is not to deny that the deeply-personal will turn out in many cases to have importance for us all. A pause before evaluation will rather serve—if anything will—to separate the notional or ephemeral from the significant.
It may be wise for each side to schedule its own meeting and get straight a general report before any plenary meeting for reportage and comment. The umpires’ report might well be held till last, after everything else has been said. It might also he good to meet in functional groups for further analysis of specific phases of the action.
It will be impossible to produce a comprehensive report during the period before the participants leave. Their later, more reflective, comments might be of real aid in producing a first-class report and evaluation.
2. UNIONIST FORMS AND PROCLAMATIONS
Unionist expression of their control of the island and defender responses were in large part established by the proclamations issued and bureaucratic forms required by the Unionist forces. Of the seven proclamations issued, the first four were prepared in advance of the invasion; the remaining three were prepared and issued during the course of the exercise. Proclamation 1 was distributed soon after the invasion had been accomplished and the restricted areas secured. It was read by all defenders, some of whom ceremoniously returned the copies to the Unionist clerk. Proclamation 2 was issued during the afternoon defender meeting. All copies were promptly burned without being read by any defenders. Proclamation 3 was posted widely throughout the occupied area of the island during the dinner hour vigil on Tuesday. A few defenders took a principled stand of reading this and subsequent proclamations; most of the group refused to read them. Proclamation 4 was issued early during the evening plenary meeting on Tuesday. The unread proclamations (2 through 4) were read to the defender group by the Unionist commander later in the Tuesday evening meeting. Proclamation 5 was read by the commander to the morning plenary meeting on Wednesday, August 4. Number 6 was an extemporaneous announcement by the Unionist commander to the defender group just before lunch on Wednesday. [The text of this proclamation was taken from the transcripts of the tapes.] Proclamation 7 was read by the commander to the defender group at 8:10 p.m. on Wednesday, just as the last plenary meeting was convening.
The three application forms were prepared before the invasion. Six children filled out the application for ration cards. One of the younger adult defenders also went through the motions of filling out the form but did not use his ration card. The applications for personal interviews and for work cards were never used because all defenders refused to fill them out. Copies of ration cards and work cards are reproduced in facsimile. Six “youth” ration cards were issued to the children; five were used for all rationed meals (the sixth child joined the adult defenders in their fast and vigil). No work cards were used.
This island is now under the administration of the UNION GOVERNMENT.
Due to the circumstance of war and disorder in Canada we must oblige you to remain on this island for an indefinite period.
This island is now your permanent home, please treat it as such!
All interference with an efficient administration of Grindstone Island and its resources will bring hardship and deprivation. We hope that you will be able to contain all aggressive, unruly and irresponsible elements in your group.
Except for a small area in the main lodge designated as OFF LIMITS you have the total freedom of Grindstone Island.
FOOD SUPPLIES are limited. They will be restocked by the Union Government as they are needed. Meals will be served as usual.
Ration Cards will he issued immediately at the office of the administrative secretary (porch of main lodge) between 4 pm-5 pm.
Ration cards must be presented to obtain meals!
Hans Sinn, Lt.
Chief of Administrative Services.
The administration will receive applications for personal interviews, if desired, between 5:30 pm-6 pm at the administrative office.
Please give in writing a brief but complete account of the nature of your concern.
Hans Sinn, Lt.
Chief of Administrative Services.
Union Army 00212
Productive labour is required immediately of all adults.
In order to assure your comfort throughout the coming winter a major reconditioning of the island and its facilities is essential.
Vocational questionnaires concerning your training, aptitude and interests can be obtained from and when completed returned to the office of the administrative secretary between 7:30 pm-8:30 pm.
Work Cards will be issued on receipt of completed questionnaire.
Procedure of Reconditioning:
Each morning the Reconditioning Supervisor will have a list of the essential tasks for the day. Report with your work card at the office of the administrative secretary between 7:30 am-9:30 am.
The supervisor will detail you to your tasks.
The work and its progress will be inspected after each work period by the Supervisor. Report after the morning work period with your work card to the administrative secretary between 11:30 am-12 noon so that your card may be marked accordingly.
For the afternoon work period assignments will be available between 1:30 pm-2:15 pm. The afternoon check in hours are between 5 pm-5:30 pm.
The duly stamped work card together with the ration card will have to be presented at the dining room entrance.
Meals will be served only to carriers of duly processed cards.
The administration aims to make Grindstone Island self-sufficient. After completed reconditioning of the island the administration will encourage the production of goods and services suitable for trade with the mainland.
CHILDREN AND DEPENDENTS do not require work cards but will receive their meals in conjunction with the work card of their parents. If the parents decide neither to support themselves nor their children the UNION GOVERNMENT will look after the support of the children. Continuing non-support of the children by the parents will result in the removal of the children from the island and placement in a foster home.
Please get your vocational questionnaire now and return it after completion to the office of the administrative sec. between 7:30-8:30 pm.
Do not jeopardize your welfare or that of your fellow pacifists. Complete the necessary tasks to maintain your island.
Hans Sinn, Lt.
Chief of Administrative Services.
Union Army 10049
Anyone is free to leave Grindstone Island after Sept. 1st 1965.
All males between the ages of 18 and 35 will be allowed to join the UNION ARMY.
All females between the ages of 18 and 30 will he permitted to join the UNION PEACE CORPS for overseas services.
For all other islanders arrangements for settlement in suitable areas in the United States will be made upon condition that they report once daily to their local police station.
Anyone wanting to leave the island please apply for a personal interview in writing.
A SPECIAL NOTE: The chief of the administrative service will be available in the common room of the main lodge at 9 pm to answer any questions that may exist in ref. to the procedures of proclamations No 1-No 4.
Hans Sinn, Lt.
Chief of Administrative Services.
Union Army 4984
In honour of the birthday of George Washington Carver, the great Negro scientist and his contribution toward the advancement of American agriculture we will be serving a meal to all who so desire tonight at 6 pm. No ration or work cards required.
We would appreciate if, for the purpose of aiding the cook in her difficult task, you would let us know by 4: 00 pm how many people will want supper.
Hans Sinn, Lt.
Chief of Administrative Services.
The administration has decided that all remaining food supplies on the island will be served at the discretion of the pacifists until it runs out. No replacement of food stocks will be made by the Union Government unless proclamations number one through four are complied with. Food will be restocked to supply Union Forces independent of the pacifists. Children will continue to be served on the basis as outlined in proclamation number three.
Hans Sinn, Lt.
Chief of Administrative Services.
On the basis of the pacifist decision to ignore the rightful authority of the Union Government and to usurp power. we have decided to meet the pacifist insurrection by force.
From now on the administration will meet any harassment by shooting to kill.
Hans Sinn, Lt.
Chief of Administrative Services.
3. UNIONIST WEAPONS
The Unionists were fully armed as well as in uniform.
Their plans, however. did not include the use of weapons to kill, as they believed their actions in light of the scenario would be unlikely to require such action. Shortly after arrival they provided the umpires with the following inventory of their weapons:
1. Gas bombs were tear gas, causing flight or incapacitating weakness from five minutes on up. depending on enclosure and wind conditions…
2. A second gas weapon, in appearance like a flit gun, and intended for indoor use, rendered its victims unconscious for thirty minutes.
3. Colt .45 automatic sidearms, worn by all Unionists, were to be used to maim only.
4. A tranquilizer gun, held by-the security officer. rendered unconscious for twelve hours.
5. A rifle was to be used for ceremonial purposes or, in extremis, for executions.
The gas bombs—actually cement in small paper bags which burst on impact when thrown—were used three times. After the issuance of Proclamation #7. the sidearms were used to shoot to kill. The two tranquilizing weapons were not used. Adequate for control, they were not adapted to the forceful lessons the Unionists came to feel necessary to “teach” to the defenders. The rifle was flourished during investigation of the antenna-wrecking, but was. not otherwise used.
4. REPORTS OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE
This document consists of the two reports of the ad hoc committee during the pre-exercise and exercise periods. In the first report, presented to the Tuesday morning session (August 2), proposals were made on six questions. Of these, only items 5 and 6 were accepted by the plenary group. Item 5 was never put into effect because the occasion did not arise. The “Grindstone Community Daily Schedule” which comprises item 6 was partially followed in practice. The revision of the daily activities into time blocks I contained in the first paragraph of item 6, is carried over in toto from the pre-exercise Institute schedule. It was followed during the exercise except for minor deviations forced by the extremity of the situations encountered during the occupation. Subsequent paragraphs, listed under dates in the mimeographed schedule (item 6), indicate the intended substantive content of the time blocks for these days. They were followed in practice through Tuesday morning and in part through the afternoon and evening sessions on Tuesday. Actual content of the meetings on Wednesday was unrelated to the subjects proposed in this schedule. Thursday’s list of subjects became meaningless with the end of the exercise on Wednesday night. The second report of the ad hoc committee was in response to the plenary acceptance of the strategy committee’s recommendation that “work camping” projects be set up. The roster of duties was accepted but never put into practice.
AD HOC COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
Tuesday, August 3, 1965, 7:00 a.m.
Items for Consideration
1. Notification of arrival of Unionist forces
a. Proposal—Ad hoc committee be responsible for selecting such a delegation
2. Notification to Institute of arrival of Unionist forces
a. Proposal—Fog horn be sounded
3. Course of action when Unionist forces appear in (a) session going on (b) when community is scattered
a. Proposal—When in session, the ad hoc comm. have responsibility for making decision as to what course of action taken
b. Proposal—When scattered, the geographical co-ordinators plus the chairman of current meeting be responsible to form Council for Island Welfare
4. Ad hoc committee be empowered to designate individual successors
5. Whenever total physical community cannot function, each geographical area is to carry on in the educational program of Island.
6. A mimeographed schedule of themes for subsequent meetings has been drawn up and is appended:
GRINDSTONE COMMUNITY DAILY SCHEDULE
as of 8-3-65
Time schedule to be followed
Tuesday, 3 August
7 :30 am Breakfast
9:15 Community meeting
9:30 Information session
12:30 pm Lunch, ad hoc comm.
Morning Information Session: Presentation of proposals and hoc committee as previously outlined:
Aftn: Free time
4:30 Training grps.
8:00 Evening mtg.
questions from ad
Afternoon Training Session:
Role-playing: (a) disclosure of members in our group who have Unionist sympathies; (b)fraternization with Unionists Evening Session:
Wednesday, 4 August
Morning Information Session:
“Civilian Defense & a world community” (possibly introduce political situation of Fr. Canadians)
Afternoon Training Session:
Role-playing, based on morning presentation Evening Session:
Films (see list of available films below)
Thursday, 5 August
Morning Information Session:
“lnvolvement of churches, universities and business in Civilian Defense”
Training in Nonviolence
(Voluntown; Upland Institute)
To be determined
List of Available Films:
- “Neighbors”—5 minutes
- “Begone Dull Care”—10 minutes
- “Universe”—about 30 minutes
- “Language of Faces”—about 25 minutes
- “Science for Life”—about 20 minutes
- “Thou Shalt Not Kill”—120 minutes
- “The Loon’s Necklace”—10 minutes
AD HOC COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
Wednesday, August 4, 1965, 7:00 p.m.
Cage Asked by Community to revise Institute Program Schedule to accommodate work camping projects.
1. List of possible work camp jobs was presented.
2. Committee decided that work should be for one hour per day on a rotating basis:
a. [Geographic Area]
Johnson House begin work 1:00 p.m.
Cage-Admiral begin work 2:00 p.m.
Bally-Beg/Boat House begin work 3:00 p.m.
b. CFSC Island manager [a member of defender group] is to come at the beginning of each meeting on the first day to explain assignments.
5. THE ‘BULLETIN’
Late in the evening of Tuesday, August 3, the plenum agreed that a bulletin should he produced. It should serve the dual purpose of an informational organ for the Grindstone Island group and as a message to the world at large concerning the events taking place on the island. The project led to a long and confused clash between the Unionists and members of the bulletin sub-group but did not produce a bulletin. Later in the conference (Wednesday afternoon) the following document was produced. It was never circulated.
On August 3, 1965, participants in a 9-day seminar on Nonviolent Civilian Defense, which was and is taking place on Grindstone Island, situated in the Rideau System between Kingston and Ottawa, in Canada, and site of a Quaker Peace Center. were suddenly but not completely unexpectedly, faced with what they consider to be an emergency situation.
Through this bulletin participants are appealing for moral and physical support and intervention from people in the rest of Canada to aid them in their struggle.
On August 3, 1965, an invasion force of six men from the Unionist Forces of the Unionist Government presently established in Toronto landed on the island and without permission, and with the threat of force, took over a section of the main quarters of the island for their own use. This area became the operational headquarters for a group of men who claim to now be the governing body on the island, and who have attempted to order and control, without their consent, a community of individuals who were, and still consider themselves to be, free, happy, responsible, peaceable people. The invaders justify their imposition by alluding to the fact that most of Ontario and parts of Quebec are in a state of war, and thus emergency, although it is noticed that they do not mention that this very state of war is partly their own making.
The Attitude of the Institute Participants
The participants in the nonviolent institute consider this to be a serious, inexcusable, and tyrannical situation. They believe that no man or group of men have the right to invade a community of people of any size or make-up, and impose a foreign policy and set of rules on that community. They totally reject the legitimacy of the Unionist Forces, and more particularly, the right-wing dictatorship which they represent, and oppose what they are doing and trying to do not only on Grindstone Island, but throughout much of eastern Canada. They wish to point out, too, that they equally reject the right of the U.S. Government, which is working jointly with the Unionist Government, to occupy this country.
Goals of Grindstone Island
Participants, who suspected the invasion, decided that regardless of the invasion, and regardless of any repressive measures, the people on Grindstone would continue with their nonviolent institute and continue to try to function as a community having a concern for all humanity, and for the situation existing today in North America. They will use nonviolent resistance in the form of Civilian Defense in order to pursue and achieve these goals. What can you do?
The participants are prisoners on the island. They have very little chance to make any contact with the outside world, and what little chance they might have now may disappear completely at any time. It is highly possible that this bulletin may not reach you. But in case it does, it is very important that we use this opportunity to ask you to aid us in several of the following ways:
1. If your area is under siege I and control by the Unionist forces, make appeals to them to stop what they are doing, both in your area, and on Grindstone Island. Further, organize nonviolent resistance to the presence of the invaders.
2. Communicate to the United Nations the situation on Grindstone Island in particular, and the rest of eastern Canada in general. We request that you do not request that the U. N. send troops to the island as this would be wholly inconsistent with our commitment to nonviolence, and would seriously weaken our resistance struggle. We would like moral and economic pressure to be asserted against the U.S. and Unionist Government.
3. Write to the invader on the island appealing to his humanity, and asking him to leave the island. Letters can be sent to Lieutenant Hans Sinn, Second Lieutenant Harvey Feit, Sergeant Ray Harrison, Adrian Bishop, Tony Tugwell, and Jack Stelling. We hope sincerely that through all our efforts consistent with love, truth, and nonviolence, our country will soon be free from the oppressors we find ourselves with.
6. THE ‘MANIFESTO’
This report of the strategy committee, made to the Wednesday afternoon session, August 4, later became known as “The Manifesto of Insurrection.” The report as originally prepared by the strategy committee also included extensive and detailed plans for the “George Washington Carver memorial fraternization picnic.” Shortly before the session convened at 4:30 the committee learned of the cancellation of the picnic. The fraternization parts of the strategy report were therefore not made public. The following document represents the total report as presented to the defenders’ group in plenary session and to the Unionists.
STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH OCCUPATION OF GRINDSTONE ISLAND AND ARREST OF ITS OCCUPANTS
The occupants of Grindstone Island refuse to recognize the right of the Unionist Government representatives to usurp authority on the Island and take steps to inform the Canadian Friends Service Committee in Toronto and the governments of Canada, the United States of America as well as the United Nations Human Rights Commission about the occupation and the steps the occupants plan to undertake in relation to it. The occupants do not recognize that they are under arrest and agree to take the following measures to assert their freedom:
a. The separation of the long strip of Island beyond Johnson House from the rest of the Island- They refuse to allow Unionist forces to enter and they establish a boat communication with the neighboring island
b. Declare that the Unionist forces are henceforth disarmed and subject to the consensus decision of the Community of which they are henceforth considered a part
c. The Community will ring the bell every hour day and night to assert their freedom of action.
d. The Community make a charge of $2.00 per day on the Unionists for the right of use of the Board Room as their office and $6.00 per day per head for board and lodging. The currency is to be either Canadian or United States dollars.
e. If the payment is not made by 7:00 A.M. each day, members of the Community will smother the Unionist forces with their presence wherever they go day and night, and will insist on sweeping and cleaning the rooms by appearing at each doorway with a broom all through the day until the service is rendered.
We request that the Ad Hoc Committee revise the Institute program schedule to include work camping projects upon the suggestion of places by the staff of the Canadian Friends Service Committee on Grindstone Island.
7. THE ‘LAST RECORD’
This document is a facsimile of a message written by the chairman of the Wednesday evening session, August 4, and slipped under the rug of the main lodge meeting room moments before the final massacre.
The note appended was written later in the evening—sometime after the end of the exercise.
8. COMPREHENSIVE CHRONOLOGY
|Afternoon||Arrivals and registration.|
Nonviolence in India.
Nonviolence in civil rights action.
Nonviolence in peace action.
Information session, continued.
|4:30||Training group sessions (four groups).
Two part-two scale questionnaire.
Steering committee meeting.
Film "Thou Shalt Not Kill."
|9:30 a.m.||General meeting.
Summary of Saturday information sessions.
Civilian defense, continued.
Afternoon Free time.
|4:30 p.m.||Training group sessions.
Role-playing of deception situations.
Slides on India.
"Revelation" of exercise and presentation of scenario.
|3:00 a.m.||Discussion of ground rules and tactics.|
|9:30 a.m.||General meeting, 1st preparatory session.
Ad hoc committee.
Discussion of goals, tactics, organizational structure, breaking of laws.
|4:30 p.m.||General meeting, 2nd prep. session.
Housekeeping committee meeting.
|8:00||Regional group meetings.|
|9:00||General meeting, 3rd prep. session.
Discussion of tactics
|11:30||Ad hoc committee meeting.|
|7:00 a.m.||Ad hoc committee meeting.|
Discussion of agenda.
Ad hoc committee report.
Chairmen to select successor.
Discussion of greeting invaders.
|12:40||Lunch meeting of ad hoc committee.|
Walks, designation of "dead area."
|2:20 p.m.||False rumor of invasion.|
|3:00||Invasion arrived at main dock.
Met by informal group.
Unionists move to main lodge.
Volleyball game continues.
Unionists begin securing board.
room, pantry, screen porch.
Starr Chamber and dining room.
|3:10||Group assembled in extraordinary session.
Sharing information of invasion.
|3:15||Small group of defenders enter board room and confront Unionists.|
|3:25||Defenders leave board room, return to main defender meeting.
Discussion of invasion.
Meeting declared illegitimately called. Adjourned. Some defenders remained in main lodge.
Volleyball game continues.
|3:20||Off-limits area declared secure.
Proclamation 1 issued.
|3:40||General meeting reconvened.
Discussion of proclamation, ration cards, fasting, effects of gasses.
Unionists invited to join defenders for tea; Unionists refused.
|4:00||Unionist office opened.|
|4:30||Children obtain ration cards.
Some defenders return proclamations to clerk.
|4:40||Defender couple evicted from Starr Chamber.|
|4:50||Umpires rule hallway to be boarded up.|
|5:00||Proclamation 2 issued. All copies burned unread. Role-playing on veranda.
|6:00||Unionist office closed.
Defender meeting adjourned.
Dining room opened.
|6:05||Children enter dining room.
Adults turned away by Unionist officer.
Vigil formed outside dining room.
Adults confront officer at dining room door.
|6:15||Dining room door locked.|
|6:25||Child, attempting to open door, driven off by Unionist officer.
Adult defender climbs through dining room window, ejected after 5 minutes.
|6:35||Proclamation 3 posted.|
|7:00||Vigil group sings "We Shall Overcome" then disperses.
|7:30||Unionist office reopened.
Several defenders talk with clerk.
|8:00||Small defender group talk with Unionists.|
|9:00||Unionist officers and troops join meeting.
Unionist commander addresses group, introduces troops.
Commander reads proclamations.
|10:00||Unionists leave meeting.|
Discussion of meaning of Unionists' comments.
Decision to prepare a bulletin.
Small group lay plans for stealing food.
|11:15||Defender asks Unionists for use of typewriter and mimeograph. Told to come back later.
Defender sub-group begin work on bulletin.
|12:15 a.m.||Two defenders knock on door of Unionist headquarters, demand use of room and equipment. Offered typewriter to take out. Refused. Ejected after scuffle. Unionist places typewriter and supplies in main meeting room.
Defenders return these to door to Unionist headquarters.
Defender announces intention of reclaiming office during night.
|1:30||Defenders rescind announcement of intended action.|
|2:00-3:00||Defenders converse with Unionist sentry.|
|3:30||Defenders take coffee urn from lodge.
Three defenders slept overnight in main meeting room.
|7:30||Dining room opened.
Children served without incident.
|7:35||Vigil forms outside dining room.|
|7:45||Dining room locked.|
|9:10||General meeting on lawn near lodge.
Discussion of strategy.
|9:45||Unionist officers join meeting.
Proclamation 5 read by commander.
Discussion of invitation to dinner.
Strategy committee selected.
|10:30||Coffee prepared and served.
Strategy committee convened separate from main group.
Defenders instruct delegate to request return of control of kitchen.
|12:10 p.m.||Unionists announce that announcement will be made at 12:30.
|12:30||Unionist commander rejoins meeting, reads proclamation 6.
|1:00||Dining room opened for lunch.
No ration cards required.
Some defenders still fast.
|1:40||Clash over crockery.
Unionists refuse to allow defenders into pantry to wash crockery; defenders take crockery to office door; Unionists wash crockery and return.
|2:00-4:00||Free time activities.
Random conversations with Unionist troops.
|2:30||Ad hoc committee meeting.|
|3:00||Strategy committee meeting.|
|3:00-3:30||Radio antenna destroyed by small group of defenders.
Unionists respond by looking to emergency supplies, tighten security .
Strategy committee report: The "Manifesto." Report accepted and discussed.
|5:00||Bell rung five times.|
|5:30||Defenders meet in three training groups.
|5:45||Unionists remove bell from porch.
They conclude insurrection is imminent.
Break up defender training group by tear gas attack.
|6:00||Bell rung six times.
Protest demonstration against gassing.
March around main building, singing.
Dinner without incident.
|7:00||Bell rung eight times.|
|7:15||Defender delegation presents "Manifesto" to Unionists.
|7:25||Defender delegation protests to Unionists concerning gas attack.
|7:30||Strategy committee meeting.|
|8:00||Bell rung without incident.
Ad hoc committee report.
Strategy committee report.
|8:10||Unionist commander reads proclamation 7.
Defenders attempted to question Unionists. No response.
What to do at 9:00 p.m.
|8:20||Some children removed from meeting by parent.|
|8:58||Two defenders go out to porch preparatory to ringing bell.
|9:00||Bell rung five times.
Bell ringer shot dead. Companion gassed.
Gas prevented others from going outside.
|9:05||Gassed defender helped inside, explains events at bell ringing.
Corpse carried into hall and covered.
Confusion in meeting.
Propose silent memorial service.
|9:10-9:30||Unionists discuss tactics.
Determine to shoot no more than four defenders per confrontation.
Consider not shooting next bell ringer. Rejected.
Believe climate now ripe for driving home reality to pacifists.
|9:30-9:50||Defenders continue meeting.
Confused, emotion-laden discussion. Widow pleads for true nonviolence.
Heroic speeches for group bell ringing at 10:00.
Suggest mass suicide.
Suggest apologize to Unionists for causing them to use violence.
|9:50||Defender suggests 15 minutes of silence.
Defender group agrees, tacitly.
|9:50||Unionist security group starts out to take up position near bell.
Commander calls them back; suggests they wait till harassment begins.
|9:55||Unionist security force moves out onto veranda.
Clears field of fire by moving furniture.
Security positions taken.
|9:58||One defender leaves meeting room.
She stands near bell, confronting security officer, speaking quietly.
Unionist officer shoots defender.
Other defenders leave meeting room.
Extreme confusion on dark veranda.
Several shots. Gas grenades thrown.
Unionists retreat to security area, leaving veranda strewn with gassed and shot defenders.
Unionists shoot through screen door; kill four more defenders.
One defender forces screen door and enters Unionist headquarters.
Conversation between defender and Unionist commander.
|10:05||Commander shoots defender.|
|10:05||Umpires declare exercise ended.|
|10:15||Participants who were former Unionists join group — out of uniform.
|10:15-Midnite||Informal discussion of preceding events|
|Morning||Manual work period.
Island clean up and maintenance.
|1:30 p.m.||Free time.|
|4:30||Meeting of the "Defenders," "Unionists" and the "Umpires."|
Report of the Unionists.
|7:30 a.m.||Hiroshima day memorial vigil.|
|9:00||Breakfast for those who refused to fast.|
|1:00-4:00 p.m.||Free time.
Writing of comments on exercise.
Report of defenders.
Discussion of "incidents."
Presentation of "Tensions between nonviolence and civilian defense." Discussion.
|9:30 a.m.||General meeting.
Reports and comments of umpires.
|Afternoon||Preparation of documents.|
|4:30 p.m.||General meeting.
Discussion of the "final hour."
|5:30||Discussion of "What I learned from the exercise."|
Skits and singing.
|10:00||General meeting — final session.|
9. UNIONIST LOG
4 p.m. Landing completed, off limits area secured; first proclamation issued, administrative office opened, all as scheduled.
One failure: off limits area not secured fast enough, people allowed to enter HQ. Removed them without force by promising them time for interviews. Threatened use of gas. The delegation was given an ultimatum to leave within a given period. We did not adhere to the period but the situation was complicated because the pacifists stated their intention to leave, whereupon we relaxed. Other pacifists then entered and continued confrontation.
Felt the soft approach which was used by pacifists during the first minutes of our landing quite effective. The artificial setting of war in Canada was hard to reproduce. Consequently questions such as: “What are you doing here?” were felt strong. Most likely in a real war situation such questions would not arise.
After area had been secured and the content of our first proclamation had been appreciated re the rationing of food, one pacifist was allowed to come into the off limits area and receive milk and bread due to his ulcer. This was an umpire’s decision. In reality he would have been forced to register for a ration card or suffer his ulcer.
Five children registered for ration cards. By 7:10 pm proclamations No.2 and 3 had also been issued and No.4 was in the process of being issued. During supper time pacifists vigiled and sang in front of the dining room door. One attempt was made to break into the dining room. Person was removed. After supper pacifists offered to wash dishes but army decided to do it themselves.
It appears pacifists are trying to maintain their own schedule. This was expected. The permanency of the new situation has not sunk in. Pacifists continue to question the legality of the Unionist position.
7:30. Office opened for registration for work cards and application for personal interviews. No registrations for leaving the island were received. Pacifists have started to ignore proclamations as best possible. Pacifists approached adm. sec. and engaged him in discussion about the legality of the Unionist presence. This topic seems important to the pacifists because they assume that those who have legality have authority. 9 pm. Attended meeting with pacifists as part of our plan. Read proclamations upon request and had the opportunity to outline the entire situation they are in.
It appears that the pacifists have decided upon a “heroic” stand.
11:05 p.m. Had our own meeting at which we considered the request for a typewriter and office supplies.
This discussion led into a clarification of what was essential and non-essential to our task. We agreed to avoid serious confrontations on all non-essential points. In this context it was decided to provide a typewriter.
12 midnight. 2 pacifists entered the HQ (failure) and demanded use of the office and its equipment. We offered typewriter and office material to be used outside the off limits area.
Pacifists attempted to occupy HQ and were forcibly removed. After eviction they threatened to break down the door during the night; later they retracted. Typewriter (and material) was placed in the Common Room for pacifists. They in turn placed it at the office door, but later decided to retrieve it. The incident proved to those who had doubts the wisdom of granting unessentials, and if possible anticipate their request.
Harvey, Jack and Hans slept in the HQ. Ray, Tony and Adrian slept in the Starr Room which occupants had previously been evicted. Ray and others were on watch during the night. (No occurrences.)
7 am. Got up. Ray remained sleeping.
Breakfast was served to children.
9:19. Issued 5th proclamation announcing meals would be served in honour of Washington Carver’s birthday at 6 pm to all who so desired.
Question then arose as to loyalty of kitchen staff. Tremendous amount of preoccupation amongst the pacifists with regaining control over food was noticed. Fear on our part that the basic issue would he lost in petty bickering over remaining food on the island. Decided to drive home the point that the Unionists are ultimately in control of food at its source. Issued proclamation #6 that pacifists were free to administer their remaining food supplies, but because they were not working they were merely postponing the issue. (The only alternatives are starvation and exposure.) Unionists began reconversion programme inside the off limits area to set an example to the pacifists. 1:30 pm. Most pacifists ate. Still no one worked.
Petty bickering over kitchen area continues.
Pacifists returned unwashed dishes at the adm. office. We placed them hack in their kitchen end. Immediately they were brought around the window again. Refusing to break office hours we kept the dishes and washed 60 them. Although they were totally in our custody we placed the dishes at their disposal on the porch when the dishes appeared to become a major issue. (In the interest of the’ exercise we wanted at all cost to avoid getting into petty bickering while the major issue remained obscured and avoided.)
Indications of a more profound challenge had appeared at the morning meeting where the pacifists expressed their possible physical superiority. We Invited them to test it. While reading the noon proclamation they made an appeal to our conscience, placing their possible death on our shoulders.
We now feel that we have indicated our position as clearly as possible without inflicting direct physical harm. This appears to be the next step. If the pacifists do not want to fall in with our programme they must, in keeping with their “heroic” stand, sacrifice themselves in a test of our physical strength. We are prepared for the first casualties.
We destroyed the two-way radio at 11:25 am. The boats were towed away at 11:29. (The destruction of boats and radio had in our minds already been part of securing the off limits area during the first minutes of landing. This had not been assumed by umpires and we had to go through the motions at this late time.)
4 pm. Pacifists have destroyed antenna for the two-way radio we destroyed at 11:25. We are expecting further acts of sabotage and are taking in water. If power should be cut we also have provisions. Our radio unit is portable and self-contained. During the antenna incident our forces were on the alert. When confronted by us pacifists indicated, without being asked, that they had been sunbathing on the roof. This is backing us in our mistrust that pacifists will in fact not remain truthful but use methods of deceit.
We must consequently view invitations to swim, to attend their meetings, film showing etc. more than ever before as possible decoys for their real intentions.
5:45. Pacifists have met and decided to move part of their operations to adjoining island and to establish their own rules and territorial borders. We have concluded that we are confronted with an insurrection which has to be thrown down by force. As a show of strength we have taken the bell from the main porch and busted a pacifist meeting with gas. As part of their programme of reclaiming the island pacifists intend to ring a bell every hour on the hour. Gas incident was last warning as to what will happen if they proceeded with the implementation of their programme. Before the use of gas we made up proclamation No.7 declaring our intent to meet the insurrection in all its manifestations by force and that we will shoot to kill. Proclamation is to be issued at 8 pm. No one is to be killed before proclamation has been issued.
7:13 pm. Received a declaration by the pacifists on the “Strategy for dealing with occupation of Grindstone Island and arrest of its occupants.”
7:25 pm. Had the visit of a protest delegation against our use of gas. We replied that we had said all there was to be said and remained silent. The delegation talked for about 15 minutes and then dispersed. Some Unionists detected strong signs of aggressive condescension in the pacifist presentation and are strengthened in their resolve to meet insurrection and harassment in future by force and shooting to kill.
8:30 pm. Harvey and Hans entered Common Room at 8:05 pm. Delivered proclamation No.7 and walked out without another word. All questions as to the exact meaning of proclamation and what we considered harassment were ignored.
9:05. We have shot pacifist who rang bell at 9 pm. In mass confrontation we will not shoot more than 4 pacifists. Tear gas will be used to break up the group and people to be shot when under the Influence of gas and uncomposed. Our security group consists of Harvey, Adrian, Ray and Tony.
Commander and adm. sec. are to remain in HQ and to defend it against possible attack.
The pacifists still have not realized the full meaning and challenge contained in their proclamation. Our stand is becoming much easier now that they have presented us with a clear case of insurrection.
9:30. The commander has considered for a moment not to kill people at the 10:00 ringing of the bell. The bell is not the issue and we have no intention to turn it into one. It is only one of many possible manifestations of the case of insurrection. The security officer in turn felt that the right climate has been reached for the full intent of our stand to sink in and to continue the shooting at this time. His position has been accepted. But we have also decided not to’ continue necessarily with killing at the ringing of bell after 10:00 hut to respond to some other form of harassment. At 10 minutes to ten security group began to file out onto porch to meet next bell ringer. Commander wondered why the group was leaving so soon and without awaiting the actual ringing of the bell before leaving the off limits area as was done at the 9:00 incident. Group stopped after being questioned by commander on their early departure and remained another 5 minutes within off limits area. Stepped out onto main porch at 5 to ten. Chairs and tables were cleared for possible mass confrontation.
At 10:00 pm a number of women began to file silently out of Common Room. Then they started to talk to the security group in low and what seemed pleading voices. The security officer began to shoot the women. The commander watching from inside off limits area considered the shooting a mistake but felt unable to stop it. Admittance of mistake appeared to mean a surrender to pacifists. Commander decided to back the shooting.
At 9:30 pm the commander felt for the first time a glimmering of the possibilities in the now developing situation. Maybe the pacifists could be persuaded now to accept the terms of proclamations 1-4. He did not communicate this possibility to the rest of the forces. It was still too vague and also too fantastic.
Immediately after the first unprovoked shooting of the women the situation got totally out of hand. The security group began to retreat into the off limits area.
The passage was blocked by pacifists. More people were killed. Unionists completed their retreat but pacifists broke into off limits area. More people were killed. One pacifist entered HQ and was shot by commander upon his refusal to leave.
At five minutes past ten the umpires called the exercise to an end.
To the extent that the possibility of crushing the pacifists by killing only one did exist and did not have a chance to be put to a real test the Unionist action was a failure. If in fact it did not exist then the extermination of the pacifists was a foregone conclusion.
Respond on separate sheets of paper. taking as much space as you need. You may delete or add questions as seems important to you. Answer as briefly or at such length as you wish. Identify yourself as: Unionist; Defender; Umpire; Neutral. You need not attach your name.
A. Result of the Exercise
State in one sentence the result of the exercise.
To what extent was it fore-ordained from the start (Tuesday afternoon) or to what extent was it contingent upon events and interpretations during the exercise?
At what point did the actual ending become inevitable? Why?
B. The Exercise
Do you feel that the policies of your side followed a consistent pattern of development or were they confined to a single pattern or did they repeat a single pattern?
To what extent did your side understand the other’s intentions? Were you able to predict their actions?
Were decisions generally arrived at by:
- the whole group, whether directly affected by the decision or not.
- those directly affected.
- those delegated to formulate or decide.
- authority figures.
Were different sorts of decisions arrived at according to different patterns?
Did the manner of decision-making on your side change during the exercise?
Was there adequate machinery for implementation of decisions? Was there agreement on this? What effect did disagreement have?
Would different procedures and machinery have changed the development of events or the end result?
Given your side’s goal, what machinery would you alter in another exercise with the same scenario?
Would the machinery and procedures actually be relevant to other possible scenarios rooted in the realities of the mid-20th Century World?
Why do you think that there were no defectors or waverers on the defending side?
C. Strategy and Tactics
Apart from the end result, do you feel your tactics were an adequate implementation of your strategic decisions? Were they successful in altering events?
Was your side’s tactical discipline adequate?
Which general lines of strategy and which particular tactics do you feel were markedly successful or marked failures on both sides?
Did either side, in your view, become “hung up” internally on any tactic or strategic maxim?
D. Wider Questions
Do you feel that your side planned and acted in light of the conditions stated in the scenario?
Do you feel the scenario was an adequate framework within which to work?
Do you feel that the Unionist forces behaved in keeping with their role and task?
Do you agree that the critical decision was whether to respond forcefully to the 9 PM shooting or whether to draw back and reconsider the long perspective? If not, state your own “critical decision.”
Did you agree at that time with the decision taken or lack of one? On the grounds stated?
If not, state why you agreed, actively or passively. State, if possible, your present critical estimation of that group and personal decision or lack of one.
Is there a basic cleavage between Non-Violence and Civilian Defense?
Is there a tension between the two ideas?
Do you believe that non-violence and civilian defense were adequately related to each other on the defending side?
In the defending group, how much social change was required or took place. from Monday to Wednesday, in order to implement non-violent civilian defense? Was that change in the direction of more non-violence or of more civilian defense?
What do you feel are the major lessons to be learned from the exercise?
Did you learn anything important about yourself through the exercise?
Do you believe that more or longer or more prolonged exercises would be of use? Explain.
11. TRANSCRIPTS OF TAPES
The several parts of this Appendix represent selections from the almost 100 pages of typescript transcribed from the taped proceedings of the exercise. They are the product of an extreme effort to achieve accuracy, but undoubtedly include some errors of transcription. The only editing that has been done is the elimination of a small amount of the redundancy. Selection began with the recording; often several activities were going on simultaneously; also the operator of the recorder was unable to be on duty constantly. Further selection was done by the authors of the report. The selection includes those recorded parts that have been referred to in the body of the report and others illustrative of significant relationships among the participant groups. In some instances extremely long and repetitive discussions have been abridged by presenting enough of the discussion to establish the pattern and tone and then deleting the remainder. Wherever breaks in the continuity of the discussion have occurred, either by selective recording or by selection from the typescript transcriptions, this discontinuity has been indicated.
- First Defender Meeting After Invasion
- Confrontation In Unionist Headquarters
- Second Defender Meeting
- Informal Conversations
- Tuesday Evening Meeting Addressed By Unionist Commander
- Wednesday Morning Meeting
- Strategy Committee Meeting
- Afternoon Plenary Meeting—Reporting Of The ‘Manifesto’
- Two Fragments
- Unionist Planning Meeting
- Defenders’ Protest Of Gassing Incident
- Wednesday Evening Plenary Meeting
- The ‘Final Hour’
A. First Defender Meeting After Invasion
Time: 3:01, Tuesday afternoon. Place: meeting room in main lodge. This extraordinary session of the defender group was called by unilateral action of the chairman designated for the usual afternoon meeting which was not scheduled to convene until 4:30. The group assembled informally but was never actually convened. The recordings follow this meeting until the small groups go from the main meeting room to the Unionist headquarters. The group continued discussion while this confrontation was going on and then disbanded soon afterward on the ground that the meeting had been improperly called.
Mary: Yah, well, I think we’re all going to be in here…George? Where’s George…Well, this is the idea, that we would all assemble in plenary session.
Peggy: Shall we ring the bell ?
Denis: No, don’t ring the bell; that would sound an alarm.
Mary: Well, what about…Well, there happens to be a plenary meeting session right now.
Peggy: Will everybody get…
Tom: Well, this is just an idea.
Pauline: Yes, but how do you think you can get anybody?
Mary: There’s an announcement. I’d like to make an announcement.
Pauline: How are you going to get these announcements around if people aren’t here?
Mary: The group is meeting in special plenary session because we have some very important visitors. And the visitors have been invited by Nancy Pocock to come and join our session this afternoon.
Nancy: They say they’re busy right now, but they’d be very glad to come a bit later.
Mary: All right, I think we’ll go ahead and get started.
Nancy: I’d like to go and make tea, to be ready at four o’clock.
Mary: Well, I think you can go ahead and get started, Nancy; that would be just fine—a little early, and then we’ll continue with our session. Peggy, has your group been notified?
Peggy: Yes, everybody in our group has been…
Mary: Now where’s Scott? Roger, where is Scott?…and anybody else you see, Roger, as messenger…
Roger: He’s a coordinator. Hey, Ma, they locked the door over there.
[The occupiers are taking over the small screened room off the main veranda—moving in tables and chairs…at 3:06 p.m.]
Mary: I’d like to know how many there are.
Walter: I was on the dock, but actually I didn’t count them to tell you the truth. There really must be one, two, three—seven—I think seven. Seven or eight. There was two boats.
Mary: And now I must say that one of the group who is now with our visitors, was formerly one of our group, and that is Ray Harrison. Now, they’re in the board room right now and I took the liberty of asking Nancy if she would invite them to join our session…She invited them and they said they would be very happy to join our session, but they couldn’t come right this minute. So it will be in a few minutes.
Denis: We’re conducting an institute and the next thing on the agenda seems to be our training session. Now, are we going to continue with business?
Mary: Well,…I haven’t actually met them yet, but all I know is that they have indicated a pretty strong interest in joining our group. Now, I would like to leave it open at this point…for suggestions. Do you think that we ought to stay in session at this point and continue as though we are just starting the afternoon session earlier, or should we make this a very. informal gathering and dispense with any business and make it just a social?
Denis: I would suggest that we have our coffee break very informal in maybe an hour. Or maybe not an hour. Maybe until four o’ clock and then start.
Walter: I don’t think actually for the moment that we should really come into—to change our attitude of afternoon refreshment. So maybe—since we are really not together—we could organize a game…a volley game, or something like this? If nothing is…Nothing is disturbing the conference—no…
Bob: I’d like to suggest that we continue in meeting here until the coffee comes and I have a report from the ad hoc committee that met at noon and the tactics committee that met right after that meeting, so we can get the formal business out of the way.
Mary: All right…that’s another suggestion. I must explain that this is a prearranged convening and that since we now have a situation that we didn’t exactly expect, that we…Okay.
Barbara: I’d like to agree with Walter that we go ahead with our free time and play volley ball.
Denis: But seeing as the coffee is already hot and we have to have coffee first…
Mary: Are there people who would like to stay here and meet informally and others who would rather postpone this and follow your suggestion, Denis, of convening a little bit earlier?
Denis: I think we should start at four with a full meeting because we have some business to work through as Walter suggested, and also probably some business will come up with our guests. I would say that we should start our role-playing with the three groups at four thirty as we planned unless during that, between four and four thirty, it is subject to change by the group.
Pauline: When I went in to help with the coffee I discovered that these doors are being locked, and that this area is being held by the visitors.
Mary: Well, they must have some very important business to conduct, I guess. So that therefore no one can get the coffee until the doors are unlocked.
Lydia: The coffee is there; it is right there.
Pauline: The coffee is here now.
Peter: We’ll have our coffee break and leave after coffee break.
Mary: Shall we make this a social session?
Denis: If it can’t be there is something wrong here.
Pauline: Does anybody mind if we go swimming?
Mary: I leave this open, that those who want to stay here, stay and mingle socially with our visitors and those who want to go and carry out the relaxation period until four o’clock be free to do this. Is there anybody who strenuously objects to this, although I realize, Walter, that your concern is to start right now.
Bob: I’d be willing to break up. I’d just like to ask the opinion of the group here. I would like to play scrabble with anybody, and the scrabble board is in there. Would the group approve if I knocked on the door and asked for the scrabble board?
Tom: We live here!
Mary: Well, as I understand it, Bob, they’re going to be coming in in a few minutes…
Tom: Well! In a few minutes…
Nancy: I’ll get it for you if you’d like, Bob…
John: I would suggest that we have coffee—if possible wait till four…
Mary: We actually are in our free period. As it was expressed to the group, we do have visitors who have agreed to meet with us. There are some who want to stay and visit socially and others who want the recreation period.
John: I don’t want anyone to disturb our free time.
Pauline: That’s not very polite to the visitors.
Chris: May I address a question to the group? Is there any information concerning these visitors that any individual has—not rumors—but that they might share with the whole group?
Denis: They are offensive.
Roger: He’s got a gun.
Mary: Somebody has a gun?
John: Who has a gun, did you say?
Chris: Let’s have the questions in order.
Mary: Poison gas? What was that information?
Steve: Adrian has an empty holster as far as I know.
Nancy: Well, they all have guns in there…
Pauline: They have written across here Canada U.S….
Steve: Adrian’s in the invasion.
Mary: Can we all assume these are hostile visitors?
Others: No. No. We don’t know yet.
Mary: By the very fact they carry guns?
Steve: Look, let’s have a little order in the meeting.
Chris: My question was information, and I take it there’s information that a number of people here, something around seven, are carrying weapons and in uniform—at least some are in uniform—that this group includes Adrian and Ray, people that we know and…
Pauline: I saw about twelve men.
Chris: About twelve…and personal opinion that they have been rude.
Roger: The guy with the beard…guns…
Pauline: Why, they’ve come to visit us and have taken over the kitchen area.
Steve: The man with the beard was here at the beginning of the institute-for two days.
Nancy: If you’re interested in what they said…They’re putting locks on the doors—the door into the pantry and the door here. And I went In to get the scrabble board and they let me take it—I went to the cupboard and got it and came out and they said: Would you please not come in here anymore because this is our office from now on…they didn’t stop me getting the board…
Pauline: I call that being rude.
Chris: I think that is fairly important information.
Mary: Okay, Peter? What’s your information?—Do you have something else?
Peter: Well, I’d like to go in and meet with them.—They’ve come in and are doing something .n there and I just want to go and talk to them. I’d like to even challenge their right to put locks on our doors. I mean—I don’t think we should just ignore them and let them go on with anything they want to 10. Not that we should stop them, but at least talk to them about it
Mary: Does anybody object to Peter going in and talking to them and finding out…?
Peter: Or somebody anyway.
Chris: I agree with Peter.
Nancy: Fine. Come back and tell us.
Pauline: Nobody has tried to stop them from putting locks on…
Peter: Well, I like to still…
Mary:…if others would like to go with Peter and find things out. Maybe we ought to act hastily on this situation.
Pauline: They’re putting locks on our doors.
Roger: They’re going to put a board right across…
Mary: Would you come back and let us all know what they’re doing?
Tom: Like you said, we’re coming back.
Steve: How many people are going?
Peter: We can go right around this way and get the other door.
Pauline: Hey, some of them are working in the hall here!
Peter: Oh, well it says here…
Mary:…Well, I understand that this is not an action so much as…
Child: Who’s working in here?
Pauline: OH! [high indignation]
Bishop: Get out of the way, please…
Pauline: Oh! Look what you’re doing!
Harrison: You’ll have to stay out of this area.
Tom: For this interview we can come through. We just knocked on the other door.
Pauline: I’ll be dogged! You have an awful nerve coming here and—and—and…
B. Confrontation In Unionist Headquarters
Time: 3:15. This short section of transcript presents the beginning of the discussions between the group of six defenders and the Unionists as the Unionists were securing their headquarters area. The pattern of the discussion is established. Similar questions were continued by the defenders after the ultimatum for seven minutes as timed on the tapes. The Unionists’ answers also were similar. During the exchange, several more ultimatums were issued but not carried out. The defenders left when none could think of more questions.
Lt. Sinn: How do you do?
Peter: We’d like to know exactly what you’re doing here.
Lt. Sinn: We’ll be explaining ourselves very shortly. If you’ll be patient for a moment…
Bob: May we have a seat then?
Lt. Sinn: No, I’m sorry. This area is off limits.
Peter: This is our meeting room. ‘Scuse me. I’d like to know what reason you have for locking doors and a…
Lt. Sinn: We can’t explain ourselves at this moment. We must only have to ask ourselves—ask you to leave this room.
Peter: I’m quite confused. By what authority do you ask us to leave the room?
Lt. Sinn: By the authority of the Union army and by the fact that we are here. Please…
Peter: Does this island belong to you?
Lt. Sinn: Please don’t argue. We are having things to do, and we do not like to use force…and any other means that will incapacitate you. So, we are giving you half a minute to leave, please, and you will have opportunities to speak to us tonite.
Lt. Sinn: Tonite. I will not give any specific time. There will be ample opportunity to express your concern and to explain ours.
Bob: We’re having coffee right now. We’d like to invite you to coffee and an information and introductory session at four o’clock.
Lt. Sinn: We would be very pleased to accept it, but unfortunately at four o’clock we’ll be opening our office, in fact, and we have to get ready.
Chris: Some of us have a concern…
Lt. Sinn: Again, I think the time is up. I’m real sorry. There will be opportunities…
Peter: Can we just hear his concern? Could you listen to his concern? What was it, Gordon?
Lt. Sinn: Would you…really…I think that you have used up your time…
Chris: But you see, some of us consider this room part of the conference…
Lt. Sinn: I’m sorry. We’ve explained as much as we can explain at this moment.
George: You haven’t even asked permission to use it. You come on the island and…
Lt. Sinn: We do not want to debate the point.
Peter: We’re not going to throw you out of here. We’d like to know…
Lt. Sinn: But unfortunately we will have to throw you out.
George: How can that be? It’s our home. You come as visitors to us…
Bob: It’s impossible to throw us out.
Lt. Sinn: It is? We can demonstrate it to you very easily…Now, again, I told you we don’t want to use force, so don’t force us to use force.
Bob: ‘Scuse me, sir, what’s that? You have in your hand?
Lt. Sinn: That is an incapacitating gas. So, in case you do not move within fifteen seconds we will have to use it. [The conversation went on in a similar vein for seven more minutes before the group finally left.]
C. Second Defender Meeting
Time: 3:40. Place: back in the main meeting room.
The chairman reconvened the plenary session of the defender group, this time without objection by members of the group. All members of the defender group have been informed of the meeting by such means as ringing the bell and word of mouth. Proclamation No.1 has just been issued. This section of transcript is nearly complete. It ends just before 4:30 when the meeting was adjourned.
Mary: This is an outrageous thing—and I don’t even know why they’re here.
Bob: I want to question the words here: We hope you’ll be able to control all aggressive, unruly and irresponsible elements…and I’m not aware of any such elements.
Chris: They’re talking by their standards, friend. Now, I think even before the group is assembled I can express my reaction to this. Two factors concerning these people that I am convinced of: one, they will deal summarily and quickly—probably not with ultimate violence, with incapacitating gas at least, very quickly with any sort of a response; two, I believe they will take reprisals. That is, if an adult engages them, not only will he be dealt with, but some other members—possibly a child. I think we have to face that. This is speculation. On the other hand, I don’t see how we can respond to this directly other than by starting to dismantle the initiative that they have already taken.
Tom: I suggest, Chris, that we have to take action.
Chris: I have no idea what that clothesline out there is, but I don’t like it.
[Umpires’ decision: the clothesline is a barrier, an impassable wall.]
Chris: Okay, well, that’s not a bad place to start with dismantling. What they created we can uncreate.
[Unionist soldier enters with copies of Proclamation No.2.]
Peggy: One of our guests has arrived.
Peter: I think we’ve already got the proclamation.
Tugwell: Let’s leave some here in case somebody doesn’t have any.
Mary: Well, we are meeting now and it would be very helpful if we knew why you are here.
Tugwell: I’m sorry I can’t do that; you’ll have to talk to the commanding officer. He will speak to you later tonite.
Mary: Well, I would like for you to tell your commanding officer that we are not at all in agreement with what you are doing here and that we are very much opposed…
Peter: We have no need for these [referring to proclamations] .
Roger: Hey, we can put them in the fire.
Tugwell: You want to put them in the fire? We’ll talk to you later and there will be ways for you to talk to him, and: that will, be for a short while this evening.. ‘
Nancy: Will you stay for a cup of coffee?
Tugwell: No, I’m sorry. I can’t. I have work to do. [Unionist soldier leaves.]
Peter: Well, can I—can I—There’s two responses to the ration cards. One is a defense response-that we refuse to take part in them and I personally don’t want a ration card. The second thing is taking the initiative.
George: Maybe we ought to have everybody present…and we sit down…[Noise in background
Peter: I think they should be informed about the ringing of the bell so that they’re not alarmed about the meaning of the bell.
George: I think this is a good suggestion.
Mary: Is everybody here now? Will everybody sit down? Now, does everybody have a copy of the proclamation? [Much background talk and confusion as people mill around.] All right. As chairman of this group, it obviously was a mistake to disconvene the plenary session within minutes after we had convened it. We obviously have an emergency on our hands. Now, does everybody have a copy of the proclamation?
Diana: Can everybody sit down, please?
Mary: I think that would be very helpful if everybody would. Would it be helpful if I read it all aloud? All right, this is called proclamation number one, so obviously we’re going to get more. [Reads proclamation.] Now…does everyone feel a need to think anything over before we act hastily?
John: I feel there is no need to act hastily.
Chris: I don’t think we should act hastily, but I have a sensation of these people which I will now consider as intruders. I have a picture of them very quickly digging themselves in, both literally and figuratively, and although not feeling any urge for extreme haste, or not feeling an overpowering urge in that direction, I do feel a considerable urge for a reasonably speedy decision as a method to retrieve the initiative—to dislodge them, so to speak.
George: It seems to me that the nature of the proclamation is such that we have not to start at the top and go to the bottom, but we may have to actually start at the bottom and look at that and observe the fact that proclaiming that ration cards will be issued between four and five p.m. today and that they must be presented to obtain meals which in a sense may be a serious and first problem We have, to look at whether we as community members will accept ration cards in order to get food; if we don’t, what the consequences of it are; and the problem of dealing, of providing food for our children, for those who feel they can’t accept ration cards. Now time alone, it seems to me that this is the first. And important problem that has to be dealt with, and I suggest it might be wise to focus on that for awhile.
Peter: Yah, I agree with this and the obvious thing is a mass refusal of the ration cards…. and if we wanted to grab the initiative, the only thing I can think of is saying, well, is first going in before they even start giving the ration cards…that we’ve read the proclamation and we won’t accept ration cards. That automatically means we’re fasting because we don’t .get food. We can even announce we realize we don’t get any food…we feel they don’t have the right to exercise authority in this. way, or exercise authority period. And there. we grasp a bit of the initiative.
Mary: If the group agrees, this is what we want—to do as an action at the very beginning? That you would agree that we. immediately inform them that we are not going to take the ration cards?
Donald: Madame chairman, point of order. Could I ask if there is any information which we don’t already know, that has been acquired from the time they arrived to this moment? Because I understood that somebody challenged them on their arrival to lock those rooms—I think this is significant in relation to any further action in expressing their right to occupy a room in this house.
George: Donald is right that these actions took place before the group reassembled after a brief report.
Mary: Okay, but bear in mind that this issue of the ration cards is before us. But we’ll go back and have reports from people who have had direct contact that could shed light on what we’re faced with.
Donald: It relates to the idea of occupying an island and occupying a house.
[An account of the confrontation in the board room is given by several members of the delegation.]
Tom: Does anybody know what the effects of incapacitating gas are?
Chris: There are many types. They act on the central nervous system and, well, they incapacitate one, and large quantities could be lethal, and controlled quantities have no permanent physical effects.
Mary:…Is there any more information that can be offered this group in terms of…
Donald: No challenge has been made as to their right of occupation?
Nancy: I made the challenge and they just brushed me aside saying they’ll explain it all later and they would occupy, and at that time they told me only that room…. they told me they were taking this as their office: You can have the rest of the island…
Donald: I think we take note of that until they have explained to us their position—the way in which they have occupied…
Pauline: Well, I challenged them too, but nobody came to help me, so I just went swimming. [Laughter]…Everybody sat in here just being prim and proper, so I just left and went swimming.
George: The fact that no one came to help you ought not to trouble you. It was an initial period of time. We hadn’t any group decision yet. Shortly afterwards several went in and challenged them and talked with them.
Mary: Also one of their group came into this room to post a notice, but I think the notice isn’t there—or was it a proclamation?
Chris: It was a proclamation, and left copies of it.
Mary: All right, and several of us challenged him and his right to come here, but he was absolutely noncommittal…Is there any more information?…Shall we resume our discussion of ration cards?
Tom: I would suggest that when we hit an issue we look at the purpose for which we are taking issue with something they have done. And that is, that we live here and will continue to live here and operate here as we have. And they say that right here on the proclamation, and for that reason I think that we should refuse the ration cards and go ahead to the meals as usual. I would suggest that we hand back the proclamation and refuse to take any more proclamations. And if proclamations are pinned to the wall, we don’t tear them down, but pin them up so they’re not visible. I think we should ask them to talk to us as anybody else and not accept this administrational garbage.
Nancy: Part of the reason they took the island I would certainly challenge the first statement.
Denis: Pacifists? [Loud laughter.]
Nancy: No. [That] the island is now under the administration of the Union government, and not under the administration of the Canadian Friends Service Committee.
George: Yes…this is a good point, but again I think we ought to look at the question of the ration cards because it is a very visceral issue and it is not quite as simple as other things because it involves the feeding of people. How do we react to it?
Peter: It’s a little thing; I feel it very personally;—I feel like putting this in the fire right now.
Mary: We have heard the proposal to ignore the proclamation and act as though it doesn’t even exist, and this would include the ration cards. And there certainly is an element that wants to do this. Now…
Chris: I would be in favor of the proposal that has—been made and would hope that we could reach agreement on this quickly and then turn attention to the question Nancy raised.
George: Which proposal?
Chris: The proposal that we refuse ration cards—and appear for meals prepared to fast…well, from now on.
Walter: With one restriction we could maybe make for the children…I mean the children could eat.
Denis: We’ve got a very difficult problem here—because obviously this is the first proclamation, and as far as I’m concerned, if this was the only one I’d go along with it because—and we can continue everything we want to do and it doesn’t matter to me whether I carry a card around or not, but obviously once we accept everything here, they will give us another one which really isn’t too much different, you know, and then they’ll give us another one…. but the other thing is that by rejecting it completely this is what…from my dutiful studying of civilian defense, is a very dangerous thing because we can’t put everything in at once. I don’t know…how far we can accept this and just sort of laugh about it…
George: It’s a long, cold winter ahead.
Lydia: I think Nancy’s proposal has something to do with the rations in that we are not challenging only the ration but are challenging the whole stand which is the proclamation that we are under this administration which we don’t feel we are. And that the ration cards are just part of it, that therefore it is the feeling of the group we should be open to them with our delegation or to speak to them and insist that we are challenging their being here, and part of our challenge is the ration, that is, the actual act of challenge.
Mary: Well, is the difficulty…in dealing just with the ration cards or in dealing with the whole set of rules that we have been issued and that this is our stumbling block? George can clarify this and then Bob.
Helen S: There’s a point of order that I’d like to bring up, or information that others may not be aware of, and that is that the Starr Chamber is declared off bounds. It means that everything that John and I have is now unavailable…
Mary: Can’t we deal with these incidentals one by one?
Tom: This is part of the totality. If it were just ration cards at this point it would be one thing, but it is much more than that, and immediate.
Mary: Well, exactly. Now George clarifies…
George: I don’t know that it’s clarifying or adding confusion. This relates to the ration cards. I’m concerned that their real approach at communication with us is through this medium. It seems to me that we may have a means of taking initiative and feeling our way by collecting these and sending a delegation in and turning them over to them, saying we have read it and henceforth on we’re not able to communicate with them via a written proclamation such as this; that we are ready to talk with them and talk over all these issues, but we cannot communicate this way, and leave them there and .ill out. In effect, this means that at least as far as the four to five o’clock question of ration cards and your beans tonite is concerned…we are not dealing with the question of ration cards. We may appear at the dining hall, which seems to me at this point to be a good approach, but knowing that we probably shan’t eat, and pull our belts tighter, and Te have taken this initiative. I am not proposing this as something I think has to be done. I’m throwing it out as an idea for consideration. There may he serious faults in it and it may be improved or chucked…It has this merit that we take the initiative, but we’re holding out the hand that we’re willing to talk with them, but as human beings face to face-not via the damn—I mean nice mimeograph machine. [Laughter.]
Bob: I’d like to comment on that. So I think that first of all we ought to refuse to take the ration cards. I agree with George entirely. I think these proclamations ought to be handed back to them, and I would suggest the procedure in doing that is to, between the hours of four and five, go to the porch and they will suspect we are coming for ration cards, hand the proclamation back, refuse the ration cards, and leave. And I would also propose one other tactic here—that at dinner we go…to the kitchen. We will probably be refused entrance and suggest that we vigil outside the dining hall for at least the period of dinner.
Donald: I suggest there is no possible prevention from our taking food from the window or even from that side door. There is no official ban on the taking of food. The givers of food are neutral and if we have access to them there is no prevention possible.
Nancy: If they give us food they’re no longer neutral.
Lolly: Doesn’t them not giving us food just because we don’t have ration cards—doesn’t that make them following their orders?
John: They’re forced at gun point to do this. I—feel that they’re remaining neutral—if they’re forced at gun point to not give us food.
Jose: I propose—not pacifist maybe—but to kidnap—how’s his name? Yah, Ray. I propose in a pacifist way to hide him—you know—kidnap him.
George: He’s a new person; we can’t do that.
Jose: Because that he went to the other side, and—maybe he’s talking to them.
Mary: It’s as though he was never here. George?
George: In relation to this whole idea of ration cards I do want—As one of those in the community who is concerned for structure I am amazed that I am the one that raises the question of conscience. There may be some of us who feel they can accept the ration card or for physical reasons they must eat, and I hope the community is prepared to deal properly with this. All the talk has been—we all have a great unity all of a sudden—we’ll all resist. We must respect this element. I hope there may not be many who feel this way, but those who do I’m prepared to defend their right to do it.
[General agreement voiced.]
Helen D: I think we have to think about the two things, not acknowledging their authority, and at the same time keep in communication. I can’t see collecting the cards and then giving them back. If we didn’t turn up with the cards, you know, not even acknowledging them, and then appeared for supper and surround the dining room, we could sit there for half an hour regardless…
George: To do this would mean getting ration cards.
Tom: We’re talking about collecting these things—[proclamations] , not the ration cards.
Helen D: If we do send them back we’re cutting off communication…
Mary: Would you be in favor of a delegation in…
Helen D: I don’t think so if we expect to influence them to our program and so forth. And they do say they’ll meet with us tonite. I don’t think we should go out of our way to antagonize them until we have a chance to.
Peter: I basically agree with George’s suggestion—and I just want to restate it…
Mary: Well, is there any agreement about what we should do?
[General approval voiced.]
George: Let’s not be too precipitous after these days of discussion…[Laughter.] No, I’m serious about this. I want to be sure I understood Peter. We would return the proclamations and say: We’ve read these—which we have—be perfectly honest about it—that henceforth we can’t communicate this way. We’re prepared to communicate with them as individuals, or as groups in this, but face-to-face relationship. Am I right that you are then suggesting that individuals go and at the time say: No, we don’t want the ration cards…
Peter: In connection with this—they think we’re going there to get the ration cards—we’re not—we’re going to give this back, make our statement about it. They mayor may not have a chance to give us the ration card; they may be caught off guard; they may…
George: This is the point I wanted to clarify, because if we go up ostensibly to get ration cards, then we’re going in a sense and acting on this proclamation. It seems to me that our position is that we will not take action on anything relating to this proclamation. Our answer is we are returning it.
Peter: Oh, we would go not between…four and—five, but now.
George: That doesn’t matter. A group go with these and present them and present our group’s decision in this. And—wait a minute, please—and then, but making clear that we are ready to talk with them face to face. This is what we wanted to do and another valid reason it seems to me that we ought to consider this is that we are keeping the door open—in a sense keeping them a little off balance as to what we will do. You see, we haven’t refused the ration cards, remember, we just are not acting on this. So their goal is to get us to cooperate. And one of the things is—to take the ration cards. Then they’ve got this thing on an even plane. We’re keeping them still open, uncertain as to what our reactions are going to be, and it seems to me there’s wisdom in this because we want more time to think and plan. The door is left open, in a sense, both ways.
Barbara: May I ask George a question please? Are you suggesting that we don’t—are you rejecting Peter’s idea of going individually?
George: I was raising the question. If we’re going to do it individually it still seems to me that there either ought to be some who go and say: The group has decided. Because our power, if we have it, partly is that we all are deciding it. Then if others want to go individually, all right—maybe it can be that way, but we want to communicate with them in some way that they will know we mean it.
Barbara: It seems to me that if all the individuals go that they’ll get the idea that the group is going to mean it.
George: I’m not opposed to it.
Chris: I don’t think it really matters an awful lot—whether individuals or groups go, but I have to point out to the group here that we’ve taken forty minutes to make the first—and sure it’s important, but I don’t think it’s the most important decision we’ll be facing. Now, also I have to go on that—now—Pauline responded with individual action. Others of us responded with individual action to go and start a confrontation with these people. Now, a group taking such an inordinate time to make any decision, it seems to me that what we’re doing is simply forcing individual action, and I think the group has to recognize that probably after this meeting it’s going to be largely individual action or passivity .
Diana: In light of the decisions that we have to make, is it agreed that this afternoon’s program is kaput?
Mary: Well, I would say so—as chairman. I think that we would still convene at…It’s about four ten, so we have to act pretty quickly on this…Now I would like to make one statement. In view of what we had previously planned, I was prepared to appoint a delegation to do whatever a group wanted a delegation to do. Now, if anybody is interested in a delegation one could quickly be assembled.
Bob: I think it would be much more effective if individuals acted.
Mary: All right. Now would it be useful to announce at this meeting who this delegation would have been? In case we need it…?
[Clear No! voiced.]
Helen D: Have we stated what exactly we are agreeing on?
Peter: Between now and four-thirty—because we have a meeting at four thirty—individuals can go with friends, or can go alone…and go and return the proclamation and state the reasons for returning it, and why you don’t like this form of communication and maybe turn to go, and if they say: Okay, but here’s your ration card, you can refuse it…or engage them in conversation, or just say: No, I’m sorry, and just walk away. But if you do refuse, come back here and then we’ve got our training session at four thirty.
Donald: Could I ask a question? What is our, or what will be our united mode of communication? You see, if we make a united decision, do we formulate that in the form of minutes and written agreement of the whole group? Or do we only communicate a united decision in person? In other words, in making this decision we say that the course we wish to communicate in person with the Unionist forces upon this island. I think this is a matter of procedure which is important. I would be willing for either, but if we’re wanting to express a desire and the will on the part of the whole unit, it’s useful to express this in the form of written decisions.
Mary: We do have a minute taker.
Peter: We have eighteen minutes.
Peggy: We have mentioned in the case of the proclamations that we are not eager to have written communications of this kind from them, and though we haven’t taken a definite stand, it seems to me we may. I would suggest that perhaps in view of that we would not want to institute written communications with them, but have a group of people…speak to them of our condition.
Pauline: I would like to say two things. One is I don’t see much use in making these decisions if you’re not going to follow them through. It is my understanding that we are going to actually follow through on the program given us by the ad hoc committee. We didn’t do that. Instead we had another ad hoc situation in which the chairman immediately called everyone together…And the second thing I’d like to say is in my opinion this is a game we’re playing. It is not, to me, realistic to sit here and be very democratic and be very chairmanship, talk—who wants to speak—when,in fact, we’re invaded and people are setting up locks on our doors. This, to me, is a game you’re playing and I didn’t want to associate myself with this game…
George: What would you have us do?
Peter: We have fifteen minutes to start turning—in proclamations, and we don’t all want to go now…
Mary: But we are going to meet as usual at four thirty for our training session…We will all meet together first because we have to find out what our topic is.
[Meeting is apparently adjourned.]
D. Informal Conversations
This section includes several informal conversations that took place subsequent to the early afternoon defenders’ meeting. The first three conversations were recorded during a brief break in the more formal proceedings between the session reported in Part C above and the afternoon role-playing workshops (transcripts not included). The scene is on the veranda outside the meeting room of the main lodge and the time is about 4:30, Tuesday afternoon. The final two conversations were recorded at about 6:00 p.m. as the defender group moved toward the dining room—the children to eat and the adults to form a vigil line.
The conversations are reported in a fragmentary manner because of inadequacies of recording. In part they were taking place simultaneously; the absence of any conclusion is due partly. to the nature of the informal discussions and partly to the failure of the recording. They are reported completely as transcribed and provide a representative sample of the informal discussions among the defender group.
Pauline.:…we’re going to carry on with our regular program…
Peter: Well, we’re going to continue on with our regular thing, but that doesn’t mean…There was no one in the group that knew it was going up until the end, therefore…
Pauline: No one in the group? They’re like sheep!
Peter: Well, let’s work together on this. It may be that a group consensus…There is a lot more than you knew about…
Pauline: Where did you individuals all come…Then why did you plan the other? Why did we all sit around saying: Yes, that’s a good idea—yes, that’s a good idea. Why did you do that?
Peter: Well, I think we did react to the emergency when the invaders first came in…
Pauline: We reacted to the emergency by sitting in here like sheep. You didn’t go in there when you knew they were putting locks on the doors.
Peter: I went over to my place, filled up a jug with water, put the lights on so that when I go back tonite, you know, I can see my way across. I went to inform one of the cabins that they had come. I went and introduced myself to Mr. Harvey Feit. I went and talked to them. Don’t assume that we didn’t…
Pauline: Well, how many did? So you did.
Peter: Well, I think everyone was aware and concerned at the invaders…
Pauline: Aware? They were sitting in here discussing it—like an intellectual college exercise. To me it’s like playing a game. It wasn’t a state of reality at all.
Peter: Well, make it serious. Don’t give up…
Pauline: If they’d had real guns. If they’d had real guns…
Peter: I’d had done exactly the same thing. I’ve—done it in Albany, Georgia.
Pauline: You would. You did an active thing.
Peter: You see, Pauline. Look! Pauline, don’t get so aggressive!
Pauline: I respect you.
Peter:…or, you know, if you’re going to take an—attitude that I don’t respect the rest of them…
Pauline: I don’t!—I think they’re sheep! I think they’re playing a game. I don’t think they’re really aware of what’s going on.
Peter: Then try to inject a tone of seriousness—into the meeting and maybe you’ll shake people out of their sheep—sheeplike qualities. Be the way you think you should be, but don’t start insulting people by saying they’re like sheep because that’s not going to establish communication within the group. It’s going to have a tendency to break the group up—cause bad feelings.
Pauline: You’re right. That’s right. You’re right. They don’t want…I want to swim off the island.
Peter: You mean—are you serious?
Pauline: Yes, I am.
[Background noise drowns out the rest of this conversation.]
Chris: All we are doing is refusing to decide a—goddamn thing.
Lolly: Well, we decided this.
Pauline: We decided the other things first. And then it was just forgotten entirely…the ad hoc committee recommendation…
Peter: Twenty minutes earlier than it finally—was—except George said…
Lolly: No, it was only in the case of an emergency that we use the ad hoc committee. They couldn’t make a decision.
Chris: I think George was out of his Quaker’s—mind…
Peter: So do I.
Pauline: I misunderstood. I misunderstood. So did Diana.
Lolly: She understood…
Chris: Okay! But—but…
[Babble of female voices.]
Peter: All we’ve got to do is not run…good—feeling in the group…
Chris: But I think there are a hell of a lot of—other attitudes that are not conducive to a good feeling in this group, Peter. I mean mine included and yours included.
Lolly: The ad hoc committee was only to be used if…couldn’t make it or if…
Pauline: No, no, you’re on a different tack. I’m talking about the program. The first thing to do…
Mary: We are—we shouldn’t cooperate with this whole wide…
Roger: We’ve got plenty of it up there.
Lolly: We’re going on with the program.
[Talk now confused and unintelligible.]
Donald: It seems to me the institute proceedings should be recorded…only from now on.
Mary: Yes, only from now on. Okay, well, I’ll communicate this to Lolly so that she can get them written down.
Donald: Because I think it’s important that we know what the group decision was as to why each individual takes this stand.
Mary: Oh, I agree with you. Okay, I’ll communicate with Lolly and get these minutes written up in a presentable way.
* * * * *
Margrit Ann: He is?
Johanna: Yes, that’s nothing.
Roger: Ernst is down at…
Margrit Ann: No! Oh, no.
Johanna: He can’t go without a mother!
Margrit Ann: Come on.
Johanna: Well, oh, come on.
Margrit Ann: My mother will…
Murray: Can I see your ration card?
Cori: I’ve got mine too.
Margrit Ann: Here’s mine. She’s got number two. I’ve got number three.
Johanna: I’ve got number four.
Murray: Very good.
[It is now 6:00. The group is just ending its discussion of techniques and tactics.]
* * * * *
Bob: I want to go to supper.
Lolly: You’re hungry, huh?
Mary:…The decision as far as I know is to form a vigil line…notify the group…as far as I know, is to have Nancy communicate verbally with Mr. Sinn and from then on it is proposed that we have a minute written and a delegation to present this minute with the commander of the forces. It has also been proposed that we do not do this and that we go ahead with our meeting at eight o’clock assuming—Assume that they have ignored…Nancy gets no response—or whatever response. I guess go back. Nancy comes back with a response either positive or negative. And then if it’s negative, then we go ahead and have our meeting…[Bell rings.]
* * * * *
[Heard among confused voices.]
Chris: I think it’s very important to know what’s—important and what’s trivia.
Lolly: Trivia! I don’t think anything’s trivia.
Pauline: I suppose the umpires are capable of eating.
Murray:…begin to work?
Steve: What happened to your ankle?
Murray: Kicked. By some slob of a defender.
Bonnie: You’re invisible anyhow.
Steve: I cut my toe on a step.
Murray: By some slob of a defender? What did you do, Steve? Where?
Steve: That little rise as you go from the hallway—into the living room.
Murray: Are you all right? No flesh?
Murray: No flesh or bones?
Steve: No, I don’t think so.
Murray: Well, that’s all right. You’ve got nine more.
E. Tuesday Evening Meeting Addressed by Unionist Commander
The Tuesday evening meeting was convened as a musical session, as had been scheduled by the ad hoc committee, even though most members of the defender group expected the Unionist commander to join the meeting at 8:00. The meeting convened in the main lodge meeting room at about 8:15. Before the musicale started a member of one of the regional subgroups informed the plenum of a strategic decision taken by the sub-group. This led to a lengthy discussion (only part of which is included in this transcript). About a half hour of musical performances by members of the defender group preceded the arrival of the Unionist officers at 9:05. This transcript includes all of the discussion with the Unionists and a part of the subsequent discussion by the defender group.
Peggy:…This evening’s program is to be a musical program. It’s possible we’ll have some business to transact before we begin…Nancy has been in communication with the occupiers and I think we should hear a report from her.
Nancy: I wasn’t able to contact the head man. I spoke to a man who was at the door and he assured me that somebody would be here to meet with us this evening at 8:00…
Peggy: Then we are to expect our visitors at 8:00?
Mary: Except for Proclamation four, for those of us who read proclamations.
Nancy: I haven’t read it.
Peter: I don’t want to know…
Peggy:…Would it be wise for us to renew our invitation for them to join us? And perhaps we better consider whether we wish to ask Some questions and enter into negotiations with them first, or whether our musical program comes first.
Chris: There’s a point of information that I think—is relevant to the group. The regional sub group of the Boat House-Bally Beg-Nursery made the decision last night—a few eons ago—that if one child were taken by the authorities, then the whole group—that sub group—would do what it could to stay with that child. There is some information that this might come about…but it hasn’t been really germane up to now—well, it may not be now—but I think that in an effort to maintain the whole community the whole community should know about the decision taken by that sub group.
[A long discussion of this issue follows.]
Nancy: I would like to suggest that we support the parents in whatever they decide to do. I think the welfare of the children should be their prime consideration, and whatever they decide…if they decide to get work cards we should support them in this.
Peggy: I don’t know whether it is in the prerogative of a chairman to say anything about what I feel, but I wonder if this isn’t a potentially infinite chain of blackmail. If this isn’t what they want then they’ll say something else will have to be done by this community in order to maintain the children.
Donald: May I suggest that this be one of the points that are taken up in consultation with the…when they come, and may I suggest we proceed with the musical evening until they do come? I feel sure that they will come.
Peggy: Is it agreeable that we should move ahead with the music program and do you wish to have a time limit on the musical program?
Tom:…I’d say nine thirty.
Peggy: All right. Would that be satisfactory to everybody to have a break at nine thirty?
Pauline: If the head of the soldiers comes in we should ignore him? Or will we stop our meeting and proceed with the…
Peggy: I understand the people think we should then stop our program…not right in the middle of a performance though…Now, Tom would you play?
[Tom and others perform; then group singing begins. At 9:05, during the singing, the Lieutenant and his security officer come in and sit down quietly in the back of the room. Singing continues. Two other Unionists appear at the door. Singing continues. ]
John: We have some guests now. I would suggest that we stop singing for awhile and perhaps…join us.
Peggy: The commanding? officer? here?
Peter: Yes, Lieutenant Sinn is there and Mr.—Feit.
Lt. Sinn: Good evening.
Group: [Weakly] Good evening.
Lt. Sinn: We are in fact here to discuss the procedural points of the proclamations. Now you’ve done your best to ignore them, so actually there isn’t much to discuss. I would like to point out that to ignore our proclamations, in the long run, will only bring unnecessary hardships…
Bob: Sir, will you please introduce yourselves so that the group can know who you are? And would you introduce your staff?
Lt. Sinn: Oh, all right. My name is Hans Sinn. I am a lieutenant in the United Unionist army and chief of administrative forces here. And beside me is second lieutenant Feit, security chief. So—if I may come back to my procedural…
Chris: Who are your other friends?
Lt. Sinn: Ah. Right in front of you is the secretary of the administration. All four of them? Yes.
George: I didn’t get his name.
Lt. Sinn: His name is Jack Stelling. And Adrian—I think you can introduce yourselves and give your own rank.
Bishop: I am the chairman of the committee for the rebuilding of this residence for winter occupation. My name is Adrian Bishop.
Tugwell: Tony Tugwell, secretary of the office.
Bob: And the other gentleman?
Harrison: I’m sergeant Harrison. I’m the assistant to the security officer.
Lt. Sinn: Now, I’m not asking the same of you as you asked of us. But certainly your staff will in time…we’ll get to know each other since we have a long time together, no doubt. To come back to the initial point, if you insist in ignoring our proclamations, it will not do us any harm. It definitely will not affect us; we will be able to run quite independently of you…
Chris: In that connection, could I ask you the question: What is your aim? What is your purpose? You’ve said that…
Lt. Sinn: We will come to that in time, but right now you are merely occupied with asking what our aims and what the legality of our being…This is a moot point. We are here, and you are here, and we are to detain you here. Even if you were to get off the island tomorrow you would be expected on the mainland and imprisoned—if not worse. So it really doesn’t make any difference if you are imprisoned there or on your very beautiful island here. Now, all we are asking of you is you keep it as beautiful as possible for yourselves—so it is a choice of staying here or leaving. The choice is only where you are going to stay and where you will be detained. The fourth proclamation, which you also ignored, is saying that, in fact, under certain conditions, you can leave the island.
Chris: I have a question. Your earlier statement—seems to suggest that we are under arrest.
Lt. Sinn: Yes. That is correct.
Chris: We all consider ourselves at this moment—under arrest?
Lt. Sinn: You are being detained. Yes.
George: What law are we violating to be arrested?
Tom: If I may interrupt, I think it’s really rude to keep interrupting Lt. Sinn. If we were trying to present a point to them and his staff and everyone kept interrupting us, I think we’d have a real right to feel affronted.
George: That’s a good point.
Lt. Sinn: Thank you. Anyway I can only repeat myself that initially we came here to discuss procedural points of how in fact we can live together on the island, for we will be living together—as best as possible is our hope—without causing any hardships to anyone. We are not interested in hurting you, in harming you; that is not our aim and that is not our task. Our task for which we came is—and, as I pointed out, even if we were to let you go, if one of you were to try to go, you will be received on the other end and imprisoned—or worse. I can only repeat: why choose a prison cell if you have this beautiful island? So—The choice is up to you.
Peggy: We are concerned with your right to be here and…
Lt. Sinn: Yes, I realized that.
Peggy: We have some questions that we would like to address to you about this occupation—if that is what you are calling it. We feel that this is our place of present residence and that you have invaded our privacy and our right and that we would like to make a protest about your presence here.
Lt. Sinn: Yes. You can.
Peggy: And we would like to make it as official as possible so that you understand that this comes from us as a community and that you will carry it as far as it needs to be carried.
Lt. Sinn: Yes. This can be done. Nevertheless, as far as our government is concerned, you are in a chaotic country and your presence in the community will make it even more chaotic. So that is the legality—if you want any legality except our presence. You may say you are very harmless people, very nice people; you won’t hurt anybody. This may be so—I don’t know Maybe in time we will find out that you are not harming or causing chaos. But as of this day, I can only accept my orders—the fact that you are here and that we are here.
Peggy: And there is no further word that you wish to say to us explaining your presence in some way that you think that we might further understand? Because we do not really accept this explanation. I think that is the feeling of the community.
Lt. Sinn: Again, I can understand it—that you are not going to accept our presence—but at least here we are discussing with you. We are still talking with you. You still have a chance to carry on. If we weren’t here you would be—without a word—taken to prison—taken to any camp of detention that exist all over the country. In fact, you are getting a pretty good deal.
Peggy: Well, I think I would like to ask one of our group to give a statement of how we feel about your presence here, and then I think there will be other people who would like to comment on it so that we can discuss this further. I would like to have Donald Groom.
Donald: I would just like to express my pleasure on behalf of the group here that at last we’ve been able to make personal contact with the head of the Unionist forces on this island. And we were very much taken aback when we found that the basis of communication with us on this island was going to be through fiat, through the impersonal instructions which were presented to us in the forms we have seen so far—and it is this kind of impersonal relationship with us that we found most repugnant—as we have, throughout our lives—our very existence—had to uphold this respect and dignity in every individual person. And we were looking forward to the occasion when they arrived on this island, recognizing the difficulties they were in, and, as people, we were going to try to communicate to understand what they had to say-what they had to do through us. And I think we were taken aback even further when we found that their first act, by which they would assert authority over us, was to attack us perhaps at the point of human weakness: food. And we were asked to, by this impersonal way, to accept ration cards, to receive food we ourselves had brought to this island. And through this we were not only suffered certain indignities, we were, in a sense, imprisoned on this island, unable to make any other arrangements for the care of our children and the arrangements for the free conduct of the life of this community which is gathered here—not only from one nation but from several nations of the world—to study the subject which is of tremendous importance not only to the U.S.A., to Canada, the Unionist government or any other government of the world: this concept of nonviolence and nonviolent efforts to overcome some of the difficulties, problems, frustrations of the world. And we were looking forward to this occasion of confrontation so that we could convince them of what we were standing for and what we might be able to do by the exercise of our own responsibility. We were not unaware of the difficulties the Unionist forces and the government which they represent were in in relation to food supplies, communications, and so on, but we felt that they might respect our being, our sense of responsibility, respect our humanity, and leave it with us to arrange for our own living, our own food supplies, and care for our own children. And I think if the officers could have come before us and placed their difficulties before us, they would have gained from us cooperation and the efforts to restrict the consumption of food because we are people who are accustomed to sacrifice for the sake of the welfare of others. And I think it is at this point that we feel that we would like to make a plea in this situation of servitude that they recognize us as responsible people and hand over the responsibility for whatever food there is here—and under the general guidance of the fruitful situation of this area we will try to make arrangements for all amply, and particularly our children. And I am sure many of us will devote time during the day and the night in preparing to take this island more productive, for food production, not only here but throughout the world, is a major problem. And I hope that our officers will consider the difficulties in which we are placed. And I feel I must say that unless there is this sense of personal relationship with us—cooperation with us—and respect of our sense of responsibility in this situation, we will have to bear the suffering that will be involved in refusing to accept the authoritarian government on this island.
Peggy: I would like to explain to you that we have been having discussions on the subject of nonviolence for short of a week and that we have had a rotating chairmanship, and I happen this evening to be the chairman; that one of our members has expressed an opinion held by many of us, but we have a system of discussion and consensus, and we have other people who have other views this evening and we would like to be able to let you know what other members of the community feel, so that if I may be free to suggest other people expressing their news, then perhaps we can have a completely open discussion of this problem…
Lt. Sinn: Yes. Anybody is free to…
Peter: You have—possibly when you first arrived on the island—said what you did—You were here and now it was up to both yourselves and ourselves to work out the living arrangements and being as happy as possible. I could accept this, but I certainly can’t in the light of the extent to which you have infringed, without any consultation with us, already our freedoms, and I think it doesn’t ring true. I think you’re possibly trying to make your presence more viable to us and more acceptable by cloaking in words which just don’t ring true. You have already issued, I think four—maybe five—proclamations. This doesn’t seem to me an effort to work with the community here and an extra number of people coming. I think it’s very very important the reason why you’re here. You tried to say it was a moot point. If you had come here as friends to participate in the community this would be wonderful, and I’m sure we’d try to find accommodations for you. But obviously, if you come for completely different purposes, it changes our reactions and…
Lt. Sinn: We have not come as friends. We have come to detain you here on the island. There’s no doubt about it. We will take nothing for granted. All you are saying may just as well be words. As many words as we have made on proclamations you may be making right now. So—we can only go on the basis of our own experience—of our own facts. These could change in time. So well and so good. But tonite—the next few days-the next month-we can do nothing on promise. I’m not authorized to do anything else than what we’ve been doing so far. If in time we can report back to the government that the island is progressing on a self sustaining basis and is able to function without stress—without strain—maybe a different system can be implemented. Maybe your desires may be realized in one form or another within limitations set by the war. But as of now, there is no chance. There is no way possible of changing our course of action. And all we are asking is that you cooperate for your own good as much as possible. I can understand if you don’t want to cooperate, but I would like to point out that as much as you may be aware, theoretically, of the consequences, once they are upon you they may turn out quite different. This has been our experience in the past. You may think that your moral position, your high aims, your ideals, will sustain you through hard times. You may think that. But when stress and strain appear, human beings develop all kinds of characteristics, and as long as you’re living as what is called pacifists, we feel that you are still slightly out of touch with reality. And once the reality comes upon you, you will react very much the same as other people, as the masses which you would like to win to your side and your aims. The reality looks different, and we are part of reality now—on this island.
Peggy: Perhaps it would be helpful if we could clarify to you our objection to the proclamation form of communication between yourself and us. We have found it very offensive and I wish that some member of our group would speak to this subject…
Mary: I don’t know that I’m going to talk to that subject—although I find it offensive—but I would like to speak to the subject of your determination of whether we are nice people after all. I think that I’ll take you at your word there, even though you’ve warned me that I shouldn’t. But I think that the only possible way that you could ever determine exactly who we are and what our aims are is to join us in our conferences and to participate along with everybody else. We intend to carry them on and we intend to go on every day and have a program, and I would like to issue you an invitation—actually, in behalf of the group, I feel that I can do this—for all of you to attend our conferences.
Lt. Sinn: Oh—well—we’ll be together for many years so I’m sure we will attend quite a number of your conferences. By the way, we haven’t much to do on the island either, so I assume that we…
Tom: I’d like to suggest that it’s not enough for me when you say that if we fulfill certain conditions you may determine that we are safe or nice people. I don’t see that you have any right to encroach upon our freedom simply because you don’t consider us nice people. That right hasn’t been given you and I don’t intend to give it.
Lt. Sinn: It is not I who say you are nice people or not.
George: Who says?
Lt. Sinn: We’ve been sent here to detain you. That’s all.
Peter: You can act on your own conscience, though, can’t you? You are a human being. You can say yes or no and make decisions for yourself as well, if you so desire.
Lt. Sinn: And I’ve made the decision. That’s all. We don’t have to discuss that.
Peter: Yes. But it is you, not somebody else.—You just said it was not you to decide.
Lt. Sinn: I have made the decision if you’re nice people or not. I said that. But I’ve made the decision to come here. I’ve been delegated to go. Now. That’s it. Now, if you are nice people or not nice people, we will find out. We can’t argue it—we can’t discuss it in one evening. We can’t find out…
Tom: Yes, but my point is that it isn’t up to you to restrict us until you determine that.
Lt. Sinn: It’s one of those unfortunate facts which you have to face.
George: Lieutenant, you mean if we are nice—do you mean by saying nice that we obey and do your will and the will of the Unionist government?
Lt. Sinn: Nice. Well, I think we’re expressing a term here…I don’t think there are really nice people. There are those who pretend to be nice and those who don’t pretend to be nice. We don’t pretend to be nice and we expect you—after a while—not to be so nice either. Your niceness will break down. If you think you’re nice people—so let’s not—The question before us is: will there be suffering? Will there be hardship? That’s all. It is not in our interest to cause you suffering, to cause you hardship. If you want to take hardship upon yourself, do so.
Peggy: It has been submitted to you that there are ways to make this island self-sufficient and for us to cooperate without the proclamation form of orders that you have been passing out and putting on doors…And we would like to achieve—maintain our conference and maintain our deliberations on the subject of nonviolence—and to include you in them—and we feel that we could achieve this if you could find a way of working with us that we consider acceptable…and does not include any dictatorial approach in which. you simply hand down to us a law about what we shall do.
Lt. Sinn: As I pointed out before, there are no possible other methods we can take at this time. There…
Donald: You have to exercise your authority over us in the way in which you are now doing and you have no other function in relation to us than to exercise your authority over us in the way in which we have discovered in the last few hours? Is that true?
Lt. Sinn: If you want to define it as such…
Donald: And that is the limit of your intentions with us?
Lt. Sinn: Yes.
Donald: And you’re not prepared to meet us and meet our desire to exercise some authority for ourselves—particularly for our children—in relation to foodstuffs?
Lt. Sinn: The food situation is as our proclamation explained—that from now on the Union government will supply the food until such time that you either can make whatever areas here productive or that you begin some form of production of goods and services which would be used in trade with the mainland.
Bob: As has been stated, the main avenue of communication thus far has been through proclamation up until this evening, and our community finds these proclamations repugnant. We were moved because of this lack of communication and lack of knowledge about your purpose here to ignore the request made in proclamation number one, which we read. As you know, we all refused to take the ration cards and therefore refused to eat, and vigiled outside and prayed for you and your fellow officers while you ate inside the dining room. I would like to state that this is an extreme hardship on the community and this hardship was brought about by the lack of communication between our community and your officers at the very outset, in spite of the fact that our community tried again and again to communicate with you on a personal level upon your arrival. You refused this communication with us and therefore put hardship on us. Now, I would like to state personally that until there is a more human relationship between our two groups—in fact, I would hope that we wouldn’t consider it two groups anymore—but as one group, one community—that I am going as of this very moment on a fast which will include also water. The responsibility will lie on your shoulders and on your conscience, and I would hope that we might have some communication and personal contact with you in the next days before we leave the island. I think that’s about all I have to say.
Peggy: We would also like to make a plea that you do not use our children as ways in which to blackmail us. Can we have some clarification from you—some assurance from you—that our children will not be used to club us into submission?
Lt. Sinn: As long as you fulfill your responsibilities to the children—you work for their upkeep—we have no intention of depriving them of anything, or using them for anything. Also, if you choose not to work…we will feed them and look after them.
Peggy: May I point out to you that we understood from you that you were to come here at eight this evening and you arrived at about nine fifteen.
Lt. Sinn: If you had read our proclamation you would have read that it said nine o’clock, and sharp at nine we were here. But as you don’t read our proclamations, obviously you didn’t know.
Donald: I would still like to plead with you that there is no basis for this kind of exercise of authority over us, and that you should change your attitude in relation to us and recognize our sense of responsibility for our own homes and conference and care of our families. And I still wish you, this evening, to think over this question as to whether you cannot hand over the responsibility for the kitchen to, if you like, a joint committee of our conference and your representatives here.
Lt. Sinn: Apart from the fact that I previously stated, for awhile, at a minimum, we will have to proceed in the manner that we have set out to you. There is no other. authority. There is the possibility for those who desire to leave the island-under certain conditions. If you have not read our proclamations, obviously you don’t know the conditions, so I’m sure there will be some around—if you haven’t destroyed them all…
Nancy: Would you mind telling us these conditions?
Lt. Sinn: I can read them to you.
Peter: And then we can ask any questions after—that we want to?
Lt. Sinn: Yes.
George: We don’t mind your reading them to us.
Lt. Sinn: All right—as we are all here…
Diana: Before you begin, would you please tell us—the total number of your forces on this island?
Lt. Sinn: Yes. We are six men. [Reads Proclamation No.4.]
Bob: Would you mind telling us what were in the other proclamations?
Lt. Sinn: All right. If you like to know. With us, to read the proclamations or to post them—it’s not a principled point. We are only interested that all of you read them. As we weren’t sure that we would have you all together here that was our only form of communication, but as you are all here now we will read them. If you prefer us to read them to you, we are just as…
John: I should think we could point out to him that we have a timetable which we aim to keep and at the time we are planning for meetings here we would be here, and they would be welcome to be here.
Nancy: Should we give him a program so he’d know when our meetings are?
Peggy: I think We have all heard or read proclamation number one so that we might move on.
Lt. Sinn: In case anyone has personal questions if somebody wants to…on social graces, the administration will receive applications for personal interviews as desired between five thirty and six p.m. at the administrative office.
Donald: Will they be untaped?
Lt. Sinn: Yes. They are untaped. Please give in writing a brief but complete account of the nature of your concern.
Tom: May I ask a question on that one?
Lt. Sinn: You can—but again—a technical question. We don’t want to have a hundred people in the office every day. asking about the legality of us being here.
George: Oh,Lieutenant, there are only thirty five or forty of us on the island. You’re surely aware of it.
Lt. Sinn: I think you would rotate. [ Laughter.]
Tom: Maybe we could forego that whole business if you would consent to come here as you have tonite.
Peter: A much better and more friendly atmosphere.
Lt. Sinn: I do think that in spite of all your apparent unity this initial first meeting, there are different circumstances for individuals w1rlch you might want to discuss in private.
Tom: Oh, in that case it’s fine.
Bob: Would you read proclamation four?
Lt. Sinn: Proclamation four we’ve just read.
Bob: Oh, three.
Lt. Sinn: Also in proclamation four it finishes with a special note: The chief of the administrative services will be available in the common room of the main hall at nine p.m. to answer any questions that may exist in reference to the procedure of proclamations one through four. Here we are. Now—number three? [Reads proclamation three.] As you can see here, we are not interested in working you very hard; only a few hours. [Continues reading.]
John: Could I ask a question of information on that?
Lt. Sinn: Yes.
John: I would like to know what your definition is of: Parents not adequately taking care of their children—I’m sorry, I don’t remember the exact words.
Lt. Sinn: Well, if after four weeks we, the army, still finds itself in the position of having to support the child, that we would, after that, consider it nonsupport. So you have four weeks which we consider ample time to determine your position.
John: You said: In terms of providing for the child…
Lt. Sinn: That means in terms of being productive here in one form or another.
John: In one form or another—According to your standards or according to the standards sufficient to keep the child alive and healthy?
Lt. Sinn: Well, as the situation is right now, we are not asking you to work from noon to dusk; it is like five hours. We have tasks which have to be completed—like very simple reconditioning of the cottages so that they are livable in the winter time; the beginning of the kitchen garden; cut wood—these are the beginnings of the tasks so we are not trying to force you into a case where you are having to support anyone else but yourself.
John: I’m afraid I—Am I interrupting?
Lt. Sinn: No.
John: I’m afraid I didn’t make myself clear. I wondered what basis you are going to judge whether children were being adequately taken care of?
Lt. Sinn: Oh, merely on the basis that the parents participate in the work and the reconditioning of the island.
John: Then it’s a secondary thing. It’s not whether they’re taking care of the child? It’s whether or not they’re working for you.
Lt. Sinn: Not for us—for you—for yourselves.
John: Let’s not worry about the semantics—Working under your program as you’ve outlined?
Lt. Sinn: Working on the reconditioning program, yes. Assuming you don’t work, assuming you don’t recondition the island and your child is on this island, your child is going to freeze a bit during the winter.
John: What I’m asking is: are you going to judge four weeks from now that you don’t see evidence that the child is going to be taken care of in the future on the basis of the fact that someone hasn’t worked?
Lt. Sinn: Well, on the basis of the fact that someone hasn’t worked, we will see if the island is prepared for the winter. Four weeks from now we will definitely see—by the first of September. If it came to sustain itself, or begin to sustain itself-and anybody can see it, I don’t even have to judge it; our reconditioning supervisor doesn’t have to judge it; possibly you’ll be able to judge it for yourself.
Donald: Sir, I feel that the question of some kind of human rights is involved. And I think that we ought to have open communications with representatives in the United Nations on this matter and perhaps before long we could have communications with the Red Cross. Is this kind of communication open to us?
Lt. Sinn: Yes. I think so. Our government does not work outside international law and I’m sure that all avenues are open to you. Any requests you may have we will forward them. I can assure you of that.
Peter: I have a question and a point to make.—The question is: are we free to communicate with people off the island by mail ?
Lt. Sinn: If the postal servants work in Canada—but they have a tendency not to…
Peter: And the question…The point is that I—detect a contradiction in your statement. You said that we can continue with our conference; that you would in no way interrupt…
Lt. Sinn: That’s right—if you can…
Peter: On the other hand, you have set out an alternative schedule of work. I mean that deprives us of our schedule of the seminars. I’d like an explanation.
Lt. Sinn: Well, maybe you are able to work, recondition the island and continue the conference.
Peter: No, we’re not.
Lt. Sinn: Now, if you want to continue the conference and not work, you are also free to do that.
George: Then if this is a possibility, then why not let us handle the problem of rehabilitating the island according to our needs and we’ll run the schedule of that and our own program. We really don’t need the outside assistance. We’re very happy to have you here as individuals, but we think we can handle this problem.
Lt. Sinn: Okay. I take your word for it as of tonite that, as I pointed out at the beginning, tonite we can only make words. We can only make statements. We will see what the future brings. So, again, we cannot deviate from our present course. We’ve heard your good intentions and I cannot guess if they are true or untrue. We can only acknowledge what we’ve heard. And in the future we may continue to communicate in one form or another.
Walter: So there is only one thing actually, you think that there is not the possibility to change anything here; that we specifically have to stay here to the first of September. All the other things actually we could come a part of. I could see it now—a few, actually—or are there some other limitations to it?
Lt. Sinn: No. And again, the question if you say why should we recondition the island, maybe you will accept the terms on which we can leave. We also have to point out that some of you may in fact decide to stay .rather than accept our conditions. So for those who remain behind we would nevertheless start on the reconditioning of the island.
Fran: It seems to me, although I can’t speak for anyone else in the group, that the aims of a useful work project are not to be quarreled with. There are things you wish to see accomplished and I think for the benefit of the community, if you want to run a year-round program and have conferences during the cold weather, it might be a very good thing to do. If it’s true that we agree on aims, in food production and so forth, and the question of methods—is it the quarrel that we need to continue if we can accept the aims of this? Why not arrive together the methods to accomplish the program?
Lt. Sinn: Okay. Well, again, I think as far as the administration is concerned, we have stated our case. We hope we have provided you with a bit more information that you can discuss among yourselves. So—if you don’t mind, we would like to leave and leave you to discuss the issues.
Bob: Would you have a cup of coffee with me?
Lt. Sinn: Yes, thank you.
Walter: Okay, we can start the coffee…Actually, what is your rejection—what is your respect to not to interfere with us—the administration. If we are—I mean the question—only one thing: what you are determined with the question not to leave to the first of September—as actually noncooperation with us?
Lt. Sinn: Well, let’s say you would cooperate with us—but these are semantics. As long as we find some basis for mutual needs is all that we require.
Peggy: May I ask you—may we expect you at our morning meeting tomorrow and be able to discuss with you any problems that we bring up in our own group?
Lt. Sinn: We will see how it matches with our schedule. I will not say no to this, nor can I say at this moment yes…
Peggy: Can our group’s problems of—I’m addressing this remark to the community—await further discussion on our part?
Chris:…Well, I wanted to ask the chair for a—ruling—thereby the group for a ruling whether or not open discussion of the situation that faces us now, obviously with the new occupants of the island present, but without necessarily addressing ourselves to our friends but rather to each other?
Peggy: It’s possible that we won’t be able to hold them to be participants in this thing…
Chris: Well, so far…
Pauline: Could anyone tell us where the coffee pot is? It seems to have disappeared.
Helen: It—it disappeared.
Lt. Sinn: Someone is making a bomb, I’m afraid.
Tom: A coffee bomb.
Peggy: We’re a nonviolent people, I wish to assure you.
Lt. Sinn: Ah, there are many surprises. [Laughs.]
[There is considerable confusion at this time.]
Peggy: Well, Peter, we’ll hear from you but you realize the…
Peter: I must object to something that really concerns me—in our group here—and that is we have accepted an occupation! I am not going to work to build a house so I can withstand the winter because I have an action in Comox to go back to in three or four days…
George: You’re wrong, Peter. Nobody’s accepted it…Nothing we can do…
Peter: Now, the talk has been that we feel that it’s—an infringement on our rights for them to ask us to do it—that we’re perfectly capable of handling these things on our own. Really, we’re prepared as far as I’m concerned—I can read into practically everything that everybody has said—we’re prepared to stay here all winter, but we’ll work on our own. Well, I’m not prepared to stay here all winter; I’m leaving on the 8^th^ of August.
Walter: Yes, that’s what—this was my question.
Peter: And it’s been accepted on the part of the—group that they have a right to say we’re staying here this winter.
Tom: And not only that, but that they have a right to set up work programs and to communicate without…
Walter: No, we didn’t say…
Chris:…It’s exactly the point that Peter has raised that I intended to raise if I could get any sense of the group that we would—obviously the group was focussing its attention on the visitors’ program, and wanted to be sensitive to the feelings of people wanting to address both informational questions and discussion to the visitors. I think that we have a very serious problem to discuss among ourselves which is exactly what Peter has said. Now, I am not prepared to simply continue in a state of imprisonment and carry on total cooperation with them, which is the situation that we are in, and now I do not want…
Peggy: That situation doesn’t exist as of this moment.
Chris: Well, the answer to the explicit question:—We are under arrest.
Peggy: That’s a fact. Now let’s deal with facts.
Chris: All right. Now, that’s point number one. Point number two? This conference—if the comments of Mr. Sinn are carried through—is totally disrupted. Now, these are two factors that I am not willing to accept in a cooperative situation, and my only reason for holding back in commenting earlier on this is I don’t want to make a statement or take an action that is going to be disruptive of the one element that we have remaining, namely, a community group; But, I have to lay it very hard on the community group that I think this is the next thing that will be disrupted by the occupation and one thing that will disrupt it is a state of total inaction on our part.
George: I think we ought to take a few minutes of drinking our coffee and thinking a little before we move into this discussion. We’ve already had two hot speeches which I think indicate that we need to take some time to relax a bit and begin our discussion. I think it’s fair to allow those who asked questions to state why they asked these questions before we are convicted of having a position that divides the community.
Bob: Before we do that, could we join in singing We Shall Overcome?
[It is 10:06 p.m. About 25 people are standing in a circle in the center of the meeting room singing. The Lieutenant is talking to Chris outside the circle. No other members of his staff are in the room.]
Peggy: We shall convene to decide what are the important issues about which we wish to take a stand…I think perhaps we’ll ask Chris to restate his position?
Chris: I’ve been softened up by Willoughby.
Peggy: Well, fine—your softened up position is what we’d like to hear. [More laughter.] Can we have the group’s attention?
Chris:…My reaction to the discussion this evening arid the activities through the day—is that the people who have come to the island are intruders and they are very hard boiled and very effective in doing what they have set out to do. And first, we are prisoners. We are under arrest. This could not have been stated more explicitly. Now, second. Mr. Sinn stated that they would not interfere with the conference. But this, I submit…wasn’t simply transparent, it was hardly a real effort. In fact, the conference—if their proclamations, their edicts, are in any way substantiated, either by our inaction or their further action, then in my opinion the conference is totally disrupted. Now, it seems to me that the three things—really major things—that we have had here were: freedom, which we do not have; a conference, which we do not have—they have taken it; and finally, community, which…well, .it’s rocky, but we’ve got it. Now, I am—and I have to respond to—concerning all three of these points. Now, to some people—in our role playing situation, one response to the statement: You are under arrest, was to go limp. Now it’s a possible response and figuratively this is a response that I urge. In other words, the community has been told: You are under arrest. Now, to me, this first is simply the signal to non-cooperate. Now, with respect to the conference, I am minded to do everything possible to continue that conference. Now clearly this implies—well, it absolutely requires—noncooperation with the work program. Now, back to the point of community. This I think is the most important issue: to maintain a cohesive, coherent group—community. I believe that the most serious threat of all threats present or possible, including the presence of the intruders—the worst threat is the matter of inaction; that is, the acceptance of the situation as it has been imposed upon us. Now this whole thing—the three points that I have looked at and my interpretation of them—all converge in pointing towards this community undertaking an active resistance to the intrusion, occupation, the interference with the conference, and the state of arrest and confinement that we are now in. I’m not proposing attempts to leave the island, but the resistance and noncooperation with the state of arrest. Now, I haven’t thought through…and at this point I certainly have no intention of making a specific proposal—The essence of what I’m saying is: now is the time to actively, aggressively resist the situation we’re in.
George:…Chris’s statement has been very helpful and I’m basically in unity with it. I think he’s pointed—and I was reiterating—to two or three things of great importance. These are the realities: one, that we are imprisoned…and that we expect that we are going to be held here indefinitely; two, that those who imprison us essentially are acting under orders and have no intention basically of changing—getting a change—in these orders m the foreseeable future. Thirdly, it is incumbent upon us, in spite of this new problem, to go on, to the best of our ability, maintaining our community-maintain the unity of it. Another factor I think we have to admit, if we would be honest, is that the degree of unity of our community has much to want. I was intrigued at the frankness of Lieutenant Sinn in saying to us that you pacifists have high ideals, but when confronted with the reality, stresses and tensions, you’re like other people. Deep in our hearts we know there is some truth in—at least potential truth—in this. Our task, immediate and ongoing task, is to demonstrate that this is not necessarily true, and that by our actions and the decisions taken and the kind of unity that we maintain, we demonstrate this to ourselves and to our imprisoners. And this might have some effect upon them. And the thing that they have been taught as true becomes revealed as untrue. Here is a challenge for us. I agree with Chris that we have to act, that one of the things for imprisoned people that is most demoralizing is to sit around, talk—talk—talk, and do nothing. We can maintain community even though our bodies are imprisoned. I think that we have to take some immediate steps. We have taken some already. Presumably, if there is a real sense of unity, we’ll continue that. One: we will not accept—or apply for ration cards and therefore we will not eat. We’ll live on the memories of previous meals [Laughter.] Two: I would hope that the community, as a community, is prepared to not proceed to enter into a compulsory work program. At the same time, I recognize and think again the community must accept the fact there may be some of us who feel that they can’t and that we readily accept this and support them in their decision. It is my own hope that most of us are prepared not to cooperate in the work program, that here are two things we are doing on a non-cooperating basis; that these can give a sense of unity, of bonding us together, that can be very powerful. Now, I think we also ought to concentrate some attention on other more active actions that give one an outlet for people m the community that want more, but that m a sense it will enable others who do not feel it necessary, or that they are prepared for more, they can also feel comfortable. This will absorb our attentions and energies. And the more we become involved in action, the more creative I think we can become. But I do think we have to begin to act—clearly—and hopefully with a high degree of unity. For one of our assets is our numbers and that we can act together.
F. Wednesday Morning Meeting
The Wednesday morning meeting convened at about 9:10 on the grass near the main lodge building in a large, loosely formed circle. There is a period of general talk, laughter and exchanges of information. The transcript begins at about 9:20 and is substantially continuous (except for noted deletions) until the recorder-umpire left for an umpires’ meeting at about ten. This is followed by a recorded period until the group adjourned for a coffee break at 10:45. For the remainder of the morning the recorder spent most of the time with the defenders’ plenary group except for part of the simultaneous strategy committee meeting (see next section of transcripts).
At about 9:45 the two Unionist officers came and stood near the edge of the circle of defenders and listened to the discussion for some time. Gradually the defenders became aware of their presence, and ultimately the chairman recognized Lt. Sinn who then read proclamation number 5.
George: May I suggest that we not get led off into the realms of tear gas…It won’t help us a great deal, and I think we need to decide first what our plans are for the morning. According to the regular schedule of our community, at 9:15 we have a community meeting to discuss the community matters that come up. And then, at 9:30, a program or information session which has been provided for by the planning committee. I think the first thing we need to determine is what our wishes are for the morning—whether, after a few minutes of our community meeting then go into our regular educational program, or whether we combine community and education this morning to deal with the matter of difficult problems we have confronting us that have not yet found satisfactory solutions. What is your wish? Let’s see if we can clarify this very quickly.
Peggy: How bound are we by those items we discussed last night as the topics in the morning?
George: I would say bound not at all…in so far as discussing any of those things today. I have the list. It was a sovereign body. What it did in great wisdom last night it can do in less wisdom or more so this morning. I am the chairman. I want to see us move ahead. If you think I’m too tough, say so and I have a successor already designated.
John: I feel that it’s important that we recognize while we’re talking in terms of a two-months program the efficient and important items that we take—for reasons which we don’t need to discuss—must—all the action we can possibly take—must be taken in the next few days. We do not have two months. Although we have two months to plan for we have only a few days…and I think this should be our frame of reference, and therefore I don’t think we have time to wait until another community meeting…
Fran: I think the educational nature of our pro- gram should revolve around the immediate emergency that we have to deal with and I would say that one of the primary considerations is that of truth and openness as it applies to the situation that we’re in. And also the problem of decision making when action seems called for.
George: Are you saying, then, that you think the meeting this morning should be devoted to specific problems that we have to deal with—not to the educational program per se?
Fran: That is education.
George: Of course it’s education in action—the best kind of education.
Helen D: I’d like to hear what it was we decided we should be handling this morning before…
George: We had put on the agenda for the program the ad hoc committee had—possibly as :I. program—civilian defense in the world community possibly introducing a political situation—the French in French Canada, and so on, like the arrival of the Unionist forces.
Helen D: No, excuse me, I mean the things we decided last night to handle this morning—at the meeting last night?
George: The chair is asking whether you wish to devote this meeting to the community program or whether we proceed and spend the morning, or as much time as necessary, to deal with the problems here. That’s all the chair is asking for…
Helen S: I’d like us to work on the community program idea.
George: All right. We will then devote our time to solving the problems that confront the community…Okay. Plans were made for maintaining pressure on the Unionists, of gaining the initiative…of communications, this report on the newsletter-bulletin—and that that was agreed upon to be prepared, a report on the question—from those who are fasting, and then the next one was the whole question of reasserting our control and authority over the food. Now those are the agenda items we have…
Mary: Over the whole occupation.
George: Yes, I think actually that and the second are related, the second being how do we continue to deal in an effective, nonviolent way with our friends who have come to visit us without really having had our invitation. Are there any new agenda items you want added?
Mary: Can we add another—uh—strategy to this? Or do you want another…agenda item?
George: Whatever you want to offer. We’ll try to fit it in or throw it out.
Mary: All right. I’d like to offer the haunt tactic…item two.
George: All right. Anything else.
[A discussion of tasks for the housekeeping committee was held.]
George:…Any other problems of this sort?
Tom: Do we have cream and sugar near the coffee pot?
George: How do you propose to get the cream and sugar? I don’t know of any sugar cane raised here.
Helen S: You better ask the people that give you the coffee.
Tom: Well, I don’t know who is on coffee at the moment.
Helen S: That was because they didn’t take it—they didn’t ask—they may have forgot…
Nancy: They have two representatives here…
Chris: I need to raise a principled objection to asking for what is already ours. There was a thread of this through the discussion last night. You were referring to making appeals and pleas, supplications. Now, I would—you know—if people want cream in their coffee, I would think, if they feel it’s terribly important, to go and get some cream and put it in their coffee. I didn’t know there was coffee available. Someone else is more ingenious than I am; they went in and got some coffee. That seems like a sensible approach…I’m simply saying. that I’m disturbed if we continue to go and ask for things that belong to us.
Peter: Another agenda item and that is rulings—from the—invisibles—and I think there may be a number of them.
George: From the umpires, you mean?
[Mixed conversation during which a request for a report on the bulletin incident of the previous night was made.]
George: Both—Peter or Bob.
Bob: [To Peter.] Do you want to give it?
Peter: You give it.
George: Now, look. You only have ten seconds to decide who gives it.
Bob: Did we take a group consensus on this? Following through with the suggestions of the group, some of us met to consider the newsletter, the bulletin, and how we might go about producing it and getting it out. And we talked at great length about our typewriters that had been confiscated by the enemy, and the mimeograph machine which is theirs—wondering if we might be able to use it. At this point I can’t remember all the strategy talk that we went through, and maybe Pete can clarify this. We finally decided on the following course of action. Well, let me clarify this more. We got a. ruling from the umpires that one of the typewriters in that board room was ours—that had been .confiscated by the Unionist government—so…
Mary: Also half the supplies.
Bob: And half the supplies. Right. So we decided to undertake a course of action to obtain our equipment. Peter had already asked them if we could use the equipment and they said they were going to have a meeting to consider it. After about an hour after Pete’s request we knocked on the door…and what?
Mary: Bob, the idea wasn’t to obtain the equipment; it was to use it there in the board room. This is very important.
Bob: Ya, ya, that’s right. This was all part of the strategy that we talked about and we finally decided to ask to use it in there…
Tom: Inform them that we would use it in there.
Bob: Inform them, right.
Chris: A big difference.
Bob: It is a big difference. So the situation went like this. We knocked on the door and told them that we intended to use our equipment to produce the newsletter that Mr. Sinn had said we could do. And they said: Fine, here’s a typewriter, take it outside, and here’s the paper, take it outside. And we said: No, this room is our room; this typewriter is our typewriter, and we intend to use it right here. At this point it started to get…and when we insisted on using it in the board room, Peter was dragged out and I was dragged out. We both took our places in the doorway sitting down—and we were getting dragged out—and there was a considerable scuffle at that point. There was no threat of gas made at all—no threat—just dragging us out. And the typewriter and supplies were left in the room. They later came out and placed the supplies in the living room. We immediately took the supplies and attempted to place them back into the board room. When unsuccessful, we left them at the door on the porch here for their disposition. Do you, Mary, or Pete, want to add anything?
Mary: Well, I have a few little things to say that before you were actually bodily carried out—dragged out—Mr. Feit offered to give you a typewriter to take out—which you refused, the idea being there would be no option before you went in. You wanted only to have the use of the board room and our equipment. After you were dragged out and the door was finally closed, Peter wanted to let them know the door would be knocked down sometime later on that night.
Mary: Well, ya, metaphorically, of course. And as I recall, it was after the threat of knocking the door down—it wasn’t a threat—you intended to carry it out all along—a different typewriter was brought out to our quarters. Then you took the typewriter out to the—as near to the board room as you could—and it was then that we had the discussion with—George, Peter, Bob and I—over perhaps not—well, changing at this point and not carrying on using this particularly strong approach for this particular item—being able to put out the bulletin. Now, it’s my impression that it was sort of left vague at that point-in my mind—whether you intended to carry out knocking down the door and whether you intended to accept the typewriter and bring it back into the living room or not. This is what I’m vague about.
Bob: Maybe I can clear that up.
Mary: I went to bed about here.
Bob: At this point Peter and I wanted to know a little more about what was going on in that board room, so we walked around openly and without any secrecy to the side windows and looked inside and listened. At this point they closed up operations and went to bed—left a guard inside the board room. They also had had someone who was continuously in and out the big room there. We finally decided not to break down the door for two reasons. Number one: the man in the board room had a whistle in his mouth and I suppose he had a whistle in his mouth all night and was prepared to blow it—Mr. Feit is laughing and I think he was the one in the board room—was prepared to blow it and we did not want to disturb the sleep of anybody on the island, including the new arrivals—which undoubtedly would happen if he blew the whistle. Also, we did not want to risk—we wanted to conserve our physical human resources for further…It was no longer necessary for our plans and would be more necessary to save our resources for further resistance. And we told them this. And they acknowledged this. We finally took the typewriter and started to use it, but at this point we were fairly tired and there wasn’t much philosophical thinking going on about next steps.
John: Point of clarification. Does this mean that the bulletin itself, which was the primary object primarily, did not get written?
George: It did not get written, which is the delicate way of stating it.
Lydia: I was wondering—we probably have talked about it—can we figure out other ways nonviolently to repossess equipment or an object? I mean, is there a possible nonviolent way, considering what you’ve done, to repossess an object?
George: Now, I hope we don’t get off and spend a lot of time on this unless you consciously want to spend ten, twenty, thirty minutes analyzing this. Unless you do I hope we can move on…
Donald: The evening session can be devoted and was considered the occasion for further role-playing or action in relation to any subject that does arise in the discussion this morning. I thought this ought to be mentioned.
George: Very good. We may move on then. Are there any who have anything to say about their fasting?
[Several people report on their fasts.]
Walter: I would like to say that I personally am against fasting if it is not forced on us…this moment because I think that actually we have to act in the next twenty four hours in this respect…We must have a maximum physical force because this two-days fast that actually we have makes no—I don’t think it makes any difference. We have to make every single force—we can’t achieve something actually physically in tills community. Therefore, I think we need all our resources.
Nancy: I was just going to say that I think our main topic should be how to get control of our food again. If this is going on for months…
George: You’re thinking in the same manner as the chairman. However…
Nancy: It’s all very well to fast for two days.
George: I wonder if this wouldn’t be an appropriate moment to ask the Lieutenant if he has any message he wants to present to this group this morning? He is here with us and…
Lt. Sinn: Good morning. We have a good message for you. We hope it will make you feel good. In honor of the birthday of George Washington Carver, the great scientist and the great contribution to the advancement of American agriculture, we will be serving a meal to all who so desire at six p.m. No ration cards and no work cards will be required. We would appreciate for the purpose in aiding the cook in her difficult task if you would let us know by four p.m. how many people will desire food. If incidents like last night repeat, we will be forced to take stronger measures. We realize that in the moment we do take stronger measures the point of deterioration will have come and your community will rapidly decline and eventually disappear. Now, our presence on the island is permanent, and after your community decides one way or another it will be replaced on the island by other prisoners presently contained on the mainland. So. Again. I would like to point out, if you choose to confront us as you did last night; if you choose to try to evacuate us, you will be evacuated first. There is no doubt about it. That’s all.
George: Thank you. Yes, Chris? Make your comments or questions you might take at this point to ask Lt. Sinn quickly.
Chris: Comments or questions?
George: Yes, but…directed to him.
Chris: Well, the matter that Mr. Sinn—what’s on his mind—is directed obviously at least as much to the group as to Mr. Sinn. Now, I don’t want to affront our guest or attempt to induce fear in him even though he is, I think, rather systematically attempting to do this to us. But when an assertion is made it seems to me proper to make a response to it. That the true weakness of the situation is his, not ours, that is, the intruders’, not ours. Our obvious strength of numbers. They are six; we are 30. Now, I think this is a commentary on the weakness of that which supports him…namely, his alleged government. This seems to me a remarkably weak military operation—to send only six people. True, they have guns and are willing to use violence. Last night Mr. Sinn asserted that we were prisoners. I would say that they are prisoners. They are holed up in one small room all the time. Right now, you see, there are two of them here, and there are two watching. And it is possible that, and I’m sure it’s on their minds, that we might nonviolently capture them…Now, I’m simply responding with the converse of what Mr. Sinn stated, and I think that it is important for this group to be conscious and aware of the true relationships, the true power relationships. I’ll even phrase it in those terms. It is nonviolent power against the power of a gadget, an object hanging from Mr. Feit’s belt.
Lt. Sinn: Well, if you present the challenge, we accept it.
George: Any further comment you would like to address to the occupational authorities? Any questions? We appreciate your presenting your statements to us and I think we will proceed with our business. All right. May we then proceed with the major items we have scheduled on our agenda?
[It is now just before ten; the recorder leaves for umpire meeting; Unionist officers depart; defender group continues discussion.]
Diana: I think…nonviolent…dislocation…which you are attacking, and to say that the officers and military personnel here should not in any way be dislocated, I think is assuming a very supernatural thing. But I think the thing that saves the situation is that we suggest in nonviolent action that in the dislocation, if there is harm or injury, that we be the ones who receive it. Another thing that has been in my experience in working with nonviolence is that it’s very difficult to change people’s minds in a vacuum and that sometimes changing the situation helps to force people to a different position and therefore a change in mind, and I cite the sit-ins in the United States…in restaurants and lunch counters. The changing legality, changing custom, has brought about at least a superficial change in behavior and in some instances a change in attitude of many white people in the United States. There are at least three ways I see that we can involve ourselves in trying to obtain our goals. Obviously, with this new government, and the information that we got last night from Mr. Sinn, they are trying to create an image of their government which is: they are not out to just establish a universal clamp on everybody. In the scenario it says: Quietly wherever they could, that they were suppressing dissent, but quietly wherever they could. It means to me that they are sensitive to world opinion and to neighboring countries who may not be involved in their scheme. And I would suggest that perhaps one of the areas that we think about is asking people to think up some ways of making contact with the United Nations, with nearby countries, or with allies of nonviolent community in and around this area. And then secondly, one point of asserting our influence in this community is that we try to find points in the military strategy which can be used for us, such as—I think it’s unrealistic to believe that all six of these men suddenly decide that we are right and they will leave. I think that perhaps Lieutenant Sinn, with a military mind, is going to carry out orders, and that for the morale of his men he cannot leave, defect, or whatever you want to call it. But perhaps some of the other people in his chain of command do not feel as strongly as he does about being here or perhaps being in the military, and perhaps it is with them that we ought to work. And in asking why they are here letting them know they are not wanted, trying to cause them to question among themselves and thereby reduce the effectiveness of their own morale. And then a third area would be physically…the situation so that we thereby cause a shift in their own conscience. That’s all.
Fran: Well, my comment is very much related to what you said: that these are not an autonomous group of pirates who can leave—however much they might want to should they decide to do so. If they do leave, this is an admission to their superiors that they’ve failed. So that the only way they can leave is surreptitiously—AWOL—become deserters, join our group, let us help hide them, or help them to escape—something like this; that they still have the imposed orders that they feel now committed to carry out. And we have to find a way for them to get out of that trap as well as for us to establish control here.
Lydia: It was suggested a while back that we should have a group of people that we can give official authorization to to get together and work out—considering the feeling of the group actions that we can take together. Personally, one thing that this occupation has revealed to me is the feeling of a sense of inadequacy. I found out that when you’re up against it you really don’t know what to do and that the pull of interest is so much in you, you know, you just have a sense of inadequacy. And personally, I believe in nonviolence enough and in some of our people right here to still follow their directions, and somebody could set up a kind of project that I could get into. I could do that. So if what has been suggested before…
George: It is worth a note that it is about ten thirty—the hours go by—and that if we are going to function or take further steps, we’ve got to have some pretty clear plans. And so there comes a time for more specific planning. You have one proposal. There may be other proposals as to how to proceed. Point of information. Forgive me for mentioning it, but I’m not sure there is such a thing as tea or coffee available for us.
[General discussion about this matter. Tea committee leaves.]
Chris: I’m about to express another enthusiasm.—It is for Lydia’s proposal.
Peggy: Leadership is what Lydia is asking for.
George: All right, now…leadership—we won’t follow a plan until people are ready for it. Maybe we’re getting more and more ready. I sense we are—have been ever since—when was that?—three o’clock yesterday afternoon. Things have begun to change some.
Tom: I had an idea that I could try to work out by myself, and I’m not clear enough on it yet, so I’ll throw it out. We were offered by kind imperial invitation a dinner tonite, and it occurs to me that we don’t have to accept that invitation, but merely show up at the dining hall tonite for our meal, go in, sit down, and have it. At which point we have the kitchen; we have the dining room; and we…
Nancy: We don’t leave.
Lydia: We don’t leave.
Tom: That’s something different, though.
George: Yah, this might be a thing that might come in terms of a specific thing. The chair deliberately did not refer back to the proclamation and this very cordial invitation because he—well, frankly, he thought we were too human and we might spend all morning debating to accept or not to accept.
Tom: I don’t understand what we are doing.
George: Well, we’ve been talking about the general idea of what directions we can move on strategy. We’ve had a suggestion that perhaps we should ask a group of people to take a go at proposals for concrete things, and come back. Now, how do you feel about this?—There seems to be some very strong agreement that we’ve reached that point where we have to have a planning committee to plan some strategy in light of all our lengthy discussions on ways and means and goals and principles—and all that. It ill behooves the committee to digress from those…[Chuckles.] if they don’t lose their way. How do you want this committee appointed?
Tom: Why don’t we have volunteers and see if they’re approved?
George: Well, the difficulty here now is that there are so many volunteers that we no longer, in my judgment, have a committee. It’s just a smaller group.
Voice: I’ll withdraw.
George: Now there is another proposal somewhat akin to Lydia’s that we might have two groups. Or we could all divide into three groups if we wanted to and see if we came up with some plans, and spend some time, and then come back in.
Nancy: We could divide up into study groups and then come together.
Tom: But then they’d spend all the time…
George: All right. Then I would ask that this be a committee of not more than four or five, and that it be a balanced committee. And by balance I can’t quite define what I mean, but that in nominating or volunteering ourselves or being appointed—however we do it—we be sensitive to the fact that if we are going to find a way forward it’s got to be sensitive to the varying views within the community.
Fran: May I suggest that we have one person—from each of the three geographical groups for communication purposes?
Voice: I disagree with that.
George: I think the thing—this is a planning committee. It has no relation to anything else except to plan. And could we have some indication of people prepared to serve on this?
John: I suggest the chairman be authorized to—pick among the volunteers.
Helen S: I agree.
Tom: If we don’t like it we’ll do something.
George: Well, I would suggest then—if I’m to proceed with this. I would like to ask Peter to serve in that. I would like to ask Gordon to serve on it. We said about four or five, didn’t it? I would like to ask Donald to serve on that committee.
George: Diana. Yes, Diana. I knew there was somebody I was looking for, and I couldn’t find. Now I have…what?
Tom: There were two…
George: Just a moment. I just want to review: Peter, Gordon, Donald, Diana. That’s four. Does this fairly represent as near as you can, viewpoints and trends and thoughts?
Peter: I want to withdraw for the following reasons: that I’ve been involved with confronting them two or three times; I don’t want to be selected by them as one of the key people and picked out; I think other people should…
George: This is a planning committee, dear Peter.
John: We’re not going to meet under their nose—anyway, I presume.
Peter: We also have the bulletin I’d like to work on.
George: Well, all right. Do you really feel—that this is not just politeness and modesty? Would you have suggestions of someone who might?
Peter: Well, possibly—Tom.
George: Tom, would you be willing to? All right. We have a committee of four. I would propose that as soon as we have a report from the umpires that these committee of four tank up on their hot juices so that they’ll be available and proceed to work. While they’re working at this that we then be doing some further discussing and working on problems. We may come up with something that is better—we, the larger group. And then, as soon as you feel you are prepared to come back with a report, you do so. But is it possible to think that we can count on some kind of report by afternoon? Do people understand me—what I’m saying—Is this agreeable? I’m not trying to railroad, but I am trying to step up the speed of the train from ten to fifteen miles an hour…
[Umpires return and head umpire gives report. There is a general discussion of umpires’ decisions, most of it incoherent. It is now shortly before 11 :00 and group breaks for coffee. Recorder cuts off.]
George: I asked for the entire group to reconvene since our tea brigade has had some contact in the kitchen with some of our friends, and the question—it relates to the evening meal, the invitation we have for dinner. I’m asking Donald to present this and Diana, if she has anything further to add, and then we might take just a very few minutes to see if there’s anything we wish to do in this.
Donald: 1 was very interested when the announcement was made that this meal was going to be available without ration cards that nobody really took it up, and I almost assumed, as I had decided in my own mind, that we wouldn’t accept a meal under these circumstances. The way I was asking about the tea, I—and I hadn’t discussed this with the group, but if we made contact with the cook to provide us with a meal in the picnic place, cook being neutral, kitchen being neutral, kitchen place being neutral, would this be acceptable to you? And he said: That’s perfectly all right. And then Adrian said—Chris [Bannerman] said: But the umpires don’t allow food to be taken out of the kitchen. So we checked with the umpires and it was food that was surreptitiously taken out of the kitchen. Openly taken out of the kitchen would not come under this ruling. And so the point is now that we inform, through Chris [B.] the cook that so many people would like to have a picnic lunch outside—for supper.
George: Diana, do you have anything to add? Tom?
Tom: I’ve been thinking this over since I first brought it up in the meeting—the idea of not taking that meal. It occurs to me, since, that those of us on a fast are doing so in protest against the fact that the meals aren’t free and open as they had been before the invaders arrived, and that the only condition on which I would take a meal was if this meal would be the beginning of having the meals be free and open again-as usual—without ration cards for any meals-without conditions for any person to eat.
Nancy: I have a little more information about tonite’s meal. It is a cook-out.
Tom: But I wouldn’t eat it unless all meals are—going to be open.
Nancy: It’s not going to be in the dining room.
Tom: Wherever it is, unless all meals are going to be provided the way they have been by the Canadian Friends Service for all of us, then I will not eat any meals.
Donald: [In answer to an inaudible question.]…that we were taking meals…under their authority and not under our own authority. I mean if we are being given a meal was to me just another way of continuing their authority…we establish a direct communication with the kitchen which in neutral and the cook which is neutral, then there wouldn’t be any objection perhaps on these grounds at any rate. Because it is our food, our right, and our cook.
Diana: I think that Tom has a very valid point.—However, someone suggested…and we don’t know that the following practice will be that all these meals will be outside. I don’t think we can ascertain that, but we can also look upon the cook-out as perhaps a breakthrough in terms of the vigiling that perhaps they are looking for ways of modifying their particular position on access to the kitchen. I think Donald said that what we—or some of us—are objecting to in terms of the kitchen is that there is not free and easy access to the kitchen by all of us—only through Chris [B.] and maybe one other person who is in our group.
Nancy: Mr. Chairman, since I…usually we have a meeting each morning after breakfast to…menus and all, would it be most appropriate if I went up…and discuss this…
George: You mean you want to do that now? I don’t now that this group has to approve. You have your conferences and you find out what’s happening. You can’t commit the group is the point…But you find out…you discuss things, and you can let us know if there’s anything further.
Pauline: Could you tell me is this cook-out going to be wieners?
Nancy: I presume so. I don’t know.
Pauline: Well, I will be fasting. [Laughter.]
George: Well, now just a moment I…
Pauline: I don’t know why every cook-out has to be wieners.
George: We must move forward. I see another intervention here. Umpire?
Umpire: Now, I want to remind you not only to consult the ground rules, but the board which indicates prevailing conditions on the island. Things may happen of which you know not. You may do things which other people will know not. You’re not obliged to inform each other, you know. And the way of communication, as some of these things which happen and are reserved by umpires to be now among prevailing conditions, which is to say, changed conditions, is via the prevailing conditions map.
Tom: Is that accessible to us?
Umpire: Yes, it’s on the other side of the veranda.
Tom: Should I go look at that now? Just for a few minutes?
George: Yes, would you do that, Tom? Now, let’s proceed with our business and not spend all morning on food. Food, food—it’s coming already. One day and—less than twenty four hours and no food. We’re becoming more and more obsessed. Now, Gordon was next…
Chris: This is just a brief informational question. As I recall the presentations from Mr. Sinn, those of us who wish to participate in the memorial to Mr. Carver must go through some sort of registration process this afternoon?
Peggy: That may be just a formality to make the cook’s life easier, I…
Chris: Well, we were asked to…
Donald: Inform the cook.
Peggy: We have to make a judgment…
Chris: But only to inform the cook?
George: Yes, this is what—Are you satisfied?..
Donald: That’s why the group has to do this, I think.
Peggy: I don’t claim any fascination with food, but I’m wondering whether this offer of his—he must have searched for a holiday to celebrate—whether .this indicates a weakening in their position. And if it is a weakening, how we can best use it? I don’t really know how we can best use it.
Peter: I don’t see—If we can make contact—through Chris [B.] to the cook-bypassing the leaders altogether-and arrange for meals—I don’t understand Tom’s objection. We could do it again this morning or tomorrow, for lunch. Yeah…So I would be prepared to break the fast—if Chris [B.] could…
Voice: Which he can do.
Walter: I would like to make a statement which has actually nothing to do with food now. So if there is some discussion about the food, I would like to…
George: This is out until the food problem is settled—I mean, until this one…Mary?
Mary: I think their searching around for a holiday is too artificial, but it’s all right—we’re shrinking everything up and I accept this as a way—an example of what the military does, and I think all they’re really trying to do is re-exert their authority over us, tossing out a live fish every now and then for us to grab…
George: For a fish fry.
Mary: But perhaps what they really are interested in is getting us to change any tactics that they’re aware of which we have—which I’m sure they are—of any massive action on our part. I mean I think it’s a technique to delay any unified action we may be considering and therefore hoping that we will continue a low key approach to their…
George: If I might just say—just speak on this question that—I’m sure that the Unionists have their own motives, and it is easy for us to assume that they’re weakening under our pressure, but it’s also easy for us to assume that these are all cold things. Maybe they are—This is their technique and strategy. I wonder, however, if there isn’t a basis for accepting this—joyfully going to the wiener roast and eating all the wieners you want to eat and fraternizing all you can fraternize, and also we go on doing the other things that we feel, and reach agreement, have to be done in our program, but taking advantage of this opening. It may prove to be no creative thing—you try; we’ve learned—I mean, they’ve opened the door and we’ve walked in. Maybe we get booted out, but we don’t write them off that this is a diversionary tactic on their part. If it is, let us rise above this tactic, or this diversion, and prove that it is, or try to make it a creative contact with them. This would be my feeling and why I think we ought not to readily dismiss it nor ought we to spend much more time on it. I wonder if with this preliminary discussion if we could ask this committee to make a recommendation? Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I’m trying to get us onto the things we really want to get onto. Or is this what you want to spend more time on?
Helen D: I want to say something about food before we leave it.
George: I asked for comment on my specific proposal to have this strategy committee take further look at this. Or shall we try to do this ourselves?
Tom: I agree to let the strategy committee…
Peggy: I would favor our letting the strategy committee do it, and I would suggest possibly a way of measuring the effectiveness of various strategies they’re going to consider—whether we can present to the occupiers a case which might be persuasive of our strength and our unity and our program. If it passes the test of being a persuasive thing and makes sense as an item of persuasion, then I think it would be a good way of measuring how good a tactic it is.
George: Now, do you have any further thing to report, Nancy?
Nancy: Yes. I went to the door and they talked with me, but they wouldn’t let me in. I said it was my usual custom to confer with the cook at this time about future meals and they said: Well, they were talking to the cook and they were managing that. And I said: Well, it was my responsibility as the representative of the Canadian Friends Service Committee here, and that I felt a responsibility for the people who had come here for the conference and were not being fed, and this was my responsibility given by the Canadian Friends Service Committee whose island this was, that we were ready to share our food with them, but that we felt that we retained the control of it and this was my job to do. And they refused to let me in, refused—they said it was all controlled, the food was being prepared, that we could eat it, that anybody was welcome to eat it if they went through the proper channels…This was as far as I got. I mean, we discussed this pro and con…
George: The record was played over again.
Peter: I assume that they must be preparing—enough food for us since four o’clock or five—whatever the registration is—would be too late to suddenly announce to the cook. And if they’re then going to bring it out to the cook place, how can they obstruct us going to an open air place? We haven’t got doors to shut. I further suggest that any of us—if we make contact with the cook—This depends on whether the committee does decide on a course of action of eating that no matter who it is can speak for the group.—If they meet the cook, could say: I’m speaking on behalf officially of the—we wish to eat at the cook-out; we wish you to prepare enough food for us, and we’ll be there. I don’t see why this couldn’t—couldn’t…
George: All right. We have said we’ll let our strategy committee make any further decisions on this. Okay. I hope they don’t hang up on this and get nothing else done. What time do you have to inform them?
Lolly: Four. I don’t think we should inform the invaders—just the cook.
George: Yes—well, this is the point. I think Donald thought we had to do it right away…All right, let us hear from Tom whether there is any new thing or anything—the weather…
Tom: Yah, at eleven-o-eight they took the radio under their control. That’s all.
George: That’s all?
Tom: That’s all. As far as I’m concerned they can have it.
George: I’ll be honest. I thought they had it all the time.
[General laughter and agreement.]
George: Okay, the subcommittee is expected now to retire and to to work. Chris?
Walter: I would like to make a statement…
George: Before the group? All right, go ahead.
Walter: I only want to make a statement—not to the subject.—I’m quite aware of the schedule of time—but I would like to express my -. There have been two incidents from yesterday to today in our group here which makes me feel quite an uneasiness, you know. The question to the planning commission. It started in the way of volunteers. If you do not find anybody else…Anybody who wants to volunteer for the planning commission should show by…raise their hands. At least nine, ten people…After that…think that ten people are too many. I don’t know why…Now afterwards, the chairman picked up four for this planning committee…and I was one of these volunteers and I have not been chosen…
George: But I believe, Walter, that your viewpoint has a representative of it. The planning committee has to be a committee that can plan and function and report back…That’s why I followed…
Walter: Yes. I don’t understand one thing. Then we should have said we wanted four able people—should be chosen for the planning—I want to tell you why-because there were two incidents—because yesterday in the evening—with the army coming in—and it was quite quick. And you have been in it, Diana? You remember before supper? It was you say: All right, we have to get some people here to the planning committee. It was you and myself and somebody else. Do you remember? And I remember…and I remember afterwards we say: No, we can’t do it because we have to have some more time. And you—I heard you…
Diana: The only other committee I’ve been on is—the ad hoc committee.
George: Is this?—Walter, can we take time? You’ve presented your concern in the matter…
Walter: This I would like to say…No, I only want to say because I know I’m quite…you know, but I feel a quite uneasiness…
George: His point, as I understand it, is that he is uneasy at the way we chose this planning committee, and I recognize this, but I think there are others who felt that the chair’s action in this was basically acceptable. And I would say to Walter that this committee reports back. So you have a chance on this.
Tom: Is this recommendation…if you object to not being on the board—or whoever objects to someone’s being on the board, raise the objection. We could hash that out.
[ Pauline objects here to having wieners at the cookout. There is a brief discussion of this.]
Helen S: One alternative to—that might solve Walter’s problem is—maybe when we see a need for a committee coming up, if there could be a nominating committee whose job was to give this…consideration. This is an alternative I’m saying.
[Several people object.]
Walter: I’m quite satisfied with this. I only want to express my…It’s not necessary to discuss the matter more.
George: Thank you very much. Now, can the sub-committee go into session—this planning committee? Then the rest of us deal with other things?—Gordon, Donald, Tom, Diana-is that right? That raises a question: when are we going to meet back here? Our program time is four o’clock.—Please.—Our program time to bring the group back in formal session—is it four or four thirty?
[Group discusses the time for the next meeting.]
George: All right. It would be helpful if, since we are meeting outdoors, to sit a little bit closer. At least be sure you face the group when you speak and all speak into the group…
Lydia: I’m wondering if you could explain this matter…acting on a non-cooperative technique of behavior. I’m just wondering—this is academic—when, in fact, do we act cooperative—I mean when do we cooperate and when do we not cooperate? In a nonviolent way? Because it seems to me like, you know, we had closed our minds completely to cooperation. As I said, this is academic and maybe it is not interesting to discuss, so I’m just throwing it in.
George: No. Maybe instead of putting it on the basis of what is, or when do we do it, but are there some specific suggestions that you think are in this category of cooperation that are acceptable? Or compatible with our positions?
Peter: Did they wash the cups?
John: This is a step forward. They wouldn’t let me last night.
Nancy: They were nice this morning.
Bob: Last night—another non-neutral act by the umpires—they were washing the enemy’s dishes.
Pauline: With the enemy.
Bob: With the enemy. [Laughter.j
Mary: I think the question of dinner tonite comes in the area whether this is cooperation.
George: You mean if they provide the food and we eat it this is cooperating? [Laughter. j
Nancy: It’s our food.
Fran: Anyplace where we can speak is an opportunity.
Mary: Cooperating with their being in the position to dictate when we will eat and when we will not eat and this sort of thing. So that now, when they decide we shall eat, then we cooperate with this decision?
Lydia: Yes, that’s what I mean. I mean when they ask something and we do it—without sacrificing our principles or losing our ground. Gaining ground, in fact.
George: When what they ask is perfectly acceptable to us, then we’re only too happy to do it because we’d likely do it anyway.
John:…if I were in the group over here all I would do would be two things: I would suggest that the people go ahead and do the things that are natural and normal for the pursuance of their own program and tell them this was in order. And then I would give them twenty five opportunities to do things that had very fine lines of distinction in them. I would turn them loose and they would sit and talk for the full period of the operation of two days. And I think we want to be careful. We do not have a bulletin now because we expended all our energies, which were supposed to go into bulletin writing, in trying out a situation where we got a typewriter.—I’m not criticizing. I’m just stating facts.—We got paper; we got everything to write a bulletin, but we didn’t get a bulletin out. They have defeated us from putting out a bulletin.
George: I don’t think you can say they have. Maybe we…
John: The situation has. We have been defeated in this aim which we set out to do last night.
Mary: I think we stand to be criticized on this as well because, you know, there was the opportunity to go ahead and write the bulletin and then deal with the problem of the office equipment. I mean write the bulletin by hand and have just plain type paper, for example…We did have a typewriter available to us…
George: Okay. Okay. Now we’re getting into petty details…whether or not we had a typewriter…Is there anything further you wish to say and talk about in this whole broad question of non-cooperation? It is a problem—or of cooperation?
Fran: Can we reach an agreement on something where it is possible, such as this dinner invitation, to consider—all of us—and communicate our decision—that it is important for us all either to do it or not to do it?
George: Well, we have, as I understand it—we have essentially said—or I felt that we had a general consensus of accepting working, or cooperating, in this cook-out tonite on the terms as they were laid out to us by Donald on the basis of his discussions with the cook. If this is correct, does that require that everybody has to eat?
Fran: That’s what I’m wondering—whether this—is—signifies an ideological and important split in the group?
George: I don’t see why it does. I do not expect to eat, but I shall jolly well be there kidding you about eating that flesh…Just let me say: doesn’t this being present—isn’t this more important than whether one or Some of us may not eat? Fellowship with the group?—To me, it would be extremely important to be there because I have to identify. There may be other approaches. Does this present a problem really?
John: I feel that all of us constantly alert—I have been uneasy about this acceptance—there’s just something inside me that’s uneasy. I can’t explain it.
George: What is this acceptance?
John: Of the supper.
Peter: Well, I don’t think we are accepting…
George:…Now let me finish. All I interrupted for was because—and I’m prone to do this when people say this and that and don’t define it—go ahead. Let him finish.
John: I feel we should all be alert to the first encroachment—further stipulations—and for myself I would recommend that we be prepared to move out after the indication this has happened. In other words, if they say: All you have to do is inform the cook, and they come to us and say: We would like the names of these people—that’s okay—and then they post on the bulletin board that the names of these people are accepted as the first steps to getting the meal. I think—When they demand of :is something, I for one want to know about it. Now, I’m asking for the cooperation of the group to…
Peggy: I urge again that we use it as a test of our effectiveness and an achievement of our ends whether we can explain to the conqueror in such a way that it’s persuasive—that it reveals our overall purpose and motivation. And I—this dinner bit isn’t a matter of just food. It’s a matter of community and those of us who don’t know whether or not to accept the dinner invitation is meaningful—only to be guided about the reasoning. If we reason it through in terms of what we would say to the outside world if we were saying it, or with the invaders, maybe we can make sense of it.
Fran: I’m wondering. Can we make a decision, as a group, not to plan—because this is unnatural…and numbers are all that are needed. Anything further than that I think we’d be there. But what’s been stated—if they ask to come and join them…
John: And give our names.
Walter: No, it does not.
Helen S: No names must be given.
Walter: Time factor…If we really want to get—them out or wish a repossession of the…ourselves, it will be not enough not to eat and it will be not enough not to go there. This is a sideline and in my opinion very unimportant. Our—you see, our—we should not waste our time with these relatively small things. We have only twenty four hours and so we have to find one…be very strong. It comes in my head, what of the question of suicide? Suicide. What do we say? All right. It comes only in my head. Because we have no time. Fast—you can’t fast two weeks because we haven’t got two weeks time.
George: You have stated that view before and there are some who wouldn’t agree. It’s an ultimate individual position. Do we have to discuss that anymore and do we need to discuss details about this afternoon? I thought we said we leave this thing here to the committee. We have made it clear that this group here—if it represents the entire community—it is clear that we do not—what was it? Sign our names, somebody said? Nor give the names? And I, of course, would have to raise the question if you really mean that. We’ve already given names. I’ve introduced myself to the Lieutenant. Others of us have.
Tom: Yes, but this is different.
George: We are friendly normally, and if any device used to result in a register, we are obviously—apparently from what we are saying—are not going to openly cooperate with it, or deliberately cooperate with it. We might get bamboozled into something. All right. Is that clear? Now, Peter, do you still want to speak?
Peter: Yah, I just want to make it clear that I—think we reject…the invaders’ offer and going through with the invaders’ suggestion, which we discard, and the new idea which sprung up a few minutes ago which was going to the cook—making contact with the cook—saying that we want dinner and so on. I don’t think we should have any truck or dealings with the invaders—asking needs, taking…or anything. With the cook, that’s a different matter…I don’t feel a great pressing need to assert myself because I don’t think, aside from the physical occupation of those two rooms, that the invader has forced us to do one single thing. We’ve maintained our community; we haven’t followed any of their edicts; and I don’t feel a great feeling that we’ve got to do something—we’ve got to do something, because we’re doing fine. We’re doing fine and the invader does not have us in his control.
Nancy: All I’d like to say about this meal is: why don’t we just say, as I said to them up there, that we expect the meals, to eat…There are so many people here and we wish the meals to be supplied at the usual times—and that’s it.
George: And that these be under the usual conditions.
Nancy: Yes. We don’t have to discuss them, the number who are going to eat because I don’t go around and say: Are you going to come to supper tonite to people. The meals are provided. That’s the way it should be.
George: We’re covering—we’re beating a path deep here instead of pioneering.
John: Could I speak to Peter’s point about…One sentence.
George: Would you reiterate what his point was. I’m not sure…
John: His point was that he didn’t feel there was any pressure insofar as we’re doing fine. I feel that we have to, in the spirit of adventure…that what we are doing must be in terms of a long range activity according to the rules of the adventure laid down by our friendly, or unfriendly—as the interpretation goes—umpires. And to live on this island for an indefinite period of time with no means of escape, it is not realistic to talk in terms of two months patterned on the existence of today when I have still a number of…
George: But didn’t we say yesterday—I know I did and I thought you agreed—that our basic purpose, to maintain the community and carry on the educational program until August nine, or whatever the date may be—and after that, then we are concerned about whether we winterize or get off the island. Could we get out of this hitch here?
John: As far as I’m concerned, you’re begging the question of the description of the problem that we’re giving it.
George: Don’t you have to beg the question essentially in terms of escape because it’s ruled out?
John: I’m not suggesting that we try to escape. I’m suggesting that it’s not fair because of the limitations of the problem that we are utilizing, the fast technique of solving the problem of food. It’s not fair to—I’m talking about gamesmanship. We’re not going to solve our problems on the basis of two months of what we do about a tactic. This is not a self-subsisting island. We can get…deeper than that…on a two months basis and this is a problem that we’ve been presented to deal with. Therefore we cannot say that we’ll just sit quietly, have our conference for two weeks—for two days—and say: This is what will happen for two days. We haven’t met the problem. It’s sort of like doing the first bit of arithmetic in a large problem and saying: This is all I choose to do and be satisfied I’ve got the right answer.
George:…This was all the community was going to do.
[At this point there is a break in the continuity because the recorder went to cover a part of the strategy committee meeting. Shortly before 12:00, during his absence, the defender group was informed by the Unionists that an announcement would be made at 12:30 in the main lodge. This section of the transcript begins at about 12:15.]
Bob: It’s not that we’re refusing their announcements or refusing their proclamations, but that we have a program on Grindstone Island and we want to continue the program. Now, last night at the meeting when we asked them to read the proclamations, that was a regular, scheduled program meeting…
Peggy: And we took the initiative…
Bob: And we took the initiative—and we are completely open to listen to them, to discuss with them, but not on their terms.
Mary: I think we are dealing with a very sophisticated system of psychological warfare and they may, you know, relax an awful lot of their rigidity, but the important thing to them, I think, is that they remain in control—that they are the ones who make the decisions whether they are for our good or our harm—and this is the thing I find most difficult to keep in mind all the time. For instance, when we need to contact them, that we don’t ask permission to do something, we present a program; we say: This is our plan. This is the form that our prior announcements to them should take, not asking permission, but presenting a plan.
Peggy: Isn’t that what we’ve just said?
Mary: Yes, but I would say that this is something that is very difficult to always keep in mind. My immediate reaction was to go, as a matter of fact. And I was just terribly grateful that someone reminded me. All right, here’s a…
George: I might have gone if I hadn’t been in this meeting…
Helen D: I would like to ask a question. Do they have a copy of our program so that they know…?
Peter: Yes, they have. We gave it to them last night.
Pauline:…What if they had real guns? If this were a real situation where they had real guns and could pose us with death as an alternative, how long would we be able to maintain this…?
Walter: Yes, I want—The question is…if you’re only here for a conference, then of course…obviously nobody would under the first condition…because…If you would have another aim which are much more important…then of course would be the confrontation…and we personally would also be much more determined. Our aims and goals are not so—how shall I say…I have, actually, only the question of a certain dignity in a very mild form, so this is not the question because then I, as I said before, because then you…in suicide. But of course you do not suicide if you only have to stay two days here. That is not in relationship to our goal.
Pauline: I would like to suggest that if we continue this that very shortly we will be faced with the fact that some of us will be imprisoned or shot.
Walter: Okay. Then we have a new purpose, obviously…
Tom: I gather that we’ve come to pretty much the same conclusion, that we weren’t really interested in disrupting our conference to go to a meeting to hear pretty much the same thing as a proclamation. However, we did suggest that someone go and tell them that.
Voices: We’ve done that.
[General inaudible discussion. John returns from the main lodge after having told a Unionist representative that the group would not comply with the Unionists’ request that everyone assemble in the main lodge at 12:30 to hear an announcement. The first part of his comments was not picked up by the recorder.]
John:…but under the circumstances there wouldn’t be anybody from our group in the lodge at that time because we were in the previously announced meeting. And that we’d be more than happy for them to come here. We got the curt reply that if you’re not there you can’t hear the announcement and will have to take the consequences.
Bob: I would like to object to Pauline’s point, and I think that Pete made earlier—and Pete and I were confronting with this last night again, and I think that we have to guard against the situation. And that is, I think that bringing up questions like that is taking ourselves out of the situation that we’re in and saying we are really role-playing and what if? I don’t think we can talk about questions like that. For instance, last night Pete and I had our hands in the door and afterwards Pete raised the question: If I was down in Albany, Georgia, or if I was in Vietnam, would I really put my fingers in the door? Because I know darn well that if I was in any of those places the officials would slam the door as hard as they could and break my fingers off. But you see, you don’t talk about questions like that because it takes us out of the play situation. And I think we have to maintain as much as possible to forget those things.
Peter: Judging from what we’ve been discussing, I plan to do the following: I plan to expect possibly the announcement down here in two minutes. Twelve thirty the vigil, right after this, for half an hour. Right after the vigil I’m going to get the bulletin done, and then I’m going to shadow—unless the group objects—shadow one of the invaders until our meeting at four o’clock. That’s what I would like to do and I would suggest that the whole group at least fraternize as much as they can with the invaders…Other than that I don’t see any definite plan of action that we’ve evolved.
Lydia: When will we hear from the strategy committee? When will we hear their report?
Voice: When they cough up.
George: Donald Groom is the chairman of the next session. Whenever he calls us into general session, which probably won’t be much before four o’clock in my judgment.
Peter: Just one other thing? I assume we’re not—going to vigil, but we’re going to try to go and eat.
George: At noon, yes.
Mary: When could we change the vigil to a picket?
George: Not for the meal at twelve thirty today.
Pauline: If we’re going to go to the cook at supper time, why not now?
Peter: We haven’t got time. Ten minutes.
[General discussion here about the importance of arriving promptly at the dining hall door before it is locked. Lt. Sinn enters.]
Lt. Sinn: I would like to inform you about our latest decision concerning the food supplies here. The administration has decided that all remaining food supplies on the island will be served at the discretion of the pacifists until it runs out. No replacement of food stocks will be made by the Union government unless proclamations one to four are complied with. Food will be restocked to supply the Union forces independent of the pacifists and children will continue to be served on the basis as outlined in proclamation number three.
Tom: I’m sorry. I missed the beginning.
Lt. Sinn: The administration has decided that all remaining food on the island will be served at your own discretion.
Tom: In other words, we’re going back to the schedule we had before you arrived?
Lt. Sinn: Yes. No replacement of food stocks will be made by the Union government unless proclamations one to four are complied with. So. If you choose to use up your food and go on with your theoretical discussions instead of getting down to produce some alternative, you will be facing the same situation which we are trying to avoid now in a few weeks from now.
Peter: Well, I’d like to—I think the group…My first reaction to having been told this…food is to invite you to take part in the discussions of…all cooperate with eating this food, even though I know you’re going to get your own food supply, I personally am willing to discuss—have you take part in the discussions on food, but we haven’t discussed this as a group and maybe I’m presenting it for both yourselves and the group. The thing is: we now have control of the food. This is one of my proposals…
Lt. Sinn: You have control over what remains.
Fran: Well, this is not reasonable…you can’t—be sure—on account of the war it may or may not arrive…
Lt. Sinn: Oh, we are very sure.
Fran:…until it arrives I think what we have is—what there’s going to be and count…
Lt. Sinn: Ya, you may dilute it or experiment with it—as you like. It will give you another escape. The essential fact is that it can only be restocked either by you yourself growing it here or by the Union government supplying it.
Pauline: May I ask, if the food now belongs to us, that you and your men will not eat here…
Lt. Sinn: We brought our own supplies.
Tom: In other words, you won’t accept our invitation to eat with us?
Lt. Sinn: No. We have started on our own work of winterization…
Peter: Well, you may plan to be on the island this winter, but I don’t—so I’m not concerned about…
Lt. Sinn: No, I’m sure you won’t; you won’t last.
Peter: It will be your moral decision if you’re responsible for the death of all of us though.
Lt. Sinn: We’ll suffer it.
John: Okay, I hope you don’t.
George: Thank you very much.
[General confused talk, muttering, etc.]
George: Wait a minute, friends, this is a time to take just a couple of minutes of thinking through this before we…besides it’s twelve thirty…Maybe we haven’t time to be silent. You’re all going to run to the flesh pot. What do you wish to do?
Peter: Do you want two minutes of silence?
Walter: Actually, it does not change anything.
Peter: Are we having a two-minute silent period?
[End of Wednesday morning defender session.]
G. Strategy Committee Meeting
This transcript is a relatively short fragment of the discussion, approximately in the middle of the morning meeting, of the strategy committee. At about 11:50 the recorder left the defenders’ plenary meeting and joined the strategy committee as they met separately from the main group. The recording is continuous (except for an interruption associated with the child of one of the committee members) until 12:15 when the recorder rejoined the main group. The committee itself rejoined the main group a little before 12:30. The deliberations of the strategy committee continued (not recorded) in the mid-afternoon; their report was made to the afternoon plenary session (see part H of this Appendix).
Tom: The idea of George Washington Carver’s Birthday, let’s plan a program around that. How do you feel?
Chris: Approach them beforehand…
Tom: Sure…that completely, because otherwise you accept…
Chris:…informing them. Part of my feeling is—to reassert our control. That is, that…
Tom: Oh, we will be, but it just means that—we’re not accepting them as usurpers anymore. We’re accepting them as members of the conference. We refuse to accept them as usurpers.
Chris: Well, how about an approach of this sort?—That we’re planning a program and we go to Mr. Sinn and ask him to participate—that there are other elements in the program and that…
Donald: That’s fine. I think that accounts for that. And tonite…our function probably is to show them this evening. After that it will be eight o’clock films. Splendid.
Tom: What’s the film ?
Diana: Well, that’s up to…
Tom: Are there films on the island?
Diana: Yes. At the bottom of the page of the regular schedule is a list of films that are…
Chris: Let’s see, are you chair…
Donald: Will you be chairman, Diana, tonite?
Tom: What does film chairman mean?
Diana: Well, it’s the whole evening program, you know, convening, discussion, and whatever happens…
Chris: And also dealing with the situation…
Diana: Yes. Well, that’s our dinner strategy.
Tom: Now, I have a suggestion. Could we take back control of the island? I don’t see any reason why we should sit around much longer than after tonite and wait for it to be handed back, by saying we’re…now—I think that we have enough—that we have to convince them to just make our way into rooms that they occupy and take them back and begin reassumption of the equipment in there.
Diana: Wait a minute. I’m confused. Maybe I should be. But when we talked about the dinner and program you suggested that we should treat them as though we were one and that they were not invaders, and now you’re suggesting in terms of resistance…outside of dinner that we look up to them in a different way. Now, are these two points of view or are they one—or am I just…?
Tom: No. They’re one, I think. All I’m saying—is that there are rooms which we are not using and that we should begin to use them. They can use them with us all they want, and the suggestion that if they want a little soldier’s office upstairs that that room could be provided for them—since there is room on the island, but at the moment we are allowing them to obstruct us by taking those rooms, and to meet that divides us into two groups, and that by not allowing them to do so will make us one. Or else, if they don’t want to be part of our group they will just have to go to another part of the island, or else leave. These are the two positions.
Donald: Or provide them with a tent.
Tom: We won’t allow them to camp out until we—end the conference and presumably the C.F.S.C. will ask them to leave so that they can prepare for the next round. But to continue, to let them occupy those rooms is really continuing to allow two groups to exist on this island…
Donald: My only view about this is that one—we have to be careful in our method of doing this. I guess this is where the significance really lies. I’m sure we have to continue from now on until tomorrow night, we’ll say, since this is our exercise period, a continuous program…which will lead to a point on the last moment of reasserting control of the whole island and make it a phase and program.
Diana: You’re suggesting that the reassertion of—control or…by the islanders who were here before the invaders, is not going to be done perhaps in one fell swoop, that perhaps there are a series of steps that can be taken?
Donald: Yes. I’m sorry. Yes, I mean that we assert our right from the beginning and the necessity from the beginning in all its aspects, but the program of action is phased so that the whole force is not thrown in in the one beginning action.
Donald: Because it would bring it to an end. It would bring the whole thing to an end.
Tom: So we do it faster.
Chris: Not necessarily. I don’t think it would cause a radical change. I think we’d pretty much have to agree to that. Now that change might be the—well—you know—cataclysm. But it might be a shift from what I have to—what I feel is relatively low key confrontation. They’re not really exerting themselves very much and they haven’t put really very great pressures on us yet, and there are two elements I’m concerned with here. One is: in the sense of realism in our metaphoric participation, I’m really itchy about doing this. Another thing is that from the learning experience, I wouldn’t mind introducing a radical development into this. I think that I’ve come very close to basic agreement with you, Donald. That is, and I would view the plans we just made for the dinner situation a beginning of an assertion here. And perhaps part of the program might be…George Washington Carver we are asserting our total right to human rights and freedom and so forth. I mean use this form in essence in announcing the totality of our intentions. The program itself is one aspect of it. Now, we’ve considered really other aspects of it, and essentially I think perhaps the difference, the difference expressed by Tom and me from yours would be that while we’re ready to escalate rapidly to invoke…
Donald: Their hostility. This is my own difficulty. You see, the upgrading of their hostility to us, of their antipathy, this is all in a nonviolent or violent approach to a situation, and I think the more subtle approach is more akin to the spirit of nonviolence and the ultimate effectiveness, not the head-on confrontation. This is just my feeling about it although not ruling out the bulk at some point or other, at some time or other, of that major confrontation…
Tom: Yes, I see it…nonviolence…lowest key.
Donald: Yes, because ultimately we’ve got to make it possible for this influence to be borne on their compromise—you know—on their attitudes even to the division within their company…
Diana: It would seem to provide a way out for—them if they want to change their position and obviously they can’t if the situation is so—in :terms of conflict that they can only react in the way they were sent here to, or as their training permits, so therefore we haven’t really provided a common ground for opening. Is it possible to maybe think about areas of how we can work on strategy? For instance, is it our responsibility to provide for chairmen at various times suggestions on strategy for the afternoon meeting. I know we did this with Mary as the ad hoc committee, but I don’t think anything else was done with it…succeeding chairmen. Is it within our frame of working to decide that something needs to be done in an active way in terms of reaching the United Nations or other countries or other nonviolent communities. Okay, if this is so what should be done in terms of communiques? Should certain persons be set up to do this, or ask to do this?
Donald: Now, you see, the situation has arisen that we can’t control the communications unless we take control over the communications.
Chris: The only alternative would be to take control over the communications, or to appeal to them to carry a letter out for us; which was discussed last night…
Diana: Well, I’m only suggesting an area that—needs thought in terms of strategy—you know—reaching outside. Does there need to be an overall strategy in terms of removing or reducing the amount of morale within that group? Or is this something we each take upon ourselves? Or is there a specific strategy that can be used by a certain group of people to always. be on the lookout for ways of reducing morale in the other five…And then is there an overall strategy that we can apply in terms of people sleeping or people doing various other things, but working as a total community? This is what…
Donald: I thought we were asked to do the whole strategy now.
Diana: Yes, but I’m suggesting these as areas for—us to consider in terms of…Is that too specific?
Donald: Could you write them down so that they are specific areas? Taking over authority of the kitchen is one. Insisting on the right to perform service functions for the community. Involving outside…is one.—Canadian Friends Service Committee, United Nations—whatever.
Diana: I missed the second.
Donald: Involving outside…taking over authority of the kitchen, insisting on the right to perform service functions to the community, and control of communications, that’s one. I also think there’s some point in what was spoken of yesterday: that we do recognize the long term problem of the island—although we’re only here for a short time of making some constructive contribution to the island’s welfare without any relation to work tickets or food…what we want to do. You see, this is what has been lost in this confusion. This aspect of our program has been left out. There is the intention, and I think all it is is the intention, of involving each person in some constructive work activity in institutes and conferences. And I think on that principle we are making a contributive influence.
Diana: Could we suggest that the ad hoc committee which is responsible for planning reconvene and reconsider this point in terms of strategy?
Donald: I think it’s in terms of strategy that I’m seeing it now because this is removing one of the grounds of their existence—weakening their force.
Tom: Making them irrelevant.
Donald: Making them irrelevant, yes. We can make that a point, in fact, make their existence irrelevant.
Tom:…I’m just as happy if the soldiers stay here, but…
Chris: I’m feeling that almost all of the things that have been suggested so far are what could be called a positive program. Now, there is the other aspect of nonviolence. There is the protest—the social protest…
Donald: Yes, that aspect of it…
Chris: Now, certainly from the consideration of—the unity of the group I believe if we de-emphasize entirely, or extremely, the social protest activity, we will tend to lose the real involvement of some of our people.
[Discussion interrupted at this point. Bob joins the meeting.]
Bob: At twelve twenty there will be a public meeting in the lounge, a public announcement.
Donald: Twelve twenty—that’s five minutes.
Tom: What they are in effect saying…so you better come here.
Donald: They have come to us twice.
Diana: Well, we’re a strategy committee.
Tom: Yes, at least we don’t go. We continue with what we were doing. We’d probably break at twelve fifteen or twenty…
Diana: [To Chris.] You missed the announcement…that there will be a public meeting at twelve twenty in the main room, and since we are a strategy committee and we have to make a recommendation to the group…
Chris: Well, I think—the approaches of the intruders are subtle and—you know—very carefully calculated to lay a real dilemma before us every time. On the one hand, we made a considerable point of verbal communications. On the other hand, we’ve made a major point also of our own conference. Now, we’re not only in the middle of our own conference and here is an intrusion. Here is something alien to our conference. The only way we could respond to that would be to stop our conference and go and do what this alien force is requesting, simply asserting. And even on a personal level I have a conflict between—you know, I want to know what’s going on and I don’t want to no…them.
Tom: I want to make the recommendation that when we go back to the group that we start making group decisions…
H. Afternoon Plenary Meeting—Reporting of the ‘Manifesto’
The afternoon meeting convened at about 4:40. After a few short reports on activities of the afternoon and some discussion of these reports, the meeting devoted itself to hearing and considering the report of the strategy committee. The scene of this meeting is on the veranda outside the meeting room of the main lodge. Most of the Unionists are engaged in ‘winterizing’ the screened porch part of their off-limits area which is separated from the veranda only by a screened partition. The Unionists observed and heard the whole proceedings and on occasion engaged in verbal by-play with the defenders. The mood was jolly with a good deal of joking and laughter. This transcript is substantially complete through the adjournment of this meeting at about 5:25.
Donald: May I indicate that I am chairman just for the next few minutes…
[Chairman asks for reports.]
Nancy: I just wish to report about the kitchen. I have regained control completely as far as the menu and so on. I’ve changed the cook-out since some people don’t care for wieners and we’re having the regular meal that we had planned at the time, and that I had planned before the conference started, and we’ll be continuing.
Donald: Thank you…[To Fran.] Would you like to report anything?
Fran: Well, we have taken down the aerial—for—whatever that’s worth—and I guess only the umpires and the invaders know whether we have actually…
Bob: It’s not worth anything.
Fran:…actually demolished or cut off their—communications by doing this, but I think one way—one thing we have discovered since I was seen on the roof and not stopped, not questioned…or anything, that they’re not prepared to shoot or even challenge an expression of this sort if it does not touch their vital interests. In this way it may be possible for us to discover where their vital interests lie.
Peggy: If shooting occurs we’ll know that’s where their vital interests lie.
Donald: I think that’s all the discussion that we need. If there’s not discussion I think perhaps…
George: There are one or two things that might be said that I think are significant. One, this little exercise demonstrated the importance of careful planning and organization if we’re going to be effective. Two, that in a matter of a short time we had as many as ten to twelve people involved, each doing little parts. It was no problem. There were no ideological arguments or anything—If there’s a clear idea, a will to do it, I think we can say there will be support, willing workers.
John: May I report that at lunchtime a small crisis arose-a minor item. After every one was gone, the dish crew discovered that only half of the dishwashing facilities were in operation and we tried to get consensus. Some people thought that the…ultimately, in the beginning, was important. Others thought it was a minor encroachment and should not accept it—that we were not allowed to wash our cups, silverware and…etcetera, as we had always done in the past. And on the basis of this we asked if we could go in and wash them, and they said No, that they were washing in that sink and we would wash in any other sink—He claims there were lots of them—True?—And after a hasty consultation, and probably not…we delivered them to the only door that they had left open and indicated that we would be glad to follow the dishes in and wash them, but that we understood that when we came to the conference that this was the place and the program that was set up. And after a little bit of a merry-go-round, approximately four or five traysful of cups—one trayful of cups going into this door that enters into the kitchen being stopped possibly by the umpires who said…We were prepared to stand quietly at the door to prevent them from being shoved into the kitchen because we didn’t feel they belonged there—they belonged in the pantry…The other item was that they washed them and Mr. Sinn made a comment as far as our taking the initiative…If they can’t take care of themselves, we’ll take care of them.
Nancy: I was just going to report on that and what Mr. Sinn said, and I feel that we’ve lost a good bit of our dignity by doing this. I think we should have washed them and done nothing about it because he did them and put them out here clean…
Donald: In fact, the strategy committee had decided to deal with the subject in such a way that I would say we probably shouldn’t have…
John: It would have been helpful if they had…
Donald: It was after the event.
John: Oh, well, this will be a report then and hope that our cups take no longer than necessary.
Donald: May I move on now to the report of the strategy committee? We have met twice and this is the report which I would like you to listen to very carefully, but it may be necessary to read it more than once.
[Donald reads report except item six (See Appendix 6, ‘The Manifesto’). Diana reads item 6.]
John: Could you read that last one again?
Diana: [Repeats item 6.]
Donald: Has this been heard? Would you like it to be reread? And…
Bob: Believed? I think it’s an excellent program.
[ General low key talk. George laughs. There is general agreement that program should be reread.]
Donald: [Reads title.] and the thinking behind this whole scheme is that the occupants now take the initiative. [Reads.]
Peter: [Interrupting.] Does this not involve non-violent defense of the geographical borders?
Peter: It does involve that. And no tamper with—boats.
Bob: That means island boats. It doesn’t mean any boats connected with another island.
Pauline: But they state no water escape or use of Crow Island?
Bob: We’re not escaping; we’re just going to another island.
Pauline: But we’re not permitted to.
Bob: We’re not going to the mainland; we’re going to another island.
Peter: And not Crow Island?
Donald: But we can’t get away from the island under arrest.
Bob: Oh, yes, of course.
[Donald continues reading.]
Tom: This. is the way we disarm them-not physically—but just refuse to accept that they have any guns…Anyone who arms himself in that case must fire off one of his weapons—atoms. Otherwise they’re not armed…
Chris: It’s our disarming behavior. [Laughter.]
George: No, it’s our disarming behavior we must arm.
Pauline: How can you declare them disarmed?
Donald: Well, how do they declare us arrested? We declare them…[Laughter.]
Bob: I think the point here is that we just do not recognize—period—that they have arms; as far as we are concerned, from this point forward, they do not have arms. If they want to prove they have arms they have to shoot us. .
Donald: Whatever they want to do, or decide to do, they have to bring it within this community and submit to the. consensus opinion of this group just as we have to submit our decisions to their program and their consensus.
Chris: I would like to add on this concept that they are disarmed that I wasn’t completely facetious about using this expression—that this is simply the assertion that all of their power—well, it has no effective effectiveness. Their power is the same as ours. We simply are asserting.
Donald: May I go on then to the end? [Continues reading.] We considered a way by which the whole community would express itself in some way throughout the day expressing that we are in control of the atmosphere in which we live and we are not submitting for all time to an atmosphere created by the existence of any other authority. And our method of symbolic assertion of this, although it may be disturbing to some and a job for others, to ring the bell—and I have done this many times in my life—throughout twenty four hours as a symbol of this.
Mary: Do we need a different signal for a meeting, the idea being that when the bell…
Donald: The bell rings out the hour. If it’s one o’clock it’s rung once. At two o’clock twice; for three o’clock it would be three.
Tom: Well, why not just one ding on every hour. When we want a meeting…
Peter: I wonder if we could come back to the previous one. Am I to understand that they will be able to block our consensus?
Donald: If they can do, just as we conduct our meetings with people who differ, we still struggle to come to a consensus. I think that process of struggle to come to a consensus, the educational program, goes on.
[Loud pounding by soldier winterizing outer office is especially frequent now.]
John: Would anybody feel unhappy if I rang the bell before this commitment has been made—just a single note?
Donald: Five times.
Bob: Five o’clock.
Fran: No, we decided just one…
[General confusion. Bell is rung five times.]
Peter: I want to make a further point for consideration. Do you realize that they can have one person at a meeting for an hour…and he blocks them and dogmatically…and then he leaves and another guy comes and they just go on shifts and could sit us here for twenty four hours.
Bob: Peter, you have no faith in the process.
Peter: I have a lot of faith in consensus…
Bob: Let me finish, Pete. You have no faith in the process of consensus and reconciliation and the fact that we are thirty, they are six…[Loud pounding.]…I’m sure that in the process of discussion we could last longer than they could.
Donald: The chairman will be determined beforehand by the previous chairman.
Chris: Mr. Sinn, could you ask the man to stop pounding? It’s disturbing.
Lt. Sinn: Yah, the point here is we are winterizing.
Bob: We’re having a meeting.
Lt. Sinn: Oh, that’s too bad—and so we…
Donald: I think we can proceed.
Bob: There is nothing funny about it.
Donald: I think the fourth point I’m going to speak to now…[Continues reading and pounding continues.]
[Tom interrupts and begins what turns out to be a rather long but light-hearted discussion about the amount to be levied against the Unionists for their stay on the island. The heavy pounding continues. There is laughter. Donald continues reading.]
Lt. Sinn: You’ll ring a bell every time you come?
Bob: Mr. Sinn, if you’d like to join us we’d be happy to have you come in, but we can’t hear your comments from back of the screen.
Pauline: We’ll be ashamed for not sweeping and cleaning our own rooms.
Donald: That should be done as well.—Is that approved?
[Group is quite gay. Everything seems funny now.]
Tom: Does anybody object to any of that?
Bob: I think it’s a very good program.
Donald: And now the sixth program…
Tom: I was content until it suddenly occurred to me that everyone…irreversible situation.
Donald: But it is the responsibility of the strategy committee to carry out.
Diana: There’s a recommendation we made to the ad hoc committee to revise the program schedule to include work camping projects in areas which will be suggested by the Canadian Friends Service Committee. [Reads item 6.]
Tom: This is just the regular work that we would be doing…maintenance around the island which means our own work program as opposed to…about an hour a day.
Bob: I would like to make another proposal to assert our control over the island and our freedom and dignity.
John: Should we take up this point first?
Donald: I thought that was settled. It’s the point—about the ad hoc committee inserting in the program what was originally inserted in the original conception of the program of some amounts of daily manual labor for the community…
Nancy: We always have a regular work period for the conferences.
Peter: As long as it wasn’t any winterization.
Diana: It says here…Canadian Friends Service—Committee…so that we would ask them what needed to be done and what they recommend that we do.
George: Someone from our own body would be able to pass on suggestions from the Canadian Friends Service Committee so that if they should be cooperating with the winterizing we could block that.
Walter: There is only the suggestion of the payment—whether it was meant that we leave them as they are if they pay.
George: But in effect we’re going to do five or six dollars a day labor for them if they don’t pay.
Bob: I wanted to make another point here, concerning our control over the island, something that at this moment is asserting our control over the island and has not yet been tampered with, that if it is attempted to be tampered with, and that is the United Nations flag flying on the dock. I would suggest that we prepare for nonviolent defense of that area so that our—as symbol of control over the island and it cannot be taken.
Walter: Yes, I only would like to—I’m not that—satisfied with the question of the payment because we are here and are not used to have locked doors. The question is, even if we ask a hundred dollars a day, I think that we cannot accept that they can lock the doors…
Donald: I think that if we rent the rooms for the purpose of their office, it means that we allow any rentor to do whatever they like inside that door. This is another approach.
George: You’re not really honest.
Donald: You wanted to speak on the other subject, didn’t you?
Tom: Yes, I was going to say, I don’t like the stereo of assuming that they’re probably going to take our flag…You know, we deal with that when it comes up.
George: If they take that one we replace it.
Donald: We are all very happy that the UN flag is here and it represents the ideas that we have behind our goals.
Bob: And we express our hope that it will continue flying during the duration.
Chris: Mr. Sinn raised a point that—concerning the charges that we have set, namely, what currency, or must they pay in gold?…Suppose they would issue us every morning five U.S. Grindstone occupation bank notes. Well…
Tom: Has anybody established the fact that there is Unionist currency on the mainland?
Donald: We would have to have an independent authorization…the government stamp will have to be there. I think Diana wants to say something.
Diana: Yes, the point of making contact with another island—I’d like to suggest that we post at various points around the island symbols of distress, a flag, a white sheet, or whatever is needed and can be posted as a means of communicating with passing boats.
Peter: Money. If this money is the money of the regular government of Toronto, I don’t think we should recognize and accept it as legitimate money—because we don’t recognize the government as legitimate. I think there should be either U.S. money at the rate of exchange or the Canadian money that we know.
Pauline: I don’t think we should accept U.S. money.
Peter: Well, actually, I would accept any recognized money with respect that we get paid at the rate of exchange.
Voice : What purpose was separating the long—strip beyond Johnson house?
Donald: The idea of involvement in the community of release from arrest in which we, the community asserts our freedom of action and non-freedom of action to the Unionist forces from that point upward. And that there is a way of communication without resort to boats from that corner. This is an actual form of release from arrest. You can only arrest if you have physically, within an area from which you cannot move.
Mary: Would this possibly be interpreted by the Unionists as therefore meaning that they would have to physically imprison us on this side? In our cabins? And we’re prepared to do this in such an eventuality?
George: We’re having enough trouble thinking what we mean…
Chris: I have two or three tactical questions, but—I guess what I’m doing at this point is interrupting the tactics discussion to see if there’s agreement on the general plan, recognizing that there are certain specific action decisions that have to be made.
Peggy: I think we are in agreement on the plan.
Donald: I think, as far as I understand, there is general agreement for the strategy committee to work out in detail.
Chris: At this point I would like to raise really—three unrelated tactical questions. One is does this declaration of a nonviolent assertion of an off-limits base, the upper end of the island—does this imply that we post any sort of a sentry? And if so, then any sharing of this…Second, in respect to Diana’s most recent suggestion…I would like to suggest that rather than scatter around the island that we pick a place that is particularly relevant to the occupation—like a flag out of Mr. Sinn’s bedroom window and that we do what we can to maintain from that position—I’m not at all sure about that particular suggestion—but rather than around the island, pick a site that is particularly relevant to their activities. The third tactical question is that of the bell. I think at the moment it seems to be the symbol of the mantle of chairmanship. The bell. Does this mean that it’s decided from chairman to chairman? If in any case-again, it means the sharing of the responsibility of—In other words we are proposing to operate by a system of shifts.
Donald: Yes. It will involve everyone in some action during the next thirty six hours.
Chris: And this means setting up two on, four off—or some such arrangement.
Peter: It also involves rapid communication between sentries with the rest of the community in case the invaders attempt to cross into our territory.
Donald: A very important decision that the planning committee has to…is whether we can…
George: May I speak? Does this committee which drew up these plans which seem, proposals, or strategy, which seem to meet with quite strong approval keep in mind how and who would do this?
Donald: This is what Gordon has just said that each person has expressed his or her willingness to participate and the committee will now have to go to work in allocating shifts and functions.
George: And it will do that promptly because time is…
Donald: Promptly. Already it has been taken up.
Fran: Do we also post some kind of sentry or watch around the cabins that are being occupied?
Donald: We are completely open. Everything I have said is known fully throughout the island now.
Bob: If some—now that the Unionist forces on the island are part of our community and they are participating—or we hope they will participate as members of the community to the fullest extent—are we prepared to put them on sentry duty—put them on the duty of ringing the bell…
Tom: If any member of the community here requests not to go on sentry duty or not to ring the bell, I’m sure that that will be…
George: Or fails to do it and we have to cover and take over. They are members. But we mustn’t coerce conscience.
Chris: Risking the possibility of coercing the invaders’ conscience, could I suggest that there be one condition that we place upon the intruders who really join the group? And this is that they not carry their weapons.
Donald: We have disarmed them.
Pauline: We have disarmed them.
Chris: Look, well, yes but—In other words…
John: I am uneasy.
Walter: They can have their guns.
Tom: The Zen Buddhists say that an article is only what its function is, and until—and if somebody fires a gun it is not a gun.
Chris: I was in the midst of making a statement—concerning weapons and was interrupted in the process of what amounted to asking for justification of it. And this is that I am very uneasy around weapons. I do not feel comfortable in the presence of a pistol or a gun, and for this reason I would ask these people to take this step in acting…
Barbara: I disagree with that. First of all, I think that we were asking them to take it off so it puts them kind of on the defensive again and it spoils the point before if we’re disarming them. Considering them disarmed I think…
Lydia: Just a point of information. When they do use their arms and say Bang, you’re dead. You are dead, though, aren’t you?
Group: Oh, yes.
Others: Wait, that’s an umpire’s decision.
Donald: Yes, unless the umpires consider that—unless they decide that our edict has as much force as the edict of arrest.
Tom: I’d just suggest on Gordon’s point that—anyone in the community who objects to something other than what we’re doing, so let them have their guns if they like. You know, they may comply and they may not—just like if somebody objects to my sandals.
George: Isn’t that really the probe or answer to it? A group has certain customs. A new member of the group comes in who isn’t aware of these customs, it’s fitting and proper to say: Friend, you care to leave that out in the hallway? If he says No, I have to wear it; I feel naked without it—very well, we have to accept this. Some of us who feel…
Helen S: I don’t want to waste time—sometimes I think I’m quite out of step with most of this group, but I do have a question of what it is…—in my mind—what it is that is really worth protecting by any outward means. And what methods—I mean I would like an examination myself—and I’m doing it myself—but I don’t want to interrupt the flow of this except…and what methods I am willing to employ in trying to protect what it is that is worth protecting. And I feel for myself very uneasy with protecting territorial rights-being concerned about any of the outward symbols that we’ve been talking about today. I’m through. I just wondered if that…
Fran: My feeling is related to Helen’s that it seems to me that we have no right, really to force the status of second class citizen on the intruders. So they are intruders. And if the ambiguity involved in inviting them to our meetings and participate in consensus decisions and then denying the other end of the island is really…
Tom: Could I make a proposal that we merely, instead of roping that off and say this is now ours, you know, that we say that we have a boat up there and then assume that members of the community are not going to interfere with it—just like everything else we’ve done—then we take action…
Peter: Two answers to Helen. We’re not protecting outward symbols. We’re using that as an example of resisting their authority. Very fundamental. We’re just picking some way of doing it. It’s not really the fact that we’re protecting that area of the island. We don’t use it anyway. It’s a way of asserting that we’re resisting their authority. And secondly, and then you can answer, the kitchen is off limits, and both of us who are participating can’t go in there. I mean it was a decision because there’s a difference between the kitchen staff—they have to do things—and us. And I think there’s some analogy that the invaders always have a different status—the way they’re acting now—than we do. They’re not part of the community. They’re not acting as part of the community at this point, so it’s not a matter of stopping another equal member of the community from doing something.
Helen S: May I just say something—that is, that I merely wanted to make a statement. I didn’t want a discussion on it because I think that from my point of view I see a very clear delineation between civilian defense and nonviolence—my definition of nonviolence—and as far as I’m concerned, this is civilian defense and I’m happy to go ahead with it, but I think from my point of view…
Donald: In the evaluation we must go into this. Could I suggest something? It’s now about half after five and it might be the most valuable thing we could do is now to break up into those three groups which we did establish, and go into any matter in detail in these groups. Role play? Or take up any of these items that have come and if anything arises out of those three group decisions that they. should be communicated to Diana on behalf Of the strategy committee and include in this consideration the subjects which came before the group this morning—which are also very interesting—the concept of nonviolent repossession, nonviolent capturing, and what Diana also raised this morning, the influence of changed situation on changing minds and behavior. These subjects are valuable subjects for small group discussions. I think you want to say…
Denis: Yes, I was just saying that group one—meets in the board room, but seeing as we’ve rented that out…
Bob: Perhaps you could ask them if we could meet in the board room because that…
Denis: Group three meets in the other, yah, Starr Chamber.
John: We were meeting alternately on the porch just outside the Starr Chamber and I can see…
Tom: I wanted to say that I wasn’t sure what the situation had been on the sentries for that part of the island.
Donald: I thought this was going back now to the strategic committee and we’re taking into mind those points—I think this will be a strong influence on whatever action they decide to take about that. I think we have learned from the discussion of the kind of approach we should make.
Chris: I just wanted to raise the question: Is there any need to communicate more directly the decision of this group to Mr. Sinn and his friends the decision we have just made?
Donald: I hope that this will be typed and communicated officially.
John: Verbally, and then hand them the paper.
Donald: It has been done verbally.
Pauline: It has been done.
Lolly: Yah, the meeting…
Denis: No. I object to that. You’re saying: Well—if you want to find out what we want you to do you have to come—to our meetings. That is what they were saying before, but we have to go and ask them when it would be convenient for them to hear our proposal.
Walter: Oh, no. They’re coming to us. We are not coming to them.
Tom: I would say in this case we would go to—them out of courtesy and say: Did you hear what we decided? If they say No, then we’ll tell them and…
Lolly: If they’ve got something maybe to refer back to…
George: If they say Yes, we say: Well, here it is in writing…
Donald: Do you agree that we spend the next three quarters of an hour…half an hour in small groups? One group meet here? One group meeting on the other end of the veranda; one meeting where we spent the morning.
I. Two Fragments
The first of these two short fragments was recorded on the veranda near the Unionists’ screened-in part of the porch at about 5:50, shortly after the gas attack on one of the defender sub-groups. The second fragment was recorded on the veranda at the site where the bell had been before the Unionists removed it. One defender holds a large kitchen pot and an iron rod as a makeshift bell; other defenders run through the ‘count-down’ as seven o’clock approaches.
John: We’ve got a new agreement on time.
Voice: Fifteen minutes up?
Fran: We’ve just captured some weapons. This stuff…
John: Once the air gets to him he has to…
Chris B: What kind of a…
Nancy: Flit gun?
John: IF THAT CAN’T TAKE CARE OF THEIR—OWN MESSES WE’LL HAVE TO DO IT FOR THEM.
* * * * *
John: Do you think it’s seven o’clock?
George: Pretty close there. Thirty seconds…
Bob: Twenty-seven-twenty-five-twenty-fifteen-ten-eight-seven-six-five-four-three-two-one-seven o’clock!
[Bell is rung eight times.]
John: Seven o’clock and all’s well!
Pauline: Does your wife know you’ve got that?
John: I won’t have it long.
J. Unionist Planning Meeting
At 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday, the six Unionists met in their headquarters to discuss their tactical and strategic approach to what they interpreted as impending insurrection by the defender group. They all. spoke very quietly; the voices of the defenders in informal discussion could be clearly heard through the partition; there were many extremely long pauses and periods of silence during the discussion.
Lt. Sinn: Now. We’ve decided to issue the following proclamation. [Reads Proclamation #7 (see Appendix 2).] We feel that the situation has reached a climax. We have given as much room as possible while the pacifist community has escalated its own demands…So there’s not further confrontation possible but force. That is, they have decided to impose what they consider their rules, their borders, their laws, upon us and we are now standing up for ours, and any infringement upon our territory, on our rights, will be met by force. So this is the net decision. I decided against a curfew because we perceive a possibility that they could meet in one room and not leave. That is, they could remain in the common room all night or if they do leave, they may leave all together. So we are trying to avoid creating focal points where they can mass. We will rely on meeting individual harassment and shooting people as they approach us, and in. effect that picking them off one by one and begin to decimate the population.
Lt. Feit:…think if they carry on the insurrection in mass, are we agreed to disperse or to shoot a selected number?
Voice: What’s that?
Lt. Sinn: This is in fact their declaration which is very interesting. So far they are using the same vocabulary. [Reads ‘The Manifesto’.]
Lt. Feit: I’ll ask it again. What’s the procedure if we have mass insurrection?
Lt. Sinn: Mass insurrection?
Lt. Feit: Thirty people making noise…
Lt. Sinn: As far as I can see, the end of the community has come. Now. The question is: how?
Lt. Feit: How long will it take?
Lt. Sinn: How long will it take and if they are picked off one by one or all together?
Lt. Feit: We’re—willing to shoot, in other words?
Lt. Sinn: Well, we…
Tugwell: The tear gas doesn’t effect for half an hour, does it?
Lt. Sinn: Yah, well, but that’s not the—we are not using, as far as I am concerned—gas anymore. We stated that we would meet any form of harassment by shooting to kill.
Lt. Feit: Well then, there ought to be a tactic.
Lt. Sinn: We have used all means at our command up to the point of—killing.
Lt. Feit: We’re giving them then—as soon as one of the group comes up—the obvious choice—I don’t know if I’ll come to it, in fact, they all stand there and make noise, four of us to walk in and massacre twenty eight people standing in a line with quite a bit of discipline—This is going to put a lot of pressure on us.
Tugwell: I would suggest in that case we’re going to have to—at least for the first…
Harrison:…afraid of that. Kill one or two and disperse if we can.
Stelling: Same selection?
Tugwell: Well, we select out the people who are the most forward, or the people from our experience we know to be the type who would—the people who would be planning on…
Bishop: I don’t want to go ahead and shoot them all in the first mass confrontation.
Lt. Feit: It’s not going to be…we shoot…cowards this time.
Bishop: We shoot them all?
[Lt. Sinn laughs.]
Lt. Feit: [Laughs.] Let’s put it this way. I think that would be the worst situation under which we’ll…
Lt. Sinn: Yes. That’s correct. I mean this is reaching what we are trying to avoid, but we may not be able to avoid it.
Lt. Feit: I think we handle that to avoid it. If we want to absolutely…tear gas, limited number each time it happens—under—right there—right then and there.
Lt. Sinn: Okay. In other words, you want to break their composure…
Lt. Feit: Right.
Lt. Sinn:…and shoot them on the ground?
Lt. Feit: Yah, I don’t want them having the dignity at the end. I want us having the dignity .
Lt. Sinn: Okay.
Lt. Feit: In other words, one or two of us would do the shooting, say, and the rest. you know; would throw the gas.
Tugwell: Or the repellent.
Lt. Feit: Yah, whatever we use.
Stelling: Depending on where it is…depending on where the control is.
Bishop: It’d be very difficult to shoot twenty eight people—psychologically.
Lt. Feit: If they don’t like…we’ll destroy them. All these situations will be very trying on us.
Lt. Sinn: Um hmmm—Yes. Well, I think the first shootings will take place individually and from then they will respond and try to do things collectively. They will possibly realize that such harassment is not going to do them…
Tugwell: You may have a collective response to start with, though, after you make the proclamation. You know, you make the proclamation and you leave and they might decide right then—after maybe an hour of discussion—to at this point have a mass response.
Stelling: But whenever there’s a mass response…
Lt. Sinn: Yes, if there’s a mass response, well be using gas and shoot while they are dis—uncomposed?
Bishop: Point of information. What about dead people tonite? Is it—do they go to Workman?
Harrison: Are we going to use tear gas frequently?
Lt. Sinn: Well, we decided to use the spray gun in side because we don’t want to—for technical reasons we don’t want to throw around cement inside the common room.
Harrison: That’s sort of a choking and irritating gas and that will break it up….
Lt. Sinn: Um hmm.
Lt. Feit: They will remain conscious, but you lose…
Lt. Sinn: Incapacitating.
Lt. Feit: Your eyes, your nose and mouth burn and it lasts for about thirty minutes. The tear gas only lasts three to five minutes.
Lt. Sinn: This assures that we don’t have to shoot them all at once. We have thirty minute intervals.
Bishop: .. That’s if it’s inside. Outside we only have about five.
Tugwell: Well, they won’t be really organized enough to disperse and redisperse and regroup the community after…
Bishop: Well, they’ve already had a chance to do it. They practiced it right here.
Tugwell: No. You know, at least initially—I don’t think they will be well enough organized to. disperse after having two people shot and then regrouping…
Lt. Feit: We can use the spray if we decide on some, too. There’s no limit on that.
Lt. Sinn: Um hmmm—Now, what’s the procedure when we move out here so that. nobody moves in? In fact, we would have to have two people in the room.
Harrison: I thought just one.
Stelling: I would say two.
Lt. Sinn: If we’ve got four outside that should be sufficient.
Harrison: That doesn’t seem balanced because you’ve got four to handle thirty.
Lt. Feit: We could have just two. Considering if one man starts spraying the gas, there’s no more handling left. One or two men shoot. One guy handles the gas. And one guy protects the man using the gas spray.
Lt. Sinn: [Long pause.] So. I move we will wait until the next meeting?
Bishop: Eight o’clock.
Lt. Sinn: Eight o’clock. Make the proclamation. There will be no discussion, simply issue it. Period.
K. Defenders’ Protest of Gassing Incident
The tape picked up this protest representation to the Unionists only for the last few minutes of discussion. Five members of the defender group are standing and sitting in the doorway to the Unionist headquarters speaking to the soldiers who are sitting silently looking at them without any verbal response. Piano music can be heard in the background. The time is 8:05 p.m.
George: It reflects in your actions ,though, and not to do the same thing again to a group of people—just sitting, meeting, and not interfering with your work at all. [To the other members of the defending community.] I think we’ve given our protest and made our concern to the four of them and…
Bob: We would invite you to an enjoyable evening of movies in the main room of the lodge here which is on the schedule. You undoubtedly know. I’m just renewing this invitation and hope that you will all join us. .
George: Hope that you’ll all come.
Fran: Do you think they would feel easier if we were to tell them we have no intention of retaliating for what they did? I consider this the act of. a bad-tempered child, but we don’t improve the child’s temper by punishing him for having a tantrum.
Bob: That ought to be understood in that they know we are peaceful, nonviolent people.
Fran: I think we’ve told them that but I doubt if they comprehend it. You know, just…
George: I wouldn’t doubt their…
Walter: Don’t we want to say that we do not forget our promise to them that we renew of opportunity for…? ..
Harrison: [Barely audible.] Punish us.
George: What did he say? Well, I hope you’ll join the meeting.
Bob: Please do.
[The protest group moves on.]
Harrison: Good thing they’re not going to punish us, eh, men? [Laughter.]
L. Wednesday Evening Plenary Meeting
The final meeting of the defender group, scheduled as a showing of peace films, convened shortly after eight p.m. The transcript begins just as the Unionist commander enters the meeting for the purpose of reading Proclamation #7. The time is 8:10 p.m. The transcript includes the reading of the proclamation and the immediate defender response to it. A long section of reports and discussion of the implementation of the strategy committee’s plan, the protest representation, and other incidents has been deleted. The transcript resumes at about 8:40 and continues until 9:06.
Voice: Sit down, if you like?
Lt. Sinn: No, thank you.
Fran: Shhhh. Well, we can’t run the film for a—little while yet. Before we get started I thought we would have time for a…Mr. Sinn is. here. Let’s be quiet and see what he has to say. Shhhh. Please. We asked him awhile ago if he’d talk to us, and he wouldn’t—but now he will—so please pay attention everyone.
Lt. Sinn: On the basis of the pacifists’ decision to ignore the rightful authority of the Union government to usurp power, we’ve decided to meet the pacifists’ insurrection by force. From now on the administration will meet any harassment by shooting to kill. That’s all.
Peter: If I come up and talk to you, is that harassment?
Fran: May we ask the significance of what you—did this afternoon? Do you consider yourself…
Bob: Mr. Sinn, we would like to ask you questions.
[General confusion and unintelligible talk.]
Peter: They can’t shoot. They have no weapons.
Bob: Mr. Sinn, we would like to talk to you.
Peter: I think it’s an irrelevant point, if I may say so, an irrelevant point, because they have no weapons, so I don’t accept what they said.
Tom: Let’s go back…
Lolly: They’ve imprisoned themselves.
Fran: They’ve gone back…
[Much background talk; nothing intelligible. Much moving around. Group begins to sing: NO MORE TEAR GAS. NO MORE TEAR GAS OVER ME.]
Chris: I think I would have to express my own instinctive reaction—in many ways parallel to Peter’s—I’ve debated two approaches. One would be, say, suddenly confronting them with all of us where in a sense they shoot to kill the whole works. Then, in their way they have lost, but also in our way, well, I think we have lost also if it is not a bluff. And I think we have to keep that.—Now, the other approach, it would seem to me, would be to continue our program which, from our point, is what we’re here for. From the point of view of the intruders, I think it has every likelihood of appearing to be harassment. Now, for example, I wouldn’t be at all surprised that we may have some sort of an answer to the hypothetical question in about ten or fifteen minutes when someone rings the nine o’clock bell. Now, this was the program that we had continued—agreed upon—and it would seem to me that the decision is either to make a mass protest or to continue as the plan and have an individual expression of our reassertion of our authority. Now, one flaw in the mass protest at this time is that it is a response to—again—to them, and I’m—well, frankly—uneasy about it.
Fran: Donald, have you named your successor as bell ringer?
John: I’m ringing it at this time since he’s in—several committees that might be useful.
Fran: Okay. I think there should be two people—the actual bell ringer and a stand-by man to take it…
Pauline: May I ask—I’m afraid I missed—What is it that someone wants to mass protest about?
Fran: This is one alternative that was mentioned. The other alternative is to continue as outlined by the…
Pauline: But what is it for?
Fran: Oh, about? Oh, their offer to shoot to kill preceded by…
Pauline: Well, I think they had it coming. If what they say is true I don’t feel—This is ridiculous, I think, to go on a mass protest about that—that they asked for that.
Peter: Is that the reason why you think it is ridiculous? Because I’m suggesting it probably isn’t ridiculous.
Pauline: Well, I think it’s ridiculous to keep escalating such a thing. I think now you’ve made your point and let’s accept that they also made a point.
Peter: Well, don’t we ever ask them?
Pauline: I think—I can’t see any purpose.
Peter: So we give up?
Pauline: No, you’re not giving up. We’re just not continuing to dare the dragon. That’s all.
Fran: Shhh. Okay, Walter, George and Lolly.
Walter: I would like an answer to Peter. The question is that we do not have a game here…a conflict, all right, but we have to…to wait for the opportunity. If we can go only because we want to stay two days, and then go away, I think certain…kind of consultation, somehow. I don’t know how much reality I would—or anybody would do. I mean it has to be—if I did something very important I would think our group…there must be more…the reason has to be stronger. So what happens if we really want to have a consultation?…I think we should—if we want consultation and then we’re going to go into the room. The question is: do we have a—Is it in reality?
George: I don’t think it helps us to brand one as ridiculous and the other as impetuous or whatever it may be, or reluctance in this. I think the important thing is for us to try to make up our minds whether we want to react—be reduced to the situation of constantly reacting to their statements, their policies, their demands, or whether we attempt to go on with our life—doing the things we started out to do as best we can—knowing that…may well…by their action what harassment means. We may have some shooting, and when that begins we may finally be in a point where we can do nothing else, but react in a mass way. But at this point I think we ought to attempt to go on with our way of life as best we can.
Lolly: I agree with George that we shouldn’t just protest in reaction to their statement…But I think we should continue until nine o’clock when the person goes out to ring the bell. More than just two people should go. I think the person should be surrounded by a group of people, and whenever we would be what they would consider harassing them that we have more people there so that they can’t just shoot a couple. If they’re confronted with the dilemma of killing about ten or twelve instead of two or three.
Peter: Well, this would be…I know that at this—point—I think I am convinced that Donald is going to die, and I couldn’t do it myself. Knowing that I was the only one and that definitely I was going to die, I wouldn’t have enough courage at this point to ring the bell. I would have enough courage if I was circled by twelve people and I did the act and was protected by twelve people.
George: I like this. I think this is not basically reacting to them. We’ve made our commitment. We recognize there’s a possibility of grave danger and so a group go and do it.
Tom: It just occurred to me…
Bob: We’ve got five minutes.
Barbara:…1 do think it’s being fearful—it’s acknowledging what we just said we weren’t going to acknowledge in that we disarmed them this afternoon. Therefore I personally don’t have any fear of going to the bell—with John. I realize I may get killed, but I’d rather have it this way than have a mass of people killed…
Walter: There is a contradiction. One thing if…I think so, and if there are ten people…
Tom: May I just take the floor for a minute? Maybe what should happen—if they have given a request which we can ignore by having the one person who is going to ring the bell go out and ring the bell. Now, I recognize—I recognize fully that that person may get shot at which point I would say that you either have a mass protest over it or that all of the rest of you go out at the next bellringing. And then they’ll shoot all of you if they’re going to continue. And I personally volunteer to ring the bell.
Barbara: I’d just as soon not have somebody sacrifice their life—for me as a member of the community…I would feel bad if someone just went out and got shot…
George: Even to the point of not ringing the bell?
Barbara: No, I think all of us—a lot of people should be ringing the bell.
Chris B: It seems to me that this course—They don’t want to kill us all—I mean, that I feel is a reasonable assumption. And if one person goes out I think it is an invitation for them to set one person up as an example of what they can do. And if a mass of people go out—I don’t think the number is a separate matter at all. I think then they are faced with a decision that they realize that they’ve got to kill us all or none of us. But one person they can set up as an example and thereby kill him right there.
Donald: I don’t really mean that every hour during the night there must be ten people.
Diana: Unless their thinking is that if they’ve—been challenged on this point and the way out is to consider that the bell-ringing is not an harassment, then I think we should continue ringing the bell.
Donald: Yes. I think we have harassment arranged in our program tomorrow morning…the program on our initiative.
John: I thought about this when I suggested that I continue ringing the gong once more, not because I have a martyr complex, but I think there comes a point where because of the quality and the temporary responsibilities, not because that person is indispensable, but because of convenience—that there is merit in having this program which we were talking about. The important thing is to go on. And I felt—just on a guess—that this was the first opportunity of confronting this protest. So I suggested to Donald Groom, since he was on the strategy committee, which was an on-going thing, that I ring the gong. And the only comment I would make is that I would hope that the whole conference wouldn’t go out there, or so many people that the conference couldn’t go on, since the other alternative is that the whole’ conference goes and this closes our opportunity to carry on the conference if they mean business.
Fran: Well, If I may make some remarks. My—feeling is we have a greater chance of converting them by letting time rest in our favor. In other words, if we do not put ourselves in the position of being wiped out in large handfuls but only being picked off one at a time, hoping that this will have some effect on their decision the next hour.
Peter: Well, I’m going to slightly change my mind—again, and I’m going to direct it directly to Donald. If Donald really feels that he can face death by himself…
Donald: I’m going to do ten, eleven and twelve. John is going to do nine.
Peter:…if he really feels he can, I would suggest then, alone, because we don’t know at this point whether it’s one person or ten that they’re prepared to shoot. So—and it’s almost equal. So if they do .shoot the one, we’ve only lost one. Whereas if they did shoot the twelve, they’d shoot the twelve…[People start interrupting.]…BUT AT TEN O’CLOCK we then know that they do have to be recognized, the fact that they have guns and we would therefore…twelve people…
George: I think this is—better…
Peter:…and if John has the courage himself to—do it…
John: Is there anybody who would care to take this situation: If I’m shot before I ring the ten—nine gongs…
Peter: If you’re…
Chris: You better get a move on or you’re going to be late.
Peter: :If you’re shot before…
George: Someone else will…
Barbara: (the cook): Can we see the movies while we’re still alive?!
Chris B: Wait! If we agreed to send one person out, one person…
[Talk now very disjointed. Doors slam. The following section takes place on the veranda.]
John: I think we overestimated the situation.
Walter: Yah, so.
[Sounds of footsteps are heard. Bell is rung six times. Sound of a shot is heard just before the sixth gong.]
Umpire 1: :Shot!
[Sounds of falling and the bell being dropped.]
Umpire 2: John dead. John dead.
Umpire 3: [To Walter.] You are incapacitated.
Umpire 2: Tear gas. You’re getting out of it…
Umpire 1: You’re choking. You’re sick…
Voice from inside: Gas?
Umpire 4: Tell them there’s gas right there at that gate—gas here.
Umpire 2: Everybody out.
[Walter is talking in background.]
Fran: Stood right in the door…standing right there.
Umpire 3: Incapacitated for how many minutes?
Umpire 1: Four minutes.
Nancy: Moved inside…
Umpire 3: Go inside.
Bob: Is this gas?
umpire 1: This is tear gas.
Umpire 2: Yes, that’s gas. If you…Gas. Gas. Incapacitating.
[Group inside starts singing WE SHALL OVERCOME. It is now 9:03 and John Stevenson was shot approximately two minutes ago. Two members of the community have been gassed, incapacitated for a number of minutes. Singing continues. WE’LL WALK HAND IN HAND…A few members of the community are reported by the recorder to look visibly affected—their hands around their heads—heads down. Some are singing. Some are just milling to and fro. Singing continues. WE SHALL ALL BE FREE…WE ARE NOT AFRAID…Much general talk. The following. section takes place back in the meeting room.]
Mary: Has it been four minutes?
Fran: I am frankly confused. I feel that we need—a report from the referees as to what just happened.
Mary: I think we ought to bring him in…We’ll have to run out there in a hurry in the gas.
Chris B: Four minutes we’ll be…
Fran: What has happened to John ?
Donald: The umpires will give some…
Nancy: John is dead and Walter is wounded and there’s gas.
Fran: Well, all right. There’s gas.
Donald: If you’ve got a gas mask…
Umpire: I think you’ll have to go outside to find out.
Chris B: The four minutes are up anyhow.
Tom: As far as I can gather, the gas masks are real gas masks…so that won’t work.
[One of the men who have been gassed is being brought back into the community.]
Mary: Is he dead?
Tom: Can we have a meeting here instead of just walking around and talking? Is there any purpose…I’m confused at this point.
Donald: Were you gassed?
Roger: Let’s go out and find out what’s going on.
Nancy: They’re just bringing in John’s body.
Chris: I’m going to ring that bell. I believe it—would be meaningful if we do it as a group, but I’m going to do it anyway.
[Some members are sitting quietly, observing, gazing…Most are standing around in small groups discussing the events. Time: 9:06.]
M. The ‘Final Hour’
This section of transcript begins in the defenders’ meeting in the main room at 9:08 with the chairman calling for a period of memorial silence. It then turns briefly to the Unionist headquarters and includes comments by the recorder. At 9:12 the transcript returns to the main meeting room and is continuous up to the end of the exercise.
Fran: Friends? Friends…We have lost a beloved member of our community. I think the only thing we can do at this point is to have a final memorial meeting. [Silence.]
[It is now 9:08. The recorder is with the occupiers in the board room. The Lieutenant is sitting smoking his pipe and writing a record. The security officer is sitting, smoking across the table. The other members are either sitting or walking about the room. Somebody is whistling.]
Lt. Sinn: They don’t know they’re dead, either. They simply go on with their program.
[Back in the meeting room.]
Donald: One half an hour. Fifteen minutes?
Nancy: Ten minutes…twenty two after nine.
Louise: Could we just play a record?
Bob: The film that I have on here is a very enjoyable film. It would tend to break the tension.
Pauline: You mean by enjoyable the kind…
Fran: On the other hand, if people feel that this would help any, .and it would be all right with the rest here…
Lolly: I feel we shouldn’t let this interrupt our affairs. Our purpose is to go on with our program and…Well, I feel that we have to—We are prepared for death…
George: Some of us asked for a few minutes…
Lolly: Yes, I’m not against the break. I feel that the film should go on—our discussion go on. There probably will be more…
Walter: Our program is not…to see the film or not. I don’t think, I mean, we should go forward and ring the bell to show them we are still okay—of the community—but it is not necessary to overdo it…
Barbara (the cook): May I say something? Why not make some sort arrangement, some sort of bell—Here are many men and they have plenty ideas.—And we stay and pull a string here and ring the bell so that when they move around there will be nobody there. [Uproar of laughter.]
Jose:…every hour—to change the place of the ringing around the houses and the main building?
Walter: The ringing is a question of protest. You do not ring…
[Much confused talk.]
Fran: One at a time, please…Gordon?
Chris: I would like to suggest that at this time—we have a brief memorial service for our friend who was killed in the service of all of us. And after having said that, we have the practical problem of the disposal of the body of our dead comrade. I would like to see us do these things and then I feel we’ve got to quit talking and quit nit picking and starting a discussion of whether a film is enjoyable, funny, or enjoyable some other way. I think that these are irrelevancies. Probably we should pass them off as a nervous reaction to the very intense experience that we have been through. Now, I personally feel very strongly that now is the time that we take a group action. I am strongly moved to go out—first to urge the whole group—to go out and pick up the bell and strike the five remaining sounds for nine o’clock. I feel very strongly, that we should—the whole group—should after attending to what seems to be the first order of business—that is, dealing with the tragedy that we’ve suffered—then prepare ourselves to strike the bell at ten o’clock. I intend to do this and I urge the whole group to join.
Walter: I would like to present another position. I feel they must give this…to open the door—they do have to open the door. They do have to open the door if they go out next time…and we have to have five people—have to block this door and the other, but if they go out, these six people could go automatically in because if they have to go out of the door, then the people could go in and sit there…If we go on like this, I should think this way…back to the door. And if the next ring is—and go again—six or seven people—to the back…I will propose…
Fran: Actually, we have to do this at each door—through which they might…
Walter: Yes, each—six people or four—I don’t know how much we can do, though.
Lydia: I think we’ve forgotten that our good friend John went out to find out whether they meant business. He said rather than have a group of us be killed I’ll go and do it and find out. And the weight of the problem now is that…he found out all right. I think we are faced with the fact of mass suicide, which is also violent in a way.
Fran: This is true. This is the reason why one went only this time to determine the extent of their bluff, and they were not bluffing.
Barbara: I still can’t allow someone else to go…
Tom: I would suggest that taking the life of someone else is the ultimate test—that if we accept that they have taken John’s life and they accept this exception then we would have nothing else to lose. They’ve got us all.
Fran: What do you propose?
Tom: I propose that we all go out there. At ten o’clock. As a unit.
Walter: You don’t think we should go—six people?
Tom: No, I don’t want to break up the group. I think we should stand as a unit and make. that moral choice.
Bob: I feel very strongly with Tom and Gordon. And I would…
Walter: Then I have another proposal to make—for the next time for all of us. We should not accept easily volunteers to do something, because in reality it is my opinion if one person does something that is very dangerous, I think—I personally feel I would go with this person even if I am not…that somebody should…and if somebody wasn’t here, I would go with him. And so I think—so anybody else maybe would do the same…So it should be for each one. If I personally do something volunteer I must have something in mind…some people will go with me, so it should be easy for each of us to say: Well, I am prepared to…It should be not easy for me because I should know if I volunteer’ maybe you will go with me and you will go with me, so if somebody volunteers to do something…Do you understand what I mean? Maybe it is not so good to explain—that the risk is not if I will go. I do have, to bear in mind maybe this man will go, and I have to choose, and if I go maybe other people will go also. So it should be easy.
Louise: Since I was supposed to have finished John’s job and I didn’t really have the courage in the confusion and I didn’t quite know what was going on, it is with me a matter of great concern that I go out…
Fran: I think we’re all concerned.
Peggy: I’m hearing a lot of martyrs. I’m again puzzled and disturbed by our ultimate goals and I’ve been writing some things down and I see that We are a community that feel terribly against war as a political scheme in which aims are reached. We believe in nonviolent action. We believe in mediation and we are faced with a political situation which represents all the things which we reject. Now, what are we going to do about this that’s meaningful? Are we going to commit suicide at ten o’clock? Is this the most meaningful thing we can do? I can’t believe in this situation which we want to make as real as we can that we give ourselves thirty five minutes in which to decide whether we will end all possibilities, meaningful struggle against the evils in this world. We’re a community and we’ve got some influence in the world by what we do, and I cannot believe that our guests—at ten o’clock—now—maybe—at eleven or twelve—but I wish someone could convince me.
Fran: Well, someone must prepare and leave a record of what has happened thus far. Who will do this? Well, just write up what’s happened and leave it—I don’t know but try to think of some way that this gets communicated to the outside world…
Chris: I want to speak to the two points that have been raised by Walter and Peggy. I want to assure them that I have been very heavily under the weight of both of these considerations. On the one hand, Peggy’s statement that there is the danger of—well, cutting off our effectiveness. I don’t want to make a political analysis of this except to assure you that before. I spoke, for many many hours I had been very heavily under the weight of this. Also, Walter, I recognize the effect, the coercion, the terrible responsibility that I took by saying what I did. I humbly recognize the responsibility, but feel that in conscience I can’t do otherwise. Now, I’m about to make another statement of this type that I feel that we should sometime recognize the continued responsibility we have towards John—that is, a brief but meaningful memorial service to him. His body, presumably, is lying out on the porch and sometime we have to do something about it.
George: Our community is at its most crucial moment—a moment we hoped we could stave off, but we knew intuitively we faced this. And now it’s before us. We’ve seen that our oppressors will kill. On the one hand, if we continue ringing the bell hourly in this fashion we can be assured—reasonably assured—of the possibility that they will shoot one every hour through the night until tomorrow. We have said our goal is to carry on the community and one of those is for the survival of the community. The question is: what is our—and wherein is. our best chance of—through the power we have presented as a community—of overcoming their readiness to kill? We have a reasonable picture that they will kill one by one . There may be hope that if the whole group stands together at ten o’clock that this will break their back, their readiness to shoot. It may not completely do it. It may be in such a group activity—a mass standing together—that there will be more than one shot—three or four or more—but it may be the point at which they can do no more. And the question we have is which gives the greater chance of survival for the community? That after all is part of our goals-survival consistent with our principles. Therefore, much as I—and reluctant as I am to make this confrontation at this point, it seems to me that perhaps our best chance—our best hope—the moral thing for us to do is at ten o’clock is ring the bell—the entire community together—and run this risk.
Pauline: It seems to me from the scenario we were given at first that there is reason to believe that these usurpers do not want to kill us all, but in fact, there is evidence…Apparently this is supposed to be as quiet as possible a takeover. I don’t believe that they would be willing to kill us all, myself. And I am willing to go every hour on the hour, as many of us as want to, to ring the bell.
Lolly: I think that looking at what they did—they’ve got gas and they’ve got a gun—and I think they intend to kill the person who is ringing the bell and gas all the rest. I think this is clear. And I think we should go and surround the person with as many bodies as possible—surround the person who is ringing the bell, and the whole community should go—and I agree with Tom—that this is the ultimate fact, and that this is our point of confrontation and we have to confront it now.
Nancy: It seems to me perhaps there might be another way. It’s just an idea. I’ll throw it out to see if there’s any possibility…of communicating with them in any way? If we just go out there and they come out and shoot, this isn’t—if we could try now, perhaps, in some way to communicate with them on a human level—I don’t know how. This is just an idea.
Peter: I’m not going to he taking any food or water for the duration of this struggle only to—and I’m going to make a statement to them. And I’m going to do it not to demand that they leave the island, but simply that they examine what they’ve done—that they look into themselves and realize that they’re not just doing a job, but they’re doing great violence to some human beings. And I’ll announce it when I’m moved to do so.
Nancy: Perhaps if when they came we all turned towards them and looked at them and held out our hand, or something of this sort, they…remember what to do.
Bob: I’m quite disturbed by the tone that I hear—through this meeting as to why each one of us, as an individual, feels that the community ought to go out there. Now, I feel the community ought to express physically unity with our comrade who is ringing the bell, but if we are doing this only to protect his life, I think it is better if we are doing this to protect our life, that we are doing this en masse that we don’t believe the enemy will kill us en masse—I think this is very superficial and very selfish. And I think We ought to do it in a spirit of loving kindness, in an attempt to better communicate; with the Unionists when they come out, and in a spirit of prayer. I don’t see how we can do it any other way at this point. And this would be in line with what Pete was just saying—or somebody was just saying we hold out our hand. I’m not sure that would be the best, but somehow a deep reverence for life…and not only our lives—but the Unionists’ lives. And if I have to die in the process—or if any of us have to die—I don’t think this is so disruptive of our community as the violence is disruptive to the souls of our friends, the Unionists.
Fran: It’s now nine thirty two. We need to reach a decision quickly. Denis?
Denis: If we knew that at ten o’clock three people—which would be quite possible—were to get shot, then we’d have to face eleven o’clock and twelve o’clock and one, also, which means the entire group at each time will have to come together, which means that none of us will sleep tonite or tomorrow, and it will be hard to hold meetings tomorrow, and we will get no sleep tomorrow night until they leave because we will have to keep together while we ring this bell. So I can’t see how we are going to keep this up, although I can understand possibly we’ll do it again at ten. But I can’t see how we’re going to do it at eleven. This is one point. And the second point—less important which is a technical point—is that I feel that this gas they are using, we don’t have to respond to it because I know I can hold my breath for one minute—more than that—and if we close our eyes so that it doesn’t hurt our eyes and plug up our nose, there’s no reason why it should affect us. So I’d just like to mention that…
Chris: Well, we can essentially walk away.
Fran: Gordon has asked for something I feel is really necessary—that we take cognizance of what has happened and I feel is going to happen, and I feel that we should conduct a brief memorial service at this time. And whatever time is left we will have to decide what we are going to do at ten o’clock.
Donald: I would like to support the idea of observing ten minutes now in whatever way we feel appropriate. Personally, I think silence…I think ten minutes of silence would be very appropriate at this time, and then perhaps for those who feel…ought…to say something after that, I presume at the end of the ten minutes, that they should do…and I would prefer not to say what is on my mind before the ten minutes.
Helen S: Could I speak?
Fran: Yes, please do.
Helen S: I wish I weren’t John’s wife in this circumstance, and. I wish—but it seems to me that we’re all being so stupid. I mean, what’s important? I mean—the fact that John’s dead doesn’t make that much difference. He’s one person and there are three billion of us in the world. Now—what’s important? It seems to me that if we really believe that there is a basic—again I say I wish I weren’t John’s wife. The natural thing is for a wife to be weeping for her husband. But that’s not the reason I’m weeping. I’m weeping because it seems to me that there’s a tremendously important principle here that we’re just completely missing! And it disturbs me so deeply. I went out to talk to the umpires because I didn’t know whether we should…this civilian defense thing and continue as such—-. Well, I feel that we have not been using nonviolence in this whole situation. Could we be quiet while I compose myself, please? [Pause.] I don’t think the power of love comes from confronting people and going up and…
Pauline: Waving your arms.
Helen S:…going up to people and demanding our authority and demanding our rights and encroaching upon their territory and making them lose face—trying to make them lose face. I think it comes at any point we possibly can see-being their friend. And I think it can only come. I mean, for instance: I found this evening when John rang the bell the first time—I found that—if it had been real—if it had been a real circumstance, I hope I would have had the power to be standing on the sidelines and praying with every ounce of energy I had that he would be able to be as nonviolent as possible in the situation and that everybody else in the area would—the power of nonviolence would prevail which I have faith in. We could die. All right. But I still have a faith that the power of nonviolence can prevail if people will let it prevail through them. And I just wish to God that we could try acting this. I don’t know whether it can be acted or not. I thought about it very carefully and I thought: but I can’t play act prayer for something that isn’t real. I can’t go out there and stand and pretend. And so I went swimming with Barbara and I talked with Barbara about the invasion forces that she had put up with when she was a teenager in Siberia. And I asked Barbara—and she told me some stories. And I came back and I was sitting there in the corner. And it seemed to me that—at the time—that if—I mean I was willing to accept that the symbol of the bell was the symbol of our sovereignty and that we had come to the place where this was the important thing—to maintain our sovereignty. And then the bell was rung four gongs, or something—maybe five. All right. If this is the symbol of our sovereignty then it seemed to me that somehow—if this was the important thing—if this was the thing, then by George I should be out there ringing the bell even though I didn’t believe in the whole thing. If this is the symbol of our sovereignty—and I talked to two or three people and they said no, we’ll do it at ten o’clock. So I sat down and went on writing for awhile. But I finally couldn’t stand the emotional state anymore because I felt I couldn’t stay in the room where people, it seemed to me, were so far—unless it was a matter of just civilian defense. And so I went out and asked the umpires and they said: Well, do what you feel because it’s not in the scenario that this should be a civilian defense thing. I’m sorry for making a scene and if you want to go ahead, go ahead. I said what I felt I should.
Fran: I’m feeling something that I was utterly rejecting a short time ago, and that is…I feel like going to the invaders and expressing my personal regret and guilt at being in a situation that—in which they have felt they must do this terrible thing. And this is not to assign any blame or responsibility. It’s just that we’re all part of one another and a member of the human family has destroyed another.
Steve: I don’t want to take up too much time, but—I sort of agree with Helen that I thought nonviolence was sort of a Love Thine Enemy sort of thing, and so far I’ve seen few if any traces of that—of us doing that to the invaders.
Pauline: I must say that when I heard the two young men after supper say that they felt personally they must go and confront the usurpers and protest the gassing, I personally felt: Well, this is a young man’s trick. It was not a nonviolent act, but apparently it seems to be necessary for the young to make violence part of their way of life. In the same moment that they feel it necessary for this, they apparently can feel—apparently—I think this is—it seems to me how they feel that they can love their enemies while waving their arms and shouting at them. I myself have this fault—I consider it a fault. But I do feel that the going to the door and making what was a—when I looked at it from down there—was apparently a violent objection. I didn’t say anything because I felt no one seems to disagree with them. At least I didn’t hear anyone—hear of anyone disagreeing. But I do feel that this sort of attacking the enemy is an attack and it’s not a loving attack. And so we’re kidding ourselves when we talk about loving our enemies.
Donald: I too must…. I think we are failing in not observing silence at this moment. I much respect the feeling, emotion that’s involved in the occasion. And I wanted to say in relation to it, I hope the umpires who are present here will judge whether a sufficient lesson has been learned and call off the whole project. But if there is a sense that there are still lessons we can learn in the context of nonviolence and if the power of meeting overlordship, violence of the most brutal kind, then we should go forward with it. This is a very difficult decision that the umpires have to make at this moment when much has been said at this time which could take several years to absorb and make real for ourselves in the context of this struggle in the world to uphold the spirit of truth and love , which is nonviolence, in the face of the most difficult, the most bloody, the most terrible things that go on in the-world, and millions of people, and thousands of people at this moment are being killed by bombers in Vietnam and no doubt in other parts of the world. And would be quite happy to end our being together at this moment. But if not—I’m sorry I’m going on—but I feel the program that we had decided to undertake through which we are going to pursue this teaching, learning process should go forward, and I’ll then ring the bell at ten. o’clock.
Peter: This is not an exercise to me anymore.—John was just killed and I can’t even: think of it in these terms, and I’m sorry that you had to break—I don’t think this is a decision for us to even talk about and I don’t think we’re acting a true situation and I…
Fran: Friends, it’s twelve minutes till ten.—We must reach a decision to do something, or not to do something, at that hour.
Mary: Someone mentioned to me—I don’t know who it was—a day or so ago—well, maybe—that we are the ones who are being rigid and our friends are the one who are being flexible. And I have been thinking about that, and I think this is true with me. In the reading I have done and the actions I’ve engaged in that I consider nonviolent, I’m not at all sure that in the actual practical situation I am really nonviolent at all. I find the real barrier in this situation in being able to be myself with the invaders, intruders. I find I am acting artificially when I’m in their presence. Whenever I’ve had a chance to talk to them, as a person, I find that I’m not being myself. Now, I would like to propose this minute, or the few minutes we have left, that we dispense with this bell-ringing at ten o’clock. At least at ten o’clock. Maybe this isn’t the thing we should carry through.
Fran: On the bell-ringing, Chris?
Chris B: Well, first I feel a silence is sort of in a way necessary, and it should be divided between the fact that one of our numbers is dead and the fact that someone who is. a sort of a guest in our community has committed something which they felt they had to do. And I think we should be most concerned that they felt that they had to do this. And perhaps we should pray for them.
Fran: The thing is not to feel under the pressure of ringing it.
[The chairman requested fifteen minutes of silence. After a few minutes of silence, the sound of footsteps are heard on the veranda. Noise of furniture being moved. A door slams. Shots are heard. Scuffling.]
Denis: Can we keep our silence?
Chris: Friends. Our friends are being killed out there. I’m joining them.
[On the veranda.]
Peter: Go slow. Go slow. I love you. I love you.
Umpire 1:…the rest of you are groping around. You are trying to get away.
Pauline: Am I killed?
Umpire 1: You’re dead.
Fran: :Aren’t we all shot?
Umpire 1: Only Pauline—and the rest of you are gassed.
Umpire 2: [In background.] Gassed. Gassed.
Peter: Have you…
Umpire 3: Everyone up here is gassed.
Umpire 1: ‘Cause you’ve just come from the gas. You’re choking. You’re—you can’t see. You’re choking. You’re vomiting. You’re choking. You’re vomiting—and you’re trying to get away from the gas. You’re sick. You can’t see.
[Very realistic sounds of coughing—even vomiting.]
Umpire 1: You are not incapacitated so you can’t move. You can move. You can attempt to get away from the area.
[Sounds of shuffling.]
Umpire 1: Pauline is dead. Pauline is dead.—— Louise is dead.
Umpire 3: Louise is over here.
Umpire 2: Pauline…Walter trying…
[Sounds of several shots in the background.]
Umpire 1: Dead. Dead. Dead.
[Sound of furniture being moved. Slamming sounds. Two more shots.]
Umpire 1: Dead. There’s one—everybody around this door was killed. The rest ones are tear-gassed.
Umpire 4: Yes, tear-gassed.
Chris: Am I gassed?
Umpire 1: Yes—another minute.
[Pause—Murmuring in the background.]
Fran: There’s nothing we could say or do that—seems in our power to communicate with them.
Voice: What happened to Peter? Did he get shot?
Voice 2: Yes, Peter is dead.
Mary: Does anybody know…[Pause.] Did the umpire rule when the…
Voice:…when we can get in?
Umpire 2: I think we should.
Umpire 4: I’m convinced.
Umpire 2: Make the announcement.
Umpire 1: THE EXERCISE IS NOW CLOSED. UMPIRES’ DECISION. [Repeats in the lodge.]
12. LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
|Days at Institute||#||Name||Address||Occupation||Participation in Exercise|
|5||1||Ben Azmier||Ottawa, Ont.||civil servant|
|9||2||(Mrs.) Muriel Azmier||Ottawa, Ont.||housewife||umpire|
|9||3||Elizabeth (Lolly) Azmier||Ottawa, Ont.||student||defender|
|9||4||Barbara Cameron||Ottawa, Ont.||Student||defender|
|9||5||Louise Casselman||Ottawa, Ont.||Student||defender|
|9||6||Gordon (Chris) Christiansen||New London, Conn. USA||Professor||defender|
|9||7||(Mrs.) Mary Christiansen||New London, Conn. USA||Housewife||defender|
|9||8||Steven Christiansen||New London, Conn. USA||h.s. student||defender|
|9||9||Scott Christiansen||New London, Conn. USA||h.s. student||defender|
|9||10||Roger Christiansen||New London, Conn. USA||j.h.s. student||defender|
|9||11||Cori Christiansen||New London, Conn. USA||child||defender|
|2||12||(Mrs.) Alice Daniels||Philadelphia, Pa. USA||housewife|
|9||13||Helen Dunn||Toronto, Ont.||typist||defender|
|1||14||Dorothy Dunningham||Birmingham, England|
|9||15||(Mrs.) Frances Eliot||Ann Arbor, Mich. USA||housewife||defender|
|6||16||Harvey Feit||Montreal, P.Q.||editor||Unionist|
|9||17||Walter Freud||Montreal, P.Q.||tool designer||defender|
|9||18||Jose Giner||Montreal, P.Q.||railwayman||defender|
|9||19||Donald Groom||London, England||peace education||defender|
|9||20||Ray Harrison||Courtenay, B.C.||peace worker||Unionist|
|9||21||Tom Hathaway||Toronto; Ont.||student peace organizer||defender|
|9||22||(Mrs.) Elizabeth Hathaway||Dedham, Mass. USA||teacher||umpire|
|2||23||(Mrs.) Lillian Hinton||Philadelphia, Pa. USA||housewife|
|8||24||Pauline Hughes||Wallingford, Pa. USA||teacher||defender|
|6||25||Diana King||Philadelphia, Pa. USA||community worker||defender|
|9||26||Peter Light||Vancouver, B.C.||peace worker||defender|
|8||27||(Mrs.) Margaret Neustadt||Baltimore, Md. USA||community organizer||defender|
|9||28||Denis Newman||Toronto, Ont.||student||defender|
|9||29||Theodore Olson||Newburgh, N.Y. USA||minister||umpire|
|9||30||(Mrs.) Lydia Olson||Newburgh, N.Y. USA||housewife||defender|
|9||31||Johanna Olson||Newburgh, N.Y. USA||child||defender|
|9||32||Margrit Ann Olson||Newburgh, N.Y. USA||child||defender|
|9||33||Ernst Gustaf Olson||Newburgh, N.Y. USA||child||defender|
|9||34||Joni Ross||New York, N.Y. USA||peace education||defender|
|9||35||Beth Savan||Toronto, Ont.||h.s. student||defender|
|6||36||Hans Sinn||Montreal, P.Q.||editor||Unionist|
|6||37||Jack Stelling||Montreal,P.Q.||construction worker||Unionist|
|9||38||John Stevenson||Argenta, B.C.||teacher||defender|
|9||39||(Mrs.) Helen Stevenson||Argenta, B.C.||teacher||defender|
|9||40||Robert Tenney||Syracuse, N.Y. USA||peace intern, AFSC||defender|
|9||41||Murray Thomson||Toronto, Ont.||peace education, CFSC||umpire|
|3||42||(Mrs.) Suteera Thomson||Toronto, Ont.||grad. student|
|6||43||Tony Tugwell||Kingston, Ont.||Student||Unionist|
|9||44||(Mrs.) Bonnie Ward||Toronto, Ont.||housewife; grad student||umpire|
|9||45||George Willoughby||Deptford, N.J. USA||director, Upland Institute||defender|
|GRINDSTONE ISLAND STAFF|
|46||Barbara Bachovzeff||Barnesville, Ohio USA||artist, teacher||cook|
|47||Chris Bannerman||Ottawa, Ont.||student||assistant|
|48||Adrian Bishop||Winnipeg, Manitoba||student||Unionist|
|49||Ruth Pincoe||Toronto, Ont.||student||assistant|
|50||Jack Pocock||Toronto, Ont.||artist||umpire|
|51||(Mrs.) Nancy Pocock||Toronto, Ont.||artist||defender|
Grindstone Island is a residential peace centre in Lake Rideau, operated by the Canadian Friends Service Committee.
It was made available for this purpose through the generosity of Jim and Diana Wright of Saskatoon.
Three hundred years ago, Quakers declared to Charles II of England: “We utterly deny all outward wars and strife, and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretense whatever; this is our testimony to the whole world.”
Since then, Friends have sought to take away the occasion for war, through that which unifies rather than divides people of different nations, races and creeds. Study, work and meditation have been important aspects of this search, and are integral parts of life at Grindstone Island.
Colophon from the 1966 print edition
CANADIAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE
The content of this book has not been copyrighted. It may be quoted or used in other areas for scholarly or educational purposes without advance permission. The publisher, authors and printer requests that the source of any such quotations be noted and that publications using the contents include credit for the source.
Printed in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA by the GRINDSTONE PRESS. Labour donated.
Is there a method for dealing with conflict which does not involve us in the betrayal of our OWN beliefs, either through acquiescence to our opponent’s will or through resorting to evil means to resist him? Is there a way to meet that which threatens us, without relying on our ability to cause pain to the human beings who embodies the threat?
We believe there is a way, and that it lies in the attempt to give practical demonstration to the effectiveness of love in human relations. We believe able men, pacifist and non-pacifist alike, have taken this initial insight, developed it, demonstrated it, and built understanding and support for it in field after field of human relations. In view of this, it is strange that almost no one has made a serious attempt to explore its implications in international affairs. There is now almost no place in our great universities, few lines in the budgets of our great foundations, and little space in scholarly journals, for thought and experimentation that begin with the unconditional rejection of organized mass violence and seek to think through the concrete problems of present international relations in new terms. It is time there was.
- from the introduction to Speak Truth to Power
American Friends Service Committee
Colophon from the 2008/2014 online edition
The digital edition of Thirty-One Hours: The Grindstone Experiment was assembled from scanned text by Ken Simons. In its current (2014) version, it exists as a single large HTML5 file, and is optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
The electronic edition follows the print edition word-for-word and paragraph-for-paragraph, aside from a couple of minor changes in order (the print colophon, above, was originally at the front of the book; the pre-exercise questionnaire was laid out in a different order; and some tabular data are presented as lists and vice versa). Some typos in the original edition were corrected, but other literals (scanning errors) may still remain. Words and passages which were underlined in the original text are italicized in the electronic edition.
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Thirty-One Hours: The Grindstone Experiment
by Theodore Olson and Gordon Christiansen
Toronto: Canadian Friends Service Committee (1966).
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