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Idealism Without Illusions

 

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"Mark Satin ... threw himself obsessively into a [draft counseling] job at [the Student Union for Peace Action in Toronto], working seven days a week, from nine each morning often to midnight.  Out o this grew the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme." 
-- Pierre Berton, 1967: The Last Good Year, Doubleday Canada, 1997

Toronto Anti-Draft Programme:
Where the Guys Who Said “No!” Came for Help

by Mark Satin, in Consultation with Some Others from That Era

Several lifetimes ago, in April 1967, as a 20-yratr-old American Vietnam War resister in Toronto, I was named head of the Student Union for Peace Action’s Anti-Draft Programme; and after SUPA collapsed that September I co-founded and became first director of the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme.

The SUPA Programme had been organized in 1965 to answer inquiries from young Americans interested in emigrating to Canada as an alternative to serving in the U.S. military.  Under my direction its hyper-cautious culture changed and its capacities and visibility rapidly expanded.  By 1968 the reconstituted TADP had become far and away the largest pre-emigration counseling and post-emigration assistance organization for draft resisters and military deserters, supplier of a widely praised manual on emigration to tens of thousands of potential and actual war resisters (even some border guards used it), and a vital part of the international anti-Vietnam War effort.

What follows are some documents and media excerpts that can introduce you to TADP in its salad days, including an essay from me d. 2014 that focuses on the behind-the-scenes struggles we had within the TADP board, i.e. on the reality behind the romance.  Hopefully that essay will be useful to young activists today.

The TADP and its sister organizations in Canada and the U.S. have been shoved under the rug in mainstream and “alternative” surveys of American history – nobody wants to credit the so-called draft dodgers for helping to bring America to its senses.  So hopefully this page and the one on the Manual (HERE) will begin to give our sneered-upon and half-buried story its due.

SECTIONS BELOW:

I. TADP’s  Self-Description from the Back of the Manual, March 1968

II. Satin’s Essay on Key Issues Within TADP, May 2014

III. One Response to Satin’s Letter to 500 U.S. Radio Stations Asking To Be on Their Talk Shows, 1967

IV. Excerpts from Letters from War Resisters to TADP, 1967 – 1968

V. A Still Largely Suppressed Part of American History

VI. Excerpts from 12 Articles Touching on Satin and the Anti-Draft Programme, 1967 – 1968

VII. For More Information  

VIII. Afterword, 2014

 

I. TADP’s Self-Description from the Back of the Manual, March 1968

The following was the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme’s description of itself on the back cover of its principal publication, Mark Satin, ed., Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2nd ed., March 1968). Obviously, the addresses and phone numbers at the bottom of the description are no longer valid! - M.S.

The Toronto Anti-Draft Programme is the largest group in Canada helping young American immigrants who refuse to fight against Viet Nam.

The Programme works closely with the Vancouver Committee to Aid American War Objectors in providing legal research and information to the other Canadian aid groups (there are 26) and is in contact with 2,200 draft counselors in the U.S., providing background information, reporting changes in immigration practice, and verifying or denying the ever-present rumours.  [Well ...  we did establish at least initial contact with over 2,000 draft counselors; see my form letter to them on the Manual page, section "IV" - M.S.]

In 1965, the Vancouver Committee first published a fact sheet on immigration which was widely distributed by the Student Union for Peace Action, a [Canadian, Toronto-based] fraternal organization of SDS. Soon inquiries from Americans were occupying one SUPA staff member full-time, and an American war immigrant was hired to direct the counseling services. By 1968 we were receiving 100 letters and 17 visitors a day. The Programme is now run independently by a staff of six. [This paragraph contain some puffery due to tampering by TADP board members.  (Thank God they did not mess with the inside of the Manual during my timer there.)  On our very busiest days we were getting 100 / 17, we did not "average" such numbers; see my essay under "II" below for more accurate figures.  Our "staff of six" included unpaid and part-time help.  And, of course, as happened so often in those days, the unpaid female activist who handled all our correspondence on a part-time basis, after her demanding day job,  between the fall of 1966 and April 1967, when I was hired, is completely left out of the picture. - M.S.]

Trained counsellors are available seven days a week to advise people planning to immigrate, and this is our major function. But the Programme also helps immigrants once they arrive in Canada.

We have two hostels to provide temporary lodging and nearly 200 Torontonians have offered to house draft resisters temporarily. Our American Immigrants Employment Service has a full-time counsellor to help find job offers for applicants and jobs for landed immigrants. And there is a small loan fund for immigrants who experience special difficulty and have no place else to turn. Several Toronto lawyers have offered to advise immigrants with special legal problems. [This last sentence was for military deserters. - M.S.]

The Programme is assisted by dozens of volunteers, both new immigrants and Canadians. Church groups and the faculty of the University of Toronto have been especially valuable sources of assistance and support. Financially, approximately half our support comes from sympathetic Canadians and half from Americans we have helped. Contributions are welcomed -- and needed.

mailing address: P.O. Box 764, Adelaide Street Station, Toronto 2B

street address: 2279 Yonge Street, Suite 15, Toronto 12

telephone number: (416) 481-0241; employment service, 921-1926

 

II. Satin’s Essay on Key IssUes Within TADP, MAY 2014

A. The gathering storm

When the Programme’s board hired me in the spring of 1967 (it had been making do with a very part time letter-answerer since the fall of 1966), they didn’t really know what they were getting.  I looked and sounded like a dedicated 20-year-old activist, and I certainly was that, civil rights worker for SNCC in Mississippi, president of a campus SDS chapter, etc.  But I was also a natural-born American social entrepreneur, in love with the likes of Ben Franklin, Tom Paine, and William Lloyd Garrison, and within a few months I’d turned the Programme from a rather pokey entity averaging fewer than three inquirers per day, into one of the most visible, energetic, and effective organizations in the anti-war movement, averaging well over 50 phone calls, letters, and visitors per day through the last 10 months of my tine there.  I also conceived and wrote for TADP the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada, and helped turn it into a huge bestseller (see HERE).

Alas, as in many social change groups of that era, things were not as rosy as they seemed.  The Programme’s board consisted largely of socialists and pacifists.  I considered myself post-socialist and situational-pacifist.  The board felt deeply conflicted (to put it mildly) whenever heroes of theirs such as Tom Hayden, Stokely Carmichael, and Joan Baez urged draft resisters to go to jail or go “underground” in the U.S., rather than emigrate to Canada.  Two board members actually opposed printing the Manual because of SDS’s opposition to Canadian emigration; one of them characterized SDS as our “vanguard” organization whose positions we were duty-bound to follow.  I deeply felt and vociferously argued that a mass movement of young Americans to Canada could help end the war – and anyway, I couldn’t have cared less what the political left wanted me and the resisters I nurtured to do with our lives.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, the board mistrusted what they called “rabble-rousing” (remember, Canadians opposed the American Revolution), and feared it could get the border shut down.  I believed that in order to reach ordinary young Americans (i.e., the kinds of kids I grew up with in Moorhead MN and Wichita Falls TX), we had an obligation to make ourselves as visible as possible.  In addition, I thought the board’s concern about the border was a vestige of far-left paranoia.  Most war resisters were middle class, reasonably well educated, moderately ambitious, preternaturally sincere, and eminently employable, and Canadians welcomed us wholeheartedly, a beautiful thing.  They even seemed to enjoy tweaking the Americans over the draft dodger issue (even as they continued shipping war supplies to the U.S.).

Thus the stage was set for an ongoing battle, behind the scenes, between the board and me; and it never let up.  Here are some of the things I said or did that managed to baffle, offend, outrage, or alienate board members:

B. POINTS OF CONTENTION

1. Job definitions

my insistence that we provide help to military deserters and not just draft resisters (the board feared this could get us in trouble with the Canadian government);

my insistence on turning the office into a warm and welcoming environment, with couches, sleeping bags a wall-sized Canadian flag, a floor-to-ceiling peace symbol made of exiles’ draft cards, and a hot plate (the board did not want me to encourage people to “hang out.”  One board member was especially incensed about the hot plate.  “It feels like a soup kitchen!” he shouted at a board meeting, his arms waving wildly.  I had to work hard to stifle my laughter);

my insistence on devoting as many resources to post-emigration assistance as to pre-emigration counseling (before I changed the culture, that was not their m.o.  One board member, a former SUPA draft counselor, liked to say we shouldn’t be “baby sitters” for draft resisters.  Another board member explained her attitude this way: “Americans are like little children.  You can’t always be holding their hands”);

my plea that we obtain the services of a professional bookkeeper (all I knew how to do in those days was keep a primitive list of income and outgo.  The board failed to seriously address this issue, and moved quickly on to consideration of a much hotter topic for them, my unauthorized “takeover” of unused space in the SUPA building beginning the week two television crews were scheduled to interview me.  One board member and SUPA employee called me a “little imperialist,” to the general delight of the board);

my proposal that we encourage the formation of a visible and vibrant neighborhood of “American exiles” in Toronto, the better to telegraph our existence and our message to the folks back home and to the international community (this proposal, which I made the week before I was hired, almost killed my chances of employment.  As one board member put it, “We want draft resisters to just fade into the Canadian woodwork!”  A couple of years later, a so-called “American exile ghetto” did spontaneously emerge around Beverly Street near the University of Toronto.  The taker of the photograph below, Laura Jones, was co-proprietor of a photo gallery that helped anchor the neighborhood.  She and the gallery are still there; see HERE);

my unabashed encouragement of the formation of a political organization by war resisters (it too sprang up in due course; see pp. 77-89 of the online Roger Neville Williams book, cited and linked in section “VII” below);

2. Job performance

my working the same number of hours each week that young top-tier journalists and lawyers did, and do (polar opposite of “movement hours” – especially in the 1960s!);

my keeping the office open on Sundays;

my allowing some of the most problematic war resisters to sleep in the office, such as an underage girl, a guy who’d driven up in an ice cream truck filled with dead rabbits floating in formaldehyde, and a poorly trained dog named Watts;

my writing at least a couple of personalized sentences to nearly everyone that wrote us, even when our literature and form letters appeared to answer every question they might have;

my sending form letters to 500 U.S. radio stations asking to be on their talk shows (a great way to reach ordinary Americans, I argued; but board members saw it as shameless self-promotion.  They also worried that it might tempt The Authorities to Crack Down.  Wasn’t the underground press a better fit?  You can see what most radio stations thought by reading WBEL’s reply to my letter under “III” below);

my sending what was, in essence, a five-page direct-mail letter, something I’d never seen or even heard of before, to a random sample of 50 people on our 400-person mailing list (no matter that it raised $2,000, over $14,000 in today’s dollars – “I’ve never seen anything like this before!” one board member roared at me after charging into our office, which was full of guys waiting to be counseled.  “Who cares about your background?  Or what goes through the minds of these kids at night? ...  Who do you think you are?”  It would be another decade before the North American left began making use of emotionally resonant direct-mail);

3. Manual

my going ahead and writing the Manual even after I’d been told, at a board meeting, that our flimsy and woefully inadequate little brochure was quite enough and that a more substantial publication could get the border shut down, and us shut down;

my inviting board members to come to the office and review  a draft of the manuscript (their response was eloquent: not one of them showed up);

my sending unsolicited review copies of the Manual to hundreds of journalists and 2,000 draft counselors across North America (supposedly another Mark Satin ego trip) – see my cover letter to draft counselors under section IV HERE';

my imploring the board to print 30,000 copies of the second edition, given that 12,000 copies were already on back order and that a major Canadian printer who’d heard me speak at a church had promised to do one, and only one, print run for me, on super-modern machinery, at a bargain-basement price (in the end I was lucky to get the board to agree to a print run of 20,000.  If you’re wondering why the second edition, pictured above, looks less like a movement publication than a government one, with semi-gloss paper and an exquisite typeface, well ...);

4. media

my incessant use of the mainstream Toronto and U.S. media to publicize our existence and our work – for examples, see section “VI” below and section “I” HERE (the board was convinced we “couldn’t handle” all the people I was trying to reach);

my comfort level with mainstream reporters (in those days, the far left was extremely wary of the press.  A SUPA staff member once told me, “Mark, the Globe and Mail and the CBC are the enemy!”);

my willingness to say what I thought and felt to those reporters, rather than regurgitate talking points to them; 

my conviction that, in the U.S. media, even negative publicity was good publicity, since it let guys know where to go for help;

my eagerness to take public issue with pacifist and left-wing opposition to Canadian emigration;

my attempt, in the New York Times Magazine article, to put some distance between the Anti-Draft Programme and the far-left forces within SUPA (see fourth excerpt under “VI” below);

5. (Even more) uppity behaviors

my leading a long procession of war resisters to a “love-in” on the University of Toronto campus, then conducting a marriage ceremony there for a hippie-looking war-resister couple (you can see the once “controversial” Globe and Mail photo of their embrace opposite page 201 in Canadian historian Pierre Berton’s book 1967: The Last Good Year, published in 1997.  I’m the guy standing with the weight of the world on his shoulders in front of the tree);

my reimbursing myself, after the Manual had generated thousands of dollars, for $324.20 that I’d personally spent on office supplies and on unreturned loans to destitute war resisters – all documented – over a nine-month period;

my moving in with one of Toronto’s most visible radical feminists, a 27-year-old former SUPA staffer and critic of the organization (our relationship is caricatured in the Atlantic Monthly article referenced below.  A fairer portrait of Heather is in Gary Dunford, “Heather Dean Doesn’t Like the Way YOU Live,” Toronto Star, July 1, 1967, special “Second Century” section, p. 71);

my entering the premises of SUPA’s successor organization, the New Left Committee, through a window at 9:15 in the morning to use a mimeograph machine that I was authorized to use (and inadvertently breaking the window... not very smart);

my attempt to reconstitute the board, after SUPA collapsed, so it would include fewer political radicals and more representatives of mainstream Canadian society – specifically, a co-founder of House of Anansi Press (publisher of the Manual and of Margaret Atwood); a Toronto entrepreneur; an ally at the Canadian Department of Manpower and Immigration, a renowned Canadian historian; and an attorney rather than a law student.  All five had contributed guest pieces to the second edition of the Manual (the board threatened to sue my counseling partner and me if we carried out our plan.  They meant it, too.  They’d have probably lost, but they’d have pulled the Programme down with them; so we had no choice but to give in).

C. IN PERSPECTIVE

By now I’m sure you get the picture.  It was a culture clash.  Within weeks, I had become a personification for the board of Amerikan arrogance and overreach and irresponsibility; and they had became, for me, a personification of Canadian timidity, under-reach, stodginess, fearfulness-coupled-with-resentment, and refusal to dream big dreams.  It was also a generational clash – I was the only true Baby Boomer among them.  It was the supercilious fathers and mothers against the rebellious son.  Except in this case, the fathers and mothers were the ones with the hyper-left-wing politics.  (Our most “conservative” board member once began a board meeting by reading, only half-humorously, from a devotional – the Little Red Book of Chairman Mao.)

Every night when I’d walk home (and it was often close to midnight), draft dodgers’ confidences and words of appreciation would be ringing in my ears – and I’d feel the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head because of the smoldering disapproval and resentment of most of the board members.

I knew my place at the Programme couldn’t, and wouldn’t, last much longer, and my “solution” was to devote myself ever more completely to caring for the exiles, sometimes even bringing them home with me (which Heather rarely appreciated!).  I was indifferent to many board members’ romantic heroes – Fidel Castro, Mao Tse-tung, Louis Riel – but I did absolutely feel like one of my own boyhood heroes, Holden Caulfield, standing on the edger of a rye field and catching all the young people before they fell off the cliff and did irreparable damage to their lives ... and to Vietnamese lives.

The end, when it finally came in May 1968, was uglier than I’d imagined.  (Remember, I was only 21 and a product of kindly small towns in the American Midwest.)  I was fired at a board meeting for ridiculously trumped-up reasons – the only one they really meant was “arrogance” (their word).  The two board members who voted to keep me were the only ones who’d actually worked with me, my counseling partner and the head of our job-finding service.  One member of the board, a married Trotskyite who’d spent years trying to bed the woman I’d moved in with, vowed to erase me from the organization’s memory (several board members nodding their heads in stern approval), and within a few weeks thousands of letters that I’d answered or caused to be answered, many with my notes jotted on them, “mysteriously” disappeared from our office, never to resurface.

A rumor was started that I’d quit TADP because of “burnout.”  In addition, my name was removed from the title page of future editions of the Manual, and a rumor was started that I was only the nominal author or that I’d based it on SUPA’s earlier work.  Those tall tales diminish academic books and articles to this day.

Although I’d left all my drafts of the Manual behind in carefully-marked manila file folders, along with my ruthless edits of the guest chapters I’d solicited and comments on the manuscript from nine draft counselors across North America, “somehow” none of that material made it into TADP’s historical file at the University of Toronto library, the Jack Pocock Memorial Collection, named after a radical Quaker activist who was the second person on our board who vowed to fire me.  That was in September 1967 – just after I’d appeared on the cover of a glossy Canadian magazine.  His wife, the keeper of the file, was the first, in May 1967 – fewer than two months after I’d been hired.

Given all that, I was, and remain, remarkably unbitter.  We did help stop the war, and that was the main thing.  In the fall I moved to Vancouver and started “The Last Resort,” a 50-bed-and-pallet hostel for draft dodgers and military deserters.  By the early 1970s I’d begun work on a book called New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society.  It was eventually published in Canada, the U.S., Sweden, and Germany (see HERE).

I know, now, that I was partly at fault for what happened between the board and me.  In those first years of my adult life I lacked the personal and social skills to communicate well with the kinds of people that were on the board – not to mention the patience; though it might have helped if even one of them had tried to honestly communicate with me.  It must have been difficult for them to watch me, a small, woefully undereducated Amerikan kid with unkempt hair and torn clothes, get myself and the Programme into the Toronto Star at least 10 times, while the causes they deeply cared about often failed to get the coverage they deserved.  (The Programme fell completely off the Star’s radar screen after I was fired.)  It hurt me, more than I knew at the time, that not one board member ever thanked me for writing the Manual – even after it was clear that the Manual would be helping to support their efforts for years to come.

I did appreciate, and continue to appreciate, the lesson in human nature that the board inadvertently taught me – that no matter how “noble” our politics, we are all still and shall forever remain the deeply flawed creatures of the Old Testament.  In fact, for reasons only novelists can fully explain – Orwell, Silone, Koestler, Richard Wright – the Seven Deadly Sins may be most prevalent among those whose politics are most “noble.”  (Or try my Jungian friend Connie Zweig’s anthology Meeting the Shadow.)  There were other lessons too, but I leave it to you figure them out.  If you are a young idealist, you will need them for your journey.

 

III. ONE RESPONSE TO SATIN’S LETTER TO U.S. RADIO STATIONS ASKING TO BE ON THEIR TALK SHOWS, 1967

Few stations bothered to respond, and most of the responses were consistent with the one below.  One respondent simply wrote, “DROP DEAD.” – M.S.

May 29, 1967

Dear Mr. Satin:

We at WBEL have absolutely no interest whatsoever in glorifying the despicable practice of draft dodging.

Your disrespect to your country is an insult to all loyal Americans, especially those who have served or are now serving in the armed forces.

The management of WBEL cannot with a clear conscience justify your appearance on this radio station.  We have too much respect and admiration for our men risking their lives in Viet Nam to encourage your type of misguided conduct.

Yes, we believe in free speech and the right to dissent, but not when it means defiance of the law, or compromising with American ideals and responsibilities of citizenship. ...

Thank goodness the vast majority of our American youth has the courage, integrity and will to serve its country in time of need.  Their patriotism is in striking contrast to your disgusting behavior.

Joseph Moen
General Manager, WBEL
Beloit, Wisconsin

 

IV. EXCERPTS FROM LETTERS FROM WAR RESISTERS TO TADP, 1967 – 1968

The originals are in the Mark Satin Papers at the University of Toronto; see section “VI” below.  (I had swiped a random handful of letters the night before I was fired – a good thing, too, since as I explain above, most of the rest of the thousands of letters I’d answered mysteriously “disappeared” a few weeks later.)  Perhaps you can sense from these excerpts why I got so caught up in this work. – M.S.

late May 1967

Dear Mr. Satin,

I have just read the article about your organization in The New York Times Magazine of May 21 [excerpts below – ed.], and I don’t believe a word of it except your address, which may have changed since then. ...

[Name withheld]
Columbus, Ohio

///////////////

August 23, 1967

Dear Sir:

Having learned about the work you are doing in Canada in the August, 1967 issue of McCall’s [excerpt below - ed.], I am most anxious to see if you can aid me. ...  A friend who is a recent draftee into the United States army is willing to serve his country for two years, but he will in no way directly support the Viet Nam war, if he is called upon to do so. ...  Would he be eligible for Canadian citizenship as an American deserter? ...

[Name withheld; female]
Billings, Montana

///////////////

March 3, 1968

Dear Mr. Satin,

I have a problem, with the draft, I have been drafted and decided to leave after 4 months of Viet Nam training.  I am AWOL.  Can your group help me?

As for the requirements so stated in the article “Canada’s Haven for Draft Dodgers” [excerpts below – ed.].  First off, I’m not a Hippie nor do I relish extremely long hair.  I am merely a man with strong principles, that unless harmed by another I will not evoke terror death on any person or persons for undue reasons. ...

[Name withheld]
Cabana Motor Hotel stationery
Palo Alto, California

///////////////

March 3, 1968

Hello,

Situation: I have a friend who is in the Army National Guard.  Soon, he believes, his unit will be activated.  He wishes not to support the war effort, yet finds jail an unacceptable alternative ...  He would write you [himself] but feels the F.B.I. and C.I.A. have infiltrated your organization. ...

[Name withheld]
East Alton, Illinois

///////////////

March 8, 1968

Dear Sirs,

I find myself in the unfortunate and detestable position of one “invited: to fight his native country’s illegal and unspeakable war.  My fiancée and I are considering Canada as an alternative and we have many questions. ...

[Name withheld]
San Francisco, California

///////////////

March 12, 1968

Dear Mr. Satin,

I’m a grad student at U. of Missouri and am in the advanced program in ROTC. ....  I don’t hate the U.S., but cannot participate in this war. ...

[Name withheld]
Columbia, Missouri

///////////////

May 3, 1968

Dear Mr. Satin and Mr. Jaffe,

Enclosed is a check for five dollars for which please send me 4 (four) more of copies of your new Manual.  I would appreciate it if you could RUSH them since I need at least one more available by May 14th. ...

[Name withheld; female]
Education Librarian at [a public university]
Ohio

 

V. A STILL LARGELY SUPPRESSED PART OF AMERICAN HISTORY

Here I am, uncharacteristically on the far left, counseling American war resisters at our offices on Spadina Avenue in Toronto in August 1967 (photo courtesy of Laura Jones).  The front room was so crowded at the time that the counseling session here is taking place in one of the small side rooms.  I was 20 years old.

It is now estimated that approx. 50,000 young American men and women legally emigrated to Canada during the Vietnam War - and based on my "frontline" experience, I  am certain that for every one of us that emigrated, dozens more were seriously thinking about it.   I can also testify that most of those folks were bright, skilled, educated, ambitious, deeply principled, or all the above - in other words, we were a significant chunk of America's future.  That's why I believe that coming to Canada (or even talking about coming to Canada with friends and family) helped stop the killing and helped end the war. - M.S.

 

VI. EXCERPTS FROM 12 ARTICLES TOUCHING ON SATIN AND THE ANTI-DRAFT PROGRAMME, 1967 – 1968

100 words max. per excerpt, two excerpts max. per article. – M.S.

A. SUPA

“Serena and Bill Swanson, which are not the real names of this attractive [Texas] couple in their mid-forties, earnestly cling to the hope that none of their friends or neighbors will ever learn that their 20-year-old son, Peter [ahem! – M.S.], has gone to Canada as a draft dodger. ...  The saddest aspect of the Swansons’ dilemma is that Peter’s action is unlikely to remain a secret.  Their son, an exceptionally bright, sensitive and articulate boy with a quiet, dry wit, has no wish to hurt then; but at the same time, he is rapidly becoming the unofficial spokesman for the draft dodgers in Toronto.”
– Gail Cameron, “Why ‘Good’ Sons Become Draft Dodgers,” Ladies’ Home Journal, August 1967

“In Toronto, the Anti-Draft Program, which [is a project of] the Student Union for Peace Action [“SUPA”], is directed by [20]-year-old Mark Satin, himself an American, who sought refuge in Canada only six months ago.  An energetic young man with a gift for organization, Satin works out of a cluttered office in an old converted store at 658 Spadina Avenue, where [he handles] inquiries from Americans seeking information about immigration requirements and opportunities in Canada.”
– Olive Skene Johnson, “Draft-Age Dilemma,” McCall’s magazine, August 1967

“Mark Satin ... looks and sounds just like a boy many a citizen of Wichita Falls, Tex., [his last home town,] would love to give a good spanking to. ....  He has a yellow button announcing DISSENT in the lapel of his rumpled jacket.  Dissent is certainly what he is about, and he has had a great chance to exercise it since he joined SUPA last month as a $25-a-week counselor for draft emigrants from the United States. ‘That godawful sick, foul country; could anything be worse?’ he asks, his frayed sleeve bumping against a loaf of sliced bread on the desk.  (‘My breakfast and lunch,’ he explains apologetically.)”
– Oliver Clausen, “Boys Without a Country,” The New York Times Magazine, May 23, 1967

“Despite SUPA’s name, peace is certainly not its primary concern.  There is the Vietcong sign in the window.  Inside, there is a wall map of South Vietnam showing ‘liberated areas,’ meaning Vietcong-controlled areas, and a sign proclaiming ‘Free Canada’ (from the United States). ...  ‘Perhaps a Vietcong victory is more important to SUPA than peace in Vietnam,’ acknowledges Satin uncomfortably.  ‘I don’t go for much of that.  You might say my relationship with SUPA – since I’m here just to help draft resisters – is ambiguous.”
– Oliver Clausen, “Boys Without a Country,” The New York Times Magazine, May 23, 1967

“Today, organizations helping young Americans come to Canada to avoid military service claim there are 10,000 draft dodgers in the country. ...  Mark Satin, the 20-year-old son of a Minnesota university professor, came here as a draft dodger [six] months ago, and is now SUPA [Anti-Draft Programme] director here, helping other young Americans flee north.  Some are hippies with long hair, but most are ordinary young men who move into the white collar community and quickly get jobs.  Satin claims to know 50 draft dodgers who will be teaching in Metro elementary and secondary schools this fall.”
– Earl McRae, “U.S. Draft Dodgers in Toronto: Safe – and Lonely,” Toronto Star, August 5, 1967

“[Satin’s] decision not to fight in Vietnam is one of conscience.  The war, he believes, is morally wrong.  [Also believed it was strategically wrong. – M.S.]  Mark Satin has thrown himself, as much as any man can, into helping his draft-evading contemporaries.  For the first time in his twenty years, he has found a cause he can believe in.  Seven days a week, from nine in the morning until, often, very late at night, he runs the SUPA Anti-Draft programme on Spadina Avenue.  The premises [stands out] because of the sunny yellow door with the peace dove painted on it.”
– Anastasia Erland, “Faces of Conscience I: Mark Satin, Draft Dodger,” Saturday Night magazine (Canada), cover story, September 1967

“On my first visit, there were ten to fifteen young Americans drifting in and out of the SUPA office.  Some were settled for the evening in the elderly but comfortable furniture (all donated).  They were reading, napping, gassing; some writing letters, one strumming a guitar.  There was a mail basket and someone to take and pass on messages; a hot plate, an assortment of instant foods.  There’s always someone’s baggage lying around. ...  All the young Americans seem to respond to Mark Satin.  His enthusiasm for the job and general air of unflappability seem catching.”
– Anastasia Erland, “Faces of Conscience I: Mark Satin, Draft Dodger,” Saturday Night magazine (Canada), cover story, September 1967

B. TADP

“Russell was only one of six or seven young U.S. nationals who made their way to the TADP office at 2279 Yonge Street yesterday, looking for shelter, friends, assistance in applying for landed-immigrant status and possibly most important of all, a sense of security.  According to Mark Satin, [Russell] is typical of [those] who have been assisted by the program since Satin took over as its salaried director in April.  A 20-year-old from Wichita Falls, Tex., Satin ... says he came to Canada because he saw the Vietnam war as ‘not just a mistake, but symptomatic of what the U.S. is really all about.’”
– John Burns, “Deaf to the Draft,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), front page story, October 11, 1967

“After [Satin’s] landed-immigrant status was granted, he made his way to Toronto in [February], contacted the anti-draft program and within [two months] found himself appointed its director.  For $25 a week – he has no other means of support – he works 12, sometimes 16 hours a day, ... directing volunteers who mail information to inquirers right across the U.S., and assisting those who eventually arrive in Toronto. ...  They come, predominantly, from the large cities of the Eastern Seaboard, the Midwest and California, but rarely from the South, where Satin, a Southerner, says: ‘You get drafted to prove your manhood.’”
– John Burns, “Deaf to the Draft,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), front page story, October 11, 1967

“Since last summer the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme has come of age.  It struck out on its own after SUPA, its parent organization, ... was all but disbanded for lack of direction and support.  The Programme has moved to permanent quarters at 2279 Yonge Street. ...  There its 21-year-old director, Mark Satin, [answers mail inquiries and helps new arrivals] establish themselves. ...  The existence of this office, the fact that it is busy seven days a week, and the publicity it has been getting in both Canada and the United States testify that dodging the draft by emigrating to Canada has become a new American practice.”
– Jan Schreiber, “Canada’s Haven for Draft Dodgers,” The Progressive, January 1968

“The growth of the Toronto office, the institutionalization of the Canadian way of draft evasion, and its widespread success during the past year have caused some concern in the United States on both the left and in government.  For a time both the SDS and the American Friends’ Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors officially opposed publicizing the Canadian alternative on the grounds that by coming to Canada young men were diminishing the ranks of those who opposed the Vietnamese war at home. ...  The State Department [tried] last spring to procure an extradition treaty with Canada [covering] draft evaders, but [could not].”
– Jan Schreiber, “Canada’s Haven for Draft Dodgers,” The Progressive, January 1968

“’Are you here to help?’ soft-spoken Mark Satin asked the trio of young girls sitting on the worn sofa with the apple strudel in their laps.  The girls nodded happily and Satin, 21, went off to find a knife to cut the cake.  He returned with a metal bookend, sliced off a few chunks, and soon the Toronto anti-draft office was filled with a gentle munching.  Most people – and there were plenty in the office yesterday – were Americans.  ‘I’m not against the draft,’ Satin said, leaning on a desk where he’s typing a form letter telling Americans how to avoid it.  ‘Defensive armies are all right, but not the way it is right now.’”
– Gary Dunford, “Toronto’s Anti-Draft Office Jammed,” Toronto Star, February 3, 1968

“The [Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada] is one of the manifestations of the growing organizational apparatus and financial strength of the Anti-Draft Programme, which deliberately uses the British spelling of ‘Programme.’  Other such signs, as reported by Mark I. Satin, the 21-year-old director of the ‘Programme,’ are: ... A list of 200 Torontonians who have offered to shelter and feed draft dodgers until they can get jobs and find their own lodging; ...  Establishment of an employment service to help the youths find jobs. ...  Mr. Satin’s office gives cash [loans] to draft resisters who are without funds.”
– Edward Cowan, “Expatriate Draft Evaders Prepare Manual on How to Immigrate to Canada,” The New York Times, February 11, 1968

“The [Toronto] ‘Anti-Draft Programme’ is now the principal organized agency for the relief and aid of American refugees from service in the United States ‘peacetime’ army. ...  Satin is a rather quiet, capable young guy who listens to people and questions things and does very well at his job of helping the exiles...  Satin grew up in a small town in Minnesota and felt an intuitive sort of rebellion, but unlike Bob Dylan, he did not play the guitar and so had no way of expressing it. ...  ‘The war,’ he said, ‘made a lot of things clear to me.’”
– Dan Wakefield, “Supernation at Peace and War,” The Atlantic Monthly, March 1968

“The address for draft resisters in Toronto is 2279 Yonge St., the committee’s two-room office among a nest of other modest offices ...  above a small hamburger-heaven-type cafe. ...  Waiting room decor is a semi-humorous blend of comedy and propaganda, a combination not entirely lacking in effectiveness.  A gigantic map of the United States, decorated with clumps of pins, tells each new arrival that he is not alone. ...  Mark Satin, a [21]-year-old Texan, is director of the Toronto committee. ...  A shaggy-haired (Prince Valiant-length) student of political science, Satin can see but one course ahead for the United States, and it leads to disaster.”
– Glen McCurdy, “The American Draft Resisters in Canada,” Chicago Tribune, March 10, 1968

“Two [draft counselors] were telephoning people willing to house newly-arrived draft evaders.  Satin spoke in a low voice: ‘I know you’ve had quite a few recently . . . and when were you going out tonight?  Well, perhaps I’d better find somebody else.  You’re sure it’s all right?  O.K., hold on a second.’  He held out the phone to a youth in a blue sweater.  ‘Here – introduce yourself.’  ‘Hello?’ began the American, looking into the telephone receiver as if he might see the Canadian on the other end.  ‘My name’s Steve ... ‘  Satin smiled.”
– Gary Dunford, “Toronto’s Anti-Draft Office Jammed,” Toronto Star, February 3, 1968

“Satin, 21, the son of a college teacher, a handsome man with shoulder-length hair, is perhaps the best known of American draft dodgers in Canada. ...  [He] is chairman of the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme, the most active of 26 organizations in Canada set up to advise prospective American exiles.  He is the editor of a “Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada,” an 88-page book now in its second printing. ...  Word of his activities has spread through 100 “draft-counseling” organizations in the United States, 35 of which have the word ‘resistance’ or ‘resisters’ in their names.”
– Harry F. Rosenthal, “Canada Increasingly Draft Dodgers’ Haven,” Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1968

 

VII. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

This website’s Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada page.

Wikipedia, “Mark Satin” biography, Section II. – includes a more “objective” account of my time at TADP than you’ll find above.  The TADP-Manual section cites over three dozen high-quality references.  The bio has become a “Featured Article” on Wikipedia, an honorific bestowed on fewer than one in 1,000 articles there; click on the bronze star in the upper-right-hand corner of the bio to learn more.

Joseph Jones (webmaster), Vietnam War Resisters in Canada – great mega-website, run by an American war resister and (now former) longtime librarian at the University of British Columbia, my alma mater.  Includes links to war resister biographies, essays, fiction, interviews, memoirs, news items, and more.

Roger Neville Williams, The New Exiles: American War Resisters in Canada, Liveright Publishers, 1970, pbk. 1971 – still my favorite of the draft dodger books, and now largely online.  The major draft counseling groups are in Chapter Two; the Manual and I are on pp. 62-67.

The Mark Satin Papers, Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto – includes my unpublished 30-page memoir of “real life” at TADP, 50 press clips and book excerpts about me at TADP, 15 letters to TADP from potential war resisters, 50 letters from my personal life c. 1967-68, and more.  Also contains material about the later, New Age Politics part of my Canadian journey.

(A true and correct copy of all the University of Toronto material, above, is at the Joseph A. Labadie Collection at Hatcher Graduate Library, University of Michigan; and I keep a second copy in Oakland CA.  If you are a serious researcher and wish to access it in Oakland, e-mail me at msatin (at) mindspring (dot) com.  Put “Research” in the subject line.)

The Jack Pocock Memorial Collection, Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, University of Toronto – also tells the story of TADP and the Manual.  Concentrates on the period after 1968.  

 

VIII. AFTERWORD, 2014

Received this e-mail on June 30, 2014, at least 46 years since I last crossed paths with this man; whom I do not remember; and now that I have Charlie’s permission I’d like to share it with you:

Mark,

Thank you for helping so many including me.

You found me a country that wanted me.

You found me a place to live, 267 Wellesley Street East in Toronto.

You gave me confidence to make Canada my home.

You helped me to cross into the States and then back to Canada to get my landed immigrant status.

I became a good citizen, business owner and a teacher of adults.

You put the fear of God in my mother’s heart when I told her “Satin” was helping me to be a deserter.

You gave me a letter to read to my parents that kept me from crying and helped them to understand why I was making this choice.

Thanks to you many lives were saved.

Charlie Miller,

Canadian

 

 

 

ABOUT THE RADICAL MIDDLE CONCEPT

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GREAT RADICAL MIDDLE  GROUPS AND BLOGS:

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SOME PRIOR RADICAL MIDDLE INITIATIVES:

Generational Equity and Communitarian platforms 1990s

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New World Alliance, 1979 - 1983

PDF of  the Alliance's "Transformation Platform," 1981

SOME PRIOR  WRITINGS BY MARK SATIN:

New Options Newsletter, 1984-1992 (includes back issue PDFs!)

New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society, 1976,  1978 (includes 1976 text PDF!)

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