We believe that as people livingand concluding
in the United States it is our
responsibility to resist the injustices
done by our government,
in our names
Not in our name
will you wage endless war
Another world is possible
and we pledge to make it real.
The pledge opposes what it characterizes as "endless war", "transfusions of blood for oil", invasions of foreign countries, bombing civilians, and killing children. It goes on, "Not in our name / will you erode the very freedoms / you have claimed to fight for." It implicitly accuses the Bush administration of deeming "whole peoples or countries" as "evil" and pledges, among other things, "...alliance with those/ who have come under attack / for voicing opposition to the war / or for their religion or ethnicity."
Among the specific principles advocated in the statement are the right of self-determination for peoples and nations and the importance of due process and dissent. The statement expresses "shock" at "the horrific events of September 11, 2001" but, evoking "similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam", describes Iraq as "a country which has no connection to the horror of September 11", and deplores the administration's "spirit of revenge" and the "simplistic script of 'good vs. evil': "In our name, the Bush administration, with near unanimity from Congress, not only attacked Afghanistan but arrogated to itself and its allies the right to rain down military force anywhere and anytime."
Referring to the U.S. government's treatment of immigrants in the wake of September 11, the statement accuses the U.S. government of creating "two classes of people: those to whom the basic rights of the U.S. legal system are at least promised, and those who now seem to have no rights at all," and evokes "the infamous concentration camps for Japanese-Americans in World War II."
Protesting "a pall of repression" and referring specifically to the USA PATRIOT Act as emblematic of that repression, it accuses the executive branch of usurping "the roles and functions of the other branches of government," and continues, "We must take the highest officers of the land seriously when they talk of a war that will last a generation and when they speak of a new domestic order. We are confronting a new openly imperial policy towards the world and a domestic policy that manufactures and manipulates fear to curtail rights."
NION urges a movement of resistance: "President Bush has declared: 'you’re either with us or against us.' Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people... We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare..." It indicates as inspiration "...Israeli reservists who, at great personal risk, declare 'there IS a limit' and refuse to serve in the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza", the abolitionists, and "those who defied the Vietnam war" and concludes, "we will resist the machinery of war and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it."
James Abourezk, former U.S. Senator Dr. Patch Adams, Robert Altman, film director Laurie Anderson, performance artist John Perry Barlow, co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Deepak Chopra, Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General and founder of ANSWER, John Cusack, actor Angela Davis, Ossie Davis, Zack de la Rocha, of Rage Against the Machine, Ruby Dee, Mos Def, Ani DiFranco, Diane DiPrima, Carl Dix,, Revolutionary Communist Party Bernadine Dohrn, Michael Eric Dyson, Steve Earle, Barbara Ehrenreich, Daniel Ellsberg, Brian Eno, Eve Ensler, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Fifty-three Maryknoll, priests and brothers Jane Fonda, Michael Franti, of Spearhead, Terry Gilliam, The Guerrilla Girls, Tom Hayden, bell hooks, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Fredric Jameson, Jim Jarmusch, Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback Casey Kasem, Barbara Kingsolver, Yuri Kochiyama, Tony Kushner, Spike Lee, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun, Phil Lesh, of the Grateful Dead, Jim McDermott, U.S. representative Cynthia McKinney, U.S. representative David McReynolds, W.S. Merwin, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Odetta, Claes Oldenburg, Ozomatli, Grace Paley, Michael Parenti, Harold Prince, Bonnie Raitt, Adrienne Rich, Edward Said, Luc Sante, Susan Sarandon, John Sayles, Pete and Toshi Seeger, Frank Serpico, Richard Serra, Rev. Al Sharpton, Wallace Shawn, Martin Sheen, Russell Simmons, Art Spiegelman, Gloria Steinem, Oliver Stone, William & Rose Styron, Studs Terkel, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Alice Walker, Wavy Gravy, Cornel West, Howard Zinn
Nonetheless, in contrast to ANSWER, NION has a broad set of endorsers and is generally regarded as a cooperative participant in the broader anti-war movement. An October 2002 article by Michael Albert and Stephen R. Shalom in Z magazine is typical among expressions by anti-war critics of the RCP that, despite its origins, NION is a cooperative participant in the movement. After excoriating the RCP for holding various positions that Albert and Shalom find abhorrent, they then write, "Despite these views, however, RCP does not push its specific positions on NION to the degree that IAC does on ANSWER. For example, while the ANSWER website offers such things as… [an] IAC backgrounder on Afghanistan…, the NION website and its public positions have no connection to the sometimes bizarre views of the RCP." This is reflected in the wide range of signatories to their "Statement of Conscience".
Also, NION is itself now a member of a broader coalition United for Peace and Justice, founded in October 2002 (a year after ANSWER) by individuals and groups seeking to curb ANSWER's influence in the anti-war movement.
An example of NION's willingness to cooperate came when they postponed their national moratorium against the war to coincide with the March 5 2003 "Books Not Bombs" student strike called by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition.