A heavier scene than even the high schools exists in No-No Land of the military. None-the-less, against incredible odds, courageous G.I.’s both here and overseas have managed to put out a number of underground newspapers. If you are a G.I. interested in starting a paper, the first thing to do is seek out a few buddies who share your views on the military and arrange a meeting, preferably off the base. Once you have your group together, getting the paper published will be no problem. Keeping your staff secret, you can have one member contact with someone from a G.I. coffee house, anti-war organization or nearby underground newspaper. This civilian contact person will be in a position to raise the bread and arrange the printing and distribution of the paper. You can write one of the national G.I. newspaper organizations listed at the end of this section if you are unable to find help locally. The paper should be printed off the base. Government equipment should be avoided.
Correspondence and subscriptions can be solicited through the use of a post office box. Such a box is inexpensive and secret (at least that’s what the G.I. papers now publishing report) from military snoopers up tight about bad publicity if they get caught spying. If you are mailing the paper to other G.I.’s use first class mail and a plain envelope. This is advice to anybody sending stuff to a G.I. The mail is handled by “lifers” who will report troublemakers to their C.O. (Commanding Officer) if they notice anti-war slogans on envelopes or dirty commie rags coming their way.
You’ll want to publish stuff relevant to the lives of the G:I.’s on your base. News of demonstrations, articles on the war, racism, counter-culture and vital info on how to bug the higher-ups and get out of the military service are all good. Get samples of other newspapers already in operation to get the flavor of writing that has become popular.
Distributing the paper is really more of a problem than the publishing. Here you run smack into Catch 22, which says, “no printed matter may be distributed on a military base without prior written permission of the commanding officer.” No such permit has been granted in military history. A few court battles have had limited success and you should go through the formality of obtaining a permit. Send the first issue of the paper to your C.O. with a cover letter stating where and when you intend to distribute the paper on the base. In no part of the application should you list your names. Have a civilian, preferably a civil liberties lawyer, sign the declaration of intent. If more info is requested, go over it with the lawyer before responding, Natch, they’re going to want to know who you are and where you get your bread, but fuck ’em. Whether or not you get a permit or have a successful court battle is pretty academic. If the military pigs catch you handing out an underground paper on the base, you’re headed for trouble. Use civilian volunteers from your local peace group in as many public roles as possible. They’ll be glad to help out.
Print and distribute as many copies as you can rather than concentrating on an expensively printed paper with numerous pages. The very existence of the paper around the base is the most important info the paper can offer. Leave some in mess halls, theaters, benches, washrooms, and other suitable spots. Off base get the paper to sympathetic reporters, coffee houses, colleges and the like. Outside U.S.O. centers and bus terminals are a good place to get the paper out. Rely on donations, so you can make the paper free. Get it together. Demand the right to join the army of your choice. The People’s Army! As Joe Hill said in one of his songs, “Yes, I’ll pick up a gun but I won’t guarantee which way I’ll point it.”