Winter Dellenbach, activist, attorney, and proud first organizer of the Los Angeles Resistance, often ends her e-mail correspondence with that simple call. Resist!
The Los Angeles Resistance was founded in 1967 to stop the war in Vietnam, and later Laos and Cambodia. Supporters worked with draft-age men who publicly refused to cooperate with the draft and refused induction into the military. Resisters often served prison terms for their commitment.
In December of 2013, Bob Zaugh, Los Angeles Resistance activist, talked to our City Librarian John Szabo about the the Los Angeles Resistance, the materials he and Winter had gathered from fellow Resisters, and the need to find a home for the collection.
Soon enough, I was on my way to visit the archive with a colleague to take a look.
From the very first peek into the boxes, we knew we were looking at something very special.
It wasn’t just an archive we were acquiring--it was also a piece of Los Angeles history, and through the opportunity to meet and talk to the Resisters, living and breathing history. Bob and Winter were eager to share their story, and were so generous with their time and so gracious with their storytelling. They were also eager to get the archive out to researchers and to the general public.
Recently I talked to Winter about the Resistance, and its continuing legacy in her personal and professional life.
Q- How has the Resistance left its mark on you?
A- I never got over The Resistance--why would I? Being a worker and organizer with L.A. Resistance was a full immersion experience in doing the truly audacious. So young, yet willing to try to stop a war nonviolently gave me lifelong confidence that I could try the really hard things. I became a public interest law attorney to use the law for social change, to resist, reform, and at times find some justice for people who too often found none.
Q- How do you see the legacy of the Resistance?
A- In the week since the Trump inauguration, Nonviolent Resistance to repression is everywhere in new forms responding quickly in new ways via social media. Millions world wide, thousands in airports, and hundreds of cabbies, even titans of the tech industry are all resisting, doing their best to defend our Democracy. The Resistance Lives!
Q- The Los Angeles Resistance Collection/Archive is now available at Central Library for the public to experience. What is your vision on how it will be used?
A- My hopes for The Los Angeles Resistance Collection is that it gets a fair amount of jostling due to the variety of potential inquiry. Researchers and writers interested in draft resistance and Vietnam will come, and some already have, but also I think there will be those interested in women and Vietnam, the psychology of nonviolent action, the Back to the Land Movement, films with Resisters, Movement printing presses, the prison experience, demonstrations and federal trials as performance art and as a way to undermine illegitimate authority. I hope people come away with a fundamental understanding--those in The Resistance didn't need a million people or a million dollars and didn't need to get a gun or build a bomb to have a profound impact on the world. What they needed was commitment, audacity, and faith in each other.
Commitment to nonviolence, local community action, audacity,
and faith in each other.
Sound like a formula we should get behind, right here and right now?
The Los Angeles Resistance Archive is now available for research at the Los Angeles Public Library, Rare Books Room. Please make an appointment online if you wish to view the collection. The archive’s finding aid is available through the Online Archive of California, www.oac.cdlib.org.