Tahan Jones

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Tahan Jones

Template:TOCnestleft Tahan K. Jones, an Oakland resident and anti-war activist, is a former Marine Corps reservist who refused to report for active duty in 1990 during the first Gulf War. He was declared absent without leave (AWOL) and charged with desertion in a time of war. If convicted, he could have faced the death penalty. However, because the United States never officially declared war on Iraq during that military action, the charges against him were eventually dismissed. Along with Marine reservist Erik Larsen, who also faced a death sentence for desertion in a time of war, Jones spoke at antiwar demonstrations across the country. "I had an obligation to take a stand," Jones said. "I felt if I kept quiet I would never look at myself in the mirror again. Now when I look in the mirror I'm proud of what I've done."[1]

Conscientious objector

Marine Cpl. Tahan K. Jones' problems with the military began Oct. 26, 1990, when he dropped an application for conscientious objector status on his commanding officer's desk.

Jones' application, which was filed on moral and ethical grounds three years after he signed up for a six-year stint in the Marine Corps Reserves and two months after Iraq invaded Kuwait, was preliminarily declared "insincere" by an investigating officer.

Rather than risk having to fight his case in a Persian Gulf combat zone, the 21-year-old Oakland man failed to report for duty when his unit shipped out earlier this month for eventual assignment in Saudi Arabia.

Now, "I'm a fugitive looking at serious time in the brig," said Jones, who has abandoned his home to live with friends in an effort to avoid arrest. "A dishonorable discharge will ruin me economically, but at least I'm standing up for my beliefs."

Jones, who contends that he naively joined the reserves at the age of 17 to learn a trade and "become a man," is among an estimated 1,700 military men and women across the nation who have filed for conscientious objector status since the crisis in the Middle East began.

Military spokesmen say, however, that they have doubts about the sincerity of the beliefs expressed in many of those applications. They point to the timing of them--after the crisis began in August--and question whether the soldiers' beliefs involve anything deeper than the desire to save their own skins.

"Some have found that simply filing an application for conscientious objector status did not stop the inextricable movement toward the sand pit," said Air Force Maj. John Odom, a military lawyer in Shreveport, La.

"They found their commander didn't say, 'Oh, this person is a future saint and should be discharged,' " Odom said. "But one has to look at the timing of the appearance to these individuals of what we Christians call the blinding light on the road to Damascus."[2]

Editorial board News for a People's World

The 1993 News for a People's World editor's committee board consisted of Alice Sunshine (editor), Marcy Rein (managing editor), committee members Pele deLappe, Conn Hallinan, Tahan Jones, Eric Mar, Hannah Miller, Jonathan Nack, Marty Price, David Raymond , Barry Sheppard and John Trinkl.[3]

Committees of Correspondence

In July 1994, Tahan Jones from Oakland, Nathan Newman from Berkeley, and Damita Brown of Santa Cruz and Raahi Reddy of Syracuse New York, (who together initiated the idea of a 1995 CoC youth conference) attended the Committees of Correspondence founding conference in Chicago.

Jones was, at the time, a member of the News for a People's World editorial committee.[4]

"Social Justice in the Bay Area" open letter

An Open Letter to Men Committed to Social Justice in the Bay Area - Calling on Men in the Bay Area to Stand Up for Reproductive Justice.

Written by Rishi Awatramani and Chris Crass Friday Jan 14th, 2005.

On January 22nd, the right-wing anti-choice movement will be coming to San Francisco to shout their anti-human rights, anti-woman message in the streets. At this time when women's rights to abortion are being challenged by the Bush administration and questioned in the Democratic party, it is crucial that we as men join the sisters organizing in opposition to this right-wing march and say: REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE FOR ALL! [5]

Signatories included Tahan Jones, Alameda Green Party, County Council .