This video contains raw footage shot for "Five Day Bicycle Race," a project comprised of live in-studio commentary and taped edited coverage of the 1976 Democratic National Convention in New York City. Produced by independent videomakers calling themselves The Image Union (including many members of TVTV and Videofreex), it aired on Manhattan Cable for three hours per night for five days during the convention. In this video, Vietnam War Resistor Fritz Efaw is interviewed about fleeing the country after being drafted, his current work in gaining amnesty for others like him, and how avoiding the draft affected his family back in the states.
00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen.
00:34Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of one of the documentarians sitting down with delegate and Vietnam War draft resistor Fritz Efaw. The videomaker asks Efaw to talk about his resistance of the draft and his work in the G.I. movement in Britain. He explains that he came to be a delegate in order to promote amnesty for veterans with dishonorable discharges and war resistors.
02:06Copy video clip URL The videomaker asks Efaw when he began to think about retuning to the U.S. He states that he began thinking about it after the war had come to an end. He was able to return through the support of the Amnesty Council, who paid for nearly all of his legal fees in fighting to get back to the states. Efaw says that he’s present as a delegate in hopes to make a large political impact so that others like him wouldn’t have to go through the same process that he has gone through.
03:12Copy video clip URL Efaw states that he feels he is representing overseas Americans, 4,000 indicted draft resistors, 30,000 military offenders, and 700,000-800,000 Vietnam era veterans with less than honorable discharges. He states that the Vietnam vets with less than honorable discharges are not being considered for amnesty proposals. Efaw believes that helping this group in particular would have the most lasting effect on the country.
04:27Copy video clip URL Efaw talks about his work and the responses he has been getting from it. He goes on to talk about being back in America and his adopted European way of thinking. He states that he has come to develop a different perception of America: “I’ve built up a perception of America as being a place that’s very rich and very powerful and is on the one hand to be very envied because of the great deal of wealth that people have built up here, and that wealth is very–I think that’s, if you have a lot of people throughout the world, that’s a very enviable thing and at the same time it’s a very fearful thing because I think people are aware that that power is misused by the government in the name of the American people.”
06:10Copy video clip URL When asked if he feels any bitterness against the country, Efaw says that he doesn’t, but feels that war resistors are characterized as unthinking cowards. “I think that one of the important experiences of having been in a place where there were both GIs and exiles working together these past few years, I think we’ve been able to overcome that kind of false dichotomy that imposed often from people from different political perspectives.”
07:18Copy video clip URL The videomaker asks Efaw about the defeat of the Bleacher Amendment. Efaw says that if the amendment had been passed, amnesty would have been discussed on the floor for twenty minutes without a vote. Efaw now says that the best chances of getting the issue brought up at the convention is by putting his name in the Vice Presidential nomination ballot. He goes on to talk about his surprisingly warm welcome back into the states from people at the convention.
09:26Copy video clip URL Efaw talks about how his war resistance affected his family. The FBI had apparently hassled his family after he fled the country. He states that after seven years, his family has gained a lot more clarity about his situation. Halfway through Efaw’s response, the sounds cuts out. The sound eventually comes back in, but is followed by the end of the tape.
13:51Copy video clip URL Tape ends.