Muhammad Ali, draft resistors, loss of US citizenship, the “Rumble In The Jungle” and a trip down memory lane

cross-posted from Citizenshipsolutions dot ca

Introduction – RIP Muhammad Ali

Like many I was saddened to learn of the death of Muhammad Ali. (One of
my profitable ventures was betting on
Ali in his 1974 fight with Foreman.) Most of the media discussion of Ali’s death focused on his boxing career. There was far less attention paid to Ali’s refusal to
accept induction into the U.S. military. This refusal led to his being
stripped of his boxing license (why anyone would need a license to box
is beyond me) and interestingly the revocation of his U.S. passport (if
you can’t box in America we will prevent you from boxing outside
America). Hmmm, does that passport revocation remind you of any
recent events or any past events?

Ali made the reasonable point that he was being asked to go to Viet Nam
to defend the rights of the South Vietnamese people who were being
denied their rights, at the same time that Black Americans were denied
their rights in America. Muhammad Ali provided inspiration to Dr. Martin Luther
. Fast forward to 2016: President Clinton (a man who also
avoided military service in Viet Nam) will deliver
one of the eulogies (I hope he mentions the “draft resistor” aspect of Ali’s life).

Draft Resistors in Canada in the 60s and 70s – The use of
“citizenship” as a mechanism to control the people

During the last few years I have met many former Americans who came to
Canada to escape service in the Vietnam war. Their circumstances vary
greatly. This was clearly a tumultuous time and difficult time. Many of
them have commented that it has similarities to the circumstances of
today. In both the ’70s and present day, certain Americans abroad and
former Americans abroad, feel uneasy and unsure about their U.S.
citizenship. It’s also interesting how in both cases the United States
is using “citizenship” as a mechanism to exercise control over
individuals who do not live in the United States. In the 70s the United
States was punishing people by stripping them of their citizenship. In
2016 the United States is punishing people by imposing citizenship on
them. Either way, it’s clear that “citizenship” (and a
U.S. place of birth) is a powerful weapon to be used
against people to achieve governmental objectives.

The War Resistor Information Program …

From 1974 – 1976, Winnipeg native, Don
ran a “War Resistor Information Program” for Americans in
Canada. Information from Wikipedia includes:

Marks was once a street youth before being adopted by a
First Nations family. From 1974 to 1976, he was co-coordinator of the War
Resister Information Program in Winnipeg, providing assistance for
Americans who moved to Canada to avoid service in the Vietnam War.[1]
Marks gained notoriety during a North American wide media tour to
publicize WRIP’s activities and by leading a class action lawsuit
against President Gerald Ford. Don worked with such notables as Hunter
S. Thompson, Jane Fonda, Richard Dreyfuss, Bella Abzug and others to
organize an amnesty for war resistors, He was a candidate for the
Manitoba Liberal Party in the 1977 provincial election, and received 769
votes (15.63%) for a third-place finish in Point Douglas. He was a
weekend news and sports anchor at CKND-TV during the mid-1980s. He died
in Winnipeg at the age of 62 on January 30, 2016 from liver

Mr. Mark’s “War Resistor Information Program” may have been an “early
day” equivalent to the Isaac Brock Society. In any event, Mr. Mark’s
published what appears to be a very high quality publication providing
information and advice to American draft resistors. Here is one of the
publications which Mr. Marks described as:

… one of the most important efforts that we have
undertaken in our seven years of service to war resistors in exile.
Besides an update on our program and a description of the latest legal
and political developments that affect you, we shall include our
position on amnesty, and POSITIVE actions to bring about our

I encourage you to read the publication which is here:


Mr. Mark’s also printed the following flyer:

Notice the fourth point: “We do have information on U.S.
exclusion orders that do result if you take out Canadian

The “War Resistor’s” bulletin contains a fascinating section beginning
on page 11 which is titled:







Then and now: the “dusting off of old laws”

We see that in 1975 and in 2016 the United States:

– was using the treat of denial of entry into the United States as a
form of punishment. Is this an earlier version of the Reed amendment?

– was using the principle of “dusting off old laws”. Modern day examples
of “dusting off old laws” would the the FBAR Fundraiser and the
PFIC rules.

Then and now: the use of “citizenship” as a weapon

Mr. Mark’s bulletin is of particular interest because it reflects the
understanding of what was happening in 1975.
The bulletin confirms the following two points:

1. Americans in Canada who became Canadian citizens absolutely
understood that the consequences of becoming a Canadian citizen would
result in the loss of U.S. citizenship. If one understands the
consequences of an action prior to voluntarily undertaking that action,
it’s reasonable to say that the person intended the consequence. In
other words: those Americans who naturalized as Canadian citizens in the
’70s clearly intended to relinquish their U.S. citizenship; and

2. The U.S. Government took the clear and unequivocal position that
those who naturalized as Canadian citizens had relinquished their U.S.
citizenship (that was the basis for the exclusion order described in Mr.
Mark’s bulletin).

Note that the loss of U.S. citizenship was happening WITHOUT the
issuance of a CLN
(“Certificate of Loss of Nationality”).

Yet, in 2016 there are some who argue that: those who clearly ceased to
be U.S. citizens in the ’70s, and don’t have a CLN, somehow are now U.S.
citizens for the purposes.

This idea seems ridiculous to me! The war resistors didn’t need
a CLN then. They don’t need a CLN now.


2 thoughts on “Muhammad Ali, draft resistors, loss of US citizenship, the “Rumble In The Jungle” and a trip down memory lane

  1. calgary411

    Re: *I don’t remember knowing about Ali’s war resistance. I don’t know if it was because there was less publicity about it, if I was just not interested or if I have forgotten it. I wonder if he ever considered moving to Canada.*

    He answers in the clip below. He was reviled by many then! But, he woke up many, many young people of the time. He absolutely stood up for what he believed — all the way to the US Supreme Court ( One of my US heros for this over his boxing career.

    *…Just take me to jail…*

  2. Lynne Swanson

    I’m showing my age but I remember when Cassius Clay won the World Heavyweight Championship in 1964 (I was 13). I also remember when he converted to Islam and changed his name to Mohamed Ali. I think it was the first time I ever heard of Islam or of Muslims.

    I don’t remember knowing about Ali’s war resistance. I don’t know if it was because there was less publicity about it, if I was just not interested or if I have forgotten it. I wonder if he ever considered moving to Canada.

    I originally came to Canada as a student, but being a “spiritual draft dodger” was one of many reasons why I knew I wanted Canada to be my permanent home. I certainly understood I was relinquishing U.S. citizenship when I became a Canadian citizen in 1973.

    I don’t have a CLN and will not go to a U.S. Consulate to ask for one.


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