Students at Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minnesota have won the right to set up an anti-war information table at the school despite threats from the American Legion.
The controversy centered on a Feb. 23 visit to the school by military recruiters. To counter the presence of the recruiters, the student group Youth Against War And Racism sought permission to set up a table.
The request was initially rejected after reprensentatives of the American Legion threatened to withdraw financial support of the school.
The recruiters and American Legion had reason to be concerned. Feb. 23 was not the first time the recruiters visited the school. On Dec. 8 the recruiters set up a table and the anti-war group was allowed to set up a table next to it.
Student activists Brandon Madsen and Matt Johnson describe the day: “The recruiters’ table was abandoned. Meanwhile, our table was mobbed by hundreds of interested students who asked questions, signed petitions, took flyers and pamphlets, and discussed politics. By the end of the day we collected 120 signatures for the petition against recruiters being allowed to invade our school. Over 100 more signed in the following days.”
The students explained why they have been focusing on counter-recruitment: “It is essential that we stand up and take action against military recruiters. The entire U.S. war machine relies on the willingness of young people to join the military and carry out the imperialist policies ordered by corrupt politicians. If we build a mass movement of young people against the war that exposes the lies of Bush and the military recruiters, the military will be unable to guarantee a stable supply of youth to use as cannon fodder. And just like in the Vietnam War, the spread of mass dissent within the U.S. armed forces will be the key to bringing down U.S. imperialism in Iraq and ending this brutal occupation.
“We can’t count on the government or our school administrators to stop military recruiters from spreading their lies. We need to take it upon ourselves to educate and organize our fellow students, and to make our schools off-limits to recruiters. If every time they show up we provide an overwhelmingly unwelcome environment, they will simply stop coming. Already at Kennedy, in stark contrast to the six to 10 recruiters who usually show up, only one came this time.” Read More