Archive for April, 2007

Weekend humor

April 28, 2007

I don’t remember where I found this.

recruiter2.jpg

Austin: Two activists arrested protesting Army recruitment center

April 26, 2007

y69q0dhv.jpgFrom the Austin Chronicle:

A protest against military recruiting resulted in two arrests after members of Campus Antiwar Movement to End the Occupations and CodePink attempted to storm the Army’s recruitment station inside Dobie Mall on Tuesday. Around 20 protesters brandishing signs and shouting slogans descended on the mall only to find the recruiting station locked and guarded by four APD officers, who ordered protesters to leave the premises immediately or face arrest.

The demonstrators regrouped outside, where they decided a change of tactics was in order. Hoping to trap more flies with sugar, some of them abandoned their signs and entered the mall once again – this time with a little less flourish. Finding the door unlocked, a few entered the offices and began talking to some of the recruiters, who were none-to-happy to find their offices infiltrated by peaceniks. The protesters were once again told to take it outside, and most decided to cheese it before the fuzz showed up. One CAMEO member, Spencer Crowl, stayed behind and continued arguing with recruiters. When the police inevitably returned, they arrested Crowl for criminal trespassing, along with CodePink member Sylvia Benini, who had also returned to the recruiting station. Later that evening, anti-war groups gathered outside the police station to demonstrate in solidarity with the two jailed activists, who were released Tuesday night.

The event was part of a week of anti-war and counter-recruiting events sponsored by CAMEO and dubbed “10 Days of Defiance.” The group was given criminal trespassing warnings in April 2005 after a similar event. After that protest, APD Officer Jonathan Martin warned, “We’ll let them voice their opinion and go home, but they’ll get arrested if they come back.” CAMEO member Tabitha Spencer noted the irony, “The purpose of the war is to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq and we aren’t even free to express ourselves at home.

See Austin Indymedia for the activists’ take on what happened: here and a post-arrest report by an ACLU member here. Also see the local FOX station’s coverage of the arrests here.

CAMEO and its allies are planning another protest at a different recruiting station in Austin next week. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Flint, MI: Debate on military recruiters and NCLB

April 26, 2007

From the Flint Journal:

Should military recruiters be able to access students’ personal contact information on demand, as the current No Child Left Behind Act stipulates?

And should schools that refuse to turn over that information be cut off from federal funding, also part of the law?

Those questions will be addressed during a panel discussion titled “High School Military Recruitment: Patriotism or Invasion of Privacy” from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday at the Flint Public Library, 1026 E. Kearsley St.

The forum, sponsored by the Genesee County Bar Association, will be moderated by Mt. Morris District Court Magistrate Roberta Wray, a former television news reporter.

Panelists will include attorney Glenn Simmington, a board member of the Greater Flint American Civil Liberties Union; attorney K.C. Baran, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; Nancy Galassini, a counselor at Carman-Ainsworth High School; and Chris James, principal of the Central Commencement Academy.

Refreshments will be served. Details: (810) 232-6000 [or pjanczewski at flintjournal.com]

An inside look at Pittsburgh Organizing Group

April 25, 2007

The Pittsburgh Organizing Group has done us all a favor and published an introspective look at a month of POG activism, including their sustained and organized counter-recruitment actions among other things, at Infoshop.org.  Thanks POG!

A Month in the Life of Pittsburgh Organizing Group

For Pittsburgh Organizing Group, pickets, protests, visits to and from the police, letter writing, sign making, meetings, trainings, accusations from the corporate media, court appearances, oh my.

Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) is a radical group based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania working to affect systemic progressive change in society. We seek to understand and oppose the inter-connected forms of oppression while utilizing non-hierarchical, consensus-based organizing. As a fairly large and active group we often do an inadequate job at conveying to other groups and interested people what our work looks like. We thought an article detailing what’s been happening in the past month might be of interest rather than a single report on one of our events.

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UC Santa Cruz: Counter-recruiting students celebrate outside job fair

April 25, 2007

Why are they celebrating? See last week’s post. An activist responded to the article below here, reminding us that one big reason to protest military recruiters is their discrimination against gays and people who are not heterosexual.

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Last week UCSC Students Against War kicked military recruiters off the campus job fair.

About 75 anti-war activists held a celebratory rally in front of the UC Santa Cruz bookstore on Tuesday morning, timed to coincide with a job fair on the other side of campus where military recruiters were conspicuously absent.

Army and Marine recruiters pulled out of the fair last week, one day after university officials were warned of a large counter-recruitment protest in the works.

Members of Students Against War took credit for the military’s withdrawal from the event.

“If every school prevented recruitment, if every port stopped shipping weapons, if every community refused to accept war profiteers as neighbors, war would be impossible,” third-year student Natalie MacIntyre said in a statement.

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Dayton: Two students arrested for protest at recruiting station

April 22, 2007

Unfortunately, this article is practically a press release from the police on the arrests. We’re not hearing the protesters’ stories at all.

Via Infoshop:

[Dayton, Ohio:] Two college students took their protests against the war in Iraq a bit too far Friday, police said.

The two young women were arrested on a criminal damaging complaint after they went inside two military recruiting offices and tossed brochures and tore down banners, Dayton Police Lt. Matt Carper said.

The arrests took place shortly after 11 a.m. after the students arrived in front of the Marines, Navy, and Army recruiting offices near Fourth and Main streets.

The women were among nine people from the Students for a Democratic Society. They held signs that featured phrases like, “An Army of none” and “No blood for oil.” All nine said they were Antioch University students.

The students said they believe the war is about profit and were also hoping to engage those being recruited into the military.

The article ends with helpful “Dayton police tips” on how to protest lawfully. According to the Infoshop posting you can donate to the students’ legal fund through the Movement for a Democratic Society’s website.

Army spends $2 million on online video game

April 21, 2007

dusk8_800.jpgThe Army is taking its popular video game and recruitment tool “America’s Army” to the web. Agence France-Presse airs the response of counter-recruitment groups in this article:

SAN FRANCISCO — Anti-recruitment groups are slamming a US Army deal to sponsor a computer war game channel, charging that real war is no game.

In June, the Army is set to sponsor a channel at the Global Gaming League website, a popular spot for Internet computer game lovers.

“It is part of this campaign for the last 20 years to invade youth culture with militarism,” Project on Youth and Non-military Opportunities co-founder Rick Jahnkow told Agence France-Presse.

“It affects the way young people think. It affects their world view. That is a very dangerous thing.”

A first-person shooter game based on the army training manual will be a centerpiece of the channel, which will feature other games in the same genre.

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Iraq vets were misled on benefits

April 20, 2007

A feature article from In These Times – well worth reading:

drewmatt.jpg GI Bill Fails Vets
Soldiers returning from Iraq aren’t receiving their education stipends until it’s too late
By Terry J. Allen April 20, 2007

With his boyish face and soft tangle of curls, Matt Howard looks like he should have carried a fishing rod though a Norman Rockwell summer. Instead, the 26-year-old Vermonter lugged a gun through two tours in Iraq. Now, what the former Marine really wants is a college diploma. But he and other returning veterans are finding it hard to collect the college benefits they expected when they enlisted in the military.

That expectation was fueled by promises from military recruiters and the soldiers’ own financial commitment. All new recruits are given a one-time, use-it-or-lose-it opportunity to buy into benefits eligibility by paying $100 a month for their first year of service. Any benefits unused 10 years after they leave the military are forever lost, including the $1,200 “kicker.” The almost 30 percent of active duty veterans who bought in didn’t collect their educational benefits over the last decade effectively donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury.

Many veterans who applied under the 1984 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) say they faced black-hole bureaucracy and college costs that far exceeded benefits.

“I was so disgusted by how hard it was to get my college benefits, I just gave up,” says Howard about his first experience enrolling in the University of Vermont (UVM), a relatively affluent state/private school in picturesque and progressive Burlington. “I volunteered for the Marines, served in Iraq and I appreciate the pat on the back and being called hero, but the military sells itself on money for college; it is the major recruitment tool. This is supposedly why I sold my soul to the devil.”

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UC Santa Cruz: Recruiters withdraw from job fair

April 19, 2007

recruiterleaves.jpgFrom UC Santa Cruz Students Against War pre-emptively shut out military recruiters from an upcoming university job fair with the prospect of massive protests. SAW is listed in a Pentagon database as a “credible threat,” perhaps because the group has effectively kept recruiters off their campus for nearly three years, according to the press release.  San Jose Mercury News also reported on the SAW’s victory.

From Indybay:

With hundreds of students expected to protest, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps recruiters withdrew from the April 24th Last Chance Job Fair at UC Santa Cruz yesterday. Student protests have made UCSC an increasingly ineffective site of military recruitment for almost three years. This withdrawal represents a victory towards stopping war and militarism.

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Twin Cities: Student demands on recruiter access rejected

April 19, 2007

stopmilitaryrecruitmentinourschools.jpgThis news is a few weeks old but important nonetheless. High school students in the Twin Cities area, as part of the Youth Against War and Racism coalition, are doing some major organizing to curtail the access of military recruiters to their schools.

You can contact the school board to voice your solidarity and support for the students here. The board members are up for re-election – you might want to send ’em a note of disappointment with their decision.

From Pulse of Twin Cities:

Last November, students from Central High Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) sent an open letter to the St. Paul Board of Education demanding substantial restrictions on military recruitment in all district schools.

Central YAWR gathered hundreds of student signatures on petitions demanding military recruiters, who regularly set up elaborate lunch-room tables, be restricted to school career centers; that all contact with students be supervised by school officials to combat the well-documented pattern of deception and manipulation recruiters use in order to fill their monthly recruitment quotas; and that the military be barred from visiting schools more frequently than other post-secondary institutions.

Students were careful to craft their demands within the legal framework established by No Child Left Behind, so the Board could substantially restrict recruiters without risking loss of federal funds.

YAWR mobilized over 60 community supporters, carrying signs reading “Demilitarize Our Schools,” to the December Board of Education meeting. Teachers, parents, veterans, military families and students themselves flooded the public comment period, providing powerful testimony against military recruiters’ manipulative tactics and lies, and against the unjust war that Minnesota youth are being recruited to kill and die for.

In January, Central High students met with board members and, in a room packed with military recruiters, provided added testimony during a special board committee meeting. Board members showered the students with praise for their professionalism and gave the impression that their demands were being taken seriously.

After two months of “investigations,” however, the Board of Education met on March 27 and chose to ignore student demands. “Essentially they did very little,” said Sean Foltin, a senior with Central High YAWR. “They just referred the issue [of military recruiters’ heavy presence in schools] back to school principals.”

Attempting to frame the decision as a “compromise,” the board agreed to allow minors to sign their own opt-out forms to prevent their personal information from being turned over to the military. “They took the issue of opt-out forms, which had been a very small part of our demands, and blew it out of proportion,” explained Sean. “I’m definitely disappointed with the results.”

Brandon Madsen, a full-time organizer with YAWR, responded angrily to the decision: “This is a slap in the face – I hope they don’t think this means we’ll just walk away. The truth is that going into this campaign last fall, we didn’t have a lot of hope the board would actually pass our demands. But we wanted to go through the official process and see what happened. Now we know that walkouts and more serious direct action by students will be needed to get the military out of our schools … It seems that aggressively confronting the recruiters every time they show up is the only thing that works” to get recruiters to leave school lunchrooms.

Editor’s note: Four St. Paul School Board members are up for re-election this year: Tom Conlon, Anne Carroll, Kazoua Kong-Thao and Al Oertwig. If more than eight candidates file for office, a primary will be held on Sept. 11. The general election is Nov. 6.