Sunday, February 10, 2008

FEBRUARY 15: SHUT DOWN THE BERKELEY MARINE RECRUITING STATION!

Join World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, high school students, anti-war veterans and many others at 64 Shattuck Sq. in Berkeley (2 blocks from Berkeley BART). Civil Resistance all day beginning 7AM. Rally and Convergence 3PM

When the Berkeley City Council called U.S. Marine Corps recruiters "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" and invited them to leave, millions around the country cheered! And Fox News, rightwing talk radio and bloggers went ballistic.

Into this charged situation, last week for two days World Can’t Wait led a lively protest to shut down “business as usual” at this recruiting station. There was nonviolent mass civil resistance action, with some protestors chaining themselves to each other and to the gate, videotape strewn everywhere, representing the CIA's destruction of the torture tapes. Suddenly a riot formation of 40 police arrived to arrest the three nonviolent resisters.

The Right Wing is Mobilizing, But So Are The People!

Pro-war rightwingers intend to force Berkeley to back down. A South Carolina Senator has introduced the “Semper Fi” Act to take federal funding away from Berkeley and transfer it to the Marine Corp! The City Council and Mayor Bates have been getting thousands of emails, the hostile ones largely orchestrated by the rightwing noise machine. One eloquent anti-war council member has even received death threats. They are attempting to intimidate and silence any potential antiwar movement.

Now the rabid right is organizing an invasion of Berkeley next Tuesday, the day the City Council meets. The pro-war Move group “Move America Forward” is announcing its attack will begin at 5:00 AM next Tuesday, going on all day till they invade the 5:00 PM City Council meeting.

Everyone who supports the Berkeley City Council’s courageous stand against the war must make our support public, loud, and real. The whole country is watching. We are the majority, in Berkeley, in this country, and in the world. But the pro-war, pro-torture side is mobilizing, and they are loud. Are you against war and torture? It does not count if you think good thoughts but do not actively resist.

“That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn – or be forced – to accept.”

--- from the World Can’t Wait Call

FEBRUARY 12: Support the Berkeley City Council!

EMERGENCY 24-HOUR VIGIL Gather on the City Hall lawn, 2134 MLK Jr. Way Monday Feb. 11 7:00 PM until Tuesday Feb. 12 7:00 PM. Come to the City Council meeting at 5PM

The city council members need to hear from you now in support of their resolution declaring the Marine Corps Recruiting Center to be "unwelcome" in Berkeley. Email or call them your support and cc: sf@worldcantwait.org

District 1 Linda Maio (510) 981-7110 lmaio@ci.berkeley.ca.us
District 2 Darryl Moore (510) 981-7120 dmoore@ci.berkeley.ca.us
District 3 Maxwell Anderson (510) 981-7130 manderson@ci.berkeley.ca.us
District 4 Dona Spring (510) 981-7140 spring@ci.berkeley.ca.us
District 5 Laurie Capitelli (510) 981-7150 lcapitelli@ci.berkeley.ca.us
District 6 Betty Olds (510) 981-7160 olds@ci.berkeley.ca.us
District 7 Kriss Worthington (510) 981-7170 kworthington@ci.berkeley.ca.us
District 8 Gordon Wozniak (510) 981-7180 GWozniak@ci.berkeley.ca.us


World Can't Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime www.worldcantwait.org
Contact us: 415 864-5153 sf@worldcantwait.org myspace.com/sfbaycantwait

Why shut down military recruiting centers?

Because 1 million Iraqis have been killed. Because 4.5 million have been driven from their homes. Because this is an illegal “preemptive” war of aggression, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al-Queda. Because lying to and preying on the youth is not acceptable, killing and dying for oil, power and empire is not a career opportunity. Because torture, rape, collective punishment – like cutting off water supplies, shooting at ambulances, raiding hospitals, and destroying whole cities – are being carried out every day by the U.S. military, and these are war crimes. Military recruiting centers represent the Bush Regime’s unending war on the world, and those of us who don’t want to live an empire that goes around the world murdering in our name need to take a stand.

Why don’t we just rely on “politics as usual” and wait for Obama or Hillary to stop this war?

Because Americans voted the 2006 Democratic Congress into office to stop the war. The first thing they did was to give Bush billions and send 20,000 more troops in. Because all the “viable” candidates support the “war on terror” and none of them are talking about repealing the Military Commissions Act, the Patriot Act or addressing the gross abuse of executive power.

I’m against the war, but it seems like you’re saying you don’t support the troops?

We do not support a military that is engaging in war crimes and crimes against humanity. When U.S. soldiers sign up for the military, they give up all their rights. They can be executed for disobeying orders. Think about the orders that are being given, and carried out. U.S. troops may be “just doing their job,” but think about what that job is. During the Civil War, would you have “supported” the Confederate troops that were defending slavery? We don’t hate individual soldiers that get sucked into this war machine, but we hate what they do… and they should too. We support the troops, like Ehren Watada and many others, who refuse to fight.

Don’t the recruiting centers have a right to “free speech”?

First of all, let’s be clear: the First Amendment was designed to protect people’s speech from government infringement, not government speech from people’s infringement! The Marine Corps IS the government. They have billions of dollars at their disposal to lie to the youth through advertisements that make war seem like a video game. It is actually OUR speech, the voices that oppose this criminal war, that is being marginalized by the corporate media and monitored by government surveillance. On another level, this really isn’t about “free speech.” This is about what people are being recruited for. This is about what kind of future we want for the youth. People making this argument should think about whether it would be OK if there was a Nazi recruiting station in Berkeley.

OK, but isn’t Berkeley totally out of touch with what the rest of the country thinks?

First of all, the majority of people in this country are against war, torture, and the Bush administration. It may be true that Berkeley has the only City Council to take such a courageous stand. But this wouldn’t be the first time that Berkeley led the way and did what was right.

2 comments:

Jeff Woods said...

Perhaps your energy and enthusiasm for shutting down the recruiting station could be better put to use supporting a candidate that wants to get us out of Iraq. While you have every right to oppose this office and even protest, these actions reinforce to middle America (which overwhelmingly support the Marines) a radical fringe that is out of step with the majority of average people. But hey, I guess radical partisanship is more important than actual progress.
dogtales07.blogspot.com

Dennis Loo said...

I appreciate your comments Jeff. Debate is a good thing because it can help us to move forward. We both share a desire to end the unjust war on Iraq. The question is: what can we do that will really make a difference?

You say that middle America overwhelmingly supports the Marines. I assume that you DON"T mean the recruiting of young people, including some of them underage, to further fuel with their bodies this immoral war? Because if that is what you mean, some 70% of Americans for some time have been declaring their opposition to this war.

Perhaps you mean that they "support the troops?" If that is the case, then I need to raise an epistemological question here: whether someone is in the "radical fringe" or with the mainstream isn't the issue. The issue is what is right. Being right and being with a majority aren't necessarily synonymous. If the stand you take is correct, you have to be willing to go up against what might be majority sentiment and not decide what you do based on popularity.

What the recruiters are doing cannot be justified on any grounds. If you really want to end the war, ask yourself: why haven't the so-called viable presidential candidates done anything - they are all US Senators after all - to defund the war and to speak out against - and push for hearings to stop - the ongoing torture by our government?

Promises about what they might do once they become president in a year and all the high sounding rhetoric about "change" and bringing people together are meaningless without actual actions that show they mean it NOW. They have the power to do something but they steadfastly refuse to do that. What does that tell you? What kind of person who wants to be our leader lets torture and mass killing go on in order to further their candidacy? What kind of fools would we be to let them get away with this kind of immorality? What kind of people look in the face of ongoing, daily commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity and say "let's wait?"

The radical right wing's mobilizing of their people to try to stop what Berkeley has done indicates that they, better than you at this point, recognize what kind of precedent this sets. They recognize that this kind of thing is spreading to various towns and cities around the country with public officials calling for ending recruitment. For example,

"The Mayor of Toldeo, Ohio has told the Marines to get out of his town: http://www.nbc24.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=94192

In Arcata, California City Council member Dave Meserve is leading an effort against military recruiters: http://www.losangeleschronicle.com/articles/51420 "