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Indybay Feature

Flag Burn: Fan the Raging Flames of Freedom

by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
On July 3rd, fiesta mysteriosa hosted Santa Cruz's 2nd Annual Old Time American Flag Burn at Seabright Beach. The celebration was a B.Y.O.F. event. Before the burning and melting of more than a dozen American flags, people gathered around the fire pit to share their personal feelings and beliefs about burning American flags. It is legal to burn American flags, however the burning of US currency is illegal. Dollar bills, powerful symbols of global capitalism, were also burned, despite the illegality of the act.
On the Fourth of July, patriotic Americans everywhere celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, cookouts, and time with their families. This year, some celebrations will be interrupted by reminders that the United States does not give freedom to everyone. One activity was nearly made illegal this summer: burning the American flag. An amendment backed by the Bush administration to give Congress the power to “ban desecration of the American flag” received one vote less than was needed for passage.

Fourth of July is a Time to Reflect on Meaning of the Flag
§Watching and Waiting
by ~Bradley
People gathered on the cliff edges to watch the flags burn from afar.
§50 States, One Nation, to Burn
by ~Bradley
by ~Bradley
by ~Bradley
by ~Bradley
§Burn America, Burn
by ~Bradley
by ~Bradley
§One Dollar
by ~Bradley
§Fan the Raging Flames of Freedom
by ~Bradley
by ~Bradley
by ~Bradley
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by Wish I Was There
Thanks for the pix. Much better than watching fireworks.
by Robert Norse
Nice photos.

It's always seemed to me that burning the flag might be more effective (though more risky) at an event attended by more than just devotees--such as the Veteran's Day Parade, or, perhaps, the Last Rites March from the Police Station on July 5th.

Burning the flag can also be considered an act of purification, what with all the shit it's gathered these last two hundred years. Before it can be reclaimed--as many on the left say they want to do, perhaps some cleansing by fire is necessary and understandable. Even to those who identify closely with what the flag is supposed to represent (human rights, liberty, independence, justice).

If someone really wants to raise some issues, it might be appropriate to burn a Marine flag, considering the recent rape, murder, and burning of the 15-year old Abeer Qasem Hamzeh in Mahmuidya as well as the shooting of her parents and her 7-year old sister.

The Sentinel for 7-4 features Santa Cruz's very own "Robocop" Officer David Perry on page 1. Perry is apparently serving war criminal duty over in Al Quam, Iraq training local death squads ("police"). Pictured on the front page of the Sentinel are 8 cops arranged around a U.S. Marine flag inside the police department.
Should armed terrorist groups like the Marines have their flags publicly displayed in Santa Cruz Police Department HQ? Perhaps that's an issue protesters will bring up.
by Gene Cole
One of the best things about freedom of speech is that it gives everyone a chance to identify the lunatics. The person who wants to burn the Marine Corps flag certainly qualifies.

For his edification, it is a soldier, not a Marine, who is accused of raping the young girl. Accused, meaning not convicted (the loonie DOES understand the difference between accusation and conviction, I'm sure).

However, one of the things that seems to escape his notice is: when the American military discovers someone committing these acts, they are tried and punished. Our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan not only condone atrocities, they constitute the core of their strategy.

Burn the Marine Corps flag, indeed.
by Robert Norse
True: Steven D. Green, ACCUSED, of cold-bloodedly (or perhaps hot-bloodedly, since he's also ACCUSED of raping the 15-year old Iraqi woman) killing Hamzeh, her parents, and her sister was in the Army. The 24 butchered by Marines were at Haditha last November. In a mass murder covered up by the higher command.

We know, of course, that this is a regrettable incident, in no way typical of an endless brutal foreign military occupation half a world away, built on lies, and fueled by corruption.

Raise the Marine flag high.

What we need to do in Santa Cruz is demand our City government dissociate itself as clearly as possible from the war criminals in Washington (and their mindless military supporters).

That means disinvesting from firms that are profiting from the Iraqi devastation--which our Council so far has failed to do.

It also means raising the cry of horror and pain loudly enough so that it can be heard above the whiz of the espresso machines, and drone of the tv set.

by NondoSpam
The dollar bills were a new touch, but why is it always the flag, destined to offend the exact same group of people every time? Why not burn copies of the constitution, or a cross?
Did I read this aright? "offending the same group of people every time?" Is that your actual purpose? If it is, then you're nothing but a bunch of pathetic losers.

Do you morons think actual efforts to place yourself apart from the norm are any different than trying to fit in?

I would also have to agree with the comment immediately above me......saves me the trouble of typing more. I will, however, go one further: if Mr Norse would like to leave this country for Cuba, Iran or Syria and promise to stay there for a period of 18 months, I'll be happy to spring for the ticket provided he protest the injustices he sees there just once

by JD
Burning/Desecrating the symbol of this nation is not an expression of freedom it is an act of self rightousness by malcontents who have no other way to put themselves in the public eye, to make them selves feel powerful. They are weak, weak minded and should be subject to punishment.
Actually they should be sent to Iraq where we could see how quickly they would look for that flag as a sign of freedom and safety in thier moment of clarity. I hope they rot in hell for doing this.
by kansieo (kansieo [at]
Last week, the Senate voted to bar the Flag Desecration Amendment--barely. As much as I dislike seeing American flags burning, it is of the utmost importance in America to be able to do so.


What better way to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in the United States than by burning the very symbol that represents all of those freedoms?

Why not burn a flag today?
Notice how they flock to a site that thinks outside the box of jingoistic mindless fear mongering?
How absurd it is to worship a piece of cloth
by Broph
"A piece of Cloth"

Are you freaking kidding me? Do you have any damn idea what that represents. Be glad you live in the US. If you dare go to almost any other country, round up a few buddies and burn the flag of that country, it would be huge trouble.

Sure go ahead and burn a pic of GWB; but not the flag. It represents the freedom that many have fought for.

Go ahead, do it next year, same place, there had better be opposition from regular Americans that understand what it takes to work hard and earn money the American way.
by Alan
If these people think America is so terrible, please find another place to live. Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Bolivia, Argentina, Europe.

Leave and don't come back. Very simple.
by swb
none of the flags we burned were made in this country
by Exador
Flag burning SHOULD remain legal, as it is a form of political expression. But that doesn't mean you're not a spoiled brat asshole for doing it. You are.
by SCDude
Ho hum, a gazillion people happily celebrate the 4th of July waving flags, going to parades, watching fireworks and remembering how we have the freedom others do not, including freedom to burn our flag.
Could these dopes have at least taken some pics in focus? I wanted to check out exactly how funny looking they were.
But thanks for putting Santa Cruz in the news again for stupidity, I've already sent out lots of emails of the umbrella guy.
by Question
How exactly is the US Marine Corps a terrorist organization?
by rather
i went to the flag-burning last year. it was a dissapointment to me for the reason that the people who were involved seemed more into the idea of destruction of property (not always a bad idea) than in the reason behind doing so.

after the last flag was burned, one person present cheered and then immediately asked everyone if they had a cigarette... can we not question the seriousness of the gathering if those involved still support on of the worst industries of the united states, the tabacco companies?

let us all question our actions and the meaning behind them...

and on the point of it 'just being a piece of cloth'... with all symbolism aside, it is.

i heard mumia abu jamal on free radio mentioning a 12 year old girl speaking of this 'piece of cloth'. to give such respect to this fabric, to keep it out of the storm, to never let it touch the ground... but to allow the same 'disrespect' to occur to the homeless in our communitites. very rarely are there those who come to help these citizens of this 'great' country out of the storm, to be sure they never touch the ground.

and don't forgot - a flag is just a piece of cloth decorated with the chosen symbol of the given country to wave high when this given country has succeeded in terrorizing another... to many other countries around the world, our flag only brings the feelings of hatred and fear. i'm not sure if those are emotions worth being proud of.
by njoriole
These are sick litle juvenile minds; probably didn't get enough "validation" as youngsters, and now they want us all to know how pissed they are. Poor little dears!
by Prom
How exactly is the marine corps a terrorist organization, you ask?

Lesseee...why doncha read a list of US military interventions. Then come back and justify every one of them. Then tell me the armed forces are not terrorist organizations.
by ;
purify the new world
by pooter
"If these people think America is so terrible, please find another place to live. Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Bolivia, Argentina, Europe. Leave and don't come back. Very simple."

sure, i'm ready to leave. there's certainly a much higher standard of living in most of europe, and canada, than here. care to donate?
by Question
How is the US Marine Corps a terrorist organization. Can you not back up that statement with an explanation? If my uncle is a terrorist, I would like to know why.
by stopWAR
Thank You for your courage and for speaking out. Don't listen to these people who claim to respect a "symbol" but not the countless human lives destroyed (not FOR it, but BECAUSE of it.)

As for the rest of you real Americans.

Sure, sit back with your smug bullshit "patriotism" and belitteling remarks, if it makes you feel a little more manly and popular. When was the last time you put this much energy denouncing the killing of innocent human beings by soldiers who are supported by you, bullets bought by your tax money and political cover done in your name? You're upset about a fucking flag, but you're content with 100K murders for oil? And you make fun of Robert Norse, or the flag burnders? Where are your priorities, are you even human?

Sure, it's "innocent until proven guilty," in a fucked up system where at best, a 19 year old kid may get court-marshalled for shooting an Iraqi, but the fat-ass white civilians who order aerial bombings, and genocidal sanctions causing millions of deaths are not even touched. Yea, that's the "system" and the "values" of this flag.

Sure, go on with your idolatory.

When you're done jacking off to "what this flag represents," think for a moment of what the burning may represent for the people who engage in it. It may help you grow up mentally.
by WTF
Are you high? You're comparing the treatment of the flag to the treatment of homeless people? Did it escape your notice that one is an inanimate object and the other is quite capable of self-awareness and personal CHOICE?

It's incredibly pathetic, these faux arguments and objections you people all come up with to make yourselves appear self-righteous and evolved.

"Justify" every action by the Marine Corps? Holy crap. Why don't you explain why every single act of the Marines was terrorism. YOU are the one asserting such a ridiculous notion, YOU need to support it.

You are just as bad as people who assert there is a god but lack any physical or scientific proof to back it up. Only stick with "faith" as their support.

So is that all you have? "Prove me wrong!" Really? No. Until you've successfully proven your assertion to be "true" then it's all just coming out your nether regions.

Grow up. The lot of you.

Maybe someday you'll catch a clue about what real problems are and what life really is like elsewhere. In the meantime, please just shut up. You're an embarrassment.
by WTF
You are disgusting. Absolutely beyond words. People like you make me sick. Do you even listen to yourself?


Clearly you enjoy the delusion because it makes you feel righteous. But seriously, get over yourself and open your eyes. Ignorant fool. Disgusting.

NO ONE likes war. But at least half of us realize that it's sometimes a necessary evil.

But the constant, extended ignorance of you, and people like you, that continue to repeat this bullshit about oil only makes things worse. Anyone with a notion for history or tactics or facts KNOWS there is more to war than your simplistic little idea of oil.

People like you that spew such hate and ignorance are absolutely horrid. Expand your mind and stop with your brainwashed propaganda.
by WTF
Before you lecture others about "growing up mentally" you might want to learn to converse without the lowest possible language. Were you absent the day they taught manners or how to influence the opinions of others? Though I thank you. You have just shown what an amazing jackass many on your "side" are.

"Real American"? Are you kidding?? Oh no, if you don't think like me, you aren't "real"!!!!

I applaud your attitude. Because of people like you, my "side" will keep winning.
by Alan
"sure, i'm ready to leave. there's certainly a much higher standard of living in most of europe, and canada, than here. care to donate? "

Donate to what, Pooter? Your airline ticket?

Again, I challenge anyone here to find another country that provides so much freedom and opportunity to so many different people. Move there, and burn THEIR flag on a city street. See what happens.
by Bic
but as soon as you type "100K murders for oil" your entire argument flies out the window in my book. Using a number so discredited that even the authors of the study that first published it wouldn't stand behind is no way to prove to anyone outside of your friends in your liberal echo chamber that you have any insight worth paying attention to.

But even if you do accept that number, the vast majority of killings done in Iraq have either been performed by terrorists organizations or have been against the terrorists themselves. Even the much more accurate number of 40k deaths does not distinguish between innocent victims and active participants in combat so while still a tragedy, a person interested in facts cannot help but deduce that a far smaller number than that have been innocent bystanders killed by American actions. But of course you're not all that interested in the facts. They're just inconvient statements that get in the way of a perfectly good rant. Hell, from your statement you seem like one of those people who like to blame the American Soldiers for any actions the terrorist take so you'd probably assign the full 40k to the Americans.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that brought to it's ultimate end it only backs up the military action and shifts the blame from the US military "the 40k deaths are all Saddam's fault because if he wasn't a tyranical dictator who routinely killed his own people they wouldn't have had to invade Iraq". Or maybe you could blame Russia and France because as the primary providers of arms to Iraq they permitted Saddam to continue his reign of terror. If you look it up you'll find that despite claims to the contrary the US provided little actual support to Saddam even when they were talking to each other (I believe as a percentage of military support it's in the low single digits). Or how about France, Germany, Russia and the UN administration as it was through their abuse of the oil for food system and below the table contracts that thousands of Iraqis were starved to death while Saddam continued to build golden castles.

I always wonder where people like you were when Saddam was killing tens of thousands of his own people on a yearly basis for crimes such as daring to say a bad word about the glorious leader or daring to look at a policeman in the wrong way. Not to mention the thousands of women and children raped or tortured because Saddam or one of his equally evil sons were simply bored.
by rarity
I think what you did is really important. The flag is a piece of cloth, most probably made in China. People wear the flag, cover their books and backpacks with decals of the flag, eat from flag dishes, use it as part of the design of clothing and shoes, artwork and tablecloths. It is a symbol, it is NOT our country.
We must always be free to venerate or denigrate the symbols of our government when the occasion calls for it.
Burning the flag, or a dollar bill, hurts no one, endangers no one, has no effect on our country whatsoever. It has nothing to do with patriotism. The people who do this are as patriotic as the people who protest their actions, perhaps more so, because they (the burners) understand the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
by Bob
Just another example of why Santa Cruz is an irrelevant and funky little beach ton!
by Steve
Burn it. The flag is what the walking sacks of human refuse in power use to wrap themselves in when the violate human rights all over the globe...
by cp
Did you even read the link above describing the long list of immoral foreign interventions?

The U.S. has sent military and CIA 'advisors' to many countries to help assist dictatorships going into power by helping kill thousands of political opponents. Suharto in Indonesia, thousands were thrown off helicopters into the sea in Argentina, and something similar happened with Allende in Chile, and let's not even go into the massacres in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti. I suppose you'd go to visit Greece and not even be aware at the general anger among the population for U.S. assistance in political assassinations that brought about their dictatorship in the 70s.

Saddam Hussein himself was on the CIA payroll, and the U.S. funded his ba'ath party in the 60s, (because they didn't like the progressive opposition), plus gave his government tons of funding and arms during the Iran-Iraq war . If you think about it, this probably helped him gas his own citizens. Also, if you remember the Iran-Contra hearings with Oliver North, it is clear that we were giving arms to the Iranians too - perhaps the goal is that the whole region stays violent and unstable.
by cp
by ahala
We'll I guess by invading and deposing him we were correcting a mistake. Happy?
by aosdj
U.S. has sent military and CIA 'advisors' to many countries to help assist dictatorships going into power by helping kill thousands of political opponents. Suharto in Indonesia, thousands were thrown off helicopters into the sea in Argentina, and something similar happened with Allende in Chile, and let's not even go into the massacres in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti. I suppose you'd go to visit Greece and not even be aware at the general anger among the population for U.S. assistance in political assassinations that brought about their dictatorship in the 70s. "

Sounds to me you just pissed that the communist lost the Cold War. Are we supposed to be sorry that we won?
by Ed Obeweiser
"Our" right wing, "local" newspaper owned by Dow Jones, The Santa Cruz Sentinel. Recently wrote a facist editorial claiming that flag burning was an abominal act.

I answered it with the following letter to the editor which, of course, the paper refused to publish. I now submit it Indymedia Santa Cruz in hopes that a valid alternative viewpoint will see the light of day.

The Sentinel editorial board said flag burners were "misguided to the point of ridiculousness."
In it's opinion section, the Sentinel editorial called flag burning "an abomination."

True abominations are: U.S. soldiers raping an Iraqi woman, killing her and her family and burning the bodies to hide the evidence (7/4 Sentinel).

George Bush lying about the reasons for invading Iraq in the first place and the resulting murder of more than100,000 Iraqis is another abomination.

Even worse abominations were the invasion of Vietnam on a lie (fake Gulf of Tonkin incident) and the killing of three million Vietnamese and the theft of two elections by George Bush Jr.

The people who burned the flag are true patriots unlike the traitors to Democracy who committed the above acts and those who cheer them on like the good Nazis cheered on Adolph Hitler, never challenging his abominable acts.
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