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Random thoughts and photos on Berkeley's counter/pro Recruitment Action

by Maya
Just random thoughts and observations on yesterday's Berkeley counter/pro-recruitment action.
Just like a theatrical, cosmic script, everyone played their part right on que at Berkeley's counter-recruitment/pro-recruitment protest staged in front of Berkeley City Hall yesterday.

Stage right, dressed in every conceivable U.S. flag composition from their t-shirts to their eyes (one woman had on flag contact lens) were the "pro troops, pro America crowd," or so they called themselves. They were angry and indignant and came from all over the country to shame Berkeley and its city council with cries of "traitors" and "America Haters". They blasted the crowd with tsunami of high-wattage patriotic music, from the Halls of Montazuma to Shores of Tripoli.

Stage left on the stairs of City Hall were the people in pink, orange and black, as well as a melody of other colors, and their political philosophy was just as varied: some were constitutionalists, some were communists, some were pacifist, some were not. There were also dozens of passionate Berkeley High Students who quit school to join them to promote the principle issue of the day -- the call against the war. They yelled "support the troops, end the war" at the red, white and blue crowd but their voices were drowned out by the din of patriotic pabulum permeating the air. And, even if the red, white and blue crowd could hear them, they wouldn't believe them anyway. To support the troops is not to question the war or the war makers.

"They are traitors" said Move Forward America organizer Melanie Morgan at their 3 p.m. rally. "And, what do we do to traitors?" she goads the crowd. "We lock them up!" (cheers from the "patriots"). "They hate America, they hate our troops, they are terrorists."

She went on to describe how members from Code Pink attacked some of their supporters earlier in the day: "They knocked down older people and people in wheel chairs... they are the violent ones."

Over on the other side, a vet named "Fred" has a loud voice that can be heard over the other side's loudspeaker. He yells at the red, white and blue people not to be good Germans. He repeats this over and over again until it pinches a raw nerve with one man from the other side. The large man can't take it anymore and comes over to give Fred a piece of his mind and maybe some of his knuckles. Pink people help diffuse the situation with calm and reasoned discussion. The man is disarmed by pink.

A woman with a t-shirt reading "fascism happens" who is standing next to the large, angry man asks him a few questions: "Do you know how much of the Constitution has been destroyed since the war on terror?" "Do you know that the government can now come into your house, ease drop on your phone calls and emails without a warrant? Do you know that you no longer have a right to a fair and speedy trial and that evidence extracted by torture can be used against you? The man looks at the woman and says "you're crazy" and walks away.

Later, Fred, not intimidated, faces the migrating red, white and blue people by taunting them in between their chants of "U.S.A, U.S.A. U.S.A!" He yells "Support the troops: give them health care!"; "Support the troops: give them free education!"'; "Support the troops: give them jobs!" which sets off a middle aged man in a army jacket who get 5 inches away from the man's face and screams, "Their jobs are to kill people!" That is their job!" "They are killing for you!" They are killing for America!"

And, the show goes on until the curtains fall.
§Melanie Morgan from Move America Forward
by Maya
Melanie Morgan from
§Can you turn down the volume?
by Maya
The music is even too much for this little girl
§Girls from Berkeley High
by Maya
Berkeley High Students help swell the crowd of the Pro War side
§The line in the street
by Maya
§The Pro War Side
by Maya
§The Anti War Side
by Maya
§The face of war
by Maya
Isn't this what it is all about?
§Tough Guy
by Maya
§Pissed-off man
by Maya
This was the guy who didn't want to be called a "Good German"
§Stop Bush's War Pimps
by Maya
§God "Help" America
by Maya
A resident one block from City Hall modifies his flag
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Comments (Hide Comments)
by reader
Thanks for these -- they really capture the moment, the feelings.
by Dave
Just wanted to let you know that the Good German Guy I think was a plant, a provocateur. He was harassing people on our side with complete impunity from the police. We tried to push the pig out of the way while he was screaming in my ear support the troops.

I staring chanting with him through my megaphone Support the Troops, Bring Them Home. He got real tired of chanting with us real fast. Then I just told him that I was glad he was kidding because no one could be this stupid and then laughed uncontrollably at him until he left in shame.

They hate laughter because they are too serious about war and hate. And they listen to KSFO. And they support a bunch of neocon, fascist war criminal in their quest to conquer the world for Exxon.
by theodora
Aaron, it is probably the case that in 1942, most people did support the german troops. Those troops were probably very warm and friendly to their family and acquaintances. Given the propaganda situation of the time, neither the troops or their supporters realized what was really going on, and in their case, they had no means of access to independent news. Now, we have news with CIA planted stories (as described in the UK Guardian story being passed around this week), but we at least have some means of obtaining other information.
The 1939 germans were told that they were being attacked by outside communist forces, (i.e. reichstag fire event), and this came after a long campaign designed by businesses to turn people away from socialist ideas during the depression. They also felt like the world was unfairly attacking them due to the versailles treaty, so the militaristic right turned them against the weimar liberal culture, and created a few scapegoat classes in order to get everyone to sign up for the army. They didn't sell them on the concept of trampling civilians of other countries or destroying ethnic groups, at the beginning, and some didn't even learn until after 1945.
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