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Battle of Berkeley Continues -- Taking on Pro-War Bikers at the Marine Recruiting Station
by Felix Barrett (revolution.sfbureau [at] gmail.com)
Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 5:07 PM
On June 21, about 200 pro-war/pro-military bikers invaded Berkeley to demonstrate in support of the Marine recruiting station in downtown Berkeley. They were met by about 100 demonstrators chanting, "Murder, Rape, Torture, War – That's What They're Recruiting For" and carrying pictures of Iraqi civilians maimed at the hands of U.S. troops. Another sign said that torture is not a "career choice." By taking these reactionaries head on the protesters made it clear that there is no “honor” in fighting an illegal immoral war and that they would not allow fascist thugs gunning motorcycle engines and shouting “USA NUMBER ONE” to become the new norm – in downtown Berkeley or anywhere else!
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The Berkeley Marine recruiting station has been a target of anti-war resistance by protesters from World Can't Wait and Code Pink who say that the recruiters are unwelcome in Berkeley and need to be driven out of Berkeley and communities nationwide.

In February, the two sides faced off in the streets of Berkeley with hundreds of high school students courageously going in the face of the pro-Iraq War bikers and goons. These actions sparked protests nationwide against military recruiters. This summer activists with World Can't Wait are mounting a political campaign to drive military recruiters out of Berkeley and other communities.

*****

Recently Ron Kovic, a Vietnam veteran whose combat injuries left him paraplegic, and author of one of the 60’s best memoirs, “Born On the Fourth Of July” sent an open letter in support of the Berkeley anti-recruiting actions:

"As a former United States Marine Corp Sergeant who was shot and paralyzed from my mid-chest down during my second tour of duty in Vietnam on January, 20, 1968, I am sending my complete support and admiration to all those now involved in the courageous struggle to stop military recruitment in Berkeley. Not since the Vietnam War protests of the late sixties has there been a cause more just than the one you are now engaged in.

"Who knows better the deep immorality and deception of military recruiters than those of us who decades ago entered those same recruiting offices with our fathers believing in our hearts that we were being told the truth, only to discover we had been deceived and terribly betrayed.

"Many of us paid for that deceit with our lives, years of suffering and bodies and minds that were never to be the same again. If only someone had warned us, if only someone would have had the courage to speak out against the madness that we were being led into, if only someone could have protected us from the recruiters whose only wish was to make their quota, send us to boot camp, and hide from us the dark secret of the nightmare which awaited us all.

Read the full statement at http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4689&Itemid=69
§Berkeley June 21 2008
by Felix Barrett Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 5:07 PM
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§Berkeley June 21 2008
by Felix Barrett Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 5:07 PM
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§Berkeley June 21 2008
by Felix Barrett Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 5:07 PM
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§Berkeley June 21 2008
by Felix Barrett Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 5:07 PM
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§Berkeley June 21 2008
by Felix Barrett Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 5:07 PM
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§Berkeley June 21 2008
by Felix Barrett Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 5:07 PM
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§correction
by Felix Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 9:37 PM
After talking with others at the protest, I think a more accurate estimate of the numbers was about 100 pro-war/bikers and about 60 anti-war.

Felix

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Tony
Saturday Jun 21st, 2008 11:30 PM
I applaud those who counter demostrated against these reactionaries . It's true that some appear to be posturing fools who are all talk . But many are serious thugs who could , if they so chose (or were directed to do so by their ''allies '' among the Feds ) seriously disrupt and attack antiwar rallies .
We need calm, compendent , security teams to defend our events from such potential attacks .
After all we damm sure can't trust the cops , any cops any city, to protect our rights !
by Sunni
Sunday Jun 22nd, 2008 11:20 AM
Tony is right about the need for organzing our own security . What if the biker (shown in the first photo ) had slugged the Asian woman berating him ? MAYBE the cops would have intervened . Maybe , but even then probably only after the woman was injured and on the pavement .
(i do question the tactical wisdom of getting right in the face of a '' Bush man'' like him . It seems analogous to teasing a pit bull )
by ??
Sunday Jun 22nd, 2008 11:56 AM
Most said they hated Bush. They are more accurately seen as veterans who probably were at the bottom levels in the military but have a group loyalty to the institution in which they fought similar to how people root for their local sports team. While many like them were supportive of the Iraq war in 2003-2006 most are now opposed to it. They are anti-anti-recuitment with a misplaced belief one can support funding and getting nw people in the miltary while taking no stand on wars that depend on new people and money but if the message was worded right they could also become some of the strongest opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Barrett,
Thank you for the great coverage as always.
Did anyone mention or photograph how the Pro-War Bikers with Confederate flags on their jackets were constantly blowing cigar smoke into the faces of the CodePink women, who were standing against wars, at this protest?
The Berkeley City has Non-Smoking ordinances against smoking outside businesses on commercial streets. We didn't see any police talking to the smoke offenders or trying to stop this illegal behavior.
Thank you,
A Code Pink Member

by code pink member
Sunday Jun 22nd, 2008 1:19 PM
I entered the wrong author (Felix Barrett) in my comment about cigar smoking pro war bikers
It should have read; by CODE PINK MEMBER
Sorry, Felix.
by Tony
Sunday Jun 22nd, 2008 5:32 PM
I think ?? is correct that we should try to reach out and win over working class vets. But those yesterday sure didn't seem to be open minded types that hate the war but still respect the military . i couldn't make the counter demp yesterday but i did observe the first one . If there were any that didn't cheer the '' Victory in Iraq , USA all the way '' sentiments i didn't see them . There were also so many Confederate flags on their jackets, vests etc. that i half expected them to start chanting CSA All the way ! Many vets oppose the war . I'm one of them . But don't misunderstand . While i think that perhaps a majority of Indochina (a more accurate description than '' Vietnam '' ) vets grew to oppose the war, not all for good reasons . i heard far too many say that ''we'' should have ''won that war'' .
by ZacharyrunningWolf
Tuesday Aug 19th, 2008 10:15 AM
Have you ever noticed that,

You only see white people defending this night mare we call America. There the Native who we barely recognized because of the extermination of Indigenous people was so great (America's Manifest Destiny) - The only good Indian is a Dead one. The enslavement of African people which is still going on with no reparations in site (40 acres and mule). Finally, the Hispanic or Latino population which represents a large rape of indigenous women who are now called immigrants in their own land. Indian country stretches from the top of Alaska to the tip of Chile.

Respectfully RunningWolf

PS. To this day the Marines call enemy territory "Indian Country". Fuck the Marines and colonist masters