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Presidio 27 Mutiny Commemoration Gathering

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Event Type:
Jeff Paterson
Location Details:
1267 Storey Ave, San Francisco CA 94129 - in The Presidio, across from the The Presidio Log Cabin.

Vietnam War resisters and anti-war groups will gather to commemorate the anniversary of the “Presidio 27 Mutiny,” a 1968 protest and sit-in conducted by imprisoned Vietnam War resisters. The event will occur on October 14th from 1pm to 3pm and will take place at the Presidio Stockade, across from the Log Cabin (1267 Storey Road, San Francisco CA 94129), where the historic events unfolded.

During the Vietnam War era, the Presidio Stockade was a military prison notorious for its poor conditions and overcrowding with many troops imprisoned for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. When Richard Bunch, a mentally disturbed prisoner, was shot and killed on October 11th, 1968, Presidio inmates began organizing. Three days later, 27 Stockade prisoners broke formation and walked over to a corner of the lawn, where they read a list of grievances about their prison conditions and the larger war effort and sang "We Shall Overcome." The prisoners were charged and tried for "mutiny," and several got 14 to 16 years of confinement. Meanwhile, disillusionment about the Vietnam War continued to grow inside and outside of the military.

The mutiny’s anniversary comes at a time when military resistance against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan appears to be climbing. U.S. Army soldiers are resisting service at the highest rate since 1980, with an 80 percent increase in desertions, defined as absence for more than 30 days, since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the Associated Press.

"This was for real. We laid it down, and the response by the commanding general changed our lives," recalls Keith Mather, Presidio “mutineer” who escaped to Canada before his trial came up and lived there for 11 years, only to be arrested upon his return to the United States. Mather is currently a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of Veterans for Peace.

Other "mutineers" to attend include: John Colip of Mesa, Arizona; Randy Roland of Seattle, Washington; and Mike "The Mole" Marino of Vacaville, California. Former San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan will recount his role as a young lawyer defending "The Presidio 27."

"This was one of the first major acts of GI resistance against the Vietnam War. Forty years later we again have growing resistance within the military in opposition to a long, brutal occupation war-complete with prisoners of conscience and resisters seeking refuge in Canada," explains Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist, an organization established to support Iraq War era military objectors.
Added to the calendar on Mon, Oct 13, 2008 5:56PM
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