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(en) US, Portland, UNFINISHED BUSINESS* #2 a journal of Class Struggle tactics and theory

Date Mon, 08 Aug 2005 17:53:56 +0300


Democracy * Solidarity * Direct Action * For revolutionary change in North
Inside: The CIPO-RFM pg.2-3, Coalition Organizing pg.5, Building a Culture of Resistence pg.6, The Split in the AFL-CIO pg. 7, Letters pg. 8
From the War in Iraq to the War at Home We are Fighting
Stop the war abroad. Fight the war at home. By Lucas
Why are we opposed to military recruiters on our
campuses and in our communities? When we
look at how the war manifests itself in our lives,
what do we see? We see money that should be spent
on education being thrown away on the militaries ever-
fattening budget. We see K-12 schools closing and
tuition rates at colleges rising. We see the war sucking
away money that is intended for basic social services,
healthcare, social security, and unemployment. We see
our access to a decent living being cut out from beneath
us and given to both the military and the corporations
invading Iraq.
And then we see military recruiters. We see military
recruiters selling lies with the language of dreams, fully
aware of the fact that they are selling desperate kids on
fighting a war that could likely maim and potentially kill
them. The cost of war is the reason that tuition is rising
and that times are hard for young people. Yet this war is
taking a higher toll on the youth than just grossly mis-
spent tax money. It's also about the growing human cost
of this war. 1,720 U.S. soldiers have died, while another
12,000 have been maimed in one form or another.
Meanwhile, casualties among civilian Iraqis has shot
upwards of 22,000.
This war is the institutional theft of our future, and mil-
itary recruiters are complicit. They are asking us to risk
our lives in their war to further their ends at our expense.
But it doesn't have to be this way. If the government
spent just 10% of the military's budget on social servic-
es, we could have free education and free healthcare for
everyone. Does this mean we're living in a first world
version of a kleptocracy?
Military recruiters have us fighting people who
aren't our enemies for people that are at our
expense. This is why we are against military
recruiters. They are the physical manifestation of war
in our schools and our communities. They are also a
strategic target for those of us who really want to
stop this war. Why strategic? Money is one resource
that the war relies on. But bodies are more important.
They need bodies before they need money. Shutting
down military recruiters is about shutting down the
militaries ability to wage this war.
A case example:
Organizing against military recruiters in Seattle
The First Action
For the last five months, Seattle Central
Community College Students Against War (SAW)
has run a campaign against military recruiters on
campus. We initiated the campaign after an action on
January 20th, inauguration day, that resulted in a
mob of 200 or more students surrounding military
recruiters on campus and physically expelling them.
The action in question resulted in a media blitz that
put SAW in the negative spotlight both of right wing
and so called 'liberal' media for about two straight
weeks.
After seeing the student population spontaneously
stand up against military recruiters, we concluded
that the most effective way to consolidate student
opposition to the war would come from challenging
military recruiters on our campus. We recognized the
unpopularity of rising tuition costs and that military
recruiters were directly linked. Additionally, the nega-
tive response that we received from our administra-
tion and the right coupled with the positive response
we received from students proved that this
issue was a strategic nerve center in fighting
the war and building student power.
The campaign began along two key points:
first, that we could pressure the administration
to meet our short term demands in limiting
military recruiters access, and second, that
we could directly target the recruiters on cam-
pus. The short term goals that we set includ-
ed changing the opt-out policy, limiting military
recruiters campus access, and building stu-
dent power. Ending military recruitment on
campus altogether and creating a ripple effect
through our organizing were both long term
goals of the campaign.
We began by circulating a petition among
SCCC students asking for their support in
expelling military recruiters from our campus.
We intended this to be largely an educational
endeavor to build mass student support for
our campaign. After two months of petitioning
two to three times a week, we accumulated
over 1,000 signatures, or roughly 10% of
SCCC's student population. In the process of
doing this, we also had three separate
encounters with recruiters tabling on campus
where we harassed them until they left.
Our campaign had reached the point where we
needed to start putting direct pressure on our admin-
istration rather than recruiters on campus. Recruiters
had started breaking the schools own rules by show-
ing up without notice. With the recruiters no longer
scheduling their campus visits, targeting them no
longer was an option. After researching the issue, we
found out that the administration had the power to
both limit their access on campus and to change the
opt-out policy. We took the cautious first step of con-
tacting the president of the college to negotiate the
issue of military recruitment on campus. Months
before, she had publicly stated that she was sympa-
thetic to us and wanted to work with us in whatever
capacity she could. The sympathetic support she
claimed to have for us never materialized. She never
once returned any of our phone calls, emails, or
office visits. Instead, we sent her and the entire
school's faculty a letter addressing the issue and
drawing out our basic demands. To back up our
demands we prepared an action that both the admin-
istration and the faculty of the school would have to
recognize.

The Second Action

We organized an action on May 12th that would
simultaneously educate people about military recruit-
ment and give people an opportunity to act on that
education. We hosted a teach-in where various
members of SAW addressed key issues related to
recruiters presence on campus. At the end of the
teach-in, we took a crowd of thirty students armed
with picket signs to the president's office. Much to
our surprise, we found ourselves in a situation far
more favorable than we had originally anticipated.
The president of the college was not in her office, but
in a meeting on campus with the entire board of
directors for the community college school district.
We packed their meeting with students, publicly
embarrassing the president in front of her superiors
and colleagues. Two of our members spoke at the
board of directors meeting and presented our 1,000
signed petitions outlining our demands. She had no
choice but to agree to meet with us and start negoti-
ating our demands.
After invading the presidents meeting, we all
marched up to the faculty union's meeting to ask for
their support in our campaign. Being progressive
educators, the union was extremely supportive of our
demands and agreed to send us a letter of public
support.
Our second action accomplished the goals we had
set. It put pressure on the administration, won the
faculty union's support for our cause, and put the
president in a position where she had to talk to us.
Our work is definitely not finished. We have taken the
initial steps and begun negotiating with the various
bureaucrats who make policy for the school.
However, it is unclear what direction this negotiating
will take and whether or not it will serve our purpose.
Over the course of the campaign we have had victo-
ries and failures, and learned from them. Now the
challenge is applying those lessons in the continua-
tion of this campaign over the next year to make a
real institutional impact on recruitment and the war.

Fight To Win

Fighting this war means fighting this Bush admin-
istration and the government they have tried to
impose on the world. War is innate in any state.
However, the U.S. state in particular has track record
of starting imperial wars on a grand scale all over the
world. Right now, the most important way that youth
can fight the war is to fight its domestic impacts and
its physical manifestation. Military recruiters are the
physical manifestation of the war at home.
As anti-recruitment and anti-war organizing contin-
ues, a few key goals should be at the forefront of our
organizing. The first and foremost goal should be
building student and community power against the
war. Not just protest in the streets, but strengthening
and demonstrating our independent power over our
communities and schools. The second should be
pushing for our power to not succumb to the assimi-
lating process of the democratic party and other
more sectarian leftist parties. Whatever we achieve
will be through our own action and not through the
misguided leadership of political parties. The third
should be maintaining and building grassroots direct
democracy within the movement. Last of all, we
should always be fighting to win in every campaign
we engage in.
Lucas is a member of the Anarchist-Communist
Union of Seattle, a Local Union of The Northwest
Anarchist Federation.
======================================================
* Unfinished Buisness: Agitational publication of the
NORTHWEST ANARCHIST FEDERATION - NAF
U..B.. B U P.o. Box 112 Portland, O R 97232

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