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(en) US, Pittsburgh Organizing Group March 20th (M20) Direct Regional Anti-war call to action against the occupation

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 3 Feb 2004 23:30:42 +0100 (CET)

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March 20th Direct action occupation against the occupation (:
Assemble: 3:00pm at the William Pitt Union at the University of Pittsburgh
(5th and Bigelow in Oakland)
The question comes back, as it always does, to what responsibility do people
have to stop immoral and unjust actions. How far do our moral beliefs compel
us to directly confront the individuals and institutional power structures
that share responsibility for the death, destruction, and exploitation
currently occurring around the world? How much of our privilege will we risk
to oppose a government that trumpets the claim that it is a democracy acting
in our name, for our benefit? In attempting to answer these questions, POG
has taken a variety of actions over the last year against what we feel is a
country and government increasingly under the control of the rich and
powerful, and the institutions and companies they control. We issue this
call because we refuse to continue in helpful compliance with injustice.

For the last year we have held rallies, marches, picnics, teach-ins, speak
outs, carnivals, and on many occasions we have broken the law. We did so out
of a sincere belief that we could not allow the war to occur in silence. At
the start of “shock and awe,” we had to take actions to make people stop and
take note of the certainty that tens of thousands were about to be killed.
Throughout it all our organizing was based primarily around appeals to the
public and our government. We sought to raise issues that were being ignored
in the corporate media; issues about the justifications for war and what the
predictable consequences of such a war would be. We tried to remove any
illusions that a consensus for the war existed, while bringing together a
hopefully long lasting movement aware of the interconnectedness of social
struggles. We also engaged in actions designed to raise the social costs of
the government carrying out its policies. We believe Pittsburgh’s response
to the war was appropriate to the time and was effective at achieving many
of its short-term goals.

Now we are approaching the one-year anniversary of the war; the lies and
deceit that “led” us to war have been partially unmasked, the justifications
have shifted, and we stand again at a turning point. The death toll for U.S.
soldiers in Iraq is 525, troops may stay in Iraq through 2006, the army has
announced plans to exceed its congressionally authorized size limit by
30,000, more Iraqis and Afghanis die every day, and all this is tempered by
the knowledge that Iraq is not the end because it was not an aberration in
US foreign policy. Every day another pre-war claim of the peace movement is
proven, our arguments with pro-war family and friends become easier to win,
but if we do not see this struggle through to the point of concrete
structural changes in our society what good does any of it do?

We say the structure is rotten, no more replastering! While Pittsburgh
continues to organize and participate in the necessary large-scale rallies
and protests, we believe the time has come to begin addressing the war
machine in a more direct manner, on the local level. Nationwide, hundreds of
groups are calling for a global day of action against war on March 20th.
Regional events are scheduled for many cities, including Pittsburgh where
local events begin with a Thomas Merton Center organized 1p.m. rally at
Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park, continue with a march around Oakland ending
outside the William Pitt Union at the University of Pittsburgh. The TMC
events are permitted, will include peace marshals, and aim for the widest
possible participation without any fear of government repression.

To complement the permitted events, POG is mobilizing for a non-violent
direct action aimed at exposing and confronting pieces of the war machine in
Pittsburgh. We believe the time is right to engage in non-violent resistance
that directly confronts those involved in the research, development and
production of weapons systems that are facilitating the wholesale slaughter
of thousands of innocent people around the world. Although absolutely
necessary, it is not enough to simply register our opposition in the

We are aiming for a truly inclusive framework for this event that respects
the different tactical perspectives people hold and increases the unity of
the movement. The direct action contingent will assemble itself around 4
large flags at Flagstaff and stay together through the permitted events
until its eventual break off. At 3 p.m. the contingent will leave the
William Pitt Student Union for Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) campus.
Both the CMU Robotics Institute (RI) and the CMU Software Engineering
Institute (SEI) have extensive ties to the military and receive contracts
for research and development with military applications. The RI is currently
developing a remote controlled scout “tank” dubbed “gladiator” that has
“offensive capabilities” to “neutralize threats” and SEI develops the
software testing and rating system that every military contractor using
software must now pass to be eligible for Department of Defense (DoD)
contracts. The DoD said it best “The SEI focuses on software technology
areas judged to be of the highest payoff in meeting defense needs.”

Upon arrival at CMU some people will occupy buildings with direct ties to
the war effort. There a variety of ways that people can support the direct
actions: All of which are critical to the success of the actions *March with
the direct action contingent. We’ll need a critical mass of people in order
to reach our destination and carry out the sit-in. *Occupy the building. We
need both people to initially go inside the building and people prepared to
stay as long as possible. *Support the occupation from outside the building.
We need people to communicate with those inside, raise awareness of the
action, and dialogue with people face-to-face about the actions and the
reasons behind them.

People should plug in where they feel comfortable (but not TOO comfortable!)

Our tangible goals: 1: Obtain FULL disclosure from CMU on the scope of past
and current military ties and their sources of funding.

2: End CMU ties to the Military-Industrial complex. All of it, not just
Robotics Institute programs such as spinner and gladiator, Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (www.darpa.mil), but Lockheed Martin,
Northrop-Grumman, and the rest.

3: Get ROTC off CMU’s campus (CMU’s ROTC is a joint- pitt-cmu program which
is based at pitt) http://www.pitt.edu/~armyrotc/

This is exactly the type of action those inside pog have wished we could
work on and one that other progressives have indicated they would fully
support if we tried: one with a crystal clear focus, with specific demands,
one that is non-disruptive except to those directly complicit in the war,
and if successful momentum is built, this action could be huge, with
possibly hundreds of people participating in the occupation, national
attention, and real changes to Carnegie Mellon University’s conduct. We hope
that YOU will consider supporting and taking part in the direct actions on
March 20th.

POG is meeting weekly in the lead-up to M20 and we encourage everyone to
contact us to become more involved. Questions and comments are also welcome.

In solidarity and with love,

Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) pog@mutualaid.org -

Please Note: It is impossible in a short call to action like this to delve
into CMU ties to the military- the ways in which CMU’s administration and
President (Jared Cohen) have repeatedly lied about how closely tied the
school is to the war and the slippery slope they continue to fall down in
regards to unethical military research. A more in-depth report is at

"An apt and true reply was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had
been siezed. For when the king had asked the man what he meant by keeping
hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride. 'What thou
meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I
am called a robber, whilt thou dost it with a great fleet are styled
St. Augustine, The City of God

* http://www.organizepittsburgh.org/about.html
POG is a Pittsburgh based progressive group concerned with
peace, social justice, and environmental issues locally,
nationally, and internationally. We are consensus based,
non-hierarchical, believe in affinity groups, and support
a diversity of tactics.

From: Mike V <unwelcome_guest-A-hotmail.com>

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