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News of the struggle

September 5, 2003 | Pages 10 and 11

Military Families Speak Out
Anti-occupation teach-In
Protest George Bush

Stop police brutality
By Susie Wasserstrom

SAN FRANCISCO--The San Francisco Police Department is on the rampage again. On August 25, two police officers attacked 23-year-old Lee Collins in San Francisco's largely African American Hunters Point neighborhood.

The two cops punched, kicked and beat Collins with their billy clubs until he lost consciousness. Then, 30 more officers arrived on the scene, threatening residents who were watching this police terror. One cop pointed his gun at an 8-year-old. At least two more adults were brutalized, and a 14-year-old was sent to the hospital after being struck down by a billy club.

In response to this outrageous attack, community activists organized a press conference last week. About 60 supporters came out to tell their own stories of abuse at the hands of San Francisco and Oakland cops.

The SFPD showed up, too, and tried to intimidate the crowd by stationing themselves at both exits. But the crowd refused to back down and, instead, challenged the cops. "The officer that terrorized my child is back up on my street," said Susie McCallister, whose daughter was brutalized by Bayview police on Martin Luther King Day. "How dare you!"

Others directly addressed Deputy Chief Gregory Suhr, demanding to know why he was promoted after overseeing the 1998 police murder of Mike Garcia. A rally to demand justice for Lee Collins is planned for September 3 at 4 p.m. in front of the police station, 850 Bryant St.

For more information, contact Bay Area Police Watch at 415-951-4844.

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Military Families Speak Out
By Cindy Beringer

CRAWFORD, Texas--Members of Military Families Speak Out had a simple message for George W. Bush, who was enjoying a month's vacation at his ranch here. "Bring the troops home now!"

The August 23 rally drew some 200 protesters, largely made up of family members who spoke about the role of oil and power as the true motives for the Iraq war and occupation. "Morale is low, our guys feel forgotten, and we need to show them someone does care," says Candance Robison, whose husband is an Army officer and engineer serving in Iraq.

Teri Allison's son enlisted in the Army as "an idealistic 21-year-old" and is due to go to Afghanistan. Allison worries about her son and his friends risking their lives in what she calls "an unjust and immoral war, based on lies and fabrications perpetrated by the Bush administration." Together, Robison and Allison called the protest.

Robison read a letter from a mother of a veteran of the first Gulf War who had participated in the murder of retreating Iraqi soldiers. "Mom, my tank killed more people than Tim McVeigh," her son had written her. "This was not a fair fight." The young soldier returned from Iraq and tried to kill his memories with drugs and alcohol. In 1996, he committed suicide, and his fiancé did the same a few months later.

The organizing efforts of Military Families Speak Out ( and its affiliate group Bring Them Home Now ( bring a powerful message against the horrors of U.S. imperialism and show a deep concern for the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Robison urged military families to "be proactive...we must take to the streets again, and we have to stay there!"

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Anti-occupation teach-in
By Sid Patel

BERKELEY, Calif.--Some 55 people attended the first public meeting of the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition of the fall semester on August 26. Speakers included Max Elbaum, editor of the antiwar newspaper War Times, and student antiwar activist Snehal Shingavi.

Speakers touched on several important themes for the activists building a movement against the occupation in Iraq, including finding ways to expose the lies the Bush administration used to win its war on Iraq, informing others about the horrors of the occupation for Iraqis and U.S. troops, and linking the war and occupation to the White House's attack on workers at home.

Antiwar activists are making plans for a demonstration September 28 and a teach-in or debate to build for it. At the meeting, a proposal was made for the coalition to call for a Recall the War campus referendum, in which students would get to vote on "Money for War" or "Money for Schools."

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Protest George Bush
By Paul Dean

PORTLAND, Ore.--More than 4,000 people turned out to protest George W. Bush, undeterred by the vicious police violence the last time Bush came to town. The 400 police who came out--many in riot gear with their pepper spray ready--cost the city tens of thousands in overtime pay, but didn't manage to arrest any more than 10 protesters.

Bush's three-and-a-half hour trip to Portland included a $2,000-a-plate fundraiser. This was a smack in the face for a state whose population has the nation's highest unemployment rate at 8.5 percent and the highest number of people without enough food to eat.

The event raised $1 million for Republicans, while Portland schools have implemented drastic cuts, and teachers worked 10 days without pay. One person in a nearby house put up a sign saying "Half price dinner: $1,000."

Ten protesters were arrested, and it was reported that some had jail support phone numbers removed from their arms. Bush can be assured that whenever he comes to Portland again, he will find a similar "welcome."

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