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News and reports

December 16, 2005 | Pages 14 and 15

Stand up for immigrant rights
Put the Hammer in the slammer

Military out of our schools

STUDENTS AND antiwar activists turned out in cities across the U.S. on December 6 to protest the presence of military recruiters on college campuses.

The actions, part of a national day of counter-recruitment called by the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN), coincided with the opening of arguments in FAIR v. Rumsfeld, a Supreme Court case brought by several universities which will decide whether schools can ban military recruiters (and uphold their own anti-discrimination policies) without losing federal funding. The day of action was endorsed by prominent activists, including Cindy Sheehan, Howard Zinn, Dahr Jamail, war resisters Pablo Paredes and Camilo Mejía and more.

-- In Washington, D.C., activists traveled from as far away as Chicago to protest in front of the Supreme Court. Counter-recruitment activists Tariq Khan from George Mason University, John Robinson from Hampton University, Angela Kelly from the D.C. Antiwar Network and many more spoke about the importance of the movement and its victories--including the passage of Proposition I ("College Not Combat") in San Francisco, and a recent University of California-Davis decision to ban military recruiters from campus.

-- In San Francisco, a diverse crowd of high school and college students, teachers, community activists and the Raging Grannies gathered at the Ferry Plaza to listen to speakers that included conscientious objector Aimee Alison, Proposition I co-author Todd Chretien, and representatives of CAN. The group of 50 then marched and picketed at a military recruitment center.

-- In Boston, more than 80 people--including high school students, and members of the Stop the Wars Coalition and the Raging Grannies--protested outside a downtown military recruitment center. When one recruiter shouted at a gay high school activist that "I do not kill people--except pieces of shit like you!" a crowd gathered to loudly call the recruiter out for being a bigot.

-- In Chicago, approximately 50 students, teachers, war veterans and gay rights and antiwar activists gathered in Federal Plaza in single-digit weather. Speakers at the protest included Gold Star Families for Peace member Juan Torres and Eric Ahlberg, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

-- In New York City, dozens of activists protested outside a recruiting station near the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Speakers included Victor Paredes, the brother of war resister Pablo Paredes, CAN National Coordinating Committee member Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, and Nicholas Bergreen, who was assaulted by police and suspended from City College New York for staging a peaceful counter-recruitment protest.

-- In Ithaca, N.Y., more than 30 people--including students from Cornell University, Wells College and Ithaca College, as well as community members--gathered for a demonstration outside a military recruiting station. The recruiters locked their doors as the crowd rallied, chanting "What do we want? Troops out now!"

Rayyan Ghuma, Julie Keefe, Kristin Lubbert and Bekah Ward contributed to this report.

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Stand up for immigrant rights
By Nestor Casas

GLENDALE, Calif.--The Glendale Labor Center was the site of the most recent offensive against immigrants by the vigilante group Save Our State (SOS).

In response to a December 10 SOS rally, a few dozen counter-protesters--including day laborers, immigrant rights groups, the ISO and others--came out to show their support for immigrants and challenge the racism of SOS. SOS has been targeting labor centers across Southern California to whip up anti-immigrant sentiment.

Passing cars honked in support of immigrant rights, and with our rally dwarfing the weak turnout of SOS supporters, Glendale was the latest scene of the defeat of the SOS. The victory was in no small part due to the successful and significant coalition of day laborers, immigrant rights groups and other activists.

It is essential that bigots face opposition everywhere they go and that their far-right views are pushed back into the gutter where they belong.

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Put the Hammer in the slammer
By Folko Mueller

HOUSTON--About 300 people representing more than 20 organizations gathered December 5 outside a campaign fundraiser for Tom DeLay, which included an appearance by Dick Cheney.

Both the "Hammer," as DeLay is nicknamed for his rants against political opponents, and Cheney must have thought they'd be on home turf here in the alleged heart of "Bush country." But as the Republican faithful were doling out $500 a piece for dinner and up to $4,200 for a photo with Cheney, the chants outside rang clear. "Put the Hammer in the slammer!" "You will pay, Tom DeLay!" "Support our troops, bring them home now!" The DeLay supporters at the hotel were apparently well aware of what was going on outside.

Several activists accompanied Diane Wilson of Code Pink into the fundraiser as she unfurled a banner and then came out to inform us that DeLay not only criticized the protest, but made references to a couple of organizations by name, including the ISO. The protest was reported in the local media as well as on Michael Moore's Web site and in the Spanish-language press.

Amusingly, a DeLay spokesperson claimed that our event was organized by "professional protesters" from San Francisco--which only goes to show how detached from reality DeLay and his people are. They just can't stomach any kind of opposition to their mad policies this close to their constituencies.

The tide has begun to turn--in the U.S. and in Texas--but we have to keep organizing. This is the only way we can be sure that these politicians will one day end up where they belong--in the slammer.

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