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March 9, 2007 | Page 15

No to war and occupation
Immigrant rights

No to war and occupation

ACROSS THE country, antiwar activists are turning out to build the antiwar movement and defend the right of soldiers to resist going to war.

--At San Francisco City College, more than 200 students turned out February 28 for an antiwar teach-in and panel featuring Helga Aguayo, the wife of conscientious objector Agustín Aguayo, who is facing a court-martial scheduled to begin March 6; Pablo Paredes, a conscientious objector from the Iraq war; and Susan Galleymore, of Courage to Resist.

Aguayo talked about the horrors her husband Agustín has witnessed while serving in Iraq--including the dehumanization of the Iraqi people by soldiers and the way soldiers themselves are treated. Galleymore discussed some of the lies that are advertised about joining the military, such as getting money for college, and the psychological and physical abuse that goes on in order to mentally break soldiers down.

Later in the day, Pablo Paredes discussed how he was tricked by the military into joining in order to supposedly receive money for college.

--At the University of Vermont, 250 antiwar students and activists turned out March 2 to hear Cindy Sheehan and Vermont members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) speak in support of a statewide town meeting resolution calling for impeachment George Bush and Dick Cheney.

IVAW members Adrienne King, Matt Howard and Drew Cameron spoke in support of another town meeting resolution calling for bringing the troops home now by sharing their horrific experiences in Iraq and their experiences since coming home. "[Bush] hasn't sacrificed anything," said Cameron. "When he says sacrifice he means all the people in this room, we have to sacrifice while he and his buddies get rich."

Sheehan, meanwhile, spoke about how impeachment isn't popular in Washington, even with the Democrats. "I remember seeing the shock on Rahm Emmanuel's face when we went to his press conference--as if he was saying, 'You're going to hold me accountable too?'"

--At the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, military recruiters had their day ruined for the third year in a row as by a group of protesters came out to face them at "Explore UT Day"--which involves schools and parents bringing children to check out the university.

A small coalition of members of the Campus Antiwar Movement to End the Occupations, Non-military Options for Youth and the International Socialist Organization came out to protest the recruiters, chanting, "Killing Iraqis is not a career; recruiters are not welcome here."

A 12-year-old girl from Killeen, Texas, the home of Fort Hood--which has sent so many soldiers to Iraq--said that "the war needs to stop. We really need to put more money in education."

--In Santa Cruz, Calif., 50 antiwar protesters crowded into City Council chambers February 27 to demonstrate their support for a resolution opposing a U.S. strike on Iran. The resolution argued that the deaths of more than 3,000 American soldiers in Iraq and "the waste of over $400 billion of American tax dollars might have been put to much better use." There are plans to hold an antiwar demonstration in downtown Santa Cruz on March 17.

Cindy Beringer, Owen Goodwin, Miguel Hernandez Salcedo and Steve Ramey contributed to this report.

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Immigrant rights

IMMIGRANT RIGHTS activists have been organizing in the Bay Area to bring a halt to a wave of raids and deportations.

-- In San Francisco, immigrant rights organizations initiated a week of demonstrations beginning February 26 in front Homeland Security to denounce raids, which have led to the deportation of 800 immigrants since October.

These day-time rallies, as well as evening events throughout the Bay Area, were part of a week of action coordinated by the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition and Deporten A La Migra to call for a moratorium on the raids, reject guest-worker programs and demand legalization for all.

A Monday morning rally drew 100. By the end of the week, there was a march of 300 to the Federal Building where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has her San Francisco office. "The government knows we need immigrants here. They repress us to keep people afraid, to keep us quiet so we won't organize or fight for our rights," said Susana Martinez, from La Raza Centro Legal.

-- In Oakland, Calif., dozens of day laborers and immigrant rights activists turned out March 1 for a march and vigil in the Fruitvale district to oppose both the ICE raids and an increase in violence against day laborers.

On February 18, a day laborer was slain while he waited for work. Day laborers are frequently scapegoated by anti-immigrant bigots and targeted for robbery, because they often get paid in cash. The rally called for unity, safety and justice in the community.

Kevin Chojczak, Brian Cruz, Jessica Kochick, Doniella Maher and Jessie Muldoon contributed to this report.

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