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News and reports

May 11, 2007 | Pages 14 and 15

Vermont Campus Antiwar Network
Protesting the Minutemen
Marching against the war

Vermont Campus Antiwar Network
By Mary Howland

BURLINGTON, Vt.--Some 50 students from six universities from across the state came together for the first Vermont Campus Antiwar Network (CAN) conference on May 5. The day started with a die-in on a main downtown street.

The protest was followed by workshops on issues such as the case for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, guerrilla theater, radicalism in film and how to build a CAN chapter. The day was full of political debate and discussion, with activists trying to figure out how to build larger antiwar groups on their campuses, and hashing out the answers to big political questions, like the nature of U.S. imperialism.

The evening ended with a plenary titled "Iraq, Iran and the Future of the Antiwar Movement." Drew Cameron, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and a student at the University of Vermont, spoke about the case for immediate withdrawal from Iraq from the perspective of a veteran.

Siham Elhamoumi spoke as a student activist from St. Michael's College, urging students to continue the fight against the occupation. Saman Sepehri, a contributor to the International Socialist Review, laid out the nature of U.S. interests in the Middle East, and why Iran is the next target of U.S. imperialism.

The final speaker was an active duty-soldier, a member of IVAW who has already served one tour in Iraq. He spoke of his experiences in Iraq, why he is against the war, and how student activism can give the needed support to active-duty soldiers to resist the war. As he said, "Soldiers need the solidarity of a civilian movement to give support to the development of a full-fledged GI resistance."

The conference was a beginning step in solidifying a statewide network of student antiwar groups Attendees were inspired and excited to continue the fight and the organizing through the summer and into the coming fall semester.

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Protesting the Minutemen
By Sarah Knopp

BALDWIN PARK, Calif.--Approximately 40 members of the anti-immigrant organization "Save Our State" (SOS)--a sister group of the racist Minuteman Project--showed up to harass residents of the city of Baldwin Park on May 5 in response to the city council's recent vote to build a day laborer center at the Home Depot.

Outrageously, many of the racists carried signs saying "We support the [Los Angeles police department]," a reference to the police brutality unleashed against immigrant families, activists, reporters and lawyers at recent the May Day march.

SOS was surprised, however, when 400 people--mostly residents of Baldwin Park--showed up chanting "Racists go home!"

Outnumbered 10-to-1, SOS made sure they had over a hundred riot police to protect them and allow them take over the lawn of the city council and taunt the community.

After police escorted them to their cars, residents and activists organized an impromptu speak-out, and people signed up to help with emergency responses to any kind of repression--whether from the Minutemen, immigration raids or police brutality.

As one Baldwin Park woman commented, "Thank you Minutemen for getting us organized--and thank you everyone for coming out to support us."

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Marching against the war
By Shane Johnson

CINCINNATI--On May 7, 40 people attended a march at the University of Cincinnati called by UC Students United for Peace/Campus Antiwar Network. The event was part of a week of activities that included the showing of the film Why We Fight and a die-in to symbolize the destruction caused by the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

The march was spirited, with chants such as "Recruiters lie, soldiers die!" The march was deemed "illegal" by campus officials after they supposedly "lost" the scheduling request, but protesters marched anyway.

The group plans to build on the momentum and broaden the struggle to demand immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.

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