"Our goal is to have clear zoning regulations for military recruiting and to put citizen pressure to shut down on the existing recruiting station that is just blocks from Berkeley City College, UC Berkeley, and Berkeley High School." ~ Berkeley Community Peace Activists
CODEPINK Berkeley has launched an initiative campaign to limit military recruiting stations in Berkeley, California. This is the next step in the group's ongoing protest of a Marines Recruiting Station that opened in the heart of Berkeley in 2007.
The Berkeley initiative is being put forward because of a concern for the vulnerability of youth, the well-documented serial lies that accompany recruiting tactics especially during these times when recruiters are struggling to make goals, and the immense power of the giant sales propaganda machine of the military.
The initiative was triggered by the unexpected appearance of a Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley in 2007 – a phenomenon never expected nor experienced in this town that historically has always proudly embraced core values such as anti-war and pro-peace.
The group has been holding a weekly, and most weeks daily, vigil
outside the Marines Station, which includes life-affirming activities
like a baby playgroup and mother's breastfeeding circle, yoga, singing,
reading, and other activities.
(Left photo: Speakers at the press conference that launched the initiative)
Proponents said they are planning to secure 5000 Berkeley voter signatures over the next two months to qualify the measure for the ballot. City Council members are considering adopting the Initiative sooner than November in order to enact it more quickly.
The Berkeley City Council voted to tell the U.S. Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders." (Left photo: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates joins CODEPINK outside the recruiting station)
CODEPINK ALERT for Berkeley, CA Residents:
Sign our initiative to refine Berkeley zoning laws for military recruiting! For more info call (510) 524-2776 or visit the CODEPINK local office on Solano Avenue in Albany! Also, join our weekly protest outside the Marines Recruiting Station on Shattuck Square at University! Click here for action details.
One of our favorite letters to the editor, which appeared in the SF Chronicle:
Kudos to Berkeley
Editor - As the mother of a Marine, I am glad the city of Berkeley had the courage and decency to tell the long arm of President Bush's empire-building machine to get out of town.
As a true Republican conservative, I know the role of our government is not to spend trillions of our tax dollars and spill Americans' blood to attack countries that have never posed a threat to our national security, but to promote free enterprise and the economy by not taxing us to death to pay for the war in Iraq.
Those who protest Berkeley's actions unwittingly undermine the foundation of our government. Because we are a democracy, it is up to the citizenry to determine whether it is warranted to support our military's efforts, not to blindly accept the dictates of one man. Berkeley's kicking out of the Marine recruiting office is an example of our Constitution's checks and balances.
CODEPINK Action UPDATE 2/13/2008: After a remarkable day of peace and pro-war
forces facing off outside Berkeley City Hall over the Marines
Recruiting Station issue in Berkeley, California, the City Council held
its ground as pro-troop but anti-war and anti-recruitment. Many media
outlets are reporting that Berkeley backed-down WHEN IN FACT the City
Council reaffirmed their stance in opposition to the military
recruitment of Berkeley youth and stood firm in their resolve, voting
against sending a letter of apology to the Marines Recruiting Station
based in their city.
A showdown of epic proportions (even for Berkeley) ensued at the
Berkeley City Hall yesterday: With out-of-town pro-war individuals
descending on Berkeley to intimidate the City Council for its anti-war
position, Berkeley residents, CODEPINK and other peace groups mobilized
over a thousand people to support their peace-loving city and continue
the struggle to close the Berkeley Marines Recruiting Station. They
organized a 24-hour vigil outside City Hall and held a press conference
where many veterans, war resisters, concerned local Berkeley citizens,
and Berkeley High School students, spoke in support of their city
standing up for peace. Solidarity actions were held in Washington DC at
Senator DeMint's (R-SC) office to shame the senator for his blatant
attempt to curb Berkeley's free speech by sponsoring a bill to cut off
Federal funding to the city as a punishment for its actions.
"We are really proud of the Berkeley City Council for not buckling
under intense pressure from the pro-war 'swift-boaters,'" says Medea
Benjamin, CODEPINK Cofounder. "They clarified that they support the
troops, but stated that they oppose "the recruitment of our young
people into this war.' This has been a tremendous boost to our
movement; CODEPINK continues to have our free parking space and noise
permit, and we will continue to be outside the station every day
calling for the recruiters to leave."
"This is not about being pro or anti military. It's about resisting
the Iraq War. As a former Marine, I think youth have a right to hear
about the realities of military enlistment. Berkeley is a city with a
great reputation of supporting our troops and specifically war
resisters, declaring the city a sanctuary for conscientious objectors,"
stated local resident and Gulf War resister Jeff Paterson.
CODEPINK has collected hundreds of signatures on a petition to rezone
military and private military contractor offices in the city. Upon
gathering 2,000 signatures on this initiative it will be added to the
ballot in November. Thousands of people all over the country and
around the world have written letters of support to the city council
and called CODEPINK with their appreciation.
YouTube Coverage of the Berkeley Recruiting Station Actions
CODEPINK Berkeley's Zoning Initiative on Military Recruiting
Sharron Adams, lawyer and co-author of this initiative, speaks at CODEPINK's press conference to announce the launch of a ballot initiative to limit zoning for military recruiters. The press conference took place outside the Berkeley Marines Officer Recruiting Station on January 30, 2008.
CODEPINK Berkeley's Zoning Initiative on Military Recruiting
Carole Kennerly, a proponent of this initiative and former Vice Mayor of Berkeley, speaks at CODEPINK's press conference to announce the launch of a ballot initiative to limit zoning for military recruiters. The press conference took place outside the Berkeley Marines Officer Recruiting Station on January 30, 2008.
Medea Benjamin calls out Melanie Morgan
Medea Benjamin calls out right-wing talk show host Melanie Morgan for failing to show up to a debate on the merits of zoning the Marines out of Berkeley.
Betsy Rose sings at CODEPINK Military Recruiting Protest
Singer-Songleader Betsy Rose leads "It Isn't Nice" at CODEPINK's press conference to announce the launch of a ballot initiative to limit zoning for military recruiters. The press conference took place outside the Berkeley Marines Officer Recruiting Station on January 30, 2008.
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. The name CODEPINK satirized the Bush Administration's color-coded, fear-mongering "security" alert system that has since been phased out. CODEPINK is a lively call for the people of the world to "wage peace." More...