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News :: Education
Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
10 Sep 2004
I arrived at the Worcester Centrum with a contingent of Clark students around 930 that morning, and the peace presence was already quite conspicuous, “who would Jesus bomb”, etc. A Marines jeep sat on the sidewalk, with a phone number stenciled on the side for those hoping to “secure [their] futures” in the military. Recruiters in full attire greeted the students in the lobby of the Centrum, passing out pamphlets on all the so-called benefits that accompany military service, and imploring them to sign up.

Lacking a live-action laser show extravaganza of our own, we assembled peacefully on the sidewalk, armed with pamphlets about the risks of military service and instructions on preventing your personal information from being disclosed to military recruiters. This, it seems, was not entirely cool.
One officer, who could consistently be found two feet from my group for the duration of the event, quickly confronted me when I approached the children with my flyers.

“You can’t do that here” he said, shaking his head disapprovingly and pointing.
“I can’t do what?”
“You can’t obstruct traffic, let’s go”

I politely reminded the officer that I have the right to flyer on public property, and informed him that as long as I didn’t obstruct anything, I was going to continue to exercise the right. I stood as far back from the incoming students as I could, arm outstretched with a pamphlet, as he looked on disapprovingly.

Students came from varying directions towards the entrance, and when another group came from behind us, we proceeded to approach the line and flyer. Eventually, one officer (who seemed relatively legitimate and courteous) politely asked us to back up because we were on private property, and we complied. This would be the first of three times we were accused of congesting the sidewalk.

After the initial tension with the police, the general mood seemed to relax a bit as it became apparent that we weren’t antagonists. Some of the kids were receptive, others were belligerent, but generally they seemed ambivalent towards the entire spectacle, not unusual for middle-schoolers on a field trip.

The teachers were also a mixed bag. Some took flyers, thanked us for coming out, or gave a thumbs up. Others were not as affable:
As the radical cheerleaders were performing for some of the queuing students, one teacher, a short woman, seemed particularly freaked out.
“DON’T LOOK AT THEM” she insisted, drawing each word out for its full re-education camp effect. “DON’T…LOOK…AT THEM.” This, of course, egged on the protestors to a considerable degree.

“Be careful in there – they’re lying a little bit!” “Dude, if you go to war, it will be so awesome” et al. The woman eventually stopped telling students to ignore us.

Other teachers confiscated literature that the students took and harassed protestors. In one instance, a teacher accepted some of our flyers, and sardonically replied “Oh, this is wonderful, we’re doing a study on propaganda in my class!” to which the student (predictably) replied “Oh, well then you’ve come to the right place, huh?”

I think I found the teachers reactions to be the most unnerving aspect of the event. Its certainly one thing for the military to lie and aggrandize itself, but for teachers (those who are supposedly nourishing a child’s intellectual curiosity and promoting their self-interests) to willfully disallow their students from receiving information on preserving their own privacy is deplorable.

I also spoke to School Committee Member Joe O’Brien, who told me that, as recruitment literature was being distributed at the event, it was legally a recruitment event, and thus peace groups potentially had the legal right to equal time. Some were discussing a field trip to the Peace Abbey or other similar ideas. Anyone who is interested in countering this diet of militarism should attend the Worcester School Committee meeting this Thursday night (I’m unsure of the time, isn’t that terrible) and vocalize your support.

Thanks to everyone that came out, it was totally rockin’.

workBUYconsumeDIE (at)

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Worcester's a mixed bag...Always has been.
11 Sep 2004
The freaky teachers? Are Bush lovers. Fox news watchers. Terrorist are coming beleivers. What did anyone expect?
I hope some of the students ignored the recuits.
Worcester has its educated. And its uneducated. (I worked with many uneducated.) Realizing that education, usually, tends to open ones mind? It was sad to read that two teachers were blinded by the truth. Then, again...Worcester.
The key? Education. Finding alternative media and press. Seeing the whole damn picture.
And getting this so called president Out of power!
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
11 Sep 2004
Since we will undoubtedly get more posts by conservatives insisting that signing up for the military is a good deal, I thought I would post a copy of the War Resisters League's counter-recruitment flier (which can be downlaoded in PDF form at ).

You’ve probably heard the ads and the recruiter’s sales pitch. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? All advertising does. But if military life doesn’t live up to the advertising, you can’t bring your enlistment agreement back to the recruiter for a refund, and you are obligated to the military for a total of eight
years, including possible reserve duty. You wouldn’t buy a car without looking under the hood. Don’t enlist before you check out the reality of military life that lies behind the glamorous television ads and slick brochures. Check it out carefully!

Do you enjoy being bossed around? Do you want someone constantly telling you what to do and how to do it? If your answer is “no,” you may have a hard time adapting to military life. Federal law states that the military places “numerous restrictions on personal behavior that would not be acceptable in civilian society.” Military members are subject to military law 24 hours a day—even if they are off duty and off base—from beginning to end of their term (10 U.S.C. Sec. 654). Disobedience in the military can result in court-martial, prison, or even the lifetime problem of a bad discharge. Furthermore, the enlistment agreement says that your status, pay, benefits and responsibilities in the military can change without warning and regardless of any promises in your agreement! Not surpisingly, a lot of people express unhappiness after joining the military. For example, in 2002,
only 46% of enlistees in their first term were satisfied with the military way of life; and only 41% said they were likely to stay on active duty in the military. Among all military members, 48% reported having financial difficulty. (2002 Status of Forces
Survey of Active-Duty Members, Dept. of Defense)

Many people join the military expecting to receive job training. But remember, military training is designed for military jobs, not to help you get a civilian job later. Even in the technically-oriented Air Force, most jobs require particular military skills that won’t do you much good in the civilian world. If you get the training you were promised for a particular military occupation, you still might not get any experience in the job because the military doesn’t have to use you in the field you requested. In the 2002 SOF Survey, only 54% of all military members (including officers) said they were satisfied with their training and professional development,
and only 39% were satisfied with the total compensation they received for their work. As stated by Richard Cheney when he was Secretary of Defense, “The military is not a social welfare
agency; it’s not a jobs program.”

Recruiters might promise you tens of thousands of free dollars for college, but it’s not free—you must work for it. And it’s not automatic. Unless you qualify for special jobs or sign up for an extra-long term, you’ll never see the higher amounts of money. To qualify for any aid at all, you have to pay a $1200
non-refundable deposit to the military. If you receive a less-than-honorable discharge (as about one in four people do), leave the military early (as one in three do), or later decide not to go to college, the military will keep your deposit and give you nothing. According to the Veterans Affairs Dept., only about half of eligible veterans are using their educational
benefits, which means the military takes in a lot of money that will not be paid back. In other words, it’s really the military that profits, not veterans. Colleges can help you find aid if you need it, and it pays to investigate these options before agreeing to give away years of your life to the military. Once
you complete school, you can start earning the higher wages of a college graduate right away.

In 1991, the head of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights received hundreds of complaints of racism in the military. He issued a report saying discrimination haunts African-Americans, Latinos and women in the military. In 2001, 38.1% of the enlisted personnel were people of color, but only 16.7% of the officers were. Latinos in the Marine Corps, for example, made up 14% of the enlisted ranks, but only 5.3% of the officers. When the Los Angeles Times investigated the Ft. Leavenworth military prison in 1994, it found that 50% of all the inmates, and 83% of those under a military death sentence, were people of color.

Women often join the military to gain skills and break out of traditional roles. However, while the range of military work open to women has increased over the years, women are still limited in the positions open to them. And within those positions, they are often given traditional tasks: according to one government report, “many women report that they are not allowed to work at the jobs for which they were trained . . . [and] that they are routinely assigned clerical or administrative duties instead of being given the opportunity to work in the full range of their occupations” (GAO/NSIAD-99-27, 11/98). Sexual harassment and rape are a real threat to women in the military. A recent survey found that 30% of women reported being victims of rape or attempted rape while in the military; 75% had experienced
sexual harassment (Reuters Health, 3/14/03).

Discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals is not only intense within the military, it is official policy. Witch hunts to kick lesbian and gay personnel out of the military continue. Since the so-called “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was introduced, the pace of forced discharges has actually increased. Violence and threats against those suspected of being gay are routine.

_If you leave your work without permission, you can be arrested.
_Any disobedience can result in criminal punishment.
_You can be punished without the right to see a lawyer or have a trial.
_Your right to say what you think when and how you want will be restricted.
_Individual expression through the way you dress and wear your hair won’t be tolerated.
_You will be subject to routine urine tests for drugs.

Many of the U.S. soldiers who fought in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and the Persian Gulf, never expected they would be the ones to see combat. Many of the Reserve and National Guard soldiers who were sent to fight in Iraq for over a year were led to believe they would stay in the U.S. and only have to fight in emergencies. But the main purpose of the military is to fight wars, and if you enlist you will have no choice if you are ordered to fight for something you don’t believe in—like protecting a foreign dictator or oil industry profits. After enlisting, if you discover that your religious, moral or ethical beliefs won’t allow you to kill, it will be hard for you to get a discharge as a conscientious objector (for example, hundreds of U.S. soldiers were imprisoned when they objected to the Persian Gulf War). Before enlisting, it’s important to talk to a veteran or someone who has fled a war-torn country to learn
about the horrors of war.

If you have signed up for the DEP, many recruiters will tell you that you can’t get out of it. This is not true. There are a variety of reasons for DEP discharges, like enrolling in college, finding a long-term job, family hardship, etc. To quit the DEP, you will need to take steps to get discharged before your date
to report for basic training. Your recruiter normally will not help you. For free counseling and help, contact one of the groups listed on this brochure.

_Are you prepared to fight in any war, any place, anytime that the government orders you to?
_Have you really considered and checked out all the job training and placement possibilities in your community?
_Is joining the military something you want to do, or are you being pressured into it by other people?
_Is this a spur of the moment decision you may regret later?
_Have you talked to any of the many veterans who didn’t like the military? Why didn’t they make the military a career?
_If you become unhappy after you enlist, do you know how hard it will be to get out?
_If you get a less-than-honorable discharge, do you know how hard it will be to get it changed?

1) Recruiters are interested in you in order to make a sale. If they fail to meet their quota of recruits, they can be forced to work overtime. An award winning recruiter told The Boston Globe, “You have to convince these little punks to do something . . . I figure if I can sell this, I can sell anything.” Another veteran recruiter told a reporter for the Albany Times Union, “I’ve been recruiting for years and I don’t know one recruiter who wasn’t dishonest about it. I did it myself.”
2) Take along a parent or friend as a witness if you go see a recruiter. That way you’ll have somebody to back up your side of the story if there is a dispute over whether you got what you were promised.
3) If you have a police record or medical condition, don’t hide it––even if the recruiter tells you it doesn’t matter. You’ll be the one in trouble later on, not the recruiter.
4) DON’T sign any papers until you have taken them home and read them over carefully. If you ask for a copy of the enlistment agreement, they must give it to you. If they refuse, don’t sign the agreement. REMEMBER, you’re not in the military yet; they can’t order you around.
5) Talk the enlistment agreement over with your parents and friends, and with a trained civilian counselor. Ask about the parts of the agreement that you don’t understand.
6) GET ALL PROMISES IN WRITING and have them signed by the recruitment representative! Spoken promises are worthless.
7) Get copies of everything you sign. Keep the copies in a safe place.
8) If you want one of the military’s enlistment options, be sure to ask the recruiter the following questions:
_For how long do I have to enlist to get this option?
_Are there any extra requirements (schooling, physical standards, security clearance, etc.) that I have to meet to qualify for this option? What happens if I don’t meet them, but I’ve already enlisted?
_For options that include assignment to a particular base or area: Am I guaranteed this assignment for the entire time I’m in?
9) REMEMBER: If you don’t like your new job, they don’t have to let you switch, and you can’t quit! Early discharges that don’t also punish you can be hard to get.

Looking for a job is hard work, and the better prepared you are, the greater your chance to find, get and keep the job you want. Following are some job-hunting tips:
KNOW YOURSELF. Think about all of the job experience you have. Don’t forget to include volunteer work, baby-sitting, home carpentry, or painting. Put together a résumé that outlines your skills, abilities and interests. If you don’t know how to put together a résumé, check with the library or career
center at your school. Think about what you want to do in your life. Talk to people who have the type of job you are interested in. Ask them how they got their first job.
REFERENCES. Employers want to know who you are and if you are trustworthy and reliable. Before you go for a job interview, get the names, addresses and phone numbers of three people who can tell your employer what kind of person you are. They should have known you for at least a year and not be relatives. Be sure to warn them so they are prepared
to answer questions about you, if asked.
INTERVIEWS. Go dressed neatly and appropriately. Go by yourself. Be on time. Before the interview, try to find out something about the company. You can get this information from someone who works there or by researching it at the library or Employment Development Office. Be friendly during the interview. The only way for them to find out about your skills, interests and abilities is for you to tell them.
APPLICATIONS. Be sure to bring a pen. To make a good impression, follow the directions carefully and fill out the application neatly and completely.

For free counseling and more information about what recruiters might not be telling you, contact:
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
630 20th St., #302, Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 465-1617;
and 1515 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 563-8787
Pre-enlistment counseling, military and draft counseling.
AFSC Youth & Militarism Program
1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 241-7176;
Pre-enlistment, military & draft counseling.
War Resisters League
339 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012
(212) 228-0450;
Pre-enlistment, military & draft counseling.
Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities
(Project YANO)
P.O. Box 230157, Encinitas, CA 92023
(760) 634-3604;
Information on military recruitment, the draft,
non-military career choices and college financing.
War Resisters League New England
P.O. Box 1093, Norwich, CT 06360
(869) 889-5337; wrlne (at)
Information on military recruitment, the draft,
non-military career choices and college financing.
Local contact:

Produced by Project YANO - 2/04
What You Should Know Before Joining the Military
The Military’s Not Just a Job . . . It’s Eight Years of Your Life!
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
11 Sep 2004
Where did the photo come from? Did you take it. Were you inside as well?
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
11 Sep 2004
a short commentary on the following post.


I want to applaud mr william's post on several different points. Th post is quite lenghty and insightfull. these post qualities lend a helping hand to a dialectical process regarding military recruitment. while I do not agree with all that is posted by mr.. williams it is refreshing to see real discussion than just mudslinging and trolls.

more to come
Be safe and obedient

bob gorman
ret . cop
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
12 Sep 2004
As a radical Clark alumnus, I'm glad to see Clark students concerned with the world, are still fighting the good fight. And no, I don't now work on Wall Street.
Students and allies protest war on youth/students at 'Spirit of America'
12 Sep 2004
By Bryan G. Pfeifer

The city of Worcester welcomed the Army with open arms to recruit youth/students en masse through its ‘Sprit of America’ road show spectacle Sept. 10-11.

About 400 soldiers, members of the U.S. Army’s ‘elite’ ceremonial units, the 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band (“Pershing’s Own”) participated in the two-hour show which drew thousands of people in two shows each day from throughout the Northeast.

The show’s intent is to ratchet up support for U.S. imperialism through patriotic multi-media theatre techniques and to present a thoroughly revisionist version of U.S. history. The show glorifies imperialist plunder beginning with Native people in North America to the current occupation of Iraq (

Many of the attendees were elementary and high-school aged students that had received free tickets and a day off school Friday, Sept. 10 by Worcester’s School Administration to attend. Some media reports estimate as many as 10,000 students attended Friday’s morning show.

According to Worcester School Committee member Joseph C. O’Brien, on two previous occasions the administration denied requests for students to attend an anti-war teach-in and an educational event celebrating the day LGBT marriage became legal in Massachusetts.

In an open letter to the Worcester School Committee, O’Brien wrote, “….So, let’s get this straight. If you want to go on a trip to learn about peaceful alternatives to war run by academics, or if you want to take part in activities centered around a historic day in the community’s struggle for Civil Rights you can’t go. But if you want to go to a pro-military rally run by the Department of Defense, take the whole school day. This is simply wrong.”

Before and after being subjected to the ‘Spirit of America’s’ jingoist, racist, super-aggressive, pro-heterosexual, misogynist and patriarchal show, students were preyed upon by Army JROTC officers attempting to recruit them. Recruitment officers obtained student’s contact information, took pictures of them and encouraged them to inspect Army vehicles.

Despite this siege progressive and revolutionary students and their allies fought back.

Armed with counter-recruitment literature, banners, and placards declaring “War is not entertainment, ” “Bring the troops home now,” and other slogans dozens of protesters stood their ground despite intimidation by Army personnel and chauvinists.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable to have students take a field trip and miss class time to watch, essentially, a recruitment spectacle,” said student organizer Chris Caesar.

Alex Gould, member of the youth/student organization FIST (Fight Imperialism Stand Together) and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 328, Providence, agreed.

“This macabre extravaganza recruitment tour should settle the issue for our generation once and for all -- that the system of imperialism has spent itself and has nothing to offer the youth, even in the United States.”

War on youth/students

A working-class city with a long history of union and other progressive struggles, Worcester is the third-largest city in New England with a population of 172,000 of which 30 percent are people of color and 35 percent are under the age of 24 (

Instead of building a jobs-creation and other social-service programs for youth/students affected by deindustrialization and the scientific-technological revolution, the city’s ruling class, like others nationwide, is sacrificing them to the poverty draft.

According to the United States Army Junior ROTC website, JROTC is “a continuing success story.” Of course it doesn’t specify for whom. (

The United States Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) came into being with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916. Under the provisions of the Act, high schools were authorized the loan of federal military equipment and the assignment of active duty military personnel as instructors. In 1964, the Vitalization Act opened JROTC up to the other services and replaced most of the active duty instructors with retirees who worked for and were cost shared by the schools.

From six units in 1916, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp has expanded to 1555 schools today, the largest of the “armed forces” reserve units. JROTC exists in every state in the U.S. and countries with a U.S. presence including Guam, Germany and South Korea. Presently 300,000 high school students aged 13-18 and up are taught by 3,900 active duty Army retirees

In 1992, George Bush Sr., in response to the L.A. Rebellion, pushed an initiative to double the number of JROTC programs in the U.S. from 1,500 to 3,000. In the absence of a draft, George Bush Jr. is continuing the expansion. In 2002 he oversaw the passage of the Defense Authorization Bill which removed the 1992 federal limit of 3,500 JROTC programs. The Congressional Budget Office expects the number of JROTC units to surpass 3,500 by 2005.
Students of color are a particular target of recruiters according to a 1999 report “Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps: Contributions to America’s Communities,” published by the imperialist think-tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In the academic year 1995-96 African American students made up approximately 15 percent of the U.S. high school population. But African American JROTC enrollment rose from 25 percent in 1994-95 to 33 percent in 1996-97 and the percentages are increasing. Similar statistics reveal the same pattern for Latino/a and other oppressed students. And although the report claims percentages of white recruitment have stabilized or are decreasing, the Pentagon, like terrorist organizations such as the Klu Klux Klan, also prey on disaffected white youth in working-class communities like Worcester.

The Army is increasing its use of more sophisticated techniques to recruit such as “Campus Combat” which targets colleges and universities with large populations of students of color. This capitalist marketing ploy uses hip-hop music, multi-media techniques and free-giveaway gimmicks.

“The hip-hop market has a vast fan base,” said Col. Thomas Nickerson, the Army’s national advertising director in an October 2003 Newsweek interview. “It covers all segments-African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Caucasian, anyone who is interested in hip hop.
But as proven at the RNC demonstrations and elsewhere there’s also a large and growing movement of multinational youth/students fighting back.

No draft, no recruitment, no way!

“They used to say we could work to save up for college. Now the high school students who work part-time at my supermarket borrow spare change so they can eat lunch at the end of the week. So now, they tell us to die in some hole in the sand for college money,” says Gould.

“We've got to help other young people see through the lies now and organize against this
recruitment because if the war makers don't snare enough of us with this they're coming after us with the draft next. Now's the time to fight back! Union yes, war no!”

Youth/students will have a few major opportunities to fight back in the coming weeks.

The ‘Spirit of America’ will roll through Washington D.C.’s MCI Center, 601 F Street, NW, Sept. 17-18 ( and Albany, New York’s Pepsi Arena, 51 South Pearl Street Albany, Sept. 24-25 (

The Million Worker March also has a Youth/student contingent. See:

For more information and resources on counter-recruitment and the G.I. resistance movement see: and

-- 30 --
See also:
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
13 Sep 2004
The photo came from the army's promotions of the event. We re-used it for educational and news purposes. Two Boston Indymedia folks were inside. Article is on the way.
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
14 Sep 2004
Photos & story from inside the "Spirit of America" S10 morning presentation for students are available at Worcester Indymedia.

It's worse than you'd ever imagine ......ugggh

INformation givaway no big deal
15 Sep 2004
why are you afraid of your mailing address being given to military recruiters?

treat it just like any other advertising mail you get. toss it. Saying NO is not a big deal.

Williams points out the large percentages that represent dissatifaction with military life. those with intellegence will see that the numbers he does not specify where are the majority are satisfied with their time in the military.
What happened to Pfeiffer's article?
15 Sep 2004
No offense to Chris, but Brian P.'s article was more thoroughly researched and appeared first -- then some "Matthew Williams" removed it. What gives?
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
15 Sep 2004
Actually Caesar's article appeared first, and we promptly featured it. Then Pfeifer's article was posted to the newswire second and I put that up in the center column, where you probably saw it, without noticing Caesar's. After some discussion by e-mail (during which someone else removed Pfeifer's areticle from the center column), those of us in the editorial collective decided that it would make the most sense to rethread the second article (Pfefier's) as a comment to the first article (Caesar's), where it is for everyone to read. Perhaps not the most satisfactory decision, but we decided it made more sense than having two articles on the same subject in the center column right after each other.

And some people seem to be attributing the contents of the post I put up to me, even though I said at the start of that post, I was just posting the contents of a WRL flier--I didn't write the material. I posted it because I felt the detailed information would be useful background for people who don't know a lot about the issues.
You Should Speak From Experience
16 Sep 2004
For those of you who were never in the military to speak about how dissatisfied people in the military are with military life, you have no basis to make an informed statement. I've been in the military for 10 years and hope to stay another 10 more.
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
17 Sep 2004
Unfortunately James, I don't have expierence in the military to reference. What I do have, however, are the Pentagon's own objective statistics and facts about military life.
Re: Worcester Students Protest "Spirit of America" Tour
14 Oct 2004
Don't down the military unless you have experienced it. And what you said about losing all your rights... and military being all about people bossing you around.. is a lie. Yes you go through BCT [Basic Combat Training] but that is mainly so you learn disciplinary ways of living and knowing how to RESPECT people and doing our core values: LDRSHIP: Loyalty, Duty Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. Without joining the military I would not have done half of the things that I have done. I have gotten stronger, physically and emotionally and it has shown me and taught me a whole lot that I don't think I would have experienced else where! So before you down the military it isn't all about people bossing you around. Try living the life of a soldier, air man, sailor or marine!