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News :: Organizing
Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
02 Oct 2005
An increasing number of youth and students across Massachusetts are engaging in an array of creative protest actions demanding that military recruiters get out of their schools now.

From the Berkshires to Worcester to Boston, many students at the states’ 120 private and public colleges and universities and numerous high schools are engaging in on-going anti-war and/or counter-recruitment actions or bringing new ones to life.
This battle took a step forward the week of September 25 as students at two separate campuses squared off against campus cops, school administrations and the Pentagon.

And a Boston street rally Oct. 1, organized largely by high school students, clearly demonstrated that the need for taking the counter-recruiting message to the streets and engaging in other direct action is urgent.

At least 29 soldiers from Massachusetts have died in Iraq, possibly thousands more have severe injuries such as loss of limbs and/or suffer from depleted uranium poising as well as post traumatic stress disorder which usually afflicts a former soldier for life.

Campus cops attack and mace students

On Sept. 29 in the lobby of the Holyoke Community College (HCC) cafeteria, over 30 multinational and LGBT students protested on-campus recruiting by the Army National Guard. Another focus was the Pentagon’s bigoted “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy which essentially bars LGBT persons from enlisting. The students insist this policy is a violation of the college’s and the state’s non-discrimination laws.

According to protest sponsors, the Holyoke Community College Anti-War Coalition, during the action, a campus cop ripped a placard away from a student protester. As the student attempted to retrieve his sign he was assaulted by four officers who grabbed his limbs and hoisted him off the ground one making a homophobic comment as he did so. When other students attempted to intervene on behalf of their friend, one was maced.

As the police assault was taking place, members of the College Republicans cheered on the brutality. One of the campus cops involved is an advisor to the HCC College Republican club. At least 20 local and state police in riot gear and gas masks arrived with boxes labeled “gas masks.” One student claimed a group of state police pointed guns at him.

After menacing the students, the police dispersed them. No arrests were made, but the coalition is worried that the administration will take punitive action against the protesting students, many of whom are from Holyoke, the poorest city in the state with an over 50 percent Latin@ population according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Holyoke also has a significant Black population.

The Holyoke students are demanding an immediate, unconditional public apology from the college; a pledge of non-retaliation against the activists involved; a thorough and impartial investigation into these incidents; and that military recruiters are banned from campus.

Students are asking supporters to contact HCC President William Messner at (413) 552-2222 to express support for these demands.

Recruiters return to Harvard

For the first time in over 30 years, military recruiters returned to Harvard setting up at an undergraduate career fair September 30. The Army, Marines, CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency were present.

The recruiters, originally tossed from campus as a result of Vietnam War-era campus rebellions, have also been kept off campus because the Pentagon refused to sign Harvard’s non-discrimination pledge specifically in relation to the bigoted “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy.

Although the school claims it bowed to pressure due to the Pentagon’s threat to cut $400 million in federal funds, the same day the recruiters returned the university announced its’ endowment is now $25.9 billion (

Furthermore, Lawrence Summers, Harvard president and a supporter of biological determinism, has been waging a years-long campaign for the recruiters’ return.

In response, the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice (HIPJ) held an anti-war and counter-recruitment rally despite not having a permit and the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) distributed dozens of leaflets protesting the Pentagon’s bigoted policies (

Taking it to the streets

Hoisting the banners “We won’t fight,” and “No empire,” over 50 Radical Youth Alliance members and their allies protested the “Armed Forces Career Center” near the Boston Common Oct. 1. Alliance members are mostly high school youth and students from many schools in the Greater Boston area.

“We’re particularly targeted by recruiters. We’re the ones they want to be cannon fodder,” said a student from the Cambridge School of Weston.

Some other high schools represented were the Art Institute of Boston, Buckingham Browne & Nichols, Cambridge Rindge & Latin and Somerville. Members of the Communication Workers union, Direct Action Network, the International Action Center, International Socialist Organization, Service Employees union, SHARC (Statewide Harm Reduction Coalition), Stonewall Warriors, Troops Out Now and Workers World Party also participated.

Chanting “Fight for schools, not for oil,” many participants held aloft various placards including “Feed the cities, not the Pentagon,” “No draft, no way,” “No imperialism,” “Stop the war on youth: From here to Iraq,” and “U.S. Out of the Middle East.”

“They’re professional liars. They’ll say anything to send people off to war,” said Nick Giannone of the October 29th Coalition, a union boilermaker from Quincy, and an alliance ally.

For almost three hours the peaceful participants, menaced by over 10 cops guarding the front of the recruiting center and more in four nearby police cruisers, handed out to passerby counter-recruitment information, October 29 ( and Dec. 1-3 “National Strike Against Poverty, Racism and War,” ( leaflets.

The Weston student declared the Oct. 1 action was the first of many to “directly antagonize the war machine.” He said that as the war chews up money for people’s needs and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, “people in general are fed up" especially youth, students, the poor and people of color.”

But taking inspiration from the 300,000 plus anti-war rally in Washington D.C. just days before on Sept. 24, he said the alliance is working with a broad cross-section of progressive organizations to build “a constant campaign of counter-recruitment.”

He concluded, “We have power, we have a voice and we can make an impact.”

-- 30 --

Union labor donated
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Re: Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
01 Oct 2005
It didn't see one studentwho looked like they were from Boston in the crowd of 30 to 40 "Radical Youth Alliance" members ( the town commons in Weston, Wellesley, and Licoln must have been ghost towns). Someone should tell "Nicky G." that when you're going bald, you should keep your hair short and deep six the dreads. He might want to get some friends his own age too.
Re: Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
01 Oct 2005

Just got this email after I posted this article.
Please call the school and send letters of support to the HCC Ant-War coalition.

Bryan G. Pfeifer


Student who was Maced By Police is Now Banned from Campus!

At approximately 1 p.m. on Sept 30, Sgt. Richard H. Wheeler and State Trooper Vasquez delivered a notice to Charles T. Peterson at the doorstep of his home in Springfield, MA.

Charles was the student who was sprayed in the face with mace by Officer Scott Landry at the protest against military recruiters at
Holyoke Community College on September 29.

(Go to to see photos and read our previous statement about the police brutality )

The notice read: “Because of your conduct on the property of Holyoke Community College, your presence is no longer desired at Holyoke
Community College, its property or buildings. Your failure to abide by said trespass notice will result in your arrest and court prosecution
for trespassing. This notice will remain in effect until [sic] revoked in writing by the Holyoke Community College Police Department.”

This is in clear violation of the College’s own stated policy that students, "have the right to procedural due process in grievance and
disciplinary hearings." [Right #6, p22, HCC Policy Guide 05/06]

As Charles is employed on campus, this restraining order will keep him not only from getting an education, but also from working.

Thus far, Charles has not been contacted by any member of the Administration, besides the campus police. So he has had his education
and his job taken away from him with no explanation and no opportunity to appeal.

It’s worth repeating here that Officer Scott Landry, the officer who put Charles in a headlock and sprayed mace in his face, is also the Advisor to the College Republicans at HCC. The College Republicans were also present at the protest, chanting behind the police line to incite
the police to attack students.

On campus, the student body has become frighteningly polarized, and many students who were at the protest opted out of attending classes today for fear of harassment.

Professor Mark Clinton, the faculty advisor to the Anti War Coalition has been summoned to see the Vice President of Academic Affairs on
Monday afternoon. The Office of the Vice President would not inform Clinton’s dean of the agenda for the meeting.

Yesterday, Professor Mark Clinton’s daughter was called an “ugly communist bitch” by a fellow student.

Cindy Sheehan is scheduled to visit HCC in November. We will be trying to contact her to notify her of the recent police brutality and to ask her to make a statement in support of students. If anyone reading this can help us get in touch with her, please let us know (our email is at the bottom of this statement).

Amazingly enough, a George Mason University student was assaulted by police on the same day as the HCC protest. Tariq Khan, a Pakistani-American and Air Force Veteran, wore a sign reading, “Recruiters tell lies” while standing in front of a US Marine recruiting table. After being harassed by ROTC members, the JC Operations Representative told Tariq that he had no right to voice his opinion without a permit and to leave. When Tariq peaceably refused, campus police violently assaulted him—choking him, pushing him, and slamming him against a stage.

In Wisconsin, students at UW Madison were threatened with arrest and forced to dismantle their protest against the presence of the Air
Force, CIA, and Marines at the College’s career fair. They were told that they were violating the Administration’s codes for protesting when
in fact they were in no way breaching any part of it.

We are sticking with our former demands (see statement of September 29 on but we would like to add the following:

---That the restraining order against Charles T. Peterson be lifted immediately so he can continue his education and return to his job.

---That an impartial investigation be conducted into Officer Scott Landry’s role in the battery at the September 29 protest-- given Officer Landry’s dual role as armed police officer AND student advisor to the College Republicans.

For the over 700 of you who have already called the school THANK YOU! Please keep the pressure on. Please keep calling. We are hoping
to flood the school with calls on Monday.


Members of the Anti War Coalition at Holyoke Community College

Please call Holyoke Community College to register you concerns.

President Messner
1-413 -552-2222

Officer Scott Landry,
Campus Police/ Advisor to the College
Republicans 1-413-552-2048

Vivian Ostrowsky,
Student Activities Coordinator


Additional Statements from members of the Anti War Coalition at HCC

One leading member of the AWC, whose brother was permanently injured in Iraq last year, stated:

“I was there to speak for my brother. He was wounded in Iraq. He’s a different person since he came back, it’s a different person looking at
me, more like my little brother than my big brother. He may never be the same, and he may never open up and tell me what happened in
Iraq. But I believe he fought for lies, and I believe he was lied to when he joined the military. He was promised money for college and a chance to see the world. But he went to Iraq, and he wasn’t the same when he came back.”

Shinah Santiago, an AWC Steering Committee member stated, “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s totally unjust to ban him from campus without any kind of hearing or anything. And to have one of the officers who assaulted us serve the papers was part of their effort to
intimidate us. They think he’s our leader, but everyone in the AWC is a leader, and none of us is going to be intimidated.”

Emails of support and solidarity can be sent to:
info.hcc-awc (at)

-- END --
Re: Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
02 Oct 2005
It's really awesome to see youth coming together and organizing. I am really sad that more of the radical community in Boston didn't come out as allies and stand with these folks. Like it was mentioned before, people are always talking about youth not doing anything, this time they were trying and needed the support and solidarity of other people in the larger radical community. There's more to be said, of course, about accountable organizing and the real target groups of the recruiters who were very under represented in the rally today and that will continue to happen I am sure.
Re: Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
02 Oct 2005
I'm curious about the real life of Margie Carruthers. Aside from having about the worst made-up name this side of the spam blocker...

anyway, well done, anarcho-youth!!

out of your seats and into the streets!

and don't organize--COORDINATE!!
Video of the RYA Anti-Military Recruiter Protest
03 Oct 2005
Short video of the anti-military recruiter protest organized by the Radical Youth Alliance at Park St. on October 1st 2005.

This video is in Quicktime format and is about 5mb in size.
Re: Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
03 Oct 2005
It's funny because October 1st is the same day we released our anti-Bush issue of DISPATCH.
Re: Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
08 Nov 2005
Great Job Kids!!!It's time to get out of Iraq. Indeed the Iraqi people were better off and happier under Saddam. He brought stability and control to that diverse nation. He kept the Kurds and Shiites in check. He also kept population numbers in control. The present situation demonstrates that the Iraqi people have not yet reached a cultural maturity to handle democracy and must be led by a benevolent dictator like Saddam. Another beneficial thing that Saddam brought was the elimination of dissidents within the country. A country with a large dissident population cannot survive. Through selected imprisonment and selective execution, Saddam not only physically eliminated opposition, but sent a clear message that opposition would not be tolerated. The Iraqi people liked this and actually thrived under it. They always knew what the rules were and how to play by them. While it is unfortunate for the families of those imprisoned or executed, it is also true that these families are in part to blame. They owed it to their dissident family members to reign them in. They also owed it to their country. What we have now is the very real danger that the Kurds will set up their own democracy in the north. The Kurds, due to their tribal/cultural background are the only group in Iraq capable of democracy. If they are allowed to establish democracy, then Iraq ia doomed. Only Saddam can stop this.
Re: Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
09 Nov 2005
Yesterday I participated in a great discussion by soldiers for kids. The stories and descriptions of the Iraqi people were wonderful and right on the money. After, the kids questions were so thoughtful and polite. They were in awe that we as Americans continue to unite and to go anywhere and do anything to ensure that peace and democracy thrive. The students were amazed at the amount of freedoms that Iraqi kids there own age did not have up until recently.
18 May 2006
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Re: Youth and students across state demanding: Military recruiters out of our schools!
03 Jun 2006
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