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News :: Organizing
Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
11 Oct 2005
On Oct. 6 over 100 students at Holyoke Community College and their allies in Western Massachusetts marched and rallied on campus to protest the ‘banning’ of student Charles Peterson, the U.S. war on Iraq and military recruiting on campus.

Calling the protest after its members were brutalized and maced by campus and state cops Sept. 29, the HCC Anti-War Coalition hand delivered its five key demands to the college’s President William Messner.

The demands are: the immediate lifting of the ban on Peterson, an immediate, unconditional public apology from the college; a pledge of non-retaliation against activists; a thorough and impartial investigation; and that military recruiters be banned from campus.
Holyoke college students stand up to military recruiters, administration
The demands are: the immediate lifting of the ban on Peterson, an immediate, unconditional public apology from the college; a pledge of non-retaliation against activists; a thorough and impartial investigation; and that military recruiters be banned from campus.

The Anti-War Coalition also held a press conference Oct. 3 at Holyoke City Hall expressing these demands.

A police riot

Over 30 multinational lesbian, gay, bi and trans students and allies protested Army National Guard recruiting at the HCC student cafeteria Sept. 29. Another focus was the Pentagon’s bigoted “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that essentially bars LGBT persons from enlisting - in violation of the college’s and the state’s non-discrimination laws.

After menacing the students by ripping a placard from one and brutalizing more, campus and state cops dispersed the counter-recruitment demonstrators. 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.

The next day Charles Peterson, a student maced and assaulted by police at the counter-recruiting action, was visited by two state police at his home who told him he was banned from campus and would be arrested for trespassing if he entered public HCC property. Peterson is vice president for academic affairs on the Student Senate and is employed at HCC.

Many progressive individuals and organizations internationally issued statements of support for the brutalized students.

“I am appalled that students exercising their (fully sanctioned) rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble were abused by law enforcement officials. The right to patriotically dissent from our government is a sacred right and these students should be given commendations… They were claiming their places in our democracy. The people who mistreated them should be the ones who are being investigated for their brutality and heavy-handed over-reaction, not the students,” declared Cindy Sheehan (

Messner, at the Oct. 6 protest, said Peterson has been ‘invited’ to campus to ‘talk’ to campus officials but to date he hasn’t been reinstated.

The college is waffling on banning campus military recruitment claiming it would lose significant federal funding but the Anti-War Coalition says this is just a ruse to deflect criticism from the administration’s support of the U.S. war in Iraq and its material support from the Pentagon by way of research contracts, poor students as cannon fodder and the like. It’s also a stalling tactic by the administration hoping support for the anti-war students will quickly wane, say the students.

The Oct. 6 protest was endorsed and supported by many local, regional, national and international anti-war, social justice organizations and unions including the American Friends Service Committee, UMass Amherst Anti-War Coalition, Service Employees union, Traprock Peace Center and United Auto Workers Local 2322.

The Western Mass International Action Center/Troops Out Now Coalition issued a statement in support of the students which was emailed to hundreds on its email list serve. This coalition also distributed dozens of four-page TONC broadsheets at the Oct. 6 protest which were well received by the majority of poor and students of color at HCC.

HCC has over 6,200 students, 25 percent of color and many from Holyoke, the poorest city in Massachusetts with a 50 percent Latin@ population ( (

Twenty-nine soldiers from Massachusetts and 100 from the Northeastern states have died in Iraq; many from the National Guard and from formerly heavily unionized marine and manufacturing areas such as Holyoke. Most were between the ages of 18 and 32 and joined the military to support their families and/or themselves economically or for college funds or opportunities (

The HCC Anti-War Coalition is asking supporters to call HCC President William Messner at (413) 552-2222; and/or to send letters by faxing (413) 534-8975 or emailing wmessner (at) to express support for their demands.

-- 30 --

Union labor donated
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Re: Holyoke college students stand up to military recruiters, administration
11 Oct 2005
While I support the right of anyone to protest this issue It must be said you all seem to about it the wrong way. I have read stories of police brutalty. really, you don't know what brutality is. You claim you rights have been violated. Really you must considered everones rights not only your right to protest. The administration and police operate under rules and if you take the time to aquaint yourselves with them you can get your message across without problems you claim you encountered, If you honestly do not want confrontation, arrests and personal injury. I get the feeling you want and provoke police action to get your martyrdom and stories of suppression for sites like these for recruitment and money. you thrive on civil disobediance and then cry about the penalty for it like you didnt deserve it or something.

Why is it that radicals often recruit from campuses? because the students are too young to know better.
Bob gorman

My email address posted here has been used for spam. Obviously some readers in this BB has taken it upon themselves to abuse the email address for whatever reason that I can only assume is retaliatory since the spam occurs withn days of me posting in this BB. Similiar problems happened with my Cell phone # after attending a meeting at Lucy parsons store.

TO WHO EVER IS DOING THIS. IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MY POSTS TALK TO ME DIRECTLY like an adult. If I have any further problems I will hold those at Lucy parsons responsible and Governmyself accordingly.
Re: Holyoke college students stand up to military recruiters, administration
11 Oct 2005
Solidarity from Los Angeles.

I see that the Bush fascists are smashing people's rights just about everywhere in the United States. It's great seeing people stand up to oppose these brutal fascist monsters.

Cudos from LA.

My opinions only and only my opinions.
Re: Holyoke college students stand up to military recruiters, administration
11 Oct 2005
Hi Bob.

Based on previous discussions that we've had on this site, I know that you have personal experience with police and their code of conduct. While there are certainly people who post to IndyMedia sites who seem to get off on "riot porn", or police brutality, there are also people who post and are sincere in the belief that they have a right to freedom of speech and a public police force who follow their code of conduct. The recent featured article about the Union protest at GE ( is a great example of people who post to our site, who protest within their legal rights and have little to no conflict with our men in blue. There are all types of people in this fine country, and many of them use IndyMedia as a forum to discuss alternative views of protest or political discourse. I definitely think you're response to this particular article is broadly generalized and isn't addressing the actual content of the article. Perhaps you have some suggestions for how these folks could protest without coming into direct confrontation with the police or campus security? Perhaps you have suggestions for how people can address police brutality through the proper channels, for example internal reviews at the local police department, instead of just posting their story to the IndyMedia Center? Instead of venting negativity on this site, give the folks who read our site some suggestions of alternatives and some constructive criticism. What you've posted so far mostly reads like an rant and doesn't look like it will spark true discussion on this topic.

Personally, I find this topic to be very interesting, especially since I have witnessed police brutality firsthand as a videographer and photographer. Since the 1960's, college campuses have been a target of political discussion, political protest, and some pretty horrible acts, especially on the sides of police and the National Guard. It's an interesting moment in history that the US is facing now, as it did during the Vietnam war. As a recent college graduate, I saw firsthand as college administrators and state politicians in Massachusetts and Vermont cut funding to public colleges at the exact same time that there was an increase in political activity on campus. While some of those acts may have been purly coincidence, I do wonder at the reactionary-ism of those funding cuts as students bagan to come of age in the modern conservative era. Likewise, I wonder at the increase of military recruitement on college and high school campuses, and the increasing number of protests as students stand up to say "no" in the face of political changes in their academic world.

Also, just an FYI about your suggestion that folks at the Lucy Parsons Center or people who read these posts are hitting you with spam: it's possible, but it's much more likely that you get spam simply because you've publicly posted your e-mail address at online sites. Lots of spammers have programs or "bots" that look at online forums for e-mail addresses to mail to. Our web volunteers have tried to make e-mail addresses as posted to our site spam-free, but spammers, like regular postal junk mailers, always seem to find a way to unload their junk on our mailboxes.

Re: Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
11 Oct 2005
why is it that radicals recruit from colledge campasses? because the studants are to young to know better. perfect description of the us government. the government is trying to get the kids in lock-step as early as sixth grade. (jrotc) much like the hitler youth. only certain aproved religions, much like facism. free speach only in certain areas, much like facism. the poor and oppressed kept poor and oppressed, much like fascism. only certain things allowed on local news, much like fascism. heil bush!!
Re: Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
12 Oct 2005
MS. Eppler

Thanks for your response. I find it intelligent,clear and concise. I apoligize for the broad generalizations and realize that there are legitimate people like you and Pete that belief in a cause and use all legal, regulatory and fair means to advocate your position.

I have posted many suggestions about using the so called "oppressive" gov't, admin and policesystems to best serve your cause while not infringing the rights of others not wanting it.

I haven't posted here in some time. The last time I had posted was during the Van der meer assualt of a police officer on campus and the riot after the redsox game. I had suggested different methods to address the police that would defuse any conflict. I will look in my archived cds for the previous posts and post what I can.

I share your interest in this subject as well. I like to learn the point of view of both sides and help each side understand even if they dont agree on the issue. I too have seen police brutality and know for certain it does exist. Here is the problem. the police are taught and operate under policy and guidlines when using force on anyone. Those who go beyond it are wrong and should be reported to internal affairs.

The police are use to established rules and dont want people changing them without proper behavior and not using proper channels of change. Protesters that have problems with police often do not understand that what seems excessive to them (and possible the average citizen) is simplly what policy, procedure, training and experience prove is appropriate and prudent acts to preserve the peace. Basically a group who wants change and one who doesnt.

In the holyoke case I had read the other threads here and find that it could be plausible (but not necessary) that the officers use the mace (OC) and force appropriately. I don't know enough of the details to say with anymore certainty. Police have a lot of latitude in responding to protestors on government property that they may not have on private property.

I too have some experience in videography and photography in protests scheduled (DNC) and impromptu ones like the red sox world series win last year. I was in the crowd at yawkee way and brookline st (i think) and saw a lot of the "celebration". I had seen and taped rioters and BPD both. The bpd was quite restrained and used mace on me and the crowd (they had no idea who I was) . i wore a traffic vest with "observer" stenciled accross front and back. I was trained in crowd control and can say in the area I was in the police did the job right from what i saw and I was in the middle of it.

The majority of the revelers had listened to the police and only a few got pummled for not doing what they were told. Innocent people got hurt by the few bad apple rioters. like the woman who had been hit by a full bottle of beer in kenmore sq that i saw was thrown from the bank area on the corner. the simple rule of public protest/riot is DO WHAT POLICE TELL YOU! STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE THAT AREN'T OR CAUSING TROUBLE FOR POLICE.

As for the Spam, Call it Coincedence if you like I'll accept it. both incidents of spam occured within the same time frame as my visit to lpc and my post last week. This is one of only two sites that I have posted my name and email together, the other being CPCS ALL (a closed mailing list). I made an exception in disclosing the two together on this site to raise the level of integrity to my posts. It is my hope in the future that more people follow the fine example you, pete and others like you show on this site.
Re: Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
16 Oct 2005
"really, you don't know what brutality is."

bob gorman threatening students again
Re: Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
19 Oct 2005
Why should military recruiters be banned from campass? Don't you realize that many people are unable to go to college unless they get a ROTC scholarship?
I find it amusing that you talk about percentages of people who are 'of color' or 'gay'. Why does that matter? Either your ideas are meaningful and useful for society or not. What does it matter about sexual orientation or ethnicity?

It is very easy for people to villinize the military. The truth is that there is not a society on Earth that doesn't have some kind of police force or military. Even if a government is out-of-control, say for example the Communist government of the former Soviet Union, that doesn't mean that those who are in the military of that government are all evil.

I find that Marxism is still alive and well. The voice of the Marxist points out the percentage of some group or another at their rallies. Meanwhile the rest of us are trying to live our lives and not be confrontational. Marxists spread discontent and try to divide people by cateloging them. As a tall white person I often got very subtle racism from people who acted morally superior to be because I am a practicing Catholic who worked for the Air Force. But these people were always trust fund brats who could afford their marxist leanings because they had some robber barron grandparent who gave them a life for free.
And so I ask anyone who thinks that it is OK to ban military recruitment to consider that the Marxists would put people like me into chains and make me a slave or kill me because I will speak the truth and stand in their way. It is not OK to hate monger against the military even if you don't like what this country is doing. Banning military recruitment is not a good idea.

A more sane approach would be to allow the military but to also provide literature concerning non-violence and when that is appropriate. I have never heard of any Marxist of Communist government that ever allows Friends or other proponents of non-violence to speak their minds freely.
Non-violence isn't just behavior in the world, but also an inner process that involves loving others. This includes even people who you disagree with. Being in the military is a very viable alternative for those of us who's ancesters weren't theives and robbers, who don't have large trust funds and aren't given a free life because granddaddy was a slaver.
I find that the most vehemently Marxists are those who are self-loathing and hate their family who are typically very well-off and privledged. Then they dress parol and pretend to be 'of the people'. Really they just want to rule and be the kings. They resent that they have to make a living for themselves.

So don't be fooled by these 'protestors'. If they were in China they'd be in jail. China, the Marxist paradise.

Free your minds and respect the hard-working members of our Armed Services.
Re: Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
25 Oct 2005
Keep the fiction coming, kids!
Re: Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
05 Nov 2005
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: Holyoke College students stand up to Military Recruiters and Administration
06 Nov 2005
Opus said it perfectly. The Iraqi people want Saddam Hussein back. He should be allowed to return to power. Any Iraqi government that does not include Saddam as president is not a legitimate government. Let's not forget that in the last Iraqi election, a full 99% of the people voted and Saddam received 98% of the vote. Clearly, the people support Saddam. Contrast this to the previous four elections in the US where approximately 35% of the American people voted. The people of Iraq spoke clearly when they voted OVERWHELMINGLY for Saddam. Let's allow the voice of the people to rule.