Tuesday, January 8, 2008

quick note

Over our holiday break some members of our peace club made bread and donated it to the Burlington Food Shelf. It took about four hours and we made 29 loaves...but well worth the effort.

Friday, January 4, 2008

things I like/ resources

"The National Youth and Militarism Recruiter Abuse Hotline is now open at 1- 877-688-6881. After hearing many reports from young people and their families about abuses by military recruiters, we at AFSC are beginning to track these abuses as reported to our national hotline. Examples of recruiter abuse include making misleading or false statements; repeated contact after a request to refrain from contact; physical coercion; sexual solicitation; encouraging recruits to lie or falsify information; offering drugs or alcohol; attempting to intimidate or scare recruits or their parents; and refusal to accurately document recruits’ medical or legal situations.

Recruiter abuse has become such a problem that a congressional committee has suggested installing surveillance equipment in recruiting stations (which does little to protect young people solicited in schools). AFSC staff will track reported abuses to support our work advocating the demilitarization of youth and youth spaces. We will also support youth and families in seeking remedies to cases of abuse.

AFSC is responding to this urgent need. Staff people nationwide will be responding to calls in English and Spanish. To report an abuse call 1- 877-688-6881. To request stickers publicizing the hotline, contact Darlene Graminga at dgraminga@afsc.org."

Great Article and other resources from American Friends Service Committee

Speaking of resources I found some great books in Montpelier, definatlely worth checking out...

Here are some photos/ comics from the books (...free distribution, thanks!)


It's been a while since a new update, but that's because we've been doing stuff instead of writing about it. We went to our school board meeting and spoke during the community comments section. Apparently our speech is cycling around on MMCTV (Mount Mansfield Community Television) which is Adelphia Cable Channel 15 in Richmond, Jericho, Underhill and Jonesville. I'll see if I can somehow get a copy of that. We are on the agenda for January 24th to discuss recruiting policies in our schools district, definately more to come about the school board presentation.
Yesterday I got a letter back from Senator Sanders about our petition, NCLB and recruiting.

It's a start...and the petition is circulating at other schools who will send their copies in too.

Other Things we're doing:
-we will be at the Democracy Fair in Waitsfield, VT from 4-6pm on Jan.12. There will be great movies and music and tables, so please come!
-there's going to be a speaking tour for the "Out of our Schools, Out of Iraq" through VT highschools (I'll post schedule once we have one...)
-our Peace Club baked bread and donated 24 loaves to the Burlington Food shelf over the holiday break.
-One of our members just finished a movie on recruiting in schools, I'll see if we can get that up here soon.
-Continual counter-recruitment tabling at our school

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

a note from M. Colby

M. Colby December 3, 2007 (from http://broadsides.org)

Wow. And that about sums it up –
the anti-war event last Friday, that is. Well, let me add this: It was moving. It
was inspiring. It was energizing. It was empowering. And it was nothing short of an
honor to be a part of it. To each and every one of you who helped make it happen:
Thanks. I needed that.

If you haven’t read about the event here, here or here, go
there, there and there to read about it. They’ve got all the facts and figures – and
photos, too! — to give you a sense of what happened. The movers and shakers behind
this event, the Peace Club at Mount Mansfield Union High School, deserve one, long
moment of recognition and honor for putting this action on the agenda and then
working with the “old timers” to make it happen.

These students were tired of seeing the U.S. military recruiters coming to their
school week in and week out to hand out recruiting propaganda in the pursuit of more
young war fodder. And they didn’t just bitch and moan about it, they took action.
They decided that they wanted to returnthe “favor” and visit the recruiting offices of
the military to give them a message of their own: “Out of our schools, out of Iraq.” And so they did.

These students also had a goal of shutting down the recruiting offices while delivering
their message. They wanted to participate in a peaceful act of civil disobedience to add a little
punch to their message. Specifically, they wanted to hold a sit-in at the offices
while also doing “counter-recruitment” by handing out anti-war materials and forming
a coalition with Iraq Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out. And so
they did.

But before embarking on their act of civil disobedience, they realized they
needed a plan and they needed training.. And so off they went for an all-day session
at Wheelock Farm on a snowy Saturday in November, where they got advice, made a
plan, and were trained in the fine arts of civil disobedience.And then they made a
media plan. They made signs. They rehearsed the various scenarios. They met and met
again. They checked and checked again. They changed their plans when the military
folks let them know that they knew they were coming. But they kept coming. And
meeting. And planning. And checking. And just making sure it all worked. And so it

On Friday, November 30, 2007, all five military recruitment offices in
Williston, Vermont were shut down for the afternoon and evening because of the dream
of these students. No, make that, because of the dream and the willingness to act on
that dream of these brave students. Better yet, the event was peaceful – even joyful
– as 70 or more people made their march with the students to spread the original
“Out of our schools, out of Iraq message.”In the end, thirteen of us – myself
included — were arrested for trespassing in the offices of the Vermont National

Standing before a judge and – eventually — a jury to answer these charges
will be a small price to pay for having the opportunity to be a part of such an
uplifting and hopeful event. Getting to spend those hours with the students, the
veterans, the family members of soldiers and the other activists was pure
nourishment for the activist soul. I was moved. And I remain moved. Thank you, MMU
students. Onward.

Thank you so much! Onward indeed...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

First Post!

Hello everyone!
I just set up this blog up so that we can:

-collect all the great media we've been generating
-post some of our own media coverage
-update everyone with news/ events
-our opinions on the media coverage

-post out opinons on and feelings about our ongoing efforts
-write about current news/ issues
-connect with other people interested in ending the war, and changing recruiting

Last week (maybe earlier this month?) we launched our "Out of Our Schools, Out of Iraq Campaign". Basically we want intentionally deceptive recruiting out of our schools, and the US out of Iraq.

So what are we doing about it?

-We sent a petition to our congressmen (Welch, Sanders and Leahy) on 11.16 asking them to reform No Child Left Behind to get rid of the provision about military recruiters. recruiting provision in NCLB. We have yet to hear back from any of them.

-Emily went to a public forum meeting with Sanders about NCLB and handed him a copy of our petition with 200 signatures (I think we're at 245) of students and teachers at MMU.

-We are continually running a counter-recruitment table whenever recruiters table at our school. At this table we hand out information about the lies of recruiting, the truth about promised benefits, statistics about vets (homeless, suicides, unemployment).

-We are organizing a united movement of students in VT and across the country who opposive aggressive, deceptive recruiting and who oppose the war in Iraq.

-We seek to use non-violent direct action to actively oppose recruiting and the war, and actively change the course of our futures.

Messaging from Friday and Petition

Here's our message from Friday--
"We're sitting in here today to raise our voices against lies in
recruitment, to raise our voices to protest military occupation of our
schools and military occupation of Iraq. We're specifically in this
recruiting station in order to save the lives of young men and women, some
of whom are not even out of high school, who might join the military here
because of lies. We are stopping recruiting here by physically impeding it. But even more we want people to see us here, and then question and confront recruiting wherever they are. Even if one young person does not get recruited today based on lies, this will be worth it.
We want other students to know that they don't have to be submissive to the status quo, in our schools or in Iraq. Just because you're a student doesn't mean you don't have an opinion and a voice. We want every student in Vermont to know that they can get actively involved in changing things instead of remaining passively dissatisfied. We have high school students from schools across VT, who have to deal with recruiters coming into their schools. We have members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out, who can speak from experience about the lies the military tells recruitees. But today, regardless of organizations or titles we have 75 Americans, Vermonters, people, who just want recruiters of out of schools and our country out of Iraq."


And here is the petition that we sent to our senators:

Dear Congressman Sanders,

We, the students of Mount Mansfield high school, request that you address the issue of military recruiters in Vermont high schools. We feel that military recruiters are purposely misrepresenting the seriousness of military service. With 42% of the Vermont National guard deployed it is irresponsible for them to continue to claim that it is a casual commitment of "One weekend a month, two weeks a year". Although this slogan was retired in 2004, it is clear that this attitude still lingers as students get free pencils and promises of money for college.
Furthermore, the recruiters neglect to mention the fine print that accompanies the guarantee of college funding. Some contracts stipulate that if you drop out or fail out of college you will be redeployed. The majority of students at our school do not know the whole truth about benefits because they are only given the partial and convincing information that the recruiters hand out on glossy pamphlets. Along with glossy pamphlets they hand out pens, shirt and video games to advertise to students. The military is a serious commitment and should not be using gimmicks to recruit our students. It is both deceptive and inappropriate.
It is because of these reasons that we ask you and your fellow congressman to reform the No Child Left Behind legislation. We want you to deny recruiters access to student’s information without permission. Some schools are more vocal about the “opt-out”, but many students do not realize that they have this option. We feel that students shouldn’t have to “opt-out” of having their privacy invaded. We also feel that schools that deny military recruiters should not have any funding pulled. The decision whether or not to allow recruiters in a school should be that of principals, teacher, parents and students…not of the federal government.
Although we cannot vote we are drastically affected by this legislation. Our former classmates are fighting in Iraq, and more are being recruited. We respect and are grateful for those who serve in the armed forces, but we can no longer be passively silent about the flawed policies in No Child Left Behind. We implore you, a representative of the citizens of Vermont, to represent our collective discontent with this situation and do all that is in your power to change this legislation.

links! links! links!

So on Friday Nov. 30th we closed down two recruiting offices in Williston, five branches of the military! They come to our schools, we go to their offices. Sounds fair to me. Here's all the media links that I could find.

Here's a pretty straightfoward story posted on infoshop about our action:
Infoshop article

And of course, VT IndyMedia The only article to mention when the police kicked someone! Make sure you vote in the poll to the left of the article! And a really great PHOTO GALLERY of the evening.

And a cell phone video (good quality) when we were outside the careers center office. This is from "ntoddp" on youtube, he wrote: "Students at Mount Mansfield Union HS organize a protest of military recruitment centers in Williston, VT, demanding they stop haunting their campuses". Thanks so much for taping it .

So here is my favorite coverage of the action:
paxamericana photo filled blog

WCAX story, kind of. Associated Press - December 1, 2007 8:05 AM ET
wcax coverage

The Boston Globe
mentioned it too. Pretty much the same thing.

did an article too. Front page Friday
and Saturday! The article got a few things wrong...the three citations WERE our students and there was one arrest. Oh man the forum on the article is pretty ridiculous. I love how every single opinion and action must either be categorized as liberal or conservative...a promising future.

The photogallery
our counterrecruitment (5th on the top right) and the action (1st on left) also at Burlington Free Press.

Then on various blogs...
Providence Journal

Green Mountain Daily


more from paxamerica

Peter Freyne

Wild Resistance on Guerrilla News Network

Safe American Home Blog

Common Dreams

lordradish on Daily Kos