This counter-recruitment action, the staging of a “mock raid” by members of Students for a Democratic Society and Iraq Veterans Against the War in Asheville, North Carolina is an excellent example of what the antiwar movement needs more of: militant actions that disrupt business as usual, disrupt recruitment efforts, raise the social costs of the war, and tear holes into the fabrications of the war machine. Here you can watch a youtube video of the mock raid that took place there on Feb 5th, and read the “Joint Statement” from UNCA SDS and IVAW-Asheville.
The UNCA SDS / IVAW-Asheville statement reads, in part, “We oppose this war for many reasons. In particular, we oppose the war because it violates the sovereignty of Iraq’s people and their national right to self-determination. Furthermore, the U.S. government forces service members to fight an illegal war. We recognize that the military-industrial complex, corporate profiteering and imperialist designs fuel this war on an oil-rich and strategically important region.”
After describing the action that took place, IVAW-Asheville president, Jason Hurd is quoted as saying, “This scenario is based entirely in reality. It is based on the first-hand experience of Mike Robinson, a fellow IVAW member and participant in this action. I also spoke personally with many Iraqi citizens during my tour who explained that raids like this one occur daily in occupied Iraq.”
The statement goes on to say, “The guerrilla theater that took place on the 5th is in no way meant as an attack on individual military members, but rather as a statement against war and militarism as well as an indictment against the criminal regime here at home. Our government exploits U.S. soldiers who come predominantly from working-class and oppressed communities. Only the rich profit from this war. Therefore, we express solidarity with all U.S. service members; we see them as our natural allies in the fight against all oppression.”
The statement goes on to analyze what military recruiters promise and offers a comparison to how that stack up against “the real world.” Finally, the statement says, “SDS and IVAW want all U.S. troops out of Iraq NOW! We realize the futility and criminality of this ongoing occupation and we see the correlation between high-levels of violence and U.S. presence in Iraq. SDS member and participant in Tuesday’s action, Angela Denio said, ‘This war is a complete injustice perpetrated against the people of Iraq. The anti-war movement must rise in solidarity with the Iraqi people and their just struggle for national liberation.’ From this point forward, whenever any military recruiter sets foot on UNCA campus, SDS and IVAW-Asheville commit to countering their efforts by building a community movement that resists and disrupts war and militarism.”
I sincerely hope that we see more of this type of thing in the months to come. As Ron Jacobs put it recently in Counter Punch: “The only existing national organizations that could possibly provide fresh leadership at this time are Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).” As we move toward the fifth anniversary of the war, groups like SDS and IVAW need to take the lead with more actions like this and the SDS call for March 17-21 days of action against the war in Iraq.
U.S. Out of Iraq NOW!