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Grannies At The Recruiting Office
A s Valentine’s day neared, the group Raging Grannies called for grandmothers from the Bay Area to gather at the Oakland military recruiting office on Broadway at 21st. (The Valentine’s Day action was coordinated to take place in several cities across the U.S.) There they would enlist, en masse, to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We are demonstrating our love for this country and its young people by enlisting in the U.S. military to replace the children and grandchildren too long deployed there,” the women pledged in an announcement.
“This is not a show of support for [Bush’s] military action in Iraq; we are totally against it. Rather it is a Valentine’s Day gift to our children and grandchildren. We grandmothers have had long, full lives. Our young men and women deserve the same. We are prepared to take their place.”
One of the volunteers was Pat Maginnis. For her it would be a re-enlistment because she’d already served three years in the U.S. Army in the early 1950s. Since her discharge she’s been a life-long activist for peace, women’s issues, and animal rights. A similar group of grandmothers attempted to enlist at a military recruiting center in New York’s Times Square last October—18 of them were arrested.
On February 14 I went with others to picket while the grandmothers enlisted. There was a good turnout, over 300 people, most were elderly women. However, the recruiting personnel somehow failed to show up and open the doors. Disappointment swept through the ranks of the volunteers. Exciting military careers, delicious army food, battlefield glory—none of this would be theirs after all. Nevertheless, recovery was swift and a good energetic rally ensued.
We crowded around the empty recruiting office and sang: “Give Peace a Chance,” “When Every Woman,” “Dona Nobis Pacem,” and “Johnny I Hardly Knew You.” Then it was “Down by the Riverside,” followed by more songs. The rally filled the sidewalk and gradually expanded out into the street, taking up the outbound lanes of Broadway. Motorists in the inbound lane honked in support. The day was warm, and a soft, gentle California sun shined down on us as we sang:
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
we shall overcome
T he demonstration was sponsored by Women for Peace, Grandmothers Against the War, Grandmothers for Peace, NOW Oakland/East Bay, East Bay Progressive Democrats, Bay Area Women in Black, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Daniel Borgstrom is an ex-Marine against the war. He lives in California.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.