Berkeley Actions

"Our goal is to have clear zoning regulations for military recruiting and to put citizen pressure to shut down on the existing recruiting station that is just blocks from Berkeley City College, UC Berkeley, and Berkeley High School." ~ Berkeley Community Peace Activists

CODEPINK Berkeley has launched an initiative campaign to limit military recruiting stations in Berkeley, California. This is the next step in the group's ongoing protest of a Marines Recruiting Station that opened in the heart of Berkeley in 2007. 

The Berkeley initiative is being put forward because of a concern for the vulnerability of youth, the well-documented serial lies that accompany recruiting tactics especially during these times when recruiters are struggling to make goals, and the immense power of the giant sales propaganda machine of the military.

The initiative was triggered by the unexpected appearance of a Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley in 2007 – a phenomenon never expected nor experienced in this town that historically has always proudly embraced core values such as anti-war and pro-peace. The group has been holding a weekly, and most weeks daily, vigil outside the Marines Station, which includes life-affirming activities like a baby playgroup and mother's breastfeeding circle, yoga, singing, reading, and other activities. (Left photo: Speakers at the press conference that launched the initiative)

Proponents said they are planning to secure 5000 Berkeley voter signatures over the next two months to qualify the measure for the ballot. City Council members are considering adopting the Initiative sooner than November in order to enact it more quickly.

The Berkeley City Council voted to tell the U.S. Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders." (Left photo: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates joins CODEPINK outside the recruiting station)

CODEPINK ALERT for Berkeley, CA Residents:

Sign our initiative to refine Berkeley zoning laws for military recruiting!  For more info call (510) 524-2776 or visit the CODEPINK local office on Solano Avenue in Albany!  Also, join our weekly protest outside the Marines Recruiting Station on Shattuck Square at University!  Click here for action details.

Sign our Pledge to Resist Military Recruiting

Send a letter to the editor of your newspaper with the real story about supporting our troops by ending the war in Iraq and deceitful military recruiting! 

See photos of the 24-Hour Vigil to support the Berkeley City Council

Download and read the text of the initiative

NEW! Read our Berkeley Recruiting Action FAQs!

See action highlights from the daily vigil outside the Marines Recruiting Station in Berkeley.

Download info about the Regulating Military Recruiting Coalition

One of our favorite letters to the editor, which appeared in the SF Chronicle:

Kudos to Berkeley

Editor - As the mother of a Marine, I am glad the city of Berkeley had the courage and decency to tell the long arm of President Bush's empire-building machine to get out of town.

As a true Republican conservative, I know the role of our government is not to spend trillions of our tax dollars and spill Americans' blood to attack countries that have never posed a threat to our national security, but to promote free enterprise and the economy by not taxing us to death to pay for the war in Iraq.

Those who protest Berkeley's actions unwittingly undermine the foundation of our government. Because we are a democracy, it is up to the citizenry to determine whether it is warranted to support our military's efforts, not to blindly accept the dictates of one man. Berkeley's kicking out of the Marine recruiting office is an example of our Constitution's checks and balances.



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CODEPINK Thanks the Berkeley City Council, Associated Press, Feb 13 

Showdown Looms in 'Treasonous' Berkeley CNN, February 12

Where Marines Are Called ‘Intruders' and Recruiting Office Is Unwelcome
New York Times, February 12

Berkeley to Decide on Revoking Marines Letter San Francisco Chronicle February 12

Following early afternoon lull, anti-war, pro-Marine confrontation picking up again in Berkeley San Jose Mercury News, February 12

Berkeley to Marines: You Aren't Welcome in Our City
CNN February 7

Berkeley Finds a New Way to Make War Politics Local New York Times, February 1

Berkeley Council Tells Marines to Leave Contra Costa Times, January 30, 2008

Supporters, protesters wage a war of words over Berkeley recruiting station SF Chronicle, October 18

Demonstrators face off on Iraq in Berkeley Inside Bay Area
October 18

'Marine Recruiters 'Traitors,' Say Code Pink Protesters
October 18

Medea Benjamin on Hannity & Colmes, October 5

Code Pink Confronts Recruiters- Berkeley Daily Planet October 5

CODEPINK Action UPDATE 2/13/2008: After a remarkable day of peace and pro-war forces facing off outside Berkeley City Hall over the Marines Recruiting Station issue in Berkeley, California, the City Council held its ground as pro-troop but anti-war and anti-recruitment. Many media outlets are reporting that Berkeley backed-down WHEN IN FACT the City Council reaffirmed their stance in opposition to the military recruitment of Berkeley youth and stood firm in their resolve, voting against sending a letter of apology to the Marines Recruiting Station based in their city.

A  showdown of epic proportions (even for Berkeley) ensued at the Berkeley City Hall yesterday: With out-of-town pro-war individuals descending on Berkeley to intimidate the City Council for its anti-war position, Berkeley residents, CODEPINK and other peace groups mobilized over a thousand people to support their peace-loving city and continue the struggle to close the Berkeley Marines Recruiting Station. They organized a 24-hour vigil outside City Hall and held a press conference where many veterans, war resisters, concerned local Berkeley citizens, and Berkeley High School students, spoke in support of their city standing up for peace. Solidarity actions were held in Washington DC at Senator DeMint's (R-SC) office to shame the senator for his blatant attempt to curb Berkeley's free speech by sponsoring a bill to cut off Federal funding to the city as a punishment for its actions.

"We are really proud of the Berkeley City Council for not buckling under intense pressure from the pro-war 'swift-boaters,'" says Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Cofounder. "They clarified that they support the troops, but stated that they oppose "the recruitment of our young people into this war.'  This has been a tremendous boost to our movement; CODEPINK continues to have our free parking space and noise permit, and we will continue to be outside the station every day calling for the recruiters to leave."

"This is not about being pro or anti military.  It's about resisting the Iraq War.  As a former Marine, I think youth have a right to hear about the realities of military enlistment.  Berkeley is a city with a great reputation of supporting our troops and specifically war resisters, declaring the city a sanctuary for conscientious objectors," stated local resident and Gulf War resister Jeff Paterson.

CODEPINK has collected hundreds of signatures on a petition to rezone military and private military contractor offices in the city.  Upon gathering 2,000 signatures on this initiative it will be added to the ballot in November.  Thousands of people all over the country and around the world have written letters of support to the city council and called CODEPINK with their appreciation.

YouTube Coverage of the Berkeley Recruiting Station Actions

CODEPINK Berkeley's Zoning Initiative on Military Recruiting

Sharron Adams, lawyer and co-author of this initiative, speaks at CODEPINK's press conference to announce the launch of a ballot initiative to limit zoning for military recruiters. The press conference took place outside the Berkeley Marines Officer Recruiting Station on January 30, 2008.

CODEPINK Berkeley's Zoning Initiative on Military Recruiting

Carole Kennerly, a proponent of this initiative and former Vice Mayor of Berkeley, speaks at CODEPINK's press conference to announce the launch of a ballot initiative to limit zoning for military recruiters. The press conference took place outside the Berkeley Marines Officer Recruiting Station on January 30, 2008.

Medea Benjamin calls out Melanie Morgan

Medea Benjamin calls out right-wing talk show host Melanie Morgan for failing to show up to a debate on the merits of zoning the Marines out of Berkeley.

Betsy Rose sings at CODEPINK Military Recruiting Protest

Singer-Songleader Betsy Rose leads "It Isn't Nice" at CODEPINK's press conference to announce the launch of a ballot initiative to limit zoning for military recruiters. The press conference took place outside the Berkeley Marines Officer Recruiting Station on January 30, 2008.

For more info about this campaign, please contact Zanne Joi at mzsam[at]


Berkeley Letters of Thanks to City Council

Berkeley Zoning Initiative FAQ