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Counter-recruiting discussion at the MRS

January 27, 2010
Berkeley, CA
Local coordinator Xan Joi's account:

Today’s protest was well-attended with over 10 activists holding our peace parking place in front of the Marine Recruiting Station with our bodies and our hot pink bicycle.

Tragically, the MRS was also well attended with at least 8 young people, including four Berkeley High students, entering the station and exposing themselves to the danger of being recruited.

We were fortunate to be able to engage in about a half hour discussion with four of these youth as well as a brief interchange with one recruiter.

The recruiter, a young brown man short in stature and in a ‘rush’, proclaims he’s serving his country by recruiting youth into the military. We are able inform him that first of all, WE are his country, and secondly he is serving the desires of corporations NOT his country as he recruits youth to be the cannon fodder in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The conversation with the high school students, all white, all male, all very young, began with one of them informing us of how “nice” the recruiters were. They came out of the MRS each carrying plastic bags laden with ‘goodies’ and inscribed with red letters spelling “U.S. Marine Corp”.

I inform them, to their wide-eyed chagrin, that we are also very nice – AND we are not getting paid a $5000 to $20,000 dollar bonus to nicely recruit them into the military! I also try to tell them, in not so many words, that they’ve been had! That the military gets $6 BILLION a year to figure out how to trick them, seduce them, cajole them into signing up.

And then there is us on the other side with no funds to tell them the truths the military neglects, glosses over, or simply lies about.

For more on this encounter, please click here: