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Real Green Zone at MRS

March 14, 2008
Berkeley, CA
To the lyrics of “Fifty Ways to Leave Berkeley” (to Paul Simon’s “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover”) sung by Andrea and others, the week of “The Real Green Zone” in front of the Marines Recruiting Station came to an intense conclusion.

A flatbed truck decorated with two green and pink banners (from the International Women’s Day training), which had been the round-the-clock “home” of activists from March 9-14 was now the stage for song and speech. Led by organizers Nancy Mancias and Zanne Joi, pinkers gathered in a circle, sang, chanted and spoke their truths about how “funding the war is killing our troops,” the recent deaths of US servicemen, and the spread of counter-recruitment activities to a nearby suburb.

A few women wore “Pink Mover” aprons as they passed out information to motorists and taped (briefly) signs such as “So Long” and “For Rent” to the window of the recruiting office. We were joined by our allies in the Lt. Watada Support Committee, World Can’t Wait and city residents. Many honks of support sounded during our hour-long action.

At one point, an Iraq war veteran became agitated and was harassed by a police officer, but the veteran was surrounded and protected by 5 activists, and no arrests were made.

However, later in the afternoon, dedicated pinkers and mothers of young adults, Toby Blome and Pamela Bennett went into the recruiting office for a long emotional conversation with the head recruiter. After pleading with him, weeping and blocking the door from the inside with their legs, Toby and Pamela were arrested by sympathetic and reluctant Berkeley cops. Like Thoreau, they spent a few hours in jail for their principles.

The counter-recruitment campaign continues daily this week, with a major action planned for Wednesday, as the US occupation of Iraq (and the military recruitment necessary to sustain it) rolls bitterly into a sixth year.