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North Carolina

Students and Youth Oppose Military Recruitment

by staff |
April 13, 2009
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Asheville, NC - Recruiters from the U.S. Army thought they could sneak past University of North Carolina-Asheville (UNCA) progressives and radicals to recruit for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Right away, the local Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapter was notified and several others mobilized to block their access to potential recruits outside the dining hall on the UNCA campus. Around a dozen students jumped into place holding anti-war and anti-recruitment signs. They were able to shut down the recruitment booth within an hour.

Members of UNCA SDS, the new student body president and several from the College Democrats stood outside and showed that they would not leave. Doug Michel, a member of SDS, said, “Recruiters lie while soldiers die. Every year, military recruiters come onto campuses and target young people for ‘career opportunities’ in an institution that is run by murder, racism, homophobia and sexism. Working class and nonwhite youth are targeted the most. By protesting recruitment and telling people the truth, we are jamming a wrench into the war machine.”

News of the UNCA budget being cut by 3-4% and then by 7% by the end of next fiscal year has sparked interest in fighting for education rights. Students argue that typically, LGBTQ, women’s, and diversity studies along with other social services (health and counseling programs) are cut first, while the school administration takes little to no pay cuts. Slogans during the demonstration read, “Fund education, not occupation!” to address the effects of the economic crisis and wars.

In the past, UNCA SDS has vowed to protest any attempts by military recruiters to use the campus to gather cannon fodder. Students and youth know that the U.S. is continuing the occupation of Iraq. Likewise, people are beginning to understand that U.S presence in Afghanistan is only providing more suffering to the millions of impoverished Afghans. The U.S. military is not being used to ‘spread democracy’ or ‘protect our freedoms,’ but to consolidate political and economic control in the Middle East and South Asia. The U.S. wants us to fight for Iraqi oil and Afghan supply routes - but the students and youth say no.

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