The CSUN Greens hosted an Iraq War Teach-in Monday night in the University Student Union’s Grand Salon. The event featured a number of panelists and music by the band Yucatan Toucan. Free pizza and literature on the Iraq War and the Green Party was also distributed. Sarah Knopp, a high school teacher who ran for superintendent under the Green Party in 2006, started the discussion. Knopp spoke out about the recent immigration march in MacArthur Park.
“I always like to make a connection between what the U.S. is doing to the Iraqis, and then what they do here in our own country,” Knopp said.
Knopp discussed how the main people they are getting to fight are those who don’t have papers. Knopp encouraged audience members to go to the follow-up protest against the LAPD in MacArthur Park on May 17.
Knopp also discussed what would and would not stop the war. She went into what helped stop the Vietnam War. She said the elements that helped end the Vietnam War could put perspective on what we can do in the Iraq war. These elements include resistance of the Vietnamese people to stop the war, the resistance by soldiers within the military, and the domestic anti-war movement.
“We have to defend the Iraqis’ right to resist … Think about what you would do in their shoes,” Knopp said.
In regard to the anti-war movement, Knopp said that “there’s all kinds of things that people can do, from protesting in the streets, to protest(ing) military recruiters that are (at) our high schools.”
Knopp also explained what will not work in ending the war.
“I think it is safe to say that public opinion is not going to stop the war,” she said.
Bryon DeLear, who ran for Congress in 2006 as a member of the Green Party, said, “We’re really entering the era where we have to start to arrive at different solutions besides war.”
During the discussion about the Iraq war, the panelists also discussed the 2008 presidential candidates. DeLear said he feels that Sen. Hillary Clinton is not a strong candidate for commander in chief, because “We don’t need someone that feels like they have to be tough if they’re a woman.”
“I don’t know if we are going to get that different picture from the leading presidential candidate and the Democrats,” DeLear added.
Frank Dorrel, a veteran of the Vietnam War, encouraged audience members to listen to KPFK 90.7 F.M.
“You can hear so much truth from KPFK, because the mainstream media in this country (are) owned by the people that own the country, that own the corporations that makes the war,” Dorrel said.
Dorrel publishes Addicted to War, which is distributed to high schools and colleges as a history book. He said the book is a history of the U.S. military and wars that goes back to the foundation of the United States. The change is up to the people, Dorrel said. Dorrel gave steps to stop the war that included learning and educating oneself to understand the issues, and getting involved at every level possible.
Jabbar Magruder, who is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and CSUN’s Students Against War, shared the perspective of the American soldier. The soldier has been told that he is going to give these people of Iraq gifts and freedom.
“They don’t realize that this was set up as this idea of (the) white man’s burden, that this one nation has to set up and give this token of freedom to these people,” Magruder said. “They don’t realize that (through) them being there ? they’re actually continuing the cycle.”
He went on to say that he supported an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
“One of the oaths that I took as a soldier is that I was supposed to defend the constitution against any means (both) foreign and domestic. Now what am I suppose to do about the idiot sitting in the White House?” Magruder said.
Chicano/a studies professor Dr. Rosa Furumoto discussed the Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools. CAMS is a group that was came out of the United Teachers of Los Angeles human rights committee.
The committee implemented a coalition that includes teachers, students and peace activists. The coalition works with the military existence in elementary, middle and high schools.
“They are going after our children at younger and younger ages ? They are targeting schools in low-income communities of color, as well as poor white communities,” Furumoto said.
CSUN Greens President John Paul Vera said the panelists “got their information out to the people who wanted to hear what they had to say.”