Organizations come together to protest military recruitment

Cindy Von Quednow

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Semper Fi – Kill or Die – In a war based on Lies.”

“What are they recruiting for? Murder, rape, torture, war.”

These are some of the chants members of various local chapters of anti-war organizations recited during the demonstration that took place on Feb. 15 in front of a military recruitment office in Hollywood.

Similar rallies took place in cities nationwide in accordance with Iraq Moratorium, which is commemorated every third Friday of the month.

The main organizer was the local chapter of World Can’t Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime, based in New York. The co-sponsors included Act Now to Stop War ‘ End Racism, Coalition for World Peace-L.A. and Code Pink-L.A.

“The focus today is on how Marines are a part of the government that is sucking youth into this horrendous war,” said Nicole Lee of World Can’t Wait. Lee said the organization is also responding to the efforts of the Berkeley students earlier this month to rid their area of Marine recruiters.

“We are in solidarity with those in Berkeley who, after a month-long effort, have built a momentum to rid themselves of intruders, demand justice and stand against the malicious attempts of recruitment,” said Jared Thomas, youth organizer for the L.A. chapter of World Can’t Wait.

World Can’t Wait is a national campaign against the war in Iraq, recruitment and torture that has a prominent youth following. On the youth and students section of the organization’s website, it reads, “The mission of this generation: Stop the war now! Drive out the Bush Regime!”

Members of Code Pink, a movement led by women for peace and social justice, held a pink banner that read, “Don’t enlist, stay and kiss.” The members also passed out stickers that read, “Make out not war.”

“We are doing a lot of positive things, and having fun while we’re at it,” said Sarah Kloecker, an organizer for Code Pink-L.A. She said their organization is growing, with chapters throughout the country and is even branching out internationally, in Japan, England and Canada, among other countries.

Kloecker said Code Pink is a play off the color code designed by the Homeland Security Advisory System to measure national threat levels.

“Code Pink means at peace,” she said.

Fernando Suarez del Solar, who has received national and international recognition for his stark criticism of the war, was also present during the demonstration. He started the Guerrero Azteca Peace Project in 2003 after his son, whom he called the Aztec Warrior, died in combat in Iraq.

Some of Guerrero Azteca’s goals include educating the Latino community about alternatives to joining the armed forces and helping families cope with the death of a loved one in war.

Del Solar chanted, “Stop the war, stop deportations,” in English and Spanish while holding a sign that read, “Bush Lied. My Son Died,” toward the end of the rally in front of the Hollywood and Highland mall complex.

Del Solar and conscientious objector, Agustin Aguayo, attempted to meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon earlier that week to discuss fallen Mexican troops in Iraq. They were not allowed inside the hotel where the conference took place.

ANSWER-LA and Coalition for World Peace were also there marching and passing out fliers for future events.