los angeles

E-mail: worldcantwait_la@yahoo.com
Phone: 866.973.4463


Wednesday, MARCH 19th – 5 Years of Illegitimate War on Iraq ! End the War! Shut Down Recruitment Centers! Drive the War Criminals from Office!

March 19th in Los Angeles began early at a local high school, where a couple of us reached out to students as they came off the bus and into school. We asked them what they thought about the war; not surprisingly the vast majority of them said they hated it or ‘it sucks’. Many of them didn’t think they could do anything about it; and when we asked them how many Iraqis they thought had died during the five years of the war, all but one said a million – most answers were in the low thousands. We handed out eviction notices, which they liked and took up and we asked them to take a stand and join with us that afternoon to shut down recruitment center.

We returned that afternoon before the last bell, armed with Robert Fiske’s enlarged photograph of the child whose leg had been blown off and an enlarged Eviction Notice. We planted ourselves directly in front of the students’ path to buses and the busy crosswalk. That did the trick; the photos were stark, very shocking to many, some didn’t want to see it and turned their heads away. Others just stood and stared, taking it all in. Students took up March 19th flyers and eviction notices and promised to get them out. All day we were also handing out postcards announcing the Winter Soldier testimonies and asking them to check the website; hear it from U.S. soldiers themselves who hate what they’ve done and want this war to stop. A handful of students were in ROTC uniforms, but they still took flyers and Winter Soldier postcards. Some student administrators came over, read our flyers, saw our signs and told us we had to leave the premises, but we countered with the fact that we were on a public sidewalk, not school property. They responded “we’ll see about that” but never came back.

While some of us were at the high school, one WCW organizer went door to door to businesses in a 3 block area of the Hollywood recruiting station or The Armed Forces Career Center. She took the orange Iraq Get Out, Iran Stay Out, Bush/Cheney Drive Out and found seven businesses that agreed to put up the posters in their windows or near the cash registers. The majority of these businesses were run by either Middle Eastern or Asian immigrants, who wanted to visibly express their outrage on the 5th anniversary of the invasion. Some workers went ahead and put them up even if they weren’t sure that their boss would approve. This was a different response than in Berkeley, where the same activist had approached shops along in a five block area around Shattuck Avenue. Shops were asked to put up a cut out ad from the Berkeley Daily Planet that read, Berkeley says No Torture, No War, No Recruiters. While she was able to get some of the stores to post this ad, many declined stating they were worried about what their customers would think or they were unsure of the No Recruiters message.

Nine WCW activists joined the Answer-LA youth and student coalition who had called for shutting down the armed forces recruitment center in Hollywood. We had our orange, three orange suited detainees formed part of the WCW group. There were approximately 75 protesters; vast majority youth who formed a picket line and led determined chants about No to Oil, No to War; Money for Jobs, not Oil; Education not Occupation; No Peace/No Justice, and others. Many of these youth were the same determined youth who had taken part in Saturday’s march against the war, the spirit was strong and constant.

We brought in the stark enlarged photograph and large Eviction notice to the mix; both at the curb while many cars passed by and in the middle of the picketing. Later, a group of us joined with the picketers in a sidewalk march down Hollywood Blvd. We were two orange jump suited and hooded detainees, a person on a bull horn and the enlarged Robert Fisk photo. This visual caused many to stare. Hollywood Blvd was full of tourists, many families with young children. No one shouted at us to put the photographs away, and we decided to stand and agitate for awhile in front of the Kodak Theatre, site of the January 31st Democratic debate. We got a lot of thumbs up, lots of sober faces as people took in the horror of the photographs and the orange hooded detainees. People’s site-seeing and shopping as usual was paused for at least a while. Similar to students, many who we talked to were unaware of the numbers of Iraqis dead and displaced over the past five years – guesses were in the low thousands and people were taken aback when we gave them numbers of dead, Iraqis and number of U.S. soldiers who had committed suicide, which far exceeds those killed in war.

While small, the anti-recruiting protest was significant b/c some people had traveled numerous hours from San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Fullerton to take part. There were student media teams from two local community colleges; one of who interviewed Prof. Dennis Loo who had been at the center throughout the demonstration. There were other people documenting, including one group focusing on immigrants in the military, many of these lured by recruiters with promise of citizenship. There was also a couple documenting protests writing for a Japanese publication. And typical Hollywood, Spiderman joined in and got photo op with the signs.

The recruiters shut their doors at 4:00 p.m.

March 20th – Inspired by Berkeley action, Code Pink has started weekly anti-military recruiting action in front of the Santa Monica Military Recruiting Center. Two WCW activists joined up with two Code Pink activists and were immediately joined by three middle school kids on skate boards who had passed by. They wrote “Honk 4 Peace” on the WCW picket signs and got out flyers as they skated around the block several times, counting 30+ honks of support as they skateboarded.

E-mail: worldcantwait_la@yahoo.com