On Wednesday, Nov. 15, Students for a Democratic Society led yet another protest. Here’s the DTH story on it. This a group that has been resurrected at liberal campuses all over the country this year. And their main activity is protesting. They protested John Aschcroft speaking at UNC earlier this year by holding signs outside of Memorial Hall and interrupting him during his speech. Read about it here and here. And just a few weeks ago they led a protest in the Pit in which they claimed that Army recruiters are racist b/c they try to entice recruits with money for college. A disproportional number of poorer people are minorities. Therefore, recruiters are racist.
But the best protest yet was on Wednesday. About 30 students and townspeople met on McCorkle Place and marched the mile down E. Franklin St. to the soon-to-be-opened Army recruiting office. I walked with them to see if anything interesting happened. It did.
Other than the guy on the side of the road yelling “F–! You, You ‘F–$'” most of the response during the march was positive. There was a lot of honking of horns in support of the protest. The interesting part came when the group arrived at the recruiting office.
There were about 10 Korean and Vietnam war veterans waiting for the protestors. As the group chanted “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, this recruiting station’s got to go,” one of the Korean war veterans yelled back, “Don’t you know anything else to say,” and “You brat babies haven’t had to work a day in your life.”
It was a pretty ugly scene. Luckily, however, the veterans calmed down and let the protestors sing their silly chants, and things didn’t get out of hand.
Then some of the protestors said a few words.
A representative from the American Friends Service Committee(AFSC), a quaker group that does programming against war, was promoting a program of the AFSC called “What’s Next” that tries to inform young people about their options and tells them not to believe what recruiters tell them.
A student protestor said over the megaphone that the war in Iraq was an “imperialist war” with a “poverty draft.”
A woman speaker claimed that “recruiters target women for sexual assault.” Supposedly, the only reason women are recruited is so that male enlistees can sexually assault them.
Most of the veterans kept quiet during the event. One of the Korean war veterans told me that he just came to show support for men in the military. “When you’ve been in the military, you know what it is to support one another,” he said.
A Vietnam veteran told me that going into the army was the best thing that ever happened to him. It was a character-building experience and he got money to go to college and to get his MBA. “These people are feeding the enemy propaganda,” he said.
As the event drew to a close, I shook the hand of one of the korean veterans and told him I appreciated what he had done. And as the signs blaring “recruiters lie, civilians die” and “stopping fascism starts at home” I felt embarrassed to be a UNC student.