Revolution #164, May 17, 2009

From World Can't Wait (SF Bay Chapter):

Protesting to Stop Military Recruiting and War for Empire Is NO CRIME
Stephanie Tang's Trial Begins May 18: NO CRIME—NO TIME—NO FINE!

We received the following correspondence from the SF Bay Area Chapter of The World Can't Wait.

On May 18, Stephanie Tang, a leading World Can't Wait organizer, will face trial in a case stemming from last year's "Battle of Berkeley." Stephanie is charged with obstructing and resisting the Berkeley police; she faces a year in jail and a $1000 fine. While many others were arrested during those intense months of "no business as usual" protest and resistance, all of them have long ago had all charges dismissed, or never even filed. Stephanie Tang is the only person still facing charges.

In early 2008, an important wave of mass anti-war resistance broke out in Berkeley, California. Berkeley made national headlines when a Marine Corps recruiting station sparked bold demonstrations, and then a storm of controversy over the City Council denouncing the Marines as "uninvited and unwelcome intruders." Thousands young and old joined the activists of World Can't Wait, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace and other groups to demand the recruiters be shut down—while pro-war flag-wavers mobilized by right-wing talk radio demanded that Berkeley shut up and apologize. [See the Revolution online article "The Battle of Berkeley: This War Must Stop!"]

For weeks the Marine Corps recruiting station became a dividing line symbol nationwide, as protests and vigils there, large and small, continued to demonstrate opposition to the Iraq War. World Can't Wait (WCW) was a leading force in this battle, working with other anti-war groups but especially mobilizing youth. High school and college students responded especially sharply and from the heart. They marched, chanting "Murder, rape, torture, war—That's what they're recruiting for!" They challenged and denounced the deadly work of military recruiters who prey on the youth, and they donned orange jumpsuits and black hoods to represent against the ongoing war crime of torture.

Berkeley police in riot gear repeatedly assaulted these persistent, spirited, and nonviolent demonstrations. On February 22 [2008], the police again violently charged into a WCW march. Although a Berkeley police officer's club sent Stephanie flying head first into a brick wall, she was not arrested. Weeks later, she was notified of the criminal case against her—via a letter in the U.S. mail.

The case against Stephanie Tang is based entirely on accusations by police officers. She says: "It is absolutely no crime to organize to drive military recruiters out of our communities and schools! What is criminal is this package of war and occupation without end, the torture state and the spying—and no matter who is president, all of this must come to a halt!"

World Can't Wait calls on the whole community to demand that this politically-charged, politically-motivated case get dropped, right now! What can you do to help?

PACK THE COURTROOM! Your presence tells the world anti-war protest and resistance will not be silenced, because it's absolutely right to oppose the deadly work of the recruiters and this outrageous, illegitimate war.

Pre-trial Hearing FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009 at 9:00 AM
Trial begins MONDAY, MAY 18, 2009 at 9:00 AM
Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse Criminal Div., 661 Washington St., Oakland, CA 94607
[Note: Come at least 20 minutes early to go thru courthouse security. Check in lobby for specific courtroom.]

CONTRIBUTE TO THE WCW LEGAL DEFENSE FUND. Write checks to "World Can't Wait"—write "WCW legal fund" in the memo line. Mail to World Can't Wait, 2940-16th St., Rm. 200-6, San Francisco CA 94103

SEND LETTERS SUPPORTING STEPHANIE TO THE COURT! Mail or email your personal or organization's letters to WCW (info below). WCW will give your letters to Stephanie's attorney.

HELP GET THE WORD OUT: media and publicity, invite us to speak to your organization, classroom or house party.

OPEN HOUSE UPDATE/DINNER PARTY in Berkeley, Wednesday, May 13, 7-9 PM

Support Stephanie's Defense! at Le Petit Cheval Restaurant. 2600-A Bancroft Way (at Bowditch). For more information, contact WCW SF Bay Area chapter:  (415) 864-5153


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