RIT Antiwar protests recruiters

October 29, 2008

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--Campus Antiwar Network activists at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT Antiwar) organized a counter-recruitment action on October 24 that resulted in zero recruitment and led to Marine recruiters leaving the Student Alumni Union 30 minutes ahead of schedule.

After organizing two to three minor actions against recruitment and war profiteers within the last two months, RIT Antiwar members felt confident that they could take on the recruiters, and when they heard the military was coming to campus, the group voted unanimously to challenge their recruitment efforts.

Activists leafleted on Thursday morning to get students out to participate in the Friday action. A majority of people was supportive, and some expressed an interest in participating. On Friday morning before recruiters arrived, protesters gathered their literature and signs, and held a brief discussion on why counter-recruitment organizing is so important.

The action itself was a huge success. Every member of the chapter turned out, as well as friends, coworkers and some allies in the International Socialist Organization and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). At any given time, at least 18 people were chanting and raising placards or banners.

Activists lined the space where people enter the union. As a result, people entering went around the recruiters. When a right-winger began to overpower antiwar activists' chanting with his yelling, a representative of the administration asked protesters to stop. We agreed to a compromise in which we'd pause chanting for at least an hour, and then we'd resume.

As a new round of chants started up, members of the IVAW arrived. They immediately unfurled their IVAW banner and stood behind the Marines.

One of the Marine recruiters turned around and said, "We're not Iraq veterans." Bryan Casler, a former Marine and IVAW member, replied, "But we are." Within five to 10 minutes, the recruiters were out the door.

This article was first published on TheSitch.com.

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