Marines Recruiting Office Protest and Counter-Protest
Berkeley, June 21, 2008
Yes, they're at it again. Supporters and detractors of the United States military battled it out in Berkeley for at least the sixth time this year: the latest in a relentless series of protests and counter-protests trying to seize the upper hand in the controversy over the "Marine Corps Officer Selection Office" on Shattuck Square.
Today's Summer Solstice showdown featured Move America Forward, the Marines Motorcycle Club, the Patriot Guard Riders and other veterans' and pro-America groups facing off against their traditional adversaries: World Can't Wait, Code Pink, the Revolutionary Communist Party, assorted 9/11 Truthers, far-left activists and their fellow travelers.
Let the battle commence!
When the pro-America side played the national anthem sometime around noon, World Can't Wait and various freelance America-dislikers responded by giving the Nazi salute and screaming in protest.
This video shows about a minute's worth of Nazi saluting, screaming and booing during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, a song which apparently qualifies as hate speech within World Can't Wait's philosophy.
They directed their salutes toward a group of flag-waving patriots across the street.
Of course, they were trying to imply with their actions that America is a Nazi-like country, but they didn't seem to realize that to the casual observer it looked like they were declaring themselves to be Nazis. If one is to wage a battle of symbolic gestures, one must be careful of the law of unintended side effects!
Even I wonder how I got this picture: That's not my hand.
Code Pink was feeling a little upstaged. But at least they got corporate sponsorship: Mercedes Benz advertised on their signs!
So -- tell me how you really feel.
Wow -- it could? Exciting! How much does it cost to enter?
This World Can't Wait member had that "brainwash victim" glaze in her eyes.
When World Can't Wait first appeared on the scene a few years ago, they tried to pretend that they were an independent anti-war organization. But it wasn't long before the rest of us realized they were nothing more than a front group for the Revolutionary Communist Party. After a couple years of futile denials, WCW has recently given up even trying to hide their true agenda. Now they openly hold banners for the Revolutionary Communist Party at most of their public appearances (notice the "revcom.us" Web address).
While even more overt Revolutionary Communists trolled the crowd for converts; the woman at the lower right responded by recoiling in horror.
This highly educated and knowledgeable young rebel displayed an upside-down American flag inscribed with the United States' many faults and sins.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ideological divide, our young rebel had to contend with people like this guy.
Across the street from the Marines recruiting center, various factions staked out territory: Veterans in the foreground, then the Code Pink Zone, and World Can't Wait in the distance. Though, in truth, people switched positions and moved around unpredictably throughout the day.
It wasn't long before the two sides came into direct contact, for up close mouth-to-mouth combat. Arguments raged up and down the block.
Our brainwash victim tried her best to pass the brainwashing on to a battle-toughened veteran. She succeeded in getting his attention, but needless to say she didn't seem to have any success changing his political views.
Next up, a Code Pink member gave it her best shot, trying to talk a Marines supporter into switching sides.
But before she could make any headway, their discussion/blind date was interrupted by the ear-spltting rants of World Can't Wait, who completely spoiled the mood.
A group of young America-lovers showed up to show their support for the veterans and to announce their intention to join the Marines. One of the more virulent communists ventured a baleful look, as if to say, "Gee, that guy is my age, my size, and my social class; in a sane world, shouldn't we be friends? Ah, the tragedy of politics!" Or something along those lines.
This video montage of arguments, fights and chants throughout the day gives a flavor of what the protest really felt like.
A large contingent of Code Pinkers repeatedly circled the block in a bicycle convoy.
When a Gold Star Mother gave a tearful eulogy for her fallen son as part of Move America Forward's presentation, Code Pink thought it would be clever and amusing to ride back in forth in front of her, taunting her with peace signs and slogans.
They seemed to take pleasure in their attempted disruption of her speech about her son.
Melanie Morgan then took the mike and fired back by triumphantly announcing the news that the City of Berkeley had just revoked Code Pink's controversial free parking space in front of the Marine Corps recruiting office (though I haven't yet personally confirmed this).
A pro-America activist handed out miniature American flags to anyone who was interested, including this little girl.
Back over in anti-America-ville, absolutely nothing was left to innuendo.
Even a communist needs a pick-me-up caffeine break every now and then!
This motorist paused to ask what was going on. A Code Pink member explained to her, "We're here protesting for peace and fighting against those fascists over there," indicating the veterans' groups in the distance. The motorist cheerily announced, "Well then I'm on your side!" as she drove away.
Code Pink had arrived at the site early in the morning and covered the sidewalk in slogans. They've now expanded their mission: No longer content with merely driving the Marines out of Berkeley, they now want to drive all the "Bikers out of Berkeley" as well.
At one point one of the no-nonsense Berkeley cops gave a World Can't Wait organizer a talking-to.
After a tiff, the cop decided to give him a citation for an infraction of some kind, and the WCW honcho gave him a classic "You have got to be kidding me" look.
Here we have a tale of duelling tattoos. One of the Marines supporters had a religious tattoo that said "John 3:16," which is a well-known Christian credo...
...while a Marines detractor had a (temporary) tattoo that said "Away With All Gods!" which is the title of the latest book written by Bob Avakian, the exiled leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Is there no room left for us agnostics anymore?
The fuzzy-hatted Code Pink member had this message on the back side of her head, one in an endless cavalcade of absurd lies and conspiracy theories sported by the anti-troops contingent, none of which even merit debunking at this stage of the game.
This guy is a fearsome combination: a World Can't Wait Truther! With an overly verbose sign!
World Can't Wait has succeeded in ruining the color orange, just as Code Pink has ruined the color pink.
(Photo by Chicken Kiev)
Due to an attempted invasion by topless protesters a couple weeks earlier, the Marine Corps Officer Recruiting Office (as it's officially called) has now been forced to keep its doors locked; the office remains open for business, but they only allow in people who have a legitimate reason to be there.
(Photo by Chicken Kiev)
A prototypical Marine Corps veteran. Code Pink and World Can't Wait would have a lot of convincing to do if they wanted to convert this guy (or any of his colleagues).
Some more of the young future Marines who showed up -- talking with a Code Pink member as if she was their mom! I doubt she was, but wouldn't that be ironic?
"Winter Soldier Heals Your Pain"??? It seems at times that Code Pink has a worldview completely divorced from reality.
As usual, the mainstream media gave World Can't Wait a bunch of camera time, and never once mentioned their actual (revolutionary anti-American) agenda.
A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions! Here we have a pro-America Romeo, and an anti-America Juliet. They seem like a perfect match -- but alas, 'tis not to be! Politics has quashed this potential romance before it even had a chance to start.