Michael Bray

Author of A Time To Kill

Communists and Christians: Blocking Access

Michael Bray
February, 2008

Not all folks who oppose the war in Iraq are Communists.  But most of those engaged in the harassment of the Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley are.[1]  Why is it that Communists block access to young people who want to volunteer to fight their country’s wars, but they oppose and obstruct  those who simply want to speak against (quite short of blocking access to) abortion?  Why do we tolerate these blockaders but not Christians who block access to abortion “clinics”?

This action in Berkeley reminds us of her ideological sister city, Oakland (see our Oakland City Council story at http://www.uncleraisin.com/UR/CA/Oakland01.asp), which passed an ordinance to suppress the speech of anti-abortionists outside abortion facilities.  And so it was no surprise to find Library Trustee Ying Lee, former Berkeley councilmember and former aide to Communist Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, participating in the anti-Marine Recruiting Station protest.[2]

Among the groups involved with the protest were “Code Pink, A.N.S.W.E.R., Courage to Resist, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the ACLU” according to the anti-war participants World Can’t Wait.[3]  The particular three who were arrested were wearing orange jump suits and had chained themselves together to prevent people from entering the Recruiting Station.[4]  Their attire simulated that worn by federal prisoners and in particular was designed to show solidarity with the terrorist prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay.[5]

Steve Rubenstein and Kevin Fagan, staff writers of the San Francisco Chronicle, report as follows on the arrest of three orange-clad World Can’t Wait members on February 2, 2008:

The demonstrators snapped their locks shut at 7 a.m. and spent the next 7 1/2 hours blocking the door, waving and chanting as hundreds of cars driving by honked in support. Finally, at 2:30 p.m., police snipped the chains and arrested them.

Two of the three were cited for blocking a business and released, and the third was booked into jail on an unrelated traffic warrant, police said. . .

At one point, UC Berkeley student Kyrolos El Giheny walked up to the front door  and tried to go inside to talk to Lund about a possible Marine career. He was unable to get past the chained protesters.

“They told me, ‘No business as usual today,’ “ El Giheny said. “It’s kind of nutty. It’s really an infringement on my rights.”

Paul Chin photographed three police officers observing the action from across the street.[6]  They watched as three persons blocked access for an entire work day.   The action of these three police officers may be sharply contrasted with that taken against Donna Holman in Iowa City.  Mrs. Holman blocked no access, carried no chains, did not lock herself together with two protestors.  She simply handed out tracts to women who were entering an abortion “clinic.”   For this, she was jailed for 30 days (after refusing to get a psychiatric evaluation and submitting to any drug treatment that might be prescribed), put on probation for a year, fined $760.00, and required to put up $1000 bail following her initial arrest.  I.e. she was well harassed in consequence of handing our literature.

So what about this double standard on “protesting”?  Why are anti-war blockaders treated so leniently in comparison to anti-abortion blockaders? Of course, the anti-abortionists would proclaim that their action is not simply the expression of a political opinion but the actual interposition of their bodies to directly stop the killing innocent children while yet in the womb of their mothers.

The anti-war folk might think they are arguing the same case.  Thus: the young ignorant potential recruit is embarking upon a course in which he will eventually put himself at risk of death.  And, like protective, self-appointed foster parents, they are intruding themselves into the process to disrupt a “bad choice.”  (Well, something like that must be the logic of the matter, but I do not have a good Communist brain as is necessary to fully apprehend the comparison.)

[2] Judith Scherr, Berkeley Daily Planet, Feb. 1, 2008 http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2008-02-01/article/29070, retrieved on Feb. 15, 2008.

[3] http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4535&Itemid=223 retrieved from World Can’t Wait web site on February 14, 2008.

[4] Series of pictures of three blockaders at http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_8141855 and at the San Francisco Chronicle at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?o=7&f=/c/a/2008/02/02/BALTUQKOE.DTL retrieved on Feb., 15, 2008.

[5] Ibid., Free Republic

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