Sunday, March 06, 2011

Warning to Governors: Don't use publicly-employed Guard troops to quash dissent by public employees

I've had sidebar links for both Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and its older brother, Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) for years. I am not a veteran but support them and their causes.

This time, they're standing with their fellow public employees. This sums it up:
We believe military service members are public employees too. It is dishonorable to suggest that military personnel should be deployed against teachers, health care providers, firefighters, police officers, and other government employees, many of whom are themselves serving in the National Guard.
It's true that U.S. Army and National Guard troops have sometimes been deployed to quash dissent. This happened regularly during the Vietnam War protests in the sixties and early seventies. I was a ROTC student at University of South Carolina in the spring of 1970 when the Guard was called out to police the campus after Kent State protests erupted. Some of the Guard guys were Carolina students, which made it strange. To my knowledge, none of them beat the crap out of their fellow students. It was a different matter with S.C. Highway Patrol troopers, who swarmed into dorms and beat up any longhairs they could find.

The Guard has been deployed by Governors to carry out racist and anti-union policies. In September 1957, Gov. Faubus called out the Arkansas National Guard to make sure that African-American students didn't enter the state university.

Arkansas National Guard commander blocks black students from entering their taxpayer-supported
Only after Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the Guard and sent in the 101st Airborne, did these brave students (Little Rock Nine) get to attend the university that their tax dollars supported.

Does this seem crazy? I was six years old and don't really remember it. But I look back on it and am astonished that this happened in my country.

Here's another photo pitting soldiers against workers from the IVAW web site.

And, finally, a quote from the IVAW web site:

Troops have been called out in the past against worker strikes, campus protests, and urban uprisings. However, recent events in Egypt and numerous examples from U.S. history have shown that service members have the power to side with the people and refuse to use violence against their fellow citizens. Troops activated for duty in Madison, WI will have to decide if public sector workers are really the enemy. IVAW says they are not and that troops should support workers fighting for decent jobs, wages, and benefits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Add Veterans for Peace to your list.

We are in our 25th year, welcome vets and supporters from all conflict eras, and work to abolish war, educate on the costs of war, and take care of vets.

I'm the contact for the Wyoming chapter, I can be reached through the website 'local contacts' link at the bottom of the page.

nancy S.