Berkeley vs the Marines

The City of Berkeley City Council passed a measure urging representatives from the Marines to leave their city. It is a fascinating story. On one hand I respect the fierce drive for autonomy and localism that Berkeley represents. On the other, I think their approach is simple-minded and somewhat offensive.

I believe a large problem of the anti-war movement is the visibility and audacity of the fringe elements. They are easy to report on, easy to make fun of, and easy to dismiss because, to be honest, their arguments often don’t subsist of much other than slogans and lofty ideals. In one of the photos in the article a lady is carrying a sign with that says: “Join the Marines: Travel to exotic lands, meet exciting unusual people, AND KILL THEM”. Yeah, that’s from Full Metal Jacket, which was not an anti-war film, Kubrick maintained this. I can’t imagine anyone who would have their mind changed by signs like these and: NO BLOOD FOR OIL, and BUSH = WAR CRIMINAL. I might even agree with many of these slogans, but you’re preachin’ to the choir man.

But, I also believe that cities should have the right to pass radical measures, as long as they don’t affect peoples’ basic civil rights. It is healthy to have cities challenging authority, specifically the government. I believe in localized policy, even localized currency, and as long as the measures aren’t directly harming individuals then let them be debated, and passed if they see fit.

Just once though, I’d like to see sensible radicals become the forces for change in this country. It almost never happens. Where are the Voltairine DeCleyre’s, the Ayn Rand’s, hell, even the Thomas Jefferon’s?

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