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by sb antiwar
Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009 at 8:30 PM
UCSB students and community members use literature, nice clothes, fake names to interfere with military industrial recruiting of engineering students
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On Thursday, January 23, at 5pm, ten University of California, Santa Barbara students and local community members infiltrated the twenty-fifth annual “Evening with Industry” career fair at Earl Warren Showgrounds in order to attempt to non-violently disrupt the recruitment process of military industrial corporations. The career fair, sponsored by the Society for Women Engineers, focused primarily on recruiting engineering students to major firms such as Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Teledyne, FLIR, the Aerospace Corporation, and NAVAIR. The CIA was also scheduled to send recruiters but was curiously absent. Perhaps they stayed at home, attempting to remove the tail from in between their legs after having their network of torture centers ordered shut down by President Obama.
The infiltrators dressed in slick clothing and signed up for the career fair under false names in order to distribute incriminating (yet official-looking) literature about the companies present, containing choice phrases such as “Raytheon pumps out the bombs. And if you come to work for us, you can pump them out too!” and information about the dangers of depleted uranium weapons and cluster munitions. They also mingled with the engineering students to discuss some of the major ethical issues involved in working for military contractors, and some chose to distract the recruiters in conversation. They worked in pairs, with each choosing to focus on researching a specific company.
Many of the engineering students seemed responsive to the concerns brought up by their “peers” and genuinely shocked by some of the information, such as the close resemblance of cluster munitions to the often simultaneously dropped food aid packages. One of the infiltrators, a physics student at UCSB surmised that "the problem with training in the engineering and sciences is that you're trained to be very myopic about your field of study and not think about the implications of your work. You're supposed to trust that it just fits into some greater system and just focus on who will pay you the most money."
Part of the original plan was to drop large stacks of the literature in various locations in the room, such as right next to the Raytheon recruiting table. It became clear, however, that students were not picking up the fliers. Therefore the majority of the infiltrators decided at the end of the career fair portion of the evening to grab up the fliers and distribute them directly to an estimated 60-70% of the 200 students present before leaving.
Two dedicated infiltrators chose to stay through the dinner of spinach salad with walnuts and vinaigrette dressing as well as chicken with an undetermined white sauce, a vegetable medley and a potato dish, where they sat at a table with the night’s keynote speaker, a Raytheon representative slated to talk about “sustainability.” They showed her the literature, and in response to the moral concerns brought up, she replied, “Maybe this isn’t your scene.”
"Once we were in there," said one of the infiltrators, "I felt really antsy and just wanted to fuck shit up. But the action seemed successful overall in actually influencing the opinions and actions of students rather than creating an adversarial relationship with them. It was also a fairly easy action to pull off, planned from start to finish in less than two weeks. Though interacting directly with the military industrial complex left me feeling coated in a layer of disgusting, I scored a pretty sweet ATK-branded Nerf gun."
Attached is a pdf copy of the flier used. You are encouraged to adapt it for your own uses!
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