Military recruitment disrupted; Two arrested at University of Michigan career fair

@StopCampGrayling photo

Compiled from and The Base Among the Jack Pine by river valley revolt

Protesters disrupted a University of Michigan career fair in Ann Arbor on February 9, in solidarity with the movement to Stop Camp Grayling.

A number of military, police, and surveillance recruiters were gathered in a western hall of the Michigan Union that afternoon when anonymous members from the crowd suddenly shouted: “You have blood on your hands!” and squirted red liquid “blood” on the tables of both the NSA (National Security Agency) and the U.S. Navy. Police on the scene responded to this nonviolent disruption by tackling two protesters outside the hall and then arresting them. The two activists were cited for trespass and released a few hours later.

A demonstration on the front steps of the building quickly coalesced following the arrests. Folks handed out flyers and zines to those entering and exiting the Union. Banners held in the entrance of the Union linked the military recruiters at the career fair to the highly contested proposed expansion of the National Guard’s 230 square-mile “Camp Grayling” in northern Michigan.

@StopCampGrayling photo

At 230 square miles, it is the largest National Guard training site in the country – larger than the cities of Detroit (139 sq. mi), Grand Rapids (45 sq. mi), and Lansing (37 sq. mi) combined. The massive training facility is used not just by the Army and National Guard, but by police departments, private security forces, and foreign military units.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is considering whether to permit an additional 250 square miles of militarized space to Camp Grayling. The plans have been scorned by environmentalists, anti-militarization advocates, northern Michiganders, outdoor recreation advocates, anti-PFAS advocates, and by people who want the future of the earth to be livable.

Members of the National Guard, who were scheduled to appear at the same UM career fair, never arrived.

@StopCampGrayling photo

Informational flyers appeared on tables throughout the rocky afternoon event. These connected the violence of the National Guard’s desired Camp Grayling expansion with murder and surveillance committed at home and abroad by the NSA and Navy — the two targets of the disruption.

The NSA recruitment table, the main target of the disruption, was unable to regain its bearings for the three remaining hours of the career fair. Their table became the epicenter of a flurry of police, military personnel, and university workers that cast the entire event with an edge of paranoia and distraction. One NSA recruiter told a career fair attendee that they were unable to discuss career opportunities with the attendee because their recruitment materials had been destroyed.

Another action after the initial disruption helped complete the recruitment stoppage. During the rally at the front of the building, a group of protesters made it into the recruitment hall, pushing past the event organizers who tried closing the doors as they approached. These protesters threw flyers and distributed zines while carrying a banner reading “NO CAMP GRAYLING EXPANSION.” They chanted “Stop Camp Grayling!,” “No Grayling, no borders, fuck your law and order!,” as well as “Fascist, racist all the way, U.S. Army go away!” The group weaved their way through the ballroom causing chaos then departed and joined the rally out front.

The movement to Stop Camp Grayling has been gaining steam across the state of Michigan; a recent evening march in south Ann Arbor connected the fight to stop the expansion of Camp Grayling with the ongoing struggle to Stop Cop City and Defend the Atlanta Forest in Atlanta’s Weelaunee Forest.


For continual updates on the movement to Stop Camp Grayling, check out @GraylingCamp on Twitter, and @stop_camp_grayling on Instagram