Tag Archives: occupy wall street (ows)

Army Times article notes troops’ presence in Occupy movement, cites MLTF

An article was published in the November 18, 2011 issue of Army Times, Navy Times, et. al. (Gannett-owned publications that serve the military community) that highlighted how off-duty servicemembers and veterans are participating in the Occupy movement across the country.
‘Occupy’ protests lure veterans

Joining the ranks of hundreds of Occupy offshoots that have sprouted up in cities across the country, veterans are enlisting in the grass-roots movement in increasing numbers, even ascending to leadership positions.

They are also among the movement’s first casualties.

A sidebar article offers insight into the rights of military personnel and veterans to protest.

Military officials said troops are free to participate in Occupy rallies but are prohibited from wearing their uniforms or presenting themselves as official spokespeople for the military.

That goes for those who have been discharged from active duty or drilling Reserve units but are still in the Individual Ready Reserve. All service members incur an eight-year obligation to the military — regardless of contract length — and are subject to involuntary recall from the IRR at any time during that period.

While it’s rare for veterans in IRR status to be charged for violating uniform rules, it’s not unheard of.

MLTF Executive Director Kathleen Gilberd was interviewed for this piece, and her contribution helped clarify the the concerns of troops and commanders alike.

Even when they aren’t technically breaking any rules, troops can find themselves facing repercussions, legal experts said.

“Commanders can sometimes get a little overzealous when they see someone at a protest on TV that they don’t like,” said Kathleen Gilberd, executive director of the Military Law Task Force, a San Diego-based advocacy group. “The rights are pretty clear, so often what happens is commands will informally harass them.”

Troops should be especially wary of attending protests where violence is likely, she said.

“The regulations say you shouldn’t go to a demonstration where violence or a ‘breach of the peace’ is likely to occur. But that’s pretty vague,” Gilberd said.

And commanders shouldn’t use that rule as a catchall to keep troops from attending rallies they don’t like.

“They can’t just say ‘don’t go there’ because they think something might happen,” Gilberd said.


Bay Area workshop on servicemembers’ rights to protest, Nov. 15

Servicemembers and Veterans Occupy!

SAN FRANCISCO – As part of the 99%, military servicemembers and veterans have been participating in Occupy protests in droves. But what are the consequences for such actions? Can servicemembers be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for such protests, or do the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution apply to them, too?

Please join the Bay Area Military Law Panel of the National Lawyers Guild, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, the GI Rights Hotline – SF, Courage to Resist, and Swords to Plowshares for a workshop on servicemembers’ rights to protest and related issues.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Legal support for servicemembers, reservists and veterans participating in Occupy Wall Street actions

The National Lawyers Guild has endorsed the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and thousands of cities world-wide and offered legal support.

Members of the US military have joined the OWS protests in many locales. As the Military Law Task Force of the NLG, we stand ready to coordinate legal support for active duty servicemembers, reservists and veterans who are facing harassment and/or legal sanctions for participating in these important protests. (We can be reached by telephone at (619)463-2369 or on our website at this link.)

We also want to correct some of the misinformation given to members of the military about the right to protest. Contrary to popular opinion, active-duty members of the military do retain some of their constitutional rights. While there are some military-specific restrictions on these rights, most protest actions are in fact legal.

NLG endorses Occupy Wall Street movement, calls for members to join


WHEREAS, on September 17th, 2011, two thousand people rallied in response to a call, using the General Assembly process, to occupy Wall Street and march to protest corporate influence in the political process. As of today, over 1500 cities have formed their own Occupations, gathering in General Assemblies in public spaces across the United States. Applying principles of direct democracy and consensus, and using the internet, these General Assemblies are determining the grievances, solutions and systemic changes needed to protect the 99% from the environmental, social and economic abuses of the 1%. This includes, which this Resolution incorporates by reference, the Declaration of the Occupation approved by consensus on September 29, 2011 at the New York City General Assembly in the occupied Liberty Square.

WHEREAS, the United States government and the U.S. Courts have repeatedly violated the United States Constitution in repressing 1st Amendment rights of freedom of association, assembly and speech, and in denying habeas corpus and due process first to foreign enemy combatants and now to U.S. citizens accused of terrorism abroad,

WHEREAS, when the rule of law was no longer respected in Argentina, Pakistan, India, Tunisia, other nations during the Arab Spring, and worldwide, exasperated lawyers marched in protest hundreds of times,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Lawyers Guild endorse the Occupy Wall Street movement, encourage legal observation and mass defense and call upon lawyers, legal workers and law students to march alongside the people in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. The National Lawyers Guild will also support the Occupy Wall Street movement by providing specific information on the U.S. treaty laws protecting the rights demanded by the people.

Submitted by Valeria A. Gheorghiu, Esq.
Approved by the membership at the NLG National Convention, Philadelphia, PA, October 2011