Large Scale Protest Planned for Army Video Game Center in Philadelphia

An experimental, high tech Army recruitment center in Philadelphia has been targeted for protest by an anti-war activist group.

According to a post on the website of After Downing Street, the protest is being planned for the Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills Mall on the afternoon of Saturday, May 2nd at 2:00 P.M. The group also quite openly details how the protest will be staged:

Please join us… show up early at the mall and spend some time shopping… Shopping bags are an excellent decoy. (The cops will suspect everyone with a shopping bag!) At 2:00 pm people will come out of the woodwork and converge on the Army Experience Center… We think it’s possible for hundreds of us to arrive at the mall without being detected. And it is a free country, sort of…

We can enter the Army Experience Center and cause a great big fuss at 2:00 pm until we’re asked to leave and then we can take our time to get out. We’ll go to peacefully and artistically express our indignation at this abomination. Some are planning on singing. Some will unfurl banners, some will chant and some will cry. There’s talk of a die-in. We are people of peace. We’re nonviolent. The Army is Shock and Awe, Abu Ghraib, recruiting lies, a thousand rapes, and cool video games.

Immediately after the action, we have a location picked out for a demonstration on public property — on the street — right outside of Franklin Mills Mall where we have the "right" to peacefully assemble.

We demand the Army close up shop at Franklin Mills Mall and we’re determined to block the expansion of this monstrosity in malls across the nation…

After Downing Street describes itself as "a nonpartisan coalition of over 200 veterans groups, peace groups, and political activist groups that has worked since May 2005 to pressure both Congress and the media to investigate whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war."

The Army’s use of interactive games and exhibits for recruitment purposes has spurred a variety of protests in recent times. The practice has come in for some negative political attention, as well. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) recently urged the elimination of funding for the Virtual Army Experience, a traveling recruitment exhibit which the military takes to county fairs and other large-scale public events.

GP: As the protest location is fairly local to GamePolitics HQ, we hope to provide live coverage.

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61 comments

  1. 0
    CAMMMO.org says:

    Philadelphia area and other east coast area CAMMMO members will be there to protest not only the AEC exhibit, but all of the U.S. Army’s misleading marketing tactics- from video games to motorsports to music festivals to rodeo sponsorships to high school invasions.  Let’s turn the AEC upside down and help Dennis Kucinich eliminate funding for all of this deadly nonsense.  Take our country back from the warmongers!

  2. 0
    Alex says:

    I think it’s less egotism over their cause (although I’m sure they have plenty of that) and more the fact that they’re probably not actually supposed to stage a protest INSIDE the mall.

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  3. 0
    xboxnut says:

    i wonder if these people realize that the army, which apparently does nothing but play video games, kill babies, and rape, is the only thing keeping them on the face of the planet today…

  4. 0
    Grifter_tm says:

    I still think its pretty pointless. The protests during the Vietnam draft made sense. The anti-Iraq war protests a few years ago made sense. The PETA action against Call of Duty makes more sense (though just a microgram more sense).

    18 year olds vary as wildly as other adults twenty years older. Some of them want to serve, and some think the being a soldier is a shitty job, while others don’t give a shit. I sincerely doubt a recruitment center that has its own video game would entice a lot of young men and women to enlist, just because it has its own video game.

    It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but if they want to go and do this protest, I say let ’em go.

     

     

     

  5. 0
    Arell says:

    I love the tone of self-righteous paranoia in the text.  Like they’re such a great threat, their cause is sooo controversial, that they expect to be stopped or harrassed by police.  I remember a protest at a recruitment office on my Campus back in 2003, and the protesters there acted like they were preparing to clash with the police, to be dragged off to jail.  In reality, the recruiter inside smiled, put on her Ipod headset, and did paperwork for the evening.  Meanwhile, the protesters made noise for a few hours, then sort of filtered away slowly.  No doubt off to pat themselves on the back for a "job well done."

    Modern protesters haven’t got it in them to make their voices really heard or to change the world.  They’re just bored and looking to stroke their egos.

  6. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    I think the argument these people probably want to make, is that the Army seems to make use of games and similar material to make the job appear awesome from the point of view of teens, thus misleading them and getting them to volunteer with misconceptions.

    If you think that ain’t wrong (if it were to be true) then I have to ask you what you think of cults using similar methods, making things appear much better than they really are while in truth they’re nutjobs and the kid won’t really be able to leave.

    It’s most likely that impression these people get, and that’s what they’re fighting against here. Whether or not that impression is correct I leave to you, but they do have a reason that actually makes sense, even if it were to be incorrect.

  7. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    Free country doesn’t mean there aren’t limits. I refer to gun-laws, alcohol-laws, etcetera, etcetera. And if the army were to come to schools and talk to kids that are 14-15 years old about how great the army is, or worse, eight years old and put them through a yearly indoctrination process, I’m uncertain if even you would like that.

  8. 0
    Neo_DrKefka says:

    Hate yourself and your country believe in the change that is Obama but hate those who protect you this is the way of the party of our Lord and Savior Barrack Obama!

  9. 0
    Grifter_tm says:

    I don’t get it. They’re recruiting not drafting. If the Army was drafting, there’d be a nice little point to a protest (i.e. We don’t want to go to ____ to fight). The Army ‘s taking in recruits, which means they volunteered (i.e. We want to go to ____ to fight). Army needs new recruits, fine, let them be. If anyone wants to join up and be soldiers and potentially die, they should let them do so.

  10. 0
    TBoneTony says:

    Also if they were going to show America’s Army when the army is logicly trying to recruit 18 years olds, it is rather contradicting the protest if people are going to try and say that the army is trying to recruit children when in actirual fact they can’t recruit anyone under that certain age.

    I used to be against wars back earlier this decade when I was younger and a bit optamistic, but looking at the way some anti-war protests are done, I am just going to just not bother and just use my vote when it counts.

     

  11. 0
    TBoneTony says:

    Recruting to protest against another recruting type of form is kinda ironic and also a bit contradicting.

    Go there that 2pm, cause a fuss, get kicked out… how does that ever cause a win?

     

  12. 0
    Galthromir says:

    I would say that because at a certain point, one has to start thinking on ones own rather than making everyone tell the absolute truth. While that would be nice, the reality is that people need to do their own homework on decisions so to speak. If the Army was like "Hey in the Army you just party all the time!" and people enlisted, its their own fault for being so naive and not doing some research.

    As to the age restrictions, you’re probably right, however, since they cannot join until 18, I think it is relatively harmless. Again, people must learn to think for themselves and take responsibility for their actions; joining the army is no different in this regard.

     

  13. 0
    gamadaya says:

    I wasn’t reffering to this one in particular. I wouldn’t be surprised if the age limit isn’t really enforced though. Also, how does "having an age limit" make something automatically not misleading?

    ——————————————————–

    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  14. 0
    KayleL says:

    "And it is a free country, sort of…"

    Yeah, it’s a free country, so the army should be free to choose their recruiting methods. Is it hurting anyone? No. Are they forcing anyone into the army because of this? No.

  15. 0
    Mad_Scientist says:

    That’s exactly why they are taking the precautions they are. It’s like the army experience place can just bar entry to anyone who they think might be involved. Well, they probably could, but they wouldn’t want to.

  16. 0
    gamadaya says:

    I hate Army recruitment campaings. They’re so underhanded and missleading. But how else are you going to recruit people for such a job?

    ——————————————————–

    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  17. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    I stand corrected. I didn’t realize the most common age of consent was 16.

    In any case, that leaves 12 states where the age of consent is 18, and I presume military recruitment goes on there as well. Whatever individual objections you might raise to my points above, the fact remains that minors are being recruited into a deadly profession.

  18. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "I just want to point out the stupidity in this argument… … if they are allowed to drink under military law which if they are on a base they are in a military jurisdiction then they ARE legally allowed to drink …"

    I’d like to point out the stupidity of your objection.

    Minors who are recuited into the military aren’t under military jurisdiction at the time they are being solicited for recruitment. They are legally minors, and the government goes out of its way to protect them from this or that (drinking, sex, pornography). Your nitpicking aside, the fact remains that placing them at risk of being killed is somehow seen as a lesser evil than the others, out of nothing more than governmental opportunism (you can’t wage war without soldiers).

  19. 0
    sirdarkat says:

    I don’t know about military laws and jurisdiction. The point remains, at the time they are recruited they are not legally allowed to drink.

     

    I just want to point out the stupidity in this argument … if they are allowed to drink under military law which if they are on a base they are in a military jurisdiction then they ARE legally allowed to drink … just because I can’t do it one place under one set of laws doesn’t make it illegal every where else (look to age of consent laws).

  20. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "IF one signs the contract at age 17, they must have parental or guardian consent (at least that’s how it used to be, I don’t suspect its changed though)."

    I’d like some evidence of that. I’m no legal expert, but my understanding is that contracts are generally not binding upon minors. They can physically sign them, but the contracts are meaningless if they cannot be upheld. Generally, my understanding is that minors cannot be bound to the terms of a contract, which is what I mean when I say they are "too young to sign contracts". See here for an example.

    "Actually, the legal age of consent is between 14 and 16 or 17.  As long as they’re not fucking someone 4 years older, they’ll be fine, and a lot of times you can appeal out if you’re at, say, the same highschool or something."

    No, it is not. The age of consent can vary between states, but it’s usually set at 18. States make exceptions for people who are close in age in order to avoid the logical inconsistencies of a strict delimitation (imagine a 17-year old dating a 16-year old suddenly becoming a criminal on his 18th birthday despite nothing else having changed).

    The age of consent isn’t that at which a minor is allowed to have sex — after all, it’s usually not illegal for two minors to have sex, regardless of age. Instead, the age of consent is that at which it’s illegal for adults to have sex with minors, and that is usually 18.

    "There are no AO games, so that’s a moot point."

    Bullshit.

    "People who enlist at 17 can’t see combat until they’re 18.  They can go to schools, they can stay at a base in the barracks, but they can’t be sent overseas."

    Can they refuse to serve? If not, my point remains. They are being recruited into a deadly profession, yet they are minors.

    "Last time I was on a base in Virginia, they had people 17 and 18 drinking in the bar, and they were buying liquor from the comissary.  Apparently, in some places they can get alcohol on base if they’re underage."

    I don’t know about military laws and jurisdiction. The point remains, at the time they are recruited they are not legally allowed to drink.

  21. 0
    Geryon says:

    Two things, one the drinking age being 21 is something I personally disagree with in general, not saying you agree just throwing it out there though.   Second, although I certainly do belive that it is a contry’s resonsibility, otherwise they have no point, to put the lives of it’s citizens before the lives of those in other contries, Iraq, unless I’m extremely mistaken, was not a center of any sort of terrorist activity that was targeting the U.S.  That is not to say he was not a horrible person et cetera but it hardly would have come to American streets.  As for the Afghanistan war, in all honesty I may be in favor of it but don’t know enough about it so tend not to take a stance, whether it is something that should be done or not I believe that there is little chance that if America had not started that war that it would be any more prevalent in the "streets".  Again that is not saying that America should not have gone in but I do not think that the war itself has had any direct reduction of attacks on America.

  22. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    With the age limit set at 17, the Army recruits people who are too young to drink, too young to sign contracts, too young to have sex with adults, and too young to buy AO games. Why, then, can the army get away with putting those same minors in mortal danger?

    So many things wrong here.

    1) IF one signs the contract at age 17, they must have parental or guardian consent (at least that’s how it used to be, I don’t suspect its changed though). 

    2) Actually, the legal age of consent is between 14 and 16 or 17.  As long as they’re not fucking someone 4 years older, they’ll be fine, and a lot of times you can appeal out if you’re at, say, the same highschool or something.

    3) There are no AO games, so that’s a moot point.

    4) People who enlist at 17 can’t see combat until they’re 18.  They can go to schools, they can stay at a base in the barracks, but they can’t be sent overseas. 

    5) Last time I was on a base in Virginia, they had people 17 and 18 drinking in the bar, and they were buying liquor from the comissary.  Apparently, in some places they can get alcohol on base if they’re underage.

    Also, if you didn’t notice, a lot of the people involved in the terror networks, even the ones who weren’t there originally, have been drawn into the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Sure, a good portion are people who had no terrorist roots in the beginning, but we’re still coming across members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  Personally, I’d rather turn their countries into a war zone than see it on the streets here.

  23. 0
    Bill says:

     

    Yes that is a little unrealistically idealistic.

      Let’s say that you somehow could provide "all the fundamental needs for everyone" people would still fight over the nonessentials, the luxuries.  People steal from others who have more all the time and not stuff like bread, eggs and milk.  They steal luxury items like jewelry, electronics and cars. 

      Would you suggest that if all luxuries were provided for then people would not fight?  Perhaps, for a while, but the population would explode and resources would not be sufficient to continue to provide all things for all people.  Eventually people would fight over recourses or all would have to do with less, and recorded human history doesn’t seem to favor the idea that people will just do with less.

      The "nature to live" that you refer to could also be called self-interest. And self-interest would dictate that if it comes down to you or them you will look out for yourself (or your loved ones… not other’s loved ones, yours).  Human nature may not be to fight, but it is selfish.  And selfishness will lead to fighting at some point.

    Unfortunately, I think time and history has shown that your lack of faith in the "human race/character" is probably well founded.  I’m not saying people don’t do the right thing, surely many do, but they are susceptible to selfishness as well.  I guess what I’m saying is that it’s good to help others but it would be unwise to expect them to do the same. 

     

     
     
     
  24. 0
    Ambiguous says:

    Honestly, I don’t know if I want to say its our nature to fight.  I think its more along the lines of "nature to live".  Take that to its logical extension, and it becomes, "nature to preserve our livelihood".  For that small reason, people will fight/kill one another, in an effort to keep themselves and friends/family alive and happy.

    To say that its our nature to fight, just goes a little too far in my mind, as it suggests that we’ll never stop killing one another.  Honestly, (and this is a tall order, I know) if you could provide all the fundamental needs for everyone, I don’t think there would be significant fighting/killing beyond the few mentally deranged people that do so.

    Unless your just saying that its in mans nature to be competitive, because it is.  We’ll always argue and compete, particularly so because its healthy for the overally race, but I don’t think its in our nature to kill one another.  

    Lol, I think its kind of funny I’m saying this.  I’m not exactly reknown amongst my friends for my faith in the human race/character, but all the same I’d like to think a little idealistically in this case. 

  25. 0
    Geryon says:

    Ya sorry like I said lack of sleep, the was intended to be what they would, naievly, think rather than what would actually happen.  I am aware of… ya… just rambling now.  People fight, they always will.

  26. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    It’s people saying stuff similar to "the only reason you have the freedom to complain against the army is because the soldiers die to protect that freedom you’re using against them!" that bothers me. Sure, these guys tend to go over the top and prove themselves idiots, but that doesn’t mean you should toss such a vague argument around. It boils down to "shut up, we’re protecting you so don’t criticize us!", which is also an easy way to defend torture, randomly arresting anyone who gets a claim of terrorism against them, tossing a nuke at Iran, etcetera.

  27. 0
    Geryon says:

    Maybe I just haven’t had enough sleep, distinct posibility, but I don’t understand the whole "you can only badmouth the army because they exist and protect you" comment.

    Aside from that I agree that people have the right to agree or disagree with the army methods and such, but fankly I have known too many people who view the army as a evil entity that should be abolished to have any sort of a positive view of such a protest.  I do believe in people right to believe that the army is evil and should be abolished it just bugs the hell out of me how they don’t seem to realize what getting rid of the army would do other than just thinking "yay no more war!".  Sorry for incoherence, as I said lack of sleep.

  28. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    "Land of the free because of the brave." These people seem to hate both.

    Brave because this is the kind of crap we have to put up with. They’re free to hate us. We fight for these bastards’ rights to bash us. Welcome to America.

  29. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    "No doubt.  Because there are people who stand ready to do violence on your behalf, you can prance around and pretend the world is some wonderful place where nobody ever wrongs you."

    Considering the US Army hasn’t fought a war on its own soil for a very long time now, the idea that Americans owe their free-speech rights to the US Army is rather questionable. The modern US Army doesn’t fight wars of self-defense — they are usually the agressors. Once can oppose that as an honest expression of anti-violence, without hipocrisy of any sort being involved.

    I understand the need for recruitment — I’d rather have a volunteer Army than have the possibility of being drafted into fighting foreign wars. Neverthleless, insofar as the US Army attempts to attract minors, I agree with those who oppose recruitment efforts such as the ones in question here. With the age limit set at 17, the Army recruits people who are too young to drink, too young to sign contracts, too young to have sex with adults, and too young to buy AO games. Why, then, can the army get away with putting those same minors in mortal danger?

  30. 0
    Navi says:

    Remember, when fighting for peoples rights, you are also fighting for peoples right to disagree with you.  Just as you have the right to say that there "dumb as those fuckers that Rob Riggle talked to on the daily show."  they have the right to protest against such a thing.  Just as long as it stays non-violent

    Freedom is such an interesting beast.

  31. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    Sorry but the whole "you can only badmouth the army because they exist and protect you" thing is used way too often, the argument sounds as bad as the repetitive whines of PETA and many other groups. Hell, just because our army protects us doesn’t mean I ain’t got the right to (dis)agree with how they get their job done. I mean, governments also do their best to protect their country right? Then why do you guys keep complaining?

    As for the recruitment centers and the events they do, my only concern is the age-limit. If that is set properly and enforced properly, then no worries there. Them being there visually doesn’t mean jack when you’re not allowed to enter, never heard people complain about a casino looking flashy while kids can’t enter and gamble.

  32. 0
    Krono says:

    My favorite part is that they call themselves nonviolent, but still feel the need to have shopping bags for decoy purposes, wear not easy to identify clothing, and avoid grouping together before the protest. Not exactly hallmarks of people planning on being peaceable.

    Well, that part and that their about page still has the line about President Bush and impeachable offenses.

    -Gray17

  33. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    You’re right about them being like PETA: Spoilt little fuck-wits so high on themselves they think they are the only voice the ‘people’ should have speaking for them

    ————————————————–

    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  34. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    My favorite thing they said: ‘We’re nonviolent.’

    No doubt.  Because there are people who stand ready to do violence on your behalf, you can prance around and pretend the world is some wonderful place where nobody ever wrongs you.

    Once again, sorry you don’t like the Army’s recruiting methods, but nobody cares about your opinions, mainly because you’re just as dumb as those fuckers that Rob Riggle talked to on the daily show. 

    As for the Virtual Army Experince, its an interesting experience, but like most recruiting techniques, they have a minimum age requirement!  Oh, man, it’s not like they’re pushing it on kids.  There’s an Army recruitment center across from a guitar center I used to go to occasionally, and they had a TV running one of the ARMY games everytime I was around, and somehow no one ever cared.  Craziest thing.

    Funny story, none of the groups that have endorsed this protest has shown any semblance of intelligence at any point.  They’re just as bad as PETA, honestly, fighting with half-truths.

  35. 0
    TK n Happy Ness says:

    If those morons really want to protest a war, send them over to Iraq and that’ll shut them up permanently.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  36. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    I love the whole "we believe in Freedom, so we’re going to hamper if not outright take away other people’s Rights" thing.

    Of course, I also love the whole "we’re over there fighting for your Rights, so you don’t have the Right to speak against our country/soldiers".

    Humans.  Gotta love ’em… they do the silliest things.

    Nightwng2000

    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  37. 0
    David says:

    Now that Bush is gone, there’s not much impetus on the part of the public-at-large to join this little protest.  If there are more than twenty people that join in this, I will be surprised.

  38. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    ever time I see/hear a protest angisnt a military event I its the people who couldn’t get in whining and complaining about it.

     


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.


    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com

  39. 0
    Conster says:

    If you’re going to go all "Oh, we’re so non-violent, and you’re oppressing us!", do the Buddhist thing. Robin Williams explained it, in case you don’t know it:

    What does the Buddhist terrorist do? Goes in the middle of the street, takes the gas… WHOOSH! Self barbecue! People killing each other in the name of God are going: "What the fuck are you doing?" "Making you deal with your shit."

  40. 0
    KaylaKaze says:

    After Downing Street is named that because the group was founded in the wake of, and in response to, the Downing Street Memo being made public.

  41. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    Recruiters recruit, whingers whinge, the whole tedious cycle continues….

    Although I am curious as to why the group are apparantly named after our British street that is synonymous with British politics.

    EDIT: Looking at some of those group names, I wouldn;t have been surprised to see the Peoples Front, Popular Front, and Peoples Popular Front of Judea….SPLITTERS!!!!

    ————————————————–

    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  42. 0
    Mad_Scientist says:

    Well, that’s of course because they are staging a protest in a place that they have no right to protest in, from what I understand. If they aren’t careful, they won’t even make it in.

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