Saturday, April 20, 2013

April Days of Action Against Drones: University of Florida site of weeklong demonstration event

Students for a Democratic Society and the UF libertarians came together between April 8th and 12th for a week of anti-drone action, joining the nationwide April Days of Action Against Drones. As reported in Fight Back News, the event incorporated a wide variety of educational demonstration that spread awareness about U.S. imperialism, civilians murdered by drone warfare, and UF's involvement in research that supports the drone industry.
On Monday, April 8, activists painted a huge mural on the 34th
 Street Wall reading, “4700 murders and counting,” referring to the
extrajudicial killings carried out by the U.S. government in countries
 like Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, in Turlington Plaza, Students for Justice
 in Palestine (SJP) joined SDS and UF Libertarians to
 hold a moment of silence and read the names of
over 400 children killed by drone strikes in
Yemen and Pakistan.

In "Pin the Drones," students in the Plaza of the 
Americas were challenged to find a country
 that the U.S. had not invaded bombed,
 or occupied within the last 10 years. This
 proved a difficult task
On Friday, 4/12 activists gathered in front of Tigert Hall, UF's
administrative building, to call attention to the university's
 involvement in research that fuels drone development.
"Drop TUITION not BOMBS;" describes the tradeoff implicit
 in the University's funding of drone research.

 broadcast by a banner hung from the Tigert Hall steps.
After the rally on Friday, April 12, a delegation of students met with administrators to demand that information concerning UF’s relationship with the military and drone companies be made public. After the meeting, SDS organizer Michela Martinazzi said, “We’re not against technology, but we are against U.S. wars and murder. We think that there is some important drone research being done for wildlife monitoring, but UF research needs to be transparent and accountable.”

April Days of Action Against Drones continue! How will YOU get involved?!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Days of Action Against Drones hits Florida State University!

Last Thursday, in the wake of a unanimous vote by the Florida state senate in favor of a bill preventing local law enforcement from using drones to gather evidence without a warrant, students at Florida State University in Tallahassee held a US Drones Out of Africa and Everywhere! action in solidarity with ANSWER Coalition's protest at the White House on April 13 and with the nationwide April Days of Action Against Drones

The action took place on Landis Green, the university’s “free speech zone,” in the busy center of campus. From 11 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, students handed out info sheets about the expanding US drone program overseas and at home. Signs such as “Drones Kill Kids,” “Drone Strikes = War Crimes,” and “5,000 killed in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia (Most Civilians)” reached hundreds of students. Many students learned about drones for the first time, while others expressed their support 
for the protest and joined in.

 At 4 o’clock, representatives of ANSWER Coalition, Students United for Justice in Palestine, the Center for Participant Education, Veterans for Peace, and Progress Coalition, the event’s sponsors, gave speeches that rang throughout the campus. They spoke about the illegal nature of US drone strikes, the shocking civilian and child death tolls, and resistance to drone warfare as part of a larger struggle against the military-industrial complex and imperialism.

Your turn to get involved! Find out more about the April Days of Action Against Drones around the country!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Call for "No Drones" in Florida Colleges, Universities, and Research Institutions


A national call has been made for “April Days of Action” to focus on three key components of U.S. drone work: Drone Manufacturers, Drone Bases in the U.S., and Drone Research. (See the list about nationwide actions and post your own planned actions for April.)

Given the fact that drones are now the primary weapons of warfare used by the US, and for surveillance both domestic and abroad, the research and development of this warfare is growing rapidly at academic institutions, in our towns and neighborhoods. Drones are the perfect instrument for endless war that kills civilians, even as they target “militants” in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

Academic institutions often receive large grants from the U.S. Department of Defense, enabling them to build labs within schools of engineering, for instance. We are well aware that without this research in robotics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and the accompanying accessories, these drone warfare projects would probably not take place. So there is an interdependent relationship between the universities and the U.S. government and or its Department of Defense and CIA. (CIA drones are used in countries with which the U.S. is not “at war”, ie Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Mali, and others.)

While universities tend to publicize some information on their respective websites regarding the drone work, it is most often said to be for non-military purposes. And there are students working in the labs who are convinced that all the research is for humanitarian purposes. However, history has told us that non-military can quickly and easily become military. Moreover research has shown drones make mistakes on recognizing their targets.

We are therefore asking organizations and individuals, nationwide, to explore any drone research that might be going on at their local university. We are calling for local actions between April 16 and 18, 2013 (Suggested actions are listed below) Our limited research into University and Academic UAV programs indicates that research centers are operating in Florida:
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach
University of Florida - Gainsville
University of Central Florida - Orlando
Before those dates in April we will need to know what information you have acquired about the research and what actions and events your group is planning.This will be shared among groups in the Network. You can send this information to us at

We will have a press committee that will receive your press release and any articles you are able to publish before or after the event.

This project will complement other outreach, education and action projects that will be launched in April, focusing on drone bases, April 27-28 and drone manufacturers , April 4-6.

Suggested actions:
  1. Learn what research is being done by searching on a university website. Look especially at the Engineering Dept. 
  2. Organize a forum, preferably on campus, with speakers and discussion. Be sure to publicize in campus newspapers, and possibly include a professor as one of the speakers. Also include local activists.
  3. Plan a small meeting with the appropriate persons in the department working on drone research, both professors and students.
  4. Hold vigils and leaflet on or close to the campus, as well as in town.
  5. Let us know if you need further tools for your research.
Thanks in advance for your reply to

With all good wishes,

Marge Van Cleef, WILPF, Philadelphia
Leila Zand, For USA
Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence