On Monday March 20th 2023, U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Adriano Espaillat co-hosted a “Student Services Fair” at Renaissance High School for Musical Theater and the Arts in the Bronx. As the official flier indicates, there was a large military presence . Alarmed that the two U.S. politicians, especially one who is a self-described “democratic socialist” and affiliate of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), were hosting this career fair, the Bronx Anti-War Coalition organized a counter-recruitment protest.
‘The Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World Today’
The official flier for the event listed seven representatives that would headline the fair. Six of them represented branches of the military. Protestors observed dozens of uniformed military personnel walk into the fair through the main entrance, while AOC snuck in and out through back doors. She refused to address her constituents’ questions and instead sent a U.S. Marine colonel outside to address us. The military officer bragged about his time training Saudi troops and the countries he and his government have invaded.
The “duck test” is a form of abductive reasoning, usually expressed as “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.” The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics. It is used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be. This same reasoning can be applied here to deduce that this “student services fair” was in fact a military recruitment fair. Yet somehow, AOC continues to deny that the military played a major role at this event.
Dr. Martin Luther King was crystal clear on this question in 1967 , exactly a year before the U.S government assassinated him: “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.” AOC herself has been on record speaking out against predatory military recruitment tactics targeting our youth. Why then did she decide to host a fair giving these predators access to disenfranchised high school students? The Bronx Anti-War Coalition understands that anytime and anywhere we see military enlistment officers or representatives of the U.S. service academies near our youth, we must confront them and chase them out of our communities.
After her security detail briskly whisked her through a backdoor clear of our protest, she decided to respond to us via instagram . Like other U.S. politicians who practice duplicity, she has a true gift for evasion. She smeared and lied about us in a nine minutes and thirty second video while doubling down on why she has a “responsibility” to inform Bronx youth about U.S. military enlistment “opportunities.” Did it not occur to AOC and her inner-circle to denounce the genocidaires in her monologue? Too busy victimizing herself, at no point did the Congresswoman address the reasons we were outside protesting: 1) to defend the multinational, working-class youth being used as cannon fodder to fight imperialist wars, 2) to stand for the Black, Indigenous and Latinx soldiers murdered on U.S. military bases, such as Abdul Latifu, Vanessa Guillén, Elder Fernandes, and Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz, among hundreds of others, and 3) to give voice to the millions of victims in the Global South targeted and murdered by U.S. sanctions, drone attacks and unprovoked invasions.
This article explores why the anti-war movement has a responsibility to continue to confront AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, Bernie Sanders and any faux leftist professional politician and sheepdog who go along with the bipartisan pro-imperialist and pro-war status quo.