Robert L. Meola
Robert L. Meola has been a radical involved in struggles for peace and justice since the 60s. He has worked to end the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Central America, and everywhere else since then and has been an organizer and peace and justice and anti-draft and anti-nuclear activist. He is a Gandhian pacifist, has been a non-violence trainer and has committed numerous acts of civil disobedience. He realized he was an anarchist when he realized his communist comrades had forgotten about Marx's withering away of the state. Meola was a founder of Southern California War Resisters' League and Southern California War Tax Resistance. He is a long-time member of War Resister's League and is a contact for WRL-West.
He has been a draft counselor, veterans' counselor and volunteer on the G.I. Rights Hotline, and is a Commissioner and immediate past Chairperson of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission in Berkeley, CA and a member of both the Courage to Resist Organizing Collective and of the Bradley Manning Support Network Steering Committee.
Meola has a B.A. from James Madison College at Michigan State University and a J.D. from New College of California School of Law. He believes that mass desertion by U.S. troops would be a good way to end the current immoral and illegal wars of the United States in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
On November 30, 2007. Bob Meola, a former member of MSU Students for a Democratic Society opened the reunion at Michigan State University. Later in the clip he introduced Cole Smith from Ignite, the new MSU SDS chapter. he was also a member of the new Movement for a Democratic Society
Open Letter to Obama on Iran
In 2008 Bob Meola, Chairperson, Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, War Resisters League National Committee Member, Berkeley, CA signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.
"Support Bill Ayers"
In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement Support Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.
In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.
- We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
- We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.
Robert L. Meola signed the statement.
MDS organizer, Bob Meola, represented War Resisters League, one of the collaborating organizations in the MDS workshop at the United States Social Forum in Detroit on June 25th, 2010. Meola was also a WRL National Committee member. Following is what Meola had to say regarding nonviolence and MDS:
“Founded in 1923, WRL is the oldest secular pacifist organization in the United States. ‘The War Resisters League affirms that all war is a crime against humanity. We, therefore, are determined not to support any kind of war, international or civil, and to strive nonviolently for the removal of the causes of war, including racism, sexism, and all forms of exploitation.’[WRL “pledge”/statement of purpose.]
“We are a section of WRI, War Resisters International, which exists to connect and support war resisters around the world and to promote nonviolent actions, especially against the causes of war. WRI is a network with more than eighty affiliates in more than forty countries, plus an office in London.
“It is my personal fantasy that WRL members would join MDS and that MDS or certain MDS chapters might become an affiliate of WRL, which is not the same as being a local chapter of WRL. [This is a longer discussion. Requirements for becoming a WRL affiliate are not the same as requirements for becoming a WRL member or local chapter, as affiliates do not necessarily subscribe to the WRL “pledge” noted above.]
“What WRL would like to bring to MDS is an ongoing, working conversation, regarding nonviolence, to strengthen the effectiveness of our movement for social change and our campaigns within our movements.
In the first action of its type during the current U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Berkeley, Calif., City Council on March 9, 2010, passed a resolution entitled, “Universal and Unconditional Amnesty for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan War Military Resisters and Veterans Who Acted In Opposition to the War for Matters of Conscience,” according to a report from Courage to Resist.
“Amnesty” means that any charges or remaining punishment are officially “forgotten.” “Unconditional” means no strings attached. “Universal” means it would apply to all convictions or pending charges related to resistance to or refusal to serve in the current U.S. wars, as well as going absent without leave.
This amnesty would include all veterans with less than honorable discharges for such resistance. The call adds that such veterans should have their discharges automatically upgraded to honorable, and that they should be entitled to all benefits.
Bob Meola, Berkeley peace and justice commissioner who wrote the original draft of the resolution, stated, “I hope this resolution will serve as a model and inspire cities and towns across the United States to pass similar resolutions and ignite a movement which will result in Universal and Unconditional Amnesty for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan war resisters and veterans.
“The troops who have had the courage to resist have been traumatized enough. They have followed their consciences and deserve healing and support and appreciation from people everywhere. The GI Resistance movement is growing. Its members are heroes and sheroes and should be treated as such when they are welcomed back into civilian society.”
The new resolution deepens the city’s anti-war commitment, which in 2007 made Berkeley a “sanctuary city” for military resisters and draft registration resisters.
Bradley Manning Support Network
- Gerry Condon, national co-chair of the Veterans for Peace GI Resistance Working Group
- Bob Meola, member of War Resisters League National Committee
- Jeff Paterson, project director of Courage to Resist
- Loraine Reitman, privacy advocate
- Kevin Zeese, co-founder and executive director, Voters for Peace
- War resister's league bio, accessed January 25, 2009
- MSU SDS Reunion: Bob Meola introduction, Youtube video.
- Open Letter to Obama on Iran
- Liberal Education website: Bill Ayers supporters
- MORE NEWS FROM MDS AT USSF. MDS website, accessed Jan.26, 2011
- http://www.iacenter.org/military/military-resist041010//, International Action Center, BERKELEY, CALIF.: Calls for unconditional amnesty for military resisters, By Dee Knight Apr 9, 2010]
- stand with accused whistle-blower US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning page. BMSN website, accessed January 24, 2011