MAWO & Alison Bodine Defence Committee Petition Campaigns
Attract Hundreds in Vancouver!
By Janine Solanki
Since Canada’s ruling class escalation of their war drive in Afghanistan in 2004, Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) launched the ‘Canada Out of Afghanistan Campaign’ to engage not only antiwar activists, but all peace-loving, working and poor people in education, mobilization and protest against the now almost 7 year long occupation of Afghanistan. With this campaign came the Canada Out of Afghanistan petition, a testament to the increasing perspective of people in the lower mainland against the occupation of Afghanistan. The petition goes far beyond 14,000 signatures – in fact this is over 14,000 people that have had their regular day interrupted with a conversation, or a debate, on Canada’s role in Afghanistan. With this petition MAWO organizers have been able to track the reactions as initial debates on Canada’s so called “peacekeeping” role in 2004, have now become discussions on the reasons for Canada’s recent extension of their occupation to 2011.
With Canada’s escalation of their war drive, the war on Afghanistan is becoming a greater issue in the minds of people in Canada, and MAWO has increased it’s rhythm of petition drives to be able to talk to more people about how this war is brutalizing the people of Afghanistan, and how they can get involved in organizing against it, as we also document the numbers of people who have put their name to the petition.
As MAWO resolved to have at least 2 petitions a month, in the same period MAWO co-chair Alison Bodine, who is facing a 2 year ban from Canada based on political targeting by the Canada Border Services Agency, also had supporters stepping up the petition campaign within the Alison Bodine Defence Committee (ABDC) and Mobilization Against War and Occupation. As Alison recently won a partial victory by gaining leave to appeal her case to Federal Court in a Judicial Review, ABDC and MAWO organizers saw the importance of increasing the knowledge of the public on this attack on human and democratic rights and have worked to collect more signatures to demand “Lift the Ban on Alison Bodine” and will now go into her hearing with over 3600 signatures.
In April 2008, alongside ABDC specific petition drives, MAWO organized 2 petition drives with both petitions. On Saturday April 12th MAWO organizers hit the Vancouver Public Library, armed with petitions on clipboards, collecting in total over 450 signatures in just a few hours. Then on Thursday April 24th, the afternoon rush at Broadway and Commercial became busier as students, workers, families and even children approached organizers to sign the petitions and get more information, and again collected a total 450 signatures!
In May 2008, as supporters of Alison Bodine drew closer in preparing for the June 12th Judicial Review, and organized 2 petition drives specifically demanding “Lift the 2 year ban on Alison!” On Friday May 9th and Thursday May 15th, Alison Bodine supporters at Broadway and Commercial approached pedestrians, many who were already familiar with Alison’s case and eager to sign the petition, and collected over 650 petition signatures on Alison’s petition alone!
As the numbers on these petition grows, so do the number of people who have taken a step in getting involved in organizing against war and occupation!
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