In this new era of war and occupation in which we live, imperialist forces are constantly opening new fronts in their wars against oppressed nations. In their search for new markets and resources to save their failing economic system, the heavy price of human lives is on the hands of war mongering countries. Whether they are using open military attacks, such as the US expansion of war from Afghanistan to Pakistan; or sanctions and propaganda campaigns, like those being used against Iran and the 50 year blockade against Cuba; or covert support for the right-wing coup d’etats, like in Honduras- antiwar organizers must be quick to respond, resist, and fight back every attempt by imperialist forces to undermine the basic right of self-determination for oppressed nations. Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO), an antiwar coalition in Vancouver, Canada, recognizes the necessity of consistently opposing every move of the imperialist war machine. We do this through educational events and direct actions, whether we are discussing and developing how we should respond to latest events and our ideas, or organizing actions like rallies and pickets to actively and publicly protest war and occupation. An overview of MAWO’s July 2009 events and actions demonstrate how MAWO is educating, organizing and mobilizing to expose and oppose this imperialist war drive.
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Forum on Canada Day
July started off with a bi-weekly public forum on July 1st, so-called “Canada Day,” on the topic of “Canada Day is War at Home, War Abroad - Indigenous in Afghanistan, Indigenous in Canada: Same Aspiration, Same Struggle, Same Liberation.” This forum took the opportunity of “Canada Day” to discuss why this is not a day to celebrate, but a day that the racist state of Canada was established on stolen Indigenous land – a colonialist policy that continues in Afghanistan. This forum received international media coverage from Press TV, which can be viewed at www.mawovancouver.org/reports/090701forum.html
Forum on Honduras
The next bi-weekly public forum, on July 15th was titled, “Honduras: People in Motion for Social Change - Why the Military Coup in Honduras Will Not Succeed.” This event discussed the current coup d’etat in Honduras, which is an offensive against both the people of Honduras and people across Latin America who are fighting for their rights, dignity and an end to neo-colonial oppression. This event gave participants a chance to discuss and understand the situation in Honduras and especially the concealed support of the right-wing coup from the governments of Canada and the United States. The discussion established the need for peace-loving people to organize in solidarity with the Honduran people who are protesting against the coup.
MAWO rally against war
From discussing the state of war and occupation around the world, it is necessary to take our ideas and demands to the streets. On July 18th, MAWO organized its monthly antiwar rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery, encompassing the demands of: “End the Occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Haiti & Tamil Eelam! US Hands off Iran & Pakistan! Self-Determination for Indigenous Nations, Tamils & All Oppressed Nations! US Hands off Honduras! Reinstate President Manuel Zelaya Now!” This rally brought together the common struggle of oppressed nations resisting war and occupation around the world, with clear demands on picket signs and banners, through the words of the rally’s speakers, and with a table busy with people getting more information about antiwar issues. As an antiwar group in Canada, it is critical to also focus our efforts on fighting the war drive that the government of Canada is carrying out in Afghanistan. At every monthly rally, MAWO organizers collect petition signatures on the “Canada Out of Afghanistan” petition and at the July rally over 250 more signatures were added to the almost 15,000 who have signed their name to this demand.
MAWO picket: Canada Out of Afghanistan
Another part of MAWO’s Canada Out of Afghanistan campaign is our monthly picket actions at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Centre in New Westminster. July 23rd was MAWO’s 56th picket action demanding an end to the Canada/US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan. Energetic rounds of picketing were mixed with dynamic speakers, as well as scores of honks from passing cars in response to the “Honk for Canada Out of Afghanistan” sign.
The propaganda machines and military might of imperialist countries like Canada and the US have much more money and resources than an antiwar coalition made up of peace-loving students, workers, unemployed, immigrants, and refugees. Although we don’t own TV or radio stations, our efforts are made in the spirit of justice and humanity. The truth is on our side, and the fact is that throughout history humanity could not have reached this stage of civilization if people were not inspired and fought for the justice. Through consistent and broad events and actions, MAWO is exposing the brutal, unjust and criminal imperialist war drive- event by event, signature by signature, and ultimately voice by voice.
Please join us in this effort for a better world.