Sunday, October 26, 2008

A World Without NATO Is Necessary; Canada Mobilizes Against Afghanistan Occupation

A World Without NATO is Necessary

In April 2009 NATO will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in Strasbourg / Kehl right on the French-German border. A massive international mobilisation is under way to express the popular protest and refusal of this main instrument of Western capitalist and imperialist domination and war mongering.

On last October 4/5 an international conference took place in Stuttgart, Germany, to prepare the protests which issued the call below. The Anti-imperialist Camp not only endorses the call but urges everybody to massively participate.

During the deliberations of the conference the Anti-imperialist Camp proposed to add following demands to the call in order to make it more concrete and to the point:

--Withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan
--No to the extension of NATO to the East
--End occupation and war in the Middle East

Although this seemed to be consensus among the participants it nevertheless was not reflected in the conclusive text. We will continue to fight for those slogans to be adopted by the movement.

As Anti-imperialist Camp, we however, go much further as we insist that we need to support the popular resistances against imperialism which sprang up in the last decade first of all in the Middle East but not only. Exactly this incapacity to clearly take side, expressed in the erroneous equidistant formula “no to war, no to terror” which implicitly equated the resistances to terrorism, eventually led to the decay of the anti-war movement.

Actually only thanks to these resistances -- first of all in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine -- the American Empire could be put into question. Only these resistances let to the continuous postponement of the war on Iran and convinced Moscow to put a brake on NATO’s expansion in the Caucasus. Now the financial crisis of the capitalist centres fortunately adds momentum to their troubles.

That does, however, not mean that the US’s and NATO’s war drive will come to a halt. As Washington is electing a new emperor it will get ready also for new wars to defend its hegemony regardless which candidate will make it. While the war against Iran is not from the table, the US is pushing its allies to go against Russia. At stake is the Ukraine. The US wants to bring it into NATO while Russia is categorically opposed to that. If Washington continues its aggressive stance they inevitable will provoke new wars in Eastern Europe.

This is exactly why we believe that the struggle against NATO’s extension to the East is decisive for the struggle for peace (see the Anti-imperialist Camp’s call below).

No to war, no to NATO
Stuttgart Appeal

On the alert!
Call of the Anti-imperialist Camp for an int'l campaign against the enlargement of NATO

We kindly ask you to sign both calls by replying to this message with a short endorsement.

Anti-imperialist Camp

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Canada: Protests in 16 cities denounce war in Afghanistan

By G. Dunkel
Oct 22, 2008 5:14 PM

Rallies and marches on Oct. 18 in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver—Canada’s largest cities—denounced the waste of Canadian lives and resources in Afghanistan. Significant protests also took place in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, and at least 10 other cities, including St. John’s, Newfoundland; Guelph and Windsor, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Calgary, Alberta, the hometown of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Ottawa organizer Dylan Penner distributed the prime minister’s phone numbers and asked protesters to “try to get in touch with Stephen Harper today, tomorrow and every day until he brings the troops home.”

Canadian Union of Postal Workers national president Denis Lemelin spoke in Ottawa and pledged his support for the anti-war effort: “We’re here to say no to the war. We will come back every time we have a chance to say, ‘Our soldiers must come home and this war must end.’”

Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Toronto until they reached the U.S. Consulate, chanting, “From Iraq to Palestine, occupation is a crime!”

Besides costing the lives of many Afghan people, Canada’s intervention in Afghanistan has cost the lives of 97 Canadian soldiers, a diplomat and two aid workers. Many soldiers have also been severely wounded, but the government has not released those figures.

An official report from the Parliamentary Budget Office estimates that Canada will spend at least $18.1 billion on its efforts to aid the Western occupation of Afghanistan by the time it finishes in 2011, and it has already spent between $7.7 and $10.5 billion.

Before the U.S. Consulate, prominent New Democrat Member of Parliament Olivia Chow referred to this report, saying: “That is shameful. Can you think of other ways to spend that money? How about dropping student fees, not bombs? Affordable housing or a national childcare program and make poverty history.”

Canada has four parties represented in its parliament: the Conservatives, the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois, the latter only running candidates in Quebec. Both the Conservatives and the Liberals support Canada’s participation in Afghanistan, while the NDP and the BQ oppose it.

In the election Canada held Oct. 14, the Conservatives won 143 seats, the Liberals 76, the BQ 50 and the NDP 38. The issue of Afghanistan did come up, but the main focus of the elections was the economy.

While opposition to Canada’s participation in the imperialist intervention is high throughout Canada, it is the strongest in Quebec. Besides the major march in Montreal, the smaller city of Sherbrooke also had one targeting the armories in that city.

In Montreal, hundreds turned out to march on a military installation and to demand Canadian troops come home.

“The majority of the population does not support any increases in military spending,” said Raymond Legault, a spokesman from Echec à la guerre.

Legault said the protesters were not just a small group of people against the war. “We’re the majority.”

“Who are our governments serving?” he asked. “Is it NATO, the military industrial complex? Or are they there to answer to the Canadian people?”
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