Friday, July 16, 2010

Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African News Wire, To Address the National Anti-War Conference in Albany, July 23-25

As Pentagon’s problems pile up: Anti-war conference to plan action program

By John Catalinotto
Published Jul 15, 2010 11:25 PM

Afghan resistance fighters killed six GIs in six different battles on July 10 as Gen. David Petraeus took over command from the fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The disarray in the U.S. command and the growing casualties highlight the disintegration of the U.S. war strategy. They also underline the importance of an upcoming national anti-war conference whose goal is producing an action program for the coming period.

A growing majority of the U.S. population and an even greater percentage of President Barack Obama’s voters are fed up with the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, just as they were with the occupation of Iraq under George W. Bush. With 223 U.S. troops dying in Afghanistan this year and 22 in July alone, this opposition will only grow.

These questions remain: When will this opposition turn into active struggle? When will it lead to action in the streets? Will this movement join with the class struggle? Will U.S. troops move from individual dissidence to organized resistance, as they did during the war against Vietnam?

Those actively seeking answers to these questions should consider attending the National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now! scheduled for July 23-25 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany, N.Y. This conference is bringing together activists and organizations from different sectors of war opponents — from the explicitly anti-imperialist like BAYAN to the militantly pacifist like Creative Voices for Non-Violence.

The National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupation has played a key role in organizing the conference. It is supported by Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, U.S. Labor Against the War, Peace Action and the National Lawyers Guild, to name just some of the 31 co-sponsoring organizations.

From Pakistan to Haiti to home

The conference’s action proposal demands an immediate end to the illegal occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and prepares the movement to respond to an attack on Iran. It also joins those basic anti-war demands with calls to end the enormous waste of human and natural resources that feeds the war machine and also with appeals for a moratorium on home seizures.

Workshops will take up many international issues, including Palestine, the U.S. occupation of Haiti, U.S. intervention in Colombia, global warming and the environment, the role of poor people’s movements and much more, including developments in the GI resistance movement. (See for more details.)

While the event is not intended to be the kind of mass gathering that took place at the U.S. Social Forum, it will be consciously aiming to plan actions for the coming months to combat the war machine, not just to produce resolutions. The discussion will also reflect political changes within the anti-war movement.

Like the USSF, which included 45 workshops on the struggle for Palestinian liberation, the Albany conference also has scheduled some important workshops on this issue. Palestinian solidarity activists are preparing resolutions and asking for strong participation to assure that the Palestinian issue is integrated with a general anti-war program — a progressive development.

In another big step forward, right after the conference ends on Sunday, July 25, there will be a public demonstration in Albany in solidarity with the Muslim community, which has faced discrimination and persecution by the U.S. political police. The Muslim Solidarity Committee and Project SALAM (Support And Legal Advocacy for Muslims) have called on conference participants to meet at the east steps of the Capitol, Washington and State Streets, at 1 p.m. for a march to Masjid As-Salam at 278 Central Ave., where there will be a meeting and refreshments.

The Muslim groups called the march to remember “the sixth anniversary of the arrests of two Muslim men from the Albany community and all Muslims pre-emptively prosecuted by the U.S. government,” they say in an e-mail. The groups will also participate in a conference luncheon panel on political repression and closing Guantánamo. (See

Leading speakers at the conference include political analyst Noam Chomsky; Donna Dewitt, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO; Cindy Sheehan; Media Benjamin of Code Pink; and Pam Africa, a spokesperson for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Also speaking and endorsing are activists who regularly contribute articles to Workers World newspaper, such as Teresa Gutierrez of the May 1 Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Sara Flounders of the International Action Center and Larry Holmes of the Bail Out the People Movement.

WW Contributing Editor Abayomi Azikiwe, who is also editor of the Pan African News Service, is taking part in two workshops: “War, Militarization and the Assault on Civil Liberties and Communities of Color,” and “U.S. Economic and Military Expansion into Africa.”

The schedule for the weekend provides opportunities for anti-imperialists to intervene and fight for their positions within the context of building the broadest possible anti-war actions. Workers World Party will participate and WW newspaper will cover the conference.
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