Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Speaks at Opening Plenary of UNAC Conference

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Speaks at Opening Plenary of UNAC Conference

Shifting strategies of empire was the focus of the national antiwar gathering

By Pan-African News Wire Correspondent

STAMFORD, CT—During the weekend of March 23-25, the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) held its second conference in Stamford, Conn. The event took place at the Hilton Hotel and was attended by over 500 delegates from various states throughout the United States as well as other countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean.

Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, addressed the opening plenary session on March 23. Azikiwe is also a member of the Coordinating Committee and Steering Committee of UNAC which was formed in August 2010 at the founding conference in Albany, New York.

Along with the PANW editor, other persons addressing the opening plenary session of the UNAC Conference was David Swanson of War is a Crime, Ret. Col. Ann Wright of Dissent, Andrew Murray, UK trade unionist and a member of the Antiwar Coalition in Britain, Bernadette Ellorin of BAYAN, USA, Kazem Azin of Solidarity Iran, Adaner Usmani of the Labor Party of Pakistan, Ahmed Shawki of the Egypt Solidarity Coalition and Lucy Pagoada-Quesada of the National Resistance Popular Front (FNRP) of Honduras. The opening panel was chaired by Joe Lombardo, Co-Chair of UNAC.

Azikiwe began his address to the first full session of the conference by speaking directly to the global economic crisis and its relationship to U.S. militarism. “Despite reports from the corporate media and the administration in Washington, the world capitalist crisis is by no means over,” he said.

“From Greece to Portugal, Spain, France and the UK, the capitalist ruling class is imposing austerity upon the workers and youth. In the U.S., especially in Detroit where I am based, the ruling class is seeking to reverse all of the gains won through protracted struggles since the 1930s,” the PANW editor noted.

“Today we are facing a financial consent decree, possible emergency management and municipal bankruptcy,” Azikiwe said.

International Implication of the Capitalist Crisis

Azikiwe then addressed the implications of current U.S. policy stating that the “escalation of the Pentagon budget in the last decade since 9/11, even under the Obama administration, has had a serious impact on the cities, suburbs, small towns and rural areas.”

He went on to emphasize that the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and U.S. policy toward Palestine, Yemen, and Bahrain has worsened the image of the country throughout Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where the Pentagon is involving itself in Libya, Somalia, Djibouti and the Gulf of Aden.

“There is also more domestic repression, i.e., the Patriot Act, Stop and Frisk and the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),” he pointed out.

Our Task Today and Into the Future

“We must be against war and imperialism. We must give imperialism no slack: there is no such thing as a good imperialist war,” Azikiwe stressed.

He went on to say that “We must link the struggle in North America against austerity, repression and environmental degradation with the struggle around the world for the end of imperialist wars, the withdrawal of U.S. troops and bases, the eradication of economic exploitation and debt slavery and for a world devoid of war, insecurity and dependency.”

Azikiwe ended by saying “Let’s End All Imperialist Wars! Long Live the People’s Struggle for Liberation and Social Justice! Forward to Chicago! Let Us Shutdown the Pentagon and NATO War Machine!”

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