[Marxism] Fire This Time issue 25 now available! (incl. a contribution to the antiwar movement thread)

Ivan D. ivanddrury at yahoo.ca
Sun Aug 7 04:47:22 MDT 2005

F I R E  T H I S  T I M E 

The Fire This Time Newspaper is now available at
www.firethistime.net featuring articles on
international and local issues, including labour
struggles and local actions and organizing. 

Please visit our website at www.firethistime.net for
this issue.

Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice

info at firethistime.net
PO Box 21607
Vancouver BC
V5L 5G3 

F I R E  T H I S  T I M E 

Building an Antiwar Movement: Tasks and Perpectives

By Alison Bodine and Noah Fine

September 11, 2001 marks the beginning of a new era of
war and occupation. Under the mask of a “war on
terror,” imperialist countries have begun to directly
invade, plunder and decimate the entire world,
particularly oppressed nations and countries. In their
rivalry for resources and complete hegemony in the
Middle East and Latin America, Iraq, Afghanistan,
Haiti, Palestine, Syria, Iran, and oppressed people
living in every part of the globe have all stood in
their path of destruction.

Whether it is to bring “democracy,” the liberation of
women or to eliminate the danger of weapons of mass
destruction, the governments of imperialist countries
have proven nothing but that they are liars,
hypocrites, and in fact they are the terrorists they
claim to be fighting. The disastrous situations in
Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Palestine, and Africa are
the best proof of that. 

All of these atrocities from imperialist countries
have been delivered at the wholesale cost of hundreds
of thousands of lives. The occupiers, UN, NATO, or
otherwise are the direct source of instability, the
direct source of lower life expectancy, house raids,
rape, murder, lack of schools, of housing, food, and
medicine In short, they have made the world today a
more miserable place to live in.

It is the responsibility of an effective antiwar
movement to reverse this situation, to declare that
there is no such thing as free elections under the
guidance of 140,000 US troops. It is our
responsibility to state that the racist media campaign
against Iran is nothing but preparation for
intervention in that country, and that there is no
other solution for an end to terror and destruction
than an end to the occupation and colonial practice!

When we listen to the demands of people around the
world with whom we are fighting in solidarity, we hear
one clear and distinct sound; a sound that must be
reverberated around the world wherever there is action
being done for social justice. It is these demands
that we echo that are the barrier and solution to
imperialist plunder: End the Occupation!
Self-Determination for occupied and oppressed nations!
These are the foundational and basic program that we
borrow from the cries of all people living under
occupation who have been fighting for their lives,
dignity, freedom and against foreign imperialist

The demands of people living under imperialist
occupation share a common ground. Their demands are a
result of the concrete situation in which they live, a
situation that has been created by their oppressor.
Whether it’s the people of Haiti demanding the return
of their first democratically elected president, Jean
Bertrand Aristide; the people of Palestine demanding
the rights to their land; the return of the over
6,000,000 Palestinian refugees around the world and an
end to Israeli occupation; the people of Afghanistan
demanding a complete withdrawal of foreign occupiers
and an end to the US imposed puppet government; the
people of Iraq demanding their rights and freedom from
the occupation or the demand of the Indigenous Nations
of this land for sovereignty, dignity, and the basic
human rights they had before the colonial occupation
and theft of their land; they all have the same
characteristics and solution. All of these cries,
although products of their individual environment, are
directly linked to two basic and essential demands
that connect them to struggles happening around the
world: End the Occupation! Self-Determination for All
Oppressed Nations!

In February 2003, before the war on Iraq began,
millions of people hit the streets under the demand of
“No War in Iraq.” This showed the amazing potential of
human beings to stand in solidarity with oppressed
people and join them in the fight against war and
occupation. Yet the war on Iraq still happened and
when the bombing was over and the US/UK began to
establish themselves as a long-term occupying force,
the anti-war movement was not prepared to respond. The
leadership of the anti-war movement lost its clear and
immediate goal and had not developed a program able to
extend beyond invasion. Building an effective program
takes an understanding of the struggle of oppressed
people, of history and the ability to think and act
effectively, promptly and with consistency in program,
demand, slogan and execution of action with potential
and actual allies. 

Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO)
responds to the leadership of the Iraqi people and
resistance, and all oppressed people under occupation,
with a program for an effective anti-war movement in
Canada. Through consistency, education, mobilization
and organization MAWO has been able to form a movement
with oppressed people in the leadership. Building a
movement requires work in the streets, making the war
at home and abroad an issue that affects the daily
lives of every person in Canada. As the government of
Canada moves further to the right, and exposes itself
as an imperialist country that has never acted in the
interests of oppressed people anywhere, attacks on
oppressed people at home will increase and it will
become harder to ignore the reality of Canadian

The gears are shifting and our day-to-day work of
forums, films, and cultural events has and must
reflect this change. 

In January 2004 MAWO launched the “Operation: Canada
Out!” campaign in order to take on Canadian
imperialism in Afghanistan. “Operation: Canada Out!”
is a mass education and petition campaign. The
campaign was expanded in March 2004 to include “Canada
Out of Haiti!” to expose Canada’s role in the invasion
and occupation of that country. There are over 7000
signatures on the petitions demanding “Canada Out of
Afghanistan!” and “Canada Out of Haiti!” This means
that thousands of discussions and debates have been
conducted among people in Canada. 

In response to the government of Canada’s recent push
towards a higher level of involvement in the
occupation of Afghanistan, MAWO organized 2
consecutive weeks of pickets in front of the Canadian
Forces Recruitment Centre downtown Vancouver. Although
important in many aspects of the anti-war movement in
Canada, this campaign was not taken on seriously by
any other organization. 


When Canada first stepped foot in Afghanistan, as part
of the NATO occupation, the force was 2000 troops
strong and brought a promise to reconstruct the
destroyed country, but nothing ever changed. Canada
got its piece of pie in the Middle East, but it was
not enough for Canada to stop there. In February of
2004 Canada took another leading role, this time in
the invasion of Haiti. Since then the RCMP has had the
ongoing responsibility of training the Haitian police,
the most forceful oppressor of the Haitian people.

The Canadian anti-war movement has been focused
comfortably on exposing the US/UK war drive. But when
it comes to what directly affects the people of
Canada, war and occupation by Canadian colonial state,
it has been somehow silent. The response of the
anti-war and progressive community to the new course
of Canadian militarism is worrisome and astonishing.
With the doubling of the military budget, the
announcement of the deployment of 2000 more troops to
Afghanistan and the recent racist war mongering quotes
from Gen. Hillier, the government of Canada has
dropped its veil of “peacekeeping.” There is no longer
any excuse to ignore the reality that Canada is a
colonial imperialist country. Is there a difference
between General Hillier of the Canadian army and
General Richard Meyers of the US army, who said the
same thing about the people of Afghanistan two years
ago? Gen Hillier has, in fact, done the anti-war
movement in Canada a huge favour. No one who claims to
be fighting for an end to war and occupation, or even
for abstract “peace”, has any other choice than to
shift gears to a major campaign against Canada’s
destructive role in Afghanistan. Gen Hillier’s
comments and Canada’s increased role in Afghanistan
are just preparation for joining, in the broadest
sense, the US’ “war on terrorism.” 

The government of Canada has never been and is not
today a neutral or progressive body. Founded on the
continuous suppression of Indigenous Nations, Canada
has now a leading and strategic role in the
imperialist endeavors of its partners and competitors.
The government of Canada has been hard at work for
over a century building a racist campaign to
neutralize any hostility it would face from people in
Canada. It has hidden its colonial roots and clouded
its imperialist strategy under the softer
characterization of “peacekeeping”.


We have witnessed only the beginning of this “war on
terror,” or era of war and occupation. It is only a
matter of time before the privileges that we in Canada
gain from the oppression of the global poor will be
privileges we lose and we will truly begin to share
the oppression of people around the world. We see
these constant moves of the government of Canada
further to the right, whether it is through its place
on the imperialist stage or with the strike of the TWU
against the reactionary policy of their bosses. 

Here in Canada we must connect and act as an essential
part of the international anti-war movement. We must
take examples from the war abroad and connect them to
the particular struggle of people at home. We must
continue tirelessly alongside the people of oppressed
nations to progress the struggle of working people and
build the foundation we need in order to tip the
balance of the scale in favour of oppressed people. We
must bring the consistency we see in Iraq against
occupation to the streets we walk everyday, wherever
we are. This means constant mobilization, it means
shifting our gears to a Canadian anti-war movement,
against the Canadian war drive, all while maintaining
a thoroughly international perspective.

Canada Out of Afghanistan! For an Independent Public

Canada Out Of Haiti!

End the Occupations!

Self-Determination for Oppressed Nations!

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