From June 16-18, 2017, Vancouver’s antiwar coalition Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) joined in a successful antiwar conference organized by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) under the banner “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad: Building a Movement Against War, Injustice & Repression!” Throughout the dynamic weekend, over 300 people, from 31 US states and nine countries, gathered in Richmond, Virginia to discuss, debate and organize building a stronger and more united antiwar movement in the US and around the world. UNAC, which formed in 2010, is the largest and broadest antiwar coalition in the United States, and this conference was an important step forward towards building the fightback against US-led wars and occupations and the war against poor, working and oppressed people at home.
Through their participation, Alison Bodine, MAWO chairperson and Tamara Hansen, a founding member of MAWO, emphasized the urgency and necessity of building a united front against the imperialist wars at home and abroad, as well as the significance of organizing with the demands of “self-determination for all oppressed nations!” As the only organization at the conference representing Canada, one of the US’s closest neighbours and allies, MAWO’s representatives made an important intervention on the necessity of building an antiwar movement across borders.
MAWO had a leading presence in all aspects of the conference, from working with the National Organizing Committee in the planning of the conference, to speaking as part of plenary panels and workshops.
During the opening session, Tamara Hansen gave greetings from MAWO alongside leading organizers from across the United States. The next morning, Alison co-chaired the first plenary session “Imperialist attacks on Africa and Asia,” with Judith Bello from the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars (New York). The dynamic panel featured presentations from six antiwar organizers from the United States, focusing on escalating wars, occupations and threats against the people of Africa and Asia.
At the conference, MAWO also united with Veterans for Peace, a leading antiwar organization in the United States, to organize a workshop on building the antiwar movement. This workshop was a great success, and the unity between MAWO and Veterans for Peace is an example of the work that is necessary in building a more effective antiwar movement. During the final plenary, Tamara returned to give closing remarks during a plenary titled “Building a More Powerful Movement for Justice and Peace.” Tamara spoke on the urgent topic of “The New Era of War and Occupation and the working class perspective for peace,” drawing on the over 13 years of MAWO’s organizing to put forward a summary of the importance of building a creative, consistent and coordinated antiwar movement that was echoed by other panelists.
At the end of the UNAC Conference 2017 participants unanimously passed a resolution outlining the perspective for future actions and organizing. The “2017 Conference Action Plan” begins “UNAC reaffirms its commitment to the organization of independent, mass action, united front mobilizations against all U.S. wars at home and abroad. Unity in action against the endless imperialist wars for power and profit is inseparable from the same necessary unity at home against the inherent racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-working policies generated by a society ruled by the one percent. To this end, UNAC will seek the collaboration of all organizations challenging oppression in all its manifestations with the objective of planning regional and/or national mobilizations to bring the power of the people into the streets. UNAC is committed to providing a platform for unity and dynamic collaboration in a broad-based struggle against imperialism in all its domestic and international expressions.”
As Alison and Tamara expressed at the Conference, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) sees the program and perspective of UNAC as our own and is committed to continuing to work together to build a united front against war and occupation!
Follow Alison Bodine on Twitter: @Alisoncolette
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