US-led imperialist forces have the entire world an airstrike away with 800 foreign US and NATO military bases around the world. For over 20 years, US-led and backed wars, occupations and military interventions have targeted many countries worldwide, including Ukraine, since 2022, with the 2014 U.S. government orchestrated coup. Cuba, Venezuela and Iran face decades of crippling and inhumane sanctions and blockades, an act of economic warfare imposed by the US government on 40 countries worldwide. These are just some of the military and economic destruction done in the name of “building democracy,” “global security,” and “war on terror,” which are smokescreens for securing US imperialist domination. This isn’t possible by the US military alone, which is where the division of labour to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members comes in.
NATO, a brutal war machine
On the Twitter account of NATO, they describe themselves as “Working for peace, security & freedom for one billion people.” In reality, NATO is a dangerous military alliance that is putting the peace, security and freedom of all 8 billion people on our planet at risk. NATO has a history of military operations that have devastated the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. Today NATO is fuelling the war in Ukraine, pumping the country full of deadly weapons, including US-provided cluster munitions, which are banned in 123 countries, and depleted uranium ammo which causes generations of deadly cancers, horrific birth defects and other radiation related illnesses.
Alongside these wars, NATO demands that members increase military spending, taking funds away from important human needs in member countries such as healthcare, education, housing and jobs. In the past 9 years, Canada’s military spending has increased 95% from $20 billion in 2014 to $39 billion in 2023. This military spending breeds more wars not only on other nations but on the planet too.
Building an antiwar, antiimperialist united front
In Vancouver, for 20 years, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) has been organizing antiwar activities on the basis of consistency, coordination and unity. This includes more than 450 antiwar organizing events and actions. MAWO has been a member of the Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network (CWPJN) since its formation in 2020, with 45 antiwar, peace, and social justice organizations united across Canada. The network has organized days of actions, webinars and issued statements demanding an end to the war on Yemen and that Canada stop arming Saudi Arabia, calling for Canada out of NATO, and demanding Canada fund peace and not war.
In March 2023, the Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network called for days of action to end the war on Yemen from March 25-27, joining peace and antiwar activists protesting worldwide and marking eight years of the brutal Saudiled, US-backed, Canada-armed war on Yemen. On Saturday, March 25, antiwar activists in Vancouver joined together to demand #CanadaStopArmingSaudi in front of the CBC Vancouver building. The Vancouver action was organized by MAWO and Vancouver Yemeni community members and endorsed by Victoria Peace Coalition, Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice, Iranian Community Against War, ILPS Commission 4, and Global Peace Alliance, BC.
On April 15, Mobilization Against War & Occupation joined with members of Metro Vancouver’s Muslim community to organize a rally in defence and support of Palestine on Al-Quds Day in downtown Vancouver on the steps of the Vancouver Public Library. This action supported the struggle of Palestine for self-determination and protested the escalating violence and killings of Palestinians at the hands of racist Zionist Israeli settlers and Israeli forces.
On April 20, MAWO held a MetroVancouver antiwar action with the demands “Money for Social Needs, Not for War!” “Self-Determination for Palestine!” “US/Saudi Arabia Hands Off Yemen!” “Lift the Blockade on Yemen!” “No New Fighter Jets – Stop the F35 Deal!” The action was held in Surrey between a busy skytrain and bus transit station, a mall and Simon Fraser University Surrey campus, attracting the attention of commuters and students. This action was endorsed by Victoria Peace Coalition, Global Peace Alliance BC, Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice and Iranian Community Against War.
On May 14, Vancouver’s Nakba Day action marked 75 years since the brutal Zionist expulsion, massacre and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands following the declaration of the Zionist state of Israel on the land of Palestine. MAWO mobilized to support and join this march and rally, organized by local Palestinian solidarity groups, including the Palestinian Youth Movement and Samidoun.
On June 20, MAWO organized two events with visiting antiwar, environmental and social justice activist Tamara Lorincz, who had recently returned from antiwar trips in Europe and the International Summit for Peace in Ukraine held in Vienna. Activists protested outside of Liberal MP Hedy Fry’s office in downtown Vancouver, calling attention to her pro-war stance in her role as head of Canada’s delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. The second event was a conversation and gathering with Tamara Lorincz at the SFU Harbour Center, where Tamara gave an insightful presentation followed by a fruitful discussion with participants.
Dimitri Lascaris tour, a great success
The Canada-Wide Peace & Justice Network sponsored a cross-Canada 12-stop tour, “Making Peace with Russia, One Handshake at a Time,” with lawyer and journalist Dimitri Lascaris. The tour reflected on Dimitri Lascaris’ experiences and perspectives from his recent peace trip to Russia. The Vancouver stop of the trip included two successful events: On June 25, a picnic in Surrey’s Holland Park organized by Global Peace Alliance with the support of MAWO, and on June 26, Dimitri Lascaris’ lecture at the SFU Harbour Center in downtown Vancouver, organized by MAWO, where a full house of 75 people gathered to hear Dimitri Lascaris.
To find out more about MAWO events and actions and to get involved, visit www.mawovancouver.org or follow on Facebook @mawovancouver and Twitter and Instagram @MAWOVan
Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki
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