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    MAWO Forums and Rallies Encourage People to Join the Antiwar Movement

    By Janine Solanki

    Wars, occupations, invasions, interventions, no-fly zones, coup backing, puppet governments... imperialism is devastating the world right now in all the ways that they destroy countries and kill people for the sake of ruling class profit. Against all of this, the antiwar movement must unite to bring an end to this injustice and to fight for a better world. Though action and education, Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) in Vancouver, Canada is encouraging people to become part of the antiwar movement, and to join the fight for a better world.

    Street Work
    Every month Mobilization Against War & Occupation takes to the streets, with monthly antiwar rally and petition campaigns. On August 18th, people walking by the Vancouver Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver heard appeals of “sign the petition against war and sanctions on Syria!” and “Don’t attack Iran! Sign the petition!” Not only is this a chance to take action and publicly protest against war and occupation, but a opportunity to open the doors for peace-loving people to see what MAWO is organizing, to get information and to get involved! With a setup of banners reading demands like “US/UK/UN/Canada/France/NATO OUT Of the Middle East and North Africa NOW” around informational tables, these events are a hub of antiwar action in the middle of downtown.

    August 21st Public Forum
    From discussions and debates at MAWO’s info tables at rally and petition drives on the street, MAWO organizers encourage people to continue the conversation, at MAWO’s bi-monthly free public forums. Every second Tuesday, people come into Joe’s café in Vancouver, grab a coffee and sit down for a evening of multimedia, speakers and discussion. These public forums are a chance to discuss the current issues of war and occupation that are confronting poor, working and oppressed people worldwide, and by extension issues for antiwar activists to discuss and act on. On August 21st the topic was “Yemen: Mass Movement, US Drones and Struggle for Change - What is at Stake?” and focused on the movement of Yemeni people against imperialist domination – a struggle largely ignored in mainstream media. After news clips and multimedia from alternative sources which gave a picture of the current situation the people of Yemen face, the forum’s speaker, Nita Palmer, provided more analysis of this struggle. Nita Palmer, author of the book “War and Occupation in Afghanistan: Which Way Forward” published by Battle of Ideas Press, as well as an editorial board member of the Fire This Time Newspaper, delved into the history of colonialism in Yemen, the current social and economic roots of the protests, and US imperialist attacks on Yemen. (For further reading see the article “Yemen: Yankee Go Home! Struggle Against Imperialist Domination!” by Nita Palmer in FTT Volume 7 Issue 6, at http://www.firethistime.net/articles/Volume7/V7N6/FTTV7N6-yemen-yankee-go-home.html The discussion which followed opened for a better understanding of not only what the situation in Yemen is, but also why the mainstream media in not covering Yemen’s struggle against colonial domination, while constantly covering the imperialist imposed civil war in Syria with the slant of promoting western backed rebels and mercenaries against the Syrian government.

    September 4th Public Forum
    This discussion continued with the September 4th forum on “Syrian Crisis in the Context of the Middle East: What Imperialists are Pursuing with the Overthrow of the Assad Government”. Following the multimedia segment which debunked many of the media fabrications about what the situation in Syria really is, the speaker for this forum, Ali Yerevani, political editor of the Fire This Time Newspaper and participant of 1979 Iranian revolution, was invited up. Ali Yerevani spoke on why imperialist powers are so interested in overthrowing the government of Syria, on the grander scale of dominating Syria and their next target, Iran, on the path to establishing hegemony in the Middle East. Participants took part in a discussion following the speaker, in which the point was made that this forum was a launching ground for taking this discussion and debate beyond the forum and to friends, family, and anyone who is mislead by the lies and fabrications surrounding Syria.

    September 25th Forum
    As the world situation is bringing new issues to the table, MAWO is quick to bring these issues into a opportunity to discuss and understand them. On September 25th, MAWO held a forum titled “The Imperialist World-Wide Racist Campaign Against Muslims And the Anti-Colonial Awakening of the Masses - How 11 Years After 9/11 the US Lost the ‘War on Terrorism’”. This forum, through multimedia and the speaker, Ali Yerevani, expanded on the protests going on throughout Muslim countries in response to a online video mocking and disrespectful to the Muslim faith. While politicians like US President Obama claim the massive reaction of protests are solely about this video, the forum went into the reality, that this video was a final straw upon the weight of decades of humiliation and oppression by the US and imperialist forces, prompting the wide sweeping anti-imperialist mass protests. The discussion centered on both the protests themselves, as well as the wars, occupations, military interventions, foreign backed regimes and sanctions that US powers have imposed upon people in the Middle East for decades.

    October 5-7 International Days of Action
    To be part of an antiwar movement starts in your city, but continues and connects with the broader international struggle against war and occupation. Through internationally coordinated action and cooperation between antiwar groups and activists, we can be a part of building a truly effective and united movement against war. On the 11th anniversary of the occupation of Afghanistan the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) in the U.S. called for International Days of Action against wars at home and abroad from October 5-7. Mobilization Against War and Occupation endorsed this call and on October 6th organized a antiwar rally and petition campaign as part of this initiative. Joining other cities around the world, MAWO hit the streets with petitions, banners, information, and as always a chance for discussion and debate. With a rally in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, protesters heard a international voice through a phone greeting from Sara Flounders, co-director of the US based International Action Center and Coordinating Committee member for UNAC. MAWO co-chair Janine Solanki spoke on the war drive that has Syria next in its path, escalating to ever more dangerous steps of foreign military intervention. MAWO co-chair Alison Bodine followed to speak on the constant target of US forces – Iran – and the sanctions and threats by the US and their allies, especially Canada who recently closed their embassy in Iran and kicked Iran’s diplomatic representatives out of Canada. On the same line as the last forum discussed above, Aaron Mercredi, a MAWO organizer and member of the Indigenous Rights and Action Project, spoke of the racist campaign against Muslims and the recent protests demanding an end to US domination throughout the Middle East. Thomas Davies, editorial board member of the Fire This Time Newspaper, also spoke about the recent assault by Translink police and RCMP against activists distributing the Fire This Time Newspaper, which has prompted the formation of the Vancouver Committee to Defend Freedom of Expression. To read more about this, see page 7-17 in this newspaper.

    Join Us
    In this snapshot of MAWO’s antiwar activities, there are many opportunities to join in, take part in discussions and debates, be a part of organizing against war and occupation, and essentially, join the antiwar movement! To get involved and find out about MAWO’s next event visit www.mawovancouver.org

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