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      MAWO Responds to the Need of Building an Antiwar Movement

      By Janine Solanki

      On November 8, 2016, the US Presidential election saw Donald Trump elected to be the next president of the United States. While over a year and a half of campaigning, debates, and an intense media fervor have picked apart the positions and actions of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, one thing was very clear. Both candidates were war candidates, and now the US has a war mongering president-elect.

      Among other pro-war positions, the next US President has said he will increase military spending to boost the US military (which is already the largest in the world), has advocated sending 20,000 to 30,000 US troops to fight Daesh (also known as ISIS) presumably in Syria and Iraq, and supported the war against Libya but says the US should have been “paid” for their war by getting Libyan oil.

      This is nothing new. 15 years of a new era of war and occupation have seen countries invaded, occupied, placed under crippling sanctions, intervened in through US-backed coups, US-fomented civil wars, US funded and armed mercenaries and no-fly zones which in reality are bombing campaigns. This new era of war and occupation has brought destruction to many countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. It is no wonder that we are facing humanity's largest ever refugee crisis from primarily these countries, as war has made their homelands uninhabitable.

      With the next US President poised on escalating the new era of war and occupation, it is not only critical that the antiwar movement be built stronger and more effective, but long overdue. In Vancouver, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) has taken the lead as Canada's most active antiwar organization and is going full steam ahead in educating, organizing and mobilizing against war and occupation.

      On Tuesday November 22nd, MAWO held a public forum and discussion titled “Building the Antiwar Movement After the U.S. Presidential Election: How To Confront and Stop the Expansion Of Imperialist War & Occupation”. The forum started out with a compilation of video and news clips, and continued with a panel of speakers. Alison Bodine, MAWO chair, spoke about the last 15 years of the new era of war and occupation which has spanned both Republican and Democratic administrations. MAWO executive committee member Azza Rojbi spoke on the war-mongering credentials of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and how Trump is set to escalate the US war drive. MAWO executive committee member Janine Solanki spoke about the 12 year history of MAWO and how the antiwar movement must be built with consistency, creativity and especially with unity on a local, national and international scale. The speakers were followed by a discussion with forum participants, and encouragement to take the words of building the antiwar movement to action with the upcoming MAWO monthly rally and petition campaign.

      On Friday November 25, MAWO came out to the streets in Downtown Vancouver, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. MAWO's monthly antiwar rally and petition campaign focused on the demands of “U.S. Hands Off Syria!” “U.S. & Saudi Arabia Hands Off Yemen!” and “Canada: Cancel the Arms Deal with Saudi Arabia!”. Petitions, banners, and signs held by protesters reflected these demands, and passers-by stopped by the informational table and added their signatures to the petitions.

      Alongside MAWO's scheduled event's MAWO also took part in other actions in November, especially against an important aspect of the war here at home, against the environment. On Saturday November 19, MAWO joined the 5000+ strong rally and march from Vancouver City Hall to the Vancouver Public Library against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. MAWO called attention to the environmental destruction caused by war with a large banner demanding “Stop the War! Stop the Occupation! Stop Environmental Degradation!”

      Mobilization Against War and Occupation will continue organizing and now more than ever is calling on groups and individuals to come together, and to unite in efforts to build the antiwar movement.
      No to War and Occupation, Yes to Self-Determination!
      US Hands Off Syria!
      US and Saudi Arabia, Hands Off Yemen!

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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