New York City — “End the Wars at Home and Abroad” was held Oct. 31 as part of the Antiwar Autumn event series that demands those who run for office provide their position on war, militarism and imperialism. The series seeks to hold U.S. electoral candidates accountable for the imperialist wars raging around the world and domestically. The panel discussion at the Solidarity Center here drew a standing-room-only crowd.
The continuous U.S. wars abroad are inextricably linked to the militarization of U.S. borders and the repression of oppressed U.S. communities.
“What is going to put a break on war abroad?” asked Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) National Organizer Ajamu Baraka. “It is the people here.”
“The imperialism we see globally is the flip side of the repression we deal with domestically,” Baraka said. Democrats overwhelmingly supported the 1033 Program that transfers military-grade weapons and tanks to state and local police departments.
“The Democrats and the Republicans are both equally pro-war,” said Lisa Davis of the People’s Organization for Progress and the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (BIB). Davis criticized elected elites in Congress for supporting Trump’s $717 billion military budget. These same elected officials approved the Blue Lives Matter bill that makes it a federal crime to assault a police officer.
Davis insisted that the anti-war movement support a military draft as a tool to raise awareness and end the wars.
Bernadette Ellorin of BAYAN spoke about how the Philippines had been exploited by first Spain and, since 1898, by the United States. Ellorin explained that the Mutual Defense Treaty allows the U.S. military to rotate its presence among 20 ports in the Philippines. It is the fifth most mineral-rich country, a food basket for the Asia-Pacific region, and the United States has exploited its position among Japan, China and southeast Asia.
“You will never understand anti-imperialism in the Philippines without understanding the land question,” Ellorin said.
Attendees applauded both the cohesiveness of the talks as well as the diversity of the speakers. Davis said she was happy to see unfamiliar and young faces in the audience. “It is so important to take what is going on personally, to take it literally, and to walk like the world depends on you,” Davis said.
Other speakers included Maurice Carney of Friends of the Congo and Joe Lombardo of the United National Antiwar Coalition. Richard Kossally of the Peoples Power Assembly chaired the meeting.
The event was sponsored by the PPA, BAP, BIB and UNAC.
Attendees were encouraged to pick up a copy of BAP’s 4-page booklet on U.S Africa Command (AFRICOM) and read and sign a petition to shut it down. The online petition, as well as printable petition sheets to circulate in your communities, can be found at blackallianceforpeace.com/USoutofAfrica.
The video of the meeting can be viewed at tinyurl.com/y9jgjvbz.
Varughese is a communications advisor to BAP.
(WW photo: Julie Varughese)
(WW photo: Julie Varughese)