Organizers from New York-based anti-war, anti-racist and anti-imperialist organizations and defenders of human rights gathered at the Solidarity Center Dec. 14 to plan an ongoing campaign against Washington’s use of economic sanctions, calling such sanctions the “equivalent of war.”
The planning meeting of about 40 organizers showed what they envisage: A target date of March 13-15 for a public protest in whatever places around the country and the world where people can organize one — March 14 on Wall Street in New York. Plus an ongoing educational campaign involving mass outreach with social media, leaflets and teach-in type discussions explaining the grave costs of sanctions. Organizers prepared a draft resolution that could be used by other organizations — for example, unions and local groups — to take a position against sanctions.
In researching the impact of sanctions, some of the organizers — Colin Ashley of Peoples Power Assemblies/NYC and Sara Flounders of the International Action Center, who coordinated the meeting — were themselves surprised regarding the extent of the sanctions, which impact the lives of a third of the world’s population living in at least 39 countries.
These sanctions are mostly initiated by U.S. imperialism and applied through the United Nations. But it is mainly the U.S. and its allies — in the European NATO countries, Japan and Australia — that are responsible for enforcing them.
A few reports gave examples of how these punitive sanctions work. Colette Pean from the December 12 Movement discussed the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe 20 years ago after that country seized some of the land farmed by white settlers for distribution to its citizens. She emphasized how the punitive economic effect hurt all of southern Africa.
Juyeon (JC) Rhee of the Korean group Nodutdol discussed how punitive sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (north Korea) helped bring about famine conditions in the mid-1990s.
Underlining the international outreach of the initiative, organizers reported that the call has already been posted on the website at sanctionskill.org in 12 languages and that more are coming, including languages that have official status on six continents. The following call has been endorsed by over 1,000 organizations and individuals as of Dec. 13.
Call to Action for International Days of Action Against Sanctions and Economic War – March 13-15, 2020
Sanctions are War!
End Sanctions Now!
Sanctions are imposed by the United States and its junior partners against countries that resist their agendas. They are a weapon of economic war, resulting in chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease and poverty. In every country, the poorest and the weakest — infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly — suffer the worst impact of sanctions.
U.S.-imposed sanctions violate international law and are a tool of regime change. They impact a third of humanity in 39 countries. They are a crime against humanity used, like military intervention, to topple popular governments and movements. They provide economic and military support to pro-U.S. right-wing forces.
The U.S. economic dominance and its +800 military bases worldwide demand all other countries participate in acts of economic strangulation. They must end all normal trade relations[;] otherwise they risk having Wall Street’s guns pointed at them. The banks and financial institutions that are responsible for the devastation of our communities at home drive the plunder of countries abroad.
Many organizations have been fighting sanctions and economic war for some time. NOW is an opportunity to combine efforts to raise consciousness on this crucial issue.
This broad campaign will include protests and demonstrations, lobbying, petition drives and all forms of educational efforts.
As an initial step for this campaign we encourage mobilizations and educational efforts to be organized during the International Days of Action against U.S. imposed Sanctions and Economic War on March 13-15.
Please add your endorsement and help spread the word at www.SanctionsKill.org.
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