New York City
Antiwar demonstrators gathered and rallied at Columbus Circle in Manhattan on Oct. 1 near CNN headquarters, and marched downtown on Broadway past thousands of New Yorkers and tourists, passing through Times Square and ending at the New York Times building. The action was one of over 60 planned for the first week of October. (tinyurl.com/m3tn29v4)
Participants and organizers embraced a spirit of unity, welcoming all peoples and organizations engaged in the struggle against U.S. and NATO imperialism. By coming together at the event, these diverse voices and organizations demonstrated the interconnectedness of their struggles. Whatever their unique contexts and specific goals, their collective efforts contributed to a broader global struggle against imperialism and colonization.
The public reception was overwhelmingly positive, with claps, cheers and honks of support from passing cars and even a city bus, highlighting a growing sentiment among the U.S. public that opposes militarism and funding for the war in Ukraine.
This gathering provided a platform for various anti-imperialist movements to be heard. The crowd had the privilege of listening to speakers from Bronx Boricua Resistance, a grassroots movement organizing for an independent and sovereign Puerto Rico, free from the chains of U.S. colonialism.
A representative of the Palestinian Youth Movement also addressed the crowd, calling for a liberated Palestine free from Zionist settler-colonialism. Another group that captivated the audience was PEX Semillas de Libertad, a Peruvian diaspora organization. PEX Semillas is struggling against the Dina Boluarte coup regime in Peru, and demands that the control of natural resources of Peru be in the hands of the workers, not U.S. and European corporations.
Attorney Audrey Bomse of the Miami National Lawyers Guild addressed the crowd. Bomse has contact with Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, who the U.S. kidnapped and now holds as a political prisoner. She shed light on the persecution and torture faced by Saab and pointed out the importance of advocating for his release and the release of all U.S. political prisoners.
As support for the war continues to erode among the U.S. public — an erosion reflected even in Congress — it becomes increasingly important to reveal not only the motives behind the U.S./NATO involvement in Ukraine but to question all conflicts and wars that the U.S. is involved in.
By critically examining the narratives put forth by the propagandists in the corporate media — including CNN and the New York Times — the antiwar movement can bring a more accurate and historical understanding of the events to the population and build opposition to endless war.
A more accurate analysis
The U.S. and NATO’s role in provoking and perpetuating the war in Ukraine has become abundantly clear.
As U.S. workers see Washington send $115 billion to fund the war in Ukraine while ignoring the poverty and desperation of people at home, opposition to the war is growing. Polls show that a majority of people in the U.S. oppose sending additional weapons and money to Ukraine. This opposition has already shifted the propaganda from portraying the war as “defending democracy” to promoting the war as beneficial to U.S. interests.
These arguments contradict the initial narrative that the war was an “unprovoked invasion.” The focus on the number of Russian casualties, without acknowledging the immense toll on Ukrainian lives, highlights the disregard for human suffering in pursuit of perceived strategic geopolitical and economic gains.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Mitt Romney, among others, have touted the war as a “smart investment” that “weakens Russia” while serving U.S. interests. The path to ending the fighting in Ukraine lies in acknowledging the role of the U.S.-centralized empire in provoking the conflict. The corporate media has ignored this crucial context, instead perpetuating a narrative that demonizes Russia while concealing the provocations by the U.S. military, including NATO enlargement that led to the war.
The Russian government perceives the aggression and expansionism of NATO as a threat to Russian sovereignty. If NATO powers were to roll back their expansion and grant Russia the same freedom from military threats they demand for themselves, it would facilitate peace negotiations in Ukraine.
The obstacles to peace are not Putin and Moscow, but the aggressive expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders by the U.S. empire. The U.S. and Britain sabotaged peace negotiations in the early days of the conflict, rejecting these talks in March 2022. U.S. and other NATO strategists have openly admitted they hope to weaken Russia by keeping the war going as long as possible, whatever the costs in lives to Russians and Ukrainians.
An end to the fighting can only be achieved when the U.S., NATO and their stenographers in the corporate media take responsibility for their actions and stop the militarization of Ukraine and military encirclement of Russia. They must also commit to keeping Ukraine neutral and out of NATO.
The Oct. 1 action was organized by the Bronx Antiwar Coalition, United National Antiwar Coalition, Workers World Party, and Peace in Ukraine Coalition. Endorsers and participants came from a diverse range of political groups, including International Acton Center, Veterans for Peace, Party for Socialism and Liberation, ANSWER Coalition, Struggle La Lucha, CUNY Internationalist Clubs, the DSA International Committee, National Lawyers Guild International Committee and others.
The rally and march against NATO in New York City serve as a reminder that grassroots movements play a vital role in challenging prevailing corporate media narratives and advocating for peace. It is crucial to continue engaging in open and honest discussions about the consequences of U.S./NATO actions abroad, ensuring that the truth remains at the forefront of public consciousness.
The author is an organizer of the Bronx Antiwar Coalition.