Mobilization Against War and Occupation
Campaigns Articles & Analysis Materials Media Reports Contact Links & Endorsers Home

November 19th & 20th 2005

November 19th & 20th - MAWO Weekend of Antiwar Action!
US/UK Out of Iraq! Canada Out of Afghanistan!
Self-determination for all oppressed nations!

MAWO Emcee Alison Bodine

On the weekend of November 19th & 20th 2005 Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) and the Vancouver antiwar movement took important action to confront the Canadian imperialist war drive. On November 19th MAWO organized a demonstration against the occupation and destruction of Iraq and the revving engines of the Canadian war drive in Afghanistan. Sunday November 20th saw many activists come together for a full day conference with presentations and discussion about Canada's increasing role in the era of imperialist war and occupation.

The Rally

It was a very chilly afternoon on Saturday November 19th and over 150 people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery to stamp their feet against the cold and raise their fists against imperialist war and occupation internationally. CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN! MAWO calls for an independent public inquiry into the Canadian war drive in Afghanistan.

The program of the demonstration was strong and showed the diversity of the antiwar movement and also represented the strong presence of youth and students in leadership in the antiwar movement. The demonstration was MC’d by Alison Bodine, MAWO organizer and a student organizer with the UBC AMS Coalition Against War on the People of Iraq and Internationally (CAWOPI) who introduced each speaker and opened, explaining for people why we had to take to the streets; to protest with consistency the brutal imperialist occupations from Iraq and the Middle East to Haiti and aggression toward Latin America.

The rally was opened by Coast Salish Elder Kelly White who welcomed the demonstration to the territory and Create One, Two, Three, Many Vietnams! expressed her solidarity with the antiwar movement and the international demand for self-determination for oppressed nations. She was followed by Adrian Swanston, MAWO organizer, unionist, former US soldier and long-time social justice activist. Adrian spoke of his experience in being a young person in the US army and coming to understand the real workings of the imperialist war machine. Adrian was followed by UBC Students and Youth Demand: Troops Out Now! student activist Andrew Malieni, also an organizer with CAWOPI. Andrew denounced the brutal occupation of Haiti and exposed and explained Canada’s criminal role, from the invasion to present day.

The program was heated up by the Influentz hip hop crew’s lively antiwar hip hop performance mid way through that had people jumping up and down and cheering as well as attracted many more people from off the street to participate.

Local crew Influentz

Following Influentz was the equally energetic Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) and a student organizer at Simon Fraser University who spoke of the expansion of war and occupation to Latin America, the attacks on Cuba and Venezuela by the US in their protection of admitted anti-Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carilles.

Asif Ali Shah, MAWO organizer and member of the United Muslim Alliance then spoke against the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and for unity of all oppressed people in order to challenge and defeat imperialist war and occupation. Aaron Mercredi, Board Member of Redwire Native Youth Media and MAWO organizer also spoke, exposing Canada to its colonial roots and for its genocide and continued war on Indigenous people on this stolen land.

Nita Palmer, a UBC student organizer and MAWO organizer then closed the demonstration by reading the antiwar resolution, passed with the cheers of the crowd and sent to imperialist war mongering governments as a statement of our opposition and protest.

The Conference

Call for an independent public inquiry into the Canadian War drive in Afghanistan! Protesters and activists gathered again the next day for MAWO’s all-day antiwar conference “Canada: Imperialist Abroad, Imperialist At Home”. The day was opened by the MC Tamara Hansen who opened by setting the stage politically for this important and necessary conference. She introduced the new era of war and occupation and competition between imperialist rivals, including colonial imperialist Canada.

Over 2 years of MAWO's posters, events, and history, building the antiwar movement. She was followed by MAWO Co-chair Shannon Bundock who spoke about Afghanistan, Canada's occupation and the need for an independent public inquiry into the government of Canada's undemocratic decision to send 2000 more troops and the escalation of the occupation of Afghanistan. Andrew Malieni, of UBC's Coalition Against War On the People of Iraq & Internationally (CAWOPI) opened the question of Haiti and gave a presentation that provoked very active discussion about the imperialist drive toward Haiti and expansion of the era of war and occupation into the Caribbean and Latin America. As a historical reference related to current day struggle, in order to be able to understand the present colonial war drive, Aaron Mercredi of Redwire Native Youth Media spoke on Canada's over 500 year colonization and war on Indigenous people and the attack that continues today.

Alison Bodine, also from CAWOPI and Coordinator of MAWO's War Resisters Support Campaign spoke next about the very soldiers who would have been in that situation in Afghanistan, or in Iraq, and who have taken the important step toward refusing to fight in an immoral, illegal war.

The day's presentations and discussion about people under attack by imperialism and people in struggle were concretized as participants watched the half hour multimedia presentation prepared by several MAWO organizers on Canada's role in the occupations of Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq and the war at home with occupation and exploitation of Indigenous people and the government of Canada's attacks on workers. Through stirring music and powerful images, people in that room in the Britannia Community Center were transported across the world rushing through the streets alongside our brothers and sisters under attack in the third world all the way back to BC marching in solidarity with BC teachers and workers taking job action against exploiting bosses.

The final workshop of the day was presented by Ivan Drury a founding organizer of MAWO on tasks and perspective for building an effective movement in Canada against the rising imperialist war drive. Many people participated in the final discussion on building unity among oppressed people, across all borders and especially against the ruling imperialist classes in our countries, against the war-makers.

Discussion period. This weekend of action played an important role for the antiwar movement in Vancouver in leading in action and politically in directly targeting the Canadian war drive toward Afghanistan, Haiti and Indigenous Nations in Canada. The dynamic combination of action and protest with education and political discussion works toward building confidence and unity of people in Vancouver against home-country imperialism, Canadian imperialism and for a strong and effective movement capable of defeating it.

US/UK Out of Iraq! Canada Out of Afghanistan! Call for an Independent Public Inquiry!