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!
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!