STATEMENT OF INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE OF PEOPLES’ STRUGGLES (ILPS), VANCOUVER COMMITTEE Nov. 13, 17
ORGANIZE AND UNITE FOR JUST PEACE!
About 500 defense ministers of the United Nations are meeting in Vancouver this week. There is a demand for peace-keeping because many conflicts are raging and fascism is rising.
Where have all the peace-keepers gone? More importantly, where have all the peace activists gone?
Vancouver became the “peace capital” of Canada owing to a history of activism. There were campaigns against Cruise missile testing in the prairies and torpedo testing in Nanoose Bay in the 1980s. The peace flotilla took citizens into the water to confront US warships, affecting the banishment of nuclear weapons and therefore US warships from the Port of Vancouver. There were huge annual peace marches in Vancouver until 1990. Some 50 wars are going on today. Why is that movement so quiet these days? There was response to the bombing of Serbia and the US military intervention in Iraq, but that activity petered out again. A World Peace Forum was held in Vancouver, but what came of it? Many activists even condoned the NATO bombing of Libya. Opposition to economic summits of monopoly capitalism have been making some connection to the industrial-military complex, but a lot of peace activists in the US, Canada and Europe turned their attention to environmentalism and migration instead, even though militarization and wars of aggression are direct causes of migration and environmental degradation. Some are focussing their work in supporting Aboriginal actions and movements, which is necessarily against colonization and militarization.
Canada is credited with initiating a practice of peace-keeping, which originally was intended to mean active military mobilization to buffer conflicts, fight against invasions and extreme repression according to United Nations Charter principles. In fact, Prime Minister Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for it. Canada’s blue helmets were seen in every UN peace-keeping assignment around the world for decades, from the 1960s to the 1990s. Peace-keeping forces, however, were neutralized over the years, so that they stood by and watched genocide take place in Bosnia, Rwanda and Somalia. Peace-keeping gradually came to mean passive observance such as in Cypress and the Golan Heights. Canada steadily reduced its peace-keeping deployment. Today Canada is an imperialist state. Its defense policy made an about-face when “peace-making” became the standard borne by the government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Many Canadians expected the country to get back to a peace-keeping agenda after the Liberals lead by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took over, but they are disappointed; Canada’s current defense policy is clearly about peace-making. Its new vision (June this year) announced a three-pronged approach of “Strong at Home,” “Secure in North America,” and “Engaged in the world” with the slogans of “Anticipate, Adapt and Act.” Canada is tightening its commitment to the US, increasing its involvement in NATO and supporting NATO’s global expansion. Canadian forces are increasingly present in Europe and the Middle East. At home, it is intensifying national security.
The ILPS supports struggles for social and national liberation and condemns wars of aggression, occupation and militarization (concern numbers 1 and 4 in its Charter). ILPS-Canada hosted an international anti-war conference in Toronto last August. ILPS groups held a conference against US military bases last year. The Asia-Pacific Regional Chapter of the ILPS held a conference for just peace on November 10 during Trump’s Asian tour and while the ASEAN and Asian Leaders’ Summit were taking place. The ILPS Chairperson, Jose Maria Sison, stated: “US imperialism is hell-bent on stopping its strategic decline and preserving global hegemony, especially in the Asia-Pacific.” He highlighted US President Trump’s war provocations against the DPRK and his efforts to discredit the DPRK together with South Korea and Japan, heightening the tension in that region.
Activism for just peace is urgently needed. War and militarization are methods to try to sustain a failing global political economy. A united national and international movement against wars of aggression, occupation and militarization is necessary. Anti-imperialist activists, whatever their ideologies and political affiliations, must unite around these basic causes. Movements for environmental conservation, Aboriginal liberation and rights, economic and social justice, and the rights and welfare of migrants have good reasons to participate in a broader movement against imperialism and imperialist war. Also, it is in the best interests of students and youths to organize for just peace. Let us work together towards a just peace and ultimately a new just society!
Just peace! Resist wars of aggression, occupation and militarization! Unite to oppose imperialism! Canada out of NATO!
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