Solidarity with the protests

May 21, 2012

Opponents of war, oppression and austerity around the world looked to the demonstrations in the U.S. to send their own message of resistance against the world leaders who gathered for the G8 summit meeting in Washington, D.C., and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Chicago. Here, publishes a selection of the messages of solidarity sent from other countries. Previously, we published a statement from Afghan anti-imperialist activist and author Malalai Joya.

Antonis Davanellos and Sotiris Martalis

Members of the Coordinating Secretariat of the Coalition of the Radical Left in Greece, known as SYRIZA

Dear comrades, dear brothers and sisters of the antiwar movement:

We salute your mobilizations against the NATO summit, and we send you our solidarity from Greece.

We don't need to say much about the reasons to raise our voices against NATO. Millions of people are familiar with its record and its crimes over the last years in the Balkans, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Libya, to name just a few. And if we look further back, NATO had provided nothing but wars, dictatorships and terror around the globe, from the day it was founded, and during all the years of its existence.

In summits like the one in Chicago, they are planning the creation of a "new kind of NATO," even more ruthless, aggressive and dangerous. Under the guise of the so-called "global war on terror," NATO wants to act as the global watchdog against anyone resisting the imperialist interests of Western powers.

Protesters march through the streets of Chicago to demonstrate their opposition to NATO's crimes
Protesters march through the streets of Chicago to demonstrate their opposition to NATO's crimes (Michael Kappel)

We have seen how they label people or movements as "terrorist" in order to target whole countries in the Middle East, but also antiwar activists in the West. In a previous summit in Lisbon, NATO named a new challenge it will deal with: they call it "political turbulence in member states," and this is a direct threat to social and political movements in the West.

Here in Greece, the struggle against NATO has always been important, and the demand to exit the war machine and shut down its military bases in Greece had always been central for the Greek left since the '70s.

More recently, we still remember that the foundations for the emergence of SYRIZA, which today is on the rise, are back in the antiwar movement of 2003 against the invasion of Iraq. Today, Greece, the country that is the hardest-hit by crisis and austerity in Europe, maintains a military presence in Afghanistan, it actively supported the war on Libya and it deploys its naval forces in Somalia and Lebanon.

Greek governments, in their competition with the Turkish state about which can act best as the "military bully" of the area, were spending billions of euros in a frenzy of constant armaments. The military spending continues even now, at a time when the most severe austerity threatens public schools and hospitals with collapse. We know that the same is happening with your government in the U.S.--the trillions of dollars that are spent on wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and not on education, health care and jobs.

Today, fighting against NATO is also a fight in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Arab world who revolt against their dictators. The Arab revolutions are under threat, and NATO is the sword and shield of the counter-revolution. The antiwar movement in the member states of the war machine has the duty and the power to block attempts to derail or crush the revolt of the Arab peoples.

We face this task more than ever before here, as Greece has established a strategic alliance with the Zionist State of Israel, becoming its number one ally in the eastern Mediterranean. This is against the will of the Greek people, who have traditionally been pro-Palestinian, and we pledge to do our best to break this alliance.

We know that the same goes in the U.S.--that what the White House and the Pentagon are doing is against the will of the American people. And we are happy to learn about demonstrations like the one you are staging today, where the "other America" speaks, where ordinary people can shout: "Not in our name!"

The struggle against NATO, against imperialist wars, against occupations and dictatorships, in defense of the Arab revolution, in solidarity with Palestine and in defense of the right of every people to self-determination is a global one. But you, comrades and friends in the U.S., are the ones who are struggling in the "belly of the beast". It is a hard struggle, but it is a struggle worth fighting. The antiwar movement in the U.S. is the one that can stop the leading force of the war machine.

For these reasons, you have our deep and sincere respect for all your efforts, and our solidarity in your struggle. Today's demonstration in Chicago is exciting news, and we are sure that your presence in the streets is really bad news for the warmongers. The press in Europe said the previous days that "NATO is preparing for war in Chicago." You should all be proud for being out there.

There is a slogan we use in Greece--it doesn't rhyme in English, but today, it's dedicated to all of you demonstrating in the US: "From New York to Palestine: workers' struggles, internationalism, peace."

In these times of severe economic crisis, their war machine is more dangerous than ever, threatening holocausts in Iran or in the eastern Mediterranean, just to protect profits. And in such times of austerity, it becomes even more important to organize and fight for our needs and not more fuel to the war machine.

We can achieve that. In the U.S., in Greece and in every country waging and sponsoring wars abroad while ruining the lives of the working people and the poor inside them, it is more important than , to remember an old slogan back from the '60's and the movement against the war on Vietnam: "Bring the war home!"

George Galloway

Leading spokesperson for the Respect Coalition in Britain and newly elected member of parliament for Bradford West

Solidarity greetings and congratulations to all those gathering to protest the NATO/G8 summit in Chicago.

How arrogant and foolish are those who misrule us. Usually, we have to labor mightily to explain to the wider public how militarism and corporate capitalist power concentrated in the wealthiest states are but twin arms of a colossus that weighs down in the mass of people across the globe. Now, the parasitic 1 percent have seen fit to do our job for us--bringing together representatives of the world's most lethal war machine with leaders of the robber-baron states.

How much easier it must be in one location to move from annex to anteroom, discussing the immiseration of working people on the one hand, and the wars to keep them and any state that doesn't toe the line in their place on the other.

Though separated on different continents, we, too, should show the same clarity of thought in resisting war and murderous austerity. That resistance is growing in Europe and in Britain--it is continuing to rage in the Arab region, despite NATO/G8 efforts to corral and neuter the great upsurge that began in Tunisia and Egypt.

Movements and parties of the left are making important gains in Europe. The orthodoxy of austerity is dead, but staggers on like a zombie, as it did in the 1930s, plunging us into the double catastrophe of depression and world war. Other voices are gaining a hearing, too, however. The rats of racism and fascism are scurrying out from the overflowing sewer.

We cannot sit by and hope that progress will emerge from the chaos. We sure as hell cannot depend on the ruminations of the established political class, however liberal they may patina themselves. To ruminate is to re-chew the contents of your stomach. And that is what the institutions are doing as we slide into deeper recession, ongoing military occupation and the threat of more war.

You are right to protest and fight for an alternative today. I stand with you, as do people in Britain who reject the failing system--people who voted in unprecedented numbers to return me to the British parliament two months ago.

It is not just the old policies that are failing; it is the old institutions, the old order.

It will not come crashing down overnight. But if we are to avoid it crashing on all our heads, the time is now to coordinate our resistance across borders and together explore the alternatives that we need to make politically effective.

Do not be deterred by tear gas, a battery of robocops and all the instruments of repression. The left, progressive people have a powerful idea about how things can be run differently. It is an idea whose time has come again. We must work to realize it--not perfected among ourselves, but as a point of reference and inspiration for the billions who are suffering, but in whose hands, the future can turn.

Movement for Socialism / Mouvement pour le socialism / Bewegung für Sozialismus / Movimento per il socialism, Switzerland

In Europe, tens of thousands of workers, students, youth and the unemployed place great hope in the mass mobilizations of activists, workers, trade unionists and students in the U.S. against the policies of eight heads of state who have mounted ruthless and multiple wars; these eight leaders who are making cinema at Camp David in order to try to give themselves a cheap political facelift.

This hope is based on:

What you showed during the Occupy movement in dozens of cities in your country;

The exemplary anti-racist campaign you waged against the burning discrimination that affect millions of African-Americans, a campaign that has condemned internationally the heinous murder of Trevor Martin;

The struggles of trade unionists who are fighting against the destruction of public schools or what remains of a public health system.

The G8 leaders all agree, in one form or another, to comply fully with the requirements of financial capital, whether the banks, the insurance companies or the large multinational corporations.

Their real task, once the family photo-ops are forgotten, is becoming increasingly clear to larger numbers of the populations and to the workers of the world. This task can be summarized as: socializing the losses of the banks by imposing brutal austerity to push their losses on the workers; and to protect, by any and all means, the profits and the social status of the 1 percent who dominate society, in the U.S., just as in Europe.

Your demonstration takes place side by side with those being held in Frankfurt, beginning last Wednesday, against the politics of the European Central Bank. Your mobilization takes place side by side with the struggle of the people of Greece against those who champion a social and military war, wars that are devastating the planet and that condemn those they claim to represent to live in unbearable poverty.

The 99 percent must and will be able to take back under its control a world that the 1 percent has expropriated and make it a socialist and democratic society.

Long live the international struggle of all those for whom the struggle for social justice means the overthrow of a society captured by the 1 percent and the establishment of the creative power of the majority of society--a power that will give birth to a rich social, economic and cultural life that has nothing to do with what is worshiped on Wall Street.

Greg Albo

Socialist Project Canada

Greetings from Canada and the Socialist Project in our common struggle against the generals of endless war and the barons of endless austerity. Solidarity in our common struggle for an alternative future beyond capitalism and imperialism.

Socialist Alternative Australia

Solidarity greetings from Australian antiwar campaigners. The NATO conference in Chicago brings together warmongers and mass murderers from all over the planet, including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Australia is not officially part of NATO, but as a loyal U.S. ally, Australian governments have for decades participated in brutal war after brutal war, from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, in support of Western imperialist interests. Wars that left millions dead and the lives of many millions more devastated. In the most recent development, Australia is set to host a major U.S. military base in Darwin--all part of the ongoing military build-up to confront China.

We salute your defiant protest. Yours is the real voice of freedom and democracy.

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