BY JOE LOMBARDO
As the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) approaches its 10thanniversary, we are preparing our 5th national conference set for the weekend of Feb. 21-23, 2020 at the People’s Forum in New York City. Antiwar and social justice activists across the country are expected to attend to discuss and debate the key issues of the day and to plan UNAC’s activities for the coming year.
Registration and other important information can be found on the conference web site at www.UNACconference2020.org.
The UNAC conference comes at a time when U.S. regime change interventions increasingly threaten poor and oppressed nations the world over. The military budget has reached unprecedented heights with the administration and congress today preparing the ominous Space Force to further advance its military domination. Many of us who have traveled to other countries that are being attacked by the U.S. militarily or through economic sanctions, coup attempts and propaganda wars, understand that people all over the world look to the U.S. antiwar movement for solidarity in their struggle to determine their own futures. To meet these expectations UNAC strives to build a strong, unified, mass action oriented and democratically-organized antiwar movement. This is the focus of UNAC’s 2020 conference entitled, “Rise Against Militarism, Racism and the Climate Crisis – Building Power Together.”
No to U.S. wars at home and abroad
UNAC has always sought to link opposition to all U.S. wars abroad with the wars against working people at home. The wars at home include the militarization of the police, especially in the Black and Brown communities, as well as the racist militarization at our borders. The concerted attacks on trade unions and working people, on women, gay and trans people and on Muslim communities, are the domestic side of the fake U.S. “War on Terror.” All these social movements are in essence directed against a system that exploits and oppresses all of us – a system that subordinates human needs to the profits of the few. Our alternative is to create a new world of peace and prosperity instead of war and exploitation.
The fight against war and the fight to save the world from climate change disaster are inextricably connected. The U.S. military is the largest institutional user of fossil fuel in the world, consuming more fossil fuel than all but eight nations on earth. The war-based economy explains in part why U.S. leaders deny climate change, refuse to sign climate change agreements and/or insist that they not be binding.
To avoid inflaming the deep antiwar sentiment that permeates society today, direct military invasions and occupations by U.S. ground forces are increasingly replaced by secretly organized, armed and financed privatized armies and/or related U.S. proxy forces. Sanctions, blockades and other forms of economic warfare, as well as U.S.-instigated coups, clandestine Special Forces attacks, CIA subversion and concerted propaganda wars against governments that refuse to accept the dictates of Washington and Wall Street are employed with impunity. UNAC, along with others, has launched a major campaign against the use of deadly sanctions and related forms of “modern” imperial warfare.
Conference panels and workshops
Our conference will feature a broad panel on the sanction issue and others entitled “Militarism, Racism and the Climate Crisis” and “Imperialism and Regime Change Wars.” Responding to the government’s stepped-up political attacks on our movement, we have scheduled a panel on “Defending Our Movement,” which will include activists who were involved in the defense of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. and today face government persecution as well as defenders of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. A panel on the antiwar movement and the elections will be hosted by UNAC member group Black Alliance for Peace. Ten varied breakout workshops, lunchtime speakers, and an evening program on Palestine self-determination, featuring the new film by Abby Martin (accompanied by Martin and other Palestinian activists) will round out our three-day conference.
Some of the keynote and panel speakers include: Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report, Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance, Margaret Kimberly of Black Agenda Report and Black Alliance for Peace, Ann Wright of Veterans for Peace and Code Pink, Mike Smith of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Rhonda Ramiro of BAYAN USA, Frank Chapman of the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, Journalist Abby Martin, Sara Flounders of the International Action Center, Jeff Mackler of Socialist Action and UNAC West Coast, Bahman Azad of the US Peace Council, Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace, Joe Lombardo the UNAC co-coordinator, Pippa Bartolotti of Extinction Rebellion in the UK and others.
Antiwar and social justice activists across the country are strongly urged to attend. Conference-building funds are always needed. Your donation is appreciated.
Contact UNAC at our website
Joe Lombardo is UNAC’s National Co-Coordinator