grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

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Contents - Archives - War Crimes - GI Special - Student Activism - Links

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

See more on Boycott proposals and Human Shields

Cairo Conference Convenes
Calls for International Boycott and Other Actions to Stop War Against Iraq
(with Initial Media Release, Cairo Declaration, and IAC Report from the Conference below)

Initial Media Release 17 December 2002 (from the Stop the War Coalition (UK) - http://www.stopwar.org.uk

Egyptian government fails to stop anti-war conference
Stop the War Coalition sends delegates

A major anti-war conference will begin tomorrow in Cairo even though the Egyptian government attempted to prevent it taking place.

The conference will be addressed by former UN official Denis Halliday, former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, Labour MP George Galloway and Stop the War Coalition steering committee member John Rees. The conference will now take place as part of the growing world-wide protest against war in Iraq. Eleven European countries, including Britain, Italy, France and Germany, will be mounting anti-war protests on February 15, 2003.

This Cairo conference cancellation was surprising, particularly in view of ample indications of a green light, and no objections from the authorities. On that basis the organizers extended invitations to thirty international intellectuals and activists, and forty-five from the Arab region, in addition to well over four hundred Egyptian academics, artists, unionists, writers, journalists, and activists of diverse political orientations.

Not surprisingly, there was a very positive response to the Egyptian initiative. Internationally, the announcement of a conference in Cairo, in the heart of the Arab World, was deemed "long overdue" at a time when mobilization against war and militarised globalisation is spreading across the world.

As declared in its initial announcement, the Campaign Against War in Iraq was not meant to be only a conference focused on Arab regional issues, particularly Iraq and Palestine, but a process of sustained collective international resistance to U.S. militarism and dictates. Representing a clear stance against U.S. hegemony, the announcement raised concerns about corporate-led globalisation and derivative global apartheid.

Cairo Declaration
(Download as pdf file, doc (Word) file or RTF file)

Against U.S. Hegemony and War on Iraq and In Solidarity with Palestine
December 2002


The international meeting organized by the Egyptian Popular Campaign to Confront U.S Aggression was convened in Cairo on December 18 and 19 to launch the International Campaign.

We, the participants reaffirm our resolve to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Palestine, recognizing that war and aggression against them is but part of a U.S. project of global domination and subjugation. Solidarity with Iraq and Palestine is integral to the internationalist struggle against neo-liberal globalization. The Cairo meeting is not an isolated event, but an extension of a protracted international struggle against imperialism, from Seattle and Genoa to Lisbon and Florence, to Cordoba and Cairo.

The U.S. provides unlimited support, and even justification, to the Zionist perpetrators of genocidal crimes against the Palestinian people. The suffering of the Iraqi people under a regime of genocidal sanctions lasting over a decade, and the aggressive militarism which they face today is but a logical outcome of the structures of power asymmetry of the existing world order:

v The U.S. monopolizes political, economic and military power within the framework of capitalist globalization, to the detriment of the lives of the majority of the world's people

v The U.S. imposes control through naked aggression and militarized globalization in pursuit of its rulers' interests, all while reinstating the characteristic direct occupation of classical colonialism

v The U.S. global strategy, which was formulated prior to September 11 2001, aims to maintain the existing uni-polar world order, and to prevent the emergence of forces that would shift the balance of power towards multi-polarity. The U.S. administration has exploited the tragic events of September 11, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, to implement the pre-existing strategy.

Attention to this global context helps explain current world developments:

First: Capitalist Globalization and U.S. Hegemony

v prioritize the interest of monopolistic capitalist circles above those of the people, including Europeans and U.S. citizens.

v integrate the economies of different countries into a single global capitalist economic system under conditions which undermine social development and adversely affect the situation of women, child health, education, and social services for the elderly. In addition, unemployment and poverty increase.

v generalize the culture of consumerism and individualism, to the detriment of a sense of collective responsibility, whether towards the thousands of infant and child deaths in Iraq resulting from polluted water, malnutrition and deficiencies in medical supplies, or towards the victims of AIDS, malnutrition and famines around the world. Among millions of people standards of living have deteriorated while unemployment and poverty have become widespread. Globalization has resulted in the marginalization of entire peoples who could no longer acquire the basic necessities to sustain life.

Second: In the absence of democracy, and with widespread corruption and oppression constituting significant obstacles along the path of the Arab peoples' movement towards economic, social, and intellectual progress, adverse consequences are further aggravated within the framework of the existing world order of neo-liberal globalization.

* Admission to restrictions on democratic development in Iraq in no way constitutes acceptance of U.S. justifications for continuation of sanctions, and now preparations for war. Without disregarding long-standing restrictions on democratic development in Iraqi society-, as is the case in all Arab societies- it is evident that the U.S.-imposed sanctions have had a devastating effect on Iraq's development. Whereas Iraq had once enjoyed a relatively positive profile according to certain human development indicators, its people now suffer severely as a result of the sanctions regime. Iraq has witnessed a significant rise in child mortality rates, the spread of several diseases, reduction of opportunities in education, and a marked deterioration of the standard of living. As human suffering increases it generates a sense of defeatism.

* The Palestinian people are suffering as a result of the loss of their land and continued Zionist aggression, which the U.S. supports militarily, economically, and politically, making its administration a de facto accomplice in the crimes committed against the Palestinian people. The U.S. protects Israel from condemnation in international forums under the pretext of combating terrorism, and it asserts additional false claims, such as when it equates the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to resist occupation, liberate their land, and return to their homes, on the one hand, with terrorism that we all abhor, on the other.

*The policies of Structural Adjustment associated with neo-liberal globalization have precipitated global crises manifest in a widening wealth gap, increase in poverty and unemployment, and general deterioration of standards of living.

* U.S. military presence in the Arab region, and its dictates to governments of sovereign nations of the region has compounded the suffering of the Arab people. Interference in the internal affairs of these nations now extends to demands of educational reform, and insistence on "democratization". Ironically this is occurring at a time when civil liberties in the U.S. are clearly under siege, especially with regard to Arab and Muslim Americans, along with other minorities. The U.S. administration also violates international law by its inhumane treatment of the POWs in Guantanamo. Also evident is the wealth gap in the U.S., which is the widest among the industrial nations of the world.

* Far from secretly, the US intends to partition Arab countries into smaller entities on ethnic or religious basis. This would enable Israel to become the dominant regional power within the framework of the Middle East Project, to the peril of an Arab project of equitable development and regional unity.
The suffering of the Arab people and U.S. unwavering support of the system of apartheid imposed on the Palestinian people, will undoubtedly fuel conflict and lead to the escalation of violence in one of the most sensitive areas of the world. Such danger can easily extend to neighboring Europe, Asia and Africa. Continued preparation for war on Iraq in spite of its acceptance of a UN resolution of aggressive inspection of its armament, as well as civilian industries, signals a predetermined intent to control the Arab region, its oil and indeed the entire world supply of oil.

Third: For all these reasons we declare our total opposition to war on Iraq and our resolve to continue the struggle against U.S. policies of global domination. We strongly believe in the urgency of mobilizing against these policies. All democratic forces in the world that are for genuine Peace and Justice must join together within the framework of an international campaign against neo-liberal, US-centric globalization and promote an alternate globalism based on Equity and Justice. This would mean better utilization of the world's resources and protection of the environment. Together the people of the world are quite able to combat aggression and all forms of injustice, prejudice and racism, and make a better world possible.
The Cairo conference against war on Iraq and in solidarity with Palestine represents the launching of an international popular movement that creates effective mechanisms for confronting policies of aggression. The participation of international activists who are prominent for their struggles for Human Dignity, Rights and Justice, as well as intellectuals, authors, unionists, human rights workers, journalists and artists- from Egypt and the rest of the Arab World, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States- will no doubt accelerate this noble endeavor in spite of the numerous obstacles that we have to confront.

Fourth: It is important that this international popular initiative of solidarity with Iraq and Palestine proceed according to an Action Plan which includes clearly defined priorities:

1.Condemnation of U.S. military presence on Arab land along with pressuring the Arab governments that allow U.S military bases on their territory to close them down, and not to provide air, naval, or land facilities.

2. Develop cooperation among popular organizations of the South to reinforce solidarity in confronting the policies and practices of neo-liberal globalization and U.S. hegemony.

3. Work towards cooperation with the international anti-globalization movement of the North and South, and participation in activities and meetings organized by this movement

4. Promote the unity of democratic forces and popular organizations in different parts of the world, and form solidarity committees which oppose war on Iraq, and the genocidal crimes faced by Palestinians, supporting their right to resistance and struggle for liberation.

5. Under the banner Together against globalization and U.S Hegemony add Iraq and Palestine to the agendas of international progressive meetings, particularly the next Social Forum at Porte Allegre.

6.Invite Arab and international human rights organizations to evaluate humanitarian conditions in Iraq and disseminate their findings worldwide.

7. Prepare to send human shields to Iraq

8. Introduce the boycott of U.S. and Israeli commodities in solidarity campaigns in support of Iraq and Palestine, with emphasis on the right of return for Palestinians.

9. Elect a Steering Committee to follow up on the implementation of the Cairo Declaration, and coordination among organizations which commit to its principles, and enhance awareness through appropriate actions ranging from the preparation of posters to organizing marches and demonstrations in solidarity with Iraq and Palestine.

[IAC/ANSWER] Report From Cairo Conference

CAIRO CONFERENCE SUPPORTS SOLIDARITY WITH IRAQ AND PALESTINE
CALLS FOR DEMONSTRATIONS FROM JANUARY 18 TO FEBRUARY 15 TO STOP U.S. WAR DRIVE
[Article prepared by the International Action Center]

An international conference of over 400 representatives of popular organizations from 20 countries met in Cairo, Egypt, from Dec. 18-19, 2002 and resolved to take action in solidarity with the people of Iraq against threatened U.S. aggression and in solidarity with the Palestinian movement for self-determination.

The conference called the International Campaign Against U.S. Aggression on Iraq (ICAA) created a steering committee whose first order of business will be to mobilize worldwide for mass demonstrations, first on January 18, 2003 against U.S. war plans. This is simultaneous with national anti-war demonstrations already underway in the United States in Washington and San Francisco and with many other actions already scheduled internationally. The committee will also promote actions for February 15, 2003, a day chosen for demonstrations in Europe.

The continuations committee of the Conference undertook the challenge of mobilizing in Egypt on January 18. Its first action was immediately following the conference on December 20, when it mobilized 1,000 people for a public protest of U.S. war plans despite the presence of hundreds of Cairo police.

Until the last minute the Egyptian government tried to stop the conference from taking place. After a mobilization by political forces it backtracked and permitted the assembly. Then the Sheridan Hotel, a U.S. owned hotel chain canceled contracted space at two of its hotels in an effort to sabotage the conference. The conference was finally moved to the Conrad Hotel. The general feeling was that the U.S. State Department was behind the efforts to stop this international anti-war gathering.

The challenge of calling the conference and confronting the efforts to halt it was undertaken by the Egyptian Popular Campaign to Confront U.S. Aggression. Key organizers of the effort included Mohammed Oudah, Amin Eskander, Maher Maklouf, Member of Parliament Hamdeen Sabahy, Professors Soheir Morsy and Ashraf El-Bayoumi and political analyst Samir Amin.

Among the prestigious world figures attending the conference were Ahmed Ben Bella, leader of Algeria's struggle for independence from France and first president of Algeria in 1962, Saad K. Hammoundy, Iraq's ambassador to the Arab League, Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Denis Halliday, (Ireland) was the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General heading the Oil-for-Food program in Iraq up through 1998, UN director of the Oil-for-Food program, Dr. Hans Von Sponeck, and George Galloway, Labor member of Parliament in the UK. The 86-year-old Ben Bella presided over the conference.

Coordinators of anti-war groups in the different countries attending included John Rees of the Stop the War Coalition in Britain, Christof Agiton of Attac in France along with delegates from Cuba, Canada, Russia, Germany, Italy and more than fifty distinguished guests from most Arab countries. Sara Flounders of International Action Center, Elias Mashmawi and Fadia Rafeedi of the Free Palestine Alliance, also representing the ANSWER Coalition, Peter Phillips from Project Censored and Gary Leupp were part of the U.S. delegation.

BEN BELLA SETS DIRECTION

President Ben Bella gave direction to the conference, noting that the U.S. attack on Iraq, should it take place, would be only the first of a succession of wars by the U.S against Arab and other lands of the Middle East. He was firm in wanting to mobilize the people of all Arab lands to hold mass demonstrations against U.S. plans to dominate the world, calling for a demonstration of 2 million.

Ben Bella also said it was up to the people of the United States to fight against those policies and that the struggle within the U.S. was vital.
Ramsey Clark, who was attorney general in the Johnson administration from 1967-1969, has been the only former high-ranking federal official to publicly oppose U.S. military adventures all over the world and has been strong in his solidarity with the Iraqi people.

Clark said that "an attack on Iraq is obviously unlawful, it is criminal. Through years of sanctions, the U.S. is already committing genocide against Iraq." Another strike now by the U.S. "builds toward world domination and it has to be stopped. It is an urgent issue because it can happen in the next three months," because the Pentagon will want to move before the summer heat sets in.

George Galloway, Labor Member of Parliament in Britain mocked Washington's charge that Iraq holds weapons of mass destruction. "Everyplace visited by the inspectors so far has been completely empty," he said, calling Great Britain and the U.S. "imperial powers" who want to decide on "new kings, new countries, and new slave centers" in the oil-rich Middle East.

Denis Halliday, who resigned in 1998 to protest the effect of sanctions against Baghdad, said that Washington has accused Baghdad of "material breaches" of the new UN resolution because it "plans to undermine the work of inspections and the work of the Iraqi government. 'The United States doesn't want a peaceful solution. They want an excuse to go to war, to conquer Iraq and control its oil," Halliday said.

Hans Von Sponeck, who also resigned his UN post in protest, called the 150-percent increase in infant mortality in Iraq since 1990 "genocide by the United Nations."
Ashraf el-Bayoumi, an Egyptian professor and one of the conference organizers, said Washington was preparing to go about "launching an attack on Iraq, occupying Iraq, usurping its natural resources, oil and otherwise, in order to continue being the solo superpower in the
world."

Sara Flounders told of "Bush's one big problem," the growing opposition to the war inside the United States. She referred to the demonstrations of hundreds of thousands ANSWER called on October 26 and its plans for January 18, 2003. "The one power that the Pentagon today fears is the arousing anger of the millions of people, whose power is explosive when they are organized and mobilized. This is the one force that can stay the hand of the Pentagon."

Elias Rashmawi, a Palestinian American, focused on the need for a strong anti-war mobilization from the U.S. He stressed that there is now the potential to build a movement that can effectively fight against U.S. war plans. "Our international coordination in mobilizing for January 18th will strengthen solidarity and will send a signal to the Bush Administration that the world is united against the continuation of conquest and war."

John Rees referred to both the September 28 demonstration of 400,000 in London against the war, and the almost million people who gathered in Florence, Italy, to demonstrate on November 9 as part of the European Social Forum's anti-globalization actions.

Iraq's Hammoundy connected U.S. military aggression with the drive to impose capitalist globalization on the world. With U.S. capital invested around the world, it requires its military to secure its profits. Hammoundy drew attention to the U.S. seizure of Iraq's weapons declaration from the United Nations, saying Washington altered the declaration to create an excuse for an invasion.

Mohamed Asad Kanaana, Secretary General Abnaal El-Balad, People of the Homeland Movement within 1949 Palestine, described the period as one of the most critical periods facing the Arab nation in its modern history. The U.S. is repartitioning the world. Israel has decided that direct control - the return of colonialism - is the assured method to guard their interests. But the one polar world of U.S. imperialism is not the destiny of humanity. People's movements will innovate new forms of struggle to confront imperialist arrogance.

CAIRO DECLARATION

The statement known as the Cairo Declaration coming out of the international meeting to launch an "International Campaign" starts:

"We, the participants reaffirm our resolve to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Palestine, recognizing that war and aggression against them is but part of a U.S. project of global domination and subjugation. Solidarity with Iraq and Palestine is integral to the internationalist struggle against neo-liberal globalization. The Cairo meeting is not an isolated event, but an extension of a protracted international struggle against imperialism, from Seattle and Genoa to Lisbon and Florence, to Cordoba and Cairo."

The statement goes on to "declare our total opposition to war on Iraq and our resolve to continue the struggle against U.S. policies of global domination. We strongly believe in the urgency of mobilizing against these policies."

It condemns "U.S. military presence on Arab land" and calls for "pressuring the Arab governments that allow U.S military bases on their territory to close them down, and not to provide air, naval, or land facilities."

As practical actions it proposed to "elect a Steering Committee to follow up on the implementation of the Cairo Declaration, and coordination among organizations which commit to its principles, and enhance awareness through appropriate actions ranging from the preparation of posters to organizing marches and demonstrations in solidarity with Iraq and Palestine."

The first action was the Cairo demonstration on December 20. The steering committee will support a month of activities starting with the January 18 demonstrations internationally in concert with those in the United States and ending with actions February 15 in concert with those in Europe.

For more information of the International Action Center go to
http://www.iacenter.org

 

Page created January 3, 2002 by Charlie Jenks.