Date and time: June 9, 2023; 11:00AM (Manila time GMT +8)
Location: Zoom Meeting
Rising Tensions, Threats to Peace: back-to-back primers on militarism launch was a huge success. Speakers from across the world – Philippines, US, Kurdistan, Cyprus, Japan, South Korea, India, and the Burmese diaspora – spoke on the value of the two primers in a time of intensifying multipolar competition and how it could support anti-imperialist movements.
The Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) and the Resist US-led War Movement (RESIST) collaborated to produce the two primers. Firstly, NATO: Imperialist War Machine which is a primer on the Northeast Atlantic Treaty Organization and their military intervention across the globe. This was written to shed light on NATO’s activities leading up to their 2023 Summit in Madrid, Spain. The second primer is Power Play: Unraveling US Military Agreements in the Asia Pacific. This primer talks about the several military alliances operating in the region and their implications to our already precarious security landscape.
The program began with Ms. Julia Puno from APRN discussing the current geopolitical situation of the region and how military alliances are pushing the entire world deeper into conflict. This was followed by Mr. Teddy Casiño from the New Patriotic Alliance and Mr. Cody Urban from RESIST who shared stories on people’s resistance in the Global South and the Global North, respectively.
The three main speakers were followed by inputs from the panel of reactors. This panel was composed of representatives from anti-imperialist organizations based in India, South Korea, Japan, Kurdistan, Cyprus, and the Burmese diaspora. They discussed the militarism challenges faced by communities in their own contexts and how they have been resisting and fighting back.
A brief question and answer portion came next where several questions were raised. Answering accordingly, the speakers emphasized key points: (1) all peace-loving people must unite against imperialism; (2) the primers must be brought to the people since they will benefit the most from these educational materials; and, (3) there is no lack in international anti-imperialist networks where we could join such as the International League of People Struggles (ILPS) and the International People’s Front (IPF).
To officially close the launch, Ms. Rhonda Ramiro from RESIST offered a sharp synthesis. The primers draw value from its potential to support movements and campaigns, a notion that was repeated throughout the event.
Ms. Julia Puno, Asia Pacific Research Network provided a brief introduction of her organization and the two primers. She also discussed the ongoing multipolar crisis and increasingly aggressive military posturing of the US and China. This imperialist rebalancing is pushing for strengthened and new military alliances which serve to enrich imperialists at the expense of the people. Ms. Puno also presented a timeline of the major militarism events during 2022 to 2023. With each month witnessing the development of the US war footing. This helped expose the true nature and agenda of these military alliances. But more importantly, Ms. Puno focused on how these events impact the people.
Mr. Teddy Casiño, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan shared the inspiring example of the Filipino people’s fight against US bases and how the anti-imperialist struggle has been deeply ingrained in the legacy of the Filipino people’s history of resistance. A history of fighting back that goes from the Spanish and US occupation, until the current struggle against neo-colonialism of the Philippines. Mr. Casiño also highlighted how the anti-bases movement is part and parcel of the movement that led to the ouster of the Marcos Sr. dictatorship. He asserted that the fight against the bases did not culminate with a senate vote, but was a result of consistent and sustained people’s actions against those bases. Although this victory was short-lived, the resistance has been long-lived and will continue until the bases are truly gone; until the Philippines is truly independent.
Mr. Cody Urban, Resist US-led War Movement & the International People’s Front talked about the resistance that’s happening in the Global North while alluding to the solidarity being built between the peoples of the North and the South. Mr. Urban also mentioned how movements in the Global North are trying to take creative action against certain aspects of the US military. For example, educating the people on the connection between the massive military budgets that their governments have, versus the tiny amount of money that their governments spend on social services. In short, taxpayers’ money is being used to fund war. He also talked about campaigns against the largest military & transnational corporations through the isolating and defunding of these corporations. ILPS Canada celebrated a recent victory when they successfully disrupted North America’s largest trade show with the slogan “war is a racket, no wars for profits!” The people are indeed uniting and resisting imperialism no matter where they are.
The panel of reactors highlighted the different ways in which these military agreements are being used to oppress the people. More examples of military budgets being spent at the cost and detriment of the people were shared. However, each story affirms the need to fight back. NATO, along with other US-led military alliances, were identified, time and again, as an enabling mechanism for war and foreign military intervention. Each panelist was firm, however, that the freedom and independence we desire can only be achieved through the people’s resistance.
Ms. Rhonda Ramiro, Resist US-led War Movement officially closed the launch with a synthesis of inputs from the speakers and reactors. She zoned in on the recurring idea that the primer on NATO and primer on military agreements are merely tools that provide information; they can only go so far. These educational materials shine the brightest when they are being used by people’s movement as a weapon in their arsenal to organize and sharpen our analysis. Ms. Ramiro encouraged the audience to download the primers and use them in their campaigns and to join in actions against US-led war and militarism. To end her synthesis, Ms. Ramiro reminds us that our fight for genuine international solidarity instead of multipolar conflict can only be attained through our people’s resistance.
ABOUT THE EVENT
Imperialists have been strengthening existing military alliances and building new ones under the pretense of peace and security. With the aim to create resources for our campaigns, the Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) and the RESIST US-led War Movement (RESIST) produced a series of primers on these military agreements, their implications and people’s resistance against militarism. Two briefers were launched to support anti-imperialist campaigns: a primer on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and a primer on Military Agreements.
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