Sunday, November 28, 2010

People’s Summit in Quebec issues call for antiwar actions

The People’s Summit Against War and Militarism, which met in Montréal November 19-21, was attended by 225 persons from a wide range of organizations. It issued a Joint Declaration endorsed by more than 70 organizations including trade unions, women’s and student organizations, civil liberties groups, and other social movements and grassroots community organizations in Quebec. The declaration is also supported by seven peace groups in English Canada, including the Canadian Peace Alliance. See the list of signatories.

The People’s Summit was called by the Montréal antiwar collective Échec à la Guerre (Stop War), which organized the massive antiwar demonstrations of almost a quarter million in the streets of Montréal in 2003, on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In addition to opposing Canada’s war of occupation in Afghanistan, the collective campaigns against Canada’s military spending and military recruitment in educational institutions, and in support of war resisters in the military.

The People’s Summit opened with an address by keynote speaker Jean Bricmont, author of the book Humanitarian Imperialism, and was followed by a day of workshops and panels on the issues and campaigns facing the antiwar movement in the coming period. The participants agreed to publicize and obtain signatures for their Declaration, to continue actions in opposition to the war in Afghanistan, and to campaign for the holding of a wide-ranging public debate on Canadian foreign policy and the role of the Canadian army.

For background on the People’s Summit and the work of Échec à la Guerre, see “People’s Summit Against War and Militarism to be held in Montréal.” Following is the text of the Joint Declaration, which I translated from the French for Socialist Voice.

-- Richard Fidler

For an End to the Logic of War and Domination!

As Quebec organizations devoted to the defense and expansion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, here and throughout the world,

As citizens of Quebec yearning for peace and justice and anxious to develop international relations of co-operation founded on equality and solidarity,


  • Canada’s descent into an increasing spiral of war and curtailment of democracy;
  • Canada’s participation since October 2001 in a war of occupation in Afghanistan, sowing death and destruction under the pretext of a fight for democracy, security and women’s rights in that country, and which is now spreading into Pakistan;
  • the Canadian parliament’s vote extending that intervention at least until July 2011, in violation of the will of the majority of the population;
  • the ceaseless increase in the public funds allocated to this logic of war (in Canada alone, $58 million dollars per day in 2009-2010) to the detriment of social spending and genuine development assistance;
  • Canada’s complicity with torture, both of Afghans captured in combat and of some Canadian citizens imprisoned abroad;
  • the militarization of Canadian society, which entails increasing violence, especially against women;
  • the fear-mongering about a terrorist threat that is exaggerated in order to justify the war and the many measures of surveillance and repression eroding our rights and freedoms;
  • the pervasive public relations activities of the Canadian army in major sports, social and family events, and their recruitment campaigns in educational institutions, even the elementary schools;
  • the increasingly serious social and environmental effects of the wars and military training exercises; and
  • the growing militarization of the Arctic hand in hand with environmentally harmful economic projects and denial of the rights of the Indigenous peoples.


  • successive Canadian governments, both Liberal and Conservative, that have led us into this dynamic and justified the war with groundless arguments;
  • the major business interests, headed by the Business Council on National Issues, who see only opportunities for profits, especially for the military industry;
  • the political parties that implement war policies or oppose them only half-heartedly; and
  • the major media, which soft-peddle the opposition of a majority of the population to the war and do not report its tragic consequences for civilian populations.

3. WE CATEGORICALLY REJECT the false discourse of the “war against terrorism” and Canada’s direct or indirect military involvement alongside the United States in the context of a policy designed to extend their hegemony to the planet as a whole, characterized by

  • the many wars initiated and conducted in violation of international law, including international humanitarian law: Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Lebanon (2006), Gaza (2009); and others that are apprehended against Iran and North Korea, even with threats of nuclear strikes;
  • the hijacking of the UN Security Council, which does not condemn these illegal assaults or the war crimes they entail or the blatant projects of foreign control implemented by the aggressors in violation of international law;
  • NATO’s provocative expansion to the East and its dual transformation — as the armed wing of US hegemony intervening throughout the world, and as a proxy for the UN — thereby profoundly discrediting the UN in the eyes of world public opinion;
  • the threats and destabilization plans in regard to some countries that refuse to submit to the “New World Order” imposed by the United States; and
  • a renewed arms race, including the development of new nuclear weapons and the increased militarization of space.

4. WE CALL ON THE PEOPLE OF QUEBEC TO MOBILIZE to help reverse this destructive world dynamic, by demanding

of the Government of Canada:

  • the immediate withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan;
  • a large reduction in military spending and the holding of a wide-ranging public debate on Canadian foreign policy, the role of the army, the military industry, and the arms trade;
  • an end to Canada’s military partnership with the United States, including Canada’s withdrawal from NATO; and
  • an end to its discourse instrumentalizing women’s rights and promoting the “responsibility to protect” in order to justify the war, and a firm condemnation of any intervention that is inconsistent with international law;

and of the international community:

  • the democratic renewal of the UN, and in particular full respect for its Charter, a stronger role for the General Assembly and a far-reaching reform of the Security Council, including abolition of the right of veto; and
  • the application of Resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council concerning the involvement of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace processes.

November 21, 2010

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