this past week, several of us went to chicago to participate in the No NATO/No Warming organizing leading up to the march on sunday.
vijay prashad gave an excellent speech to open up the No NATO counter summit. a point he made that was especially powerful was how NATO uses the language of human rights to conduct horrific military campaigns throughout the world. prashad detailed how military intervention in libya is being positioned as a human right’s intervention and highlighted the culpability of human rights organizations in advancing militarism as a legitimate response to human rights abuses.
this point is important to me as an organizer as it wasn’t until i was at the summit that i even considered war from that particular angle before. i’ve always been anti-war, since i was old enough to know what war was. i have particularly focused on supporting the women of Afghanistan and Arab women who have long pointed out that bombing somebody has never saved anybody. but i never really understood the role NATO specifically plays in the context of globalization, war, violence against and control of communities of color, or the destabilization of left leaning governments throughout the world. i have always approached “war” as this general type of violence that “it” or “they” do and our goal is to get it to stop.
recognizing how NATO is connected to different governments and corporations, understanding the relationship between free-trade agreements and military intervention, knowing that war is not the only type of violence a community can experience—this weekend’s discussions/workshops/organization around NATO really helped me to move out of a general anti-war stance and ground myself into the reality of how war exists as a part of an industrial complex, of which very specific entities are culpable for perpetrating. in other words, it’s not just that war needs to end—it’s that the various nation/states using NATO to militarily enforce their agenda need to be challenged and reexamined.
it’s a subtle shift for me, but an important one. one that will help me to act in solidarity with peoples outside the US (like the palestinians above) in a much more effective and meaningful way.