17 to 19 December 2004
The US and its allies are carrying out the most brutal forms of repression including massive aerial bombing of ordinary Iraqis because the resistance to occupation is growing and spreading. After Bush has been reelected, US aggression in Iraq is likely to intensify even further. The Iraqi people today need the widest possible solidarity from progressive people throughout the world. Indeed, such are the stakes that the US is playing for, that it knows a defeat in Iraq and a military-political withdrawal from the country will signal a decisive defeat of its empire-building project in the region. The heroic struggle of the Palestinian people will then receive a tremendous boost just as Israel and a host of US-dependent Arab regimes will be shaken to their roots. All the more reason, therefore, why the US’s imperial designs must be opposed and thwarted.
India and South Asia:
The Indian government and its dominant elites are being called upon by Washington to lend their practical and moral-political support to the US efforts to maintain control over Iraq. Even after the installation of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi there is pressure on it to recognise the puppet "interim regime" to which sovereignty is supposedly being handed over. The US and UK are aiming to secure a UN endorsement of this farce which, if successful, will in turn make it easier for the Indian and other governments to follow suit. These efforts at disguising the reality of American domination and ambitions must also be opposed. Indeed, it should be clear that the US military-political presence in South Asia (which is growing steadily in the name of fighting terrorism) will itself create obstacles to promoting genuine peace between India and Pakistan as the US seeks to manipulate the elites and governments of both countries. It has already been doing this with some considerable success.
Background of the Anti-War Assembly in India:
The need for a national level ‘Anti-War Assembly’ to bring about a massive show of resistance to US designs in Iraq and West Asia and also in South Asia has never been greater. Anti-War Assemblies have already been held in other countries and regions and have been a vital part of the collective effort at globalising resistance to US imperial behaviour in Iraq and elsewhere. Under the umbrella of the Citizens Against War and Occupation, representatives of over 30 organisations met in New Delhi on June 5 and 6 in the first National Consultation meeting with the aim of setting up later this year a major public event – the Anti-War Assembly, which would be a crucial part of the broader process of institutionalising, invigorating and strengthening the Indian wing of what is now a globally developing and expanding Anti-War and Anti-Imperialist platform and movement. It is only through such global forms of resistance that our enemies, themselves operating on the global level, can be defeated. This was the lesson of the great international Anti-Vietnam War Movement of the past. The same lesson holds true today!
Content and focus:
The main axes of the Assembly will be: (1) Occupation and occupied areas (2) Imperialist Globalisation and militarism (3) Peace in South Asia (4) Resistance, solidarity and strategy.
The principal focus of the Anti-War Assembly would be fighting US-led imperialism at its weakest point which is also the point at which the most unified international public pressure is operating and can be most effectively strengthened – namely opposing the illegal occupation of Iraq in favour of its full independence and defeating the imperial machinations in West Asia in which the Israel-Palestine issue occupies the central place. In addition, the proposed Anti-War Assembly would necessarily highlight the importance of moving towards the establishment of an enduring and just peace between India and Pakistan with steady demilitarisation, and to do so independent of the manipulative diplomacy of the US and in the context of opposing its military presence and imperial policies in the region. The Assembly will also focus on the link between war and trade, between militarism and corporate globalisation.
The India Anti-War Assembly will be held on December 17th– 19th 2004 . The sessions will be based on representative participation, and will be restricted to registered delegates. There will however, be a big rally and public meeting on the evening of the 19th. The inaugural session will be on the 17th morning and the sessions, including plenaries and smaller seminars, will be from the 17th afternoon to the 19th afternoon. Delegates are expected from movements all over the country, South Asia, Middle East, and other parts of the world.
The registration fee per delegate will be a total of Rs 250 which will include lunch and tea. Participating organisations are requested to contribute a minimum of Rs 1000 towards financing the event. Such donor organisations can send two delegates without paying a registration fee. The Assembly will be largely self-funded and therefore all organisations are requested to send their registration fee or contribution as soon as possible. Organisations are requested to send DDs/account payee cheques favouring "Anti-War Assembly – Hyderabad" to the address given below, with a covering letter detailing the number and names of the delegates with the name of the organisations they will represent. Delegates will be expected to make their own arrangements in regard to travel, accommodation, local transport and meals other than lunch during the conference.
Please circulate this invitation as widely as possible. Let us come together to forge a powerful and long-lasting platform against imperial behaviour, against war, and for peace and justice.
CITIZENS AGAINST WAR AND OCCUPATION
PM Bhargava Bashiruddin Babu Khan Sonya Gupta
(Chairman) (Co-Chairman) (Convenor)
Contact: Bahadur Babu Khan Centenary Hall, 601, 6th Floor, Babu Khan Estate, Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad, India. Email: [email protected] PH: 91-22-23299781. Meena Menon cell: 91-98210-38474