OPPOSE THE WAR
posted May 6, 1999
In this alert:
Oppose U.S./NATO war in the Balkans - commentary
Emergency mobilization June 5 to stop the war
Endorse the call to action
1999 sweatshop activist organizing packet
OPPOSE U.S./NATO WAR IN THE BALKANS
Commentary by Trim Bissell,
national coordinator of Campaign for Labor Rights
In addition to mobilizing around corporate campaigns, legislation and codes of conduct, the work of the anti-sweatshop movement also includes opposing the economic, military and repressive structures which make the global sweatshop possible. In that context, I am writing to ask for your support for the June 5 emergency mobilization to stop the war in the Balkans.
Working people have many reasons to oppose U.S. military intervention in the Balkans.
The U.S. military is not a humanitarian institution. It intervenes to promote corporate interests. The U.S. promoted bloody conflicts in Central America, resulting in deaths, disappearances and displacements on a scale dwarfing anything now occurring in the Balkans. The U.S. School of the Americas trains the worst human rights abusers in the Western Hemisphere and honors its most notorious graduates in a "Hall of Fame." The U.S. continues to arm Turkey, a NATO ally guilty of
atrocities against the Kurds far worse than what was being done to the Kosovars before the NATO bombing. Under the guise of anti-drug efforts, the U.S. is rapidly increasing its military involvement in Colombia, where the government is closely tied to paramilitaries which target unionists and human rights advocates.
We should be wary of blanket recommendations that the situation in Kosovo be resolved through negotiations, without first discussing what is to be negotiated. The Rambouillet plan proposed by the U.S. State Department, combined with policies already mandated by the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF), require the region to yield its political, military and economic sovereignty. NATO bombing is rapidly de-industrializing the former Yugoslavia, as part of a larger
strategy to relegate the region to a Third World role, namely, providing cheap labor, cheap raw materials and open markets.
People of conscience condemn attacks on civilian populations, whether those attacks are against Albanians or against Serbs. It is quite another matter to suppose that U.S./NATO military force is the solution to any problem in the former Yugoslavia. The plight of the Kosovars has increased in proportion to NATO activity in the region. While the U.S. government moves thousands of military personnel and vast quantities of weapons with ease, Kosovar refugees are left to huddle in squalid
camps, their misery providing further pretext for continuing the war effort.
It is doubtful whether any change in regimes resulting from the NATO intervention will lead to an increase in prosperity, democracy or worker rights. Economic policies imposed by the IMF contributed significantly to social/political breakdown which in turn propelled the region into armed conflict. At this point, there does not seem to be any way to offer meaningful proactive solidarity with democratic forces in the region. The most helpful thing we can do now is to oppose intervention by the U.S. military - which has an appalling record on human rights - in a situation where human rights abusers already abound.
EMERGENCY MOBILIZATION TO STOP THE WAR
National March on the Pentagon, June 5, 1999
[ Statement from the Emergency Mobilization to Stop the War ]
U.S./NATO bombs and cruise missiles are raining down on Belgrade, Pristina, Novi Sad and other cities, towns and villages in Yugoslavia, falling on Serbs, Albanians, Hungarians, Romanis and Montenegrins alike. In the name of "peace," NATO has killed thousands and destroyed hospitals, homes, schools, universities, bridges, power and water treatment plants, factories, and more. In the name of "protecting human rights," the launching of the air war has triggered a refugee crisis
displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
Now, as the bombing and its terrible toll escalate, the threat of a U.S. invasion of Yugoslavia looms. A ground war will mean the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops.
Now is the time to act! We are urging you to join us in the newly formed Emergency Mobilization to Stop the War. Hundreds of thousands of us marched against the U.S. war on Iraq in 1990-91. We have continued to work against the sanctions that have killed more than 1.5 million civilians in that country. Now, the Pentagon is embarked upon another bloody intervention, in violation of all international law, and against the interests of the people of the Balkans and the people of this country as well.
The Emergency Mobilization to Stop the War is planning activities to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people who will say in a loud and clear voice: "Stop the bombing! Stop the war! Bring the troops,
ships and planes home now! Money for jobs, healthcare and education, not for war!"
On Saturday, June 5, there will be a mass march from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the steps of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Yugoslavia is the fourth country - along with Iraq, Afghanistan and the Sudan - bombed by U.S. military forces in the past eight months. Now we are at the edge of an even wider and more destructive war. We must act urgently to build a broad and deep movement that says "NO" to this
madness. Join and endorse the Emergency Mobilization today. Circulate this appeal to your co-workers, neighbors, campus, church, mosque, synagogue, union and community.