This conference takes the position that many people realized, that despite the widespread opposition, that the US would still go to war. Other people, in contrast, felt that because of this unprecedented opposition, that we would stop this war. Accordingly, after the various marches, including the February 15th march, when 8-11.5 million people around the world mobilized against this invasion, the second group of people said that because so many people were in Washington, Boston, San Francisco, London, Madrid and other places, that this administration could not ignore this opposition.
But the US went to war. Many members of the second group were disenheartened. However, we should learn two things from this. One, that this war was and is part of a much larger process that has been ongoing since 1492, and that marches alone will not stop imperialism. We need to understand that this system is over 500 years old and the process of ending this system is a protracted process. Two, IJE believes that peace and anti-war activists need to understand that developing an anti-war movement is difficult, but it is much more difficult to develop an anti-imperialist movement. Accordingly, IJE believes that anti-war and peace activists must prepare for a long, hard struggle. This struggle is Winning the Minds and Hearts of the American People: One Heart at a Time. This conference, Standing Against Empire is part of that protracted effort.
This battle for the minds and hearts of the American people is critical because we are facing one of the most dangerous periods of human history. We face the loss of civil liberties, and the possible development of a militaristic state (Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic) and the possible annihilation of human life (Hegemony or Survival). In addition to these things, todays struggle is much more difficult because building an anti-imperialist movement requires that Americans, particularly Euro-Americans, look deeply into the history, heart and soul of their country. It requires Americans to confront and acknowledge the genocide against Indigenous peoples, the enslavement and deaths of at least 10 million Africans because of the Atlantic slave trade, and the countless wars that have marked every year of the U.S.s existence (see A Most Peace-Loving People in Ward Churchills, in On the Justice of Roosting Chickens. (1) When the American people acknowledge and confront this reality, then we can truly understand that the current wars are only a continuation of this history of empire, and that the American people have the moral and ethical obligation to challenge this war and to end this continuing war against humanity( for a further elaboration of this topic, read A Government of Laws in On the Justice of Roosting Chickens).
To help confront the realities of empire and to win this struggle, we need to do a number of things. Among them is to develop a number of educational programs, activities and events, and to organize future marches that patiently win the minds and hearts of the American people. This requires that activists develop a higher level of personal discipline and commitment so that we organize a mass movement. To build this movement, much of our work needs to be based on small groups that meet over a period of at least five to seven weeks to systematically study the history and evolution of the US, and its foreign policy. This way we can patiently explain to Americans the forces that have pushed humanity to a point where we can possibly annihilate all human life on earth. Then these groups can then reach out to other small groups and to public events.
Beginning over a year ago, students at UB and Buffalo State College and activists from the Buffalo community began this process. They also developed a conference, and summer and fall courses, (empire: nation state, capitalist economy and white supremacy). Currently we are organizing our second conference. This conference helps people understand US foreign policy by developing an analysis of US foreign policy and connecting imperialism to the war against people of color in this country. This conference also presents strategies to challenge this continuing global war against humanity. We will also strengthen ties between the anti-war, anti-imperialist, peace movement, Global Justice Movement, and anti-racism movement.
Empire: Haiti, Nigeria, Iraq and the Prison Industrial Complex: Connecting the Struggles
The heart of this conference is that imperialism and racism are an integral part of the US empire. This year we focus on US imperialism in Haiti, Nigeria, Iraq and the prison industrial complex, and show the connections between them. Our students have prepared analyses to assess US foreign policy internationally and domestically and to illustrate how these policies all serve the same purpose of conquest for cheap sources of labor and resources.
Gerald will discuss US foreign policy in Haiti by presenting a historical overview and delineate the history of US foreign policy and then tie it to the current crisis in Haiti. Gerald will point out that because Haiti was the first black republic in the western hemisphere, it was an inspiraton to slaves in the hemsiphere, including the US, and the US tried to crush and isolate it, because the black slave revolt in Haiti was a contagion. He will also help us understand the current crisis in Haiti, and what we need to do in response to this crisis.
Nathaniel will analyse US foreign policy in Nigeria. He will document how Nigeria is rapidly assuming more importance. Oil is causing the the Bush adminstration to redefine U.S. relations with sub-Saharan African states as part of Americas effort to create an informal global empire, resting on energy security, strategic menerals, market fundamentalism and containment of terrorism. (2)Because of this, and other issues, Africa is becoming a militarized zone that potentially will become explosive (see www.commondreams.org/views03/0906-05.htm The Fourth World War).
Finally, Imtiaz will present a historical and contemporary overview of US foreign policy in Iraq. He will carefully document how the Bush administration planned this war in 2001, and utilized 9-11 to illegally launch a war that threatens to create an escalating series of wars (see www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/pubs/2003/bounding/bounding.pdf
Bounding the War on Terrorism and Breaking the Silence) . He will also provide broad guideleines and suggestions on things that the anti-war, anti-imperialist, peace and Global Justice Movement needs to consider.
During the afternoon session, Eric begins by analyzing the prison industrial complex from several perspectives. One perspective is the capitalist economic perspective, demonstrating how the prisons are a part of the U.S.s internal restructuring as it cuts social programs, increases social control over innercities, and people of color increasingly become part of a military that kills other people of color (see Masked racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex, www.colorlines.org. Fall 1998)
Finally, Terry and Elizabeth will present how to devleop an alternative US foreign policy and develop alternatives to the prison industrial complex (Terminating the Bush Juggernaut, www.presentdanger.org/pdf/papers/juggernaut.pdf)
Then, to help people become more familiar with other activists and work in Buffalo, various groups will set up tables to provide further information on particualr topics, such as reparations, the arms race, prison industrial complex, and creating an anti-imperialist movement.
Dinner and Video
After the conference, we will have a dinner that gives us an opportunity to continue meeting with other activists and concerned peoples. Finally we will show a video, Breaking the Silence, where the director, John Pilger, interviews intelligence officers, General Wesley Clark and others to demonstrate how the Bush adminstration lied about ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq so that Bush could convince Americans to support a war allowing U.S. oil companies to control Iraqi oil. John Pilger also shows speeches by both Colin Powell and Condeleca Rice who stated that Iraq was not a threat to US security.
This summer we will offer our third session of empire: nation state, capitalist economy and white supremacy at the Langston Hughes Institute, 25 High Street, Buffalo, 882-3266.
This course will be eleven weeks long. We will begin on Wednesday, May 15 at 6:00. To register contact khalil.
1. Available in UB Library Course reserve under Instructor, Nieves)
2. Yohannes, Okbazghi, Americas New Frontier: Oil in the Gulf of Guinea, The Black Scholar, Volume 33, No. 2, p-2
STANDING AGAINST EMPIRE: ONE HEART AT A TIME
PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, the anti-war, Global Justice and peace movements did unprecedented work in the US and the world by mobilizing millions of people against this war. This is a monumental achievement, and has changed the nature of our world and made future successes possible. To contribute to this work, the Institute for Justice and Equity is presenting the conference, Standing Against Empire: Creating a Just and Equitable World on April 3 in 120 Clemens, north campus of the University of Buffalo.