Skip to comments.With the Resistance: Conference in Italy Gives Platform to Middle East Groups (Treason Alert!)
Posted on 09/30/2007 7:27:16 PM PDT by kristinn
A unique conference gathering many voices of Middle East resistance took place March 24-25 in Chianciano, Italy. It took place without fanfare or incident despite lots of baiting from reactionaries but almost no publicity in the corporate media. Nevertheless, it was significant that for the first time representative voices of 18 different resistance organizations met in the imperialist West and spoke with their own voices to the movement and the people.
Representing the anti-imperialist sector of the U.S. anti-war movement was Larry Holmes, a co-director of the International Action Center and a leading spokesperson for the Troops Out Now Coalition. TONC had just held a week-long encampment outside Congress and joined the March 17 march on the Pentagon.
Workers World managing editor John Catalinotto spoke with Holmes about the significance of the Chianciano conference, which was called With the Resistancefor a Just Peace in the Middle East.
WW: What did the conference accomplish? What was its significance?
Larry Holmes: It was remarkable to be able to participate with and sit among legitimate voices of the resistance, not only in Iraq but also Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon. Hezbollah was represented there as well as a student resistance group in Afghanistan. Several different communist groups in Iraq, which have a thoroughly anti-occupation, pro-resistance orientation, participated and even agreed at the meeting to merge their activity. These groups are different from the official Iraqi Communist Party, which supported the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein and has been collaborating with the puppet Iraqi government.
It was fascinating to hear the representatives of these resistance organizationswith different experiences and often different ideologiesincluding Baathist, Arab Nationalist, Islamic and Communist, but all fighting against U.S. and Israeli domination of the regioninteract both with each other and the audience. Theres no question this was an extremely significant global event of great interest to the anti-war movement.
WW: Who was there at the conference?
LH: Besides the 18 speakers from the Middle East resistance movements, over 300 people attended the conference. The conference was the dominant presence in Chianciano Terme, a resort area near Siena. People came from 20 countries, mainly anti-imperialists from all over EuropeGermany, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, France, Greece and Spainand some from the rest of the world.
The fact that we were all there in Chianciano is a big accomplishment in and of itself. Resistance members were there from Jordan, Lebanon, all over Europe where they are in exile because they would be killed if they went to Iraq, and also people from inside Iraq. Somebody spoke by conference call from Najaf, Iraq. They couldnt make it to the meeting but spoke by conference call.
You know that both the Italian government under former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconia media magnate and right winger who toadied to Bush at every opportunityas well as the U.S. government and many members of the U.S. Congress fought hard to suppress the event. They stopped the speakers from getting visas in the fall of 2005. The organizers had been trying to bring together the event for the better part of two years and they finally succeededwith flying colors.
When I spoke I mentioned that it was great to come to Italy, but it shows we cant get the voice of resistance to come to the U.S. because the government wont let them in. Not only is it criminal but it deprives the people of the U.S. from hearing the other side. How come the resistance cant come and tell the U.S. population: Were just defending our country. Just get out and we can all be friends.
Id like to compliment the organizers of the conference from the Free Iraq Committee and all the other groups that worked together in Italy for pulling off such a smooth conference. They had to get a new meeting hall at the last minute because of right-wing pressure. Yet they took care of all the guests and the meeting was translated into Italian, English and Arabic.
WW: Is there much support for the resistance movements in Europe?
LH: One of the goals of the conference was to break through to the official peace movement with the need to solidarize with the resistance. The Italian philosopher and activist Aldo Bernardini mentioned that much of the movement in Europe says, No to aggression, no to terrorism, thus equating the oppressor and the oppressed.
Abdul Jabbar al-Kubaisi, representing the Iraq Patriotic Front, called on the European left to solidarize with the resistance. He said you cant expect a germ-free packed gift package of a resistance that gives a nice answer to all civil and social questions. If you had demanded that during the war against Vietnam, he said, there never would have been a solidarity movement with the Vietnamese people against U.S. aggression.
Al-Kubaisi said right out that the Iraqi resistance has enough fighters, material and money, but what we really need and are missing urgently is political support.
The organizers of the conference called for the formation of an anti-imperialist network that functions in political solidarity with the resistance and takes actions in its support. When I spoke, I seconded that call. In addition to demanding the end to all colonial and imperialist wars of occupation, it would support the resistance in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon and anywhere else in the world where people are fighting imperialism. And, very important, that we join to stop the imperialists from launching a new war against Iran.
I should add here that while all the speakers spoke out against any U.S. or British or Israeli attack on Iran, there was criticism of Irans policy in Iraq from the Iraqi speakers, who saw Iran as being too close to the puppet government and thus supporting the occupation.
The European leftists were critical also of the big parties in Europe that speak peace in words but help U.S. aggression, by, for example, sending troops to Afghanistan or to serve as so-called peacekeepers in Lebanon.
I said that we have the same problems in the U.S. The Democrats talk and talk and talk but theyre not really interested in stopping the war, they dont want to be blamed for losing the Middle East, and they want to strengthen imperialism. They have the same objectives as Bush, with different tactics. They cover their support for war funding by putting out a timetable for withdrawal, but Bush will veto them or ignore them. Moreover, what right have the imperialists to occupy Iraq for even one more minute? Every minute is a crime. So why should we be happy?
WW: What other message did you bring from the U.S. movement?
LH: I said there is a lot of potential for the anti-imperialist movement in the U.S. and people are against the war, but they need to be pushed. Those in Europe or anywhere should push us, challenge us to do better. Ask us: How is the work going among the soldiers? How is it going among the students? How can we help?
There are many reasons for the growing anti-war sentiment. The main reason it is growing is the strength of the resistance in Iraq. Had the occupation gone smoothly, there might have been another development. But precisely because the war and occupation has been a disaster it has awakened the people and is responsible for the results of last Novembers election, which was a mandate to end the war.
I agreed that there can be no question the resistance is the decisive factor in defeating the U.S. But we cant just let the resistance carry the struggle, we have to take the struggle to the imperialists right at home in the United States.
For more information about the Chianciano conference and for the final declaration, see www.iraqiresistance.info.
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The Justice Department needs to start prosecuting these traitors.
Is “Axis of Logic” another Worker’s World Party front?
I didn’t check.
Larry Holmes, leading spokesperson for the Troops Out Now Coalition is meeting with terrorist groups in the ME?
I always knew these moonbat groups were associated with Islamic terrorism. This is clear proof that they are. No doubt sharing information with them, explaining our weak spots and how to cause the most damage.
The guy should be arrested for espionage, and given a nice room at Gitmo.
Agree. Maybe the average American would understand that we are in a real war if the Justice Dept. started prosecuting those who are committing treason and sedition, including employees of the CIA, elected representatives and media.
People spread the word via your blogs and pass this along. Without pressure the media ignores what leftist do to our troops.
bump for the morning crowd.
Translation: The Left has to shut up and take it when the Islamists impose sharia law, stone homosexuals, and shoot women in the street for being outside without a husband.