by Glenn Michalchuk
I want to focus my report on what turned out to be one of the most significant events Peace Alliance Winnipeg participated in last year.
At the AGM of April 1, 2017 one of the important events on the agenda was a meeting on the issue of NATO and the danger it poses to peace and security internationally. The work to prepare for that meeting began in 2016, in response to NATO’s support for the conflict in Ukraine and contention with Russia in Europe.
Working with the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba two meetings were held in April 2017 with various invited speakers who provided a wealth of information. The importance of those meetings was to present information as to why NATO is constituted as an alliance and how through its actions it is laying the ground work for conflict.
Work of this type is important if we are to actually develop a movement against Canada’s continued membership in NATO. More broadly, it is important if we are to develop an alternative course for Canada in the world. It is through NATO that Canada is primarily enmeshed in the Anglo-American alliance that seeks domination of the world, is engaged in an increasingly tense situation with Russia in Europe and Syria and in Asia confrontation with China. It is these politics that also see Canada side with reactionary forces in Latin America and especially Venezuela.
If anything the world is becoming increasingly tense as new zones of influence and power emerge. Almost 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and major wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria the relationship of forces at work on the world scale have changed.
How does this shape our work and set objectives for the peace movement. We have structured this AGM to deal with this. The over riding concern is that building an effective peace and anti-war movement is of highest importance. To do that we need to work out positions on the issues that we respond to as a peace movement. That is we aim to begin working out a peace and anti-war platform and we have some presentations on specific issues to begin this.
We have joining us to today two representatives of the peace movement in Saskatchewan to inform us about their work. One of the plans for today’s AGM is to form a Prairie Peace Partnership so as to co-ordinate and share work.
In all 2017 was a further development in the work of the Peace Alliance Winnipeg and its contributions to the development of peace movement locally and nationally. Peace Alliance Winnipeg remains a small organization in terms of its membership but the work it does in an organized way is very important.
Just briefly the other important events we were involved with:
• Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research and the two presentations he gave on the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula.
• The My Jerusalem panel discussion at the U of W which dealt with the decision of the U.S to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
• PAW activists again participated in the vigil at the Israeli Pavilion as way to raise consciousness about the Palestinian cause.
• PAW again helped organized the Lantern Ceremony in commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
• PAW is a member of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
• PAW is active with the No Way to Treat a child campaign.
• This fall we are supporting the Israel, Palestine and International Law Symposium which is to be held at the University of Winnipeg.
• PAW has also been active in the support of the Venezuelan people against regime change and we assisted in the work to collect signatures on the petition to the Trudeau Government opposing sanctions. Through this work we have also been active in the Venezuela Peace Committee.
• And most recently PAW issued a statement on the escalating danger of war as the U.S and Russia clash over events in that country and we participated in the action organized by the Manitoba Peace Council.
As you can see there is no shortage of activities or issues we engage on and we encourage everyone to participate. PAW meets once a month to plan work and discuss emerging issues and our response.
With these remarks I will conclude my report.