The Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) calls on our members and allies to stand in solidarity with the thousands who are in Chicago this weekend to protest the policies of the G-8 and NATO.
The G-8 (Group of 8) is a forum of 8 of the world's wealthiest nations. Neoliberal policies promoted by the G-8 have privatized public services and natural resources, cut taxes for the wealthy elites, and dismantled legal protections for workers and the environment, driving the world into the deepest recession in nearly a century. Austerity measures imposed by G-8 political leaders have had devastating impacts on developing nations over the past four decades, sparking popular movements that have swept a wave of progressive governments into power throughout Latin America and ignited militant mass resistance in North Africa, Europe and the U.S. in recent years.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in the aftermath of World War II as a means to contain the political, economic and military influence of the Soviet Union and communist countries. Despite the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989, NATO has expanded - continuing to serve the interests of wealthy industrialized nations and corporations. It is no coincidence that the G-8 and NATO were originally to meet consecutively in Chicago this weekend: the G-8 to determine the elite's economic interests, followed by NATO to determine how to secure them. The G-8 Summit was relocated at the last minute to Camp David to avoid the mass mobilizations that will take place in Chicago.
In a speech detailing the goals of the Chicago Summit, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stated: “To fulfill its essential purpose of safeguarding our security, the Alliance needs the appropriate mix of capabilities: conventional, nuclear and missile defense. We are currently reviewing that mix for approval at Chicago."
In other words, we will continue to spend outrageous amounts of money to build up a global military machine - upgrading an unnecessary and aging nuclear arsenal, building more drone bombs that kill indiscriminately, building high-tech armies to take the land and water of economically poor and resource rich nations in the Global South, and sustaining over 800 military bases worldwide.
G-8 and NATO have been selective and strategic in deciding what is "our security". While popular movements have been sweeping throughout northern Africa, challenging and in some cases overthrowing the dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, NATO stood idly by and has instead been very hands-on in oil-rich Libyaand continues to occupy Afghanistan - now the longest war in U.S. history - in order to secure access to oil and water in the region. The U.S. invasions of Iraq have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and tens of thousands of U.S. troops. The estimated $3 trillion total cost of the Iraq war could have alleviated poverty many times over in that country. We have to wonder how many lives would have been spared if Iraqis were allowed the freedom to mobilize their own Arab spring and take their political destiny into their own hands rather than having to resist foreign military occupation.
- NATO member countries account for 70% of the world's $1.5 trillion of military spending - more than half of that coming from the U.S. And for what? In whose interests?
- Thousands are converging on Chicago to express our outrage against the policies of the G-8 and NATO and demand an agenda that represents the interests of the 99% - GGJ is demanding an Economy for People and the Planet!
- National Nurses United organized a massive rally calling for "The Robin Hood Tax" - a tax amounting to a mere half of a percent on Wall Street transactions that would raise hundreds of billions of dollars each year in the U.S. alone. Find out more at: http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/
- Today, Iraq Veterans Against the War will ceremoniously and bravely return their medals to the NATO generals for serving in the Global War on Terror: http://www.ivaw.org/
Occupy Chicago and many grassroots organizations are co-coordinating numerous actions that highlight the injustices of war, militarism and spending. Some actions include issuing warrants for arrest of corporations and government organizations responsible for destabilizing the environment, occupying mental health clinics facing closure, calling on Rahm Emanuel to raise money to get people back into their foreclosed homes in Englewood rather than raising $40 million for NATO, and more.
GGJ is an endorsing organization of the Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice organized by the NATO-Free Future coalition. The group is issuing an international call to retire NATO, to create jobs and fund peace. You can sign onto this call by going to this link: http://www.natofreefuture.org/2012/02/international-call-to-retire-nato-create-jobs-fund-peace/
GGJ has compiled a toolkit on G-8 and NATO that is available online. Visit our website at: http://ggjalliance.org/NoWar
The Spring of the 99% continues... GGJ will be in the streets today chanting “No NATO, No War! Organize and Feed the Poor!”
No War, No Warming! Build an Economy for the People and the Planet!