NEU Antiwar Conference Draws Large Numbers

Feb. 6, 2010                                                   <>

NEU Antiwar Conference Draws Large Numbers

An overflow crowd of 400 antiwar activists from New England and New York attended the second annual New England United Antiwar Conference on Saturday, January 30 in Cambridge.  The conference featured highly qualified speakers and workshop presenters on a wide range of topics, drawing participants from all age groups and a broad range of activist organizations.

Numerous reports from activists who attended indicate the conference was a huge success, a sign that the antiwar movement is entering a resurgence of momentum and enthusiasm. This reflects increasing awareness about the steadily expanding scope of endless wars and foreign occupations, and the use of the “War on Terror” to discourage dissent, and to justify the growing presence of American troops around the world.

The first panel started at 11:00 AM with the auditorium filled to capacity. “The Drive Towards Empire and Endless War,” facilitated by Chris Gauvreau from Connecticut United for Peace, featured speakers Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report and Black is Back; Adaner Usmani, Action for a Progressive Pakistan; Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space; and Ashley Smith, Editorial Board, International Socialist Review.

Conference participants then attended one of five packed workshops:

* War in Latin America led by Omar Sierra of the Venezuelan Consulate; Antoine del Castro Rio of Colombia Polo Democrático; members of Proyecto Hondureno
* Domestic Costs of War led by Jon Flanders of Troy NY Labor Council and Nellie Bailey of Harlem Tenants Council
* In Our Lifetimes! Obama, the NPT and the International Struggle for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons led by Joe Gerson of American Friends Service Committee
* Resistance within the Military: The Renewed Struggles Against U.S. Imperialism led by Priscilla Loundes of March Forward!, Ryan Henowitz, vet; Herb Hoffman of Maine VFP
* Student Organizing led by Wes Strong of CT Students Against the War

After a short break for lunch, the conference resumed with a panel on “Debunking the War on Terror.” Facilitated by Lisa Savage, CODEPINK Maine Local Coordinator, the panel featured Salma Abu Ayyash, Palestinian activist; Pardiss Kebriaei, Guantanamo Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights; Danny Schechter, , Journalist and Executive Editor of; and Peter Dale Scott, author of The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, & the Future of America speaking via teleconference from California.

Workshops in the second round were also packed. Both Latin America in the first session and Haiti in the second overflowed their rooms and were relocated to the auditorium.

* Aid Not Occupation: Who’s Killing Haiti? led by Ashley Smith; Joseue Renaud, psychologist and Chair, New England Human Rights Org. Over $400 was raised to help send a team of Haitian psychologists and social workers from Boston to help traumatized children.
* Global Warming and War led by Ted Glick of Climate Crisis Coalition; Maggie Zhou of Secure Green Future, a project of Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities
* Israel as Apartheid State with Nancy Murray, Gaza Freedom March, Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights & Sarah Roche-Mahdi, CODEPINK
* Covert and False Flag Operations and 9/11: Pretext for the Continuing War on Terror led by Paul Zarembka, Professor of Political Economy SUNY Buffalo; and Barrie Zwicker, editor of Global Outlook
* Cutting War Spending 25%, Funding Jobs and Neighborhoods led by Mike Prokosch of Dorchester People for Peace

The last session of the conference was an organizing session facilitated by Mark Stahl from the RI Mobilization Committee to Stop War and Occupation. The March 20 antiwar action in DC was addressed by Marilyn Levin, a national co-coordinator for the National Assembly and member of Boston United for Justice with Peace and the Palestine Task Force; Emily Macmillan, organizer for the ANSWER coalition and a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation; Chris Garaffa, organizer for the ANSWER coalition and a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation; and Chris Gauvreau, of the administrative committee of the National Assembly and Connecticut United for Peace.

The second campaign, ending the siege of Gaza, featured remarks by Sarah Roche-Mahdi, a coordinator of Code Pink Greater Boston who has participated in several Code Pink peace delegations including the Gaza Freedom March.  The third campaign, redirecting military spending in support of human needs, featured Mike Prokosch, a member of Dorchester People for Peace and United for Justice with Peace’s 25% task force; and Mark Roman, from in Maine.

There was a social following the conference at Bertucci’s restaurant in Cambridge.

Here is a link to a set of photographs of the conference:

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