Above photo: NATO Protest March, Chicago, IL in 2012. AP.
April 4, 2019, will mark the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the internationally revered leader in struggles against racism, poverty and war.
And yet, in a grotesque desecration of Rev. King’s lifelong dedication to peace, this is the date that the military leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have chosen to celebrate NATO’s 70th anniversary by holding its annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C. This is a deliberate insult to Rev. King and a clear message that Black lives and the lives of non-European humanity, and indeed the lives of the vast majority, really do not matter.
Since its founding, the U.S.-led NATO has been the world’s deadliest military alliance, causing untold suffering and devastation throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and beyond. Hundreds of thousands have died in U.S./NATO wars in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yugoslavia. Millions of refugees are now risking their lives trying to escape the carnage that these wars have brought to their homelands, while workers in the 29 NATO member-countries are told they must abandon hard-won social programs in order to meet U.S. demands for even more military spending.
Dr. King’s words linking the three evils of American society: Militarism, Racism and Poverty, and his deeply profound remark that every bomb that falls on other countries is a bomb dropped on our inner cities, reveal the deep-rooted relationship between militarism and the social, racial, economic and environmental injustices that now impoverish whole cities and rural communities and have plagued our society and the world for a long time. It was exactly one year before he was murdered that Rev. King gave his famous speech opposing the U.S. war in Vietnam, calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and declaring that he could not be silent.
We cannot be silent either. As Rev. King taught us, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Every year NATO has held its summits, people around the world have organized massive protests against it: in Chicago (2012), Wales (2014), Warsaw (2016), Brussels (2017 & 2018) — and 2019 will be no exception.
We are calling for a peaceful mass mobilization against this year’s NATO Summit in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 30. Additional actions will take place at the opening of the NATO meeting on April 4. We ask you to make every effort to join with us in Washington DC, or, if not possible, organize a rally or demonstration in your area. We need to show, in the strongest possible way, our opposition to NATO’s destructive wars and its racist military policies around the world.
We also invite you to add your, and/or your organization’s name to the list of supporters of the anti-NATO, Anti-War and Anti-Racism mass actions in Washington DC. Please go to the web site at http://no2nato2019.org to add your organizational or individual endorsement of the action or to make a donation to build the action.
You can also contact us by email: Contact@No2NATO2019.org.
Steering Committee for the March 30th Anti-NATO Mobilization:
- Bahman Azad, Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases • Ajamu Baraka, Black Alliance for Peace • Leah Bolger, World Beyond War • Alison Bodine, Mobilization Against War and Occupation • Gerry Condon, Veterans For Peace • Miguel Figueroa, Canadian Peace Congress • Sara Flounders, International Action Center • Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance • Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ • Madelyn Hoffman, U.S. Peace Council • Tarak Kauff, Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, Veterans For Peace • Marilyn Levin,UNAC • Joe Lombardo, UNAC • Tamara Lorincz, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace • Jeff Mackler, West Coast UNAC • Alfred L. Marder, U.S. Peace Council • Sarah Martin, Women Against Military Madness • Nancy Price, WILPF-US Section • Paul Pumphrey, Friends of the Congo • Cindy Sheehan, March on the Pentagon • Paki Wieland, CODEPINK • Phil Wilayto, Virginia Defenders • Ann Wright, Veterans For Peace, CODEPINK • Rev. Bruce Wright, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and Refuge Ministries • Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance