[The following is the text of the flyer distributed to the public as part of the March 17, 2007 Block the Empire Anti-imperialist Contingent in Montreal.]
-> BUSH OUT OF BAGHDAD
March 2007 marks the fourth anniversary of the invasion and the occupation of Iraq. Each day since the invasion has brought a slew of carnage, and it is estimated that more than 600 000 civilians have been killed since 2003. More than 2 million people have been forced to leave the country, creating one of the largest refugee populations in the world. The "war on terror" as carried out by the United States, Canada, and their allies continues to expand through recent bombardments in Somalia, and through the tortur and abuses that constantly take place in concentration-like-camps world-wide, including the West, as is the case with Guantanamo Bay (and in Canada, "Guantanamo North"), in Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and in "secret prisons" throughout the world.
In spite of "officially" refusing to take part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Canada has nevertheless lent concrete support to this invasion. The Canadian government sent soldiers to Afghanistan so that more soldiers can kill and occupy in Iraq. In the streets of Montreal, even at the height of the demonstrations against the war in 2003, local companies such as SNC-Lavalin, Pratt & Whitney and CAE contributed to and benefited from the occupation of Iraq.
Recently, the United States announced the deployment of more than 20 000 soldiers to Iraq. This initiative will inevitably cause more death and destruction within the
Iraqi population. We thus walk today to confront imperialism and colonialism, and show solidarity with the Iraqi people.
-> CANADA OUT OF KANDAHAR...
In August, 2007 more than 2000 soldiers will leave the military base of Valcartier, bound for Afghanistan, for a nine month rotation. This rotation takes place in the context of growing Canadian participation in the occupation of Afghanistan.
In October 2001, with the support of Canada, United States military forces bombarded Afghanistan. Since then, foreign companies have tried to benefit from the ruins generated by Western bombs, under the pretext of so-called rebuilding. Rather than letting the Afghan people make their own choices and decide their own priorities involving their economy and their lives, Western companies have taken over, investing in projects that will only benefit the elite minority. Canada also justifies its intervention in Afghanistan under a doctrine that claims that Western countries have the "responsibility to protect" the "failing states". However, the Western powers' presence in
Afghanistan creates conditions that cause massive impoverishment. The West then declares that these "failing states" need the charity of their governments, NGOs, and "development agencies". This is nothing more than a 21st century version of "white man's burden".
Western powers also use "women's rights" as another attempt to justify military intervention. It is insulting to the highest degree to hear politicians like Bush and Harper speak about feminism--they who imprison women and deport mothers --they who are responsible for policies that considerably harm the survival of the women, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
In 2005, Major-General Andrew Leslie declared that the Afghan mission would last 20 years, and that "there are things worth dying for. There are things worth killing
for." He added that " Every time you kill an angry young man overseas, you're creating 15 more who will come after you".
We march today because this military plan is simply a plan of destruction for the Afghan population, and it will never be acceptable or justifiable to recruit young people to kill in the name of colonial interests.
-> ... AND OFF OF TURTLE ISLAND
The interventions of Canadian imperialists abroad essentially constitute a continuation of this country's colonial past. Canada was founded on genocide carried out against the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (Occupied Territories of North America) has been courageously resisted for more than 500 years. These atrocities continue to this day at Six Nations, at Sun Peaks, at Grassy Narrows and in all places where people fight daily against the destructive policies of the Canadian government.
In 1990, during the Oka crisis, there were as many Canadian soldiers present at Kanehsatake, Akwesasne and in Kahnawake than there are currently in Afghanistan.
Given this, we must state that we do not want "our" troops withdrawn from abroad only to be sent to repress Indigenous people here in Canada. Instead, we call for the abolition of the Canadian army and demobilization of all Canadian colonial soldiers. We walk today in support of sovereignty for indigenous peoples, because there will never be justice on stolen land.
-> OCCUPATION ANYWHERE... RESISTANCE EVERYWHERE!
We take the streets today in active solidarity with all people who fight daily for a world free of oppression--whether it be in Latin America, Africa or Asia; in Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Palestine; in Lebanon, Somalia, and in "North America", the fight and determination of these people inspire us. We are against the occupation of Iraq and Canada's presence in Afghanistan. We see this as part of a larger struggle against imperialism in which the Canadian State is directly implicated through its interventions abroad, its continuous support for the United States' colonialist acts and goals, and through repression against Indigenous peoples on native land. We refuse to follow the example of these colonialist leaders and do not accept that there is no alternative to this path; instead, we choose once again to march together in support of our struggles, our fight for justice, dignity and self-determination. Join us!
BLOCK THE EMPIRE MONTREAL