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WIL and PTUDC at Twin Cities Antiwar Rally

1 drones bannerOn Saturday, April 6, some 200 people gathered in Minneapolis, MN for a spirited rally and march against imperialist wars, and in particular, against the use of killer drones. Many local members and supporters of the Workers International League were present. John Peterson spoke on behalf of the Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign.

He delivered the following words to the gathered crowd:

“U.S. aggression in Afghanistan has not only destroyed and disrupted the lives of millions living there, but throughout the entire region. War has not been formally declared by the U.S. against Pakistan, and yet Presidents Bush and Obama have signed off on hundreds of deadly drone attacks, which have killed hundreds of civilians.

“According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as of January 2013, there have been 362 drone strikes in Pakistan. 52 of these took place under Bush, and 310 under Obama. In other words, Obama has authorized six times more drone strikes in Pakistan than Bush, and yet he and the Democrats are considered by many to be the ‘lesser evil.’ As many as 891 civilians have been killed, including 176 children, and another 1,431 have been injured.

1ptudc speaker“The activists of the PTUDC in Waziristan, one of the areas most affected by drone attacks, have sent us information explaining the situation they are facing there. Waziristan is a tribal area in Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. Many leading groups of the Taliban operate from there, which carry out suicide bombings and other attacks on innocent people. Drone attacks by imperialist forces that kill innocent people have become routine there, while at the same time the U.S. leadership and the Karzai government are negotiating with the Taliban and helping them open an embassy in Qatar.

“The third part of the hell facing the people of Waziristan are the Pakistani Army and ISI, which carry out so-called military operations which solve nothing, and only make the lives of ordinary people more miserable. In the last analysis, all the players in this war are in connivance with each other, while poor people of the region are left in poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and misery.

“On May 11 there will be elections in Pakistan. Ali Wazir of the PTUDC is standing as a candidate for the National Assembly for Waziristan. He is standing on the slogans of Bread, Peace and Employment. He believes that the state should provide clean drinking water, health care, education, jobs, and other basic necessities.

“Due to this war, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced from their homes and have become refugees in their own country. Ali Wazir is condemning imperialism, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Pakistani State, for creating this mess. He is calling for a socialist revolution to end the misery in South Asia once and for all.

“He is getting huge support from the masses and is set to win these elections by a huge margin if the elections are held smoothly and transparently — but that’s a bit ‘if.’ Reactionary forces are creating problems for him through various means. His billionaire opponents — who earn money through narcotics trade and other means of corruption — are using huge sums of money and violence to sabotage his campaign. But Ali Wazir, with few resources, collected through a countrywide campaign supported by workers, peasants and youth, is competing with these filthy rich representatives of a rotten and decaying system on the basis of his ideas and program.

“So on behalf of Ali Wazir and the Pakistan Trade Union Campaign I’d like to send greetings of solidarity to today’s demonstration against imperialism and drone attacks. The importance of these kinds of activities here in the “belly of the beast” cannot be underestimated. For those fighting imperialism, capitalism, fundamentalism, and drone attacks in the tribal regions of Pakistan, knowing that they have supporters and solidarity from the United States gives them courage to continue the struggle. The best way we can support their struggle is to fight for real, fundamental change here in the U.S. If you’d like to learn more about the PTUDC, you can visit ptudc.org.

“No to drones! No to imperialism! Inquilab zindabad!”

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