Sunday, 8 December 2019
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Rally against the Halifax International Security Forum, photos and a poem by El Jones

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KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – It was cold and windy yesterday afternoon, but that didn’t stop some 40 people from showing up at the Peace and Freedom Park, across from the Westin Hotel.

The hotel is where the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) is held. HISF is seen as an opportunity for military types, politicians and lobbyists from some 90 countries in the US sphere of influence to talk about the politics of war and imperialism. 

The HISF is partially financed by public money, to the tune of some $3.3 million annually.

The protesters gathered to listen to speeches and a spoken word poem by El Jones, and altogether to show their great displeasure with the HISF, and its efforts to weaken democratically elected progressive governments and promote imperialist wars.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, a similar protest was taking place.

These rallies began in 2009 with a mass picket and a rally when the Security Forum first came to Halifax. It was at that time that the statue was first covered and Cornwallis Park was renamed the Peace and Freedom Park. 

Now the statue has been removed, and there is a lesson there, suggests Kathrin Winkler, of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace.

“We are in a park that reminds us that true change is possible. We are also in a park that reminds us that things move slowly, but that change comes, and that it comes from us,” said Winkler. 

Notably absent this year was Alan Bezanson, a driving force behind the yearly protests, who couldn’t attend for health reasons.

“From my warm apartment I send greetings to all of you standing in the cold. Keep up the struggle to dismantle NATO, and to make Canada a zone of peace,” he wrote in a letter that was read at the rally.

Margaret Kimberley. Photo Robert Devet

Margaret Kimberley, the Editor and Senior Columnist of the excellent Black Agenda Report, here at the invitation of the rally’s organizers, also spoke briefly.

“We must say no to war, no to any kinds of interventions, no to sanctions which are just wars by other means. Every country has a right to its sovereignty, no nation has the right to impose its will on another. 

We are not fooled when we are told that a certain leader is a demon, who gasses his own people, commits atrocities. They know that when they tell us the truth about why they intervene the public will reject it, so they lie. 

“We are not secure, the rest of the world is insecure because of the United States and its allies. The rest of the world is insecure because of NATO. There is no reason for NATO to exist except to kill and destroy, in Libya, in Syria and fill in the blanks for whatever is coming up somewhere else. 

“We know not to believe what we are told of Bolivia. We know that any country that is trying to become independent from this hegemon, when such a leader emerges they are killed, its people are  attacked. We are against war, we are always for peace, we are always for the people, we know that you cannot be for the people and be for war also.”

Photo Robert Devet

Not one more drop, a poem by El Jones

They say there’s one rule for the few and another for the many

Trillions of dollars for the banks and the poor get not a penny

And they’ve convinced us all that the crumbs they give are plenty 

And that’s why people in Alberta elected Jason Kenney

Well that, and that they always have some brown folk as the enemy 

When Indigenous people block the pipelines they send the military 

And there’s lead all in the water but is water necessary?

And you can’t even afford the plot in your family cemetary

But just blame the immigrants in the media commentary 

They’ve got the white folks marching to save the job of millionaire Don Cherry 

And whether we wear poppies got the white folk in a frenzy

And in the Toronto mayoral election the third place was a nazi 

They voted in Doug Ford because his brother seemed so friendly 

And they’ll sell you dollar beers while your pension fund stays empty

Don’t have any savings while your banker drives a bentley 

And they hold up billionaires as people we should envy 

Children in this country can’t put breakfast in their belly 

People on assistance can’t even pay to ride the ferry

They make billions off the weapons that are used against Yemenis 

But if you possess a gun well then the courts will give you twenty 

But when corporations violate the government won’t condemn them 

Because there’s one law for the people but for the rich the laws are bendy 

And you end your life in debt and the burden is too heavy 

So your kids go off to foreign countries where they end up buried 

 

So to the killers at the top not one more drop 

Generals guards and cops not one more drop 

And they plunder steal and rob

And they strip us of our jobs 

But we will not join their mob not one more drop 

Not one more drop of poor and working class blood for their capitalistic wars

 

So they send the working class to die in wars they can’t find in the atlas 

Military surplus goes to cops who use black men as target practice

They keep the oil wells running guarded by private military contractors 

While the sanctions they imposed killed millions of Iraqis 

In their black site prisons locals tortured by their captors

But then they say that terrorism was caused by other factors 

Military budget keeps exploding like a nuclear reactor 

While the livelihood of ordinary people broken into fractures

They’ll offer luxury condos to the Toronto Raptors 

While the homeless on the street can’t even find a benefactor 

When wikileaks showed their war crimes they imprisoned all the hackers 

And they fire all the athletes who tell us black lives matter 

But the war machine keeps rolling like wheat into a tractor 

Hollywood propaganda we’ve got snipers played by actors 

And they tell us hope and change came with president Obama 

So the people vote again for their neoliberal masters 

Don’t even watch the news it’s all corporate paid chatter 

All designed for you to serve your children on a platter 

Slavery is a choice says another foolish rapper 

And now Amazon’s invested so your doorbell is a tracker 

Well the workers are on food stamps and death row is getting blacker 

Preaching prosperity gospel so you’re brainwashed by your pastor 

Corporations making money after every environmental disaster 

They sent the UN troops to Haiti and spread cholera in the water 

And so there’s endless war and endless blood that splatters 

Syria Afghanistan Somalia its all another chapter 

And there’s always some brown person that they’ll say is the attacker

And every politician paid by corporate backers 

 

So to the killers at the top not one more drop 

Generals guards and cops not one more drop 

And they plunder steal and rob

So they strip us of our jobs 

But we will not join their mob not one more drop 

Not one more drop of poor and working class blood for their capitalistic wars

 

So now there’s open slave markets because the US destroyed Libya

We took in a few thousand refugees and say we’re saving Syria 

Stoke the terrorism from Turkey to Nigeria

And now a military coup that’s taking down Bolivia 

They say they’re white and Christian so they cut Indigenous insignia

Bolnasaro in Brazil kills black folk like it’s just trivial 

Canadian mining companies in the Amazon with private militia 

Rain forest burning but we raise money for the Notre Dame Basilica

Cause white supremacy is spreading across the globe like a bacteria

There’s wars across the border between Pakistan and India 

British colonial legacies left conflict in every arena 

But they say that we’re just savage and they talk of us as primitive 

So Trump builds a border wall just like the walls in Israel 

Obama used his drone strikes to send teenagers to oblivion 

There’s bases across the world from Japan to the Caribbean 

And the powerful manipulate the people to be their useful idiots 

Race and religion are their tools to sow division

Populist politicians while rich folk rake in another billion 

And the rich buy all the votes while the ballot box is filling 

Cause the military industrial complex always makes a killing 

 

So to the killers at the top not one more drop 

Generals guards and cops not one more drop 

They can plunder steal and rob

They can strip us of our jobs 

But we will not join their mob not one more drop 

Not one more drop of poor and working class blood for their capitalistic wars

Not one more drop of Black and working class blood for their imperialistic wars.

 

See also: Tony Seed: Opposition against Halifax war conference spreads to Ontario

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