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St. Petersburg plans anti-war protest: No U.S. “advisors” in Iraq

By Matt Hastings

St. Petersburg, FL – On June 23, thirty activists gathered for a discussion panel on recent threats of U.S. intervention in Iraq. The panel was moderated by local progressive radio station WMNF, and included representatives from organizations like St. Pete for Peace, Green Party, Progressive Democrats of America, Uhuru Solidarity Movement, and the Nature Coast Coalition for Peace and Justice. People asked about US domination of the Middle East and how prolonged military intervention in the region caused the current crises in Iraq and elsewhere.

When asked why the U.S. is not invading Syria or Iran, Mike Fox of the Progressive Democrats stated, “because of everyone in this room!” Fox was asserting that anti-war organizers in Florida and across the country are effective at creating public opinion opposed to U.S. air strikes and military intervention. Other speakers pointed to the fact that Syria and Iran currently stand against U.S. imperialism and have built up defenses against U.S. intervention and war.

Brian Moore of NCCPJ said that because “capitalism is crumbling and failing” the U.S. does not have the resources to carry out military action against these countries. A question was also posed about what the difference may have been had McCain (in 2008) or Romney (in 2012) been elected. Jesse Nevel of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement argued that both Democrats and Republicans “represent contending sectors of the ruling class” that have “different strategies, but the same imperialist goals” when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.

The panelists were united in their belief that U.S. intervention of any kind would only bring more death and destruction to the people of Iraq. They praised the Iraqi people for resisting U.S. domination and exploitation of their country for over a decade. Panelists spoke to the U.S. corporate media's narrative that the tensions in Iraq are due to longstanding sectarian divisions. Some spoke on how sectarian warfare is promoted by the U.S. and NATO to divide regions amongst imperialist countries to create the conditions of domination in the ensuing chaos.

Speakers noted that the people of Iraq and other countries subject to U.S. imperialism are bravely resisting the conditions and colonial borders imposed upon them by the West. The panelists and audience plan to organize against any threats of U.S. war and take to the streets in protest.  Gage Lacharite of Tampa Bay-Students for a Democratic Society said, “The protest will be yet another showing of anti-war and anti imperialist sentiment against MacDill AFB, the home of Special Ops in America.”

Organizers in the St. Pete/Tampa area are planning a demonstration for June 27 at 4pm on the corner of Gandy and Dale Mabry Boulevard, near the entrance to MacDill Air Force Base, home of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) where plans for U.S. warfare are drawn up.

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