think globally, resist locally: resistance today in toronto

I'm excited about the Bush protest today. There should be a strong turnout and a fair amount of media. War resister Joshua Key, in town for his court-ordered IRB hearing next week, will be among the speakers.

Tonight, I'm attending the kick-off event of "Global Crisis, Global Resistance," this year's Marxism conference, an annual event organized by International Socialists Canada. I'll be working on the weekend, as always, but I'm very glad that I can attend this one event. Speakers include:

  • Matthis Chiroux, a US Army Sergeant who refused to deploy to Iraq,

  • Darshika Selvasivam, a Tamil refugee from Sri Lanka, and recently-elected Vice President Campaigns & Advocacy at the York Federation of Students,

  • Nikos Lountos, a graduate student from Greece, and a participant in the mass movement sparked last December,

  • John Cartwright, President, Toronto & York Region Labour Council, and

  • Virgnia Rodino, a US anti-war activist and socialist.

    It promises to be an enlightening and inspiring evening. Tickets are only $5, and it's not too late to buy one at the door.

    Friday, May 29, 2009
    7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Ryerson Students' Centre, 55 Gould Street, Toronto

    * * * *

    Matthis Chiroux was a US Army photojournalist who announced his refusal to deploy to Iraq at last year's Winter Soldier Iraq/Afghanistan event.
    Good afternoon. My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines. As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter servicemember's stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq. For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand.

    In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq.

    This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.

    Matthis' blog is here: Matthis Resists.
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