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October Meeting of Missoula IOPS

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Eight members and five guests attended the Oct.22 meeting of Missoula IOPS at the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center. Because many had not had time to complete the survey around goals and expectations, the discussion was tabled till Nov. meeting. We talked a little bit about process and decision making, including various democratic/consensus type models that might be employed.

We were excited to have a special guest for the evening, Jhon Jairo, President of the Port Workers Union in Buenaventura Colombia. Jhon is ciurently touring the Northwest with representatives of the organization Witness For Peace, talking to communities about the difficult, often violent struggle of unionists in that troubled country. Jhon explained how he and his fellow dock workers are truly on the front lines of the battle over neo-liberal hegemony as the capitalist forces, combined with a US supported, right-wing administration, continue the decades-long assault on union solidarity and the social movements with which they are aligned.

Those who have followed events in Colombia know that this is a protracted struggle which has resulted in violent repression from government and para-military forces and terrible loss of life, displacement and suffering. It epitomizes the horrific side of "globlalization" and trade liberalization, sold to the unwitting American Public as a front on the "War on Drugs/ Terror".  It is in reality a war on autonomy and those progressive social movements which dare to question the total dominance of Capital. And it is not a war which is going well.

Witness For Peace is an amazing organization which puts together inexpensive, well-planned delegations to countries experiencing the effects of US policy. It gives participants direct contact with those affected and first-hand experience (witnessing) at a very "human" level. I had the honor of joining one of their first delegations to Venezuela and it was remarkable. Their critique is not explicitly anti-capitalist, but they are not afraid to use the language of empire, imperialism or exploitation. If you get a chance, check them out.

Discussion 1 Comments

  • Mark Evans 3rd Nov 2013

    Witness For Peace sounds like a great initiative and having guests from such organisations to speak at local IOPS chapter meeting seems like a very good idea. Needles to say that if we had a network of local chapters it would be possible to organise regional and national tours for such good causes. That is the kind of solidarity work IOPS could engage, if...

    Thanks Dave.