This site is a static archive. Visit the current IWW website at ▸
Skip to main content

Grand Rapids Wobbly Participates in Occupation of Senator Levin's Office in Response to Troop Escalation in Afghanistan

Why We Occupied Senator Levin’s Office Today, we occupied Senator Carl Levin’s office in Grand Rapids as a protest against the current administration’s decision to escalate the US war in Afghanistan. We do this not simply because we are against war, but because this decision by the Obama administration is unjust. The US is not in Afghanistan to bring Democracy – Since 1979, the US has supported anti-democratic forces such as the Mujahadeen, the Northern Alliance, the Taliban and a variety of individual warlords. The US has also supported the current regime of Karzai, knowing full well that his administration has been corrupt from the beginning. The US is not in Afghanistan to protect the rights of Women – The groups of armed men that the US has supported for decades, like the Mujahadeen, are some of the most misogynist groups in that country. Even under the current government of Karzai, a law was passed that essentially legalized the rape of women. Afghan Women’s groups like RAWA and the Afghan Women’s Mission have made it very clear that if those of us in the US want to support women in Afghanistan then we should work for an end to the US military occupation of their country. The US is not in Afghanistan to Prevent Terrorism – Many credible members of the US intelligence community have stated in recent years that there is no link between the Taliban and Al Qaida. The Taliban did not attack the US on September 11, 2001. The Taliban are a nationalist group that wants the US out of their country. In fact, we would say that the US occupation of Afghanistan only gives rise to potential acts of terror and feeds a growing anti-American sentiment. What the US is doing in Afghanistan has more to do with long-term strategic interests. We believe that the US recognizes that Afghanistan is a bridge between the Middle East and Central Asia, that it borders Iran, Pakistan, China and other important countries. We believe that the US sees Afghanistan as playing an important role in the control of future resources in that region, both because it will likely be a major trans-shipment point to move oil and gas in the region, but also because it can act as a US outpost to prevent China, India and Russia from gaining access to the region’s resources. The US is currently expanding military bases it has had there since 2001, as well as constructing new bases in strategic locations throughout Afghanistan, which implies that the US, like in Iraq, has no plans to leave that country for a long time to come. The US recently built a 1,100 person prison facility at Bagram Air Base, which is another indication that the US has no timely withdraw plans. We are occupying Senator Levin’s office today because this war is now primarily at the feet of the Democratic Party. The Democrats control the White House and the Congress and is therefore the major force behind this escalating war in Afghanistan. Senator Levin may have tactical disagreements with how the war is being prosecuted (he has supported more training for an Afghan Army), but he supports the fundamental premise of the White House that the US occupation of Afghanistan is in the National Security interest of the US. We know that our occupation of Senator Levin’s office will not stop the escalating US war in Afghanistan, but we cannot be silent. Senator Levin needs to know that he cannot support President Obama’s prosecution of this brutal war in our name. We also act today in order to send a message to those who call themselves progressives. We strongly encourage all progressives to ask themselves if they really believe the lies about Afghanistan and to stop supporting this escalating war. We ask them to stop being silent and to take action that leads toward an end of the US occupation in Afghanistan. We ask people of good will to think about the escalating cost of this war, which as of today, has cost over $232 billion dollars for the country and $122 million from the residents of Grand Rapids. Considering the current economic struggles that people face in this community, how can we support a war that costs so much? We ask people to think about the relationship between the US military industrial complex and global warming (see the book Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism). The US military is one of the single largest polluters on the planet and exists primarily for the purpose of stealing other countries fossil fuels. (see the film Blood & Oil, by Michael Klare). We ask people to think about whether or not they want their family members or their friends who might be deployed to Afghanistan to participate in the killing of innocent Afghani civilians or to come home traumatized, wounded or dead. There is a growing movement of US troops who oppose the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and we need to hear their voices. We ask people to talk about this war, to educate themselves and to take action – write letters, sign petitions, yes, but more importantly engage in direct action! Take to the streets, prevent young men and women from entering the US military, confront the corporations that are profiting from this war, don’t pay your taxes, don’t vote for people who support war, organize a march, organize a sit in, shut down a military recruiting center . . . do something! End the US Occupation of Afghanistan Now! Bring the Troops Home! Pay Reparations to Afghanistan for the Damage We Have Done to Their Country!