‘Bush don’t come, you’re not wanted!’
The Global Peace and Justice Coalition (BAK) was set up in June 2003. It had three primary aims: 1. To build a unified campaign across Turkey, 2. To build much more organic links with the global anti-capitalist anti-war movement, 3. To mobilise those without organisation.
1. We have taken big steps in being organised across the country. BAK activists are now organising campaigns in 32 cities. In this way, we are able to build the same campaign in a co-ordinated way in many regions with a perspective to “Think globally, act locally”.
We organised the 27 September 2003 global day of action against the war in Ankara. About 10,000 opponents of the war from all over Turkey demonstrated in Ankara.
On 1 September 2003, we celebrated World Peace Day through simultaneous activities in İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Adana.
We organised activities in 6 cities at the same time against the government’s attempt to overturn the 1 March decision not to send troops to Iraq.
Local BAKs in all cities have regular organising meetings, press conferences and public meetings.
We have had countless meetings in Istanbul of 30-100 people. In Tekirdağ 1000 university and school students attended a meeting, in İzmir 1000 people at two universities, in Adana 70 at a first public meeting, in İzmir 250 at a cultural centre.
The BAK newsletter with a print-run of 7-10,000 every month is quickly distributed and used across the country.
2. Our links with the global anti-war movement are much stronger and we are an active part of the international movement. BAK delegates attended the 2nd European Social Forum in Paris last November. BAK spokespersons took part as speakers at several meetings in Paris.
Our delegates also took part at the ESF Preparatory Meetings in London in January and March. At about the same time as the January London meeting, other BAK delegates attended the international anti-war conference in Cairo.
Also in January, a BAK delegation led by Sami Evren, our spokesman and the chairman of the Confederation of Public Sector Unions (KESK) attended the WSF in Mumbai. Other BAK delegates have been involved in the Mediterranean Social Forum meetings in Barcelona in February and in Cyprus earlier this month.
BAK co-operates with the Peace Initiative in taking part in the International War Crimes Tribunal, a number of meetings of which have taken place in Istanbul and Izmir.
3. In mobilising ‘unorganised’ independent ordinary people there are thousands of steps we have taken and continue to take. The petition campaign we ran in the run up to the 27 September demonstration showed how attractive BAK’s basic logic and what BAK wants to do against the war and occupation is among ordinary people. Thousand queued in fron of our stands, signed the petitions and gave us their names and addresses. Similarly, the rock festival organised by BAK in opposition to a Coca Cola music festival in Istanbul last September brought together thousands of young people with anti-war activists and trade unionists.
4. On 24 January this year, BAK organised the “A World Without War is Possible” conference in Istanbul. Hundreds came to listen to speakers from Military Families Speak Out from the US, the Stop the War Coalition in Britain and the peace movement in Israel.
5. On 6 March, BAK took part in the trade union demonstration in Ankara against the government’s “reform” of public services. There were 100,000 on the demonstration and “Bush don’t come” petitions were used and the BAK newsletter distributed.
BAK members also took part in the two-day strikes of health service workers called for by their union and the Association of Doctors. Hundreds of BAK newsletters were distributed.
6. Together with the whole world on 20 March
On 20 March, the anniversary of the war on Iraq, as demonstrations were held in 370 cities across the world, BAK organised press conferences/demonstrations in 10 cities günü, yani Irak’ın işgalinin başlamasının birinci yılı,tüm dünyada protestolarla karşılandı.
7. Protests on 9-10 April
On the days when the occupation of Iraq turned into massacres in Falluja and elsewhere, BAK organised press conferences/demonstrations in İstanbul, Adana, İzmir, Bursa, Ordu and Trebizond.
A killer’s coming to town,
Bush don’t come, we don’t want you!
It is very important to have a broad campaign against the NATO Summit in Istanbul in June. As US Secretary of State said two months ago, the NATO Summit will be where the new role to be played by NATO, particularly in the Middle East, is to be decided.
No to NATO!
On the agenda of the Summit are the issues of Afghanistan, Iraq and the expansion of NATO. Being bogged down in a Viet Nam-style swamp in Iraq, its lies exposed, its legitimacy widely questioned, US imperialism will attempt at this Summit to regain some legitimacy, to make NATO take over responsibility for Iraq.
Bush and his cabinet are attempting to impose the “Project for a New American Century”. The occupation of Iraq has shown all of humanity what the “cost” of this project is. There are daily news from Iraq of death, massacres, arrests, raids and exploding bombs. It is in order to become one of the key organisations of this project that NATO will meet in Istanbul in June.
Bush don’t come, you’re not wanted!
The Global Peace and Justice Coalition started in October 2003 to build the basis of a campaign against the NATO Summit and the attendance of war criminals Bush and Blair.
At the beginning of January the “Bush don’t come, we don’t want you” campaign was launched and announced to the public. As part of the global movement, BAK believes that a campaign which targets Bush as the enemy is a powerful tool to expose the global organisations of imperialism.
As local BAKs continue to be set up in every city, in workplaces, universities and schools, as it continues to build a mass campaign on the single issue of the war and occupation, BAK promises to become the backbone of a social movement which brings together much greater forces than the usual suspects on the left.
We are full of hope. As 350,000 shouted in Genoa against G8, “Do not forget, we shall win!”