UNAC Statement: Coronavirus and the Antiwar Movement

Coronavirus and the Antiwar Movement

UNAC Administrative Committee, 3/18/20

The coronavirus is serious, and our movement needs to take it seriously.  We must protect ourselves and each other.  These are the sentiments that brought us to the movement in the first place.  For a coalition like UNAC, which has always supported street demonstrations, face-to-face meetings and mass actions, we need to rethink our activity during this period.  This means for now we need to rely more on social media and other non-contact forms of communication and protest.  A good example of this was the recent Sanctions Kill panel that was organized from the San Francisco Bay Area by the International Action Center, the Alliance for Global Justice and co-sponsored by UNAC.  We had projected a public forum as part of the weekend of actions to protest the unilateral sanctions that the US has imposed on countries that will not submit to the dictates of Washington and Wall Street.

To not spread the virus and to keep our movement safe, the public forum was changed to an on-line webinar that was also livestreamed on Facebook and viewed by thousands and had over 100 shares.  The panel speakers were all able to speak from their homes through the Zoom platform, and people were able to ask questions and make comments.  You can view the panel here.

Additionally, some people have started to use twitter hash tags to demonstrate and get noticed by a growing social media user community as more and more people are spending more time in their homes.  These are models that our movement should copy during this period and many of us may also learn how to use social media more effectively.

Although, we may need to make some changes in how we work for peace and justice, this is a time when we must re-double our efforts, because the coronavirus has laid bare many of the problems of this capitalist system of war and injustice.  We must use this opportunity to expose this, and help people draw the lessons from the period we are going through.  The Sanctions Kill actions are an example of this.

The US has sanctions on 39 countries.  To many of these countries, the US is denying medicine and medical equipment that could be used to save people’s lives during this pandemic and arrest its spread.  The coronavirus recognizes no borders and has spread around the world in a matter of weeks.  Sanctions are used to make people of a given country suffer in the hope that they will turn against their governement and build an opposition that US agencies and NGOs like the National Endowment of Democracy and US AID can take advantage of, attempt to turn them violent, and use as a vehicle for regime change.  These sanctions are nothing short of war by other means, and because they are aimed at civilians, they should be considered war crimes. Sanctions have killed millions and have been the preferred form of warfare in recent times as the US population turns more and more against outright invasions and occupations which has cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives….

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