The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is coming to Washington, D.C., on April 4. We’re organizing a peace festival to unwelcome them.
Wednesday, April 3 at St. Stephen’s Church, 1525 Newton St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010:
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Art-Making Workshop, and Nonviolence Protest/Activist Training (munch on vegan snacks, make art, and plan for the April 4 protest)
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Art-Making & Exhibits, Interactive Booths, Vegan Food & Drink (food & drinks available throughout the evening)
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Keynote Speeches
8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: Concert
Thursday, April 4
Plans to include a procession from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to a rally at Freedom Plaza, and nonviolent demonstrations outside the NATO meeting. Details TBA.
Other No to NATO events:
Saturday, March 30 @ 1:00 p.m. Rally at Lafayette Park
Tuesday, April 2 No to NATO – Yes to Peace and Disarmament Counter-Summit
Thursday, April 4 evening Black Alliance for Peace Celebration
Why? NATO is coming to DC to mark 70 years since its creation on April 4, 1949. NATO is the largest military alliance in the world with the largest military spending (roughly three-quarters of the world total) and nuclear stockpiles. While claiming to “preserve peace,” NATO has violated international law and bombed Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. NATO has exacerbated tensions with Russia and increased the risk of nuclear apocalypse. The notion that supporting NATO is a way to cooperate with the world ignores superior non-deadly ways to cooperate with the world.
Our Message: War is a leading contributor to the growing global refugee and climate crises, the basis for the militarization of the police, a top cause of the erosion of civil liberties, and a catalyst for racism and bigotry. We’re calling for the abolition of NATO, the promotion of peace, the redirection of resources to human and environmental needs, and the demilitarization of our cultures. Instead of celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary, we’re celebrating peace on April 4, in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against war on April 4, 1967, as well as his assassination on April 4, 1968.
The Case Against NATO:
While Donald Trump once blurted out the obvious: that NATO is obsolete, he subsequently professed his commitment to NATO and began pressuring NATO members to buy more weapons. So, the notion that somehow NATO is anti-Trump and therefore good would not only be silly and practically amoral on its own terms, it is also at odds with the facts of Trump’s behavior. We are planning an anti-NATO / pro-peace action at which opposition to the militarism of NATO’s dominant member is welcome and necessary.
NATO has pushed the weaponry and the hostility and the massive so-called war games right up to the border of Russia. NATO has waged aggressive wars far from the North Atlantic. NATO has added a pertnership with Colombia, abandoning all pretense of its purpose being in the North Atlantic. NATO is used to free the U.S. Congress from the responsibility and the right to oversee the atrocities of U.S. wars. NATO is used as cover by NATO member governments to join U.S. wars under the pretense that they are somehow more legal or acceptable. NATO is used as cover to illegally and recklessly share nuclear weapons with supposedly non-nuclear nations. NATO is used to assign nations the responsibility to go to war if other nations go to war, and therefore to be prepared for war. NATO’s militarism threatens the earth’s environment. NATO’s wars fuel racism and bigotry and erode our civil liberties while draining our wealth.
We must say: No to NATO, Yes to peace, Yes to prosperity, Yes to a sustainable environment, Yes to civil liberties, Yes to education, Yes to a culture of nonviolence and kindness and decency, Yes to remembering April 4th as a day associated with the work for peace of Martin Luther King Jr.
“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, ‘What about Vietnam?’ They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” —MLK Jr.