The Counter-Summit for Peace & Economic Justice was remarkable.
It brought together traditional peace movement activists and economic justice organizers from across the country (from as far as Alabama and California – not to mention Boston, New York and the Midwest) and from Germany, Greece, Britain, France, Sweden, Ireland, Mexico and even Nepal. We also received a lot of great media coverage.
The conference – including our 28 workshops – not only helped build the movement for complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and to move the money from Pentagon spending to meeting human needs, but helped build the peace and justice movement for the longer term: deepening people’s understandings of NATO as an aggressive global military alliance focused on securing resources; and the links between NATO and war preparations on the one hand and their impacts on our communities on the other.
We had informative and inspiring plenary remarks — including a surprise visit from Jesse L. Jackson — and welcoming speeches by Chicago City Alderman Joe Moore and Roger Cole of the Irish Peace & Neutrality Alliance. You can view video of all four plenaries right here on our website.
The Counter-Summit was also a model of collaboration. American Friends Service Committee and Peace Action played a leading role in planning and organizing the event along with 37 other co-sponsoring organizations from U.S. and international peace and justice movements. We didn’t have the millions of dollars and corporate sponsors the NATO Summit had; we depended on grassroots donations, dedicated volunteers and collective effort to pull off our Counter-Summit.
We believe we built relationships – the foundation of any organizing and integrated social movement – for the long term.
The Network for a NATO-Free Future released a statement at the close of the Counter-Summit that sums up our experience and common belief: a new global peace and justice movement is rising to oppose NATO, war and militarism.
Thanks to all who participated in Chicago or watched from afar. If you would like to help offset the costs of the Counter-Summit, your donations are still welcome.