HISTORY OF Anti-War Coalition from Poznań
of antimilitaristic activity in Poland dates back to the middle of 80's.
Then country-wide movement Wolność i Pokój (WiP) (Freedom and
Peace) has been founded. Its main purpose was disarmament in the both
side of the Iron Curtain. What for WiP meant in practice the fight against
obligatory military service. At that time several tens objectors were
in prisons. As a result of spectacular protests in 1988 the state has
introduced a possibility of supplementery military service for people
who quote an objections of conscience. The movement, involving 90% of
students, organized massy boycotts of military schooling in Poznan in
1988 and 1989, what led to removing obligatory military service from universities.
Thanks to WiP and NZS (Independent Union of Students) the duration of
supplementary military service has been also cut significantly since 1988.
was repeatedly violated in the next years. Despite the falling number
of repressions next antimilitarists were put into prisons. Officially
WiP has never stopped existing, but its activity has been taken over by
the Anarchist Federation at the beginning of the 90's. That organization
has continued to run so-called agencies giving advice to people who want
to get supplementary military service. Such help was available by "Objector"
Association, and since 1994 it has been offered by Pogotowie Antywojskowe
"Szwejk"(Antimilitary Emergency Service "Szwejk").
All the time demonstrations and direct actions against persecuting people
who refuse joining military service were being organized. In 1997 for
instance several tens people occupied courtroom during lawsuit in the
military curt in Poznan against 23 years pacifist who was condemned to
one and half year imprisonment. Terrified judges had to be freed by the
police and a fire brigade. Numerous demonstrations against joining NATO
by Poland, during conflict in the former Yugoslavia and intervention in
Afghanistan took place. Every year antimilitary Easter Marches, like in
Germany, have became a tradition. Moreover, anti-war movement from Poznan
was seriously engaged in protests against wars in Checheny and in organizing
help for Russia's victims. During one demonstration outside the Russian
consulate in Poznan a few of demonstrators trespassed on the institution.
That radical action has helped to widely publicize the problem of the
war in Checheny in Poland and overseas.
In the face of growing number of international demonstrations against the war in Iraq in 2003, we decided to call together all opponents of that armed intervention from Poznan. Several tens people came to the open meeting in the middle of 2003. Then the Anti-War Coalition from Poznan was founded which now gathers people from anarchistic, pacifist and autonomist movements. Our first aim, which had been to organize big, well-prepared demonstration, evolved into continuous campaign. During several months we have organized protests, happenings, rallies, cultural events, "children against war" exhibition of works made by schoolchildren. Food not Bombs has been reactivated and continues to hand out free meals on the streets. Our activity has been supported by academics, actors and trade unions. At present the Anti-War Coalition from Poznan has already started a campaign against alleged presence of the US military base in Poland.
US MILITARY BASES IN POLAND?
US is a country that has the largest number of military quarters abroad.
Regarding their structure and legal status, more than 725 American military
quarters are not colonies, but they remain beyond any legal jurisdiction
and control of the countries in which they are stationed.
we got rid of the huge Soviet military bases which had not only been
a problem of a political, but also of social and economic nature.
we give up the protest, this will mean our passive consent. Let's not
forget our rights and let's demand of the authorities to respect them!
APPEAL FOR SUPPORT OF CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE US MILITARY BASE IN POLAND
The US vice-minister of defense, Doulas Feith, arrived to Poland on the 8th of December. His visitation has opened unofficial negotiations concerning opening the US military base in Poland. That way the United States began discussions of "organization and modernization" of American military forces that probably will result in building the first American military base in Kshesin (by Poznan, west Poland). Unofficial information claims that Kshesin, located close to the National Park, can receive one US group of 16 battle machines from Germany and military unit servicing F-16 airplanes.
An extract from the local newspaper: "The Feith's visit has proved that the United States was stepping up discussions with key European allies about the overhaul of US global military deployments. Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of US defense, who passed on that new during the last NATO debate, informed of US state representatives' visits in countries chosen by the US and subsequent arduous negotiations. Anyway, Feith highlighted that the first decisions on possible movement of American military bases to Poland will not be finalized in close future. Negotiations of conditions can last even couple of years (...) According to general Slawomir Petlicki, founder of GROM (special commando unit), the decision about setting up the US military base in Poland has been already made by the Americans."
Our movement is opposed to presence of the American base in Poland. Taking into consideration the military significance of the issue, it seems quite possible that the biggest part of negotiations will be kept in secret and any influence on the decision will be difficult. The Polish government announced prior "public consultation". We believe that the best way to stop that project is to mobilize the local community in Kshesin. Although the official negotiations has just started, pro-government media have already described benefits for Poland if the base is set up. Prime Minister Leszek Miller said in an interview that "Poland is ready to allow US bases on its territory if such a request was made". In order to stop that ridiculous idea and make our voice noticeable and louder than government's propaganda we need strong countr-arguments. We have decided to focus on economical, ecological, social and safety arguments against the base:
economical reasons- one of the most important for the local community. The government will for sure propagandize the issue of profits for the area around the base. New workplaces (civilians servicing the base), orders for Polish companies that will build and modernize the base, food orders etc. are said to appear. That might be true, although we have heard that reality looks slightly different (for example in Germany)- the civil staff is reduced, the Americans prefer to employ US companies, the local community become dependent what makes all subsequent Americans savings extremely damaging for local people. We need any reliable information, if possible supported by examples from countries were American bases have been already set up.
ecological reasons- we are looking for any examples of adverse impacts of present bases on the environment, what include every day base's work and planes' take-offs as well. Especially that the base in Kshesin will be close to the National Park.
social reasons- concerning relationship between US soldiers' and the local community. For example, status of soldiers who commit a crime, attempt to hide it etc. All accidents connected with base's working, for instance famous case of shooting the cable railway in Italy (we have only incomplete information about it).
question of safety- the government's propaganda will try to prove that the level of safety in Poland will increase when the base is open. In our opinion, the presence of American army can only jeopardize the safety of our land. Concerning the US forces' criminal activity around the world, US units are particularly susceptible to attacks and may become target for not only extremist group. It means that the local community might became an accidental victim of such attacks. We need every information about attacks on American units besides areas of war.
First and foremost, political reasons are the most important for us, but we need to support them with all reasonable information concerning present American bases around the world. It will make our message more clear and effective. We ask for every info about subjects above, and all helpful matters that were not mention here. Even the most seemingly insignificant news can be extremely useful. Given that all action has international meaning we also are looking for all notes and even short descriptions of previous worldwide campaigns against the American bases. We need information about their effects and successes in particular.
If you could help, write us (the best way in English or Polish): firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 5, 60-966 Poznan, Poland.
Thank you for help. Please, send it to everyone who may help us.
Posnanian Anti-war Coalition
OPEN LETTER TO THE EUROPEAN SOCIETIES
The war has started, although we wanted to avoid it at all costs. This unjust war has been triggered with cynicism and deliberately
For many weeks, Polish social organisations have protested against this war and against the participation of Polish Army in the conflict. We express the opinion of a great majority of Polish citizens. Nearly 70 percent of them is against the war and stands for peace. Thousands of people have already revealed their disagreement in numerous demonstrations organised in Poland.
The president Aleksander Kwaśniewski and the prime minister Leszek Miller, who support the interest of USA and send Polish troops to Iraq, do not act on behalf of Polish society. Making decisions without society's permission, they have abused the democratic rules. Moreover, they have committed a crime against both Polish and international law, using military force without citizens' will. Last weeks' events confirmed antidemocratic and antisocial attitude of Polish government. Violence has become their common language, what we could clearly observe on 20th March, when a peaceful antiwar demonstration in Warsaw was brutally dispersed by the police.
We would like to assure all the European countries that a great majority of us do not support Polish government's policy. Our movement demands withdrawing Polish troops from Iraq. We don't allow American Army to be on the territory of Poland as we were against the presence of Soviet Army on our lands. We disagree spending 8 bilion dollars on military equipment, mainly produced by the Americans. The government should rather face the huge unemployment that has reached nearly 20 percent and the lack of money in national budget for medical and social care.
the European societies in the fight for peace. We hope that the general,
widespread protest against the war will be continued, according to all
free nations of the world will.
Poznańska Koalicja Antywojenna www.antywojenna.prv.pl, Krakowska Koalicja Antywojenna www.kka.w.pl, Wrocławska Koalicja Antywojenna www.wojna-stop.prv.pl, Stowarzyszenie Inicjatyw Społecznych "Ulica", International Fluxus Art Group "Double Travel", Redakcja pisma "Ulicy Wszystkich Świętych" , Sekcja polska Central European Press Corporation of REGIOPOLIS, Komitet Pamięci Ofiar Stalinizmu - Instytut Badań Stalinizmu i Patologii Władzy, Inicjatywa Pracownicza - Piła , Stowarzyszenie "Obywatel", Redakcja dwumiesięcznika "Obywatel", Harcerski Ruch Ochrony Środowiska im. św. Franciszka z Asyżu , ATTAC Poland , Grupa Artystyczna "Białe Gawrony", Nurt Lewicy Rewolucyjnej, Redakcja Pisma "Versus", Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczno-Kulturalno-Wolnościowe "KRZYK", Portal internetowy http://www.evot.org , Federacja na rzecz Kobiet i Planowania Rodziny - Warszawa, Grupa "Pro Life", Nieformalna Grupa DURGA - Wrocław , Grupa Wrocławska "Społeczeństwo Aktywne" , Pacyfistyczna Komenda Uzupelnień, Redakcja pisma "Robotnik Śląski".