Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Against Imperialist War and NATO
Objectives for the Second Sessions
We are witnessing a constant of wars of all kinds and the construction of a war-oriented future whose consequences for humankind promise to be catastrophic. In the meantime, the populations of the powers responsible for this escalation stand remote from these events. They view them as if they were mere anecdotes, unable to grasp the risk to which they too are exposed by a world that is socially unjust, ecologically destructive and politically perverse—a world sustained by perpetual war.
The driving force behind this war is imperialism: “The domination by one country of the political, economic, or cultural life of another country”. In times past hegemony was disputed by different empires, but today there is only one imperial hegemon, the USA, to which the other countries in the bloc of developed Western countries lend support from positions of subordination.
The strength of imperialist war lies in its structural and systemic nature; in other words this war is part and parcel of the system that produces it and of the dynamics and interrelationships that regulate its functioning. Imperialist war is thus not an option but part of a form of social, political, economic and cultural organization that is defined as capitalism.
This system is defined by economic accumulation and the build-up of the power and relations necessary for its self-perpetuation, and it prevails both in subject territories and within the empire itself. This explains why war is spreading all over the planet. At the same time, this system of plunder and exploitation inevitably produces resistance, and to overcome this the empire must resort to force.
Imperialist war is necessary for the survival of the system prevailing in the world today, which is why it is ever-expanding, with constant growth of war-making capacity and development of new methods of domination. Any element of whatever nature will be used if it is deemed effective; anyone opposing or even getting in the way of its goals will be viewed as an enemy and treated accordingly.
The structural, systemic nature of imperialist war is not on open display—it must remain hidden, hence the tremendous efforts devoted to media warfare and the resort to falsification and manipulation to try and invert the perception of cause and effect. The empire never admits to attacking. It always acts in self-defence to ward off a threat, and it never admits that it subjugates; it always acts in defence of freedom, human rights and democracy. The normal procedure for constructing the fiction operates in three stages: criminalization, isolation and destruction. First an enemy is fabricated, then he is weakened, and finally he is eliminated or subjugated.
Just as war is ever-expanding, so are its instruments: military budgets grow and major centres of power call for progressive increases in the future. The grand military alliance NATO includes ever more member countries. It is establishing permanent bases over broad territorial areas and enhancing its warlike potential, always under US command.
This expansion has been accompanied by a process of diversification and specialization and the combination of different forms of war, as well as local, regional and continental strategies. The media war opens the hostilities and persists throughout the process. Economic warfare is combined with direct or indirect military action—armies may be regular forces, proxy countries, mercenaries, religion-based. External and internal actions are combined to create conflicts that may culminate in coups d’état or even civil wars. Indeed, imperialist warmongers have produced some new ways of taking power—the so-called ‘colour revolutions’, parliamentary coups, etc.
The product of imperialist war betrays all the features of a war of domination. On one side we have the victims, whole peoples despoiled of their lands, their goods, their culture, parts of their bodies, or their lives. The vast majority of these victims are civilians, generally from the most vulnerable sectors—women, children, etc. On the other side we have an ever more powerful empire, with greater capacity to dominate, ever more bloated corporations, the military-industrial complex, the exploitation of conquered territories, the reconstruction racket, overexploitation of the victims …
In spite of all this, people, groups, organizations and whole populations refuse to give in and stoutly resist the imperialist drive.
The overriding goal of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Against Imperialist War and NATO is to support these resistance movements through the denunciation and the moral and political condemnation of the persons responsible for imperialist war as the basis for a movement of radical opposition to this barbarity.
To that end, the Tribunal has identified the following Overall Objectives:
- To expose the nature, rationale and strategies of imperialist war, and to help construct a narrative that brings together all struggles against imperialism.
- To disseminate the results of our work and so contribute to the development of a collective anti-imperialist consciousness.
- To help build forms of organization to combat imperialist war.
- To abolish the impunity of those responsible.
In these Second Sessions, the Tribunal’s specific objectives are to analyse, denounce and condemn:
- The accelerating expansion of imperialism and its supra-national dimension
- The drive to subjugate vast regions and continents
- The growing threat of war worldwide
- The generalization of internal conflicts as a form of imperialist war
- The systematic resort to “parliamentary” coups
- Harassment of anyone defying US hegemony
- The evolution of NATO into an offensive force adjunct to the US army
- The involvement of regional powers in the provoking of conflicts
Deactivation of resistance as a tool of war
- Criminalization, dispossession and instrumentalization of victims
All this will be discussed and debated in sections organized by war scenario and from the viewpoint of the victims. Specific objectives have been established in this respect for each Panel.
What we seek is to show that the imperialist dynamic always entails making war against anyone resisting domination, and that in this war the empire selects its strategies according to the particular scenario, although all present common features.