ANSWER Coalition statement at opening rally of KorUS-FTA protests

This statement was delivered on Feb. 11 by Sarah Sloan, National Staff Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

On behalf of the ANSWER Coalition we want to express our gratitude to the delegates who have come all the way from Korea to give leadership to the struggle against the FTA as well as to those who have traveled from across the U.S. to be here in D.C. this week.

We consider the movement in South Korea—the labor movement, farmers’ movement, women’s movement, the movement for reunification—to be not only a central force on the Korean peninsula, but a source of inspiration to the people of the world who are fighting for justice.

From the point of view of the ANSWER Coalition we consider the FTA and the U.S. effort to impose a new type of economic colonialism on Korea to be a continuation of a policy that has lasted since September 1945 when U.S. troops took the place of the Japanese imperialists in an effort to dominate the people of Korea.

We consider it to be of vital importance that the anti-war movement demonstrate its opposition to all of the tactics utilized by the U.S. government in pursuit of neo-colonial domination whether its war and occupation or economic intervention through free trade agreements and global financial institutions.

That’s why, when tens of thousands of people march on the Pentagon on March 17, 2007, to say “U.S. out of Iraq now,” on the fourth anniversary of the invasion, we will also say no to economic colonialism and demand an end to the U.S. government meddling in the affairs of the Korea people.

We will recognize that fist of the Pentagon that backs up the men in suits sitting at the Washington Court Hotel carrying out the KorUS FTA negotiations and we will educate those who are opposed to the Iraq war about the six decade long war the U.S. government has waged against the Korean people.

It is a testament to the righteousness of the Korean people’s struggle that during these long decades the movement for genuine independence and freedom has not been extinguished. On the contrary, it has continued to burn brighter and brighter.

We have another reason to express our gratitude. It has been your physical presence on the doorstep of the negotiations—in D.C. in June 2006, in Seattle in September, in Montana in December, and now right here on the doorstep of the White House—that has brought to the attention of the American people what the FTA is all about.

The last eight months of struggle against the KorUS FTA has inspired us to do everything in our power to bring the message of these protests to the millions of workers in the United States who must join with their brothers and sisters in Korea in fighting against the FTA.

It has been a great honor to have been a part of this struggle and we pledge to continue to be a part of it until the FTA is defeated.

Click here to read about the KorUS FTA 7th round protests in Washington.

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