On Friday, August 31, the Mexico Caravan for Peace and Justice with Dignity will stop at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia at 11:00am to highlight the connection between SOA/WHINSEC and the thousands murdered during the past 6 years in the so-called “War on Drugs” in Mexico.
Fort Benning is one of the largest military bases in the world, and home to the notorious School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC). The SOA/ WHINSEC is a U.S.-Army military training school for Latin
American security personnel located at Fort Benning, Georgia. Renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001, the school has been pumping out assassins, death squad leaders and human rights abusers for dirty work in Latin America since its founding in 1946.
Dubbed the “School of Assassins,” the SOA/WHINSEC is a school that is synonymous with torture and military repression for millions around the world. Graduates of the school have a long history of participating in and orchestrating killings, rapes, targeted violence and the suppression of popular movements. Research continues to turn up SOA grad involvement in human rights violations across the Americas.
From November 16-18, 2012, thousands of human rights activists, torture survivors, anti-war veterans, students, families, union workers, artists, and others will once again converge at Fort Benning, Georgia, to call for an end to the “War on Drugs,” an end to U.S. militarization of the Americas and the closure of the SOA!
The 2012 November Vigil is taking place 10 days after the U.S. presidential elections and is our chance to set the agenda for justice. If you have stood vigil at the gates of Fort Benning before, now is the time to mobilize others in your community to join you. If you have never come to the November Vigil before; this is the year! Make history and be part of the largest annual anti-militarization convergence in North America. Come take a stand for justice, peace, dignity and self-determination. The convergence includes a massive rally with amazingand inspiring speakers and musicians; concerts; workshops; a funeral procession to commemorate the victims; nonviolent direct action; a vigil at the Stewart Detention Center, a for-profit immigrant prison in Lumpkin, Georgia; a veteran-led march; puppet making; film screenings; trainings and more.
We are creating a strong community and a powerful force that will close the SOA, end U.S. militarization in the Americas and dismantle the broader system of oppression of which the SOA is a part.
Our movement unites many sectors of society, including union workers, immigrants, people of faith, anarchists, pacifists, students, torture survivors, and many others. We recognize the existence of the SOA as an example of the pervasive culture of militarization.
We stand together with many justice movements in our joint struggle for social change. We stand with the prison abolitionists, as so many of our own prisoners of conscience have come to understand the criminal injustice system through harsh prison sentences. We stand with immigrants fighting deportation, many of whom have fled repression in their own countries. For 520 years, the indigenous peoples of the Americas have resisted the many manifestations of economic and military violence perpetrated against their communities. The SOA, repressive police forces, coups and economic slavery are the continuations of those policies – in Latin America and right here at home. This year, as we demand money for human needs instead of military repression, we converge at Fort Benning in the largest demonstration following the November elections. We know that only continuous and consistent grassroots organizing – not politicians – will bring about the change we need in the world.
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