No Bases

The international network for the abolition of foreign military bases, March 2007


About the No-Bases Network

Opposition to foreign military presence has a long and rich history. Wherever there's a military base, there is usually a movement resisting its encroachment on sovereignty and democracy. Around the world, communities, social movements, women's organisations, political parties, environmental groups, intellectuals and religious groups have been campaigning in various ways through the years against foreign military presence, militarisation, and milsitary interventions. In some cases, such efforts have taken the form of a specific single-issue campaign. In others, the campaign has been part of broader movements for independence and social justice.

For these campaigns, the issue of foreign military presence has served as a rallying and unifying cause that has driven grassroots organising, educational campaigns, and political mobilisation. In a number of places, notably in the Philippines or in Puerto Rico, popular movements against foreign bases succeeded in adding to the social pressure that led to the termination of basing agreements with the United States. Even then, campaigns to force the US to clean up the toxic legacy of their vacated military bases continue. In many places, such as Korea or Japan, the campaigns have been going on for generations. In others, such as Ecuador, Paraguay, Uzbekistan or Bulgaria, the struggle has only recently begun.

Until 2004, most of these movements and campaigns have been mostly local or national in character - even if the reach of foreign military presence itself is global. While often very vibrant and dynamic, these movements were often isolated and disparate. Given the similar tactics the US uses to guarantee its military presence, as well as the similar experiences of those hosting them, much can be gained from greater and deeper linkages among local and national campaigns and movements across the globe. Local groups around the world can learn and benefit from sharing information, experiences, and strategies with each other.

The realisation that one is not alone in the struggle against foreign bases is profoundly empowering and motivating. Globally coordinated actions and campaigns can highlight the reach and scale of the resistance to foreign military presence around the world. With the trend of rising militarisation and resort to the use of force around the world, there is now an urgent and compelling need to establish and strengthen an international network of campaigners, organisations, and movements working with a special and strategic focus on foreign military presence and ultimately, working towards a lasting and just system of peace.

Momentum for the Emergence of an International Movement The "war against terror" and the invasion of Iraq have added urgency to forming an international network. In an international anti-war meeting in Jakarta in May 2003, just a few weeks after the start of the invasion of Iraq, a global campaign against military bases was proposed as a priority action of the global anti-war and justice and solidarity movements.

Since then, this campaign has been gaining ground. A mailing list ( and devoted to discussions on foreign bases has been created and is now the site of a vibrant exchange of information and of discussion.

The e-list now has over 300 members from over 48 countries, including a diverse group of campaigners, organisers and researchers . Over the course of 2004, participants informed each other on their campaigns and plans, and discussed cooperation and strategies in more than 4000 email exchanges. A website is also being set up and is envisioned to become the most important organisational and communication tool for the network; a site for posting the latest basing plans and campaign news and announcements. A project to comprehensively map the locations and forms of foreign military installations around the world is currently in full operation.

Efforts to organise and expand the Network are also ongoing, with workshops and seminars on foreign military bases now a regular presence in various Social Forums such as the European Social Forum in Paris in 2003 and in London in 2004, the Americas Social Forum in Ecuador in August 2004 and the Mediterranean Social Forum in Spain 2005. One of the biggest gatherings of anti-bases activists to date has been the series of workshops on military bases held at the World Social Forum in India in January 2004. Over 125 participants, including many long-time as well as new anti-bases campaigners, from 34 countries, began mapping out a coordinated global campaign against US bases. Priorities identified at the time were the development of a web site, joint planning for research, the setting of a date for a day of Global Action to highlight the issue of foreign military bases and a joint attempt to reach out to all campaigns and individuals that work against the presence of a foreign military base in their region or local community.

One year after the gathering in Mumbai, four sessions were organised by the Network during the World Social Forum in Por to Alegre , Braz il. The sessions managed to draw in new participants, and exchange updated analyses between Network members. Two out of four sessions were reserved to discuss the next phases in the development of the Network. The resulting joint planning can only be achieved by raising sufficient resources. This funding application is a direct consequence of the decisions made in Porto Alegre.


Relation With Other Campaigns And Movements

The current global campaigns targeting the network of foreign military bases, do not exist in a vacuum. In numerous forums, conferences and gatherings over the past few years, it has been acknowledged that the problem of foreign military bases needs priority attention from the peace movements and the global justice movements. The Jakarta Consensus, May 2003, the General Assemblies of the anti-war movements in Mumbai, Beirut and Porto Alegre in 2004 and early 2005 all call for prioritising on the issue of foreign military bases. Very recently, the final session of the World Tribunal on Iraq, in its recommendations mentioned the Network as one deserving all support.

Politically, the relevance of the debate around foreign military bases was exemplified by the Guantanamo Bay issue, the disagreements between the US, Russia, Iran and Uzbekistan with regard to US and Russian military bases in the Middle East, the resistance to proliferation of US military installations in the Andean region, while widespread popular resistance against foreign military bases in Japan (Henoko, Okinawa), Korea, Italy and Latin America (ig "Plan Colombia") continues.



ECUADOR, MARCH 5 - 9, 2007

The construction of foreign military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq; the cases of torture at the bases in Guantanamo and Diego Garcia; the construction of new bases in Okinawa; the "realignment" of military alliances in Asia; and the dramatic increase of joint military exercises as part of the so-called "global war against terror" have highlighted how foreign military bases, other forms of military presence, and militarization of whole societies are used to secure certain states and corporations interests at the cost of democracy, justice, and sovereignty around the world.

Another world will not be possible without abolishing these bases and demilitarizing global and national societies.

Over the past two years, we have been building up an international network to achieve this aim. Many of us have come together for the first time at the World Social Forum and other meetings as to form a global community. Our approaches vary, our concerns are multi-faceted, but our objective is the same: the closure of foreign military bases around the world. The times demand that we escalate our actions and improve our coordination. The next step in consolidating our community is to organize an inaugural Conference for our network. After much communication and deliberation we decided to hold this conference in Ecuador in March 5-9, 2007.

We hope that this conference will be the biggest gathering of anti-bases activists in recent history. We intend for the conference to provide an opportunity for closer, ongoing interaction; for sharing experiences, exchanging strategies and lessons learned; for laying the groundwork for more effective global coordination, and for building strategies for more effective international campaigning.

In organizing the Conference, we hope to further broaden the network, remaining conscious of the critical importance of grassroots anti-bases activists to be involved and to take the lead in building our global network. We call on all anti-bases activists, individuals, and organizations to be part of building this international network and campaign.

We call on the global movements for peace, justice, and ecological sustainability; those working in campaigns and mobilizations against war; the movement against corporate-led globalization and against militarism and imperialism; movements for disarmament and demilitarization; and movements against racism and for liberation and sovereignty. We call on grassroots women's, indigenous rights groups, environmental groups, faith-based organizations, youth organizations, sexual minorities, trade unions, social movements, human rights groups and other local, national and international progressive formations to be involved in and to contribute to building this global movement.

While we hope to have the participation of the broadest range of groups possible, we also intend for the Conference to be a working meeting that will come up with a concrete plan of action. Our challenge is to ensure participation that is both broad and at the same time manageable. We call for solidarity in spreading the word about this initiative; in building a broad range of groups committed to this effort; in reaching out to grassroots or community-based anti-bases groups wherever they may be; in building links across movements and struggles; and in providing concrete support to sustain this long-term effort.

Abolishing foreign military bases around the world and working toward demilitarization is essential in the struggle against war, is one step to establishing another world that is possible and necessary.



International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases

No Bases Coalition Ecuador

American Friends Service Committee (USA) Asian Peace Alliance - Japan

Bangladesh Krishok Federation Bangladesh Sramajibi Kendra (Bangladesh)

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK) Focus on the Global South (Filipinas)

Campaña por la Desmilitarización de las Américas (CADA) For Mother Earth (Belgium)

Fellowship for Reconciliation (US) Gathering for Peace (The Philippines)

Japan Peace Committee (Japan) LALIT (Diego Garcia / Mauritius)

Movimiento cubano por la Paz y la Soberanía (Cuba) Nonviolence International (US)

Pakistan Peace Coalition (Pakistan) SEATINI (South Africa)

People's Task Force for Bases Clean-Up (Philippines) Stop the War Coalition (Greece)

Transnational Institute US Peace Council (US)

American Empire page

U.S. Imperialism/Neocolonialism

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