SOA Watch (SOAW) will be holding a protest at Fort Benning, Georgia later this month, as they do every year, to protest US imperialism and one of its ugliest manifestations. At Fort Benning is the School of the Americas (SOA), a training ground for international soldiers, the thugs of our puppet-regimes in Latin America. It was founded in 1946 to protect the Western Hemisphere from “Communism.” In reality, all that meant was preventing the states of Latin America from becoming satellite states of enemies like the USSR (as could be said of Cuba) or states forming agendas independent of US interests and responsive to the desires of their citizens (as in the case of Allende's Chile). The defense of Latin America from Communism was the same as the defense of Latin America from Europe (Monroe Doctrine) – it all meant the preservation of US domination in Latin America and the absorption of Latin American resources and labor into US capital.
The role of the SOA in all this is the training of foreign military personnel in methods of torture, interrogation, counterinsurgency, assassination, and how to 'disappear' members of society under the regimes installed by the US. This school is funded by US taxpayer money to train the rapists and murderers of Latin American dictatorships which are friendly to American business. Now we must ask, who is it that is targeted by these US-trained monsters? The Pentagon was forced to release training manuals for the SOA which advocated false imprisonment and torture as methods of interrogation. The targets suggested for these manuals were those who support “union organizing or recruiting,” distribute “propaganda in favor of the interests of workers,” “Sympathize with demonstrators or strikes,” and make “accusations that the government has failed to meet the basic needs of the people.” So, the SOA's targets for executions, assassinations, and 'disappearing' are those who stand up for raising living conditions, escaping poverty, and organizing labor. With this said, consider the rampant assassinations in Colombia of trade unionists and the recent murder of labor organizer Oscar Lopez, and reflect on who must be responsible.
I am leaving on a cramped bus for a weekend from Massachusetts all the way down to Georgia to take part in the SOAW protest against the SOA this month (November). As responsible citizens, it's imperative to know of the crimes of our government. As we go about our day, it is easy to forget that we support, perhaps unknowingly, the violences of our government. Yet every year there appears the SOAW to signal disapproval by the American people of the crimes of its government and the violence of American capital.