The Marrickville Peace Group (MPG) is a group of individuals of disparate political views whose main aim is to promote peace as opposed to war as a means of settling international disputes.
MPG is an unincorporated not-for-profit organisation and is entirely run by volunteers.
You can download a copy of a brochure about MPG here. It contains our Mission Statement and information about who we are, our history and how you can participate in our campaigns.
MPG first came into being in about November 2002. The group had no particular structure but came together spontaneously (with a little encouragement from two of Sydney’s left-wing organisations). At the time the issue that united us was dismay at the possibility of a US-led invasion of Iraq. By February 2003 the group was sufficiently organised to have a banner (Marrickville Community Peace Group) ready to join the massive demonstration that brought Sydney to a complete halt on February 15, 2003.
Following the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, the group organised a rally in Enmore Park. Among the speakers were State MP Andrew Refshauge and a number of candidates for the 2003 NSW State election campaign that was being conducted at the same time as the ‘coalition of the willing’ was making plans to invade Iraq. The rally was a small but important factor in moving the ALP away from supporting the war, especially after the ALP had made a number of ambivalent statements in response to Liberal PM Howard’s endorsement of the US-led invasion plan.
Disillusionment set in following the invasion and enthusiasm waned. The situation was not helped by the ‘schism’ within the Sydney peace movement that also occurred at this time. However, funds raised during the Enmore Park rally were sufficient to warrant the opening of a bank account.
In 2004 those funds were used for a public meeting in Marrickville Town Hall and following that meeting the core members of the current group got together.
By 2005 it was becoming clear that there was little happening on the peace front in Sydney, despite Australia’s involvement in the ongoing war in Iraq. In an effort to bring attention back onto this issue, the group began its ‘Twenty-O-Three’ initiative. Using the coincidence in the date of the invasion (20/03/2003) for its title, the group wrote an open letter to President Bush and organised a relay of groups and individuals who collected signatures on it in Martin Place. The initiative was repeated over four years, with the completed letter being delivered on the anniversary of the invasion each year. Local MP Anthony Albanese spoke at one year’s opening event, Lee Rhiannon (now a Senator) at another. In 2007, then Senator Kerry Nettle assisted in trying to get the US Consul General to accept the letter in person (without success).
When access to the Consul General in Sydney seemed to be blocked, the group resorted to taking the signed originals to the US Embassy in Canberra. In 2008 the letter had more than 3,000 signatures. There was never any response to any of the letters sent and little or no interest in the matter in the Australian media.
In 2008 the group organised a meeting in Marrickville Town Hall, which was addressed by the US Consul General of the time (Mr Stephen Smith) and by Andrew Wilkie (now a Federal MP).
The group’s common interests were not limited to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All the group’s members share abhorrence at the prospect of nuclear war and the very existence of nuclear weapons. Consequently it developed close relations with ICAN, the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons.
The group has regularly joined events to mark the International Day of Peace (September 21, each year).
More recently, the group has taken up the issue of drones and Australia’s alleged involvement in ‘extra-judicial executions’ through drone attacks on countries that are not Australia’s enemy.
The group has also campaigned against the stationing of US marines in Darwin.
A strong focus of the group’s attention (the thread that connects all its activities) is the alliance between Australia and the US.
The group is affiliated with the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) and the Gallipoli Centenary Peace Campaign (GCPC).
You can request information about MPG’s campaigns and activities by using the contact form here.