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.
The views expressed by authors and contributors to MPG’s website via posts, interviews etc. are entirely the views of the authors and contributors themselves, unless otherwise stated.
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 meetings and campaigns.
MPG was formed around 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 that 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 Andrew Refshauge (former NSW MP) and a number of candidates involved in the 2003 NSW State election campaign. That campaign coincided with the plans being made by the ‘coalition of the willing’ 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 former Prime Minister John 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 came 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 to this issue, the group began its ‘Twenty-O-Three’ initiative. Using the unique invasion date for its title – 20.03.2003 – the group collected signatures on an open letter it had written to President Bush at a rally it organised in Martin Place. The plan was to send the open letter to President Bush via the US Consul General.
The initiative was repeated over four years, with an open letter being delivered to the US Consul General on the anniversary of the invasion each year. Local MP Anthony Albanese spoke at one of these rallies. Lee Rhiannon (Greens MP in NSW Parliament at the time) spoke at another. In 2007, then Kerry Nettle (former Greens Senator) lent her support in trying to get the US Consul General to accept the letter in person, without success.
When access to the Consul General in Sydney was blocked, MPG resorted to taking the signed open letter 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 interest in the matter in the Australian media.
In 2008 the group organised a meeting in Marrickville Town Hall which was addressed by by Andrew Wilkie (now a Federal MP).
MPG’s focus, however, is not limited to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All members abhor the prospect of nuclear war and the very existence of nuclear weapons. Consequently MPG has developed close relations with the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
As well, MPG has regularly joined events to mark the International Day of Peace (September 21, each year).
More recently, MPG has taken up the issue of drones and Australia’s alleged involvement in ‘extra-judicial executions’ through drone attacks on countries that pose no threat to Australia.
The group has also campaigned against the stationing of US marines in Darwin.
A primary focus of MPG’s attention (the thread that connects all its activities) is the alliance between Australia and the US and the need for an independent foreign policy.
MPG is affiliated with the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC) and the Gallipoli Centenary Peace Campaign (GCPC).
You can request information about MPG’s campaigns and activities by using the contact form here.
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