The anti-war upsurge against the American Empire continues in cities around the world. The sky-lighting, ground-shattering, lethal firepower unleashed in Iraq under the guise of liberation has left many of us feeling helpless, powerless and demoralized. As more and more “smart” bombs fall on children in Iraq, who know not why, hundreds of thousands of Canadians continue to stand firm in daily protests at American Consulates across the country.

Tonight in Toronto, the Toronto Social Forum will host a strike back of its own with an innovative Artists Against the American Empire event. Acclaimed writers, poets, comics and musicians will raise their voices in opposition to war in Iraq. The line up will include award-winning writers Susan Swan, Shyam Selvadurai and Ursula Franklin; comic Shoshana Sperling; poets Clifton Joseph, Reza Baraheni, Kaushalya Bannerji and Lillian Allen and performance artists The Prize Budget for Boys, Turtle Gals, In The Freedom of Dreams: The Mandela Story, AHANAIE, Seth-Adrian Harris; Jian Ghomeshi, Marcelo Puente, Heather Chetwynd, Jean-François Lessard and more.

The event kicks off of this weekend’s Toronto Social Forum — Mobilizing for a better Toronto and a better world — organized to resist neo-liberal globalization, the military machine and the economic aggression of the American Empire. It is expected to be the most substantial effort of its kind that Canada has ever seen, combining the diverse elements of our movements, with workshops, panels, good food, films, music, theatre, parade and protest!

Some highlights of the weekend include an International Dimensions panel with South African journalist and former member of the South African Truth Commission Zenzile Khoisan; “Building an Anti-War Movement” with NDP leader Jack Layton and “A Dialogue among Jews & Palestinians.”