The World Against War
MILLIONS upon millions of people all over the world demonstrated last weekend to protest against imperialism’s drive for war against Iraq. From Washington to Damascus, London to Tokyo the masses took to the streets to voice their opposition to Bush and Blair’s plan to conquer Iraq and plunder its vast oil-fields for the benefit of the big oil corporations.
In the Third World the protests often had the blessing of their governments, fearful of what will come next.
Nobody knows. After Iraq it could be Democratic Korea, Iran or any one else who dares to stand in the way of Anglo-American imperialism.
In Europe the demonstrators reflected the nervousness of the European Union’s leaders at the prospect of a Middle East war against a virtually defenceless people with consequences which no-one can predict except that it will not benefit any of one of them.
And in the United States and Britain more and more are seeing through the lies of their politicians: the trumped charges of “terrorism”, the hate-campaign against the Iraqi people and the bogus accusations of “material breaches” which revolve around a handful of empty chemical weapon shells.
First of all Blair told us it was a question for the United Nations, the world body imperialism only has a use for when it suits their purposes. Now he comes clean. The Government, Blair tells us, now reserves the right to join in military action, even if a UN Security Council member vetoed such a move.
Who makes these decisions? Certainly not the British people who have not been consulted except by the opinion pollsters, whose figures show that opposition to the war has now reached 70 per cent. It’s certainly not the mass membership of the Labour Party either, where opposition to the war is probably even higher. It’s not amongst the Welsh and Scottish nationalists whose parties are calling for peace. Many of the Liberal Democrats are opposed to an attack on Iraq and even some Tories are muttering their objections - all reflecting the broad swathe of opinion against the looming prospect of war.
But those in favour of imperialist aggression are the real rulers of our country. They are most aggressive and greedy sections of the capitalist and land-owning class. The sort of people who robbed and looted Africa and Asia in the nineteenth century to build an Empire in which “the sun never set”, killing and enslaving millions on their way; the kind who lived the life of Roman Emperors in their grand houses while British workers slaved in their factories for pennies and died broken and destitute in the slums of our great cities; the people who sent millions to their deaths in the First World War to preserve and increase their fortunes.
They are the ruling class; the big capitalists, the bankers, the industrialists and big landowners who really run this country. They are still with us.
They pull the strings. Now they show what a farce our so-called parliamentary democracy really is. Now they reveal the contempt they have for the people beneath them.
This Government was elected by millions. Millions are opposed to the war. Their voice is ignored and dismissed and the only demand that Blair & Co listen too is that of the ruling class.
But we are many and they are few. And ultimately it is people who decide the future. The Labour Party must be answerable to its members. The government must be answerable to the people. Mass pressure on the Blair government can defeat the war party. This war can and must be stopped before it even starts.
STOP BLAIR’S WAR
Fifty protesters were arrested last Saturday outside the headquarters of the British Armed Forces in Northwood, north-west London for refusing to end a sit-down protest outside the gates.
The sit down followed a march several hundred strong. As hey arrived at the base, seven chained themselves together across the front of the gate to block access.
Police pulled back from the gates and allowed protesters up to the doors of the base.
Later police ordered them to disperse but most remained. Sitting down in front of the base.
Police said: “They were not being violent. They were obstructing a highway. which we needed to re-open
by Wendy Lewis
ONE OF the largest antiwar demonstrations Cardiff has ever seen took place on Saturday. The march left city hall and wound its way through the busy shopping centre.
Traffic was halted for some time when a group, locked together with
tubes, sat down on the main road outside the castle, and were arrested
By the time the march had arrived back at City Hall for the rally its numbers had grown to 2000.
Julie Morgan Labour MP for Cardiff read out letters written by school children to the Prime Minister calling for peace.
Labour Assembly Member Richard Edwards called for a massive public effort to stop the war.
Helen Mary Jones, Assembly Member for Plaid Cymru appealed to everyone to write to their MPs AMs MEPs and councillors to pass resolutions against the war.
Other speakers included Jill Stallard National Secretary CND Cymru; Lindsey German, convenor of the National coalition to Stop the War; Clive Protheroe, local branch secretary of the Fire Brigades Union; Saleem Kidway, secretary of the Muslim Professional Association; Raja Gul Raiz, Welsh Socialist Alliance candidate; Matthew Wooton, who chairs the Green party in Wales, and Greenham activist Ann Pettit.
The rally was organised by South Wales Coalition against the War and sponsored by CND Cymru.
Labour Councillor Ray Davies, who chairs the committee, said: “Our transport system is falling to pieces. Our public services face a low pay crisis. Our firefighters are on strike. There is an exodus of doctors and teachers. And while Germany and France cook the European books, Blair and his cabinet are obsessed with the build up to war.”
He called on everyone to support the march on Saturday 25 January from Llantiwit Major to RAF St Athans, organised by international students at Atlantic College and supported by students from Cardiff university.
He also called for support for another demonstration on the same day in Fairford where the Stealth bombers were based; and the Stop the War Coalition national rally in London on 15 February.
from Marguerite Oldham
Nottingham Stop the War Coalition staged a protest outside the Chetwyn Barracks at Beeston - a former ordnance depot now being used as a final briefing centre for troops bound for the Gulf and the place where many get their jabs against various illnesses, chemical and biological weapons and such.
The demonstrators - at least 60-strong — mounted a vigil outside with a child’s coffin to represent all he child deaths in Iraq caused so far by the previous Gulf War and the sanctions policy.
The site was near a busy road and hundreds of motorists passing by tooted their support.
The Ministry of Defence police were not hostile to the protest but explained: “We have to be on the fence on this.” One protester pointed out this position can get a bit painful in time.
The rally was followed up by a candlelight vigil in the town centre later that evening.
Around 2,500 demonstrators marched through the city centre to a rally organised by Merseyside anti-war coalition, Liverpool’s Trade Union Council and Merseyside Friends of Palestine.
Speakers at he rally included Jimmy Nolan of the dockers’ union, Gerry Poole of the Merseyside Peace Council, playwright Alan Bleasdale and Haifa Zangana from Iraq.
She spoke of the hardship the last Gulf War caused to innocent people in Iraq and women frightened to have babies because of birth defects caused by depleted uranium shells.
Merseyside TUC president Alec McFadden said: “I have never seen a march grow by a third from the point it left, before, as people who previously would no have demonstrated, voted with their feet and asked their MPs, ‘Are you listening?’”
Mark Henzel, speaking for the Merseyside Stop the War Coalition, said that public opinion has reached an unprecedented sway in the build up to war.
“US activists have said Bush would not receive backing if he had to go it alone in Iraq, so Blair’s support is legitimising his military action.
“The people marching this weekend have a chance to write themselves into the pages of history and stop a war before it starts.”
There were other demonstrations in many own centres last Saturday: Birmingham, Bradford and Woolwich to name just a few.
For every soldier - American, British or Australian - being sent to the Gulf, several hundred ordinary people around the world are leaving their armchairs and taking to the streets, becoming peace activists.
Bush and Blair have set out to create an invincible war machine. At the same time they are inadvertently creating an invincible, international peace army.
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