Socialist Worker

Activists unite against war

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2036

People are gearing up around the country for the demonstration in London on 24 February against the replacement of Trident nuclear missiles and calling for troops out of Iraq.

The demonstration is organised by the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the British Muslim Initiative. There is also a demonstration in Glasgow on the same day.

The demonstrations take place a few weeks before parliament votes on Trident replacement and one month before the fourth anniversary of the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

They also take place as threats of an attack on Iran are becoming more and more alarming.

Across the country, activists report new people getting involved in anti-war campaigns. Manchester Stop the War Coalition steering committee met last Saturday and lots of new people came to discuss building for the demo.

Delegates included local trade unionists, members of the Labour Party, the Lib Dems and Respect, as well as Somali activists and a delegate from the Islamic Times newspaper.

Phil Turner from Sheffield told Socialist Worker that Labour and Green Party councillors were among those attending the Sheffield Stop the War Coalition's annual meeting last Saturday.

He said, 'Meetings to mobilise for the 24 February demo are being organised for the Somali and Yemini communities, at mosques and for trade unionists and students.'

It's not just in the big cities that people are mobilising. In smaller towns, Stop the War groups are also organising to get maximum numbers to the protest.

In Ipswich some 40 people came to a Stop the War meeting last week. Anti-war activists in Glossop in Derbyshire are planning to send a coach to the demo. Worcester Stop the War is also organising a coach.

In Lancaster, activists report a lot of interest in the demo.

Dave Weltman, who is involved in the group, told Socialist Worker, 'The group in Lancaster hadn't met for a long time so we called an organising meeting to get people together – 24 people came.

'They included students, CND members, activists from Respect and the Green Party, and people who have been campaigning for Palestinian rights.

'We organised a lot of things from the meeting including a public meeting and transport to London. We held a very successful street stall last Saturday – collecting over £60 in donations.

'We are also making efforts to involve more trade unionists, Labour Party members and Muslims. The NUT teachers' union has donated £100 and the UCU lecturers' union has given £50 to the group.'

Other trade union branches around the country are also supporting the demo. In Birmingham, for example, the trades council and the city's Unison union branch are putting on coaches.

In Waltham Forest, east London, the council Unison branch has invited Kate Hudson, chair of CND, to their annual general meeting to speak about the demo.

Students are also getting organised. Meetings in the last week included 350 students at University College London.

At Essex university, students have only been back at college for two weeks.

Dominic Kavakeb, a second year student at the university, told Socialist Worker that lots of new people are getting involved in building for the demo.

He said, 'Last week we held an organising meeting for Stop the War. We were really pleased when 20 students came – including people from the Islamic Society and People & Planet, as well as lots of new people.

'We are planning a day of action on 15 February to publicise the march. We are going to have a visual presence on campus all day, with a die-in, smoke bombs and other things to create a big atmosphere at the university.

'We are also organising a public meeting in early February and a banner making session.The demo is a great focus for getting organised.'

Some 30 students came to the first ever Stop the War meeting at the Stoke campus of Staffordshire university last week.

Assed Baig, a Respect member at the university who is standing for NUS national secretary, told Socialist Worker that students who came along are now organising for the London demo. 'We had a very enthusiastic response,' he said. 'We are organising transport to get maximum numbers to the demo.'

For information about transport to the demo or meetings in your area go to www.stopwar.org.uk


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News
Sat 3 Feb 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2036
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