Socialist Worker

Preparing for 24 February anti-war demonstration

Issue No. 2038

Stop the war groups in over 80 cities and towns across England and Wales have organised transport to the Saturday 24 February demonstration in London.

In many areas, activists report lots of new people booking onto coaches or getting involved.

Craig Plowman, chair of Kettering Stop the War, told Socialist Worker, “Over 80 people came to our meeting at the weekend with Moazzam Begg. It’s the biggest Stop the War meeting that we have had since the start of the war.

“There were many new faces at the meeting and we got lots of new contact details for people who want to get involved.”

Stop the War activists in Lancaster also held their largest public meeting in a long time, as 80 people came to hear Labour national executive member Walter Wolfgang.

Dave Weltman said, “There was a wide range of people from across Lancaster – including from the mosques, the Green Party, the

Lib Dems and Respect.

“We are now busy building and raising money for transport to the demonstration.”

In London, getting the word out to as many people as possible will be crucial to ensuring a big turnout.

Many local groups are already holding meetings and organising mass leafleting of shopping centres and tube stations.

Fear of attack

In Lewisham, south London, the Stop the War group organised a lively picket of their local Labour MP, Jim Dowd, on Saturday.

Andrew Smith said, “The MP told constituents that he was not opposed to Trident replacement and he still fully supported the government on Iraq.

“This is one Brown-nosed Blairite who sees no need to change course under a new government.”

Many planning to attend the protest are motivated both by the growing horror of occupied Iraq and the government’s threat to invest in a new round of nuclear weapons.

There is also a growing fear of an attack on Iran.

Some 60 people – mostly Iranians living in London – came to a Campaign Iran public meeting in the Kanoon Towhid religious centre in Hammersmith last week.

As well as concern about an attack on Iran, many people in the meeting wanted to express solidarity with Iraqis and with Muslims under attack in Britain.

All the speakers at the meeting talked about the importance of building the demonstration.


Campus action

Students at Plymouth University report a great response to the demo on 24 February. Alison Smith from Plymouth said, “Last week we organised a Stop the War fundraising gig.

“Around 200 people came and we raised over £400 towards transport. Lots of people also left their details.

“We have also had a great response to our stalls and leafleting round campus.”

At Swansea, members of the Stop the War group are going door to door around the student accommodation to tell people about the demo.

Sian Ruddick told Socialist Worker, “We have been doing stalls outside the library and distributed coach tickets to other groups like the Islamic Society. We are also planning some film showings.”

The Stop the War Coalition is calling on local groups to organise leafleting of mosques on Friday 16 February and for a national day of leafleting tube and rail stations on Wednesday 21 February.


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