Socialist Worker

Stop the War's vibrant annual conference

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2075

The strength and determination of the anti-war movement in Britain was clearly demonstrated at the Stop the War Coalition’s annual conference held in London last Saturday.

Over 450 delegates from local groups, peace campaigns, trade union branches and colleges across Britain attended.

The conference reflected Stop the War’s success in the colleges with many new and established student groups sending delegations and around 80 students staying at the end of the conference to discuss building the movement in the colleges.

Opening the conference Stop the War chair Andrew Murray reminded delegates of the achievements of the movement over the last year and warned of the growing threat of an attack on Iran.

He said, “Our work can make the difference between life and death for tens of thousands of people. Nothing can be more important than that.”

Delegates heard from speakers who demonstrate the real breadth of the movement – including Guardian columnist Seamus Milne, George Solomou from Military Families Against the War and Jeremy Corbyn MP.

The conference discussed topics including the growing brutality and resistance to the occupation in Iraq and the attacks on civil liberties in Britain.

Democracy

Anas al Tikriti from the British Muslim Initiative and Kate Hudson, chair of CND, both spoke of the importance to their organisations of their joint work with the Stop the War Coalition.

Seamus Milne reminded people that the since its inception, the anti-war movement has “been a force for democracy at a time when democracy has been in short measure”.

The conference voted on a number of motions including opposition to US Missile Defence, a proposal to strengthen and expand local stop the war groups and to oppose the spread of the “war on terror” to Africa.

Stop the War convenor Lindsey German told delegates that the US is trying to turn Iran into a pariah regime and that the threat to Iran and the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are part of “the US attempt to reorder the world”.

To applause, she added that Stop the War will continue to fight for the right to protest. She said, “If there is an attack on Iran or if Turkey invades Iraq in the morning – it is currently illegal for us to demonstrate at parliament that evening.

“If we are not able to have a legal demonstration, then we will have to have a demonstration that is illegal.”


Actions

The Stop the War Annual Conference launched two important days of action:

  • Day of action against an attack on Iran on Saturday 24 November.

    This is to be combined with a student day of action on Thursday 22 November. The Stop the War Coalition is calling for protests, meetings, die-ins and other events and for groups around the country to prepare now to respond to any attack on Iran.

  • The World Against War international conference at Westminster Central Hall on Saturday 1 December.

    The conference aims to strengthen links between anti-occupation movements in the Middle East and the anti-war movements in the West. It also hopes to launch a co-ordinated international campaign over Iran and Afghanistan

For video footage from the conference and more information on the events mentioned above go to

» www.stopwar.org.uk or phone 020 7278 6694


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