The tremendous and enduring strength of the anti-war movement was clear at the Stop the War Coalition’s national steering committee meeting last weekend.
Reports from the 60 delegates at the meeting pointed to the continuing high level of activism and widespread concern and anger over British support for George Bush’s wars.
A delegate from Cambridge said their last rally in November was the biggest they had ever had.
The Leeds representative reported unevenness in the city groups but that the university group is bigger and more active than ever.
A number of local coalitions reported on successful cultural events they have held recently.
A delegate from the Lambeth Stop the War group in south London outlined a busy calendar of activity over the next few months in the run up to the March 15 national demonstration.
Delegates agreed that despite media spin, the war on terror is spreading rather than winding down.
For all the talk of the success of the “surge” in Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki’s government has no support, and the US air force is running its heaviest bombing raids on Baghdad for two years.
The steering committee discussed the need to highlight the war in Afghanistan – where there are twice as many foreign troops as 18 months ago – and the continued threat of an attack on Iran.
A Kurdish speaker from the Fedbir organisation and a representative of the African Liberation Support Campaign explained how the “war on terror” is rapidly spreading instability around the globe.
Delegates proposed a number of ways of expanding the movement’s reach.
A UCU lecturer’s union representative suggested following the example of the media workers by organising an education workers’ anti-war network and a health workers’ group.
It was noted that School Students Against the War is launching a national campaign against army recruitment, with the co-operation of some teachers’ union branches and Military Families Against the War.
All agreed to use the anniversary of the 15 February 2003 demonstrations as a way of further raising the movement’s profile – with vigils, protests, film showings and meetings.
The campaign for a massive national anti-war demonstration on Saturday 15 March, the fifth anniversary of the attack on Iraq, starts now.
For more on the demonstration go to » www.stopwar.org.uk