THE CAMPAIGN for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) held its conference in Birmingham last weekend. The 350 participants debated alliances with other movements and how best to oppose war. Kate Hudson was narrowly elected as CND national chairperson. Kate stands for a close working relationship with groups such as the Stop the War Coalition and the Muslim Association of Britain. People with similar views won 12 of the 15 national executive positions.
In workshops many people called for CND to go beyond the issue of nuclear disarmament and campaign against the war in Iraq and the occupation.
'We've been taken as mugs for too long'
OVER 500 people attended an anti-war public meeting in Birmingham last Saturday evening. The meeting was called, 'The Empire and the Crescent: A Conference Examining the Implications for a New American Century'.
It was co-organised by Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and Amal Press, the publishers of a new book of the same title. One of the key contributors, Imam Zaid Shakir, came over from the US to speak at the meeting.
As a well known and respected scholar within the Muslim community he attracted large numbers of people. Other speakers included George Galloway MP, Salma Yaqoob, chair of Birmingham Stop the War Coalition, and Michael Lavalette, Socialist Alliance councillor from Preston.
There were video messages from Mark Curtis, George Monbiot and Louise Christian. The meeting aimed to raise the profile of the demonstration on 27 September. This was aided by a powerful speech from George Galloway, who said death was the only excuse for not being there.
The meeting also saw further discussion about what next for the anti-war movement and the need for a political alternative to the lies of Blair and Co. It was great to be able to hear the experiences of challenging Labour electorally in Preston and examples of successfully uniting socialists and sections of the Muslim community, continuing alliances developed during anti-war activity.
Salma Yaqoob said, 'We have been taken as mugs for too long,' as she argued why we must move towards a more general challenge to New Labour. Zaid Shakir talked of the optimism he felt after not only two million protesters marched in London, but the massive anti-war presence in the US too. He talked of how the solution to the current situation did not come through taking up arms and going to Afghanistan but through political changes here and especially through greater understanding in Western society of Islam.
EXETER STOP the War Coalition conducted an opinion poll in Exeter High Street on Saturday of last week. Of the 220 people who took part, 75 percent wanted British troops to leave Iraq. Lizi Allnatt, spokesperson for Exeter Stop the War Coalition, said, 'Nearly six months after the war officially ended our poll shows that even many people who supported the war at the time now question whether it was justified.
'Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw is failing to speak for his constituents who overwhelmingly oppose the policy of the government.'
EXETER STOP THE WAR COALITION