Socialist Worker

No time to lose to stop warmongers

Issue No. 1841

INTENSIFIED BOMBING. B-52 bombers moved to Gloucestershire ready to rain death on Iraq. George Bush and Tony Blair are in the final stages of unleashing war. It must now be plain to everyone that United Nations resolutions and arms inspections are, for Bush and Blair, just camouflage. They are hellbent on war whether or not they can bully and bribe other states to back it.

Arms inspectors oversee the destruction of Iraq's Al Samoud missiles. The US and Britain respond with more bombing. What has delayed the slaughter so far is the scale of the anti-war movement. Mass protests and the opposition to war of 94 percent of the population forced the Turkish parliament to refuse last weekend to turn the country into a staging post for a US invasion of northern Iraq. Yet the pressure from the US is continuing.

Everyone opposed to this war has to confront the question of what to do as Bush and Blair go ahead and defy world public opinion. Delegates from anti-war movements in 26 countries met in London last weekend and gave a resounding answer. They called for continuous and intensifying protests leading to mass civil unrest if war breaks out. Already in Italy large-scale protests have blocked trains carrying military material for use in the Gulf. Dockers in Genoa and Livorno have refused to load ships.

The trade union federations of Greece and Belgium have called for industrial action against the war on 21 March. In Britain, leaders of seven trade unions have said they will stand with workers who take protest action on the day war breaks out. The executive of the 280,000-strong Communications Workers Union (CWU) has unanimously passed a resolution saying:

'The CWU reaffirms its total opposition to the impending war on Iraq and will campaign for all members to take protest action on the day it is officially declared.'

Two million people marched in London three weeks ago. Very many people want to escalate the action, emptying schools, colleges and workplaces, and blocking city centres if war begins. We have to organise now to make it impossible for this government to pursue the war.

That requires setting up networks of anti-war activists in every local area, and in every place of work, union branch, college site, school and community venue. Delegates are being elected to attend the People's Assembly, called by the Stop the War Coalition for next Wednesday.

That body aims to coordinate the protests millions would like to be part of. It symbolises the chasm that exists between popular feeling in Britain and our undemocratic, unrepresentative government. A movement that can stop the war requires groups and organisation in every corner of Britain, planning activities and linked together into an irresistible force.

The warmongers have their fingers on the trigger. There is no time to lose. If not now, when?

Afraid of US ally

THE GOVERNMENT and its friends in the media spent last week cynically exploiting the suffering of the Kurdish people in an attempt to justify attacking Iraq. They found tame Kurdish figures from the rival forces that run northern Iraq to claim all Kurds back war.

Yet by the end of the week reports were flooding out of the area from honest journalists that the mass of Kurdish people there are terrified of invasion, not by Iraqi troops, but by Turkey.

At a football match between an Iraqi and a Kurdish team in northern Iraq the main chant from the 10,000 Kurdish fans was 'Stuff the Turks'. The Turkish army already has a presence in northern Iraq. The Turkish state would like to see the Kurds in northern Iraq crushed rather than take steps towards their independence.

Turkey, a key Western ally, wants to grab Kurdish land - all in the name of a war that Bush, Blair and their apologists say is a war for liberation.

School students lead the way

'AROUND 500 school, college and university students from all over Glasgow struck and rallied against war in the city centre on Friday of last week. We forced the closure of the army recruitment office. The school students led the way in the anti-war movement last Friday. The TUC should ask all trade unions to walk out against the war when the bombing breaks out.

If school students who are on the brink of doing their exams can take strike action then surely it's time for the trade union movement to react. All students at the rally were urged to go back to their school, college or university and organise anti-war groups.

They were encouraged to take further strike action on Wednesday of this week. We hope that the anti-war movement in schools will grow, and we will be able to get even more people to walk out the day war is declared.'
Aftab Anwar (Scottish Socialist Youth), and Louisa Oram (school student at Glasgow's Shawlands Academy)

'Western bombs are murdering Iraqis'

'LAST WEDNESDAY the US bombed a village just north of Basra. A house was hit. Fifteen of my relatives were inside. This is what the bombing means. They are murdering innocent Iraqis, people who oppose Saddam Hussein, people who moved to the no-fly zone because they thought they would be safe.

I got out of Iraq in 1980. I want to see liberation. But it cannot come by Western bombs. The best thing they could do to liberate people would be to lift the sanctions that are killing people and that leave them dependent on the regime. The West will not do this. Instead, they kill for their own interests in the name of humanitarianism.

I rang the Ministry of Defence to find out what they said about last week's bombing. They said they would not tell me in the interests of national security. I appeal to people to protest against this crime.'
Susan Karim, Dundee

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What We Think
Sat 8 Mar 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1841
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