Socialist Worker

Local activists against the war

Issue No. 1841

Around 120 staff and students came to an anti-war meeting on one site of London's Metropolitan University on Friday. The speakers included Tariq Ali, Paul Mackney, leader of the Natfhe lecturers' union, and Jean Geldhart, a local Unison branch secretary.

When someone from the floor talked of walking out if war starts, they got a good reception, as did the idea of blocking local roads.
Sam Birnie, east London

OVER 200 members of the City of Edinburgh council workers' Unison union branch packed into the city chambers last week. A motion was put forward calling for members to take part in further protests against the war and to back the call for the TUC to be reconvened in the event of war to discuss a general strike.

The branch secretary argued that while we all opposed the war, this would mean each of us would have to be willing to go back and argue with our workmates for strike action. He thought that would scare the members but he was wrong.

Overwhelmingly members voted for the TUC to give a lead and, if it did, then they would do their bit. The full motion was passed with only a handful of votes against.
Ian Hood, Edinburgh

AROUND 50 people attended a Labour Against the War meeting in the small South Wales town of Brynmawr last week. The meeting was addressed by the local MP Llew Smith and Jeremy Corbyn MP. Both talked about the scale of revolt taking place within the labour movement and how a new generation of radicalised youth was emerging through the anti-war movement.
Huw Williams, South Wales

SOME 35 people came to the first meeting of Victoria Park Stop the War Coalition in Hackney, east London, on Wednesday of last week. We organised a stall in the local area, which took place last Saturday. We collected another 60 names of people who want to get involved.

One person brought his steel drum band down to create an entertaining atmosphere around the stall! Another 16 of us met up the next day to plan a day of action for this Saturday. This will involve stalls, banner making, bands, speakers and protest.
Angela Stapleford, east London

ABOUT 40 people came to lobby Home Office minister Hilary Benn MP on Saturday. He didn't turn up. We were all disgusted that he wasn't there to hear people from Beeston, Leeds, tell him not to go to war in our name, and an impromptu debate ensued in his absence.
Beeston Stop the War Group

THERE WERE at least 13 Stop the War tables operating in the north east of England last Saturday. Reports from all indicated a good reception on the street.

Roger from Hebburn reported, 'One woman with her child said her son, who is 18 and in the navy, was in the Gulf. She said although she was obviously worried, even if he had not been in the forces, she still thought that in the modern age war should not be used to solve international problems.'

In Ashington five people with connections to the forces approached our stall. All were strongly anti-war. In Wallsend people queued to sign the petition. Gosforth and Low Fell also reported a warm reception. One organiser, Susan, said, 'Although there were hostile comments they were all made from a distance as if the size of the movement against the war kept them away.'

Newcastle and Sunderland now have big demonstrations coming up.
John Charlton, Tyneside

IN PONTEFRACT local Stop the War group members decided to petition against the war in the adjacent town of Castleford. We used a petition addressed to our Blairite MP, Yvette Cooper. If war is declared we are all meeting at the Buttercross in the centre of Pontefract at 6pm.
Carol Ives, Yorkshire

PECKHAM STOP the War group lobbied our MP, Harriet Harman, last week. Unfortunately she sneaked in and out through a back entrance so as to not meet the people on the lobby.
Steve Norreys, south London

WE ARE building for a march and rally in Exeter on 15 March, and expecting support from all over Devon. This week a 70-strong meeting of the World Development Movement on World Trade and GATS agreed to back the protest.

Elsewhere in Devon 250 attended a meeting with Bruce Kent in Totnes, a town with a population of little more than 5,000.
Mike Gurney, Devon

LEEDS Metropolitan University Stop the War and CND groups met last week to discuss action in case of war. On the day war breaks a two-minute vigil has been called. After this staff and students plan to march down to the lunchtime protest rally being called by the Leeds Stop the War Coalition.

A motion is also being put to the next Natfhe lecturers' branch meeting calling for lunchtime action on that day.
Annemarie Piso, Leeds

WE HAD our first workplace anti-war meetings last week, with 17 people attending at one site and 15 at another. We hope to have meetings at our other sites soon. Staff and students who attended agreed to build for the march in Manchester on Saturday and organise a protest at the gates when war breaks out.
Amy, Sittu and David, Manchester City College

WE STAGED protests against both local MPs, Jim Fitzpatrick and Oona King, in Tower Hamlets, east London, last Friday, after they both backed war. A number of local workplaces have held meetings at which calls for walkouts on the day war starts were discussed. There are also a spate of local area meetings this week.
Tower Hamlets Stop the War Coalition

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Article information

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