Socialist Worker

Bush & Blair are in tiny minority

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 1843

THE BRITISH press tried to claim last week that the French government was responsible for war on Iraq. It said that France's opposition to immediate war meant that it was part of an isolated minority.

Tony Blair's official spokesman said French refusal to support war was 'injecting poison into the bloodstream of diplomacy'. In fact Bush and Blair are in a tiny poisonous minority. The drive to war against Iraq is one of the most undemocratic acts in human history.

There are very few other events where global opinion has been so closely gauged, or more comprehensively spurned by a few thuggish powers. Last weekend's Azores summit saw just four leaders gather out of the world's 191 states. Bush and Blair could not escape anti-war protesters even on this group of mid-Atlantic islands.

Around 300 people protested against the war outside the summit held by the 'coalition of the killing'. At the summit hosted by Portuguese leader Barroso, George Bush, Tony Blair and Jose Maria Aznar finalised plans to attack Iraq. They could not even claim to speak decisively for the people in their own countries, let alone the world.

In Britain around 15 percent of people are for a unilateral assault by the US and its allies on Iraq.

In Portugal it is 10 percent and in Spain 4 percent. Even in the US opinion polls last weekend showed a bare majority for an attack by the US and a few allies without UN backing. In February the Gallup organisation polled 41 countries across the world about the war.

The astounding results show just how few people back the US and its allies attacking Iraq without UN support (see below). Even with UN support, the poll found majority backing for war from people in only a handful of countries. There is strong opposition to war in all the 'swing six' countries on the UN Security Council.

Bush and Blair have been trying to bully and bribe them into backing a pro-war second resolution. The six countries include Mexico (80 percent against war), Cameroon (85 percent against war) and Chile (70 percent against). There have been few reliable opinion polls in Pakistan, Guinea and Angola. But in all of them the overwhelming majority of those who have spoken are against the war.

In Pakistan, in defiance of bans, huge marches have called for no support for Bush. The Eastern European states which have been pummelled into supporting the US are Washington's version of a new Warsaw Pact. Under Stalinist rule the people in Eastern Europe were not allowed free speech or basic democracy. Now they have limited rights to say what they think - but their leaders ignore them.

The leaders of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic have all lined up with Bush and Blair. The vast majority of the world is against what the US and Britain are doing. Even greater numbers will be revolted and outraged by the slaughter and the devastation inflicted.


Millions march against US's 'law of the jungle'

THERE WERE huge protests last weekend against the war. Over two million marched in Spain. Around one million demonstrated in Madrid and up to half a million took part in a human chain in a rainy Barcelona that linked the US consul with the headquarters of Aznar's party.

There were massive protests in Valencia, Zaragossa and elsewhere. Portuguese writer and Nobel laureate Jose Saramago told the Madrid demonstration, 'We are marching against the law of the jungle that the US and its acolytes old and new want to impose on the world.' Other demonstrations in Europe included 100,000 in Berlin, 50,000 in Paris, 15,000 in Athens, 50,000 in Brussels, 5,000 in Marseilles, Stockholm and Copenhagen, as well as smaller protests in Thessaloniki in Greece, Bucharest in Romania, and Moscow.

In Milan, 700,000 participated in an anti-war protest organised by Italy's largest trade union confederation, the CGIL. It sent a message threatening strike action at the outbreak of war. Around 10,000 marched through central Tokyo. The day before the Japanese government had offered full support for a US war against Iraq.

In Seoul, South Korea, 3,000 demonstrators staged a candlelight protest. Other demonstrations took place in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, New Zealand; in Melbourne and a dozen other Australian cities; in Hong Kong, Bangkok, India and Vietnam.

Nearly 10,000 marched through the Turkish port city of Iskenderun where the US military was unloading military equipment for the war on Iraq. Smaller protests were held in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus; in Cairo, Egypt and in the Gaza Strip.

The three main demonstrations in the United States were in Washington DC and San Francisco drawing well over 50,000 each. Another 30,000 marched in Portland, Oregon, and smaller protests took place in dozens of cities and towns, including Cambridge, Massachusetts and Lansing, Michigan.

In Canada 250,000 marched in Montreal, in one of the biggest demonstrations in the history of the country, and thousands more in Toronto. The largest protest in Latin America came in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, where 10,000 people marched on the US Embassy.


Global No

Are you in favour of military action against Iraq unilaterally by the US and its allies?

YES: Denmark 10 percent, Finland 6 percent, Ireland 8 percent, Spain 4 percent, Iceland 7 percent, Switzerland 5 percent, France 6 percent, Germany 9 percent, Luxembourg 5 percent, Netherlands 7 percent, Albania 7 percent, Bosnia & Herzegovina 9 percent, Bulgaria 5 percent, Estonia 9 percent, Georgia 9 percent, Macedonia 4 percent, Romania 11 percent, Russia 7 percent, Yugoslavia 8 percent, Argentina 3 percent, Bolivia 9 percent, Canada 10 percent, Colombia 15 percent, Ecuador 3 percent, Uruguay 9 percent, Australia 12 percent, Hong Kong 8 percent, Malaysia 3 percent, New Zealand 8 percent, Pakistan 3 percent, Cameroon 9 percent, Nigeria 10 percent, Kenya 17 percent, South Africa 9 percent, Uganda 20 percent.

Source: Gallup International Iraq poll 2003.


Workers take action

IN MANY parts of Europe workers joined in 15 minute stoppages on Friday of last week to show their opposition to war on Iraq. In Spain five million workers took part in action. It was strongest in large firms and the public sector. Cities were paralysed as thousands of workers poured from offices, hospitals and schools to block roads and chant slogans against the war and the Aznar government.

In Germany protests halted vehicle production at three Volkswagen factories and a DaimlerChrysler plant. Trams ground to a halt in the eastern city of Halle. In Italy workers downed tools from Sicily in the south to Turin in the north. There was a series of protest strikes by transport workers seeking to disrupt the movement of US war materials through Italy.


No backing in Angola for this war for oil

IF YOU say that you are for a war against Iraq in Angola then people think you are a mad person. There are few countries which have suffered so much at the hands of the world system that is waging war on Iraq.

If the US succeeds in reordering the world as it wants then it will mean more power for the multinationals, the arms firms and the bankers who squeeze debt from us. Why should we go to war for Bush when it was the US government that played a big part in wrecking our country in the 1970s and 1980s by backing right wing rebel forces?

Why should we go to war for oil when we see in our own country that oil wealth never benefits anyone but a few rich people at the top of society?
Lucas Muachicungo, anti-war activist, Luanda, Angola


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Sat 22 Mar 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1843
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