THOSE commentators who like to claim the anti-war movement is dead, or only involves the 'Hampstead middle classes', should have been in Liverpool on Tuesday last week. Some 900 people from all walks of life heard George Galloway MP and John Rees speak at a rally organised by the Merseyside Stop the War Coalition. It was easily the biggest political meeting in Liverpool for a decade and nearly filled the massive St George's Hall.
Among those present were a 16-strong contingent from Bebington ward Labour Party and 14 from Birkenhead Labour Party, who are all considering their party allegiances. Some are thinking about campaigning for Socialist Alliance candidates in the local elections.
Trade union delegations included eight CWU members from the city's sorting office, Unison union members from social services departments and workers from the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port. Banners from the PCS, CWU, NUT and Unison unions all stood behind the stage. Ian Foulkes, a local Fire Brigades Union activist and Socialist Alliance candidate, refuted press accusations of cowardice and greed.
His speech was met with great applause from the crowd, especially when he asked why money was available for war but not for firefighters.
Magicians and mayors
OVER 150 crowded into the hall of the Pakistani Community Association in Willesden Green, Brent, for a rally called by Brent Stop the War last week. Speakers from the floor included the Mayor of Brent, Councillor Abdul Sattar-Butt. Brent's eight Asian Labour councillors have defied their party's leadership to sign a declaration against the war.
Socialist magician Ian Saville, one of the many Jewish activists in the Brent group, was able to magic more than £700 out of the pockets of the audience into the group's funds.
We'll continue to fight war
OVER 150 people attended a public meeting organised by the Kettering Stop the War Coalition last week. This is the biggest meeting Kettering has seen for many years.
George Galloway summed up the feelings of many when he said the meeting was not just part of the campaign against the war in Iraq, but was also the start of the campaign against the next war.
Kettering Stop the War Coalition
Young and old, black and white
THE South Wales Coalition to Stop the War held a rally of over 300 people in a packed lecture theatre in Cardiff on Wednesday of last week. The audience was young and old, black and white. Speakers included Tony Woodley, deputy general secretary of the TGWU and Leanne Wood from Plaid Cymru.